Explore Northern Thailand Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : ITTSK
  • Trip length : 8 Days
  • Trip starts in : Bangkok, Thailand
  • Trip ends in : Bangkok, Thailand
  • Maximum group size : 12
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Meals : 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner
  • Accommodation : Homestay (1 nt), Hotel (3 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Resort (2 nts)
  • Transport: Minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Public bus, Songthaew, Taxi

daily-itinerary1

Day
1

Bangkok

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.

Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore - why not 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?

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Day
2-3

Sukhothai

We take a local bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai (approx. 6 hours) with a short midway stop for a chance to stretch the legs and buy some lunch.

The first ancient capital of Siam, Sukhothai was established in the 13th century. Located on a fertile plain, Sukhothai means the 'Dawn of Happiness' and is now famous for its World Heritage-listed historic park, which celebrates the Golden Age of Thai civilisation.

Try a local dish such as Sukhothai noodles at the fascinating local night market.

Head out to the historical ruins of Old Sukhothai, set amid beautiful lakes and gardens. The religious art and architecture of the Sukhothai era are considered to be the most classic of Thai styles and the Sukhothai Historical Park contains the remains of 21 historic sites with awe-inspiring Buddha images and four large ponds often filled with stunning lotus flowers in full bloom.

Upon arrival at the park, hire bicycles and enjoy a few leisurely hours feeling the breeze in your hair and learning about the history of this fascinating place. Enjoy a home-cooked picnic lunch somewhere along the way, and if we have enough free time, we'll visit a local ceramics factory.

Accommodation: Resort (2 nts)

Day
4

Homestay

Today we travel by private minivan from Sukothai to our Homestay for the evening (approx 4-5 hours). On the way we stop off at Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital located in Lampang.

Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital is a non-government organisation in Thailand which aims to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants both domesticated and wild. We stop off at this center today to see the fantastic work this organisation is doing to care for the elephants in Thailand.

Stay the night at the warm and welcoming home of Intrepid's longtime friends in a small Thai village (approx 1.5 hrs from the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital) Accommodation is multishare and basic (there will be fold-out mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms). In the evening, we're treated to a traditional northern Thai khantohk dinner accompanied by live music and dancing.

Accommodation: Homestay (1 nt)

Day
5-7

Chiang Mai

In the morning we jump on local bikes and cruise around the homestay village. This is a great opportunity to see how the locals live and we make a few stops along the way to see small country industries. Cycling past the rice fields and breathing in the fresh country air with beautiful mountains in the distance makes this morning a picture postcard experience.

We say goodbye to our new friends and travel to Chiang Mai (approx 45 mins).

The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This 'Rose of the North' is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people.

Explore the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep. Drive along a scenic, winding mountain road that ends at an impressive 300-step naga-guarded stairway (approx 45 mins). The rewards justify the climb with one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand on display, not to mention fantastic panoramic views of the city and the opportunity to listen to hypnotic evening chanting by resident Buddhist monks.

You have the option of doing a half day Thai Cooking Class or a half day Cycling tour around Chiang Mai.

Discover some of the secrets of Thai cuisine by joining a cookery course. Learn about the main ingredients used in Thai cuisine, how they are used and stored and what alternatives you can substitute if you can't get them at home. Questions are welcome and you are provided with a comprehensive book of recipes and ingredient details. For lunch, sit down and feast on the delicious results of your tuition. The meal is usually rounded off with a tasting of seasonal Thai fruit.

Some may prefer to jump on a half day cycling trip. After a short safety briefing and bicycle fitting, we leave the hotel for the streets of Chiang Mai. Traffic downtown is light as we begin our cycling journey south, following the Ping River. It's pleasant to ride along its green banks. We visit a former leper colony which is now a rehabilitation centre and you will get to know some more of the daily life of the missionaries who worked here over a hundred years ago. Cycling over small country roads you will discover the real rural Thailand. The trip continues along various fruit orchards and you'll encounter the Thai way of life as we meander around the villages on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. We explore the temple ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, the former capital of Lanna, before we cycle back to Chiang Mai.

Our accommodation clean, comfortable in Chiang Mai is located by the famous night markets and has ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning.

Board an overnight train for Bangkok (approx 13 hrs). We use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. Multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds - sheets and a pillow are provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There's a food and drink service available on board.

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Day
8

Bangkok

Our train is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok in the early morning. We then transfer back to the joining point hotel where this trip concludes, and you are free to depart at any time. If you are booking flights or other transport out of Bangkok on this day, please keep in mind that train delays are frequent - we suggest you don't book a flight earlier than 2pm.No accommodation is included in Bangkok at the end of our tour. We have shared day rooms available for our use until 12 midday. Additional accommodation is available - please enquire at time of booking.

included1

  • Sukhothai - Historical park guided cycle tour & home-cooked picnic lunch
  • Lampang - Friends of the Asian Elephant
  • Chiang Mai - Baan Thai Cookery School half-day course OR Half-day cycling

optional-extras

  • Bangkok - Thai kickboxing exhibition - THB2200
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Thai massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1870
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Tuk Tuk city tour - THB1400
  • Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB200
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple - THB50
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mae Ping River Experience - THB2105
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mind & Soul - THB2300

not-included1International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

tripgrade1

Standard

For those of you who dream of experiencing a location in depth and comfort but are mindful of budget. Ideal for those that enjoy the quirkier side of a destination without roughing it. Join inquisitive travellers of all ages for an fun, informative experience.

Style Facts

  • Comfortable tourist class hotels
  • Family Homestays
  • Private and local transport
  • More inclusions than Basic tours
  • Fully trained and experienced leaders

Discovery

Discovery tours are all about exploring & experiencing the world with like-minded people, dipping your toe beneath the usual tourist surface & discovering the real essence of a region. They are genuinely innovative, exciting & imaginative tours that offer that little bit more to travellers.

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid

visa1

A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.

The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.

Please click here for more information.

medical-preparation1

We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.

Money1

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
 
You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later.

travel-insuranceYou must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.

responsible-travel1

Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.

As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.

We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.

For further information about responsible travel please click here.

other-important-information

Transport

Taxi, Overnight sleeper train, Songthaew, Public bus, Minibus

LONG TRAVEL DAYS: There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.

OVERNIGHT TRAINS: Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned with sleeping berths down both sides of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, and there 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, with carriage lights staying on during the night.

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nts), Resort (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt), Homestay (1 nt)

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION: The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS: Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME: Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION: If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

 

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