18 January 2017
Most visitors to Thailand are happy to spend most or all of their holiday relaxing at one of the host of beautiful beach resorts that have made the country so popular. But there is so much to see and do at this exotic destination and this short tour up to the Golden Triangle area, which can be combined with a stay in the capital Bangkok, really gives you a genuine feel for life in south east Asia.
Your tour begins when you leave Bangkok and head north to Uthai Thani, a small town on the Sakaekrang River, rarely visited by foreign tourists. Here you see Wat Chantaram, an impressive temple with Crystal Hall and a Golden Grand shrine. Lunch will be at riverside restaurant and in the afternoon drive further north to Phitsanuloke, a major regional commercial centre, spread along the banks of the Nan River. Visit the shrine of Wat Mahathat, which is home to Thailand’s most beautiful Buddha image. Dinner tonight is at your hotel.
After breakfast take a short drive to Sukhothai Historical Park, now listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Admire beautiful standing Buddha statues as you explore the many ruined temples and monasteries. After lunch at a local restaurant head further north to Chiang Mai 'The Rose of the North'. Chiang Mai has a rich cultural and agricultural heritage and is famous for the production of high quality handicrafts. This evening you can taste the Northern dish called Khao Soy at Just Khao Soy Restaurant before exploring the Night Bazaar.
Today you drive up a winding mountain road and then change vehicles to travel the rest of the journey by Songthaew - a utility truck with a covered area and two rows of seats. Drive along a rough dirt track to visit the White Hmong people in their village and maybe call in at the village school. On the return journey visit a temple with spectacular views of Chiang Mai and the surrounding valley, from it’s mountain location. Return to city for lunch then visit the district of Sankampaeng, home to many handicraft industries. Dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast at your hotel this morning your first visit of the day is to an orchid farm and one of the elephant camps where skilled "mahouts" show how elephants have worked in the jungles for centuries. Here you have the chance to go for a ride on one of these gentle giants. Another optional activity is river rafting on handmade bamboo rafts. Then you continue on through beautiful mountain scenery, to Chiang Rai via Wiang Pa Pao with a stop for lunch en-route. Dinner tonight is at your hotel in Chiang Rai.
On this your final full day of the tour you drive to Mae Sai, Thailand’s northernmost town on the Burma border. Walk around the bustling market where there are many handicrafts from Burma and imported goods from China. From Mae Sai, you travel on to to the renowned Golden Triangle where the Ruak and Mekong Rivers meet. Enjoy views over Burma, Laos, Thailand and the mighty Mekong River. After lunch you can take a boat trip on the river before being taken to the local airport where the tour comes to an end.
Standard fr £582pp
Rates based on twinshare
International flights not included unless otherwise stated