Thailand13A brief introduction to Chiang Mai - the chief city of northern Thailand as well as the major gateway to the hill tribe villages and Doi Suthep mountain monastery. Enjoy the elephant riding trip in Mae Taeng elephant camp and experience an exhilirating zip-line zooming among the rainforesst canopy in "Flight of the Gibbon". Visit Mae Hong Son in its mountain fastness; and Chiang Rai province, the infamous Golden Triangle, and Mae Sai at the Thai-Myanmar border)

Route: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Mae Hong Son and Chiang Rai

 

Inclusive:

• Accommodation in shared twin rooms with daily breakfast
• One night on the train
• All entrance fees
• Transfers and tours with English speaking local guides (or as specified)
• Train Ticket Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai
• 2 lunches & 1 dinner with show
• Boat trip at Chao Phraya River

stop16Exclusive:

• Travel insurance
• Other lunches and dinners
• Visa fee for Thailand
• International airfare
• Domestic airfare
• Expenditure of a personal nature, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, etc.
• International airport departure tax (700 Baht per person)
• Christmas and New Year Eve gala dinner supplement

noteItinerary:

Day 1: Bangkok - Arrival

Arrive in Suvarnabhumi Airport, meet and transfer to city hotel for check-in. Overnight in hotel, Bangkok

Day 2: Bangkok (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Today we commence our tour of Bangkok with a longtail boat ride along the Chao Phraya River and the many lively inner canals of Thonburi which offer some fantastic views of the local life close up. Along the way we stop at Wat Aroon (The Temple of the Dawn) built by King Taksin eaarlier than the founding of Bangkok, before continuing to the Grand Palace dedicated to the Thai Royal Family's ceremonies. Nearby is the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew which is famous for the Emerald Buddha image, the palladium of the Thai nation. After seeing this complex we drive to bustling Chinatown to stroll along the main street lined with Chinese shops spilling over with herbal medicines, delicacies like bird's nests, shark's fins, sea cucumbesr, an assortment of fruits both preserved and fresh, abalone and plenty more. Return to hotel and be at leisure. Overnight in hotel, Bangkok.

Day 3: Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Chiang Mai by Train (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Heading out of the town, we drive to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam from 1350 to 1767 AD. This glamorous city was all but destroyed by Burmese in1767. However, it is still fascinating to explore the ruined temples and have an insight into this very cosmopolitan city in which many nationalities lived and traded in the 17th & 18th centuries. Among these is Wat Phra Sisanphet, an impressive monument that was used as the royal temple by several kings. The following sight is Wat Chai Wattanaram whose the construction patterns are very interesting. We continue on to Bang Pa-In which served as the summer palace for many Thai monarchs from the 17th century. This structure has a captivating collection of marvelous pavilions in a variety of Thai, Chinese, Italian and Victorian architectural styles. In the early evening we board a night train to Chiang Mai, departing at 7.40pm from the Hualumphong Railway Station.
Overnight on board the Nakorn Ping Express in 2nd Class air-conditioned berth.

Day 4: Chiang Mai - Arrival (Lunch/ Dinner)

This morning our train journey ends in Chiang Mai at about 10-11am. Your guide will meet you here and take you to your hotel to check-in. After checking into hotel and refreshed yourself, we go on a tour to an elephant camp to interact with elephants. You can ride on one for a romp into the jungle with a mahout. Have a simple Thai buffet lunch at the riverside restaurant. Cruise down the river on a bamboo raft to where your transport waits to take you on a trip up Doi Suthep to see the Wat Prathat Mountain Monastery with its naga-lined stairway and golden chedi at its centre. On a clear day you can see Chiang Mai city below. There is a small "museum" on the grounds housing Lanna-style Buddha statues, votive tablets and amulets. Be sure to ring all the bells surrounding the main chedi for merit and good luck. Dinner at the Chiangmai Old Cultural Centre for a traditional Khantoke northern Thai dinner with cultural show. Return to hotel or to the Night Bazaar where there are hundreds of stalls displaying local products. This is open from 7-11pm. And adjacent Anusarn Market full of stalls and restaurants, and massage places.
Overnight in hotel, Chiang Mai.

Day 5: Chiang Mai - Mae Hong Son (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel.The exciting adventure continues as we depart the city and drive through the breathtaking mountain landscape to Mae Hong Son. The mountain road is narrow and winding for about 80km of the way with some sharp hairpin curves and plenty of mountain scenery. Along the way we make a stop at a hot spring in Ban Papae before we head towards Pai. There is plenty to see in this beautiful area, some of which are the Lisu Hilltribe Village, the Tam Lod Cave, the Lahu Hilltribe Village.We follow this with a trip to the Fish Cave, where thousands of carps live an undisturbed life. On arrival in Mae Hong Son we stroll around the town to soak up the pleasant climate and atmosphere. The Burmese influence is prevalent as this town as it is bordered by Myanmar to the north and the west. Overnight in hotel, Mae Hong Son.

Day 6: Mae Hong Son (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Upon leaving the town we set off on a rough drive by pick-up truck to the Karen hill-tribe village of Baan Nai Soi. At this small village we change our transport when we take a short but exciting elephant ride through the unspoiled forest to the Padong hill-tribe village. This ethnic group still retains their old-age cultural traditions as most of the women attempt to have a long neck by wearing numerous brass rings around their necks from an early age - this collapsed their collar bones resulting in an elongated neck. We embark on our truck again for a short drive to Sop Soi and enjoy a longtail boat for a trip downstream on the Pai River which also provides us a taste of the tranquil countryside and an interesting view of rural life close up.
Overnight in hotel, Mae Hong Son.

Day 7: Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel.The sightseeing tour of Mae Hong Son would not be complete without a visit to Wat Jong Kham and Wat Jong Klang, just some of the town's most famous Burmese-style monastaries. The first structure was constructed around 200 years ago by the Shan people whilst Wat Jong Klang houses an old glass painting and many wood carvings which depict the various lives of the Buddha. A next stop is Wat Doi Kong Moo, which dominates the town and therefore affords a wonderful view of the surrounding areas. We then spend the time on our own, until transferring to the airport for a flight to Chiang Mai.
Overnight in hotel, Chiang Mai.

Day 8: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai (Breakfast /Lunch)

Breakfast at the hotel. An early morning departure to Chiang Rai. The drive is about 3 hours and views are very good. On arrival we embark on a longtail boat for a thrilling trip upstream on the Mae Kok River, passing through many breathtaking mountain landscape to a Karen hill-tribe village. This ethnic group originated from Burma, but had settled here long ago, forming the largest tribal population in northern Thailand. After seeing this traditional village we enjoy a walk through the jungle to the Yao and Akha hill-tribe villages, which still retain their age-old cultural traditions, and the people are recognisably distinct from each other by their dress. Return to hotel. This evening you might like to stroll in the night market and enjoy local songs performed on the stage.
Overnight in hotel, Chiang Rai.

Day 9: Chiang Rai Full-Day Tour (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. The royal capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Saen is nestled on the Mekong riverbank which is now the border between Thailand and Laos. Today we travel by road to Chiang Saen with a stop at Ban Kiu Kaan, a white Hmong ethnic minority village close to Chiang Khong. Arriving in Chiang Saen we visit the town's major sights including Wat Phrathat Jom Kitti, Wat Chedi Luang and a nearby museum. Heading out of the town we drive through some verdant and rugged mountain scenery to the famous Golden Triangle in which powerful warlords have fought for control of the opium trade in the 1950s-70s. After exploring the border town of Mae Sai we return to Chiang Rai. Overnight in hotel, Chiang Rai.

Day 10: Chiang Rai - Departure (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free until time to transfer to the airport for the departure flight to Bangkok.

End of Programme