Today we explore the stunning Grand Palace, crowned by lofty gilt stupas and home to the legendary Emerald Buddha. We’ll also visit the House of the Reclining Buddha, the Original Thai Massage School and the 24hr Flower Market before boarding longtail boats to explore 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.
Stepping off our longtail boat we head over to Khao San Road, popular with backpackers and hippies for a little free time before returning to our hotel to freshen up before taking the overnight express sleeper train (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins) to Chiang Mai.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. In the afternoon we take a trishaw ride and explore the old city of Chiang Mai before driving up to the majestic Doi Suthep, standing like a sentinel overlooking Chiang Mai. The tranquility of monks chanting as the sun slowly heads to the horizon is a real highlight. In the evening we head into the night market to explore many of the street foods on offer and perhaps try our hand at haggling.
Overnight: Chiang Mai
A free day for you to relax or participate in some of the many activities on offer. Choose from adrenaline-fuelled adventures such a canopy zip lining and rock climbing or opt for a from more relaxing affair with spa treatments and massages. No trip to Chiang Mai would be complete without trying a local cooking class and perfecting your very own Pad Thai!
Alternatively, opt for a day trip to Lampang where you can visit the residents of the Elephant Conservation Centre. Founded in 1933 the centre is home to over 50 Asian elephants in a beautiful forest and visitors can watch the daily bathing session before enjoying a ride through the forest on one of these magnificent creatures.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast
Cruising the Kok River
Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai. Our journey today takes us through stunning karst and jungle scenery. Stopping for lunch at Ta Thon we board private long tail boats for a cruise down the Kok River watching rural life pass us by. Farmers work the land where oranges grow whilst men fish along the banks and buffalo wallow in the shallow waters. From our arrival point we continue to Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) which depicts scenes from modern movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman! Arriving to Chiang Rai early in this evening consider taking some time to enjoy the hotel facilities before taking a short stroll down to the night market for some last minute bargain hunting.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast
Sunday. Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai. This morning we head out to a local village where you'll have the chance to encounter the famous Long Neck or Karen tribe. We then continue to the border frontier town of Mae Sai, where you have the chance to cross briefly into Myanmar and enter the Burmese town of Tachilek (optional).
Our next stop is a viewpoint in Chiang Saen, better known as the Golden Triangle, which earned its name from the fact that so much opium once passed through the area. From this viewpoint we are able to see Myanmar in front of us and Laos to the right. We then have some time to visit the Opium Museum before returning to Chiang Mai at approx 8-9pm, where arrangements end.
Alternatively you can opt to finish your tour in Chiang Rai or book our Bangkok extension - see details below.
End this tour in Bangkok & the Yi Peng Lantern Festival
END YOUR TOUR IN BANGKOK
There is the option to end this tour in Bangkok for a supplement. Includes: Flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok on day 6, arriving at approximately 9.45pm. Airport transfer to hotel and one night 3 star accommodation in Bangkok. Breakfast on day 7 and departure transfer to Bangkok airport.
YI PENG LANTERN FESTIVAL
On 12 November 2016 we are offering a special Thailand Express departure that coincides with the spectacular Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai on day 3. 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 see the Yi Peng Festival summary located on our Thailand Express Trip Notes.
Prices & Dates
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
Royal Benja Hotel, Bangkok
The Royal Benja Hotel provides homely accommodation in the heart of Bangkok city with a large outdoor pool to enjoy after a long, hot day sightseeing. Benjamas Restaurant serves a wide selection of local and international cuisine whilst drinks and live music are offered at the Buddy Pub.
Centara Duangtawan Hotel, Chiang Mai
This impressive high rise hotel offers comfortable accommodation and a host of facilities. The hotel’s extensive all day dining venue plays host to sumptuous buffets, themed evening and a extensive a la carte option bringing together the best of Italian, Japanese, International, Thai and Asian Cuisine. Perched atop of the hotel is the Sunflower Chinese Restaurant affording spectacular views of Chiang Mai and some of the best Chinese Cuisine this city has to offer. The hotel also features a spacious pool with its own bar, a state of the art gym and spa.
Rimkok Hotel , Chiang Rai
Enjoying a pretty location by the Maekok River, the Rimkok Hotel provides attractive grounds and comfortable rooms with a large outdoor swimming pool and free WiFi in public areas. Garden views can be enjoyed from the private balconies of the guestrooms. The hotel's restaurants serve a selection of Thai, Chinese and International dishes.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in Thailand, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.
The tour was great! We felt like we were able to see a lot of the highlights of Thailand and taste the local food. We would of liked to see the floating markets that we had heard about and would definitely recommend adding that to the tour for the future. Overall we had a great experience though. Our tour guide was fantastic and provided a lot of knowledge to us during our trip while taking us to the local areas to try the different food that we wanted to experience. On the tour, our last hotel in Chiang Rai did not meet our standard expectations. We were given two twin beds initially even though we placed a special note prior to our trip that it was our honeymoon and would really appreciate having a king bed and requested we switched rooms. They informed us that they were not aware as there was no note on file to indicate it was our honeymoon. The rooms were very old and run down and we didn't enjoy this hotel as much as our other ones we stayed at during the rest of the tour. ”