Overview

Fancy a retreat to the picturesque foothills of northern Thailand? Discover a side of Thailand different from the sea and beaches featured on travel ​catalogues. This trip showcases some of the fascinating anthropological wonders of Thailand. Explore remote villages, have lunch with the colourful tribesfolk, discover secluded tea plantations growing different varieties of tea, trek on a jungle trail along the mountain, stay at a tribal outpost with just the bare necessities. This 8-day tour takes you across mountains, rivers and land. Sail on the Mekong River towards the Golden Triangle union of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar and discover some fascinating landmarks on the way. Trek up the region’s highest mountain at Doi Tung; find out how elephant poo fibres are used to make paper products. This is a journey into the hinterlands of northern Thailand to discover some of its lesser known gems. From a thriving ethnic culture to the confluence of Hindu and Buddhist traditions to picturesque trekking trails in virgin forests, this is a one-of-a-kind tour of Thailand. It’s an exciting trip full of new discoveries and a chance to explore the rich cultural heritage of the old kingdom. Come with us as we take you on a truly authentic and exhilarating Thai experience. 

7 Nights 8 Days 14 Dec, 15 Dec, 16 Dec, and more Chaing Mai Airport
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Airport transfers and all local transport in luxury sedan/ SUV
  • Ferry and speedboat transfers between islands
  • Accommodation in hotel/ homestay/ camp as per the itinerary
  • All meals as specified in itinerary
  • All local permits

What is NOT included in the tour

  • Any meal not specified in itinerary
  • Air travel
  • Any personal purchases like alcohol
  • Any additional services like private massage
  • Travel Insurance
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Visit to Golden Triangle
  • Boat ride on Mekong River
  • Visit to remote ‘tea villages’
  • Interaction with Akha, Lahu, Lisu tribes
  • Trekking in Lisu jungle trail
  • River rafting near Lisu Lodge
  • Tea picking at local tea plantation
Itinerary
Day 1 (Chiang Rai- Doi Wawi- Wiang Pa Pao)
  • Our Northern Delights tour begins in the charming city of Chiang Rai. A premier sedan/SUV and tour guide will arrive at your hotel or airport at Chiang Rai in the morning.
  • From here, it is a two-hour drive to Doi Kawee, a quaint village tucked away in the mountains of northern Thailand. The drive takes us along a picturesque trail overlooking verdant valleys full of wild flowers. The village is inhabited by a sizable community of Chinese settlers who cultivate tea in plantations that remain largely concealed from the public eye, unless you know what you’re looking for.
  • This is a real treat for tea aficionados as we visit a tea plantation and sample the locally grown Oolong tea. Chat with the local families who moved here from China in the 1960s and hear their fascinating stories of importing tea leaves from Taiwan and the start of their tea journey in the hinterlands of Thailand.
  • We stop for lunch at a local restaurant and then continue our journey across some pretty villages of Lahu and Akha tribes as well as a small settlement of Yunnan folk who originated from south-western China.
  • You can get a chance to walk through these settlements and explore the local markets selling a colourful assortment of handicraft and local products made by the tribal people. Pick up a souvenir or two before we head over to our hotel.
Day 2 (Chiang Rai- Golden Triangle- Doi Mae Salong- Mae Chan)
  • Get ready for a full day’s adventure as we set out to explore more of the northern countryside. Have a hearty breakfast at the hotel for an early energy boost and then we’re off.
  • Today’s journey starts with a boat ride on the Mekong River. Take in the beautiful views of the surrounding landscape as you sail towards the Golden Triangle- the meeting point of the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. We stop here to visit the Hall of Opium, an interesting museum that elucidates the history of opium trade in the region.
  • After this, we head to the mountains. Our first stop is Doi Tung, the highest mount in Chiang Rai and the Mae Fah Luang Botanical Garden. This is a beautiful expanse of manicured lawns, intricately arranged flower beds and exotic blooms. Inside Meh Fah is a popular trail called the Tree Top Walk that provides a bird’s eye view of the garden as well as the surrounding topography. This is undoubtedly one of the best spots for photographs so make sure to carry your cameras and click away!
  • Our next stop is the Royal Villa, built as a retreat for H.R.H. the Princess Mother that is now open to the public. We spend some time walking around the grounds of the villa and once again taking in the lovely views overlooking Laos and Myanmar before stopping for lunch.
  • Our journey then continues across serpentine trails along the mountain to Doi Mae Salong, famous for its tea plantations and ancient Chinese temples.
  • En route, we stop at Phra That Doi Tung, a 10th century temple that is one of the best known landmarks of Chiang Rai. Mae Salong is a beautiful village situated about 2000 metres above sea level. The cooler mountain temperature here allows Japanese cherry tree blossoms to thrive and you will be met with a radiant canopy of pink as you drive up to the mountain. The village was founded by Kuomintang or anti-Communist soldiers who were expelled by the Burmese regime in the 1960s. It now holds open-air markets for neighbouring tribesfolk like the Akhas and Lisus to sell their wares.
  • Walk around the village, pick up some local tea and just breathe in the fresh mountain air before we head back down to lower ground and check into our hotel at Mae Chan.
  • Dinner awaits you at your hotel and after the day’s exertions, we call it an early night.
Day 3 (Mae Chan- Ang Khang)
  • Our Northern Odyssey continues with a trip to Ang Khang Nature Resort. We leave after breakfast and the drive takes about two and a half hours. The terrain will no doubt have become familiar over the last few days and yet the untamed beauty of the Thai countryside never ceases to amaze you each time you get on the road. Ang Khang Nature resort is the perfect getaway in the mountains. Away from the hustle-bustle of city life, yet just three hours away from Chiang Mai’s city centre, Ang Khang is a popular destination for locals and tourists alike looking for a short trip away.
  • We check into the resort and enjoy a delicious lunch of Thai delicacies. Everything here is fresh and locally sourced and the rich blend of carefully chosen spices resonates in every dish. The resort is set inside the Royal Ang Khang Research Station under the larger ambit of the Royal Project.
  • Post lunch you can explore the expansive grounds that surround the resort with their wide array of blooms and orchards and rock garden.
  • For those of you looking for more exertive activity, the resort offers mountain biking, mule riding and hiking in the adjoining forest.
  • The rest of the evening can be spent at leisure. Enjoy drinks and lip-smacking snacks as you watch the sunset over the hills or relax in the comfort of your well-appointed deluxe room with a good book.
Day 4 (Ang Khang- Chiang Dao- Mae Rim)
  • Today, our journey into the northern hinterlands takes us to remote villages tucked away in the high mountains. These villages are home to various tribes and ethnic groups that have migrated to Thailand over the years.
  • First on our route is the border village of Nor Lae, between Thailand and Burma. This picturesque village is inhabited by the Da-ang or Palong tribe who originally came from the Chan district of Burma in 1984. The main livelihood of the tribe is agriculture. Walk around the village to see how even today large families live together in single-room houses. These are distinctive structures raised on stilts about 4 or 5 feet off the ground with grass roofs. The locals are friendly people who are happy to let you take a peek into their homes and even oblige you by posing for photographs!
  • The village of Khob Dong, located about four kilometres away, is next on our route. Black Muser tribeswomen wearing their colourful traditional outfits and doing daily chores paint a charming picture of Thai rural life.
  • After spending sometime interacting with the villagers, we drive on to Chiang Dao, a small town located along the slopes of the Doi Chiang Dao mountain famous for its characteristic limestone peaks.
  • After a quick lunch on the way we will visit the Chiang Doi Caves, splendid caverns that stretch ten or 12 kilometres into the mountains. There are reportedly 100 caves inside Chiang Dao of which only five are currently open to public. The cave walls are covered with images of Buddha as well as pagan deities and include interesting rock formations.
  • After exploring the caves we will drive on to Mae Rim, a small town located to the north of Chiang Mai.
  • After checking into Hmong Hilltribe Lodge at Mae Rim, you can spend the rest of the day at leisure. Explore the town or relax at the resort.
Day 5 (Mae Saa- Chiang Mai)
  • Today is a relaxed day. After a leisurely breakfast at the resort, you will be taken on a guided tour of the adjoining tribal villages as well as the house of the Shamam, the spiritual chief of the Hmong tribe. Learn about the culture and history of the tribe who originated from the Yangtze basin in south China before migrating to Thailand. See the traditional methods of embroidery and batik work practiced by the tribe even today using the age-old techniques of their ancestors.
  • We will return to the resort to collect your luggage and then make our way to Chiang Mai.
  • We will stop for lunch at a local restaurant and then make a short visit to the famous Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park, one of the most popular tourist attractions near Chiang Mai. This is an outdoor museum that shows how elephant poo fibres are used to make paper products. Join the talented artisans for a hands-on experience of the process. Although, if you’re squeamish, you could choose to just watch instead!
  • After this, it’s an hour’s drive to Chiang Mai. Check into your hotel where the rest of the day can be spent as you like. Get a traditional Thai massage or sample some of the city’s delectable street food.
Day 6 (Chiang Mai- Lahu outpost)
  • Today we begin the second leg of our northern adventure. After breakfast at your hotel, we will depart for Lisu Lodge. Enjoy refreshments at the lodge and then set off in an open truck for Pha Mieng. This is the starting point of your trek.
  • We will walk along a trail that takes us through the jungle to Hmong Pha Mieng village. This is a moderate trek and will take about one and a half hours through the forest. Meet the villagers of this secluded village and share a picnic lunch with them while enjoying the untouched beauty of the surroundings.
  • Post lunch it’s back to the trail for another trek up to the Pha Daeng's Red Lahu village and another hour’s trek onwards to the village of Kup Kap. This trail will take you along the ridge of the mountain and will provide stunning views of Chiang Mai’s cityscape as well as the shimmering lights of Myanmar that lies to the west of the mountains.
  • The day’s trekking ends here and we make our way to the Lahu outpost. The accommodation here is simple and replicates a basic Lahu house. Mattresses, pillows and blankets are the basic supplies provided.
  • This is your chance to experience rural tribal life in the wild with just the bare necessities. Are you up for it?
Day 7 (Lahu outpost- rafting- Lisu Lodge)
  • Our outdoor adventure continues today with more trekking, rafting and tea picking. After an early breakfast at Lahu outpost, we start a long one and a half hour trek to Huay Sadharn Waterfall. The trail takes us down a steep path through the jungle. Make sure to wear sturdy walking shoes with good traction. Once at the waterfall, a local truck takes us to the rafting point.
  • Enjoy 45 minutes of rafting on the river. We will provide all rafting gear including paddles and helmets and our safety instructors will accompany you at all time to ensure your safety on the water. This is a moderately easy rafting stretch. So you can have a good time even if you’re a first-timer.
  • After rafting, we set off for Lisu Lodge with a pit stop at a local tea plantation. Enjoy a guided tour of the estate and learn about the intricate process of tea making. Try your hand at picking tea leaves and then enjoy the fruits of your labour with a cup of the day’s fresh brew.
  • Enjoy another al fresco lunch and then set off for a leisurely hike to the adjoining Lisu village. Meet the local Lisu shamam have an interesting chat about Lisu customs, beliefs and rituals.
  • The rest of the day can be spent as you like. You can enjoy a tour to the local rice paddies to see how villagers cultivate rice without using pesticides. Visit the vegetable garden at Lisu Lodge where organic fertilizers are made from plant waste to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables. In the evening, enjoy a cultural Lisu dance followed by a farewell dinner.
Day 8 (Lisu Lodge- Chiang Mai)
  • On the last day of your tour, there are no set itineraries or activities for the day. Have a leisurely breakfast at Lisu Lodge and then choose the things you want to do. How about a massage followed by a relaxing steam bath after the last day’s exertions? If you’re feeling more adventurous, then enjoy a bike tour around the lodge.
  • The final meal of the tour is a gala lunch of Thai delicacies. Enjoy a wide assortment of delectable curries, satays and salads.
  • After lunch, its Sa wad dee as we drive you to Chiang Mai with the hope of seeing you again soon.
Pickup point
Directions.
Chiang Mai Airport (CNX), Mahidol Road, Su Thep, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai, Thailand View on Map