THAILAND BOUTIQUE EXPERIENCE

Venture away from the beaten path to discover a more authentic side of Thailand. Discover timeless traditions and historic monuments in Sukhothai and Lopburi, then head north to explore spectacular highland villages steeped in heritage. On the way, stay in boutique properties that embrace their natural and cultural surroundings.

Trip Highlights

Hmong hilltribe

Be charmed by rural Thailand
Experience a slower pace of life, meet friendly locals and see breath-taking scenery in the less-visited corners of Thailand.

Explore Thai culture
Meet locals from the Lanna kingdom, the rare Malibri ethnic group, Lahu and Hmong hilltribes and discover their unique traditions.

Stay in memorable properties
The boutique hotels and village lodges on this holiday offer a chance to forge a closer connection with Thailand.

Day to day program

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok
Arrive at Bangkok International Airport. Receive a warm welcome from the local guide and driver for private transfer to the hotel. After checking in, take some time to freshen up. (Note: Check-in is after 2pm. Arrivals before this time will be allowed early check-in as available).

In the afternoon visit to Wat Pho and see its famous 45-metre reclining Buddha. In addition to the famous Buddha, Wat Pho is also home to Thailand’s oldest school of traditional medicine and Thai massage, and considered to be the country’s first university. Continue to the Royal Grand Palace, Bangkok’s number one ‘must see’ attraction and one of Thailand’s most important landmark. Marvel at the incredibly ornate architecture of this massive complex of stupas, temples and throne halls, and then check out the famous emerald Buddha. Overnight at Sala Rattanakosin

Distance and journey time:
Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok City (33.7 km): 45 min
Sala Rattanakosin Hotel – Wat Pho (150 m): 1 min

Day 2: Bangkok (B/L)
Start the day after breakfast with a visit to Wat Saket. From the top of the hill it’s perched on, enjoy spectacular views of the city and absorb the uniquely spiritual atmosphere while monks chant their morning prayers. Then, partake in the offering of alms to the monks to gain good karma and luck for the trip ahead.

Afterwards, continue with a drive through historical part of Bangkok, passing some of the city’s most beautiful landmarks and temples. Along the way, make a stop to buy a bucket filled with food and utility items for “Sangkatarn” – a special kind of offering for monks at Wat Ratchabophit. Visitors to Wat Ratchabophit will be amazed by the perfect blend of Thai architectural exterior and exquisite European-influenced interior. The tour will cap off at the Tiger God Shrine, one of the oldest Taoist temples in Bangkok, it’s renowned for being the most popular worshipping place amongst the ethnic Chinese in Thailand. Wrap the day up with lunch at Steve Restaurant and Cuisine, and enjoy the scenic ambience by the river. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Sala Rattanakosin

Optional evening tour:
Art and Culture of Bangkok’s Klong.

Start the tour early in the afternoon and board a private longtail boat to Klong Bang Luang. Pass by shop houses, local temples and vendors on this waterway which was once a major trading route and lined with impressive homes of aristocrats. The guide will point out local landmarks and cultural highlights of the area. After observing this lively area the boat stops at Baan Silapin, a 100-year old renovated house now home to an art gallery. Here, stop for up to two hours to enjoy the gallery, take part in an art workshop or explore the local community before experiencing a unique puppet show performed by puppeteers trained under the Joe Louis School of puppetry. En route back to the city, stop by the Temple of Dawn – Wat Arun. Ascend the incredibly steep steps up to the top of the stupa there -a Bangkok rite of passage- and then head back to the hotel.

Time: 13.00 – 17.00

Note: By long tail boat only. Puppet show is not available on Mondays and Tuesdays. Extra
fee will be charged for the optional art workshop.

Distance and journey time:
Sala Rattanakosin Hotel – Wat Saket & Golden Mount (2.6 km): 15 min
Wat Saket & Golden Mount – Wat Ratchabophit (2 km): 8 min
Wat Ratchabophit – Steve Cafe & Cuisine (3.1 km): 12 min
Steve Cafe & Cuisine – Sala Rattanakosin Hotel (4.5 km): 14 min

Day 3: Bangkok – Ayutthaya – Saraburi (B)
Depart from Bangkok and drive to Ayutthaya, the capital of Thailand for more than 417 years before it was sacked by an invading Burmese army. First, stop at Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and explore the majestic royal mansions which are usually quiet in the afternoons. Continue to Wat Niwet Thammapravat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples in Thailand, with remarkable Gothic-style architecture and stained-glass windows.

In the afternoon, hop onto a “Kermit” tuk tuk (a special type of motorized tuk tuk available only in Ayutthaya and Trang province in the South) to discover the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park. Briefly stop near the Muslim Quarter and sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – candy floss roti. Continue to Saraburi in the late afternoon. Overnight at Ndol Villa

Distance and journey time:
Sala Rattanakosin Hotel – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace (67.8 km): 1.09 min
Bang Pa-In Summer Palace – Ayutthaya Historical Park (21.7 km): 28 min
Ayutthaya Historical Park – Saraburi (103 km): 1.25 hr

Day 4: Saraburi – Khao Yai (B/L/D)
After breakfast in the morning, get in the car and head to Khao Yai National Park -Thailand’s oldest and, arguably, most famous national park. Upon arrival, take a 3km walk to Nong Phug She Tower -a high vantage point overlooking Nong Phug Shee Pond, the main water source for many species of animals in the park and the perfect place to catch sightings of them. On any given day, it’s possible to catch sightings of Sambar deer, wild elephants, and other large intersting animals.

Then we head to the famous waterfall in the film “The Beach” to have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, it is time to explore the beauty of the waterfall. In the late afternoon, head to the Lonely Cliff to visit the highest mountain of the park and see its beautiful surroundings. In the evening, enjoy dinner and a wine tasting at GranMonte, one of Khao Yai’s famous vineyards, which has become renowned for the incredible complexity of its wines. Overnight at Greenery Resort

Distance and journey time:
Saraburi – Khao Yai National Park (approximately 38.4 km): 50 min

Day 5: Khao Yai - Saraburi – Lopburi – Sukhothai (B)
Early in the morning, depart for a visit to the Temple of Buddha Footprint in Saraburi before continuing on to Lopburi. Lopburi was once an important part of the Khmer Empire and, later, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Visit a temple famously overrun by monkeys, especially in the area around Phra Prang Sam Yod and Phra Kaan Shrine. Be careful not to have belongings stolen by these cheeky ‘locals’. In the afternoon, drive to Sukhothai and make a stop at Sukhothai Historical Park. Sukhothai is considered to be the birthplace of Thai culture and ‘Thainess’, and was once the capital of a bustling ancient empire. Explore the park by bike and check out some of the 200 remarkably well-preserved chedis and temple ruins. Overnight at Tharaburi Resort

Distance and journey time:
Khao Yai – Saraburi (87 km): 1.20 min
Saraburi – Lopburi (45.8 km): 35 min
Lopburi – Sukhothai Historical Park (334 km): 4.14 min

Day 6: Sukhothai (B/L)
After breakfast in the morning, discover the award-winning tourist attraction in Si Satchanalai District, “Ban Na Thon Chan Community”. Established over 200 years ago, Ban Na Thon Chan is a local tourism-based community offering a balance of natural and cultural heritage. Most villagers are descendants of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Everyday life is based on the daily tasks and customs of the Lanna culture as a means of preserving the area’s unique historical heritage. Visit local families and befriend them while enjoying a delicious local lunch with the host family. Free afternoon at leisure. Overnight at Tharaburi Resort

Distance and journey time:
Sukhothai – Ban Na Thon Chan Community (93.1 km): 1.34 hr

Day 7: Sukhothai - Nan (B)
Drive to Nan, with en route visit to Phrae, one of Thailand’s oldest cities and one of the most authentic Lanna towns. Phrae is packed with traditional Thai architecture in the form of beautiful teak houses, eclectic wats and quiet lanes as well as several large colonial period teak mansions. Spend some time visiting Vongburi House, a large two-storey teak mansion built in 1897 for a family that held a large teak concession in the area. Continue to Nan, and enjoy a city sightseeing of Nan including Wat Phumin and the National Museum, and make a brief stop at the Riverside Gallery with paintings and sculptures of local artist Winai Prabripoo. Overnight at Nan Boutique Hotel

Distance and journey time:
Sukhothai – Nan (287 km): 3.45 hr

Day 8: Nan – Lanjia Lodge (B/L/D)
In the morning, head out of the city for an encounter with the Malbri, also called “Spirits of the Yellow Leaves“, this is a unique opportunity to meet one of the most mysterious and rarest ethnic minorities in Southeast Asia. Experts estimate there may be as few as 150 people remaining in this isolated community. Continue driving along the mountainous route to Chiang Khong area of Chiang Rai and arrive at Lanjia Lodge in the afternoon.

After enjoying a welcome drink, watch a presentation about the various tribal people residing in Thailand, with a focus on the Hmong and Lahu tribes. Another presentation provides insights into the various activities affecting the lives of people living in the Mekong River Delta. In the evening, enjoy a sumptuous dinner with local delicacies, followed by a performance of both Hmong and Lahu music and dances. Overnight in Lanjia Lodge.

Distance and journey time:
Nan – Lanjia Lodge (252 km): 4.09 hr

Day 9: Lanjia Lodge (B/L/D)
Prepare for an adventurous day with an early-morning breakfast in the lodge, then head out with the guide to a Hmong and Lahu village adjacent to the lodge, called “Baan Kiew Karn”. Learn about the many traditions, beliefs and customs these two tribes have, and enjoy a hands-on experience while learning how to make batiks. Afterwards, visit the shaman of the village to learn about local shamanism and how the practice influences daily life in the village.

Later, transfer by local truck to the close-by village of Baan Muang Karn. From here, board a local boat and cruise down the mighty Mekong River to the city of Chiang Khong. Enjoy lunch today in a local restaurant by the river. After lunch, follow the guide’s lead through parts of this charming border town, and visit two temples before heading to the nearby village of Ban Had Krai. Here, meet with local fishermen who have seen and caught the famed Giant Catfish. Take part in a unique cultural exchange while hearing tales from these fishermen.

As a last stop before arriving back to the lodge, visit the temple Wat Phra That Jom Meng. Nestled on a mountain top with scenic views over the Mekong River Basin and Laos, it’s the perfect way to finish the day. Arrive back in the lodge in time to relax and prepare for another meal showcasing the unique flavours of the local cuisine. Overnight at Lanjia Lodge.

Day 10: Lanjia Lodge – Fang (B/L/D)
After breakfast, take a local truck and visit a small waterfall where there’s an opportunity to swim in a natural pool in the middle of a tropical forest. Enjoy a scrumptious picnic lunch in the forest before returning to the lodge in the early afternoon. After enjoying some refreshments at the lodge, continue driving down-hill to the Fang District of Chiang Mai Province. Check in at Phumanee Lahu Home Hotel, and spend the rest of the afternoon cycling or walking through local temples. Dinner and overnight at Phumanee Lahu Home

Distance and journey time:
Lanjia Lodge – Fang District (194 km): 3.21 hr

Day 11: Fang – Pai (B/L)
Starting early in the morning, visit the local market in Fang Town (Note: Breakfast box will be provided.) Explore the unique environment of the market while picking up some ready-cooked food, fruits, drinks and flowers as an alms offering, and then continue by pick-up truck on the off-road trail to Doi Pu Muen for about an hour.

Doi Pu Muen is a mountain and highland area 1,306 metres above sea level. Due to the relatively high elevation, Doi Pu Muen has cool temperatures year-round. Upon arrival at the mountain, get out and explore the village of Lahu. This mostly Christian tribal community subsists mostly through the cultivation of tea and coffee. Visit some of the tea plantations and have fun learning how to pick tea leaves like a local. Also, learn how to heat and dry the tea leaves, before sitting down to enjoy local tea with the Lahu people themselves. Afterwards, visit Pu Muen Waterfall and enjoy tasting a very special bamboo lunch.

In the late afternoon, drive to Pai District of Mae Hong Son Province. Pai is a colourful town of just over 2,000 people set in a picture-perfect mountain valley. It has strong cultural influence from the Shan people (from Myanmar). In the evening, enjoy a stroll through the colourful Pai night markets for an evening snack or some hill tribe inspired crafts and gifts. Overnight at Phu Pai Art

Distance and journey time:
Fang District – Doi Pu Muen (31.3 km): 58 min
Doi Pu Muen – Pai District (234 km): 4.10 hr

Day 12: Pai – Mae Hong Son (B)
Following breakfast, continue further north to Tham Lod Cave in the small town of Soppong (1.5 hours). This must-see historic cave is explored by bamboo raft via a tiny river that winds through the cave. Disembark the raft 2- 3 times to explore the huge caverns that contain remains of ancient teak coffins that date back over 2,500 years and simple cave painting- all the while, be accompanied by a local guide bearing a kerosene lantern. Indeed Tham Lod is fantastic example of community-based tourism, as the all of the guides at the cave are from the local Shan village.

Continue to a local restaurant for lunch and then travel onwards to Mae Hong Son, stopping at Tam Pla Park. The park features a number of creeks running out of a cave and the waters are filled with soro brook carp fish. After the visit, resume driving to Mae Hong Son. Mae Hong Son is one of Thailand’s most remote towns, nestled in a scenic mountainous setting with the Pai River in the background. Mae Hong Son shares a border with Myanmar and, as such, its population is a cultural melting pot of Thai and Shan people with Lisu, Lahu, Karen and Hmong hilltribes populating the surrounding mountain regions.

Continue to Wat Phra That Doi Kong Moo, which dominates the provincial city. Constructed by Phaya Singhanatracha, the first King of Mae Hong Son, the hilltop temple affords a wonderful view over the city and surrounding mountains and valleys. Also visit the Burmese-style temples Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham. Apart from the glass paintings depicting Buddhism and the simple lifestyle of the villagers, there are over 30 wood-carved dolls from Myanmar. Situated in front of the temples is a big natural pond called Nong Chong Kham, which used to be the bathing area for elephants. Overnight at Fern Resort

Distance and journey time:
Pai District – Mae Hong Son (107 km): 1.57 hr

Day 13: Mae Hong Son (B)
We begin with an early morning to visit the morning market area, where a colourful aray of foodstuffs can be bought including crickets, worms and ant eggs. We then embark on an exciting “long-tail” boat journey down the Pai river through jungle landscape passing small villages perched high upon the river banks and lush green rice fields. This scenic boat ride brings us to a small market on the Myanmar border, selling an eclectic aray of goods from Myanmar and Thailand. Overnight at Fern Resort

Day 14: Mae Hong Son – Chiang Mai (B/L)
Depart from Mae Hong Son to Khun Yuam. Stop on the way to see some authentic Burmese & Mon-influenced temples such as Wat Muay Tor and Wat Tor Pae. Continue by road through a beautiful mountainous route to Mae Cham. Stop there for lunch and then continue driving to Chiang Mai in the afternoon.

In the late afternoon, visit Wat Palad, one of the three temples in Doi Suthep National Park. Then depart downhill to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep -the most sacred temple in Northern Thailand. Ascend more than 300 stairs to the top and view the incredibly beautiful golden stupas and murals there. Having arrived late in the afternoon, most of the tourists will have already left at this point, as dusk fills the air, the temple grounds take on a very magical atmosphere. As the sun dips below the horizon, watch Chiang Mai light up from the bird's-eye view that Doi Suthep offers. Overnight at Makka

Optional evening tour:
Chiang Mai Night Discovery

Chiang Mai is a city that really comes alive at night! We start the evening at a local temple to join monks in their nightly chanting of prayer. Light some incense or burn a candle and experience this wonderful Buddhist event. From here, it’s time for dinner at the beautiful and elegant Rachamankha Hotel. Following this, we drive to the lively Waroros Market. This market is a hub of local life and bursting with fresh flowers and local street food stalls. Follow the guide while exploring the market and sample some local Thai sweets to finish off a wonderful night.

Time: 17:00 - 21:00
Departure: Daily

Distance and journey time:
Mae Hong Son – Khun Yuam Districkt (66 km): 1.06 hr
Khun Yuam Districkt – Chiang Mai (215 km): 4.02 hr

Day 15: Chiang Mai (B)
Today promises to be a memorable one. Experience a typical day in the life of a Thai person- no tourists, no sightseeing -just real life home cooking in a real Thai neighborhood. Join Mr. Prapat in his family car and transfer 20 minutes to Hang Dong to spend the day with his family. In true Thai-style, slip into a pair of local ‘fisherman’s pants’ and discover the architecture of a traditional Thai house and rice barn. The Thai family will also demonstrate their basket-weaving skills -a tradition that has been in Thailand for centuries. Stroll around the small, family orchard and select fresh ingredients to add to the day’s cooking extravaganza.

Learn how to prepare traditional home-cooked recipes with authentic Northern Thai flavours that are different from standard dishes offered in commercial cooking classes. Best of all, have the opportunity to get to know a real Thai family and be their house guest for the day. Enjoy a delicious home-cooked lunch with the ‘adopted’ family while cooking together. In the afternoon, go for a stroll around the neighbourhood to see some cottage industry goods being made before returning to Chiang Mai. Overnight at Makka

Distance and journey time:
Chiang Mai – Hang Dong District (14.7 km): 17 min

Day 16: Departure from Chiang Mai (B)
Breakfast and free day at leisure. Depart to Chiang Mai Airport for the flight back to Bangkok.

Distance and journey time:
Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai Airport (4.7 km): 11 min

Price in Thai Baht from 30 apr 2017 - 31 oct 2017
Pr person in double room                      111195,-
Single supplement                                   24295,-

Price in Thai Baht from 31 oct 2017 to 30 apr 2018
Pr person in double room                    116495-
Single supplement                                  26395,-

Our services include:

  • Hotel accommodation in shared twin / double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • Tour & transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • English speaking local guide
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Our services do not include:

  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Visa services
  • Camera/video entrance fees.
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance, tips, visa
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

Important notes:
• Reservations during peak times (Christmas, New Year, Vietnamese Lunar New Year, National Holidays) may be subject to peak season surcharges and surcharges for compulsory Gala dinners on 24th and 31st december.
• Rooms at hotels are available only from 1400 on arrival day till 1200 on departure date. A supplement will be added if early check-in or late check-out is desired.
• Please note that all the above services & package tours have not been booked yet, they are proposed for your information only. We will not begin any reservation before we receive your confirmation.
• If one or some proposed service(s) is (are) not available at the time of booking, we will try to arrange similar service(s) in order to avoid as many important changes as possible.
• The itinerary may at times be altered by our guides due to local conditions, the skill of participants and other unexpected circumstances. Our priority is always the experience and safety of our clients.

Accommodation

Sala Rattanakosin

Sala Rattanakosin

Ndol Villa

Ndol Villa

Greenery Resort

Greenery Resort

Tharaburi Resort

Tharaburi Resort

Nan Boutique Hotel

Nan Boutique Hotel

Lanjia Lodge

Lanjia Lodge

Phumanee Lahu Home

Phumanee Lahu Home

Phu Pai Art Resort

Phu Pai Art Resort

Fern Resort

Fern Resort

Makka Chiang Mai

Makka Chiang Mai

Email: Contact@insighttoasia.com
Phone: +66 856869402
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