1. Doi Tung - The Wat Phra That Doi Tung temple was constructed more than a thousand years ago, and is a curious and attractive destination by definition. The site is also said to contain the Lord Buddha’s collarbone. The main building isn’t open to public inspection, but the beautifully colorful garden complex is well worth a visit.
2. Wat Phra Singh - The delicate woodcarvings and vibrantly colorful frescoes depicting the life of the Buddha at this 14th century temple are a sublime sight for even the most hardened cynic.
3. Mae Salong - Accessible by municipal bus service, the quaint and inviting village of Mae Salong is home to a national museum, a so-called sacred tomb dedicated to General Tuan Xi-Wen (the notorious drug lord), and a Thai temple. The journey to the mountain village, particularly in the winter months, is famous for its fine sights and falling cherry blossoms.
4. The Golden Triangle - At the juncture of the Mekhong and Ruak Rivers, three countries intersect (Laos, Burma and Thailand). Travelers drawn to Thailand for its cultural interests would be mistaken indeed to eschew this critical region. Do keep in mind, however, that this is one of the world’s highest producers of illicit opiates. Needless to say, wise travelers would do well to avoid straying from the main avenues and tourist destinations.