Duration : 5 days
Starting from : Chiang Mai Doi Inthanon National Park
Ending at : Night Bazaar
Duration : Adventure, Off the beaten track
Five day tour of Northern Thailand’s fascinating cultural villages, national parks, hot springs, temples, and museums.
Day 1 : Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai
Doi Inthanon National Park
The park is 1,005 square kilometer located south of Chiang Mai City and is, in parts, mountainous and wild. Species which are not found anywhere else in Thailand can be found here. Doi Inthanon being the Thailand's tallest mountain standing at 2,565 meters, it offers one of the best places in Thailand for bird watching.
On higher ground, one can see wild orchids growing. Trekking tours can be arranged through many agencies in Chiang Mai. It is opened 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Sunday. The charge for foreigners is THB200 and Thai is THB20.
Bo Sang Umbrella Village
For more than 200 years, almost everyone in the small village of Bo Sang has been earning a living from the umbrella trade, silk and cotton umbrellas and paper parasols.
You can watch the umbrellas being made, then choose one from the variety of beautiful and colorful designs to take home as a souvenir.
There is also an annual fair, held each January on the main street, which features an umbrella procession, beauty contests, exhibitions and the selling of umbrellas and other handicrafts.
You can visit it daily dawn to dusk and is situated at Charoen Muang Road (Road 1006), Chiang Mai 50000 Thailand.
Chiang Mai National Museum
The museum is located in a beautiful, recently renovated building on the Superhighway north of town, offers an interesting way to learn about the ancient Lanna culture. The showcases are impressive bronze and gold jewelry, and actual ceramics excavated from the famous 14th- to 16th-century kilns of the old kingdom of Lanna.
You can gain insight into the crafts and skills practiced in Lanna times. There are collections of farming tools, wood carvings, old photographs and textiles.
Day 2 : Chiang Rai
The Golden Triangle
A trip to Chiang Rai province would not be complete without seeing the notorious Golden Triangle first hand! This famed border location where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet on the Mekong River was once supposed to be the center of all the poppy cultivation in Thailand.
Travel approximately 9 kilometers north of old town Chiang Saen, along the road parallel to the Mekong River to the area where the borders of Thailand, Myammar and Laos converge. This area where the Mekong River meets the Ruak River is locally referred to as ""Sop Ruak"". Within this area are remains of many ancient places and structures attesting to the fact that the area had been settled by people in the past. It is also the area where various legends concerning the Lanna ancestors originate.
Boats can be hired in order to view the upstream scenery of the Golden Triangle and to travel downstream to Chiang Khong. The trip to the Golden Triangle and Chiang Khong would take approximately 40 minutes and 1 hour respectively, depending on river currents and water levels.
Doi Mae Salong
Doi Mae Salong is the site of Santi Khiri village, a community settled by the former Chinese 93rd Division who moved from Myanmar to reside on Thai territory in 1961. The village became well known for its enchanting scenery and tranquil atmosphere.
Today it is a major tourist attraction with its small-town ambience, delicious native Chinese dishes, small hotels and guesthouses catering to visitors and tea, coffee and fruit tree plantations. The scenery is especially picturesque in December and January when sakuras are in full bloom.
Scattered with many hill tribe villages, Doi Mae Salong is ideal for trekking.
Wat Phra Kaeo
Wat Phra Kaeo, which is located on Trairat Road on the northwest side of town, is the best known of the northern temples. It once housed the Emerald Buddha, Thailand's most important Buddha statue which was discovered in 1444. The statue had been moved by various state rulers to be placed in their capitals including Lampang, Chiang Rai and Vientiane before finally being enshrined in Bangkok's royal Wat Phra Kaeo.
There is now a green jade replica of the image on display. The temple also houses a 700-year bronze statue of Phra Chao Lan Thong, which is housed in the Chiang Saen style ubosot.
Day 3 : Chiang Rai - Mae Hong Son
Huai Nam Dang National Park
At Km. 65 on the Pai-Mae Malai route (No.1095), there is a turning leading to the headquarters of the Huai Nam Dang National Park. Visitors can spend the night in tents to wait for the spectacular views of sunrise and mist-shrouded mountain views in the morning. Cherry blossom during January adds charms to the attraction.
Rafting along the Pai River
This is an exciting and delightful recreation. The Pai itself is the longest river of Mae Hong Son originating from mountain ranges in Laos which flows through Pai district and eventually joins the Salawin river in Myanmar, a total distance of 180 kilometers. With an average depth of some 7 meters, the riverbed is mainly pebbled. There are several sectors eminently suitable for rafting past rapids and natural scenery including beautiful waterfalls.
Tour operators in Mae Hong Son town or in Pai district can provide the necessary service, some also able to provide elephant rides. The best time for rafting is from October to March.
Tha Pai Hot Spring
This is another attraction in the area of Huai Nam Dang National Park. The hot spring is two kilometers off Route 1095 at Km. 87. It has an average temperature of 80 celcius. Steam from the spring permeates the site in the morning creating fascinating sights. The area is also rich in teakwoods and suitable for overnight camping.
Day 4 : Mae Hong Son - Mae Hong Son
Mae Hong Son
This lively market is crowded from early morning till 9 am. It is where visitors can see people lifestyle and buy various local food and products. It is located near Wat Hua Wiang on Sihanatbamrung Road.
Hill tribe Trekking
Mae Hong Son has several tour operators that specialize in trekking. Treks are designed to expose visitors to splendor nature and a variety of hill tribes. The adventure may combine jungle walks with elephant riding and river rafting.
The cool winter months of November to February are the best time to travel. You should avoid the height of the rainy season in August and September. In the dry months between March and May, the temperature can soar uncomfortably high for strenuous mountain hikes.
Day 5 : Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai
Mae Hong Son
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
This famous and important temple founded since 1383 enjoys a prominent position in Chiang Mai, overlooking the city from its mountainside perch. It sits about 3,520 feet above sea level and is accessible via a steep naga staircase comprising around 300 steps.
The temple has a huge golden chedi (spire), within which lie some holy Buddha relics that attract devotees from the world over. To reach the temple itself requires a climb up a naga staircase of 309 steps. For the faint of heart, there's also a funicular cable-car to the top which has just been re-built after several fatal crashes. The fare for the new improved funicular is 20 Baht per person.
The chedi is in a small courtyard at the very peak of the mountain. The courtyard building sits on a larger plaza containing several buildings as well as a lookout point from which you can see, weather permitting, all of Chiang Mai and the surrounding plain.
The visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Sunday. The site is situated at the Continuation of Huay Keaw Road, Chiang Mai 50300 Thailand..
Chiang Mai Zoo
The Chiang Mai Zoo has more than 6,000 animals in an environment comprising two waterfalls, reservoirs, an open park, camping spots and animal breeding areas. Among its recent arrivals are 10 penguins, the first ever in Thailand; gibbons, which are bred successfully; and Chayo, the baby elephant, born at the time of the Leonid meteor shower, who became the symbol of the Bangkok Asian Games. The entrance fee for adult is THB40 and for child is THB20.
Queen Sirikit Botanical Gardens
The garden was opened in 1992 and covers a large area that incorporates many vegetation types, including some rare species. Moreover, the mountain location makes it an enjoyable escape for everyone, particularly nature enthusiasts.
The best time to see the flowers in bloom is during the cool season. Visitors can take a leisurely walk along the many winding nature trails and generally get away from it all. The entrance fee is THB20 each. It is located at 100 Moo 9, Km 12, Chiang Mai 50180 Thailand.
Though the main Night Bazaar is located in a rather drab three-storey building, this shoppers' paradise also sprawls along the entire Chang Klan Road. The street stalls sell a variety of items, including fine Thai silk, antiques, silver, clothing, handicrafts, CDs, videos, perfumes and watches. However, you should be careful of many imitation branded goods.
It is opened from 6 p.m. until midnight from Monday to Sunday. It is located at 104-1 Chang Klan Road, Chiang Mai 50100 Thailand.