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Hmong girls in traditional dress

Hill tribes of northern Thailand

11-day itinerary


Short description

Explore northern Thailand, taking in Sukhothai, Lampang, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai to discover the hill tribes that live here amidst stunning scenery.

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Recommended for:
Escorted tour | History & culture | Natural world | Wildlife

The northern reaches of Thailand are home to some of the country’s most fascinating hill tribes, who live amidst stunning scenery and impressive rivers. Take this tour to discover the historic centres of Sukhothai, Lampang and Chiang Mai, Thailand’s laidback second city, which is also the gateway to Chiang Rai and the area where the Hmong, Lisu and Lahu live, maintaining their own traditional dress, language and customs.

Day by day itinerary

Days 1-3

Depart the UK for Bangkok, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to the Sukhothai Hotel. The rest of the day is free to spend at your leisure. The following day is free for you to wander Bangkok with an evening dinner cruise arranged along the Chao Praya River.

Days 4-5

This morning transfer back to Bangkok Airport for a morning flight to Sukhothai. Arriving in Sukhothai, enjoy a visit to the Sri Satchanalai Historical Parks. In the afternoon visit old Sukhothai, the first Capital of Thailand from 1257 to 1379. Visit Ramkamhaeng Museum, Sukhothai historical park, with its Wat Mahathad in the ruined Palace grounds and Wat Sri Chum, where the oath of allegiance to the former Kings of Sukhothai was taken.

The next morning, transfer from Sukhothai to Lampang, visit Wat Phrathad Lampang Luang, and then board the train from Lampang Railway Station to Chiang Mai. On arrival at Chiang Mai Railway Station, transfer to your hotel.

Days 6-7
Chiang Mai

In the morning, enjoy a tour of the city and temples. The city of Chiang Mai has a wealth of beautiful and historic Buddhist Wats (temples). Near the summit of Doi Suthep, is the 600 year old temple of Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep. After a drive up the mountain’s winding road, the final climb to the site is via an enormous mythological Naga (Dragon-headed serpent) staircase of 306 steps. On a clear day, there are incomparable views over the city of Chiang Mai from the temple grounds. Other temples visited on this tour include Wat Suan Dok and Wat Chedi Luang.

In the afternoon take a Chiang Mai Lifestyle Tour, visiting a local farmhouse in Mae Rim on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Take a leisurely stroll around the grounds before cruising along the Mae Ping River by long-tail boat. You will see wooden houses and modern residences with colourful scenery and lifestyle of the local people. Visit Waroros fresh food Market before taking a trishaw ride along Tapae Road down through City Walls and along Rajdamnern Road to Wat Phra Singh (A.D.1345), which houses a very old and sacred Buddha image, Phra Singh.

The following day you’ll visit Mae Sa Elephant Camp and a long-necked hilltribe village, starting with an adventure trek through some of the most picturesque parts of the northern countryside. Northwest of Chiang Mai is Mae Sa Elephant Camp and it’s here we head to watch the demonstration of elephants at work, moving logs and generally showing off their various skills. After the display, there’s an exciting elephant trek through the woods to a Padong long-necked hilltribe village. After lunch there is time to explore the Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden and learn about the tropical plants and flowers before returning to your hotel.

Days 8-10
Chiang Rai

Transfer from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, with stops at Mae Kajan Hotsprings, and Wat Rongkhun (White Temple). Enjoy a full day excursion to the Yao and Akha hilltribe villages. Drive on to Mae Sai, the farthermost northern border between Thailand and Burma before moving onto the Golden Triangle area, where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos convene, then to Chiang Sean (A.D.1260) on the steep banks of the Mae Khong river, opposite Laos. Witness some magnificent, ancient ruins & temples.

Enjoy a half day at Doi Tung and the Royal Villa. Drive up to the highest mountain peak on the Thai/Burma border, Doi Tung, 2,000 meters above sea-level, before heading onto Mae Fah Luang Gardens and the Royal Villa. Drive further up to Wat Phra Thad Doi Tung on the mountain peak, regarded as the holiest sanctuary by the residents of Chiang Rai and nearby provinces. The Wat was built in A.D 911 and it’s believed that the left collarbone of Lord Buddha is enshrined in the twin pagodas.

Day 11
Chiang Rai - Bangkok - UK

Transfer to Chiang Rai Airport for your flight to Bangkok and your onward connection.

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