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Farmland of the Thai hill tribes

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Example 10 Day Tour
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Explore Thailand the adventurer's way! Visit Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and spend two days rafting or trekking in the Mae Hong Son region in northwest Thailand. Bike through the countryside, visit local villages and connect with the people. Bike and use public transportation as you experience the city the way the locals do. Cultural encounters, wildlife spotting, breathtaking landscapes and activity to get your blood pumping make this the ideal Thailand tour for the active traveler.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive Bangkok
Day 2 : Explore Bangkok
Day 3 : Countryside Cycle
Day 4 : Fly Chiang Mai
Day 5 : Si Lanna National Park Bike & Paddle
Day 6 : Chiang Mai - Mae Hong Son | Kanta Elephant Sanctuary
Day 7 : Mae Hong Son | Free Day
Day 8 : Free Day | Transfer to Chiang Mai
Day 9 : Chiang Mai
Day 10 : Return Bangkok

Highlights

  • Bicycle through the countryside past riverboats, rice fields, & fish farms
  • Kayak Mae Ngat Lake Reservoir to a bamboo floating house
  • Feed and bathe elephants at the Elephant Nature Park
  • Raft down Class II and III rapids on Mae Hong Son

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Thailand
  • Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai
  • Elephant Nature Park
  • Mae Hong Son
  • Mae Hong Son Trek - Karen Village
  • Mae Hong Son Trek End
  • Mae Hong Son Trek Start - Doi Sunfa Mtn
  • Nong Chok
  • Pai
  • Si Lanna National Park

Activities

Trip Type

  • Adventure Life Exclusive

Activity Level

Moderate

Trip Snapshots

Farmland of the Thai hill tribes Bamboo rafts on Pang Oung, Mae Hong Son Biking through rice fields Biking tour through rural areas River rafting in northern Thailand Thai farmers with water buffalo Thai elephant playing in the water Smiling hmong women in traditional dress

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, Sor Vorapin. 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 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 Si Lanna National Park Bike & Paddle

Get active today for an exciting day of kayaking and cycling around the spectacular Si 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. Accommodations will be in a Cacoon Room.

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 - Mae Hong Son | Kanta Elephant Sanctuary

In the morning you are picked up from your hotel, driving approximately one hour north of Chiang Mai through rolling hills, forests, and local farming areas.

Arrive at Kanta Elephant Sanctuary around 10:00AM. Once at the sanctuary, change into traditional Thai clothing and prepare fruits for the elephants. Guests will have the opportunity to feed, interact, and play with the elephants in a natural environment and get a little muddy as you learn about their behavior and history. You will also have some great photo opps with the elephants. Around 2:00PM, your hosts will help you guide the elephants to a river to bathe them!

After your time with these amazing creatures, refresh yourself with some tea, coffee and seasonal fruits before saying goodbye to the elephants. 

*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 7 Mae Hong Son | Free Day

The next two days are free to spend at your leisure, with the following excursion options available.

July - November: Rafting Mae Hong Son
Day 1
You are picked up from your hotel this morning at 8.45AM and meet with other rafters at our base. While socializing around a cup of coffee, select your rafting equipment (helmet and life jacket). After a safety briefing, drive one hour by taxi to reach the put-in point.

Around 11:00, meet your captains and receive the last paddling instructions. The first strokes will take you straight into the lush jungle; after the first rapids, stop for a
basket lunch by the shade of a wild mango tree; Then, passing through the gorge, experience the thrill of the class 3-4 Fragrance Rapids, before you reach the first hot springs and fluoride mine area of geological interest. After 15 more rapids, stop at a small waterfall to enjoy water games.

Following the meanders of the river through the deep jungle, stop at camp (17:00). Settle in your huts or tents, take a shower, relax or explore the area before enjoying a welcome drink and local snacks. Later, a delicious Thai dinner cooked by the guides on the wood fire will follow (vegetarian on
request); then fruit, coffee, and tea will complete the menu. Spend the night in harmony with nature, in a bamboo hut fully furnished with sleeping bags, pillows and mosquito nets. Shower & toilets are simple and clean facilities with bamboo walls.

Day 2 (Distance: 35 km; Time: 5 hours, 30 rapids)
A filling breakfast including homemade bread, eggs and fresh coffee will be served at 8 am. Departing from the camp around 9 am, first enjoy a dozen rapids including the class 3 Red Cliff. Further down, reach the Khong River junction, the most important tributary of the Pai river; a few minutes later, the expedition will take a break at the main hot springs on this trip and will get ready for more fun through the set of the Rising Stone Rapids (about 5 rapids from 100 to 400 meters long, grade 2-3). After such a thrill, a picnic will be served on the bank of a clear stream; then, you will paddle or enjoy swimming through the Pai Gorges scattered with a few more tricky rapids. Coming to the end of the journey, pop out into the Mae Hong Son Valley and meet the first farming areas.

Disembark at the Forestry Headquarter around 15:00; there you will be able to redeem your main luggage and take a refreshing shower before a short transfer to Mae Hong Son at the place of your convenience: Hotel if you wish to discover this charming Thai-Burmese city or airport to fly back to Chiang Mai at 16:10. A transfer back to Pai (110 km / 2 h) is also available by truck.

December - June: Trekking Mae Hong Son
Day 1
Starting at 8AM from Pai, drive approximately 2 hours (including 15 minutes of off-road travel) to reach a gibbon rehabilitation center in the heart of the Pai wildlife sanctuary. Watch these amazing acrobats jumping from tree to tree in the canopy. Cross the river on a suspension bridge and start walking uphill through one of the most beautiful mixed deciduous forests in Northern Thailand. Hike through beautiful teak, Indian mahoganies, and various bamboo species until you reach the majestic entrance of the Lang Cave. Break for a basket lunch in the middle of the jungle. The guide will demonstrate some of his jungle survival skills, using bamboo and a machete. Continue your hike, observing the jungle flora and fauna, until you reach a black Lahu village nested in a small valley. Settle in to your guide's traditional house built on teak tiles. Time to appreciate a refreshing shower, then walk around to observe the bustling life of the village: cattle, pigs, dogs...and many lovely children!

If you wish, you may assist your guide and learn how to cook a delicious meal on a wood fire. Enjoy your Thai dinner while learning about the culture and history of the Lahu people. 

Day 2
A filling breakfast will be served around 8 am. After enjoying breakfast and watching the morning life of the village, the guide leads you uphill through the farming fields, to reach the “Spirit Well," a natural limestone sinkhole (150m deep and 80 m diameter) most certainly created 2-300 million years ago by the erosion of the ocean which slowly receded as the Himalayas were rising up. Keep walking one more hour to a scenic area, also a convenient place for lunch. After some relaxation, walk (1h) to a Lisu settlement. Passing through the village, observe the traditions of this ethnic group that originates from the south of China. Walk downhill 1
hour to reach a Shan village where a jungle taxi is waiting to drive us back to Pai (1h) on time for the last bus to Chiang Mai (5pm).


 

Day 8 Free Day | Transfer to Chiang Mai

Today is free to spend at your leisure until a late afternoon transfer back to Chiang Mai. 

July - November: Rafting Mae Hong Son
Day 1
You are picked up from your hotel this morning at 8.45AM and meet with other rafters at our base. While socializing around a cup of coffee, select your rafting equipment (helmet and life jacket). After a safety briefing, drive one hour by taxi to reach the put-in point.

Around 11:00, meet your captains and receive the last paddling instructions. The first strokes will take you straight into the lush jungle; after the first rapids, stop for a
basket lunch by the shade of a wild mango tree; Then, passing through the gorge, experience the thrill of the class 3-4 Fragrance Rapids, before you reach the first hot springs and fluoride mine area of geological interest. After 15 more rapids, stop at a small waterfall to enjoy water games.

Following the meanders of the river through the deep jungle, stop at camp (17:00). Settle in your huts or tents, take a shower, relax or explore the area before enjoying a welcome drink and local snacks. Later, a delicious Thai dinner cooked by the guides on the wood fire will follow (vegetarian on
request); then fruit, coffee, and tea will complete the menu. Spend the night in harmony with nature, in a bamboo hut fully furnished with sleeping bags, pillows and mosquito nets. Shower & toilets are simple and clean facilities with bamboo walls.

Day 2 (Distance: 35 km; Time: 5 hours, 30 rapids)
A filling breakfast including homemade bread, eggs and fresh coffee will be served at 8 am. Departing from the camp around 9 am, first enjoy a dozen rapids including the class 3 Red Cliff. Further down, reach the Khong River junction, the most important tributary of the Pai river; a few minutes later, the expedition will take a break at the main hot springs on this trip and will get ready for more fun through the set of the Rising Stone Rapids (about 5 rapids from 100 to 400 meters long, grade 2-3). After such a thrill, a picnic will be served on the bank of a clear stream; then, you will paddle or enjoy swimming through the Pai Gorges scattered with a few more tricky rapids. Coming to the end of the journey, pop out into the Mae Hong Son Valley and meet the first farming areas.

Disembark at the Forestry Headquarter around 15:00; there you will be able to redeem your main luggage and take a refreshing shower before a short transfer to Mae Hong Son at the place of your convenience: Hotel if you wish to discover this charming Thai-Burmese city or airport to fly back to Chiang Mai at 16:10. A transfer back to Pai (110 km / 2 h) is also available by truck.

December - June: Trekking Mae Hong Son
Day 1
Starting at 8AM from Pai, drive approximately 2 hours (including 15 minutes of off-road travel) to reach a gibbon rehabilitation center in the heart of the Pai wildlife sanctuary. Watch these amazing acrobats jumping from tree to tree in the canopy. Cross the river on a suspension bridge and start walking uphill through one of the most beautiful mixed deciduous forests in Northern Thailand. Hike through beautiful teak, Indian mahoganies, and various bamboo species until you reach the majestic entrance of the Lang Cave. Break for a basket lunch in the middle of the jungle. The guide will demonstrate some of his jungle survival skills, using bamboo and a machete. Continue your hike, observing the jungle flora and fauna, until you reach a black Lahu village nested in a small valley. Settle in to your guide's traditional house built on teak tiles. Time to appreciate a refreshing shower, then walk around to observe the bustling life of the village: cattle, pigs, dogs...and many lovely children!

If you wish, you may assist your guide and learn how to cook a delicious meal on a wood fire. Enjoy your Thai dinner while learning about the culture and history of the Lahu people. 

Day 2
A filling breakfast will be served around 8 am. After enjoying breakfast and watching the morning life of the village, the guide leads you uphill through the farming fields, to reach the “Spirit Well," a natural limestone sinkhole (150m deep and 80 m diameter) most certainly created 2-300 million years ago by the erosion of the ocean which slowly receded as the Himalayas were rising up. Keep walking one more hour to a scenic area, also a convenient place for lunch. After some relaxation, walk (1h) to a Lisu settlement. Passing through the village, observe the traditions of this ethnic group that originates from the south of China. Walk downhill 1
hour to reach a Shan village where a jungle taxi is waiting to drive us back to Pai (1h) on time for the last bus to Chiang Mai (5pm).

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.

Bangkok - Hotels

Chiang Mai - Hotels

Mountain Float House

Pai

Per person starting at
$2,481

Notes

Select a Date

Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

Included

  • 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners
  • 9 Nights Accommodations
    • 7 Nights Hotel
    • 2 Nights Lodge
  • 8 Days Private Guide Service
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are included.

Excluded

  • Internal Flights
    • $350 Bangkok - Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai - Bangkok
    • Flight cost is subject to change
  • International Flights

Budgeting

  • $80 Meals not Included
  • $50 Optional Excursions
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Kassandra Miller
Kassi M

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Our guide and driver were very good with their knowledge and were very helpful with our questions. It was a very pleasant visit that would have been impossible to do on our own. Hotels and restaurants were fantastic. The special places we got to go to, like the kitchens, were great. Enjoyed the entire trip!
Meyer Smolen

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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