Waterfront village in Mae Hong Son

Boutique Thailand

Trip code
BQT001

This itinerary proves that getting away from the well-worn tourist trail doesn’t have to mean sacrificing comfort and relaxation.

Dive into the the fascinating minority cultures and spectacular mountain landscapes of northern and central Thailand, then relax in comfort at a variety of beautiful lodges and boutique hotels across the countryside. This itinerary offers effortless adventure in some of the most stunning scenery Southeast Asia has to offer.

Pricing

Price based on 3* accommodation
From
A$7,000
pp

Key facts

15 days / 14 nights
Soak up the different cultures that make Thailand so unique as you visit the Malbri hilltribe and the Ban Na Thon Chan Community, tour Chiang Mai by night, spend a day with a local family, and explore the many religious sites sacred to Thailand’s religions
Steep yourself in Thai history as you tour the temples, palaces and ruins of Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Mae Hong Son and Doi Suthep
Experience Thailand’s finest scenery as you hike through minority villages, visit Tam Lod Cave, explore the mountains and markets of Fang, and go sightseeing in beautiful Nan
Get active as you explore the Sukhothai Historical Park by bike and go swimming beneath a waterfall
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DAY 13-15 CHIANG MAI DAY 1-2 BANGKOK DAY 7-8 GOLDEN TRIANGLE DAY 9 FANG DAY 10 PAI DAY 4-5 SUKHOTHAI DAY 3 SARABURI DAY 6 NAN DAY 11-12 MAE HONG SON
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DAY 13-15 CHIANG MAI DAY 1-2 BANGKOK DAY 7-8 GOLDEN TRIANGLE DAY 9 FANG DAY 10 PAI DAY 4-5 SUKHOTHAI DAY 3 SARABURI DAY 6 NAN DAY 11-12 MAE HONG SON

Travelling in northern Thailand inevitably means long, slow car journeys. You’ll have no domestic flights to catch, but you will have five car journeys of over four hours, as well as several shorter ones. Longer transfers are broken up by sightseeing stops, and the reward for your patience is some of the most beautiful scenery to be seen anywhere in the world.

What's great

This itinerary combines two of Thailand’s most popular destinations with some more rural areas off the beaten path

You’ll get to experience some of the finest scenery in Thailand (or anywhere, for that matter)

Spend time getting to know the cultures of minority hilltribes through sustainable, community-based activities

It’s easily extended with a beach stay — just fly on from Chiang Mai Airport

Things to consider

This trip includes several one-night stays in rural locations, so you’ll need to be OK with being on the go

The more rural the area, the harder to access — which means several long car journeys (all worth it)

Though it does include stops in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, this trip is much more temples and scenery than city excitement

Though we’ve designed this trip to offer the most comfort possible, don’t expect luxury accommodation in rural destinations — it just doesn’t exist

The experience

Whether you love to rough it or prefer your creature comforts, we can dial the adventure up or down to suit you. Just tell us how you like to travel and we’ll get cracking.

Day 1-2

Bangkok

Steeped in Buddhist, Hindu and Taoist tradition, Bangkok is about so much more than delicious food and raucous parties (though it has those too). Bypass its exuberant backpacker culture for more hallowed ground as you dig into the royal and religious history of the city, with its shimmering stupas, solid-gold buddhas and glittering, jewel-encrusted temples. Wander throne halls in search of the Emerald Buddha, visit a temple where the monks are expert in Thai massage, and climb Wat Saket’s golden mount to the tinkling of hundreds of temple bells. This visit is about understanding Bangkok’s proud, independent history and its deep-veined heritage.

Monks kneeling and praying inside illuminated temple in Bangkok

Highlights

Get an in-depth introduction to two icons of Bangkok: Wat Pho and the Royal Palace

Join in an alms-giving ceremony and watch the monks chanting prayers

Learn about how Buddhism and Taoism have shaped the life of the city as you tour some of Bangkok’s most important (and beautiful) temples

Golden Buddha heads in Bangkok

Day 3

Saraburi

Bangkok’s heritage runs deep, but at your next stop, on the way to Saraburi, it runs even deeper. Capital of Siam for over 400 years, Ayutthaya was once one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan cities. Today, it’s a fascinating World Heritage Site famous for its crumbling brick reliquary towers, giant monasteries, and cultural influences from across Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Stop in at Bang Pa-In Summer Palace with its layers of idiosyncratic architecture (think Chinese pavilions, Romanesque statues and a Buddhist temple built like a Gothic church), then hop in a “kermit” tuk-tuk to explore the ruins. After soaking up the city’s heritage, head on to Saraburi for the evening.

Face carving in knotted tree in Ayutthaya

Highlights

Visit Bang Pa-In, where successive kings have spent their summers (and indulged their architectural whims) since 1632

Explore the monumental ruins of Ayutthaya to get a glimpse of this city’s former splendour

Visit Ayutthaya’s thriving Muslim Quarter to try the local speciality: “candy floss” roti

Ornate pagoda on island in middle of water with white temple in background

The finer detail

  • Breakfast every day

  • 11 lunches: one at a restaurant in Bangkok; one with a host family in Sukhothai; two at Lanjia Lodge; one at a restaurant in Chiang Khong; two picnic by a waterfall; one at a restaurant in Pai; one in a village in Mae Hong Son; one at a restaurant in Mae Cham; one you’ll cook with a host family in Chiang Mai

  • Three dinners: two at Lanjia Lodge; one in Fang

  • Three full-day experiences: a day hiking through Hmong & Lahu villages and exploring Chiang Khong town; explore the villages and scenery of Mae Hong Son; a family-hosted day outside Chiang Mai including cooking

  • 12 half-day experiences: tour of Bangkok’s Wat Pho & Grand Palace; insight into Thailand’s religions; tour the ancient city of Ayutthaya; explore Sukhothai historical park by bike; visit the Ban Na Thon Chan Community; sightsee in Nan; meet the Malbri hill tribe; waterfall swimming; explore the markets and mountains of Fang; visit Tam Lod Cave; visit the temples of Mae Hong Son town; visit Wat Palad temple in Doi Suthep National Park

  • One evening experience: Chaing Mai Night Discovery

  • All entrance fees to sites included in guided experiences

  • All internal transport & accommodation

Day 1:

Car transfer from Bangkok airport to city (45 minutes)

Day 3:

Car transfer from Bangkok to Ayutthaya (1.5 hours)

Car transfer from Ayutthaya to Saraburi (1.5 hours)

Day 4:

Car transfer from Saraburi to Lopburi (30 minutes)

Car transfer from Lopburi to Sukhothai (4 hours)

Day 5:

Car transfer from Sukhothai to Ban Na Thon Chan Community (1.5 hours each way)

Day 6:

Car transfer from Sukhothai to Nan (3.5 hours)

Day 7:

Car transfer from Nan to the Golden Triangle(4 hours)

Day 9:

Car transfer from he Golden Triangle to Fang (3 hours 20 minutes)

Day 10:

Car transfer from Fang to Doi Pu Muen (1 hour)

Car transfer from Doi Pu Muen to Pai (4 hours)

Day 11:

Car transfer from Pai to Mae Hong Son (1.5 hours)

Day 13:

Car transfer from Mae Hong Son to Khun Yuam (1 hour)

Car transfer from Khun Yuam to Chiang Mai (4 hours)

Day 15:

Car transfer from hotel to Chiang Mai airport (10 minutes)

  • International flights

  • Meals not mentioned

  • Entrance fees to any sites not included in guided experiences

  • Tips for guides & porters