Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai Bike Tour
An undulating ride that combines the Golden Triangle with Chiang Mai. Amidst lush jungles and limestone mountains pedal your way through bright green hues of paddy, fruit plantations, and along the meandering Kok river, unfolding one dramatic scenery after another.
Hilltop farming to tea plantations, ancient wats, hill-tribe culture, bamboo huts by the river – this is Thailand at its most authentic best!
Chiang Mai | 13:00hrs
easy to moderate
50km or 30mi
Golden TriangleSet out to see the confluence of Thailand, Thailand and Myanmar, and the site for the infamous Golden Triangle.
|DAY 1||Chiang Mai||Aksara Heritage||D|
|DAY 2||Wat Ban Den||Le Cocotier||B,L,D||65km / 40mi||cycling|
|DAY 3||Chiang Dao||Chiang Kham Luang||B,L,D||60km / 36mi||cycling|
|DAY 4||Tha Ton||Maekok Village Resort||B,L,D||70km / 42mi||cycling|
|DAY 5||Mae Salong||Wang Put Tan||B,L,D||45km / 27mi||cycling|
|DAY 6||Chiang Saen||Siam Triangle Hotel||B,L,D||60km / 36mi||cycling|
|DAY 7||Chiang Rai||Nak Nakara||B,L,D||60km / 36mi||cycling|
|DAY 8||Chiang Rai||B|
Accommodation - Casual Inns
Small luxury and boutique hotels that are true to their heritage and character and reflect local ethos are listed here as Casual Inns. They hold within them an unassuming charm and regional character that is an extension of the destination itself. Most of them fall under the 3-star or 4-star category with a possible mix of homestays.
We have chosen them carefully so that you are well-rested; get a drift of the local character or an enthralling view from your verandah. The above brief itinerary gives you a clickable list of hotels for your perusal.
Day 1: Chiang Mai
Arrive in Chiang Mai and settle into your hotel. Our guide meets at your hotel, post-lunch at 13:00hrs for a bike fit followed by a walking tour of Chiang Mai. Today we visit some of the classic highlights of Chiang Mai.
We convene tonight to celebrate the start of our awesome journey on a bike.
Day 2: Wat Ban Den
Our guide meets you at your hotel around 07:30 am. After breakfast, we will shuttle a short way out of town to avoid the morning rush hour, then hop on the bikes for a spin along the banks of the Ping River. One of Thailand's four main rivers, its water flows all the way to Bangkok. Along the way pass by flower farms growing chrysanthemums for use as Buddhist offerings. After lunch, we pick up a tiny rural road through the lush Mae Rim Valley with its quiet villages and old wooden temples. Visit the fresh market in Mae Malai before reaching our hotel overlooking vast rice fields with a backdrop of forested mountains.
Day 3: Chiang Dao
Today's ride starts with cycling through a couple of small villages with old traditional wooden houses before you reach the expansive Wat Ban Den (temple). Each of its viharn (temple buildings) has been built in a different style. Riding north from here, you will roll through the Mae Ping gorge with its unique "air conditioning", air flowing off the mountains along creeks blows cool across the road like an air conditioner. The last stop before reaching the hotel will be a visit to Wat Tham Chiang Dao, a temple complex built into limestone caves in Doi Chiang Dao (Thailand's 3rd tallest peak).
Amidst lush jungles and limestone mountains, Chiang Dao is a heavenly escape from the heat of plains and a popular stop for birders and trekkers. The base of the mountain is a highly venerated wát marking the entrance to one of Thailand’s deepest limestone caverns.
Day 4: Tha Ton
This morning we will shuttle up over the Chiang Dao mountains on our way to Chaiprakan. We will break up the drive with a visit to the Royal Project Shop and a hill tribe vegetable and fruit market a legacy of HM Rama 9 The Great. Remounting the bikes at Wat Tham Tab Tao, you will ride along quiet farm roads with a backdrop of karst cliffs. Our entire route today goes through small villages and farms today, growing everything from rice to vegetables to fruit. Check out a Burmese-style temple whose Buddha figurine is made of woven wicker.
We pace out our journey to Thaton and arrive at this beautiful town at the edge of a River. Thaton is one of the last towns bordering Myanmar in this area. The great part of this is that one gets to see the blend of Burmese, Thai and Chinese influences in language and culture. Your hotel tonight overlooks the Mae Kok river.
Day 5: Mae Salong
Ride along the river and make your way to Mae Salong. The river meanders through a rich green valley, unfolding one dramatic scenery after another. Hilltop farming to tea plantations, bamboo huts by the river – this is Thailand at its most authentic best!
Today is a tough day of climbing. The day starts with 25 km of easy biking followed by a slow uphill and then we hit the Baan Yapa climb having a 12 to 20 percent gradient for a few km. Thereafter, a downhill run followed by more big climbs in the 10 to 15 percent gradient going up towards Mae Salong. If riding seems too hard, you can always shuttle through the big climbs.
Mae Salong is a small tea trading town founded by KTM refugees (the losing side in the China civil war that started Mao's rule over the country). Here we stay at Wang Put Tan which offers a tranquil view of lush greenery, a tea plantation, and an Ahka village view.
Day 6: Chiang Saen
We’re back in the countryside this morning, with paddy fields for company. The ride is extremely refreshing as the crisp morning air and clear skies welcome you on the road. We reach Chiang Saen by afternoon and settle into the hotel. Relax for some time before setting out to see the confluence of Thailand, Thailand, and Myanmar, and the site for the infamous Golden Triangle. A great way to see this is from Wat Phrathat Phu Kao Hill. Chiang Saen is one of the most historic cities. What makes it more intriguing is the access from here to Thailand and Burma.
If time permits, we head out after lunch and see the spectacular Wats and visit the Hall of Opium. The Royal Project and Doi Tung Development Project have spent years battling the trade of opium and its social repercussions. The Hall of Opium was built to educate people about the dangers of drug abuse and also traces its history from its first use 5,000 years ago.
Day 7: Chiang Rai
Ride past fruit orchards, paddy fields, and banana plantations and arrive at Chiang Rai. The region is home to a distinct array of food, music, art, and lush landscapes. The rest of the evening is on your own to roam the night markets, full of local Bric-à-brac and street food stalls. Chiang Rai comes alive in the evenings with the streets packed with locals and tourists alike.
Day 8: Chiang Rai
Extend your stay here or travel further as per your onwards plans.
Dates and Prices
Our base pricing is in USD. However, we can also quote in AUD, GBP, CAD, and EUR, and you can pay in the same. Please write us.
From US $435
Couldn't find a trip with convenient dates?
Open your date as a join-in tour or customize further as private one.
We offer private departures on almost all our itineraries, and for groups of four or more, they cost the same as our standard trips!
All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).
Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.
Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.
A Van support that follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.
Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.
Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.
Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.
When you have a road and the thrill of a journey ahead of you, it’s imperative to have a good bike to enjoy it. Our fleet majorly consist of the below bikes as a part of this tour. However, sometimes due to height or availability constraints, we may provide a different but similar quality bike.
Merida Speeder T3
Bianchi Kuma 26.3
The northern highlands in which Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai are located have a cooler climate than the rest of Thailand. The cycle tour season here consequently runs from October to March. During the months of December and January, night-time temperatures may dip below the freezing point in some parts.
- The best time of year is winter (November through February). It is the dry season and temperatures are cooler. The north normally has no rain. Temperatures in the north are in the mid to upper 20s.
- March through May is quite hot in the north (the upper 30s and low 40s) and probably a good time to avoid trips north of Bangkok.
- June through October is the rainy season (or green season as the hotels like to call it). In the north, rains peak in August and are winding down in early October. Rain tends to be short but heavy tropical downpours, then clearing out, usually happening in the afternoon or evening, so cycling tours are still possible.
In a nutshell, winter is great (Nov - Feb), summer (Apr-May) avoid going in the north, and the rest of the year is ok.
As a tourist-friendly country, Thailand has a visa exemption rule under which tourists from over 64 listed countries are allowed to enter Thailand without a visa, provided they fulfill the following conditions:
- They must enter Thailand through an international airport
- They must have arrived in Thailand strictly for the purposes of tourism
- They must possess an air ticket out of Thailand departing within the time allowed for their stay (this ticket can be anywhere, it does not have to be a return ticket home)
- They need to have THB 20,000 per person or equivalent in any major currency
Tourist visas may be valid for 15 to 30 days and need to be renewed if you wish to extend your stay. Longer visas of up to 90 days are issued to foreigners who wish to enter Thailand for business, study, or other special purposes.
Here is an excellent resource on Thailand visas that may be worthy to look at.
Airport pickup and drop
We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.
Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.
Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.
Reviews from our friends
Alla Mesh from AU5.0
had a great trip
We had great trip with the Art of Bicycle in Northern Thailand, golden triangle, from Chiang May to Chiang Ray. Accommodations and food were great. Group leader and support team were attentive to our needs. I just would wish that we rode bike a little more and had extra bike and other bike parts with us on the road.
End of reviews