A visit to Chiang Mai and its surrounding areas can be one of the most rewarding experiences in all of Thailand. Steeped in history, tradition, and folklore, the largest and most culturally important city in Northern Thailand is home to things like hill tribes, ancient temples, a wide variety of architectural influences, relaxing boat cruises, fabulous flower gardens, extreme shopping destinations and acclaimed restaurants. A main highlight includes the sweeping views (and amazing photo opportunities) afforded by the mountain location of Wat Prathat Doi Suthep.
This may seem like a lot for one person to handle, but this region offers a whole lot more. Your trip to Pai will take you to an orchid farm and local market. In Tham Lod you'll take a bamboo raft ride, travel by elephant, and explore local caves with their stunning limestone formations and cavernous chambers. More shopping and temples await in places like Mae Hong Sorn and the practice of people-watching takes on a whole new meaning at the Long-Neck Karen Hill Tribe village.
Day 1: Arrival - Chiang Mai. Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, a guide will meet and help transfer you to your hotel for overnight accommodations. Overnight at the Manathai Village in Chiang Mai.
Day 2: Chiang Mai. Today you'll head out to Wat Sri Khong's boat landing, board a traditional scorpion-tailed boat and cruise along the river while a historian discusses the area. Later, you'll reach the old trader community of Wat Gatekaram on the eastern banks and stroll along the old buildings reflecting Chinese, Portuguese, and Indian influences and explore the temple's compound before having lunch at a local restaurant. Next, is a drive to the famed mountain temple of Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, a stop at the Chang Khien Coffee Research Project and a visit to the Hmong hill tribe village of Chang Khien where you will conclude the day's activities. Overnight at the Manathai Village in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 3: Chiang Mai - Pai - Tham Lod. Rise and shine for an early start that takes you to the Ton Payom Market in time to join the locals during the daily alms-giving ceremony to the monks before boarding a minivan for a 3-hour trip to Pai, stopping at an orchid farm and the Mae Malai local market along the way. You'll eat lunch at a local restaurant and continue to Tham Lod to explore the local village (whose Shan family houses will serve as your accommodations for the evening) and Lod Caves. A relaxing evening will be spent with a traditional Shan dinner, tea and a discussion about local history, traditions and folklore. Overnight in Tham Lod. Includes: (B), (L), (D).
Day 4: Tham Lod - Muang Phaem - Tham Lod - Mae Hong Son. An exciting and educational day awaits you as you take a 2-hour forest walk to a Karen Village to learn about ancient traditions and lifestyles. A picnic lunch will be served in banana leaves before taking an elephant ride to a stream where you will enjoy a bamboo raft ride back to Tham Lod Village. The day concludes with an hour-and-a-half transfer to Mae Hong Sorn. Overnight at the Fern Resort in Mae Hong Son. Includes: (B), (L).
Day 5: Mae Hong Son - Departure. Get ready for another early day as you visit the morning market area before departing Mae Hong Sorn to the Baan Huai Dua boat landing and a 30-minute long-tailed boat ride along a scenic route. On the way back, you'll stop at a Long-Necked Karen (Padong) hill tribe, head back in the city for lunch, continue on to Wat Phra Thad Doi Kong Moo, Wat Chong Klang, Wat Chong Kham, and a large natural pond public park. As you return to the Mae Hong Sorn airport for your flight back to Chiang Mai, you can reflect back on this epic and insightful adventure. 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.
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Thailand Local Culture Cultural Journey