Yi Peng Express - 6 days
Join in the festivities of the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai on this short, sweet and unique 6 day tour of Thailand. Starting in Bangkok, take in the highlights of the capital, meet the hill tribes of Chiang Rai and explore Chiang Mai, where we'll see thousands of beautifully illuminated lanterns released into the sky and along the river.
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. We take a trishaw ride and explore the old city of Chiang Mai before driving up to the holy temple Doi Suthep, which is perched on a mountain top overlooking Chiang Mai.
This afternoon we prepare for tomorrow's Yi Peng Festival by making our own Krathongs to sail down the river. Heading to the market first to stock up on all the materials we need. 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
Today is free for you to spend at leisure before the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong festivities this evening. Relax or partake in some of the activities on offer. Choose from adrenaline-fuelled adventures such a canopy zip lining and rock climbing or opt for a 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!
This evening we join in the celebrations of the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong Festival. Celebrated throughout the Kingdom on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, the Loi Krathong festival is named after the floating lanterns, boats and ornaments that are set adrift onto rivers during the celebrations. For some, floating a Krathong, especially when lit, are meant to honour Buddha. For most Thais, it’s a way to thank the Hindu Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for her help in providing the most basic of all human necessities.
In Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom, Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as ‘Yi Peng’ where a multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns adorned with good luck wishes and prayer are released into the sky. Tonight, as both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are being celebrated at the same time, we will see lanterns floating on the waters, strings of pretty lights hanging from houses and temples, and hundreds of beautiful lanterns floating by in the sky. Setting out on foot with our guide, we'll aim to catch the lantern releases and join the other festivities which usually include fireworks, boat racing on the Ping River and parades through the streets.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast
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
Monday 26 November 2018. 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.
Post tour accommodation can be booked upon request. Alternatively, you can opt to finish your tour in Chiang Rai or book our Bangkok extension - see details below.
End this tour in Bangkok
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.
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.
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.
Raming Lodge, Chiang Mai
Just a stone's throw from the bustling night bazaar, the elegant Raming Lodge is the perfect place to unwind after a day exploring the city. The spacious rooms are decorated with clear eastern influences and encompass beautiful wooden furniture, complimenting the rich fabrics that add a splash of colour to the room. Massages and other treatments are available at the spa and the pool is a great place to relax during your leisure time. A full breakfast is served in the morning and further food can be found in the hotel's gourmet burger restaurant.
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