Asia Trip 2015, THAILAND: Chiang Mai & Chiang Rai Tour!

We only had 2 days in Chiang Mai so we decided to spend what little time we had by joining tour groups. It was not easy finding the perfect company or group to participate in. I had to consider our itinerary vs what's offered, the company itself if it's legit, and most importantly, our budget. I had to research and google to death before I finally found one that perfectly fits our need and requirements! Scroll down below to  know which company I booked...

I booked our Chiang Mai tour prior to our departure. Searched for hours looking for the perfect tour operator that offers the perfect itinerary (which includes the Karen Long Neck Tribe visit for a 1-day tour) at a reasonable rate. So glad I came across Travel Hub Chiang Mai!!! 

They have this jampacked Chiang Rai day tour which includes the Karen Long Neck tribe visit for just 1,250 baht per person! It's a pretty great deal. That includes comfortable air-con minibus, hotel pick-up and drop off, English speaking guides, Karen Long Neck fee, lunch and water. :) You just have to add 300 baht if you want to take the Mekong River boat trip plus 20 baht Laos embarkation fee. Your choice, though. :) 

Best part? Travel Hub offers discounts to bloggers!!! So of course, inavail ko ng bongga. Wrote them a letter and a proposal and they responded quickly! Blessing in disguise talaga. They offered a 50% discount on tours. Such huge savings especially if you're traveling on a budget. Thanks for this Travel Hub! :)

Our service and our tour guide, NuyNuy from Journey Destinations!

We woke up early, as in 6am, coz we were scheduled to be picked up from our hotel at 7am. They were just a few minutes late but that's okay! We had time to chill for a bit. Hihi. We also had to pick up some more tourists before finally heading out to our first stop. The ride was comfortable though!

Here's NuyNuy welcoming us and giving us a little background of our tour

First Stop: Maekhajan Hot Springs

You could buy eggs for breakfast and just boil it in the hot spring!

parang ganyan kay ate girl

We were given 30 minutes to explore and eat breakfast

souvenirs for sale

Tour vans

Where we bought our breakfast!

Nico ordering for us. No english menu so turo turo nalang haha.

Nico's meal na masarap naman daw

And mine, na masarap din. Paid 50 baht for each meal!

Time to go!

2nd Stop: Wat Rong Khun or The White Temple

Bakeeeet? Halloween ba???

Let's go!

Bathroom break muna! I borrowed a white cloth to cover my legs:)

Bathroom. Nice noh?

The White Temple! 

OOTD. Keri ba? Ang virginal noh? Haha

The bridge of "the cycle of rebirth". The bridge proclaims that the way to happiness is by foregoing temptation, greed, and desire.

Mejo scary haha!

After crossing the bridge, the visitor arrives at the "gate of heaven", guarded by two creatures representing Death and Rahu, who decides the fate of the dead.

The principal building, the ubosot, is an all-white building with fragments of mirrored glass embedded in the building's exterior. Inside the temple, there are murals depicting orange flames and demon faces, interspersed with Western idols such as Michael Jackson, Neo from The Matrix, Freddy Kruger, and the Terminator. Images of nuclear warfare, terrorist attacks, and oil pumps hammer home the destructive impact that humans have had on earth. The presence of Harry Potter, Superman, and Hello Kitty confuses the message somewhat, but the overall moral is clear: people are wicked

Taking photos inside is not allowed, but at the center there's a monk in a meditative state who may or may not be dead, or who may or may not be made from wax. It's quite puzzling. 

Shoes are also not allowed inside

So hard to take decent photos. So many people. Haha

Why so many people?

Aaah, there's a wishing well inside pala

Nico throwing a coin and documenting it. Hehe.

Yin and Yang

Mejo decent pic!

Tree of wishes. You can buy that thing you can hang for 30 baht

Tourists pa more

After almost 2 hours roaming around the temple grounds, it was time to go back to the van! 
We were supplied with free bottled water all throughout our trip. Yey! Huge savings. :)  

3rd Stop: Golden Triangle
Passports required! They won't stamp it though. 

We were given the option to avail the boat ride or stay. Since we were there na din, we availed na! We paid 300 baht each.:)

 Fresh fruits

Our golden triangle boat ticket!


Golden Triangle (Thailand-Myanmar-Laos-China) map

Time for our boat ride!

Happy kid

Our boat!


Journey's super nice and funny tour guide, Cece, explained to us the history of Golden Triangle.   

The Golden Triangle has been an area well-known for the growing & trading of opium where the only currency accepted is GOLD. If you pay with bills, you'll get shot daw. Hehe.  The landscape is hilly, divided by the Ruak River that flows into the Mekong (Mae Khong) River. These rivers form a natural boundary between the three countries Laos (to the east of the Mekong), Myanmar (to the north of the Ruak), and Thailand (to the west of the Mae Khong).

China ata to

The area on the left is where the secret opium tradings happened years ago

Myanmar Casino


Northern Thailand


Our tour includes a 30-minute stopover at Laos market

Cutie hihi

Little Laos market

Lots of counterfeit goodies lang so didn't buy anything.

Lakas maka Divi or Greenhills! Hehe

Selfie fail. Tinakpan naman namin yung Laos na sign. Lol!

Saibaidee, Laos!

Alak that's not for the weak. Bet niyo?

D ko keri. Haha!

Beating the heat with some flavored ice cream! Nomnomnom

Sing and dance number by our guides, Nuy and Cece! So cute!

Tour's over!

4th Stop: LUNCH!


Golden Iyara Resto

Jampacked! May free wifi pa love it.

Our table:)

5th Stop: Mae Sai the Thai border town with Myanmar
A good spot for some shopping, local dry foodstuffs and Chinese imports and goods.

6th Stop: Akha/Meo Hill Tribe & Karen Long Neck Village
Akha/Meo hill tribe:)

Love thiiiis :)

Path going to the Karen Long Neck village!

Let's goooo!

The village may not be what I expected it to be (it was more touristy and looks like a flea market than an actual village), but it still turned out to be an interesting one. The Karens, who are refugees from Burma, were all busy trying to make a sale. They were super nice though! They all gamely posed for photos and were open for little chats. :) Had a nice time chatting with Maji, a beautiful Karen teen, who shared with us her story. Such lovely people. :)

So cute this kid! :) 

Women of the Kayan tribes are well known for wearing neck rings, brass coils that are placed around the neck, appearing to lengthen it. Girls first start to wear rings when they are around 5 years old. Over the years the coil is replaced by a longer one and more turns are added. The neck itself is not lengthened; the appearance of a stretched neck is created by the deformation of the clavicleThe weight of the brass pushes the collar bone down and compresses the rib cage. 

Many ideas regarding why the coils are worn have been suggested, some say that the rings protected women from becoming slaves by making them less attractive to other tribes. It has also been theorised that the coils originate from the desire to look more attractive by exaggerating sexual dimorphism, as women have more slender necks than men. It has also been suggested that the coils give the women resemblance to a dragon, an important figure in Kayan folklore. The coils might be meant to protect from tiger bites, perhaps literally, but probably symbolically. But Kayan women often say that their purpose for wearing the rings is cultural identity (one associated with beauty).

One of the tribe's elders. Such a beauty:)

Print on print realnezzz.

Mad weaving skills:)

Nico and Maji. Showed our support by buying some goods :)

Maji's twin sister!:)

Karen babies:)


The experience may be more commercial than intimate, but I would still encourage you to come visit this beautiful tribe. I've only seen them in photos and in NatGeo, so seeing them in real life and talking to them was truly a magical moment for me. So surreal. I am so happy I got to visit this wonderful community. :)

Our GV tour guides -- Nuy & Cece! 

My tour sheet! Excellent tour!!!:)

Thank you again Journey Destinations tour and Travel Hub for this amazing experience! It was truly worth it and the service was exemplary. :)

We were back at the hotel by 6pm. After taking a shower, we headed out again to check out the night market and to eat dinner!
Will try this hostel out next time!

Bought elephant pants for 220 baht, I think. 

And a shirt to go with my pants for 150 baht!

More stalls 

Busy streets

Ingredients for Tom Yum!

Night Bazaar

Koreans and their cute outfits

Lamps for sale. So pretty.

Wanted to buy this dress but it's 600 baht :/

Now, where to eat?

Final answer! This guy (who's also the owner) was super convincing and friendly hehe.

What to order? Pwede all?

So affordable db?

Order's complete! Soooo good. OMG. 

Headed back to our hotel agad after dinner. had to rest early coz of our 7am call time the next day! Watch out for our elephant tour on my next post, plus our journey back to Bangkok. Thanks for reading!!! :)

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