Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Chiangrai And The Golden Triangle In Thailand

Any visitor to Chiangrai cannot fail to recognize the richness and obvious affluence that abound in this northern most province. Its proximity to the Golden Triangle has influenced the development of the land and only here does one see fenced-off properties, farmhouses, hedgerows and smooth four-lane highways never in need of repair. There is more to the province than this, of course, with some of the most challenging back roads in Thailand also being here. However, the overriding impression is one of almost a different country. This diversity should, perhaps, be the alternative travelers initial reason for visiting the Golden Far North.

The riches of Chiangrai province can be instantaneously compared when making an excursion into Myanmar at the border crossing of Mae Sai. The poverty on the Myanmar side is all too blatant and far more obvious than at other Myanmar crossings. The cross-border visit does not require a visa, nor is your passport stamped. All that you need are two photocopies of your passport details and a fee, usually five dollars.

From Mae Sai border excursions can be made to the Royal Mountain project at Doi Toong and eastwards to the opium museum at the Golden Triangle itself. Chiang Saen is a small distance beyond this. Westwards is mae Salong and Thaton with its Maekok River Lodge and onwards to Fang and mae Hong Son along some of the least used (you'll find out why) roads in Thailand. There is spectacular scenery all along the way.

Doi Toong is now a fully developed Royal project. Basically a whole mountain range overlooking Burmese territory, it now affords visitors not only grand vistas but also home-grown Thai coffee and tea, soft fruits and temperate vegetables. All have been introduced into hilltribe farming patterns and now contribute greatly to the economies of many villages as a substitute for the declining opium crop farming, which is all but eliminated from Thai soil now. Wat Doi Toong itself, perched like a nest on the final hilltop, is an important pilgrimage center for Thai people and there is day-long temple activity here.

If time allows, and you have a good map, the alternative route via Doi Pa Mi to Doi Toong should be taken from Mae Sai rather than the main highway headed towards Mae Chan. The road hugs the border and is one of the more spectacular routes in the north.

The Golden Triangle is, by now, quite well-frequented by tourists and there is little hope of avoiding crowds at the center point - a plaque depicting the meeting place of the three countries, Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. However, pleasant enough river trips on the mighty Mekong can be taken as well as meals at riverside restaurants (watch for more peaceful locations between the triangle and Chiang Saen). The Imperial Golden Triangle Hotel allows perhaps the best views, especially around breakfast time, with many early movements on the river. Long tailed boats flit from country to country in a flash, adding to the sense of intrigue that lingers at this infamous meeting place.

As well as the well-documented and informative Opium Museum, Chiang Saen, the old river capitol of Lanna, should be visited. Very pleasant afternoons can be spent on the terraced riverside after a market trip.

Further down river from Chiang Saen is the up and coming border point of Chiang Khong. From here, entry to Laos can be made with day river trips to Luang Prabang departing every morning. A longer (slow boat) trip can be made with an overnight stop en route at the village of Pakbeng. Traveling to Chiang Khong gives one a real feeling of being in the backwaters of the country and if that's what you are looking for then take the trip and use it as an entry to Laos. Accommodation, especially with air conditioning, is sparse at Chiang Khong and with boats leaving early, book in advance or leave Chiangrai at 5:30 am.

Travelling westwards from Tachilek (now itself an exit point for some internal Myanmar tours) along the Thai side and past Doi Toong, there are the back roads to Mae Salong. This area is like the Scottish Highlands, although without the weather and a little warmer. There are few signposts so take a good map when in Mae Sai or you may find yourself in a "delicate border zone."

If it's daylight, a side excursion to Ban Thoet Thai, formerly Ban Hin Taek, can be made. This is the former outpost home of Khun Sa, head of the Shan State Army. Since his retreat, integration into Thai society of the local Mae Salong valley people has progressed. Still known to Thais as Jiin Haw (galloping Chinese) the occupants of Mae Salong emigrated from China during the 1949 revolution and were part of the fleeing Kuomintang 93rd regiment. This alone makes Mae Salong very different from any other Thai town with its mixture of Akha, Lisu and Meo tribes and Tai Yai (Shan) people. With local corn whisky on sale as a substitute for the eliminated opium crop, other products found include Chinese herb remedies, Khanom Jiin curry and Chinese teas. There is actually a tea factory in the town. Although a paved road now runs to Basang on the main Mae Cahn-Thaton highway, other roads are little more than badly graded dirt tracks. Such is the price of anonymity.

For the real alternative traveler a four-day trek to Chiangrai is possible following hilltribe village trails en route. Here you will find the trekking that existed 20 years ago from a Chiangrai base.

At Thaton, on the Maekok River, stands the Maekok River Village, an upgrade of the former River Lodge. It is the pride and joy of Shane Beary, a 20-year resident of the area. The village is comprised of Thai style bungalows on the riverside with a swimming pool and restaurant, but more importantly, it boasts a field study center for both Thai and overseas students and a Thai cookery center. The knowledge of Shane, his family and staff make the Village an excellent base camp for excursions around the area. Mountain biking and trekking trips can be easily made from this focal point as well as river trips on the Maekok, a tributary of the Mekong.

From Thaton there is a public boat service plying the Maekok River for the 92 km trip to Chiangrai. It's a highly recommended excursion and costs as little as 150 baht.

Onwards to the Chiangrai provincial border are many hot springs and caves with the more well-known ones being at Fang and Ching Dao. The predominant limestone rock of the region gives way to many underground caverns all ubiquitously decorated with religious icons.

Although not within the Chiangrai area, the trip along the border to Pai Mae Rariang through Mae Hong Son is worth considering. The route is scenic and narrow but it has some of the most interesting spots in Thailand including the blind fish caves outside Mae Hong Son and the Padaung "long neck" village on the Pai River. The latter has become somewhat touristy but the long-necked Karen still hold a certain fascination no matter what the circumstances.

Lesser known and less obvious to the naked eye are the Lawa people of this area. In an area of about 500 square kilometers between Hot, Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son, they still live a largely traditional life although even here the majority have adopted Buddhism and Thai style. It is certain that they have inhabited Thailand for some 800 years and they believe that they migrated from Cambodia, but some archaeologists think their origins lie in Micronesia, perhaps 2,000 years ago.

The women are most distinguishable with their hair tied in a turban and it is usual for them to smoke tobacco from a wooden pipe. Most Lawa speak Thai, but the Lawa language, related to that of the Wa tribe of Burma, is still spoken in many of the villages.

Altogether, Northern Thailand and especially Chiangrai province is distinct in many ways from the rest of the country. Traditionally called "Lan-na," it has for most of its history been a separate kingdom and holds that quality to this day.

Tag : thailand,thailand tour,hotels thailand,thailand spa

Article Source: http://www.articlesbase.com/exotic-locations-articles/chiangrai-and-the-golden-triangle-in-thailand-801761.html

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Wonders and General Aspects of Thailand Travel

With contemporary and a touch of tradition, Thailand forms a spectacular travel destination. It paves good deal of opportunities for the visitors to gain a new experience. No surprise that Thailand is the world's most popular vacation destinations worldwide. It lets every traveler to immerse in a drapery of culture, heritage, and natural surroundings.

Thailand is exotic yet accessible, offering everything that any traveler might desire. There are lots of places for the visitors to discover in Thailand. This country is probably the best travel destination for most of the visitors. Relax yourself in the white sandy beaches, head on to the tropical forests and explore everything that is really appealing to you. People out there are often friendly and soft natured that pleases any visitor. Besides various recreational activities in Thailand, affordable hotel accommodations in this place are quite inviting thereby attracts a lot of visitors every year. There are so many attractions to be explored during Thailand Travel. Some of them are as follows.

• Cultural Heritage
• Temple of the Dawn
• Grand Palace
• Chao Phraya River
• Shopping Paradise
• Seaside Restaurants
• Thai Classical Dances
• Temple of Emerald Buddha
Thai Boxing
• Excellent Accommodation

Unlike the subtle variations in other countries worldwide, the culture, tradition, food and people, and other recreational activities in Thailand are strikingly different. Often New comers to Thailand tend to overlook the country's geographical and cultural diversity. To be on the safer side and avoid unnecessary expenses, choose a Thailand Travel package that satisfies your budget. Explore every nook and corner of this wonderful place and get a new traveling experience. Thailand Travel is probably the most chosen travel destination.

Explore interesting features and facts about Thailand Travel and enjoy what this amazing country has to offer.

Tag : thailand,thailand travel,hotel thailand,thailand holidays

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Janani_Jaan

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Top 5 Cities to see during a Holiday in Thailand

In my capacity as the UK Director of Operations for One World Tours Limited, one of my jobs is to ensure every client has the best tour possible, so here are my top 5 suggestions for cities to visit in Thailand during your holiday.

1.Bangkok is a fascinating city which has managed to keep it’s ancient eastern traditions whilst embracing the modern progression of the western world. Bangkok is the capital city of Thailand and offers a host of experiences which include floating markets, modern bars, top of the range shopping, gastronomical delights and ancient temples steeped in the city’s history.

The Chao Phraya River separates the city and has a series of canals. The new ‘Sky train’ railway is something which should be experienced whilst in the city should you fancy avoiding the bustling traffic.

One of the largest floating markets is on the outskirts of Bangkok and you’ll greeted by the aromatic smells and the age old tradition of the locals and their way of making a living along the busy canals.

There is an array of beautiful and ancient buildings not to be missed whilst in Thailand. Although I did not personally experience all of the nightlife, it was made obvious to me that all of my entertainment needs would be taken care of by all well informed taxi drivers wishing to proudly show off their culture.

2. Phuket is the biggest island attraction that Thailand has to offer. It is the perfect place to retreat to and enjoy a tropical paradise. Although the west coast of the island was almost destroyed by the tsunami of 2004, there is very little evidence remaining to show that it occurred.

Not to be missed are:

Old Phuket Town. Chinese immigrants from the 19th century, who were lured in the past by the tin mines, left behind them a host of amazing Sino-Portuguese mansions along Dibu and Thalang roads.

Thai Boxing. A personal favourite of mine, this national sport is violent and very fast paced. For regular matches the Saphan Him Stadium in Phuket City is the place to be.

3.Krabi. Krabi Province is in the middle southern part of Thailand. It is situated in the aquamarine water of the Andaman Sea. It is one of the most stunning places in all of Thailand.

Krabi Town is situated near the mouth of the Krabi River. The Mangrove forest is something to experience and is a must for avid bird watchers. Krabi Resort is set among a curtain of palm trees on the Ao-PhraNang beach. This is a delightful place to be if you are looking to soak up the natural beauty that surrounds you.

4. Chiang Mai. Chiang Mai is a city full of traditional heritage that shares its secrets with all who wish to discover them. It is a city with stunning natural beauty. It is amazing to see plants that we have to protect from the frost, growing in their scores, naturally along the roadside.

The people of Chiang Mai are a wonder in themselves with exceptional handicraft skills producing magical souvenirs for the endless throng of visitors. Chiang Mai houses the Inthanon Mountain, standing 8,448 feet above sea level making it the highest mountain Thailand.

5.Sukhothai. When visiting Sukhothai the main attractions for the area are Phra Mae Ya Shirne which is located in the Muang District. You will see a long haired figure made of stone that resembles an ancient queen. There is also a museum and National park as well as monuments of great interest inside the city walls.

Tag : thailand,thailand holidays,thailand hotel,thailand resort

Article Directory Source: http://www.articlerich.com/profile/Stuart-Cheese/14790

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2009

Amazing Thailand Grand Sale 2009
Date :
1 June to 31 August 2009
Venue : Department stores, hotels, restaurants, and tourist attraction nationwide

Thailand’s annual “Amazing Thailand Grand Sale” got underway this month and continues to offer visitors great bargains right through to 31 August.

This year, as fuel prices escalate, both visitors and residents are looking for more value and bigger discounts when they are shopping. Thailand never disappoints.

Most mega stores and shopping malls are offering discounts of between 10 to 70%, so there are bargains galore for the shopper prepared to browse around the stores.

Fortunately, most of Bangkok’s major shopping malls and stores are located close to the city’s skytrain or metro transport systems, making it very convenient to hop from one store to the next.

Both the Skytrain and the Metro, offer day use stored-value cards for visitors to make it even more convenient to use the two systems.

Bangkok’s main shopping districts and streets are to be found along Ploenchit and Sukhumvit roads.

Many of the department stores have direct bridge linking them to Skytrain stations. Just a short walk from the Skytrain stations and visitors discover some pretty impressive department stores and shopping plazas namely Siam Discovery Centre, Siam Centre, Central World Plaza, Erawan Bangkok, Amarin Plaza, Gaysorn, Central Chidlom, Home Pro Plus, Robinson Department Store, The Emporium and The Mall Department Store.

Discounts are also available in King Power duty free shops, both at Suvarnabhumi Airport and downtown locations. There are even discount deals on luxury treatments at spas, a round of golf at a selection of courses at all major tourist destinations, travel packages and even medical check-ups at world-class hospitals.

The three-month campaign also embraces a variety of destinations beyond Bangkok such as Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Hua Hin, Cha-am, Pattaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Udorn Thani, Phuket, Krabi, Hat Yai and Samui Island.

Grand Sale prizes are offered in conjunction with the campaign sponsor, Visa Card, and include bargain holiday packages to premier destinations such as Phuket and Samui.

Contact : Tourism Investment Department, Tourism Authority of Thailand
Tel : 66 (0) 2250 5500 ext. 2951 http://www.tourismthailand.org

Tag : thailand,thailand travel,thailand hotels,thailand resort