PRIVATE TOUR - CODE: VIA02 Sapa, Northwest of Vietnam, is a captivating mix of dramatic mountainscapes, crisp fresh air and colourfully-clothed hilltribes. Set on the slopes of a beautiful emerald...
PRIVATE TOUR – CODE: VIT03
Explore Thailand, from top to bottom on this whirlwind touring expedition. Delve into Buddhism in some of Thailand’s most famous temples, and venture into holy caves and jungles along the way. Enjoy a healing Thai massage, shop in funky local markets, and gain an appreciation for Thailand’s diversity and beauty. Build new lifelong friendships during this week of non-stop action and adventure.
Travel route: Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao – Bangkok – Departure
- Day 1: Chiang Mai arrival (D)
- Day 2: Chiang Mai (B)
- Day 3: Heading for the Hills of the North (B,D)
- Day 4: Exploring Chiang Dao (B,D)
- Day 5: Chiang Rai and the White Temple (B)
- Day 6: Muay Thai in the Big Mango (B)
- Day 7: The Highlights of Bangkok (B)
- Day 8: Bangkok – Departure (B)
Day 1: Chiang Mai arrival (D)
Your program begins in earnest when you land in Chiang Mai, Thailand after a brief stopover in Bangkok.
As you head from the airport to the hotel, start to take in your surroundings. Chiang Mai is the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which predates the modern kingdom of Thailand by hundreds of years. Keep a lookout for sections of the now-crumbling wall around Chiang Mai’s Old City. This wall once served as protection against invading armies, although today you’re more likely to see Thai teenagers using it as a perch to sit on while they fish. Soak in the beautiful temples and bustling markets that rush past you. You’ll be seeing more of these in the days to come.
Take the chance to freshen up, rest, or take a dip in the hotel pool. After a fun-filled first dinner, head back to the hotel for some much-needed sleep. It will be a busy week ahead!
Day 2: Chiang Mai (B)
Today will start with a trip to some of the oldest temples the center of the Old City. You’ll visit Chiang Mai’s oldest temple, Wat Mun, and the beautiful Wat Chedi Luang, which was once the largest structure in the Lanna Kingdom before a large section was knocked down in an earthquake several hundred years ago. Take your chances on the temple’s slot-machine fortuneteller or hang a golden silk banner for good luck before sitting down to chat with a local monk.
Chiang Mai is home to a thriving artist community, and while in town you will have the chance to learn about many traditional handicrafts that this region has become famous for. After breakfast, you’ll see some of the city’s modern art as well with a visit to one of Chiang Mai’s newest attractions, the Art in Paradise 3D museum. Then, you will head into the rolling mountains to Northern Thailand’s Holiest site, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. With panoramic views of the lush Chiang Mai valley below, learn about the unique religious traditions of the area, a fusion of Buddhist, Hindu and animist traditions. Hear the Legend of the White Elephant that marked this sacred spot as the location for the temple, and climb the dragon-guarded staircase to into the shrine itself. Once inside, be blessed by a monk for a happy and healthy trip before making offerings and getting your fortune read (spoiler alert!).
Coming down from the mountain, you will stop at a bustling market in front of Chiang Mai University where you will feel the buzz of student life at one of Thailand’s largest universities. The last stop of the day will be the Night Bazaar, where you will shop the night away while practicing your bargaining skills (hint: Don’t be shy!).
Day 3: Heading for the Hills of the North (B,D)
Rise early today and set out into the stunning mountains of Northern Thailand. This is the most diverse region of the country, home to more than a dozen hill tribe minorities, each with its own distinct language, history, and culture. Following the Ping River, wind through the mountains to the Chiang Mai area’s most unique waterfall, Nam Dok Bua Thong. Sourced by a mineral spring, this waterfall runs through a forest and over limestone, making it ideal for exploring on a hot day.
Next, the journey continues into the Chiang Dao Valley, famous for the magnificent mountain that towers over the landscape. The Doi Luang Chiang Dao Mountain is one of the tallest peaks in Thailand and easily the most impressive, with sheer limestone cliffs ascending to the top.
Settle in for the night at a country eco-resort and take in the view of mountains and rice fields as the sun goes down beyond the mountains. By evening, enjoy a traditional khantoke cultural dance performance while you enjoy a delicious meal.
Day 4: Exploring Chiang Dao (B,D)
Enjoy the fresh mountain air as you wake up early to give alms to village monks. Those of you who did not participate in the Thai Elephant Conservation Project will then have the chance to visit a small, locally owned elephant camp to get up close and personal with Asian Elephants. Then, we will begin exploring Chiang Dao by foot and by bicycle. This area is a treasure trove for botanists and biologists, and walking through the lush forest you will see why. Explore a meditation retreat set at the foot of the towering peak of Doi Luang, and then enter the Chiang Dao cave at the foot of the mountain. Local guides will lead you by lantern-light to explore the many hidden passageways. This cave is an important spiritual center filled with flower-laden Buddha statues and the occasional hermit. Next, you will head out into rice fields in a surrounding village to observe the rice-growing process and take some photos of the greenest greens that you will ever see.
Once you have worked up a proper appetite, we will stop at the Chiang Dao Nest, one of the finest restaurants in the region, for some delicious international cuisine in an idyllic setting. In the evening, you will return to the resort to take a Thai cooking class and sing some karaoke with your new friends.
Day 5: Chiang Rai and the White Temple (B)
After breakfast, we will depart for Chiang Rai. Here, we will visit two of the most unique structures in Thailand, created by two of the country’s most renowned artists. First, the White Temple, an intricate frosting-like edifice takes visitors on a journey through heaven and hell showing the karmic path away from temptation. Next we will head to the White Temple’s darker twin, the Black House. This complex contains massive teak halls where snakes and skeletons abound. Wander through the forested grounds and inside unique buildings, a fusion of Thai, Balinese and Burmese styles laden with modern paintings and ancient relics.
In the late afternoon, we will check into the hotel and enjoy some poolside relaxing time before heading out to explore the town. Walking through the back alleys and fresh markets of this charming and sleepy city, you will see what a “real” Thai town looks like.
Day 6: Muay Thai in the Big Mango (B)
Today, you will catch a mid-day flight down to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. You will check in you your hotel, get refreshed, and get ready to head out for a night of excitement in the city. Tonight, you will experience a championship Muay Thai (Thai kick-boxing) fight at the most prestigious stadium in Thailand, Lumpini Stadium. Muay Thai is an ancient art and a huge source of pride for Thai people, and experiencing a match in person is quite an experience. Later, we’ll return to the hotel to get some rest for a big day exploring Bangkok tomorrow!
Day 7: The Highlights of Bangkok (B)
After a nice breakfast at the hotel, get ready to see it all in a day here in Bangkok! You’ll start the day with a refreshing traditional Thai massage to get in the right state of mind. After that, you will hop on the bus and start working your way towards the the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew, the King’s most official residence and the home of the famed Emerald Buddha. You will have some time to wander the beautiful grounds here before heading around the corner to Wat Pho, another of Bangkok’s most famous temples and home of the ‘Reclining Buddha,’ the largest such Buddha in the world. Next, you will walk out to the banks of the Chao Phraya River, or the ‘River of Kings.’ Here you’ll hop on a long-tail boat and go for a cruise upstream. Viewing Bangkok from the river – away from the busy streets and with a cool breeze on your face – is truly the best way to see it. Finally, you will cap off your final day with an evening dinner through the heart of modern Bangkok. This will be an awesome way to talking about all that you’ve seen on this memorable trip, and enjoy your final evening with your new friends.
Day 8: Bangkok – Departure (B)
Today, you’ll have time to relax at the pool before checking out and heading to the airport. Whatever is next for you, we hope that you always cherish the warm memories of Thailand you have made this week. Safe travels and chock dee!
- Hotel accommodation in central points
- 2 English speaking guides: 1 in Chiang Mai, 1 in Bangkok
- Private transfer in modern van/bus
- Private boat trip on Ping river and Chay Phraya river
- Traditional Thai massage in Bangkok
- Entrance fees
- Meals as indicated
- Mineral water during transfer
- Visa and airfares (quoted separately)
- Tipping for your guides and drivers
- Personal expenses