Day 1 Arrive Bangkok
Arrive to Bangkok where you are met by your guide and drive to your hotel. Spend the evening relaxing after your journey.
Day 2 Explore Bangkok
Spend the full day exploring Bangkok today with your guide using exclusively public means of transportation. Take a boat to a terminal station on the banks of Chao Phraya River and then continue to Tha Thien pier to visit Wat Pho in time to witness the morning chanting of the monks. Explore the temple, see the Reclining Buddha, and if you like stop for an optional Thai foot massage. Continue to the Grand Palace by foot, Thailand's most important landmark. This was the official residence of the Kings of Siam (and later Thailand) from 1782 until 1925 and is still used for official state events. Explore the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls this afternoon. See also the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in all of Thailand, which according to legend was first created in 43 BC in India. Stroll through the markets or try a taste of the local Thai Cuisine on the way to your lunch spot.
This afternoon you will learn about Muay Thai from the home gym of Thailand's most famous fighter, Buakaw. The multi-times world champion Muay Thai and K1 fighter is the poster child of the gym, but there are many other very high level athletes training at the gym and as such it attracts people who want intense Muay Thai camps to prepare for a real match. The trainers here have had illustrious careers so you know the training is high level.
Day 3 Countryside Cycle
This morning drive out of the city into the countryside for a day on bikes. Explore the Thailand of old in a land of gentle river boats, rice fields and tropical landscapes. See the temple of Phurt Udom Pol, Kamalulislam mosque, and the market town of Nong Chok. Visit a local women's cooperative, fish farms, working rice mills, traditional Thai wooden houses and an old medicine shop. Stop for lunch before continuing on for a close-up view of Thai village life this afternoon before returning to Bangkok for a leisurely evening.
Biking Distance: 24 miles/ 40 km on easy dirt roads and field pathways.
Day 4 Fly Chiang Mai
Take a flight out of Bangkok today north to Chiang Mai. On arrival check into your hotel and freshen up before lunch.
This afternoon choose between two options. In the first, you take a local songthaew to explore Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the most sacred temple in Northern Thailand located on the mountain of Doi Suthep. Learn about the story of the temple and the white elephant and walk around the impressive grounds. Next trek one hour to a Hmong village where 800 inhabitants still wear their traditional tribe clothes and practice a culture that dates back 500 years. Trek back and return to the city. The second option is to spend the afternoon exploring temples around Chiang Mai by Segway. After a brief introduction, set out to visit some of the following: Wat Phra Singh, Wat Pan Tao, Wat Chedi Luang, Tapae Gate, Wat Chiang Man, and Three Kings Gate.
This evening get a taste of the Chiang Mai nightlife. First join monks in a nightly chanting at a local temple. Here you may light some incense or burn a candle to participate as well. Next enjoy dinner at 137 Pillars colonial house. After dinner, drive to the lively Waroros market, the hub of local life bursting with fresh flowers and local street food stalls. Sample some local Thai sweets before returning to your hotel for the evening.
Day 5 Chiang Mai - Mae Ngat Lake
Get active today for an exciting day of kayaking and cycling around the spectacular Sri Lanna National Park, located only an hour drive from Chiang Mai. First cycle 20 km along beautiful rural roads set against the backdrop of bamboo groves, fruit orchards and rolling rice fields. Next paddle kayaks out on Mae Ngat Lake Reservoir. Enjoy lunch at an exotic bamboo floating raft house on the lake and continue exploring the lake by kayak. Swim or find a spot to sunbathe as you relax this afternoon. Pack up the bikes and transfer to your home for the evening, Mountain Float Raft House.
Approximate biking time: 2 hours, up to 10 miles on flat country roads
Approximate kayaking time: 2 hours, up to 10 miles
Day 6 Chiang Mai - Hill Tribes in North Thailand
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
In the morning you will be picked up after breakfast at your hotel and taken to the Lisu Lodge, an hour's drive away.
Upon arrival at the lodge, enjoy a traditional welcome drink. Then, drive by local open-air truck to the area near Pha Mieng. Start walking along the jungle trails to the remote village of Hmong Pha Mieng. Meet the inhabitants of this small hill tribe village in the jungle, learning about their way of life. After a picnic lunch in the forest, walk to the top of the mountain, about an hour and a half to where the Red Lahu Village of Pha Daeng is located. Continue walking along a mountain ridge to the Lahu village of Kup Kap about another hour, from which you have a spectacular view overlooking the Mae Taeng district and Chiang Mai town glittering at night in the distance. Beyond the mountain peaks to the west lies Myanmar (Burma).
Dinner and overnight at Lahu Outpost, modeled on a typical Lahu house furnished with simple amenities.
Day 7 Lahu Outpost - Lisu Lodge
- 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner
After an early breakfast, enjoy a one and a half hour walk down a steep jungle path to see the Huay Sadharn Waterfall. Relax at the waterfall, then continue another 30 – 45 minutes hike to reach a scenic riverbank where you'll enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. After lunch, raft down the river for about 45 minutes. From there you return to Lisu Lodge, where a welcome drink will be served before you check into your room.
Afterwards you will receive a briefing so you can select your activity for the following morning. Guided by a Lisu villager, walk from Ton Lung temple to visit the herbal garden. Then continue through the village with a stop for a cup of tea at the village shaman’s house. Chat with the Lisu shaman and learn about his life, beliefs, curing rites and Lisu traditions.
Finally, visit the 'museum' created by the villagers. Here are all kinds of tools and household utensils of Akha- and Lisu tribes exhibited. The rest of the afternoon you have time for yourself to dinner.
At dinner, enjoy Lisu music and folk dances before turning in for the evening at Lisu Lodge.
Day 8 Lisu Lodge – Kanta Elephant Sanctuary
Enjoy breakfast at the lodge, then prepare for your choice of activities: You may take a guided bike tour around the Lisu Lodge area or just relax and have a nice steam bath and massage. Or choose to go for an ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng - about an hour's journey ending up back at Lisu Lodge. You are also welcome to go cycling by yourself with a road book of recommended itineraries.
Enjoy a delicious Thai lunch, then prepare for an afternoon journey to Kanta Elephant Sanctuary.
Arrive at Kanta Elephant Sanctuary. Walk through and learn about the elephants, then change into traditional clothing and prepare fruits for our elephants. Meet the elephants and take the opportunity to feed, interact, and play with them in a natural environment. Get muddy as you learn about their behavior and history, and take the chance to take photos with the elephants before walking them to the river to bathe them.
Get some tea, coffee and fresh local fruit, then say goodbye to the elephants. Leave Kanta Elephant Sanctuary and drive approximately 50 minutes back to Chiang Mai, where you will be dropped off at your hotel or accommodation.
****Please Note: At the Sanctuary, we will allow you to spend as much time as possible with the elephants. Therefore, there is no formal schedule and aside from pick-up times, the times shown here are approximations.
Day 9 Chiang Mai
This morning you have the option to participate in a group cooking class at Baan Thai Cookery School. Learn how to make Thai food in a traditional setting. Teachers help you in this participatory group class that includes a market tour. Or you may opt to enjoy the morning at leisure in Chiang Mai.
Enjoy your final evening in Chiang Mai with a traditional Khantoke Dinner. Your meal is served on special, low circular tables called toke. Enjoy delicious northern Thai dishes accompanied by Thai folk dance.
Day 10 Return Bangkok
Return to Chiang Mai for your flight back to Bangkok. From here connect with your international flight home or extend your trip and explore southern Thailand.