Siam or presently called “Thailand” was the strongest nation in Southeast Asia from 1767 to 1893. One of its secrets was keeping good relations with China, something the Thais had succeeded in doing since the Nan Zhao era. After 1767 Siam's rulers were part Chinese themselves, which also encouraged this trend. Large numbers of Chinese immigrants came into the country; by 1850 there were 350,000 of them living in Siam.
Day 1: Arrival – Chiang Mai. On arrival at Chiang Mai Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. In spite of Chiang Mai being the second largest city in Thailand and the modern capital of the north, the friendliness of the people, the vibrant night bazaar, the interesting old town and the international feel never seems to fail to captivate travelers. No activities planned for this afternoon; however our guide is on hand to advise some available options. Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 2: Chiang Mai. Today we spend a full day seeing some major sights of Chiang Mai. After a short drive we embark on a walk to the famous Doi Suthep Mountain, leading us to the magnificent temple of Wat Prathat 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: Make 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 travel by roads back to Chiang Mai. The journey is long, but we can make stop as we please, to stretch our legs and shoot some wonderful pictures. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 6: Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao – Thaton. Heading out of the town we begin our rough drive for an hour and half to the northern hill region around Chiang Dao, which is home to a wide array of hill tribe groups. The roads conditions are poor, however the breathtaking mountain scenery make for an interesting day. Along the way we stop at an elephant camp to see these huge animals bathing and handling timber before we enjoy an elephant ride through the forest to the hill tribe villages. We get well off the beaten track as we walk around the area, visiting the Red Lahu, Lisu, Karen and Akha people. These ethnic minorities still retain their age old cultural traditions, and are recognizably distinct from each other by their dress. Then transfer to Baan Thaton a small village near by the banks of Mae Kok River, Overnight in Thaton. Includes: (B)
Day 7: Thatorn – Boat trip to Chiang Rai. An early morning we board a long-tail cruising downstream to Chiang Rai. This river trip takes anything from three to five hour depending the season. No matter how long it will take us, it is still a memorable experience as we pass by the breathtaking mountain landscapes and see many hill villages. After checking hotel in Chiang Rai we enjoy a short visit to the impressive Ethnological Museum which is dedicated to the region’s ethnic groups, some of which we have met on our excursion. Overnight at Chiang Rai. Includes: (B)
Day 8: Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle – Chiang Mai. 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 Mai. The drive is long, but views are fantastic. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 9: Chiang Mai – 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)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Thailand History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey