Thaton | On the road to Doi Mae Salong

Thaton is a small town most famous as a launching point for the boat trip on the Maekok river to Chiang Rai. One of all these boat rides that resemble the karst mountains of Guilin. But it is a very scenic ride; you usually will stop on the way to explore some of the hillside villages along the river.

Thaton or Tha Thon is not too confused with its namesake in Myanmar.

Not a bad place to overnight, though; there are a few excellent resorts and guesthouses in town. I have stayed at the Maekok Village Resort, which also can provide shorter boat trips on the river. Once, we went just to the border of Myanmar on The Mae Nam Kok river. Most of the time, this is a place where I have stopped with groups for a cheap and decent buffet lunch, the restaurant offers lovely river views, and there is a small garden to stroll around.

This is a nice break from the winding mountain roads between Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai.

Wat Thaton

The viewpoint at the temple offers nine different levels and provides some stunning panorama of the landscape and the river. If you are travelling through, make sure you go to the temple for the views. You can see the hills of the Burmese Shan State from here. Myanmar is just some kilometres away. The highlight of the structure is the building itself, with a touch of purple and a green spire.

The Crystal Pagoda of Wat Thaton

For last year’s road trip up to Doi Maesalong and the Akha Mudhouse, we stayed just briefly for lunch in Thaton. There was a nice Muslim Jin Haw Chinese restaurant just by the 7/11 that served ok food; the Khao Soi wasn’t five star but ok.

Long tail speed boat on Mae Kok
We came from Chiang Rai; many people go from Thaton to Chiang Rai.

In my mind, Thaton is not much of a destination in itself. Nevertheless, with the location it has, it deserves some of your time when you are travelling through.

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