Welcome to Chiang Saen


Today huge river barges from China moor at Chiang Saen, carrying fruit, engine parts and all manner of other imports, keeping the old China–Siam trade route open. Despite this trade, the town hasn’t changed too much over the last decade, and because of this it's a more pleasant base than the comparatively hectic, touristy Sop Ruak, the so-called ‘Golden Triangle’, 9km east.


Top experiences in Chiang Saen

Amazing hotels and hostels

We've pre-picked the best hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Chiang Saen activities

$68.61 Day Trips & Excursions

Golden Triangle Tour from Chiang Rai with Mekong River Cruise

Journey back in time to Thailand’s Golden Triangle with this full-day journey down the Mekong River. The day begins with a transfer from your Chiang Rai hotel to the edge of the Mekong River. Prepare to see delights including jungle terrain, hill tribes and ancient temples. Board your boat on the giant Mekong River of the three countries that make up the Triangle - Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. Make a first stop at Chiang Saen, a small town at the convergence of the three countries also known for its numerous ancient temples and ruins. Spend some time exploring the town’s many sites, before paying a visit to a local Hmong Hilltribe Village. Venture down Mekong, sit back and enjoy spectacular views along the Laos countryside from the river. Wrap up your journey at Chiang Khong, a sleepy town famous for the giant Mekong catfish and a popular border crossing between Thailand and Laos before transfer back to Chiang Rai in the late afternoon.

$47.70 Day Trips & Excursions

Half Day Golden Triangle and Chiang Saen

Filled with historical importance and mesmerising stories, Thailand’s Golden Triangle forms one of the must-see regions in the country. Once the playing grounds for drug lords, controlling the traffic of large volumes of opium and papaver into and between its neighbouring countries, this mountainous region now claims name and fame for the point where three nations – Laos, Myanmar and Thailand - convene with the Mekong as the natural border. It is a region where ethnic hill tribes have lived for centuries, where the Mighty Mekong is the aquatic playing ground for scenic boat trips, and where authenticity has prevailed at Chiang Saen, once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Packed with stories about its once notorious reputation as smugglers paradise, but especially breathtaking when it comes to nature, nowadays, this part of the Chiang Rai province truly lives up to its name as Amazing Thailand.This half day exploration of the Golden Triangle highlights starts with receiving a warm welcome from your English speaking guide at your Chiang Rai hotel. Together with your driver for the next couple of hours, we first drive towards the Golden Triangle. A trip to Chiang Rai would not be complete without seeing the notorious Golden Triangle first hand. This famed border location where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet on the Mekong River was once the centre of all poppy cultivation in the kingdom will mark the departing point for a leisurely downstream boat ride to Chiang Saen.Formerly known as Wiang Hiran Nakhon Ngoen Yang, Chiang Sane once was the administrative centre of the Lanna Thai kingdom until this was moved to Chiang Rai in 1262. Up until today, it still keeps vestiges of its past glory through ruins of double city walls, antiques and its distinctive Buddhist sculpture style that evolved in the late 13th century. You will visit the Chiang Saen Museum, home of a remarkable collection of Buddha images and antiques that date back all the way when the town prospered from its Royal status. We continue our tour through interesting Chiang Saen with visits to the renowned Wat Chedi Luang, the lesser-known Wat Pasak before ending at the Wat Phra Dhat Jom Kitti, built by the former Lanna King Phangkharat as a shrine to contain Lord Buddha’s relics. Once you conquer the flight of stair, a look-out point behind this pagoda offers a vantage point to enjoy the Mekong vista that even gives the viewing point at the Golden Triangle a run for its money. The last part of this half day excursion is an air-conditioned ride back to Chiang Rai and your hotel.

$399.17 Multi-day & Extended Tours

4 Days- Responsible Hilltribe tour of Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle

Day 1) Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Chiang Saen- Pick up from Chiang Mai and depart for Chiang Rai (approx 3hrs)- On the way, we will stop to visit a national park, local Lahu hilltribe market, and aspects of local life that arise along the way- Visit the White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) and Black House.- O/n at local guesthouse in Chiang Saen nearby Mekong river(meals and accommodation not included)Day 2) Golden Triangle - Mae Salong - Karen hill tribe village- Visit the Golden Triangle, the meeting point of 3 countries; Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Optional) Longtail boat trip on the Mekong river to visit a local market in Laos (ticket not included)- Visit to Monkey cave, Mae Salong Chinese village and tea plantations - Visit an Akha hill tribe village 'Ban Lorcha' (community based tourism village). A local Akha guide will demonstrate aspects of Akha life such as hunting, dancing, weaving, and traditional houses (ticket not included)- O/n at local Karen homestay (optional) or local guesthouse. Enjoy traditional Karen dinner together with your host family (meals and accommodation not included)Day 3) Karen hill tribe village - Doi Angkhang Mountain- Learn about Karen village life, optional short trek, visit to family farm- Onto Doi Angkhang mountain (approx 2hrs), enjoy the landscapes as we drive up and through this sweeping mountain range that borders Myanmar. A cluster of peaks and valleys this is home to colourful minorities such as the Lahu and Palong hilltribe villages - Enjoy the idyllic location, views, cool climate and fresh mountain air. O/n at local guesthouse in Doi Angkhang(meals and accommodation not included)Day 4) Back to Chiang Mai- Visit an outlook point which overlooks the Thailand/Myanmar border- Optional visit to King's Agricultural centre (ticket not included)- Back to Chiang Mai (approx 2hrs). Optional activities on the way back to Chiang Mai (elephant riding, bamboo rafting, Tiger Kingdom etc) (tickets not included)(meals and accommodation not included)