If you want to sample the delights of Thailand, but are short on time then this 5 day tour could be perfect for you. Kicking off in the captivating capital city of Bangkok, journey north to explore the night markets of Chiang Mai and mingle with the hill tribes in Chiang Rai. With the option to end your tour in Chiang Mai or return to Bangkok.
Monday. Welcome to Bangkok, the ever-alluring capital of Thailand. Arrival transfer to our hotel where our Welcome Meeting takes place later in the evening.
This morning we see vibrant floral displays at Bangkok’s 24hr Flower Market before exploring the stunning Grand Palace, crowned by lofty gilt stupas and home to the legendary Emerald Buddha. After we take an exhilarating ride on a Tuk Tuk to Wat Pho – the temple of the Reclining Buddha and birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Jumping onboard our longtail boats we discover the city’s canals, known as Khlongs. Exploring the city by boat gives insight into the lives of the city’s riverside dwellers – the overtly rich and incredibly poor.
After we drive to Ayuthaya, have dinner and include day use rooms for you to freshen up before we take the overnight express sleeper train (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins) to Chiang Mai.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast, Dinner
Chiang Mai – Mae Rim. This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. First up we visit the imposing Doi Suthep Temple that stands like a sentinel over the city. The tranquility of chanting temple monks is a real highlight and we take time to enjoy this and the view before driving into the countryside to the Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribes village. Four separate Thai hill tribes live at Baan Tong Luang – the Lahu, Hmong, White Karen and the Long necked Karen and we’ll have the opportunity to learn all about their lifestyle and customs, see their traditional dress and purchase handicrafts that they make.
We travel on to the Hmong Hill Tribe Lodge where we will stay this evening. This afternoon you can take a walk into the surrounding countryside to visit the some of the nearby hill tribe villages. In the evening we enjoy a sumptuous BBQ before being entertained by dancers from the local community. The lodge has been in operation for the last 30 years and works in symbiosis with the local population, which offers a wonderful insight into the lives of some of the smaller minority groups in the Kingdom.
Overnight: Mae Rim | Dinner
Mae Rim – Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai. Following an early breakfast, we bid farewell to our hosts and set off north towards Chiang Rai. Our journey today takes us through stunning karst and jungle scenery and our first stop of the day is at the unconventional Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) which depicts scenes from modern movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman. After visiting the temple, we’ll take a break for lunch before boarding boats on the Kok River for an hour long longtail boat cruise to Chiang Rai. En route we’ll see farmers working the land where oranges grow, whilst men fish along the banks and buffalo wallow in the shallow waters.
In Chiang Rai we visit Lahu village which is surrounded by lush green countryside and inhabited by the Lahu people, who make their living from farming the land. We’ll take a walk through this enchanting little village, which has stilt houses and livestock roaming the streets. Then we continue our boat journey to Ruammit village which is home to the Karen tribe and has retained its traditional culture. After a brief stop here we drive to Chiang Mai, where the rest of the evening is free to spend at leisure.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast
Cooking Pad Thai
Friday. This morning you can join your tour guide in giving out Alms to the local monks before returning to your hotel for breakfast. We then take a traditional trishaw for a ride around the old city of Chiang Mai visiting well known temples within the city walls.
Today for lunch, we learn to cook 3 of the most popular Thai dishes, the perfect souvenir to take home. Pay attention though, as you get to eat what you cook for your lunch! The rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore. Choose from adrenaline-fueled adventures such a canopy zip lining or opt for a more relaxing affair with spa treatments and massages. In the evening join us for a trip down to the Chiang Mai night market, a haven of souvenirs and works by local artisans.
As your tour concludes today in Chiang Mai, you are welcome to depart at any time you wish. You can choose to depart this morning, after the cooking course we would suggest booking a flight no earlier than 5pm or stay with us till after returning from the night market. Hotel check out is at 12 noon and if staying longer you might wish to consider booking extra accommodation. Alternatively, you may choose to end your tour in Bangkok, by booking our Bangkok extension.