"The Golden Triangle - Burma, Laos & Thailand" Chiang Saen by Mikebb

Chiang Saen Travel Guide: 25 reviews and 98 photos

Our trip to Chiang Saen turned out to be somewhat of a surprise. Travelling with 34 orchid enthusiasts from Perth we had been in Bangkok for 5 days and took a early flight to Chiang Rai. Our itinerary indicated we were accommodated in Chiang Rai.

The fun started at Chiang Rai airport when we were met by a driver who said he was there to collect a party of 4 for transfer to Chiang Saen on the Golden Triangle. Our Tour Director was the Orchid Society President and he immediately recognized a "Stuff Up".

After an hour wait a beautiful, new double decker bus turned up and the hour long journey to Chaing Sean commenced. Upon arrival at the Golden Triangle we were very pleased with our hotel and location. Not for long as the organised afternoon visit to the White Temple, located on the over side of Chiang Rai was due to commence after a quick lunch.

What a waste this turned out to be, all that time in the bus (2 more hours) to see a 10 year old temple.

With hindsight we should have forgone the White Temple, stayed in the Golden Triangle region and enjoyed the Old City of Chiang Saen, or taken a half day tour to Laos or Burma, or visited the Opium Museum.

Chiang Saen was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom from 1327 to 1341, and subsequently became a less important city over the centuries. Today many historic sites remain in the old city. Due to time constraints we did not visit the old city.

Smoke Haze & Low River Water Level

Of the 21 days in Thailand 14 were in rural districts to the north and north east. The sky was constantly overcast due to the smoke haze. We were informed that for 3 weeks during March burning off is common place with some blame put on neighbouring countries.

We survived the smoke with no ill affect, the only noticeable problem being no blue sky in our photos.

We visited the Mekong on 4 or 5 occassions during our holiday and the water level was noticeable low. The locals blamed the low level on the dams China has built or are building which have reduced river flow.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Nice relaxed place, plenty to see.
  • Cons:March annual burn off, smoke haze.
  • Last visit to Chiang Saen: Mar 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (11)

Comments (11)

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jan 16, 2015 at 2:10 PM

    Mike, I continue to be amazed by all the exotic places you have visited on your orchid tours.

    • Mikebb's Profile Photo
      Jan 16, 2015 at 4:50 PM

      Thanks for visiting Don. We leave on 29th Jan for Siem Reap & Anchor Wat in Cambodia with the orchid group, then Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai & Bangkok. 2 years since we were last in Thailand, a beautiful country.

  • davidjo's Profile Photo
    Sep 6, 2014 at 5:11 PM

    Can't believe how Chiang Saen has changed. Stayed there over 20 yrs a go and passed thru again a couple of years back! it has grown immensely.

    • Mikebb's Profile Photo
      Sep 6, 2014 at 9:17 PM

      Great, In 1977 we had 7 days in Manilla, a great time, I remember a day trip to the Parasands Rapids ( wrong spelling), low level of water, they carried me in the boat up the rapids where the water level was to low to paddle.

    • davidjo's Profile Photo
      Sep 6, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      yes, i also went there on my first trip to the country in 79 or 80 and the water level was low. Pagsanjan, by the way. Never been back and probably never will! Part of Apocalypse Now was filmed there.

  • Yaqui's Profile Photo
    Jan 12, 2012 at 4:36 PM

    The Golden Budda and the White Temple is so beautiful, they do not look real. Chiang Saen look so exotic!

  • picek's Profile Photo
    Dec 23, 2011 at 5:00 AM

    Your time spent in Golden triangle was after all well spent. Unfortunatelly it's always too little time... but that's life :) Happy holidays! vesna

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 2, 2010 at 1:42 AM

    What a shame you didn't visit the White Temple when you were so close. The Boat Temple, our guide told us info on that, and be blowed if I can remember or find any information about it.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2010 at 7:20 PM

    Mike, too bad your trip was a bit rushed and the weather was not the best, but you still managed some great photos of both the new and old Temples! Very nice looking hotel you booked - with all the amenities.

  • nicolaitan's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2010 at 6:11 AM

    nice page you made here - that white temple looks pretty spectacular to me. too bad about the smog from the fires, but great images. email coming.

  • Jefie's Profile Photo
    Apr 7, 2010 at 4:05 AM

    Some very nice pics of the white temple in your travelogue! I hope you get to go back on your own one of these days and have time to visit what you missed, seems like a fascinating place.

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Apr 5, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    The riverside Buddha certainly would catch an eye wouldn't it..SIGH...another area of Thailand that I didn't get to see this past trip..you knowwwww what that means...I'm just not sure when!Interesting page Mike!

  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2010 at 5:12 AM

    What a shame your time was so limited Mike. There seems so much of interest to see and do in the Golden Triangle.


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