Thailand Express - 5 days
If you want to sample the delights of Thailand, but are short on time then this 5 day tour could be perfect for you. Kicking off in the captivating capital city of Bangkok, journey north to explore the night markets of Chiang Mai and mingle with the hill tribes in Chiang Rai. With the option to end your tour in Chiang Mai or return to Bangkok.
This morning we see vibrant floral displays at Bangkok's 24hr Flower Market before exploring the stunning Grand Palace, crowned by lofty gilt stupas and home to the legendary Emerald Buddha. After we take an exhilarating ride on a Tuk Tuk to Wat Pho - the temple of the Reclining Buddha and birthplace of traditional Thai massage. Jumping onboard our longtail boats we discover the city’s canals, known as Khlongs. Exploring the city by boat gives insight into the lives of the city's riverside dwellers - the overtly rich and incredibly poor.
After we drive to Ayuthaya, have dinner and include day use rooms for you to freshen up before we take the overnight express sleeper train (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins) to Chiang Mai.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast, Dinner
Chiang Mai - Mae Rim. This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. First up we visit the imposing Doi Suthep Temple that stands like a sentinel over the city. The tranquility of chanting temple monks is a real highlight and we take time to enjoy this and the view before driving into the countryside to the Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribes village. Four separate Thai hill tribes live at Baan Tong Luang - the Lahu, Hmong, White Karen and the Long necked Karen and we'll have the opportunity to learn all about their lifestyle and customs, see their traditional dress and purchase handicrafts that they make.
We travel on to the Hmong Hill Tribe Lodge where we will stay this evening. This afternoon you can take a walk into the surrounding countryside to visit the some of the nearby hill tribe villages. In the evening we enjoy a sumptuous BBQ before being entertained by dancers from the local community. The lodge has been in operation for the last 30 years and works in symbiosis with the local population, which offers a wonderful insight into the lives of some of the smaller minority groups in the Kingdom.
Overnight: Mae Rim | Dinner
Mae Rim - Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai. Following an early breakfast, we bid farewell to our hosts and set off north towards Chiang Rai. Our journey today takes us through stunning karst and jungle scenery and our first stop of the day is at the unconventional Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) which depicts scenes from modern movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman. After visiting the temple, we'll take a break for lunch before boarding boats on the Kok River for an hour long longtail boat cruise to Chiang Rai. En route we'll see farmers working the land where oranges grow, whilst men fish along the banks and buffalo wallow in the shallow waters.
In Chiang Rai we visit Lahu village which is surrounded by lush green countryside and inhabited by the Lahu people, who make their living from farming the land. We’ll take a walk through this enchanting little village, which has stilt houses and livestock roaming the streets. Then we continue our boat journey to Ruammit village which is home to the Karen tribe and has retained its traditional culture. After a brief stop here we drive to Chiang Mai, where the rest of the evening is free to spend at leisure.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast
Cooking Pad Thai
Friday. This morning you can join your tour guide in giving out Alms to the local monks before returning to your hotel for breakfast. We then take a traditional trishaw for a ride around the old city of Chiang Mai visiting well known temples within the city walls.
Today for lunch, we learn to cook 3 of the most popular Thai dishes, the perfect souvenir to take home. Pay attention though, as you get to eat what you cook for your lunch! The rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore. Choose from adrenaline-fueled adventures such a canopy zip lining or opt for a more relaxing affair with spa treatments and massages. In the evening join us for a trip down to the Chiang Mai night market, a haven of souvenirs and works by local artisans.
As your tour concludes today in Chiang Mai, you are welcome to depart at any time you wish. You can choose to depart this morning, after the cooking course we would suggest booking a flight no earlier than 5pm or stay with us till after returning from the night market. Hotel check out is at 12 noon and if staying longer you might wish to consider booking extra accommodation. Alternatively, you may choose to end your tour in Bangkok, by booking our Bangkok extension.
End this tour in Bangkok or Yi Peng Lantern Festival
END YOUR TOUR IN BANGKOK
There is the option to end this tour in Bangkok. Includes: 1 night accommodation in Chiang Mai on day 5. Breakfast, transfer to Chiang Mai airport and flight to Bangkok arriving before 12 noon on day 6. Arrangements end upon arrival to Bangkok's Don Muang airport. If your onward flight is from Suvarnabhumi Airport you will need to make arrangements to transfer to this airport upon your arrival.
YI PENG LANTERN FESTIVAL
On 01 November 2017 join us for the spirited and always lively Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai. At the festival we will witness to the release of thousands of beautifully coloured, candle lit Lanna-style lanterns into the sky and local river. If travelling on this date, please refer to and book our 6 day Yi Peng Express tour.
Prices & Dates
Departure dates noted with a 'G' are guaranteed to operate. All other departure dates are guaranteed with a minimum of 2 persons. Prices shown are per person travelling. 'Twin/Double' prices per person apply when there are 2 people travelling, sharing a room. The 'Single supplement' applies for single travellers who require their own room and needs to be added to the 'Twin/Double' price. If you are happy to be paired up with another single traveller of the same sex on your tour, this can be arranged, thus avoiding the single person supplement.
The hotels listed below are ones which we frequently use on this tour. We reserve the right to substitute these hotels to ones of a similar standard when necessary.
Royal Princess Larn Luang, Bangkok
Located in the heart of Bangkok Old City, The Royal Princess Larn Luang hotel offers stylish accommodation along with a range of facilities and, most importantly, comfort. The spacious guest rooms are decorated with neutral colours and equipped with modern amenities such as cable TV and internet access, with wonderful views of either the city or the pool area with its shady palms. The property has four restaurants, offering a range of delicious international cuisine, while tasty cocktails and light snacks are served in the lobby lounge and Princess Club. After a day of sightseeing guests can enjoy a refreshing swim in the hotel's large outdoor pool, or head to the spa and fitness centre, before listening to live music at the Princess Club.
Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, Mae Rim
Set within the spectacular mountains and rice fields of Mae Rim, the Hmong Lodge offers guests a unique opportunity to experience traditional Hmong culture amidst striking natural beauty. Conveniently located just an hours drive from Chiang Mai, The Hmong Lodge offers travellers the perfect balance of style and comfort and offers them the chance to meet and learn about nearby tribal communities. The comfortable guest rooms are beautifully crafted from wood and have a splash of colour added with the Hmong quilts. The lodge features an outdoor pool, spa and open-air restaurant. Days can be spent with local tribes and exploring the stunning surrounding landscapes while evenings at the lodge can be filled with a barbecue and al fresco dining followed by traditional Hmong performances including dancing.
Amora Hotel Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai
Close to the Tapae Gate, Amora Hotel Chiang Mai is a modern property with great amenities. Guest rooms are designed in the modern Northern Thai (Lanna) style and come with air conditioning, TV, mini bar and room service. The hotel also boasts a refreshing outdoor pool and fitness centre as well as Chili's restaurant - serving up a delicious array of transitional Thai and international cuisine. The Lobby Lounge Bar and Pool Bar are great places to enjoy a cocktail at the end of the day.
Enhance your trip with these amazing added extras and add-ons
Overall, a great experience - everything was well planned and our guide had strong connections which helped us with a contingency plan when we faced unfavourable rainy weather and train delays/ road closures on day 4 of the trip. It would be better if there were less temple visits in the package - 3 temples is overkill. This part should be optional. The cooking class was a highlight - well presented and very practical. ”