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Northern Thailand: Top Five Things to Do!

Entrance to the Golden Triangle in Chiang Rai district
Elephant trekking, near Chiang Mai
Hill tribe ladies in Mae Hong Son
Tucking in at the Night Bazaar in central Chiang Mai

The Golden Triangle: Among Chiang Rai's many and varied attractions is its position as a jumping off point for the Golden Triangle. Although the area may have illicit connotations - marking the blurry opium-rich border areas with Myanmar and Laos - the Golden Triangle is without doubt one of Thailand's most beautiful and exciting regions. It's not all about the opium: hill-tribe trekking, river trips, cultural sites, and national parks are all components of an exhilirating day trip. 

Elephant Camps: Elephants are synonymous with Thai tourism, and while Elephant ‘experiences' often get a bad rep we are always keen to work only with the most reputable and authentic outfits going. We especially recommend the Elephant Conservation Centre and the Elephant Nature Park: both within easy reach of Chiang Mai, and both with spotless conservation credentials. Programmes are varied but all will involve hands-on interaction, and plenty of photo opportunities.

Hill Tribes: Northern Thailand's hills and valleys are rich in diverse tribal culture. With Lisu and Lahu around Chiang Mai, Akha and Yao around Chiang Rai, and large disparate groups of Karen and Hmong dotted around border regions, your stay in this region can offer an inviting insight into a variety of ethnic lifestyles: each very different, but all very friendly and very colourful!

National Parks: There are some 127 national parks in Thailand, but the without doubt the most staggering and scenic are to be found up north. We especially recommend a day trip from Chiang Mai into the Doi Inthanon National Park: rich in flora, fauna, tribal villages, and also a fine spot for bird-watching. Doi Suthep Pui is also a fantastic day out, offering strenuous climbs and staggering views. 

Markets: After exhausting all that northern Thailand has to offer in outdoor adventure, why not head back to town and delve into an enthralling evening market? Here one can find a variety of souvenirs: handicrafts, silk, tailor-made clothes, or silver jewellery. Night markets are also a ideal place to delve into delicious local cuisine! Chiang Mai and Pai are fine destinations for this: both feature on our ‘Alternative Thailand' itinerary, which also includes an extended beach stay down in the south - yet another hugely attractive region of the evergreen Land of Smiles!

Posted by Luke on 21 January 2016

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