After we have picked you up from the airport the first day is kept free to get settled in, meet your new travel buddies & either chill out or explore the area. In the evening we’ll take you to one of our favorite restaurants and then for a few drinks on Khao San road so we can all get to know each other over a beer or a bucket (or three). Then get ready for the Northern Thailand Adventure of a lifetime.
We leave Bangkok in a private mini van in the morning & stop off at some floating markets on the way out of town. When we arrive in Kanchanaburi an hour or two later, we jump on a boat & cruise down the river Kwai exploring your new surroundings. We head to the famous ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ for sunset.
Prepare to be amazed at the jaw-dropping beauty of this amazing 7-tier waterfall just an hour away from Kanchanaburi town. Bring a towel and your swimmers because you will undoubtedly want to take a dip in the crystal clear water on some, if not all, of the levels as we trek from one to the next. We’ll provide some lunch and soft drinks to keep you energised and hydrated for the walk, then when you’re done swimming & enjoying this natural wonder we can jump back in the minivan to Kanchanaburi where we will have a few hours to chill by the pool or explore the town before meeting for dinner and drinks at a couple of well-known backpacker bars in town.
After a bit of a lie in and a free morning, we hit the road again to the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya; a place that’s absolutely dripping in history and culture. We’ll take a leisurely bike ride round the world heritage site of the ancient city’s ruins & learn a little about the fascinating history of this place and indeed the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand). After exploring we’ll grab a bite to eat before hopping on the night Train to our next destination, Chiang Mai. The train is comfortable and each person gets their own full size bed with covers and pillows etc, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get a decent night’s sleep & wake up ready to go in the famous and beautiful city of Chiang Mai.
After we check into our guest house, which is ideally situated between the old & new areas of Chiang Mai, you’ll have a bit of time to relax by the pool, explore town or check out the oldest temple in Chiang Mai which is literally opposite our new digs. After lunch we’ll get a cab up to the most famous and possibly beautiful temple in Chiang Mai – Wat Pra Maha Doi Sutthep (or just Doi Sutthep for short) – This is situated way up high on the side of a mountain so the views from the top are incredible, here you get a panoramic view of the whole of Chiang Mai & the surrounding area. More free time in the afternoon to chill or explore Chiang Mai before we meet in the evening for dinner.
Today we head off to the jungle to do one of the most popular activities in the north of Thailand – a trek through the jungle. We spend one night in a hill tribe village homestay, so you can experience what life is like for the many traditional hill tribes of northern Thailand; whose way of life has not changed a huge amount for generations. On the trek itself, you’ll see all kinds of trees, plants & wildlife; we’ll do some bamboo rafting down river, and maybe even stop by another waterfall or two to freshen up.
Note: This trek does not require a high level of fitness but is a bit of a challenge, so you’ll definitely have earned the next few beers we crack open when we get back to Chiang Mai!
Chiang Mai is known to some as the adventure capital of Thailand and for good reason. Our absolute favourite of these and probably the most popular with tourists is ziplining through the jungle. This is an amazing experience which is bound to get the heart racing, and adrenaline pumping. Practically flying from platform to platform through the canopy of the jungle up to 50m above the ground, throw in some rope bridges and a few abseils and you’ll experience the jungle in an entirely different way to walking through it at ground level.
Today we get up close & personal with some of the planets most amazing and majestic creatures. All of the elephants are free to roam at the sanctuary and are not forced to do anything unnatural for the sake of entertaining tourists. When we arrive in the morning we will be given a quick briefing & learn about some of the elephants there, then we’ll be able to feed them some sugarcane and banana (which they love) & get to know them a bit before we wonder down to the river for a swim and a bath. This is another once in a lifetime experience and something that you will not forget for a long time.
In the afternoon we’ll jump on a minibus to the awesome little hippie town of Pai. It’s about 3 hours outside of Chiang Mai & is now a very popular backpacker destination for good reason. Loads of cool stuff to see, really relaxed vibe, lovely people, good bars & excellent food.
Today we’ll take a day trip to see some of the highlights of Pai & the surrounding areas. Starting at the biggest cave in Thailand (Lod Cave), we’ll hike through one or both of the main chambers & take a bamboo raft along the river which runs through the cave (depending on season and accessibility). After the cave we head to the hot springs, a completely natural pool in the jungle which is heated by geothermal activity. Take a refreshing dip in the crystal clear water, give yourself a beauty treatment with the clay, & float around in the perfect temperature pool before heading to a nearby waterfall with a natural slide & an amazing view. We finish the day high up at Pai Canyon which has an even more amazing view of the surrounding mountains & jungle. You can walk along the ridge and take some amazing pics of the view as we watch the sun go down before heading back into Pai town. After a long day of sightseeing we’ll go to a nice restaurant and possibly a few local bars to relax & mingle with the many other travellers who are here for pretty much the same reasons as us!
A well deserved chill out day today. After a bit of a lie in, we head to Fluid Swimming Pool Bar where many of the backpackers in town head to relax, cool down & socialise. When we are done here we’ll head up to Pai Circus School which is a backpacker hostel with a difference. Not only does it have beautiful views of the surrounding countryside, a pool & a bar, they also have several staff members and volunteers who are there to teach the guests and visitors how to do cool stuff like fire-spinning, hula-hooping, slack-lining & juggling; so if you have ever wanted to learn any of these (trust us you will when you see how cool they are) then now is your chance, so jump in and give it a go. If it’s not your scene that’s fine, you can just relax by the bar, in one of the hammocks, or in the pool as we watch the sun go down.
In the morning we’ll jump back in our minivan for the return journey to Chiang Mai. In the afternoon we get picked up by our pals from one of the nearby cooking schools, where you will learn a bit about Thailand’s culinary delights and even try your hand at making a few of them yourself. Some of the most delicious food in Thailand comes from the north, so what better way to improve your own culinary skills and understanding of Thai dishes than learning from the masters themselves? First stop is the local market where our guides & teachers will show us how to select the freshest & tastiest ingredients, to take back and turn into mouth-watering dishes of delight. You can choose between many well-known dishes & will be shown step by step how to prepare each one. The best bit for many is that we will of course get to eat it all after, so don’t fill up too much at lunch. This really is a great experience, even for those who don’t usually take to the kitchen too often.
Chiang Mai’s very own grand canyon. This is an awesome place to spend the day as it’s basically an old excavation site where they would dig out sand for building etc. It is now a man made lagoon/canyon which has been turned into an adult playground. There are floating chairs to chill in the water, paddle boards, tubes & for the more adventurous/brave of you, can do cliff- jumping, have a go at deep water soloing or climbing on their new climbing wall. There’s a restaurant on site so we can grab lunch, snacks and refreshments whilst there. In the evening we head out into Chiang Mai town once again for the final farewell dinner and party!
Today is check out day. Your group leader will help you plan any further activities or transport you need to continue your adventure. If you have a little longer to travel, we recommend that you check out our Laos Explorer!