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Chiang Rai, Doi Pha Tang, Thai-Laos border mountain viewpoint, Doi Phu Kha national park in Nan, Sirikit dam lake, Loei province, Nong Khai (27 Oct - 04 Nov 2007)

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This is the first part of Thailand - Laos trip we made in Oct/Nov 2007. It started with a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai and then we were on the road from the northern Thailand bordering with Laos all the way along and across the mountain belts and through e-sarn (northe-eastern Thailand) to hit again Mekong river at Nakhon Phanom. From where we crossed the river to enter central Laos for a boat ride on Hinboun (Hin Boun) river and Konglor caves. The Laos part will be presented in Laos section of the photos.
Photos with captions including (*) are taken by Brigitta & Josef Koller

Mountains of hilltribe people area in eastern Chiang Rai province
Corn and paddy fields in the mountains of hilltribe people area in Chiang Rai province

Mekong river serves as border between Thailand and Laos from so-called golden triangle point to Had Pha Dai (now a picnic camping area) from where it enters entirely into Laos territory. The border area is dotted with villages of tribal peoples such as Hmong, Black Hmong, Yao, Thai Lue, Khamu or Kamu, and Lahu.

Hilltribe people colleting fire wood and vegetable
Hilltribe people collecting fire wood and vegetable (Eastern Chiang Rai province)

Their main life activity is farming in the mountain land to produce staple food: rice and corn. Though many places have been electrified, and have access to the roads there are still some places where life is more or less similar to simple way of the past in which people produce essential items directly from the nature and exchange products and services among them.

Doi Pha Tang view point on Thai-Laos border - Ban Pha Tang
Doi Pha Tang is a very beautiful mountain viewpoint on the border, about 25 km to the north of more popular Phu Chi Pha viewpoint.

Sun rise view from Doi Pha Tang
Sunrise view from Doi Pha Tang (*)

If the weather is clear you could see Mekong river down below in the hills of Laos. But we were not that lucky since the fog were filling up all the valleys between the mountains.

A hill village inside Laos
A small hilltribe village in Laos, seen from Thailand.

The border mountains
The mountains along Thai - Lao border.

Besides viewpoints and scenic mountains the area is rich with history, minority culture and natural environment. For example in Ban Pha Tang alone you can stay in a small guesthouse and chances are you can chat with the host Chinese family about the Kumintan people - how they came, what they did, how they became Thai citizens, etc.

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