Photo: Fisherman returning to Ko Tarutao.

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report: North of Thailand by car

Posted by cybervlad on 27/2/2008 at 18:17

November, 2007.

Our "crew" are consist of 4 members.

And our plan was easy:
1) Arrive to Bangkok
2) Fly to Chiang Mai, visit Doi Suthep, rent a car
3) Chiang Dao
4) Doi Ang Khang
5) Thaton
6) Doi Mae Salong
7) Doi Tung
8) Mae Sai
9) Golden Triangle (Ban Sopruak)
10) Chiang Saen
11) Chiang Rai
12) Drop the car, fly to Bangkok, overnight, then fly to HadYai and go to Koh Lipe.

We booked in advance all the flights and hotel in Bangkok for one night near airport. We don't book other accommodation, but have prepared listing of recommended hotels/guesthouses in all check points.

_Day 1_

We arrive to ChiangMai at 2 p.m. Nov, 02. After checking in we have a lunch and hire songtaew to Doi Suthep. We arrive to Doi Suthep just before sunset and take a lot of good pictures. After dark falls we can see breathtaking view of ChiangMai in the night.
Then we return to ChiangMai and do paperwork with rent-a-car.

_Day 2_

Next morning our car was waiting us in front of our guest house (we stayed at LaiThai).
We buy tickets to famous ChiangMai's Zoo, but because it was too early (Zoo was not open yet), we decide to visit Doi Suthep again. Unfortunately weather was too misty, so we just visit jade shop near Doi Suthep and descent back to Zoo.
After visiting Zoo (the pandas are the best!) we continue our way. We have some difficulties with finding exit from ChiangMai (I forgot to buy city map), but easily reach Chiang Dao and find the cave.
There is no "entrance fee", but you need to pay 20 baths/person "for electricity". In the cave if you want to take a tour outside of "central hall" you can rent a gasoline lamp (100 baths each). But "self-driven" trip not recommended, you need a guide service (price - subject do discuss, as usual).
We all enjoyed visiting ChiangDao cave and can recommend this place to everyone.
We stay for the night at Malee Nature Lovers bungalows. Very nice resort run by friendly family.

_Day 3_

To go to Doi Ang Khang we select route 1178 instead of highway 107. But this trip was wonderful! Mountain route between the clouds, breathtaking views from viewpoints...
In Doi Ang Khang we visit Agriculture Center with many beautiful herbs, flowers etc. Also buy some souvenirs and mountain green tea.
Our way continues via Fang to Thaton, where we select riverside guest house to stay for the night.

_Day 4_
In the morning we ascent to the viewpoint near Thaton's temple. The air was not "crystal clear", but we can see panorama many kilometers around.
Our next point - Doi Mai Salong. We visit a temple at the top of mountain (good view also), tea shop and funny sculptures of lions and teapots.
While driving we noticed "hilltribes village" signboard and visited this village. Too many tourists, villagers sell souvenirs etc. Unfortunately, this was no "real" village.
Next destination - Doi Tung. We visit Queen Mother Memorial Hall, Royal Villa and beautiful garden with orchids farm.
We arrive to MaiSai at 4:45 p.m., so we can'y visit Burma, because the border closes at 5 p.m.
While searching for accommodation we spend a half of hour in a broken elevator in condotel :) As a result, we found small new guest house. Unfortunately, I forgot it's name.

_Day 5_
After visiting "monkey cave" (approximately 12 km from Mae Sai) we directed to Ban Sopruak. In Ban Sopruak we visit Opium Hall and take boat trip Thailand-Burma-Laos with some shopping at market in Laos. Trip was costs 400 baths, to enter Laos you need to pay another 50 Bt.
In Chiang Saen we visit Wat Chedi Luang and continue to Chiang Rai.
First, we drive through Chiang Rai to visit famous Wat Rong Khun, made from concrete and small mirrors. My rating: must see :)
Then we return to Chiang Rai to visit Wat Phra Kaew. I can't compare this temple with one in Bangkok, this is small, ordinary looking temple. But this is a place where Emerald Buddha was discovered.

At 4 p.m. we dropped our ISUZU at Chiang Rai's airport and fly to Koh Lipe via Bangkok. But this is another story :)

p.s. Sorry for errors, my English far from perfect :)

#1 cybervlad has been a member since 6/6/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 182
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Posted by cybervlad on 28/2/2008 at 12:38

> to enter Laos you need to pay another 50 Bt.

Oops, mistake :) 20 Bt :)

#2 cybervlad has been a member since 6/6/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 182
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Posted by somtam2000 on 29/2/2008 at 10:29 admin

Hi Vlad,

Thanks for the report -- much appreciated.

How busy was Lipe? We've got a researcher on the island at the moment and she said the island is packed -- people sleeping on the beach and what not...

#3 somtam2000 has been a member since 21/1/2004. Location: Indonesia. Posts: 7,943
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Posted by cybervlad on 3/3/2008 at 15:04

Hi Somtam,

At the moment when we were at Lipe there was no problem with accommodation.
We arrived to Koh Lipe Nov, 7 without prior booking and found 4 bungalows at Varin Resort.

#4 cybervlad has been a member since 6/6/2007. Location: Thailand. Posts: 182
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