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  1. #1
    Mike23
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    Itinerary for Golden Triangle Trip, incl. Laos?

    Can anyone suggest an itinerary for a 5-6 day trip to the Golden Triangle area, from Chiang Mai, without own transportation?
    Sofar I was thinking about going via Thaton, by boat to Chiang Rai... from there the usual MaeSai, Chiang Saen,...
    What about Chiang Kong?
    And what about a 1-2 day excursion into Laos? Is Luang Prabang worth the trip, by boat?

    Thanks for any suggestions regarding places to visit, stay, transportation, etc.
    Will I get around good enough without a renting car?
    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. #2
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    G'day Mike23. We have a few members on the ground in the north who may be able to help. Your questions are quite specific though and it may be that you actually know more than them. I will say that I would not be renting a car though. I would go for a medium sized motorcycle but then that is just me.

    Our resident visa expert will be in tomorrow and may be able to advise on travelling to Laos.

    It is all worth seeing in my opinion though Mike. Check back here soon. :grin:

  3. #3
    born of a jackal
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    Hi Mike,
    I did the boat trip from Luang Prabang to Chiang Kong - took 2 days as you say - wouldn't really reccomend it for sightseeing but I had to take it as there was no other transport (went from Vientiane all the way up through) -bus from Vientiane to LP - stopped off a couple of days in Vang Vieng - good place if you like a smoke.

    The boat was fairly slow and uncomfortable really but don't let me put you off as it was memorable in its own right.
    There is a speed boat option (6hrs) which passed by regularly - now that looked fun!

    Luang Prabang was pleasant enough - bit quiet though, depends what you're into I guess.

    I liked Ventiane the most on that trip.

  4. #4
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    The ride from Chiangmai to Thaton in a bus is, interesting. Depending onthedriver it can a rollercoaster of a ride. I like the surrounding area if you're gong to be in a rented car or motorcycle there some nice areas to just head into the hills and see what you can find. I spent a couple days wanderng around the hills there couple of uears ago. Lot's of Thai Border Patrol guys in Humvees. In the back hills just out of Mae Ai I ended up in valley, on foot, between two blockhouses one flying the Thai flag the other one, the Burmese. Dirt road fontier. Met some interesting people some friednly ther suspicious. Smelled ripening ganja n them hill at one point. Sstayed in a village that was the Thai headquarters of Khun Sa (if the battle hardened BP commander was to be believed, I did) Found some very quiet and tranquil spots; reflecting ponds nestled in small mountain valleys, etc.
    The boat ride from Thaton to Chiangrai is great. The sets are hard and narrow. The ride is through deep valleys lined with green, and a few hill folk along the way. They'll most likely stop at the hot springs and the Elephant village. Rememebr some decent BBqd chicken at the hot spring relatively quiet, a few vendors selling trinkets n the parking lot. I'd pas on the Elephant village. it's main purpose is tourism and it is a co-op of different ethnic groups n the area. Ther's a nice littl oasis called, "My Dream Guest" house in the Karien village up a dirt road there run by a french guy. Good Thai food, some OK western food, reasonable. Sits inside and ox-bow on the river with a stony beach, they'll have bon-fires on the beach sometimes. Might not be a beach right now. in fact he river may be treacherous there for the next week or so. Rainy season here is winding down so it shouldn't be long before things get a better. The scenery will be fantastic. The air cool. The nights cold. The road was fairly washed out and we barely got the 4 wheel drive up there. Imagine some things been worked out by now. Lot's of different ethnic grops there and the villages are all with in 10 kilometers or so.
    When you get to Chiang Rai get all the partying and western food cravings out of your system. Catch a ride up to pu-chii-fah (about 3 hours). Get a room, there's nothing there but it will be like an out-door rock concert at about 5:00 am with all the thais climbng to top of a hil to watch the sunrise out of the sea of mists. lot's food vendors and 10's of thousands of people. Take a sweater and jacket if you're going be out in the early morning hours. be prepaered to the only farang on the hill. On the ride up you'll probably see hunters along the road with their shotguns and a handfull of birds or other dead animals. a diverse grop of ethnic groups in the area it's a place i wish I had explored more.
    Skip Mae sai unless you need to jump across the broder. Chiangsaen is quiet, relaxing to the point of boredom. The Golden triangle? Spent a few hours there i think i would like to have stayed longer.
    The trip would fit nicely with a boat ride to Luang Prabang. I always enjoy myself in Laos. Luang Prabang is less westernized than Vientiene (Wiangchan) it's going to be a wat viewing and cultural exploration trip you 're taking, with some natural beauty thrown in. If that's not what you want,..
    It must be right? Why else would you take that route?
    BW don;t be surprised if you fnd yourself among folk thatdon;t speak Thai, English or Lao. happens up in them thar hills
    When the people fear their government, there is tyranny; when the government fears the people, there is liberty -- T. Jefferson


  5. #5
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    Is khun sa really still around?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by marklatham
    Is khun sa really still around?
    Uh, no, keyword here; "was" but I couldn't help thinking; "how many weapons are still stashed around this village?" There were like three different villages in this small low-spot in the road. There was this look-out like pill box on the top of a hill where there now sits a school. This is where the Border patrol guy (lookin' like a Thai Doc Savage) gave me the spiel about it being Khun Sa's old Thai headquarters. Mixed looks from the locals. Took off up some hills and was politely directed to 'safer & 'more interesting' directions a couple of times. Got to see some nice tea fields but no "Tea" fields.
    Figure I was about 300 meters or less from the frontier most of the walk. Saw lots of mounted machine guns, AKs and M16s. In the village the folks were friendly but still a bit stand-offish. Was ther with a group giving out id cards, passports and drivers licenses. The DL queue was a riot.
    They had a basketball-sized court with traffic cones set up. the whole village came out to watch guy taking their tests. Lots of grilled dead animals, folks sittin' 'round drinking whiskey-sodas. Some of the drinkers were just gettin' up the courage to take their test! had a delicious curry dish there was kind of like pork but not quite...

  7. #7
    Thailand Expat jandajoy's Avatar
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    Anyone got good info on good accommodation in ChiangSaen?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike23 View Post
    And what about a 1-2 day excursion into Laos? Is Luang Prabang worth the trip, by boat?

    Luang Prabang is a nice place, I have been three times, arriving by air, bus and that slow boat

    the boat is good, lots to see but a bit uncomfortable, worth the ride though. Just take no notice of the so-called "guides" that try to sell you anything from cushions to rooms at inflated prices.

    The boat takes 2 days, so going that way would not give you time for a 1-2 day excursion!
    I have reported your post

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