Trip Itinerary – 14 Day Northern Thailand Experience
After we have picked you up from the airport the first day is kept free to get settled in, meet your new travel buddies and either chill-out or explore the area. In the evening we’ll take you to one of our favourite 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.
KANCHANABURI, KAYAKING ON THE RIVER KWAI
We leave Bangkok in a private minivan in the morning and stop off at Taling Chan floating market on the way out of town. When we arrive in Kanchanaburi an hour or two later we will head down to the river and do some kayaking under the famous ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’. If you want to learn more about the history of this bridge and the railway line that was built here during the war we can head to one of the war museums in town.
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 swimming costume 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 and when you’re done swimming and 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.
AYUTTHAYA, ANCIENT RUINS & HISTORY
After a bit of a lie-in and a free morning, we hit the road again to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. This was actually Thailand’s second capital (before Bangkok was established) and is absolutely dripping in history and culture. We’ll take a leisurely bike ride around the world heritage site of the ancient city ruins and 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 nights sleep and wake up ready to go in the famous and beautiful city of Chiang Mai.
CHIANG MAI – TEMPLES & CULTURE
After we check into our guest house which is ideally situated between the old and new areas of Chiang Mai, you’ll have a bit of time to relax by the pool, explore the city or check out the oldest temple in Chiang Mai which is literally opposite our digs. After lunch we’ll get a cab up to the most famous and possibly beautiful temple in Chiang Mai – Wat Pra Maha Doi Suthep (or just Doi Suthep for short) – This is situated way up high on the side of a mountain so the views from the top are incredible and you get a panoramic view of the whole of Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. More free time in the afternoon to chill or explore Chiang Mai before we meet in the evening for dinner.
JUNGLE TREKKING & HILL TRIBE HOMESTAY
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 many many years. On the trek itself, you’ll see all kinds of trees, plants and wildlife, we’ll do some bamboo rafting in the river and maybe even stop by another waterfall or two to freshen up after some long walks. 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!
ZIPLINE THROUGH THE JUNGLE
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 Zip lining 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 and ground level.
Today we get up close and personal with some of the planets most amazing and majestic creatures. All of the Elephants are free to roam at our 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 and learn about some of the elephants there, then we’ll be able to feed them some sugar cane and banana (which they love) and get to know them a bit before we wander 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 town of Pai. It’s about 3 hours outside of Chiang Mai and is now a very popular backpacker destination for good reason. Loads of cool stuff to see, really relaxed vibe, lovely people, good bars and excellent food.
LIFE OF PAI – CAVES, CANYONS & HOT SPRINGS
Today we’ll take a day trip to see some of the highlights of the area. Starting at the biggest cave in Thailand (Lod Cave), we’ll hike through one or both of the main chambers and 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 and float around in the perfect temperature pool before heading to a nearby waterfall with a natural slide and an amazing view. We finish the trip high up at Pai Canyon which has an even more amazing view of the surrounding mountains and jungle. You can walk along the ridge and take some amazing pics of the view as we watch the sun come 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 and/or mingle with the many other travellers who are here for pretty much the same reasons as us!
NICE AS PAI – TUBING, CHILLING & CIRCUS SKILLS
A well-deserved chill out day today. After a bit of a lie-in, we head 1km up the river with some massive rubber rings then float back down taking in the gorgeous scenery and possibly enjoying a couple of beers. When we get back to town we’ll drop off our tubes and head to Fluid swimming pool bar where many of the backpackers in town head to relax, cool down and 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 and a pool and 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.
BACK TO CHIANG MAI & COOKING COURSE
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 so you can 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 then learning from the masters themselves. First stop is the local market where our guides and teachers will show us how to select the freshest and tastiest ingredients to take back and turn into mouth-watering dishes of delight. You can choose between many well-known dishes and will be shown step by step how t 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 CANYON
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 in the water, paddleboards, tubes and for the more adventurous/brave you can do cliff jumping or even 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!
CHECK OUT & TRAVEL DAY
Today is check out day. Your group leader will help you plan any further activities or transport you need to continue your adventure.