Biking out the back roads of Chiang Rai

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Biking the back roads of Chiang Rai was absolutely one of the highlights of my trip to Thailand.

After arriving in Chiang Rai and having a disaster hunting down the old bus station to pick up a forgotten phone. Chiang Rai oozed a feeling of deflation after our drama. Not to mention we were biking out in a hail storm, lost and hungry! On the first night we decided to leave Chiang Rai the next evening and head right to Koh Samui, it just wasn’t what we had expected. I think the exhaustion of days of travel was finally taking over and we made a quick decision to leave.

Tip read: Chiang Rai to Koh Samui

The elephant village nearby was the only place we wanted to see before we left, and that was our mission. The next morning we set off on the bikes to hunt it down.

Chiang Rai
View over Chiang Rai

 Chiang Rai temples

We left early, knowing we had to check out at lunch time. The plan was to go out and come back before check-out.

Our first stop was a temple I had found on an old map left in our hotel room. It was barely noticeable when you drove by as it was just a steep set of steps, hidden by jungle. Incidentally these steps led up to a wonderful temple!

It was really beautiful, not too many tourists either. It hosted wonderful views of the town below and of the Mae Kok river nearby. We set back of on the bikes over the Mae Kok, which was exhilarating! I absolutely loved this part of the ride.

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Chiang Rai temple steps
Steep steps to the temple

The real Thailand

We were on the bikes for what felt like forever, riding through the gorgeous countryside and seeing so much of the ‘real Thailand’ as we drove.

Chiang Rai roads
Biking Chiang Rai

I honestly can’t say I loved any part of the trip more than this, it was so beautiful and relaxing. We followed the rivers path, and it must have been North as we saw a few Police Border control points which made me  think we were close to the border with Laos! That made me so excited.

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Chiang Rai Elephant village

Finally we made it to elephant village which was called Ruammit Village. It was so good to be off the bike for a while and in addition to that we realised they weren’t going to try to charge us just to come and feed the elephants. However we did pay for food and at the same time decided not to ride them as we felt it was unfair. They were kept away from the water and we weren’t allowed to give them any. We met so many lovely elephants who were all so friendly and loved a good bit of bamboo to munch on!

Chiang Rai elephants
Elephant village


It was time to head back to the hotel, but first we stopped at a few viewpoints and a cool temple I had noticed on the way there. This temple was really cool because beside it was a huge carving into the rock face and the temple was actually built into a crevice in a cave! It was amazing until I stood on a red ants nest and got attacked all over my feet!

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Chiang Rai art
Image carved into the mountain

In all honesty I can without a doubt say this day was one I will never forget. My heart felt so full and I honestly felt like I was really seeing the world, seeing something new and learning how a lot of people in Thailand really live.

Tip read: Chiang Mai’d hidden gem

Chiang Rai biking
David on his bike


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