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Northern Thailand Adventure: Temples, Trails & Elephant Tales

13 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,575

FIRST-CLASS | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Embark on an unforgettable Thailand vacation, from Chiang Mai's tranquil natural wonders to Bangkok's vibrant streets and iconic temples. Delve into the historical significance of Kanchanaburi, the beauty of Hua Hin’s beaches, and the lush natural landscapes of Sam Roi Yod National Park.

Undertake a 13-day odyssey across northern Thailand, from the enchanting Chiang Mai to the captivating Bangkok and Hua Hin. Begin with a hands-on Chiang Mai cooking class, preparing an authentic Thai feast with fresh market finds. Absorb the serene ambiance of a local temple's evening prayers and explore the vibrant Warorot Market. Head north to Lampang, a realm of teak mansions, Burmese-style temples, and charming cafes. Hike to the golden pagoda atop Doi Pu Yak, appreciating northern Thailand's lush mountains while residing in luxurious tents along the Ping River for incredible chain-free, hands-off elephant encounters.

Venture south to Bangkok, discovering the splendours of Wat Pho Temple and the iconic Emerald Buddha at the Grand Palace. Marvel at the world's largest solid gold Buddha, cruise the city's tranquil canals by long-tail boat and savour diverse culinary delights in Chinatown. Traverse the historic Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, a 400-year-old banyan tree, and the famous Bridge on the River Kwai in Samut Songkhram. Unearth the poignant history of WWII prisoners at the Hellfire Pass Museum and Memorial Walking Trail, culminating in a train journey along the infamous Death Railway.

Embark on a scenic route from Hua Hin to Sam Roi Yot National Park, Thailand's inaugural coastal national park. Explore a pineapple plantation and a bustling fishing village, and cruise along the coast for breathtaking ocean vistas. Revel in a pristine beach, followed by a stroll to Phraya Nakhon Cave's sunlit pavilion. Conclude the day with a beachfront feast and leisure time before returning to Hua Hin at dusk.


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13 Days
Prices From:
US$ 3,575

Itinerary View Trip Map View Trip Special

Day 1

Arrive to Chiang Mai

Welcome to Thailand! Upon arriving to Chiang Mai, collect your bags and relax during a private transfer from the airport to your hotel in town. After checking in, spend the rest of the day exploring at your leisure!


Accommodation: Tamarind Village

Duration3 Nights
Day 2

Half Day Grandma’s Cooking Class, Market Visit and Discovery Dinner

Today you will uncover the secrets behind famous Thai dishes at Grandma's Home Cooking School.

Get picked up this morning and travel south of the city center to a traditional Sala (open air) house to meet a local chef. After a short introduction on the day's activities, head out to a nearby fresh market to collect your ingredients.

The chef will introduce the ingredients, exotic herbs and spices and their use, and explain Thailand's food culture.

Armed with new knowledge of Thai cuisine and its ingredients, start cooking! Chop vegetables, create spicy sauces and fry up sizzling plates. Throughout the course the chef will share their personal story and offer tips and hints for preparing these same dishes in your own kitchen.
When everything is ready, sit down and enjoy the delicious fresh dishes for lunch. Savour the delicate flavours of home-cooked Thai cuisine, enjoying the results of the day's activities. After lunch, return to the hotel with a full belly and a better understanding of Chiang Mai's foodie culture.

Experience a charming evening of discovery in Chiang Mai. With a local guide, enjoy a night out on the town embracing the spiritual traditions and rich heritage that make Chiang Mai so special.

Start with a visit to a local temple at sunset, watch as the monks gather for their evening prayers and be soothed by the calm sounds of their chanting. Join local devotees in lighting incense and candles, offerings of good luck and health.

After this unforgettable experience, it's time for dinner. Travel through the illuminated city streets to 137 Pillars House, one of Chiang Mai's top tables. Enter the incredible courtyard which was inspired by ancient Chinese dwellings. In this atmospheric setting, enjoy a dinner of exquisite dishes of Thai cuisine.

Cap off the evening with a trip to Warorot Market. Busy from morning till late at night, the bustling market is a hub of local life. Browse stalls overflowing with fresh food, flowers, and more and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Sample Thai desserts from a popular street vendor, providing a sweet end to an enchanting evening.

Following your tour, you'll be transferred back to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration5.5 Hours
Day 3

Full Day Little Bhutan of Northern Thailand

This morning, be picked up and taken to Chiang Mai train station for a train departing at approx. 08:50 bound for the town of Lampang. The journey is about 2 hours and passes through some impressive scenery along the way. The countryside of northern Thailand is a site to behold and there is no better way to view it than from the comfort of a train.

On arrival in Lampang, be met by the guide. Lampang is a small traditional Northern Thai town and in parts is like stepping back in time. It is common to see the locals travelling by horse drawn carriages. Lampang has quite a long history dating back to the 7th century when Queen Chammathewi the first ruler of the Lamphun area founded the town to give her son a place to govern after her death.

After disembarking from the train, head down to the riverside for a walk around the main town center. See how the locals live their daily life, unchanged for centuries but still embracing aspects of the modern world. There are some beautiful spots to stop along the way, cafes and restaurants. Be sure to look up while strolling along Talad Gao Road in Lampang as the buildings have fantastic architecture. Stop at Wat Koh Walugaram and marvel at the preservation of this unique temple.

After the morning walk, head to a vintage noodle shop along the road and sample the traditional Northern Thai style of cooking egg noodles. The café's posters and wall artwork are interesting and the food is delicious.

After lunch, head by van for a 1 hour drive to an area known as Wat Chaloem Phra Kiat or little Bhutan. On arrival at the visitor center at the foot of the mountain, switch to a songtaew (a local open-air bus) to be taken to the starting point of the hike. Then embark on a hike up the mountain. All of the hard work of the climb is well worth it and truly rewarding when you discover this incredible part of Thailand that remain unknown to most visitors.

The site at the top offers a breathtaking view and the temple is like nothing else in Thailand. The Stupas are seated on top of the rocks at the top of the mountain and it feels like a smaller and untouched version of Bagan in Myanmar. Embrace the spiritual atmosphere here and take some time to relax. With some luck, there may be some local monks on the walk.

Having spent some time embracing the spectacular views over the Northern Thailand, head back down to the songtaew van and then relax in a transfer back to Chiang Mai for the evening.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration10.5 Hours
Day 4

Arrive at The Bush Camp

This morning, transfer from Chiang Mai to The Bush Camp. Arrive in the late morning and enjoy a delicious Thai lunch. After lunch check in and prepare for the day’s activities which are set around The Bush Camp’s Elephant and Mahout Experience. Visit the “Free-roaming chain free” elephant park to feed and interact with Asia’s largest land animal. A truly once in a lifetime opportunity to experience Thailand majestic giants in their natural home. Spend time in the Elephant Café as elephants roam peacefully in front of you. Explore the life of the mahouts by seeing how they live together with nature and their elephants. Experience the traditions of the mahout by watching their families pound rice, weave their own hand made clothes and go about their daily life. Sample some of their cooking and help them make paper from elephant dung! After the day’s activities, enjoy a sundowner on one of the many mountain-top viewpoints which overlook the majestic Ping River, the lifeblood of northern Thailand. Experience barbequed delicacies and a drink or two while watching the northern-Thai sun set behind the mountains. After watching the sun set and having time to freshen up you will return to enjoy a buffet dinner off freshly prepared Thai and western dishes whilst overlooking beautiful mountain vistas.


Accommodation: The Bush Camp Chiang Mai

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration1 Night
Day 5

Morning rituals experience, Depart The Bush Camp for Bangkok

Start the morning with a fresh buffet breakfast at your leisure. Afterwards head to the “Free Roaming Forest” and sample “Kafee Boran” and “Kanom Krok” a traditional coffee and breakfast snack enjoyed by the mahouts and observe how the Elephants are cared for. Watch the elephants enjoy their morning wash and learn more about how mahouts work with elephants here at The Bush Camp. Understand more about good animal husbandry techniques and how to administer veterinary care for the benefit of the pachyderms.

After a full morning of activities return to your tent to check out before enjoying lunch overlooking the mountains and Ping River.

After lunch transfer back to Chiang Mai for your next departure on to Bangkok. Upon arrival enjoy a relaxing private transfer from the airport to your home for the next few days. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure! 


Accommodation: Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Day 6

Full Day Best of Bangkok Temples and Klongs

Start the morning with a trip to Wat Pho, arguably Bangkok's most enchanting temple. Arrive just as the resident monks gather for their morning chants. Witness this deeply spiritual ritual and gain a better sense of Thailand's Buddhist heritage. After the chants, take a walk around Wat Pho and see the vast collection of religious treasures on display.

The tour then continues to the nearby Grand Palace, which has served as the seat of Thailand's revered Royal family for more than two centuries. Take a walk around the vast grounds, stopping in to explore the various temples, throne halls and museums within the compound. Visit the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddhist image in Thailand, and hear about its mysterious origins.

Take a break for lunch in a riverside restaurant, enjoying delicious Thai food with fabulous views. Then continue onwards to visit Wat Trimitr, on the edge of Chinatown, which houses the world's largest solid gold Buddha.

Afterwards take a long-tail boat and move away from the high rises of the city and venture through the quiet canals upon which the city was originally built. Catch glimpses of the olden days, passing by charming neighbourhoods built on the water's edge. Return to the main waterway, the Chao Phraya River, to visit Wat Arun and admire its incredible decoration with ceramic tiles depicting figures of Chinese soldiers and animals.

After a full day of exploring Bangkok, you'll be returned to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration9 Hours
Day 7

Evening Chinatown Food Experience

The majority of the day is yours to discover. Walk the streets of Bangkok to experience the cultural capital and enjoy a world of sights to explore! 

As the sun sets, Bangkok really comes alive and just about every street is filled with the great smell of delicious food that really ignites the taste buds. The neighborhood is internationally renowned for the city's longest street food stalls, and definitely there is no other way to explore the area's best kept food secrets than by foot.

From the savoury bites of traditional Chinese dumplings to the sweet treats of fried sugary donuts, taste the delicacies of Bangkok's famous Chinatown. Discover the Chinese culture of Bangkok through seeing, smelling and tasting.

You'll explore the glittering and energetic Chinatown's Yaowarat Street and be introduced to the history of the area and some favorite street food artisans.

Grab delicious bites of various kinds of food, from the famous Chinese dumplings, peppered pork noodles, Chinese donuts, and many more! Enjoy sweet Chinese desserts and visit a tea shop house.

Following your tour, you'll be returned to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration4 Hours
Day 8

Bangkok to Samut Songkhram to River Kwai

Early this morning, drive south from Bangkok to the garden province of Samut Songkhram (80km) in the Mae Klong River delta area. Visit a unique country market along the railway tracks where local people gather to buy and sell a variety of goods. From here, the journey continues to the very famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Although quite touristy today, the market remains the best example to showcase what a floating market was like decades ago.

Take a fascinating paddleboat journey through the waterways to visit a family that makes coconut sugar syrup at their teak house, and taste a glass of the sweet juice. Visit some beautiful local temples, see a 400 year-old banyan tree and interesting statues depicting the traditional art of Thai boxing. Then visit Rama II Park, which houses a local museum with traditional artifacts.

The day continues with a drive to Kanchanaburi, where you will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. The restaurant is situated near the famous "Bridge on the River Kwai", which was built by Allied prisoners of war during World War II. Visit Thailand-Burma Railway Center Museum and stroll through the historical lanes in the Pak Preak community, lined with charming shop houses built during the reign of King Rama V.

Dinner and Overnight in Kanchanaburi.


Accommodation: The Float House River Kwai

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Day 9

River Kwai

After a hearty breakfast, take a one-hour drive (80km) to the northwestern part of the city. Visit the Hellfire Pass Museum before embarking on a trek through the nearby canyon. The walk along the Memorial Walking Trail overlooks the hills of Myanmar. A free audio guide, narrated by former POWs, is provided to help guests understand the conditions endured by those working on the line during World War II.

After lunch at a local restaurant, take a short train ride along the infamous 'death railway' through Kwai Noi gorge.

After the ride, transfer back to Kanchanaburi for dinner at your resort.

Meal Plan Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Day 10

Kanchanaburi to Hua Hin

After breakfast, visit Prasat Muang Singh, a Khmer temple complex dating back to the Angkorian period. Walk around the peaceful historical ruins and explore the history and culture of the area before driving to beach town of Hua Hin.

Upon arrival to Hua Hin, check into your hotel for the next few nights and enjoy the rest of the day at your leisure!


Accommodation: Devasom Hua Hin Resort

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration3 Nights
Day 11

Full Day Sam Roi Yod National Park

Spend the day exploring the south's wild landscapes on this tour of Sam Roi Yot National Park. Meaning "Mountain of Three Hundred Peaks", Sam Roi Yot was Thailand's first coastal national park and covers an expansive stretch of wetlands, limestone mountains and beaches. Today's visit covers a mix of sights, giving a taste of the wonderful diversity of this part of the country.

Set off from Hua Hin on a scenic drive to the south. After passing through the park's entrance, you'll visit a pineapple plantation and learn how these tasty fruits are grown and harvested. Continue onwards to Bang-Pu, a thriving fishing village for a glimpse into the lives of the fishermen. Then board a motorboat and cruise away from the shoreline to enjoy fabulous views of the ocean and coast.

After 20 minutes, the boat will dock at a beautiful stretch of beach. Walk to the nearby entrance of Phraya Nakhon Cave where a longer, 430-metre walk awaits. Although called a "cave" Phraya Nakhon is actually a sunlit cavern formed by two sinkholes. Travel deeper into the earth, enjoying the surreal landscapes before reaching the centre of the cavern. Be amazed at the site of a royal pavilion, surrounded by dripping stalactites and illuminated by the sun filtering through.

Return to the beach where a delicious lunch awaits. The afternoon is free to relax on the pristine sands and swim in the warm sea before returning to Hua Hin and being transferred back to your hotel.

Meal Plan Breakfast
Duration7 Hours
Day 12

Day of Leisure

Today is yours to explore and discover! Kick back at the beach, stroll through town, and venture through cultural keystones! The day is up to you!

Meal Plan Breakfast
Day 13

Depart Hua Hin

Enjoy one last breakfast before saying goodbye to the beauty of Northern Thailand! Grab your bags and relax during your private transfer from Hua Hin to the Bangkok airport before departing en route back home!

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information




  • Private arrival airport transfers in Chiang Mai and Bangkok
  • Private departure airport transfer in Bangkok
  • Shared roundtrip transfers between Chiang Mai and Bush Camp
  • Private transfers between Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin
  • 3 nights first-class accommodations in Chiang Mai
  • 1 night first-class tented camp accommodations at Bush Camp Chiang Mai
  • 3 nights first-class accommodations in Bangkok
  • 2 nights first-class accommodations in Kanchanaburi
  • 3 nights deluxe accommodations in Hua Hin
  • Shared Half Day Grandma’s Cooking Class and Market Visit Tour in Chiang Mai
  • Private-guided Evening Chiang Mai Night Discovery Tour in Chiang Mai
  • Private-guided Full Day Little Bhutan of Northern Thailand Tour in Chiang Mai
  • Private-guided Full Day Best of Bangkok Temples and Klongs Tour in Bangkok
  • Private-guided Evening Chinatown Food Experience Tour in Bangkok
  • Private-guided Full Day Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Coconut Sugar syrup and Thailand-Burma Railway Center Museum Tour on route to Kanchanaburi
  • Private-guided Full Day Hellfire Pass Museum and Death Railway Tour in Kanchanaburi
  • Private-guided Full Day Sam Roi Yod National Park Tour in Hua Hin
  • Breakfast daily (excluding day 1), 7 lunches, 5 dinners


  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature


Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

9 Oct 2024
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