Tha Ton (or Thaton) is a small village on the banks of the Kok River in Mae Ai District in the north of Chiang Mai. The village has breathtaking scenery and a relaxed atmosphere. It is surrounded by mountains and a popular stopover on the tourist loop between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. Some people even extend their stay in Thaton to one week. There is a variety of things to do and see in this village from visiting a landmark Buddhist temple to hill tribe villages trekking, rafting, and even bird watching.
Trekking in the jungles and mountains in Tha Ton can be a great experience. The trek can last from one to three hours to visit the hill tribe villages which are homes to Long-necked Padaung, Karen, Lahu, and Lisu ethnic people. Coming to visit these villages, you can see or stay in traditional village houses built out of bamboo and timber, learn how to coll in bamboo.
Long Neck People in Tha ton
Boat Trip to Chiang Rai: Another interesting to do in Thaton is taking a boat trip along the Mae Kok River to Chiang Rai. The boat trip to Chiang Rai can last for four hours and more in the dry season. On the boat trip, you will travel through green landscapes and past traditional villages
Boat trip to Chiang Rai
Bamboo Rafting: Besides boat, you can choose a bamboo raft to float along the Mae Kok River to get to Chiang Rai. Traveling on the raft is more peaceful than a standard longtail boat trip. The best time to take a bamboo rafting trip is from November to February when the landscape is at its greenest and radis are at their most exciting.
Bamboo rafting in Tha Ton
Bird Watching: Thaton is the place where you can go for bird watching. Good soils for agriculture and a large area of cultivated fields, pools, riverside vegetation, ditches, and copses provide enough habitat for a large number of birds in Thaton. Here, you will be able to see dusky warblers, Horsfield's bush larks, Black-collared starlings, and Jerdon’s bush chats
Bird watching in Tha ton
By Boat: You can get to Thaton from Chiang Rai via Ban Ruam Mit. The trip takes around 4 hours upstream. Government boat costs 400 baht each for a minimum of 4 people. You can also charter a private boat which is about 1700 baht.
By Bus: Tha Ton’s official bus station is just across the bridge to the east.
Bus from Chiang Mai: It is about 3-4 hours’ bus and price is about 90 baht
Bus from Bangkok: It is about 12 hours’ bus. It departs from Bangkok Mochit Bus Terminal every four hours.
Bus from Chiang Rai: It is 3 and half hour bus. It departs from Chang Phueak Bus Terminal every 30 minutes.
Songthaews: From Doi Mae Salong or Mae Chan, you can take Songthaews to Thaton.