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Chiang Rai "Same, Same, but Different" Biking Eco-tour
Global Basecamps welcomes our new Travel Specialist Michelle Barth! Below she recounts her travels throughout Northern Thailand.
Chiang Rai: Sustainable Biking Tour
Leaving the bustling Chiang Mai, we found ourselves wanting to slow down and take in the sights of Chiang Rai. Wanting to bypass the standard “same, same, but different” tours exploring the hilltribes, elephant rides, and river tours, we wanted to experience the authenticity of Thai Culture. To get off the beaten path, we decided on a family owned and operated biking tour, which offered a variety of sustainable day and multi-day biking tours.
Due to our travel plans, we decided that the full day, 50km tour, was the best way to see the sites, engage with locals, and to see the Thai Traditions. This tour takes you to the stunning White Wat (Wat Rong Khun) along with the highest waterfall in Chiang Rai (Khun Kon Waterfall).
This family ran business is lead by “Bee” and his two brothers. Before our biking tour began we felt his passion for Thailand, knowledge of local lands and people, and what they do to encourage sustainable travel.
All bikes are customized to your height and were in good working order. We biked through small villages, speaking to local farmers, while taking in the views of the countryside as we rode along the Lao River.
White Wat (Wat Rong Khun)
After a few hours of brisk bike riding we arrived at the most breathtaking site in Chiang Rai, the White Temple. This modern day Wat is not like any other temple in Thailand. Building begun in 1997, and even though the structure is complete, it remains an ongoing piece of work. Famous Thai artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, who funds the project, had visions to take traditional Buddhist art into the contemporary world, making it his greatest life’s work. When you first approach the temple, it seems like something out of a storybook. It is so different from anything I have seen. At first it is hard to wrap your head around all the details, but luckily, our guide had a wealth of knowledge of the White Wat and the artist.
As we sat down at the small outdoor covered restaurant, I knew we were in for a treat. No western food options to choose from here, just five different traditional dish options. My spicy noodle and broth dish was loaded with layers of flavor. I took it all in while observing the locals socialize amongst themselves.
After lunch, food coma kicked in as we continued cycling we gained further insight on local lifestyles as we stopped at various fruit orchards and visited a local rubber farm. These aren’t traditional farms I was use to seeing in the states. These are family owned and operated farms that fully support their family and local community. It was great to meet the locals and to get first hand perspective of the life and daily challenges. Our tour came to an end at the breathtaking Khun Kon Waterfall the tallest waterfall in Chiang Rai.
To sustain Chiang Rai, natural beauty is a priority amongst locals. Locals are concerned with the growing number of tourists visiting Chiang Rai and the environmental impact that tourists have on the local community.
Interested in biking tours, visiting northern Thailand, and seeing the White Temple? Fill out our custom tours form online or give us a call at (866) 577-2462 to start planning your Thailand eco adventure!