The M.R.V.R. is an ideal place to stay and to make tours throughout the region. Even though some visits necessitate journeys of 2 hours or more, the scenery along all the routes is such that indeed the journey is half the pleasure.
TR 1: Mae Mok Cham and Pom Phong / Ban Yapa TR 1A
Take a long-tailed boat for about 30 minutes to the Shan riverside village of Mae Mok Cham. Walk through the village, visiting a typical Burmese temple, and a women's weaving co-operative where the ladies produce lengths of cloth on foot-treadle looms. You can have a go yourself before buying a piece of cloth for an absolute bargain price (and so please no extra bargaining!) A vehicle will collect you and take you the Akha village of Pom Phong for a short visit to this very typical village and then return to the resort. Alternatively, you can go onto Ban Yapa (see above) before returning to the resort.
Half or Whole-Day
TR 2 / 2A: Ban Yapa and Mae Salong
Ban Yapa, a 20 minute drive to the east, is home the three different hilltribes including the famous Long-necked Karen. Some guests feel uncomfortable about visiting the village but in one stop you will get a chance to view the cultures of three groups of hilltribes.
From Ban Yapa, continue to climb to the small town of Mae Salong set high on a ridge at about 1100 metres asl. This is home to various generations of Chinese, the first of whom were the Nationalist Chinese (Kuomintang) who fled China in 1949 after the Communists took power. The KMT museum and mausoleum of General Tuan are worth a brief stop. There are also several hilltribes in the area and the various market stalls reveals this mix of cultures. The area is well known for growing tea, coffee and fruit which is usually sold in preserved form. Take your time wandering between the shops, sampling tea and fruit with no obligation to buy. A visit can be made to a tea plantation and to a temple located even higher than the town with magnificent views across the area. For those who want to make this a whole day excursion, you can have lunch in a Chinese restaurant and sample some typical Yunnanese food.
TR 3: Doi Ankhang
Doi Ankhang is a mountain area some 50 km to the south east. It is the location of one of several Royal Projects which are found across the region and which are aimed at assisting the minority groups. The project is located in a mountain bowl at an altitude of 1400 metres. The journey up is an experience in itself as vehicles manoeuvre around a number of steep hairpins. The views back across the valley you left behind are spectacular.
Even those with a vague and passing interest in horticulture cannot fail to be impressed by the project. Being so high, the temperate climate allows a whole range of fruit, vegetables and flowers to be grown in immaculately kept gardens. A very pleasant few hours can be spent walking around the project and in the winter it may even be necessary to have a sweater to keep out the chill.
After visiting the project, it is then possible to drive up to the Burmese-Thai border. In an army base and from a bunker or trenches - well-kept mainly for tourist purposes, it is possible to look across to Burma - and even get a friendly wave from the Burmese soldiers who are just a few hundred yards away. Many years ago this was the scene of some serious fighting, but now the two sides co-exist peacefully, sometimes sharing meals and of course, playing the occasional game of football.
TR 4: Mae Salong and Doi Tung
See TR 2. After Mae Salong drive for about 1 hour along a ridge top road with extensive views to valleys either side. Doi Tung is the home of a major development project which was carried out under the auspices of the mother of the King before her death in the mid 1990's. The gardens are particularly attractive and makes a delightful afternoon walk. There are various other sites can be visited depending on your interest and the time.
The journey back is more straightforward, descending to Mae Chan in the Chiang Rai valley and then to the resort which will be reached after a further hour.
TR 5: The Golden Triangle
Leave the resort early for the 1.5 hour journey to Mae Sai, the northern most point of Thailand where, if you wish, you can cross into Burma to the border town of Tachilek. Plenty of shopping opportunities - but mainly for fake goods! Travel onto Sob Ruak to the point where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet. Take a boat trip on the Mekong and step into Laos for a brief visit - no passport required! An optional extra is a visit to the impressive Hall of Opium museum which explores the history of this drug and its derivatives in very well-presented and interesting way. Travel back to the resort and an early evening arrival.
TR6: Mae Salong / Doi Tung / Golden Triangle (TWO DAYS)
To avoid too much travelling, guests might wish to combine tours TR4 and TR5 with an overnight stop in a hotel or guesthouse overlooking the Mekong river.