Chiang Saen Lake - Honest Eco-Tourism?
Chiang Saen Lake is easy to miss unless you notice the sign along the highway between Chiang Rai and Chiang Saen that announces Chiang Saen Lake. If you like nature, start watching for the 21 km marker. Then take the time to stop by this unique spot. Chiang Saen Lake is a few kilometers off the main road.
The lake has been cleaned up quite a lot since times past. A guest house stands on the back side of the lake and a road runs around Chiang Sean. When you pause to really see Lake Chiang Saen, you may notice an honest eco-tourist attraction.
Fallen trees in some parts of the lake serve a good purpose. The resulting eco system spawns an ample food supply that attracts bird life migrating from Siberia and China to the warmer regions of Southeast Asia.
Birders paradise? Because of the ideal eco system, birds of many feathers regularly flock to Chiang Saen Lake during their annual migrations. More than 100 species make the lake their temporary home, especially between the months of November and February. Many species of water birds stop over, but a variety of tree birds will be along for the flight.
Mountainous and forested area around the one square kilometer lake appeals to the senses. The area exudes a calm that makes it easy to feel away from any sense of urgency. Salas around the guest house behind the lake make a perfect spot to have a meal or drink and just relax for a few hours.
Take your binoculars and spend the day. Or better yet, spend a night at one of the adequately comfortable accommodations around the lake. The prices are right and you have more time to enjoy the natural setting of Lake Chiang Saen.
Getting there is relatively straightforward. Songtaews ply the road at all hours for the day and evening. Local buses will stop on request and flagging one down is fairly easy. Look for the roadside bus-stop salas.
For cyclists, it's a really nice ride. Maybe an hour and saves a significant walk from the highway to the lake area.