There’s a reason this trip was the tour that started it all, and still remains one of the most popular.

Discover Northern Thailand, a lush adventure destination that takes you to the heart of what it

means to be Intrepid. Experience the chaotic metropolis of bustling Bangkok, trek among the

hillside villages near Chiang Rai, drift down the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi and see the historic

temples of the Siam Kingdom. With welcoming hospitality, local experiences, mouth-watering

cooking classes and plenty of free time to travel at your own pace, come along and see why

Beautiful Northern Thailand was, and still is, a benchmark for all other Intrepid adventures.

The hilltribe village house stays are a wonderful opportunity to witness every day rural life. Facilities

are simple and multi-share but comfortable, with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all

provided. Some travellers are nervous about the village house experience before they arrive, but

we find most end up naming this as a highlight of their time in Thailand and a rewarding, authentic

experience. On occasion your accommodation may not have hot water, but you will probably be

keen to cool down from the heat with a refreshing cold shower!

As we cover so much of the country in just over two weeks, be prepared for some long travel days. This trip includes two nights

on overnight trains between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Accommodation is simple but comfortable –

soft sleeper class multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds, with sheets and a

pillow provided.

Temperatures and humidity can be high in Thailand, especially when walking in the

countryside where, at times, there may be little shade. Be prepared by taking plenty of drink breaks

and wearing appropriate skin protection. Some travellers find an umbrella handy to keep the sun off

(this will also come in handy should it rain!).

Day 1: Bangkok

Start Point



Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks,

khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. Your adventure begins with a

welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore, so

perhaps arrive a day or so early and take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded

streets, uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander

down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in some Thai massage. After the meeting

tonight, why not get some of your newfound travel pals together for a street food crawl.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 2: Bangkok – Kanchanaburi

Start the day with a one-hour river cruise down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous

‘khlongs’, or canals. Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the

capital. Pay a visit to Wat Pho, one of the ‘trinity’ of Bangkok temples, with a 46-metre long gold

plated Buddha reclining inside. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and

intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with

beautifully decorated stupas, halls and shrines. Afterwards, hop on a local bus and travel northwest

to Kanchanaburi (approximately 4 hours). Located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers

converge, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Beautiful Northern Thailand

Day 3: River Kwai - Erawan NP – Kanchanaburi

This morning you’ll get an insight into the darker side of Kanchanaburi’s history with a visit to the

Kanchanaburi War Cemetary (POW Cemetary) which was one of the first museums to attempt to

educate the public and keep alive the memory of the Asian and POW workers who died

constructing the infamous ‘Death Railway’. Then travel to Erawan National Park (approximately 1.5

hours each way), where you can explore the famous seven-level waterfall, and take a dip, if you’d

like! The falls are considered the most beautiful in the whole country, with turquoise blue waters

rushing through the forest into bamboo-shaded pools. If you want to make the climb all the way

from level one to level seven it’s about a 90-minute hike, with the uppermost level usually quiet and

with a stunning view over the jungle below. Be sure to pack your swimming gear, but also

appropriate footwear if you’re going to make the walk. Level seven features a triple cascade that

gives the falls their name – Erawan is the mythological three-headed white elephant that carries the

Hindu god Indra.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 4: Rafthouse

Be ready for a cruisy day as you’ll spend today and tonight floating down the Mae Glong River in a

raft house. The rafthouse is towed by a boat and is an ideal and relaxing way to travel down the

river – definitely setting the scene for pure relaxation. Spend the afternoon temple-hopping down

the river, stopping off to see the cave temple of Wat Baan Tham, the Chinese Wat Tham Khao Noi,

and Wat Tham Suea. There’s also plenty of time for travel games, reading a book, listening to your

favourite playlist or just watching the world go by with a view of the lush Thai countryside. Enjoy a

Thai meal on board and watch day turn to night as you moor on the riverside and fall asleep with

the gentle rock of the boat.

Accommodation: Rafthouse

Beautiful Northern Thailand

Day 5: Ayutthaya - Overnight train

After your river adventure, disembark and travel by private minivan to Ayutthaya, via Suphanburi

(approximately 5 hours). You’ll have access to a day room, so you can freshen up before your

overnight train later tonight. Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai, and it

became one of the most powerful in Asia with over a million residents by the 18th century. Trading

brought great riches to the city, and merchant tales tell of golden palaces, elaborate ceremonies,

and breathtaking temples. You’ll see the remains and reminders of its golden age with a guided tour

of the historic ruins and temples spread across the town. The rows of headless Buddhas at Wat

Phra Mahathat, sacked by the Burmese in the 18th century, are very atmospheric, and a Buddha

head surrounded by Banyan tree roots is perhaps the most photographed site in all of Ayutthaya.

This evening, head north to Chiang Mai on an overnight train journey, accommodated in airconditioned

sleeping berths (approximately 13 hours).

Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train

Day 6: Chiang Mai

The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has is most renowned for its temples and

an interesting old city area. Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the

‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound – chances are, you may not want to leave. When you

arrive in Chiang Mai, your day will be free. There are a number of optional activities for you to

choose from, so you can do as much, or as little, as you like. There are also many Thai cooking

schools offering courses for budding chefs, sure to help you impress your friends when you return

home. Or get active with a bicycle tour to discover the city and surrounding countryside from a

different perspective. Tonight, you might like to get some of your crew together and tackle the

famous night markets – your group leader can help you out with their recommendations.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 7: Chiang Mai

Today is another free day for you to spend how you wish. While Chiang Mai's markets, temples

and cooking schools offer more than enough to keep visitors busy, there's also the option of a very

special outing to an Elephant Nature Park. In a country where the cruel industry of elephant riding is

still big business, elephant nature parks provide a sanctuary for rescued, injured and orphaned

elephants. You’ll be greeted by an expert guide, who'll tell you stories of rescued elephants and

explain the issues surrounding elephants in South East Asia. You'll then have a chance to feed the

elephants from a viewing platform. Lunch on these activities is also provided, followed by elephant

bath time. Sit back and watch these creatures so clearly enjoying themselves.

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 8: Doi Mae Salong

Set off by road and travel by public bus from Chiang Mai to Mae Chan (approximately 4 hours),

then transfer to a private minivan to continue onto Doi Mae Salong (approximately 1 hour). The

atmosphere in the charming town of Doi Mae Salong is reminiscent of a small southern Chinese

village, as it was settled by former Chinese Nationalist soldiers who fled from (then) Burma in the

1960s. The region is famous for its Chinese tea traders and you can enjoy a cup of tea in a

traditional Chinese tea house overlooking the mountains and tea fields. Check out the interesting

markets, where you may see produce and crafts made by hill tribe people like the Akha.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 9: Chiang Rai

Jump in a private vehicle and drive for about 1 hour into the Mae Chan District to reach the Ahsa

farm stay. Here, take part in a farm to table cooking experience, where you’ll wander the property

in search for organic eggs, fruits and vegetables. Then, continue back to the kitchen and begin

whipping up a culinary storm – you’ll learn the secrets of a punchy chilli paste, hot and sour soups,

a Thai-style stir fry and a traditional dessert. You’ll learn how to make these dishes from a local

chef from the village, and then enjoy the fruits of your labour over a relaxed lunch. After your

hunger is tamed, continue to Chiang Rai city, where you’ll arrive at your guesthouse for the

evening. Chiang Mai's 'little sister', Chiang Rai boasts a relaxed atmosphere, a great night market,

and a variety of good restaurants. This charming city has a small-town feel and is a great place to

explore on foot.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 10: Hill tribe Villages Trek

Depart for Trekking, stop along the way at a shop for fresh food, arrive the starting point at Doi Bor

Village. Start walking from Doi Bor village, the first 1 km. we walk on the dirt road through rice

fields and pineapple plantations. Then keep walking pass the rice fields, pineapple plantations, and

rubber plantation. We will walk pass the bamboo forest, stop for lunch laong the way which

prepared by our local guide. Today we walk up about 4 km. take about 2 reach our 1st night

destination, Baan Arpha Pattana (Akha Tribal Village). There are about 250 people with 43 families,

most of them are Buddhists but there are still some people who respect spirits (ghost religion)

migrated from Myanmar around 70 – 80 years ago and Mr. Arpha who was settled down in this

area and called the village by his name, most of them grow rice, pineapple and domestic animals

(pigs and chickens). We will overnight at Arpha Pattana Village Akha Tribal house. This evening we

also include wristband group activity. Everyone will have a chance to learn how to do the small

handicraft gift themselves from the real local hill tribe people.

Accommodation: Hill tribe village house

Day 11: Hill tribe Villages Trek

Basic breakfast will be prepared by our trekking guide and porter.

After breakfast, we will start

walking from Arpha Pattana Village to Huai Mae Sai waterfall approx 4.5 km. Take about 2 hrs.

along the way we walk through the bamboo forest. There will be both walking up and down. When

we reach the waterfall, pax will have a chance to swim and relax by the pond, easy lunch will be


This is the trekking activities the clients can experience how to cook in bamboo cups, and

this is the highlight of the trekking. After having lunch at the waterfall, we walk up the hill for 3 km.,

we will pass the rice fields of Lahu people. It takes about 1.5 Doi Bo viewpoint. After Doi Bo

viewpoint, we walk down to Yafu Village by one and a half hour. The walking distance today 10.5

kms. Walking time is between 5-6 hrs.Baan Yafu, Lahu Tribal village, There is about 40 families and

200 people. Most of them are Buddhists but there are still people who respect spirit (ghost religion).

4 families are Christian. They migrated from Myanmar since World War 2. Mr. Yafu who was the

first family set up the village, the village is called Yafu as his name. The villagers do the agriculture

i.e. growing corn, rice, nut, ginger and domestic animals (cows, pigs and chickens)

Accommodation: Hilltribe village house

Day 12: Hilltribe Villages trek - Chiang Rai

Basic breakfast prepared, then we start walking our last day will be approx 6.5 km. It takes about

2.5 hrs. Starting walking from Yafu Lahu Village to finishing point, Ruammit Village. Then, we take

Songthaew back to Chiang Rai.

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Day 13: Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai - Overnight Train

In the morning visit privately owned Wat Rong Khun, more commonly known as the White Temple

– a must visit in Chiang Rai. This contemporary temple is constantly being updated, and its strange

design features references to Buddhist mythology, human sin and pop culture icons such as

Michael Jackson, Harry Potter and Superman. Afterwards, return to Chiang Mai by bus

(approximately 4 hours). The rest of the day is free to explore, so perhaps take a scenic, winding

drive up a mountain to one of the country's most stunning temple complexes, Doi Suthep. A 300-

step naga-guarded stairway leads you to the temples, and the climb is well worth the effort. The

hypnotic atmosphere of chanting Buddhist monks and sweeping views of the city make this a most

memorable experience. Keep in mind this evening you’ll get back on the rails for an overnight train

to Bangkok (approximately 13 hours).

Accommodation: Overnight sleeper train

Day 14: Bangkok

Arrive back in Bangkok and spend your day shopping or sightseeing before meeting up with your

group for dinner. Being a weekend, this is a great opportunity to visit the weekend market at

Chatuchak – one of the biggest and busiest markets you will ever see. Your leader can also give

you other ideas of what to do – places like Jim Thompson's House, the Grand Palace and

Chinatown are all great to explore. There's a fantastic array of transport options available for getting

around this traffic-choked city and although it's most efficient to stick to the canals, river, and

Skytrain, a trip in a tuk-tuk is certainly an experience!

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 15: Bangkok

End Point



With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart the accommodation at any time. That

doesn’t mean that your adventure has to come to an end! Feel free to continue to soak up Thai

culture and cuisine with an extra couple of days in its capital, if you’d like. If you wish to spend

more time in Bangkok, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to


What’s Included

  • Accommodation

Guesthouse (5 nights),Hilltribe village (2 nights),Hotel (4 nights),Overnight sleeper train (2

nights),Rafthouse (1 night)

  • Guide

All group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take

the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to

provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare

situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for

things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends.

While not being guides in the traditional sense, you can expect them to have a broad general

knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious, and social

aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions

we visit. If you are interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location

then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

  • Meals

3 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 3 dinners

  • Transport

Private minvan, Public bus, Overnight sleeper train, Songthaew, Taxi , Longtail Boat


Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned and have sleeping berths down both sides

of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, with are curtains that close over the beds. A sleeping

sheet and a pillow are provided, and our luggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a western

and Asian-style toilet located at the end of the carriage, but no showers. Carriage lights staying on

during the night, so an eye mask is a good thing to bring with you, as is warm clothes as the air

conditioning can be cold. For more on overnight trains in Thailand and around the world:

  • Others

Bangkok - Khlong boat canal tour

Bangkok - Wat Pho

Kanchanaburi - Erawan National Park

Kanchanaburi - Kanchanaburi War Cemetery

Kanchanaburi - Wat Baan Tham

Ayutthaya - Temple Ruins Guided Tour

Chaing Rai - Opium Museum

Homestay - Thai Musical Performance

Hill-tribe - 3 day trek

Chiang Rai - Wat Rong Kun (White Temple


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