Cost: $1000 baht + 300 baht to enter the hill tribe area ($37 + $11 CDN)
- White Temple
- Black temple
- Long neck hill tribe area
- Monkey cave
- Border Market at Mae Sai
- Golden triangle
- Chiang Sean Temple
I booked this tour through my hostel the day I arrived in Chiang Mai. Many of the places they take you are free, so you’re pretty much paying for the ride. If you are with a group, you are better off paying for a tuk tuk and splitting the cost. It would be cheaper and you would control where you went and how long to stay in each place.
The Black Temple
I didn’t really like this one. It was really strange with a lot of animal skins and bones. It was supposed to represent the dark side of humanity and it defintely did that.
Long Neck Hill Tribe
It was interesting to see but felt really awkward and weird. There were 5 tribes living in the same area but each have slightly different customs. SOme danced for us, other played music but all wanted a donation. From what I understand these hill tribe people can’t work so what ever money they get is from tourists like me who pay 3oo baht to visit them and whatever donations or purchases we make there. It felt like they were on display for us which was really weird. I have mixed feelings about this experience. I think it would be nicer if there was someway we could interact and have a conversation wtih the hill tribe people instead of just looking at them like we are at the zoo. Learning more about each from our guide would have also added to the experience but he didn’t really say much, he just escorted us through the grounds. Check out some of the pics here:
The Monkey Cave wasn’t really a cave but more like a natural area where you can feed the monkeys, take photos and interact with them if you choose to. I didn’t want to because I’m so paranoid about getting rabies so I just took pictures while other people engaaged with the wild monkeys. They were pretty calm, not aggresive and just took the bananas or peanuts and ate them peacefully. There were so many babies!! They were all so cute. I really enjoyed this part of the trip and got some really cute photos!
Border Market at Mae Sai
This was a complete waste of time. This market was nothing special and we had 45 minutes there. I didn’t want to shop or look around but ended up walking around and wasting time because I was so bored. I don’t really know why they brought us here, it seemed like a filler that was unnecessary. No pictures because MERP.
Chaing Sean Temple
Our final stop was visiting the Chiang Sean Temple. Our guide gave us no information about it and when we asked he didn’t really have anything to say. By the time we got to this temple it was already getting dark and we only stayed there for about ten minutes. In my opinon, there was no point of going here either. The tour should have ended after the Monkey Cave.
Overall the Chiang Rai Open Tour was good, but if you can get a group of 3+ people together and split a tuk tuk it would be a better use of your time and money. Many of the places we visited were free, so the cost was pretty much for driving us around and lunch (which wasn’t even good food). There were many stops that I didn’t really care for like the Golden triangle, the market, the chiang sean temple etc. and I could have explored somewhere else instead.