Golden Triangle Self Drive
- Price from:
- 143 GBP /person
- 01273 322040
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
Last updated: 02/19/2009
Visit the famous Golden Triangle, the incredible spot where the Mekong River separates three countries. The mountain passes are breathtaking, providing incredible views very few tourists get to see.
Chiang Mai - Chiang DaoThis morning, your rented car will be delivered to your hotel in Chiang Mai. The representative will hand over the car keys, and the route to Northern Thailand now lies at your feet. Once you have packed your things, you'll hit the open road.Self-driving in this area of Thailand is really very easy. The roads are quiet and well-maintained with good quality tarmac. Travelling by rental car also gives you complete freedom and a real sense of adventure. If you haven't taken a hiking trip in the North already, we would advise you to set off early and enjoy the morning elephant demonstration in the Maesa elephant training centre, which starts at 9:30am. The Centre is located 25km to the north of Chiang Mai, and during your visit you can hand feed sugarcane and bananas to the adorable baby elephants. En route you can visit an orchid farm, a snake and butterfly farm, and the Mae Sa waterfall, which is also a lovely spot for lunch.
After your trip to the waterfall, the route becomes even more spectacular as you drive up into the mountains. It's another 55km to the immense cave complex at Chiang Dao. Some of the chambers are lit and open to the public. We recommend you hire a guide with a gas lantern, to learn about the history of the mystical caves. Legend has it, that anyone who takes a piece of the rock from the caves shall get lost and never return.... Not so ideal for a self-drive trip.Your accommodation is located in a mountain valley resort not far from the caves. Remember that in the winter months it's a lot cooler up in the hills. We would advise that you bring a warm sweater for the evenings. The resort has a very good restaurant for some well-deserved dinner. The total distance covered today is about 175 km. Your car is delivered with a full tank of petrol, so there's no need to fill up.
Chiang Dao - Mae SalongAfter breakfast, you'll set off in the direction of Fang, which boasts the highest peak in Thailand. The Fang National Park is a forested area overflowing with waterfalls, caves and a number of natural hot springs. The largest geyser blasts a steamy jet of water well over 50m into the air. Don't forget your swimming gear if you want to enjoy a natural hot spa.From Fang, you travel on to Thaton (about 25km), a good spot for lunch. There are various restaurants on the Mae Kok River to sample the tasty local cuisine. From Thaton (route 1089), the road climbs up to a heady mountain pass. After 25km, you'll find the village of Yapa, known as the 'three tribes village'. As the name suggests, the town is home to three tribes, including the Padaung (long necks), who all live together harmoniously. You'll pay a small fee to enter the protected village.If you have the time, it is really worthwhile to explore the area between Thoed Thai and Mae Kham along the Myanmar (Burma) border. In this area, far from any other tourists, you'll find many tiny mountain villages nestled in the hillsides. From here, it will take about another 1Â½ hours to reach Mae Salong, your destination for the night. You'll stay overnight in a lovely bungalow with a stunning view of the mountains. The resort has an outstanding kitchen serving excellent Thai and Chinese dishes.
Mae Salong - Chiang SaenToday, you'll leave Mae Salong and head towards Ban Sop Ruak, the area known as the Golden Triangle. The total distance you'll cover today is only about 95 km, so you'll have plenty of time to stop frequently for walks and photos. You can travel towards the Golden Triangle via Mae Chan and Mae Sai to Doi Tung Mountain on the Myanmar border. The road is only partially paved, so you'll trundle slowly along past the Akha, Lahu, Lisu and Hmong tribes, who live amid the tea plantations and paddy fields. These tribes formerly harvested opium, but as it is now prohibited, the Royal Thai government has seen to it that other crops are cultivated.The Mae Fah Luang Botanical Gardens, part of the Royal Palace of Doi Tung, are also worth a visit. You can walk through hibiscus, orchids and other exotic plants, savouring their fragrences and incredible rainbow colours. Your morning journey will end at the bridge linking Thailand with Myanmar (Burma). There are many restaurants for lunch and stalls selling all kinds of imported goods lining the Thai side of the bridge. You can take your fill of fresh fruit and local snacks before travelling on to the Golden Triangle.During the trip, you may even have the opportunity to cross over the border into Myanmar (from 8am to 5pm). Bring your passport and $5 dollars for the Burmese Customs officers. However, the border may well be closed, depending upon the political climate at the time of your travels.In the afternoon, you'll drive to Sop Ruak. This is where the Thai border meets those of Laos and Burma- the true âGolden Triangle'. The temple on the hill gives you a wonderful viewpoint of the confluence of the Mekong and Sai rivers, and the meeting point of the three countries. A photo taken by the signpost is always a good one for the scrapbook. On the way to Chiang Saen, your final destination, you can make a quick visit to the interesting Hall of Opium Museum (closed Mondays). You'll then stay overnight in Chiang Saen. Your comfortable accommodation is perched high up on a hill with a commanding view over the legendary Mekong River.
Chiang Saen - Chiang RaiYou'll have the morning free in Chiang Saen, a sleepy little town on the Mekong dating from the Lanna period. In the past, this town was the capital of the Kingdom of Yonok, and there are some interesting temples here, including Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Pasak. Alternatively, you can take a river trip upstream on the Mekong. In the afternoon you'll weave your way back to Chiang Mai.Today's journey is 240 km via Mae Chan, about 4Â½ hours travel. Fancy a coffee with apple pie? Then stop at the Charin Garden Resort, just before Chiang Rai for a quick treat. After you pass the town of Mae Kachan, you can paddle your feet in another hot spring and stretch out your legs. You'll then have only 60km to drive until you reach Chiang Mai. At about 5pm, you'll hand back the rented car (with a full tank of fuel) and end your golden self-drive trip.Stay in Chiang Mai for one or more nights. It's much more relaxing not to have to travel immediately with the night sleeper train or plane; you don't have to keep a constant eye on the clock and you can let your Northern Thailand experience slowly sink in during the evening.
- Inclusions -
- Accommodation with breakfast, car hire with basic insurance; and route description.
- Exclusions -
- Petrol, other meals, excursions, entrance fees, extra vehicle costs (such as a second driver)
- Extras -
- Best time to travel
The weather for this module is good almost all year round. However, August and September you can expect a lot more rain than at other points in the year. In the winter, the temperature can drop to 10Â°C at night, so be sure to remember to bring something warm.Malaria
For the most up-to-date information and advice concerning precautions against malaria, you should consult a suitable medical institution before departure or check with the WHO (World Health Organisation). Malaria-carrying mosquitoes can be found in the border areas to the North of Thailand, partcilaurly during the rainy season. It is, however, very important to minimise the risk of being bitten by using an anti-mosquito cream (DEET) on all exposed skin, especially in the evenings, and to sleep under a mosquito net. In rooms without air conditioning, a mosquito net is provided.
Couldn't find what you're looking for? Check out more tours & excursions in Chiang Mai
- Doi Suthep Temple & Home Handicrafts - from 840 THB
- Half Day Tour Elephant and Orchid Farm - from 680 THB
- Doi Suthep Temple - from 500 THB
- Flight Of The Gibbon - from 61 USD
- National Park Photography Tour - from 50 USD
- Chiang Mai Photography Tour - from 32 USD
- From Bangkok to Chiang mai 8D/7N - 8 days from 500 USD
- Trekking 2 Days Mae Taeng Area - 2 days from 1400 THB
- Package Tour Chiangmai Highlight 2 Days - 2 days from 3800 THB
- Mae Taeng Trek In Depth 4 Days 3 Nights - 4 days from 11670 THB
- Four Day Jungle Trek to Lisu & Lahu & Karen & Akha - 4 days from 188 GBP
- Lanna Shan Journey in Northern Thailand 5D4N - 5 days from 20950 THB
- Three Day Jungle Trek - 3 days from 79 GBP
- Culture and Elephants of the North - 2 days from 74 GBP
- Discover North Thailand - 5 days from 665 USD
- Golf Thailand - 7 days from 36000 THB
- Chiang Mai Special Package - 4 days from 109 USD
- Chiang Mai 2 Days & 1 Night Trekking Package - 2 days from 4400 THB
- Complete Chiang Mai Tour - 7 days from 530 USD
- Asian Motorcycle Adventures Tours - 5 days from 1395 USD
- Spa Delights of Siam - 8 days from 740 GBP
Email the tour operator - Golden Triangle Self Drive
Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
It's rare, but some helpful hints to watch out for with regards to fraud:
- It is important to NEVER wire funds or use/employ other fund transfer mechanisms such as western union: Always use a credit card to protect yourself against fraud. If owners pressure you into providing a deposit or refuse to accept credit cards, there is a high probability that this is a scam.
- If at all suspicious of fraud, ask to see their website, or any other literature they can provide or send to you. Ask them for contact details for guests who have previously stayed on their property insisting on telephone numbers. Be suspicious of emails that originate from free email services (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc)
- Research the property thoroughly on the internet to see if there is any history or mention of scams associated with the property.