Northern Thailand Adventure & Pristine Beach
Day 1 - 3: Chiang Mai
- Arrive in Chiang Mai. Visit the city temples and try local street food.
- Learn how to take care of the elephants at Elephant Rescue Park.
Day 4 - 6: Lisu Lodge - Lahu Outspot - Akha Outspot
- Drive to Lisu Lodge. Visit the tribe villages in Pha Mieng.
- Stay overnight in Lahu Outspot. Hike to see the untouched nature of Lahu.
- Transfer to Akha Outspot to enjoy the spectacular views of valleys and mountain peaks.
Day 7 - 12: Khum Lanna - Chiang Khong - Lanjia Lodge - Chiang Rai - Krabi
- Take a guided bike tour around Khum Lanna. Sightsee the ancient sites in the area.
- Learn about the Hmong and Lahu tribes, the Golden Triangle area. Tour the hill tribe villages.
- Transfer to Krabi to enjoy its beautiful beaches.
Day 13 - 15: Bangkok - Departure
- Fly to Bangkok. Take a ride on a tuktuk to sightsee Bangkok’s temples and flower market.
- Board your departure flight from Bangkok.
Explore the best of northern Thailand in 15 days. First start with a city tour in Chiang Mai, a visit to the rescued elephants and experience the peaceful scenery at Lisu Lodge. Bike to sightsee the rice fields as well as the morning local market, the sacred Wat Pa Gee and the rural villages. Learn about the tribes living in the Golden Triangle then travel to Koh Lanta on a speedboat. Free to spend time at your leisure on the stunning beaches of Koh Lanta. Fly to Bangkok and discover the interesting sites of the city on a fulll-day tour.
Upon arrival, your Thai private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome sign with your names on it, then. take you directly to your hotel in the City Centre for check-in. The rest of the day will be free at your leisure.
Overnight in Chiang Mai
After breakfast at the hotel, begin your tour by heading to the centre of Chiang Mai where you will visit the Tapae Gate. This was once one of five gates into the walled city, and is now the main one, having been the only gate to be fully reconstructed. This is a great spot to start your introduction to the history of Chiang Mai.
From here you will venture onwards by pedal-powered trishaw, stopping briefly at the Three Kings Monument before continuing to Wat Phra Singh. This is one of the city’s most revered temples and offers an excellent example of classic Lanna architecture. It is most well known for its beautiful Phra Singh (Lion Buddha) image, which is housed in a small but ornate chapel, and first came to Chiang Mai in the 1360s.
You will then take a stroll to Wat Chedi Luang. This was originally one of the tallest buildings in ancient Chiang Mai, however it was significantly damaged either in an earthquake or from cannon-fire. Whilst it no longer boasts a towering spire, there has been extensive restoration work to the exterior, including new Buddha images, nagas and elephant statues. The temple was also the previous home of the Emerald Buddha, currently in Bangkok, and visitors can now see a jade replica, which was given as a royal gift in 1995 to celebrate the 700th anniversary of Chiang Mai.
Continue onwards to the city’s silver craft neighborhood. Here you can see some of the silversmiths at work, creating murals that are unique to northern Thailand. It is then only a short drive to reach Wat Sri Suphan. The temple was originally built in 1502, and it is often referred to as the Silver Temple due to the ornate silverwork that adorns the walls.
Note: Tour lasts for approximately four hours. As you will be visiting temples, you will need to cover your shoulders and knees, and you will need to remove your shoes at certain points.
Spend a lively evening in the vibrant Chiang Mai street food market, enjoying the wonderful array of traditional dishes and local delicacies on offer.
In the evening, wander through the market accompanied by your own English-speaking guide, who will be happy to make some recommendations on ‘must-try’ dishes. Lanna cuisine tends to be less spicy than Southern Thai food, with a fantastic variety of flavours and textures, including khaoi soi (yellow noodles in a fragrant curry broth) and sai oua (Northern Thai sausage made with lemongrass, galangal and kaffir lime leaf). Visitors will also still find traditional favourites such as pad thai and spring rolls, and why not sample some of the local rice whisky?
The street food market opens in the evening and so the tour will start at around 6.30 pm, usually finishing at around 9.30 pm.
Overnight in Chiang Mai
08:30 – 09:00 pick up from your hotel (outside middle ring road additional charges will apply).
Visit Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park, where you will see the process of making paper from elephant dung, try it out yourself and purchase some souvenirs if desired.
Stop at a fresh market to pick up ingredients to make vitamin balls for our elephants.
Upon arrival at the Park (1 hour drive from Chiang Mai), change clothes into beautiful uniforms provided by us.
Introductory discussion. Cut and prepare food for the elephants. Learn to make herbal medicine for the elephants. Meet our elephants. Feed, observe and interact with them. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch prepared especially for you at our Park. Walk with the elephants through beautiful scenery with plenty of wonderful photo opportunities. Walk down the hillside to our elephant bathing area. Enjoy bathing and brushing them in their very own pool.
Say farewell to your new elephant and Mahout friends. Take a shower, change your clothes and enjoy a snack and fresh coconut juice.
Return back to your hotel at 17:30.
Overnight in Chiang Mai
After breakfast, transfer to Lisu Lodge. A traditional welcome drink will be served. Then drive by local open-air truck to an area near Pha Mieng. Start walking along the jungle trails to the remote village of Hmong Pha Mieng (1h 30m). Meet the inhabitants of this small hill tribe village in the jungle.
Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest. After lunch, walk to the top of the mountain (1h 30m) where the Red Lahu Village of Pha Daeng is located. Continue walking along a mountain ridge to the Lahu village of Kup Kap (1hr), where you have a spectacular view overlooking the Mae Taeng district and Chiang Mai town glittering at night in the distance. Beyond the mountain peaks to the west lies Myanmar (Burma).
Dinner and overnight at Lahu Outpost, modeled on a typical Lahu house. Basic amenities are provided: mattress, pillow, bed linen, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, etc. Two Western-style toilets and a communal shower are provided.
Lahu Outpost is adapted from traditional Lahu style, with the addition of some features to improve the level of comforts such as hot showers and Western-style toilets. The house is on short stilts and has a thatched roof with an open veranda. There are eight rooms with mats and standard mattresses on the bamboo floors. It is clean and simple, with no electricity, nor any power source and no signs of modernization; but there are gas hot water showers that are comfortable for guests in a jungle-style bathroom. The kitchen is in a separate building, also in traditional Lahu style.
Overnight in Lahu Outpost
After an early breakfast, we go on a 90-minute walk down a steep jungle path passing by the Huay Sadharn Waterfall. This brings us to the spot where we will mount the elephants and continue on a 1-hour ride down to the river. In a remarkable setting on the banks of the river, we first enjoy a delicious picnic lunch.
After lunch, we go rafting down the river for about 45 minutes. From there you return to Lisu Lodge. Upon arrival, a welcome drink will be served before you check into your room. Here you will receive a briefing so that you can select your activity for the following morning. Guided by a Lisu villager, walk from Ton Lung temple to visit an herbal garden. Then continue through the village with a stop for a cup of tea at the village shaman’s house. Chat with the Lisu shaman and learn about his life, beliefs, curing rites and Lisu traditions. Visit a cultural center and ‘museum’ created by the villagers. Inside you will find a collection of typical household items and tools from the Lisu as well as the Akha mountain peoples. The rest of your time is at leisure until your Thai dinner is served, together with a traditional Lisu dance show.
Lisu Lodge features traditional hill tribe pavilions with thatched roofs, bamboo walls and floor mats with modern comforts. Several spacious wood and bamboo huts are set in lush wooded gardens next to a Lisu village, whose inhabitants built and now staff the lodge. The 4 guesthouses are based on local Lisu design, but with a few tourist concessions such as windows and bathrooms!
The heart of each building is its raised central veranda and dining area, spotlessly furnished with low tables, couches and monkwan (triangular) cushions. There are 6 bedrooms, with either two single mattresses (stuffed with dried local fibres for authentic firmness) on a bamboo sleeping platform, or a western double bed (all mosquito netted). 24-hour electricity powers a weak light and a wall-mounted fan. The small ensuite bathroom has a sit-down toilet, basin and a solar-heated shower. Each hut has a bar and staff available to do your laundry (for a small fee).
Overnight in Lisu Lodge
Breakfast at the Lodge. In the morning you have a choice of activities:
- Guided bike tour around the Lisu Lodge area
- Steam bath
- Ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the Thai village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng – about an hour ending back at Lisu Lodge
Notes: A second additional 1-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but as a free activity you are welcome to go cycling by yourself and we will give you a road book of recommended itineraries.
Leave Lisu Lodge and head to a Palong village in Chiang Dao. A tasty picnic lunch will be provided en route. Walk uphill about 3 hours to Akha Outpost. Check-in at Akha Outpost, set in an isolated area with spectacular views: looking north down into the valley far below or to the west, the mountain peaks stretching into Burma; and finally in the east: the Lao PDR. For dinner, help your guide whip up a tasty, wholesome mountain meal.
Dinner and overnight at Akha Outpost, modeled on a typical Akha house. Basic amenities are provided: mattress, pillow, bed linen, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, etc. Two Western-style toilets and a communal shower are provided.
Akha Outpost sits on a hill at 1,000 meters above sea level at Ban Jom Hod, Phrao district. Akha Outpost is adapted from a traditional Akha house, with the addition of some features to improve the level of comfort for guests, such as hot showers and Western-style toilets. The house is on short stilts and has a thatched roof with an open veranda. There are six rooms with mats and standard mattresses on the bamboo floors. It is simple and neat, with no electricity, nor any power sources and no signs of modernization; but there are gas hot water showers that are comfortable for clients in the jungle-style bathroom. The kitchen is in a separate house as is the traditional Akha style.
Overnight in Akha Outpost
Breakfast at Akha Outpost. Start walking downhill passing by a waterfall to another Akha village. Then take the short drive to Khum Lanna.
Arrive at Khum Lanna and be greeted by local Lanna people. A tasty welcome drink (herbal tea or fruit juice from the garden) will be served prior to the briefing and orientation where you will choose your afternoon activity. Khum Lanna will provide Thai farmer shirts for guest use during their stay.
At 10:00, you enjoy the preparation for Lanna country-style BBQ lunch with a garden tour around the compound; collect different seasonal herbs, vegetables, and fruits for cooking.
At 11:00, get your free sample of our “Khum Lanna Thai Recipe Book” before the first Thai cooking class begins. Share an informal Lanna country-style BBQ lunch that you have prepared with your host. Get an introduction to the Thai language (which will prepare you for your market shopping the next day!).
In the afternoon, we will provide you with a choice of one-hour activities:
- Guided biking tour around Khum Lanna
- Fruit (or vegetable) carving
- Local style personal herbal steam bath
- Hot-pressed herbal massage (consisting of 8 kinds of herbs: ginger, zingiber, lemongrass, plantain, tamarind leaves, soap pod, camphor and Aom Kiew)
Notes: A second additional 1-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge. As a free activity, you are welcome to go cycling by yourself. We will give you a road book of recommended itineraries.
Late afternoon at leisure until the Thai cooking class begins at 16:30. Enjoy the fruits of your labors with a full 4-course sit-down Thai dinner with your host and friends. Watch a million stars beside a campfire in the garden. At leisure until the scrumptious dinner which you prepared in the afternoon.
Khum Lanna or Lanna Farm is a beautiful, secluded teak house set amidst rice fields near the town of Phrao. It’s the idyllic countryside, with hills ringing the horizon, and lanes winding through villages untouched by tourism. Gentle cycle rides into the Thai hinterland and to local markets are a highlight.
The farm, in typical Lanna style, sits on stilts to avoid flooding and has an eating area downstairs as well as a spacious sheltered veranda and dining area upstairs. There are 4 double bedrooms, all built in the smooth dark teak as the rest of the building. The careful furnishings and lighting give the lodge a very relaxed and restful ambiance.
Each bedroom has a modern bathroom, with a toilet and hot shower. The beds are spacious doubles and the feel of the room is that of a high-end hotel. There is one larger honeymoon suite from which a sliding partition opens onto a dining area.
Overnight in Kum Lanna
05:30: Coffee/tea will be brought to your room for your wake-up call before the sunrise biking trip along the rural country road via San Kwang village to Phrao to visit an early morning local market where local coffee is also available. With the help of your guide you may buy local cookies and flower garlands for the temple offering on the way back.
You then visit a farmer’s rice and traditional tool shop, chat with the owner, and learn more about the rice legends and differences & properties of the varieties of rice. Your local escort will translate. Bike back to Khum Lanna with a stop to visit Wat Pa Gee. Pay respect to the Buddha image under the sacred tree. Continue biking to Khum Lanna alongside the local canal through the rice fields and get more information about the rice-growing process and the important place that rice occupies in Thai life.
Upon return, refreshment and shower, before a local Lanna-style breakfast at 09:00 set up on the riverside. Then, enjoy some light biking to the rural village down the road. See the incredible accumulation of beehives on the sacred tree at Ban Nam Phrae and get information about the need for bees and the reason for local conservation.
Continue biking to Wiang Phrao Wung Hin (the ancient city 30 years older than Chiang Mai) to visit a temple and Phra Chao Lan Tong, the most significant Buddha Image in the Phrao district. Here, King Mengrai (1259-1317) assembled the villagers and trained them as soldiers to defend the city.
Continue to Wat Tham Dork Kum and visit different Buddha stucco figures and the huge reclining Buddha. Picnic lunch will be provided on the orchard hill, which has a fantastic overview of the entire Phrao valley. Return to Khum Lanna. Refreshment and check-out.
In the afternoon, you travel to Chiang Khong (Chiang Rai Province), a small border town on the Mekong river. Laos can be seen on the other side of the river! From Chiang Khong, you continue to Lanja Lodge. Arrive at Lanjia Lodge. Herbal local juice will be served during the check-in. Dinner will be served while watch traditional Hmong performances
Lanjia Lodge built in traditional Hmong style with Western comforts, meaning ‘peaceful’ in the Hmong language, is an eco-friendly, community-based lodge nestled on a hill overlooking the Mekong River and Laos. It is set in harmony with a lush green environment inside a Hmong and Lahu village in northern Thailand’s Chiang Rai province.
Overnight in Lanjia Lodge
09:40 After breakfast, watch a presentation about the Hmong and Lahu tribes, the Golden Triangle area and the giant catfish (locally known as Pla Buek) – the world’s biggest freshwater fish found in the Mekong River. Learn about activities that affect the Mekong River and people whose lives depend on the river.
10:10: Tour the Hmong and Lahu hill tribe village, including a visit to the shaman house of the Hmong. Drink tea with the shaman and discover why the fireplace is important to the Hmongs and why they bury the placenta and umbilical cord of their newborn babies.
Lunch will be provided on the charming terrace that looks out to the Mekong River and Laos.
14:10: Get firsthand experience on how to make a Hmong batik handkerchief with Hmong ladies (about 45 minutes). Alternatively, you can learn how to make and set animal traps. Then you will help villagers to plant trees at the Herbal Plant Nursery Project. The project is dedicated to His Majesty the King to commemorate his 84th birthday on December 5, 2011. The main objective of the project is to improve the quality of life of local people by educating them on how to grow vegetables and the importance of the eco-system in their village.
You then have a transfer to Chiang Rai.
Overnight in Chiang Rai
After breakfast, relax at your leisure until the check-out time. Your private driver will take you to Chiang Rai Airport for a short flight to Krabi.
Upon arrival, our local driver will meet you at the Krabi Airport and take you in the air-conditioned vehicle to the private speedboat pier. You then enjoy a scenic 15-minute speedboat ride to Ko Lanta. This lets you by-pass the queues for the car ferry.
When the speedboat arrives at Ko Lanta, your local driver is waiting to transfer you from the pier to your Ko Lanta hotel.
Overnight in Koh Lanta
The whole day will be at your leisure. You can join a snorkeling trip, or there are many other options for you to choose this morning, as the water conditions allow.
Overnight in Koh Lanta
Enjoy a full day at your leisure.
Overnight in Koh Lanta
Free time until riding a speedboat to return Krabi. Our driver is waiting for you at the pier to take you to Krabi Airport for a short flight to Bangkok. Get welcomed in Bangkok Airport then transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Bangkok
After breakfast, meet your private guide again and head to the historic center of Bangkok. Let a full day of experiences begin with a Tuk Tuk ride! This local favorite way of transportation can be seen all over Bangkok and other Thai cities. You can even see Tuk Tuk’s with fresh fruits buzzing by!
Bangkok is pretty as a flower so a visit to the Flower Market is a must! Your family can wander past all the beautiful colors and aromas of all kinds of popular flowers like roses, forget me not’s, orchids, lilies and more. Your private tour guide can tell you all about the beautiful lotus flower, that holds a very special place in Thai life and is the traditional flower of Buddhism.
You can’t visit Bangkok without visiting a temple. How about checking one out that’s located right next to a flowing river. Wait, who do we see crawling over there? Time to meet some turtle friends! Your local insider will get some yummy fruit for the turtles so you can feed them.
Not only turtles get hungry, we’re sure you do too! Time for a local lunch at a restaurant known for its freshly made food. Whether you choose steamed rice & chicken or noodle soup, you’re in for a treat! Quench your thirst with a refreshing drink
Feeling refreshed and ready to go? Let’s check out another awesome temple with the biggest Buddha you have ever seen, measuring 46 meters long and 15 meters tall. Wow! Pay attention to your local guide’s insights, we’re sure there will be a quiz along the way!
Top off your tour with a boat ride to Jim Thompson’s house! The local scenery along the way and authentic boat ride is so much fun.
Tour ends in the late afternoon. Your evening is free.
Overnight in Bangkok
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Bangkok International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, which we will help you with the plan, if you so choose.
This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights to and from Thailand
- Thailand entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip
We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.
We requested SUV FOR OUR COMFORT AND WE GOT IT!
We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!
as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.
our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.
We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.
As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.
Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.
We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.
We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.
Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.
Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia
Superbly organised and very flexible
We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.
We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.
The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.