Chiang Rai is ideally situated for discovering Thailand’s Golden Triangle, so three days in the city give you ample time to immerse yourself in local culture and cuisine, and explore the northern highlands. Here’s how.
Chiang Rai, Thailand
Tours of the Golden Triangle—the meeting point of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, which lies just 5 miles (8 kilometers) north of Chiang Saen—often include a stop in Chiang Saen. Most day trips set out from Chiang Rai and often include a boat cruise along the Mekong River or a visit to one of north Thailand’s ethnic minority villages. In Chiang Saen, explore the ruins with a guide for insight into their historical context; visit the Chiang Saen National Museum to see artifacts excavated from the ruins; and admire the town’s three temples.
Ancient City Tour from Chiang Rai with Golden Triangle and Royal Villa
$127.07 per adult
Relaxing tour with friendly guide
Best experience for us was the lunch cruise at the golden triangle. Suzy was a knowledgeable and friendly guide. Flexible when she realized we had already toured the White Temple and instead toured tea plantation. Overall, we would recommend this experience. Thanks again for a great day!
Robert_B, Apr 2022
Things to know before you go
- There are basic accommodation options in Chiang Saen and plenty of restaurants and cafés.
- It is not possible for foreigners to cross the border to Laos at Chiang Saen; you will need to go to nearby Chiang Khong instead.
- Most of the town’s attractions are wheelchair- and stroller-accessible, but roads around the ruins may not be paved.
How to get there
Chiang Saen lies along the border of Laos in north Thailand, about 37 miles (60 kilometers) north of Chiang Rai or a 60-minute drive. It is set on the bank of the Mekong River opposite the town of Ton Pheung in Laos. Regular buses run between Chiang Saen and Chiang Rai and the trip takes about two hours.
When to get there
Chiang Saen makes a popular stop on Golden Triangle tours; tour buses start to arrive from mid-morning, so opt to explore in the early morning or late afternoon to avoid the crowds. If you choose to spend the night in Chiang Saen, be sure to visit the weekend night market, a great place to tuck into typical Thai street food.
Thailand’s Golden Triangle
The meeting point of three countries and the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong rivers; Thailand’s Golden Triangle is a remote region filled with rice paddies, misty mountains, and hillside villages. Highlights include Chiang Rai, with its fairy-tale-esque White Temple and Blue Temple; the Hall of Opium at the Golden Triangle Park, which provides a fascinating look at north Thailand’s opium trade; and the hilltop town of Mae Salong, famous for its Chinese heritage and Oolong tea plantations. Active travelers can also hike and cycle through the Doi Luang National Park, or trek between north Thailand’s ethnic minority villages.
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the nearest attractions to Chiang Saen?
What else should I know about attractions in Chiang Rai?
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