Photo: Freighter on the Mekong.

Cycling tours

Our rating:

Despite having the least traffic of any town in Chiang Rai province -- you could have a game of badminton in the middle of most streets -- Chiang Saen town council have thoughtfully marked out cycle lanes on just about every single road in town -- even all the way to Sob Ruak.

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Photo of Cycling tours

We’d call them dog yapping lanes -- the local mutts love them -- but it is a worthy idea, so get some wheels and put them to use. The town and surrounds are flat, with many sights within easy cycling distance.

First, you’ll need a bike. Another fine town initiative is a municipal bike rental scheme located next to a small fitness centre on the riverbank across the road from Soi 1. There’s a small free gym, traditional massage centre and bicycle hire with spanking new green and blue cycles. Cycles go for 20 baht for three hours or 100 baht for a 12-hour day, from 08:00-20:00.

The Information Centre handed us a Chiang Saen bike map -- they must have thought we needed some exercise -- with routes marked out and points of interest. In case they’ve run out, or you’re there on closing days, here are their suggestions.

Route 1: This is Chiang Saen to Sob Ruak and back, whereupon it directs you round the ring road and continues south of town to Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao and a couple of other nearby temples. The latter is good but the whole trip seems a bit too long to us, so we’d say just stick to a return ride to Sob Ruak. That would be a flat 20 kilometres and allows plenty of time to see everything in Sob Ruak at a leisurely pace.

Route 2: This one crisscrosses the old town starting at Wat Pa Sak and taking in many of the minor ruins as well as the riverfront and a stretch of city walls before terminating at Wat Phrathat Chom Kiti. It’s an appealing itinerary and if you stopped off to see every sight would take you at least a half day. The brochure says four kilometres but they haven’t included getting to and from the starting and finishing points, so we’ll call it six instead.

Route 3: This also sticks to the old city but goes mainly around the exterior of the walls instead of the interior, so you’ll see fewer temples, but as their blurb says, more farmland. This one starts and finishes at Wat Pa Sak and totals five kilometres.


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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Chiang Saen.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Chiang Saen.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Chiang Saen.
 Read up on how to get to Chiang Saen, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Chiang Saen? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
 Browse the web securely while travelling with TunnelBear. Try with a 7–day free trial.

See below for more sights and activities in Chiang Saen that are listed on

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Where to next?

Where are you planning on heading to after Chiang Saen? Here are some spots commonly visited from here, or click here to see a full destination list for Thailand.

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