1 Day in Chiang Rai - Help

Jun 25th, 2008, 10:30 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 101
1 Day in Chiang Rai - Help

We have one free day in Chiang Rai and want to book one of these tours. http://www.pda.or.th/chiangrai/package_tour.htm
Any recommendations? We will be doing an elephant camp & the Golden Triangle in Chiang Mai so this is an opportunity to visit a hilltribe. . .Is that a must see?
Thanks for any advice!
Debbiekep2 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 11:25 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You'll be doing the Golden Triangle from Chaing Mai? That makes no sense. Chaing Rai is just an hour from the Golden Triangle, while it would be a 3-4 hour drive from Chiang Mai. A visit to the Golden Triangle, Chaing Sean and Doi Tung would be a good day trip from Chiang Rai.

As far as hilltribe visits are concerned, expect that any hilltribe visit will be very "touristy" with the people lined up to sell you trinket (usually not even their own goods). The "long-necked" tribes visit is to a village with a few women with the neck rings. How you feel about it depends on you. Many visitors stay away from such tours, as they seem to have a "human zoo" feel to them. If you really wanted to visit a hilltribe that is not on the tourist trail, you'd need to trek several hours off the road.
Kathie is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 11:49 AM
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Posts: 101
I was wrong. You are right. We are doing the Golden Triangle from Chiang Rai.
We are actually on a Smartours with time we can tour independently. So, I thought one of these tours might be good. But, if that is what a "hilltribe visit" is. . .well, I know we would rather do something else. Do you recommend any of the sights they list?
Thanks Kathy!
Debbiekep2 is offline  
Jun 25th, 2008, 01:27 PM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 74
We did the Smartour trip in April during Sung Kran the Thai New Year. Had a great time...if you get Boing or Nuk as your guides say hi from Vicki and Vitaly. We did the Golden Triange..don't eat at the buffet they take you to, instead, go across the street to the cafe on the water, better food and better atmosphere and food is cheap everywhere. Depending on how active you are, from Chiang Mai, instead of touring to the top of the temple Wat Phra Doi Suthep, we hiked. It took us 3 hours from the entrance to Doi Suthep National Park, but it was amazing! Top of the temple is beautiful too, breathtaking view of the city.
Another experience in Chiang Mai was w woke up at 5 in the morning to go offer food to the monks. It is done by local mainly because the monks don't have any means to provide food for themselves. It was one of the most beautiful and spiritual experience and well worth the early rise. good luck you'll have a great time...
v_sapi is offline  
Jun 26th, 2008, 09:44 AM
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 101
Thanks V for the info!
Did you do all the options with Smartours? Was your visit to Wat Phra Doi Suthep with them or did you go on your own? From what I have read it sounds easy to do it on your own.
Thank you for any suggestions you might give!
Debbiekep2 is offline  
Jun 27th, 2008, 08:03 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 74
We did some of the optional tours but mainly we did our own thing. we did the hike and temple on our own with 2 other people we met on the bus. In Bangkok we did our own tour with Tong. You can find her on the web...it was amazing. she took us to the floating market (don't miss that if you love unusual foods and don't eat breakfast before you go...) Railway market and the highlight was authentic fishing village including the most incredible boat tour with the fisherman, monkey feeding and lunch at his hut which is "Survivor" style in the middle of the sea. It was expensive, appx 150usd but very well worth the unusual experience. We chose to skip all the "arts and crafts" stops that they make, where they bring you to stores in the hopes that you buy there, that was the only down-side to smartour. good luck...no matter what you do, you'll have a great time, Thailand is incredible, easy and the people are very spiritual, nice and friendly. enjoy.
v_sapi is offline  
Jun 28th, 2008, 06:24 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 183
Hi V, I will be traveling with Smartours this November to Thailand and Angkor Wat. Can you provide info about meals, did you eat any street vendor food? Did anyone in your group get sick? I am not adventurous with foreign foods. Does Smartours recommend places to eat for meals that are not provided?

Did you have many singles in your group?
Any detailed info about your tour that I should know would be greatly appreciated. Thanks

wlbox is offline  
Jul 1st, 2008, 05:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Posts: 74
Dear wlbox,
We did not go to Angkor Wat, we went to Phuket instead although majority of the group went to Angkor Wat. No one got sick in Thailand but we met up with the group from Cambodia at the airport on the way back and 3 people were sick, one of them (the youngest 24 yrs old) was very sick, and it took him several days at home to get better. they believe they all got sick from eating at the village on the water (i don't know, i wasn't there). In Thailand we ate everywhere...restaurants, outdoor cafes. Mainly stayed away from street carts, those did not inspire me to eat (although others ate from carts and were well). But we did eat a lot the floating market and most of the markets. The guides will take you to places that are safe to eat. If you are not an adventurous eater - you might have a problem, as it is not easy to get American food in some places...others you will find burger kings and pizza. but i guess you can always order rice or noodles. but you really need to try all the different unusual fruit they are delicious. also, the food is so cheap that it's o.k. to just try it. we loved the food there and ate thai everyday, i still miss it. Only advise i can give you is we stuck to bottled water or soda and asked for purified ice, which is the one with the hole in the center of the ice cube. They provided cold water bottles on the bus for a 40bt charge. and 2 bottles at each hotel.
As far as singles on the tour, i don't know your age group, but there were quite a few single men and several women mainly in their 50's some in 60's, very active and fun people. one single guy in 20's and 2 girls in 30's. the group as a whole was over 50 with about 4 couples in 30's. we all bonded and had a great time...as you will too. good luck
v_sapi is offline  

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