Chiang Rai

Old Mar 24th, 2002, 06:37 PM
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Chiang Rai

I am starting to plan my next trip to Thailand, later this year. I'd like to spend a week or so in the Chiang Rai area, doing day trips into the hill country, and maybe into both Burma and Laos. I'd appreciate any input on particular day trips you've done and would (or wouldn't) recommend.

As I look at lodging options, Le Meridian looks good to me. Reviews? One of the Asia-hotels reviews suggests that during the day it is noisy and the view of the Thai casino in Burma is ugly. Comments? Can you avoid this by paying more for the deluxe rooms? Any other suggestions as to where to stay?

Many thanks for your help in my planning.
Old Apr 1st, 2002, 03:08 PM
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Old Apr 2nd, 2002, 06:37 AM
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We spent 2 days in Chiang Rai. We did not find the city as interesting as Bangkok or Chiang Mai. However, we did enjoy an excellent and inexpensive dinner at Cabbages and Condoms.

We stayed at the Dusit Island Resort Hotel. It was nothing special but it was probably the nicest place you could stay at in the area. We had a deluxe room on an upper floor. It is slightly out of town on the Mae Kok river. The only transportation from the hotel into town is via rickshaw--an interesting experience. There is a shuttle from the airport. I don't know anything about the Le Meridian, although if it has a view of the casino, it is about an hour north of Chiang Rai.

We booked two tours through our hotel. We probably overpaid by about 5x by doing this but we were pressed for time and felt we got our money's worth anyway. Aside from our guide and driver, we were the only two on the tours. The first tour was an all-day tour via mini-van north to a border town where we walked across a bridge into Burma. On the way we visited a couple of the more commercial Hill Tribe towns. If you are planning to spend a week, I highly recommend a trek into some of the less touristed Hill Tribe areas.

We walked around the border town in Burma for a short while--very third world. Back in Thailand, we continued on to Sop Ruak where for an additional $10, we boarded a speed boat which took us to Chiang Saen via another border town in Laos. At the "Golden Triangle" where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet, we could see the casino. It is not so much ugly as out of place in this very rural area. From Chaing Saen we drove back to the hotel.

The second tour was a half-day tour by boat on the Mae Kok river to another tribal village. At that village we took an elephant ride into the rice fields--very, very scenic.

I hope this helps. Contact me at this site if you have any more questions.
Old Apr 3rd, 2002, 12:56 PM
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Craig, Many thanks for your comments. This gives me more to think about.

The last time I was in Chaing Mai was well over 10 years ago, and I've heard that it has grown greatly. I was looking for someplace quiter and more rural. It certainly sounds like Chiang Rai will be quieter - maybe even too quiet!

Anyone else have experiences?
Old Apr 5th, 2002, 02:04 AM
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Hi Kathie,

I stayed at the Le Meridien, at the "Golden Triangle" and loved it !

We did two excursions. One a boat trip up Mae Kok river, to an Elephant camp and trekked to a few villages. Great fun!

The second was meant to be a journey deep into jungle to see a waterfall, but our guide advised us not to go as they couldn't confirm that they had re-built the bridges since the rainy season !

I kept a journal, and is on the web.

It has also photos of the Meridien, and of our excursions. Please feel free to read it at your leisure.
Old Apr 5th, 2002, 02:09 AM
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oh, and I didn't find the Le Meridien at all noisy ?? And the red-roofed Burmese casino is visible, but certainaly does not detract from the FANTASTIC views of the Loatian mountains, especially at sunrise.

In fact, out of the 5 hotels/resorts I stayed at whilst touring Thailand it was my favourite !
Old Apr 6th, 2002, 09:09 AM
Lord Keay
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I've stopped at both the Dusit and Meridien and found them both excellent, although they are about an hour apart.

The Le Meriden is fairly unique in style while the Dusit is an international style hotel and a little bit cheaper. Meriden have recently stopped managing the hotel so I don't know what will happen now.

For an unusual and very pleasant afternoon trip and one not done by many westerners I'd recommend the Old Queen Mothers (thais not brits)summer retreat a lovely villa with beautiful gardens

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