3. From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai Temples Small Group/Private Tour
Quirky, charming, and creative are the words used to describe Chiang Rai by travelers and locals alike. The sights to be found here are by no means anything like the ones you’ll see in Chiang Mai, the city’s more popular sister. Before we begin temple sightseeing, we’ll break up the long three-hour drive at the Mae Khachan Hot Spring to relax, dip our feet in the steaming mineral water, maybe eat a snack, or walk around the surrounding gardens. We’ll then move on to the main attraction: the White Temple. If you’re looking for ancient ruins, you might be surprised to find a modern architectural masterpiece designed and built by local artist Chaloemchai Khositphiphat. He was rumored to have spent over THB 40 million of his own money to create this unconventional art exhibit to gain immortal life! After exploring this local wonder, we’ll have a quick lunch before heading to our next stop... The Blue Temple or Wat Rong Seua Ten literally translates to ‘temple of the dancing tiger.’ It was built on a site where tigers were said to have jumped over the river. If the White Temple was meant to be a stairway to heaven, the Black House has been called a “dark, mysterious, and almost sadistic” representation of hell, complete with preserved animals and a collection of bones. Built by Thailand national artist Thawan Duchanee (who incidentally was the mentor of Chaloemchai, the White Temple guy), the Baan Dam Museum (Black House) is a cluster of nearly 40 small shadowy structures exhibiting art dating back to the Ayutthaya period. This is truly something the likes of which we’ll never see anywhere else! Looking to make your road trip to Chiang Rai even more comfortable? You can choose to upgrade your transportation to a premium and more spacious vehicle. This ensures bigger and more comfortable seats, less people in one van (maximum of 6 people), and free snacks, cool towels, and soft drinks. You can opt for a private tour option to visit the White Temple and Golden Triangle (instead of the Blue Temple and Black House). The Golden Triangle is a triangular piece of land in which the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar all meet. The nickname was coined by the CIA in reference to this region, whose trading posts’ top product was opium. Dive deep into the wild history of this area and learn how it became one of the most notorious narcotrafficking spots in the world. This itinerary option also includes a cruise down the Mekong River. (The distance from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai is approximately 172 km one-way. Kindly be prepared for a long drive (roughly 3 hours one-way).) Enjoy a low-impact way of exploring. On this tour, you explore sustainable experiences that prioritize providing water in glass bottles and offsetting carbon emissions in every tour, reducing your environmental impact and carbon footprint.