Northern Thailand's history is dominated by the Lanna Kingdom, which was founded in 1259 and stayed in power until the 16th century. The city of Chiang Mai was the Lanna capital during much of this time and it is a place where the past still lives on today. When exploring Chiang Mai, you can do so in a long-tail boat along the Mae Ping River or by taking a trishaw ride along the ancient city walls to famed temples like Wat Phra Singh. As you make your way up to the mountain temple Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, you'll find yourself in a "songtaew", a truck-like taxi that can usually be found on roads not accessible by buses.
Chiang Rai is the most northern province in Thailand and makes for a good place to explore the Golden Triangle - the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. A major highlight in Chiang Rai is Wat Rong Khun, known for its stark white color and glass, symbols of the Lord Buddha's purity and wisdom. It is also the home of the Doi Tung region, an area with strong ties to Thailand's Princess Mother, Somdej Phra Srinagarindra. In 1987, the Doi Tung Development Project was established according to her initiative in order to protect the region, eradicate the cultivation of opium, and encourage farmers to use sustainable agricultural practices and her beautiful Mae Fah Luang Gardens is another essential stop in Doi Tung. These sites and the others you'll discover on your journey through the north are among the most important and memorable ones that Thailand has to offer.
Day 1: Arrival Chiang Mai. Upon arriving in Chiang Mai, you'll be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel for a night of rest and relaxation before starting your adventure. Overnight in Rachmankha Chiang Mai.
Day 2: Chiang Mai. Today you'll travel to a local farmhouse in Mae Rim before boarding a long-tail boat for a 30-minute cruise to a fresh food market along the Mae Ping River. From the market, take a trishaw ride past the City Walls to Wat Phra Singh for lunch at a local restaurant and then drive to the famous mountain temple of Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. Afterwards, drive up the mountain by "songtaew" on a rough dirt road to the Chang Khien Coffee Research Project and continue to the Hmong village of Chang Khien where inhabitants still wear traditional hill tribe clothes and practice a culture that dates back 500 years. Overnight in Rachmankha Chiang Mai. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Chiang Mai-Mae Kampong. Depart by minivan to the village of Mae Kampong, situated 1,300 meters above sea level, making a stop at a local market to select ingredients for evening's dinner along the way. Upon arriving at Mae Kampong, you'll be met by villagers to take a stroll through the forest, past tea and coffee fields to a waterfall for a picnic lunch. In the afternoon, return to the village to relax with a traditional Thai massage and join your host family to prepare (and later eat) your dinner. Overnight in Mae Kampong. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Mae Kampong-Mae Salong-Chiang Rai. This day will find you venturing towards Chiang Rai and Wat Rong Khun, the surprising "White Temple." Lunch will be served at a local restaurant and you'll continue along to Doi Mae Salong, to the Santi Kiri KMT Yunnan Chinese Refugee settlement. There you'll see tea and coffee plantations, and a store where homemade wines and other locally grown products are sold before heading to your Chiang Rai accommodations. Overnight in The Legend Chiang Rai. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 5: Chiang Rai-Doi Tung-Mae Sai-Golden Triangle-Chiang Rai. Today you'll depart for the Doi Tung region, 2000 meters/6500 feet above sea-level and home to the Mae Fah Luang Gardens and Wat Phrathad Doi Tung, a sacred hilltop shrine, regarded as the holiest sanctuary by the residents of Chiang Rai and nearby provinces. En-route you'll visit hill tribe villages and eat lunch at a local restaurant before heading out to explore the Golden Triangle area. The rest of the day will be spent in this region; including Mae Sai, a bustling trading town at the farther-most northern border between Thailand and Myanmar; and Chiang Saen, opposite of Laos where you will see ancient ruins and temples prior to embarking on a long-tailed boat trip along the mighty Mae Khong River. Includes: (B), (L).
Note: This is simply a suggested itinerary, which can easily be customized to suit your schedule, budget, and interests. Please contact us to discuss your tailor-made travel requirements.
- The price is a guideline and will vary according to travel dates and room availability. The price is based on two people traveling together during high season and sharing a twin or double room.
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Asia Thailand Local Culture Cultural Journey
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