Northern Sojourn, Kanachaburi and Bangkok

Having a personal guide with a car is just the ticket for the Northern loop through the smaller communities in the Golden Triangle and the beautiful forested highlands and valleys within the Thai and Myanmar border. The cities of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai had been part of the caravan routes used by traders between China, Myanmar and India from the 15th century. In Pai and Mae Hong Son, your guide facilitates access to minority hill tribes and   community based tourism projects. Natural wonders abound with jungles, caves, hot springs, and rides with elephants, bamboo rafting to name a few.

We will take advantage of a really good but inexpensive bus to the UNESCO Heritage site of Sukothai, the 1st kingdom of Siam in the 13th and 14th centuries. Biking to explore not only the ancient ruins, but the surrounding countryside which is still very rural with rice fields and traditional markets is still a great way to visit.

Explore Bangkok up close and personal, - with a private guide and using the vast array of public transportation that Bangkok has to offer – Sky Train, Tuk Tuk, and canal boats.

Finally Kanchanaburi with a difference! Instead of the usual day trip from Bangkok, or a guided program with transportation, how about traveling one way from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi on the infamous “Death railway” built by prisoners of the 2nd World War?  2 nights of hotel and freedom to explore this whole area, rich in history and beauty is included.

Day 1, Arrival into Chiang Rai.

Your guide will meet you on arrival. A short transfer (only 1.3km,) to your hotel for a well deserved rest.

Day 2, Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle

Breakfast at your hotel. Enjoy a half day seeing the highlights of Chiang Rai city. Wat Rong KhunTransfer from your hotel to the King Meng Rai Monument. From there, board a samlor (rickshaw), and start with a ride to the main market area, to get a feel for the local life in town. Continue to Wat Phra Kaew with its beautiful brass and copper Buddha image, and further still by rickshaw to the Hilltribe Museum. Leave your rickshaw behind and continue by road to end your half day visit at Wat Rong Khun with its unique kanok architecture.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the ancient Kingdom of Chiang Saen on the banks of Mekong River, where you will see some magnificent ancient ruins of Wat Pasak. Embark on a long-tail boat trip to the Golden Triangle area, to visit the Hall of Opium.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 3, Golden Triangle- Mae Sai – Doi Tung- MaeSalong - Thaton

Breakfast at your hotel. Depart your hotel for Mae Sai, the bustling trading town at the northernmost border between Thailand and Myanmar. Proceed to the Doi Tung region, 2000m above sea level. The Doi Tung Development Project was established to eradicate the cultivation of opium and encourage farmers to use sustainable agricultural practices. Visit Mae Fah Luang Gardens and Doi Tung Temple. Continue to the Royal Handicraft Center to discover mulberry paper making, pottery, and weaving.

After lunch at a local restaurant, drive up into the hills to Doi Mae Salong. The town of Mae               Salong was founded in the 1960s by former Kuo Mintang soldiers who had been expelled from Myanmar. You can visit the many community owned tea and coffee plantations.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 4, Thaton- Chiang Dao - Pai

Breakfast at your hotel. Depart your hotel to the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp and enjoy a one Elephant Camphour elephant ride into the thick forest surrounding the camp before watching the elephants taking their morning bath in the running stream. After their bath, the trainers and elephants will demonstrate a number of their skills for you. Picnic lunch will be taken on the way. Continue towards Pai with stops en route at Mok Fah Waterfall and Pong Duad Hotspring.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 5, Pai – Tham Lod – Mae Hong Son

After breakfast, continue towards Soppong. The area boasts limestone caves, said to be some of the largest in South East Asia. Visit the chambers, following a series of walkways and crossing small creeks by bamboo raft, which takes you floating through the cavern in the darkness, listening to and smelling the bats overhead. After the visit and lunch at a local restaurant, continue by car to Tham Pla, a park with a number of creeks running out of a cave which is packed with Phluang fish. Then continue to Mae Hong Son. Upon arrival in town, drive around the central lake to visit Burmese style temples Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 6, Mae Hong Son – Khun –Yuam – Mae Chaem

After breakfast, start your day with the short transfer to Baan Huai Dua boat landing and takeRoad_to_village-CHughes a 30- minute long-tail boat ride along a scenic route with marvelous cataracts on the Pai River to Baan Nam Piang Din, a small Thai-Burmese border village. A stop is made at a long-necked Karen (or Padong) village. Return to the boat pier and continue to Khun Yuam where you will have lunch, followed by a visit of the World War II Museum containing an assortment of weapons, uniforms, military equipment and personal possessions left behind by Japanese soldiers who took possession of the town in the closing weeks of the war in neighboring Myanmar.

In the late afternoon, arrival in Mae Chaem, famous for its weaving workshops.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 7, Mae Chaem – Doi Inthanon- Chiang Mai

After breakfast, depart for Doi Inthanon National Park, home to Thailand’s highest peak. Doi InthanonThe park is especially popular among bird watchers, with more than 300 species reported. Visit the summit to see the shrine of Chao Inthawitchayanon, the former prince of Chiang Mai, before stopping at Wat Phra That Chom Thong with its holy relic and ancient treasures. A short trek along Michael’s Trail offers a beautiful and unforgettable experience. Lunch on this tour is served at a local restaurant. Proceed to Chiang Mai where the tour ends.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 8, Chiang Mai

Day at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast / Lunch

Day 9, Chiang Mai to Sukothai

Breakfast at hotel. Check out time is at 12.00. The Winotour leaves Chiangmai almost hourly to Sukothai. Bus fare (THB240 per person one way, subject to change) is not included.Travel time is approximately 5 hours, 30 minutes. On arrival at bus station in Sukothai best take a taxi to your hotel.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10,  Sukothai

Explore Sukothai Historical Park by bicycle and if time permits, the rural landscape is also perfect to for bicycle trips.
Meals: Breakfast

Day 11, Sukothai to Bangkok

Flight to Bangkok with transfers.
Meals : Breakfast

Day 12, Bangkok Exploration

The city of Bangkok is vast, bustling, and noisy. Spend the day with your personal guide and roam the city using all modes of public transportation – the Sky Train, Tuk Tuk, canal boats, walking. Major destinations include the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Wat Arun, Jim Thompsons Silk House, etc.
Meals : Breakfast

Day 13- 14, Bangkok to Kanchanaburi

Travel by 3rd class train on the infamous Death Railway to Kanchanaburi. On arrival, transfer to your hotel by taxi. Use the hotel as a base for 2 nights to explore Kanchanaburi on your own. All the various sites (e.g Jeath Museum, Thailand-Burma Railway Center, Hellfire pass are accessible as well as Erawan National Park.
Meals : Breakfast

Day 15, Kanchanaburi

Return to Bangkok by car and transfer directly to the airport for your flight home or to the South for sun, sand and sea!
Meals: Breakfast