Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai Plus! Golden Triangle Bike Tour

thailand bike tour 12

Overview

This trip takes us through the deep interior side of Northern Thailand, home to mountains covered with lush tropical forests and paddy fields.

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, and 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!

Start

Chiang Mai | 13:00hrs

Finish

Chiang Rai

Lodging

casual

Level

easy to moderate

Avg. dist. cycled

55km or 33mi

Suitable for

Age: 13+

Highlights

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Golden Triangle

Set out to see the confluence of Thailand, Thailand and Myanmar, and the site for the infamous Golden Triangle.

Itinerary

Brief Itinerary

DayPlaceHotelMealsDistanceActivity
DAY 1Chiang MaiAksara HeritageD
DAY 2Wat Ban DenLe CocotierB,L,D67km / 40micycling
DAY 3Chiang DaoChiang Kham LuangB,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 4ChaiprakanB,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 5Tha TonMaekok Village ResortB,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 6Mae SalongPhu Chaisai ResortB,L,D45km / 27micycling
DAY 7Chiang SaenSiam Triangle HotelB,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 8Chiang SaenSiam Triangle HotelB,L
DAY 9Chiang KhongChiang Khong RiverfrontB,L,D65km / 39micycling
DAY 10Phu Chi FaB,L,D65km / 40micycling
DAY 11Chiang RaiLaluna Hotel and ResortB,L,D60km / 36micycling
DAY 12Chiang RaiB

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.

Detailed Itinerary

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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.

Meals: D
Accommodation: Aksara Heritage
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Day 2: Wat Ban Den

Start with a shuttle, a short way out of town to avoid 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.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 67km / 40mi
Accommodation: Le Cocotier
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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. 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).

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi
Accommodation: Chiang Kham Luang
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Day 4: Chaiprakan

We start early on this day for a ride to Chaiprakan, crossing many local villages in the hinterland. Expect to see the valley whitewashed with bright green hues of paddy, jungles, and fruit plantations. We recommend talking walk to the nearby night market and enjoying street food in the evening.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi
Accommodation:
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Day 5: Tha Ton

Ride further from Fang to Thaton traverses across paddy fields. The fields cling onto the side of the village road for almost the entire way. The ride is mostly on flat roads, with occasional dips and climbs, which add to the interest of a cyclist. We also come across several villages on the way – perfect to get great photographs of the interiors of Thailand. The locals are quite friendly and don’t be surprised if you are invited to a home for a cup of tea (or red Fanta).

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.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi
Accommodation: Maekok Village Resort
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Day 6: Mae Salong

Ride along the river and make 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!

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 45km / 27mi
Accommodation: Phu Chaisai Resort
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Day 7: 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, Laos, 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.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi
Accommodation: Siam Triangle Hotel
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Day 8: Chiang Saen

We head out after breakfast and see the spectacular Wats and later visit the hall of opium. This usually piques everyone’s interest. This area was infamous as one of the largest producers of opium, naturally transmitting the habit to locals, making it a huge social menace for the local community.

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 the history from its first use 5,000 years. This is one of the most educative experiences of Thailand, in the context of the influence of drugs in the region. This one should not be missed.

Meals: B,L
Accommodation: Siam Triangle Hotel
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Day 9: Chiang Khong

We start early to utilize the full day. With the rich silted land by the Mekong River, a bike ride means that you tend to be surrounded by shades of green. There is agricultural land as far as your eyes can see. Ride past fruit orchards, paddy fields, and banana plantations and arrive at Chiang Khong.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 65km / 39mi
Accommodation: Chiang Khong Riverfront
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Day 10: Phu Chi Fa

Toady we ride along the Thailand Laos border, first along riverside, then down the valley of Phu Chi Fa mountain range which forms the border once the Mekong heads into Laos. Our home today is a mountain lodge sitting up on the mountain side, that look out over a sea of clouds at sunrise (sunsets are pretty good too). The lodge up on the mountain is a little simpler than elsewhere on our tour, but clean and comfortable with ensuite.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 65km / 40mi
Accommodation:
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Day 11: Chiang Rai

Ride past fruit orchards, paddy fields, 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.

Meals: B,L,D
Cycling Distance: 60km / 36mi

Day 12: Chiang Rai

Extend your stay here or travel further as per your onwards plans.

Meals: B
Accommodation:

Map

Dates and Prices

Note:

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.



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Essential Info

Inclusions

LODGING

All hotels as mentioned in the tour details or similar (subject to availability).

trip leader

Expert Trip Leader(s) who look after your every need and add meaning to your vacation.

bike

Immaculately maintained bike with helmet, suited to a terrain.

shuttle

A Van support that follows the group of riders and carries all belongings.

meals

Meals as per itinerary. Guests are given the opportunity to dine on their own so that they discover a location independently.

refreshments

Refreshments and mineral water while cycling.

entrance

Entrance fees to most of the monuments and temples.

Bikes

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.

Bike Image

Merida Speeder T3

hybrid
Bike Image

Bianchi Kuma 26.3

mountain

Weather

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.

Visa

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, at the time of arrival, a return ticket for no later than 30 days from the date of entry.
  • They must have funds equal to a minimum of 10,000 THB per person at the time of entry.

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.

Exclusions

Airport pickup and drop

We recommend to book direclty from airport or hotel.

meals

Some meals may not be included. Please check your itinerary.

Beverages

Beverages such as alcohol, tea, coffee, juice at a hotel or restaurant.

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