North Thailand Explorer

This tour starts in the northernmost province of Chiang Rai, from where you will go first to the famous Golden Triangle and then on to Thaton, on the banks of the Kok River. Continue along mountainous roads to Pai and Mae Hong Son in the northwestern corner of Thailand. Finally travel through Doi Inthanon National Park to Chiang Mai.

Day 1: Arrival Chiang Rai (-/-/-)

On arrival transfer to the hotel. Day at leisure. In the evening we recommend a visit Chiang Rai's small but colourful night market.

Day 2: Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle Thaton (B/L/D)

After breakfast pick up from your hotel and head to Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple) on the outskirts of the city. Then, heading north, if wished and if time allows, a brief stop can be made at Baan Dam, a museum village with 40 Black Lanna-style buildings. Continue to the former royal town of Chiang Saen. Afterwards follow the mighty Mekong River to the famous Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Make a stop at the small Opium Museum. An optional short boat trip on the Mekong can be arranged (about 30 minutes) if wished. After lunch drive up to Doi Mae Salong, passing Akha, Yao and Lisu hill-tribe villages. Make a stop at along the way to observe the way of life of the local people. At the top make a stop at the Chinese Kuomingtang Village. Surrounded by tea plantations, this is the place to sample the delicious local tea. In the late afternoon arrive in Thaton, a small village on the banks of the Kok River. Dinner and overnight at a riverside resort.

Day 3: Thaton - Pai (B/L/-)

After breakfast visit Wat Thaton, dominated by its giant Buddha statues overlooking the valley of the Kok River and the nearby mountains of Myanmar. Back on the road and stop to see one of the many traditional rice mills near Fang. Just a bit south of Chiang Dao you will enjoy a relaxing trip on a bamboo raft drifting down the river for about an hour. After the lunch break take a stroll through the local market of Mae Malai, where you will find some exotic fruits and snacks and then continue along steep, winding roads through the scenic mountainous landscape to Pai. After a brief stop, take a walk through Kong Lan, or Pai Canyon.  In the evening take a stroll through Pai and pick up some street food for dinner.  Overnight in Pai.

Day 4: Pai - Mae Hong Son (B/L/D)

After breakfast you may take an optional trip to some local hot springs with chance to bathe there. Afterwards leave Pai, driving through stunning mountain scenery. First visit a Lisu hill-tribe village and then reach the Ban Soppong and go to visit the spectacular cave Tham Lot. Depending on the level of the small river you may have to cross the cave on a bamboo raft. Continue on winding roads through the mountains towards Mae Hong Son. On route you will pass Lahu villages and a stop can be made to meet the locals. Shortly before reaching Mae Hong Son, stop and take a walk across the rice fields on Su Tong Pae bamboo bridge. Arrive in Mae Hong Son and check in to a local resort. Stay overnight in Mae Hong Son.

On the way from Pai e to Mae Hong Son in North Thailand
On the way from Pai to Mae Hong Son

Day 5: Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai (B/L-)

After breakfast take a tour in the chaming town of Mae Hong Son and visit two colourful Shan temples. First, Wat Jong Klang by the city lake and then Wat Doi Kong Moo on a hill top, which offers great views across the valley. Afterwards you will leave Mae Hong Son for the full-day journey to Chiang Mai, taking the southern route via Khun Yuam, Mae Chaem and finally passing Doi Inthanon National Park. Make stops along the way, such as, at the Shan Cultural Centre, the 2nd World War Museum in Khun Yuam, at Hmong and Karen hill-tribe villages and also at some picturesque waterfalls. Finally reach Chiang Mai in the early evening and check in to hotel.

Day 6: Chiang Mai (B/L-)

after breakfast set off on a sightseeing tour of Chiang Mai. Start by driving around the old city, which is surrounded by wall and moat and has numerous historic temples. The oldest of these is Wat Chiang Man, built in 1296. Just outside the city wall is Wat Lokmolee, a 14th-century temple built in an unusual architectural style. Then head up to Doi Suthep temple. The temple complex is located just 1,000 meters above sea level and if the weather is clear it offers great views over the city and surrounding countryside. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards head back down to the city and on the banks of the Ping River take a stroll around Warorot Market, the largest and most important market in Chiang Mai Province. At the nearby Ton Lanyai Market you will find fragrant flowers, vegetables and tasty fruits and then, if there is time, you can visit some of the well-known handicraft factories in Bosang. These include the famous umbrella painters, as well as silversmiths, makers of lacquerware and wood carvers.  

Day 7: Chiang Mai - Departure (B/-/-)

After breakfast transfer to the airport or railway station for departure to your next destination.


For our confidential prices or additional information about any of our services,

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Services and Additional Notes

Services included:

•             Private air-conditioned transport and transfers

•             Hotels as mentioned in the programme

•             Local English-speaking guide

•             Meals as mentioned in the programme

•             Local community and cultural activities, cave tours

•             All entrance fees for visits mentioned in the programme


Services not included:

•             Additional soft drinks/alcohol

•             Personal expenses

•             Tips for guide and driver

•             Domestic and international flights


Please be advised:

In some villages you may not be allowed take pictures of people and some places may be out of bounds to visitors. If you wish to take photographs or are unsure whether an action is appropriate, please ask your local guide for advice.


Responsible mind:

The villagers’ income from tourists is to help support the community and preserve its way of life. We have designed our tours to provide them with job opportunities and a sustainable way of maintaining their cultural heritage and to offer an alternative to illegal activities like mineral exploration, deforestation and hunting wildlife.

Back to: North Thailand

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