Photo: By the river.

Kok Valley cycling tour

Our rating:

Perhaps better referred to as “Up the Kok Without a Paddle”, this day tour up the left bank of the Kok River and returning to Chiang Rai by the right bank involves no boats at all and is eminently suitable for cycling or, for the less energetic, motorbiking.

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The scenery is great; sights are varied, the route is mostly flat for cyclists and in reasonably good condition for motorbikes. The loop is around 50 kilometres plus, depending upon how many side-tracks you take, and we did it—for no particular reason—in an anti-clockwise direction.

Strike a pose at Tham Tupu. Photo taken in or around Kok Valley cycling tour, Chiang Rai, Thailand by Mark Ord.

Strike a pose at Tham Tupu. Photo: Mark Ord

You'll need to leave Chiang Rai by the western bridge—the continuation of Mae Fah Luang Road—and look out for signs on your left indicating Ruam Mit Village or Ruam Mit Elephant Camp. (The turnoff is also named Mae Fah Luang Soi 5). First sight up, and just around four kilometres out of town, (so you could even walk to this one), is the little cave temple of Tham Tupu. Judging by the overgrown entrance, debris on the steps and cobwebs in the cave, this small shrine receives very few visitors. The tiny cave isn't exactly spectacular but the carved; relief Buddha on the rock face opposite and the golden, multi-armed Bodhisattva statue at the foot of the cave are definitely worth a peak.

Proceeding past the cave you'll hit a T-junction. The left turn continues to Tham Phra—the Buddha Image cave—while a right turn makes a short detour up to Wat Huay Pla Kung. The temple's main feature, which you will undoubtedly have already noticed by now, is a 26-plus-storey, all-white, statue of the Mahayana Buddhist deity, Kuan (or Guan) Yin the Goddess or mercy and compassion. We've described the temple in detail and with only a slight detour necessary is ... Travelfish members only (Around 1,700 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Rai.
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