11F THAILAND FAMILY TOUR

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Hill Tribes & Elephants

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

Pitsanolok & Chiang Mai: over 300 temples Chiang Mai: over 300 temples, wooden houses, quiet leafy gardens Moderate walks from village to village Pai River bamboo-raft trip Elephant ride! Bangkok city tour

  • DATES & PRICES
  • FULL ITINERARY
  • MAP & HOTELS
  • TRIP INFORMATION

Dates & Prices

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Prices are in US Dollars (USD), before taxes (if applicable) - All pricing reflects per-person Land Only expenses, however, we can book flights from virtually every city. Please call us for an air quote.


Start DateEnd DatePriceMore Info
Wed 16 Dec 2015Sat 26 Dec 2015 $1970
Wed 14 Dec 2016Sat 24 Dec 2016 $1970

Optional Single Supplement: $500 (number of singles limited).


Tour Overview


A boat ride along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok will allow us to see the riverfront temples and palaces and realize why this stretch of water is referred to as the River of Kings. A bicycle ride along the Ping River in Chiand Mai lets us witness the rural beauty that is exemplified through the many fruit orchards, rice paddies and flourishing vegetable gardens. The Pharah That Doi Suthep that looms above us isn't as immense in grandeur compared to the history of pilgrimages taken to this spiritually significant temple. The lifestyles of remote hill tribes will be discovered as we are warmly welcomed into traditional villages.

Regions visited: Southeast Asia
Countries visited: Thailand


Full Itinerary

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Day 1 Arrival
Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Meal plan: dinner

Day 2 Bangkok: City Tour
The epitome of a modern Asian city, Bangkok is a great introduction to Thai culture, history, art and religion. Here we will have the opportunity to explore the rich treasures within the riverfront temples and palaces and wander through the active markets and streets.

After lunch we visit the National Museum, the largest museum in Southeast Asia. The collection of Thai art and various styles within the different galleries is truly exceptional. As Thailand's capital has previously been Ayutthaya and Sukhothai, you will be brought back to different periods through the assortment of arts and artifacts. The nucleus of the collection was first put on show in 1874 and was organized seriously as a national collection in 1933. The museum is housed in several different buildings, themselves fine examples of Thai architecture.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 3 Bangkok - Chiang Mai
Today we fly to Chiang Mai. Founded in the 13th century, Chiang Mai is a treasure trove of history, religion, culture and art. Currently a flourishing cultural and economic center, it is a city in transition. Thai, Burmese, Lao and hill tribe cultural influences reflect an exotic blend of styles and traditions.

Upon arrival we tour some of the local highlights, including the City Temple, local market, and the seldom visited ruins of Viang Khum Kaam, considered to be the ancient city on which Chiang Mai was built.

This evening we will transfer in a convoy of tuk tuks (a noisy and wonderfully colourful three-wheeled conveyance) to enjoy a traditional Northern Thai Kantoke dinner followed by folk dancing.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 4 Chiang Mai: City Tour
We begin our tour of Chiang Mai's ancient temples and ruins including the famous Phrah That Doi Suthep temple, the landmark of Chiang Mai. Doi Suthep, which dominates the skyline to the west of Chiang Mai, is characterized by the eagles-nest temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. This is Northern Thailand's holiest shrine and one of Thailand's most important place of pilgrimage. The white elephant that carried a Buddha relic to Wat Suan Dok is said to have fallen and died on this spot. From the road where jade and ivory factory showrooms do a roaring trade, a 300-step staircase, flanked by a pair of huge nagas, leads to the top. We also visit the Hill Tribe Ethnographic Museum.

Our afternoon is free to enjoy this area's comprehensive selection of Thai crafts, from world famous silk to the impressive lacquerware and woodcarving. This evening, after dinner, we will enjoy a visit to Chiang Mai's famous Night Bazaar.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 5 Chiang Mai - Trek to Karen Village
The most intriguing aspect of this area of Thailand is the abundance of Hill Tribes, most of which have been living a lifestyle virtually unchanged for centuries. Our trekking is reasonably easy, and can be achieved by most people of reasonable fitness. Generally we trek for about 2-3 hours per day, encountering both gradual slopes and hills. We try to keep our trek to a somewhat free form style as we prefer to modify the speed and difficulty of the trek according to the needs of the specific group. Sleeping bags are needed for the trek. The accommodation is "dormitory" style, and is simple but clean. The trek provides the perfect opportunity to really meet the fascinating people of this area.

After breakfast we leave Chiang Mai by pick up truck or jeep and drive through the hills to the market at Mae Malai. We continue for another 1.5 hour to an Akha village. There are approximately 20,000 Akha living in Thailand's northern provinces of Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai at high altitudes. This tribe originates in Tibet. Every Akha village is distinguished by its carved wooden gates, presided over by guardian spirits. They live on marginal land and find it difficult to eke out a living through their slash and burn method of agriculture. In order to supplement their income, many Akha are now selling handicrafts, employing the traditional skills used in making their own clothing and cultural items.

We begin our 2 hour hike to a Karen village for a visit, and then finish our day at another Karen village. The Karen are the largest hilltribe group in Northern Thailand. Karen villages don't move their location often, and many villages have been in the same place for hundreds of years. Tonight you will have a chance to witness life in a Karen home and maybe even help out with dinner!

Overnight in a Karen village.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 6 Trek: Elephant Ride & Lahu Village
After a hearty breakfast we hike for 2 hours to Elephant Camp where we enjoy a memorable elephant ride for about 1.5 hours while we absorb the beautiful natural scenery through the jungle.

We then trek to visit the Lahu tribe, about 30 minutes. The Lahu are related to the Lolo of Tibet who migrated through China and Myanmar to settle in Thailand about 50 years ago.

Overnight in a Lahu village.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 7 Lahu Village - Rafting to Shan Village - Chiang Mai
Up with the roosters to the aroma of cooking rice and the welcome sun breaking through mists over the hills.

After breakfast we get ready for an adventurous bamboo rafting from our Lahu village to a Shan village for about 2 to 3 hours. The Shans are considered among the earliest inhabitants of this region of Thailand and so their way of living is much like that of northern lowland Thais. We lunch at the Shan village, after which we drive by truck to visit a waterfall, possibly for a swim and some relaxation, prior to returning to Chiang Mai.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 8 Chiang Mai - Paduang & Meo Hill Tribes - Golden Triangle - Chiang Rai
We depart Chiang Mai by overland journey to Tha Ton to visit the Karen Paduang ("Long Neck") and Meo Hill tribes. The Paduang are refugees from Burma. Originally semi-nomadic farmers in the jungle, they now rely for income from the sale of handicrafts and donations from visitors. The women wear striking clothing and the striking neck rings from which the name derives.

The Meo, also called the Hmongs, are spread around the mountains in the northern most provinces of Thailand. The term "Meo" has become a sort of collective name Thai people use for describing the hill tribe people in general. Like other hill tribe people, they have their own set of beliefs in spirituality and nature.

We continue our journey to the Golden Triangle with a visit to the Laos and Myanmar border before arriving in Chiang Rai.

Overnight in Chiang Rai.

Meal plan: breakfast,lunch,dinner

Day 9 Chiang Rai - Overnight train
We have a city tour of Chiang Rai before transferring back to Chian Mao in time to catch the overnight, air-conditioned train to Bangkok (FIRST CLASS).

The Kingdom of Thailand has a very good inter-provincial rail system. It is a comfortable way to travel for Thai's and visitors alike, with room you can enjoy the passing scenery of small villages, farmland, and old temples.

NOTE: single compartments NOT available; single supplements reflect sharing for this one night.

Overnight train.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 10 Bangkok
This morning we arrive in Bangkok with the balance of the day free.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Meal plan: breakfast,dinner

Day 11 Depart
Departure from Bangkok.

BON VOYAGE!!

Meal plan: breakfast

Tour Map

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*The red tour trail on the map does not represent the actual travel path.


Hotel List


The following is a list of sample hotels at some locations included on this tour. The hotels shown here are meant to provide a general sense of the standard of hotel we usually aim for; they are not necessarily confirmed for your chosen departure.


Miracle Suvarnabhumi Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Bangkok
Country: Thailand

All rooms are spacious with minimalist decor, large bathroom which is nicely equipped. The hotel also has a variety of
... and services including all day dining at the coffee shop, sumptuous Chinese restaurant and traditional Japanese restaurant, fitness center & spa, out door rooftop swimming pool.


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Triple Two Silom Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Bangkok
Country: Thailand

Triple Two Silom is an innovative and exclusive business class boutique hotel, providing high quality personalized service in a relaxed
... for both business and leisure travelers. Choose from our 75 luxury rooms in two sizes: Deluxe Room 45 sqm. Or Junior Suite Room 60 sqm.

Being only 25 kilometers from Bangkok International Airport, you can take the airport limousine, airport shuttle bus, or even a public metered taxi, while the Hotel’s taxi also provides 24 hour service for your convenience and security.

Hua Lumphong Railway Station is 3 kilometers away and can be reached within a few minutes.

A Skytrain Station is 1 kilometer away and can be reached within 10 minutes.

Expressway entrances are just 1 kilometer from the hotel.


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Porn Ping Tower Hotel

Rating: 3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation3 Star Accommodation
Location: Chiang Mai
Country: Thailand

Porn Ping Tower Hotel is located in the middle of town, in the main business centre, and is also close
... the Night Bazaar. Porn Ping Tower Hotel offers 325 Deluxe rooms. Each is full furnished with convenience facilities. From the room you have a nice view of Doi Suthep or the Ping River, the main river of Chiang Mai.


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Trip Information

To book this tour, please refer to the sidebar ►

Inclusions

Family pricing: Age 12 and under at time of travel 30% off land price, based on sharing with 2 adults; sharing with 1 adult 15% off

Most meals are provided. All transport, sightseeing and entrance fees for sites noted as 'visited' in the detailed itinerary. Gratuities for local guides, drivers, porters. Airport transfers for land & air customers arriving / departing on tour dates.

Exclusions

Tour Leader gratuity, some lunches, drinks, personal items (phone, laundry, sleeping bag), domestic and international air taxes (if applicable). Airport transfers for Land Only customers. Optional trip cancellation insurance. Our post-reservation trip notes offer further guidance on not included meal costs, packing, shopping and departure taxes.

Seasonality and Weather

Our tours in Thailand operate during the cooler, drier time of year, Nov-Apr. That said, however, the entire region experiences a warm-hot tropical climate with humidity and a chance of rain showers at any time. Inland regions can experience extreme heat, especially Feb-Apr, when it is also very dry and landscapes are brown. Overall you should prepare for warm, sticky weather with the possibility of rain and some chilly nights / mornings in a few locales.

Transport and Travel Conditions

Our trekking is MODERATE, and can be achieved by most people of reasonable fitness. Generally we trek for about five hours per day, encountering both gradual slopes and hills. We try to keep our trek to a somewhat free form style as we prefer to modify the speed and difficulty of the trek according to the needs of the specific group. Porterage / transfer of large baggage while trekking is included. The overnight train is a comfortable way to travel for Thai's and visitors alike, with room to stretch out while you enjoy the passing scenery of small villages, farmland, and old temples. NOTE: single compartments NOT available; single supplements reflect sharing for this one night. Elsewhere our road transport will likely be via private minibus.

Accommodation

While trekking, the accommodation is "dormitory" style, and is simple but clean. Hotel in towns / cities are modern, comfortable, well-located, air-conditioned, 3 star properties with en suite bath / toilet.

Staff and Support

Tour Leader, driver/s, local guides at some locations.

Group Size

10-16 (plus Tour Leader)