Thailand is home to interesting and more colourful ethnic minorities in northern area, known as the hill tribes. These add an important element to tourism here and you may visit, or go trekking to, numerous villages, where they are happy to receive you. Since most are rural and poor, any economically uplifting opportunities are welcomed your visiting.
Day 1: Arrival – Bangkok. On arrival at Don Muang Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. The glorious history of Thai Capital, Bangkok is much interwoven with the Chakri dynasty which still reigns but no longer rules Thailand. In the midst of dynamic modern growth, this bustling metropolis still preserves plenty of cultural heritages making it the national treasure house. No activities planned for this afternoon; however our guide is on hand to advise some available options. Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 2: Bangkok. Today we commence our tour of Bangkok with a longtail boat for along the Chao Phraya River and the many lively inner canals which offer some fantastic views of the local life close up. Along the way we make stopover at Wat Arum, the temple of Dawn, before continuing to the Grand Palace, dedicated to the Thai Royal Family’s ceremony. Nearby is the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew, which is famous for the Emerald Buddha Image. After seeing this complex we drive through the many vibrant streets of China Town to some of the most significant temples in Bangkok. The landmark of Wat Traimit is well known as the Golden Buddha Temple while Wat Po houses a gigantic Reclining Buddha. We visit these sights as well as the magnificent Marble Temple. Overnight in Bangkok. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Bangkok – Ayuthaya – Chiang Mai. Heading out of the town, we drive to Ayuthaya, the ancient capital of Siam from 1350 to 1767 AD. This glamorous city was all but ultimately destroyed by the hands of Burmese; however it is still fascinating to explore the ruined temples. Among these is Wat Phra Sisanphet, an impressive monument that was used as the royal temple by several kings. The following sight is Wat Chai Wattanaram whose the constructing patterns are very interesting. We continue on to Bang Pa In which was served as the summer palace for many Thai monarchs from the 17th century. This structure has a captivating collection of marvelous pavilions in a variety of Thai, Chinese, Italian and Victorian architectural styles. We embark on a luxury boat at Wat Potangtai Pier and cruise down the river to Bangkok, a perfect way to observe the rural landscape. In Bangkok, we transfer to Bangkok Railway Station for a night train to Chiang Mai. The train conditions are basic; we travel on soft sleeper class. Overnight on board. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Chiang Mai. This morning our train journey arrives in Chiang Mai. After checking into hotel we drive west towards the famous Doi Suthep Mountain and embark on a walk leading us to Wat Prathat Temple near the summit. At an elevation of over 1,000 m, the temple ground affords a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. We follow this with a visit to the old and new parts of the town featuring the great diversity. The “Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai has been always noted for exquisite handicrafts whose the combination with the traditional wares of the hill tribe people offers fantastic shopping opportunities. Heading out of town we drive to the neighboring villages of Sankampaeng and Borsarng to see the various cottages industries including silk weaving, wood carving, silver ware and umbrellas making. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 5: Chiang Mai – Pai - Mae Hong Son. The exciting adventure begins as we depart the town and drive through the breathtaking mountain landscape to Mae Hong Son. Along the way we make stop over at a hot stream nearby Ban Papae before we head towards Pai. There is plenty to see in this beautiful area, some of which are the Lisu Hill tribe Village, the Tam Lod Cave, the Lahu Hill tribe Village. We follow this with a trip to the Fish Cave, where thousands of carps live an undisturbed life. On arrival in Mae Hong Son we stroll around the town to soak up the pleasant climate and catch our first glimpse. The Burmese influence is prevalent as this town is bordered by the Union of Myanmar to the north and the west. Overnight in Mae Hong Son. Includes: (B)
Day 6: Mae Hong Son. Upon leaving the town we take a short but exciting elephant ride through the unspoiled forest. Then enjoy a long-tail boat for a leisurely trip upstream on the Pai River to the hanging bridge at Baan Sop Soi. Meet the vehicle and continue by drive which also provides us a taste of the tranquil countryside and an interesting view of rural life close up then following set off on a rough drive by pick-up truck to the Karen hill tribe village of Baan Nai Soi. At this small village we change our transport when we to the Padong hill tribe village. This ethnic group still retains their old age cultural traditions as most of women attempt to have long neck by wearing numerous brass rings around their neck from an early age. Overnight in Mae Hong Son. Includes: (B)
Day 7: Mae Hong Son – Chiang Mai. The sightseeing tour of Mae Hong Son would not be complete without a visit to Wat Jong Kham and Wat Jong Klang, just some of the town's most famous Burmese style monasteries. The first structure was constructed around 200 year ago by the Shan people whilst Wat Jong Klang houses an old glass painting and many wood carvings which depict the various lives of Buddha. A next stop is Doi Kong Moo, which dominates the town and therefore affords a wonderful view of surrounding areas. We then spend the time on our own, until transferring to the airport for a flight to Chiang Mai, our final destination. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 8: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai. An early morning departure to Chiang Rai. The drive is long but views are fantastic. On arrival we embark on a longtail boat for a thrilling trip upstream on the Mae Kok River, passing through many breathtaking mountain landscape to a Karen hill tribe village. This ethnic group originated from Burma, but had settled there long time ago, forming the largest tribal population in northern Thailand. After seeing a traditional house we enjoy take a walk back through the jungle to the Yao and Akha Hill tribes, who still retain their age old cultural traditions and are recognizably distinct from each other by their dress. Overnight in Chiang Rai. Includes: (B)
Day 9: Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle - Bangkok. The royal capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Saen is nestled on the Mekong riverbank which is now the border between Thailand and Laos. Today we travel by roads to Chiang Saen with a stopover at Ban Kiu Kaan, a white Hmong ethnic minority village close to Chieng Khong. Arriving in Chiang Saen we visit the town’s major sights including Wat Phrathat Jom Kitti, Wat Chedi Luang and a nearby museum. Heading out of the town we drive through some verdant and rugged mountain scenery to the famous Golden Triangle in which powerful warlords have fought for control the opium trade. After exploring the border town of Mae Sai we return to Chiang Rai for flying back to the capital city. Overnight in Bangkok. Includes: (B)
Day 10: Bangkok – Departure. There is a free time for your own exploration of the town and catching up on some shopping areas. The trip ends after transfer to airport for departure. Includes: (B)
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Asia Thailand History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey