Remote Tha Ton, Mae Ai District Chiang Mai Thailand Published on: 08-06-2016
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Why Thaton is special ?
Thaton is located between Mae Ai and Mae Chan in northern Chiang Mai province, Thailand. It is a town on the banks of the Kok River. It has a relaxed atmosphere, and some people hang out for a few days or weeks. There are a small number expats as permanent residents. There are a number of guesthouses along the banks of the river and more in the town itself. The picturesque views from Thaton hill and the banks of the river, and a small town feel combine to make this a nice place to hang out. The small town of Tha Ton is most often visited as a stopover on the Chiang Dao-Fang-Mae Salong loop or as the departure point for the popular Kok River boat trip.
What to explore at Thaton?
As with many of these out-of-the-way northern Thai towns, Tha Ton is scenic and interesting enough in its own right to warrant more than just passing through en route to somewhere else. There are some fine spots to stay, and bicycles and motorbikes are available to hire in town for exploring the surrounding hills and villages. The riverside is picturesque and the hill-top temple, Wat Tha Ton, spectacular. Locals are friendly and you’ll see plenty of Akha women in their regalia coming into town to sell their knick-knacks. Tha Ton is worth a day or two, before you head up the mountain to Mae Salong or down the river to Chiang Rai.
How to get to Thaton?
Thaton is on Rte 1089 between Fang and Mae Chan. The distance to Chiang Mai is about 214 km by road and takes about 4 hours, but with some excellent scenery along the way. Chiang Rai is 108 km distant, Fang 25 km, and Mae Ai, 10 km. Thaton is so small it does not appear on many road maps.
You can take the boat from Thaton to Chiang Rai, which takes about 3 hours. There is a government boat at 12:30 that costs 350 baht each for a minimum 4 people. You can also charter private boats.
From Chiang Rai to Thaton is an upriver trip, and takes about 5 hours.
The bus station is near the bridge. Buses depart from/to Chang Phuak Bus Station in Chiang Mai several times a day with the journey taking 3-4 hours (prices are around 90 baht). The buses are usually easily identifiable with English information on them. Buses to Chiang Rai and Bangkok also run, albeit less frequently, a journey to Chiang Rai takes a couple of hours and to Bangkok about 12 hours (890 km). In May 2012 there was only one bus to Chang Rai that left at 15:00 and you had to change in Mae Chan.
Tha Ton, Mae Ai District Chiang Mai Thailand