The former kingdom of a million rice fields

- A Secret Retreats journey -
7 days / 6 nights
from 1,550 USD /person

 

ITINERARY BOOK
 


Noppakran Ariyaphokhinan
Born in Chiang Mai, Npopakram has joined Secret Retreats in 2016 and particularly likes to share her knowledge of the Northern Thai culture and places she likes, surrounded by mountains and green forest.

All our itineraries have generally been constructed on the basis of the rooms that have the most charm or best view, and not necessarily the first prices, nor the most expensive suites.
We can of course adjust according to your request.

What separates us apart from others? Secret Retreats creates tailor-made journeys. Passionate about travel, Secret Retreats will design and create the perfect journey to match both your time and budget.

We have designed this itinerary so that curious travellers can better absorb true Thai culture in the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Discover the North of Thailand with your guide, its unique culture, history, landscapes between mountains and rice fields. 7 days is a good duration to explore one of the most rich and diverse region of Thailand.

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Your Journey Day by Day

7 days / 6 nights from 1,550 USD /person

based on 2 people sharing the same room

 

 
Day 1 : Chiang Rai (-)
In the morning arrive at Chiang Rai airport, welcome by your guide and transfer to the hotel for check-in. In the afternoon, you will explore Chiang Rai by Samlor. At the monument of Mangrai our samlors are waiting for us. The samlor is the traditional bicycle taxi, known in other countries as cyclo (Vietnam) or rickshaw (Singapore). Unfortunately the samlor is disappearing. There are probably about seventy left in Chiang Rai and the drivers are mostly elderly men. We want to support the samlors in Chiang Rai. We pass the beautiful old City Hall which dates back from 1899. Almost next is the Wat Phra Singh, one of the oldest temples of Chiang Rai. We continue our samlor tour, passing through a street with magnificent rain trees. The Wat Phra Kaew is without a doubt Chiang Rai's most famous temple. It once housed the famous Emerald Buddha image which is now in Bangkok. We visit the museum and the main temple before we continue to the Kad Luang, Thai for "big market". We take our time to chat with the vendors and taste some of the local delicacies that are being made in front of us. Our tour ends at one of our favourite Khao Soi restaurants, close to the spectacular clock tower. Then, drive to the Blue Temple. Wat Rong Suea Ten is the real name of this temple that is constantly under development. Buildings are being added. The Blue Temple is stunning and attracts a growing number of visitors. Not far from the Blue temple is the imposing Wat Huay Pla Kang. The statue is not a Buddha statue but an image of Kuan Im aka Guan Yin, the goddess of compassion. There is an elevator in the statue that will take you to a floor from which you have a nice view of Chiang Rai and surroundings.
Back to your hotel to relax. No arrangement for lunch and dinner.
HOTEL: Athita The Hidden Court (Superior Room Pagoda View)
Day 2 : Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle – Mae Chan (B/-/D)
After breakfast, and check out, we drive to Doi Tung. Doi ("Doi" means mountain in Thai) Tung used to be a major opium growing area. Local, mostly tribal, people grew opium on the slopes of the mountain. HRH The Princess Mother established the Doi Tung Development Project in 1987 under the management of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation, also established by the Princess Mother. The aim of the project was to eradicate opium cultivation and help the hilltribe people of Doi Tung to earn their livelihood from cash crops such as coffee and macadamia nuts. As she traveled to remote areas by helicopter she was given the name "Mae Fah Luang" ("Royal Mother from the Sky" in Thai). The Royal Project turned a troubled mountain into a wonderful tourist destination. We will visit the magnificent Mae Fah Luang botanic gardens and learn about the Royal Project. Taste some of the delicious Doi Tung coffee.

The Golden Triangle and the Mighty Mekong River
We continue to the Golden Triangle. This region used to be the main opium-growing and trading region in Southeast Asia. Triangle refers to the area where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Traders used to pay for opium or heroin with gold, hence the name Golden Triangle. The Mekong River forms the border here between Thailand and Laos. Lunch at a riverside restaurant. We proceed to the actual spot where the three borders meet. The small House of Opium Museum is very interesting and well done. The museum tells the history of the use of Opium, poppy cultivation and the opium trade in the Golden Triangle. It also exhibits opium pipes and traditional dress of the ethnic groups of North Thailand. Beware: this is not the Hall of Opium. Then we continue to the boat landing where a fast local boat is waiting for us. It will take us to Chiang Saen, a small town down the river. The trip will take only 15 minutes.

Ancient Chiang Saen and Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao
Chiang Saen is one of the oldest settlements in North Thailand. It has impressive, well-preserved city walls and some beautiful, centuries-old ruins. We limit ourselves to our favourite which is Wat Pa Sak. Then we will follow the city walls back to the Mekong River and head for Wat Phrathat Pha Ngao. Many local people visit this temple. There is a small but interesting weaving center and textile museum as well as a viharn with amazing wood carvings. Main attraction though is the white chedi on top of a hill. This chedi is called Phra Borommathat Putta Nimit Chedi. The reason that we drive up to the chedi is the majestic view we have over the Mekong River and Laos. This view is so much better than the view at the actual Golden Triangle. Transfer to your farm-stay in Mae Chan late afternoon and join the activities of the farm if you like.
Dinner served at the farm
HOTEL: Ahsa Farm Stay (Double Room)
Day 3 : Mae Chan (B/L/D)
In the morning after breakfast, we drive to Doi Mae Salong. Along a winding road with magnificent views we gradually climb to a mountain called Doi Mae Salong. On the ridge of this mountain there is an interesting community, called Santikhiri (‘hill of peace’). The villagers are ethnic Chinese who are descendants from Kuomintang forces who came to Thailand in 1962 aka the ‘Lost Army’. Your guide will tell you the story. Views are great and the air is fresh. You will visit a tea plantation and an interesting museum as well as the tomb of General Tuan. We will have lunch at a local Chinese restaurant. On the way back we will stop at several hilltribe villages, amongst others Yao and Akha. Back on the road in the afternoon to Mae Chan and enjoy the rest of the day at the farm.
Dinner served at the farm
HOTEL: Ahsa Farm Stay (Double Room)
Day 4 : Mae Chan – Thaton – Chiang Mai (B/-/-)
Departure in the morning after breakfast and check out. We start the day with a refreshing 45 mins boat ride on the Kok River. At the Lahu village Pha Tai we will disembark and continue by car to to Chiang Dao, stop to visit Chiang Dao cave. Next stop will be the "Sticky Waterfalls" is our next stop. These falls are locally known as Buatong Waterfalls. The falls are in the Sri Lanna National Park. Crystal clear water cascades over the limestone rocks. The limestone is not slippery. You can easily walk up and down the falls. That is why people call the falls the "Sticky Waterfalls". Visiting these falls is the perfect ending of your trip. We will spend a couple of hours at this beautiful place. Relax and enjoy the natural surroundings. After this, we will drive to Chiang Mai. Drop off at the hotel, in the old town of Chiang Mai -next to the famous Wat Phra Singh Temple- late this afternoon.
No arrangement for lunch and dinner.
HOTEL: Rachamankha Hotel (Superior Room)
Day 5 : Chiang Mai (B/-/D)
Your guide will meet you at the hotel at 0630 for your Doi Suthep almsgiving, temples and Hmong tour. We will drive to the Kruba Srivichai shrine at the food of Suthep Mountain. We will join the daily almsgiving to Buddhist monks. In Theravada Buddhism this is an opportunity for lay people to make merit. Monks and nuns are not allowed to receive money. Therefore people donate food and everyday items. The daily alms round is a very important part of Buddhism. Monks leave their temples on this daily alms round and walk the streets of Chiang Mai to collect alms. You will participate in this solemn ceremony. After that we will visit the shrine of Kruba Srivichai briefly. He is the patron-saint of North Thailand. His followers constructed the road leading to the temple in 1935.

Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
Then we drive up to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the most famous temple of Chiang Mai. Walk up the famous Naga staircase or take the elevator to the temple. We recommend to take the staircase of more than 300 steps. It is a good workout but take your time. We have all the time in the world. From the temple you have a magnificent view of Chiang Mai. At this time of day there will be few other visitors which makes it very special. We will spend time at the temple during which your guide will explain about the tenets of Buddhism. If you are interested we can arrange a meeting with a local monk. After our visit to the temple we will drive back to hotel for late breakfast. Relax and lunch at leisure.. At 15:00, the guide will pick you up at the lobby to go to a local house in Hang Dong. The home you will be visiting belongs to the Raunkaew-Yanon family almost 150 years ago. Just real home cooking in a real Thai neighborhood. Discover the architecture of traditional Thai Lanna house and rice barn. Your Thai family will also demonstrate their basket to garden, family orchid with many types of fruit such as banana, mango, coconut and select fresh ingredients to add to the days cooking extravaganza. You will learn to cook traditional home cooked recipes with authentic Northern Thai flavors that are different from standard dishes offer in commercial cooking classes. Best of all you will have the opportunity to get to know a real Thai family and be their house guest for the day. Enjoy a delicious home cooked dinner with your family (cooked together).
After dinner, we return to your hotel for the night.
HOTEL: Rachamankha Hotel (Superior Room)
Day 6 : Chiang Mai (B/L/)
After breakfast, we will visit an Elephant Camp (not for a ride, just to learn more about the pachyderm. The tour begins with a transfer, through the green countryside and hills, to the Elephant Park at 7.30am. These elephants have often been rescued and have retired here, safe. You will be able to observe the elephants, to see them in a natural environment, to distribute fruit and give them food.
You will learn about the elephant farm management, the breeding program, you will get trained to approach and be near an elephant and learn how to observe an elephant temperament, to introduce yourself to an elephant and how to feed. And all about their life health care, skin care, pregnancy, bathing. A picnic lunch will be served near a waterfall around 13:00, then you we will be dropped back at the hotel. The rest of the afternoon and dinner at leisure, we can recommend some Secret Tables to try some local flavors.
HOTEL: Rachamankha Hotel (Superior Room)
Day 7 : Chiang Mai – Departure (B/-/-)
Free time in the morning. And we will arrange a transfer to Chiang Mai airport, depending on the time of your flight.
Extension :
To end this trip smoothly, we suggest you to relax on a quiet beach at one of our seaside hotels on Koh Chang, Phuket, Krabi or around Samui (Spa Koh Chang, Le Passe-Temps, Koh Jum Beach Villas, Paresa Resort, Aava Resort).
Ask Secret Retreats concierge for advice.

Your Accommodation on this Asia Travel Itinerary


The former kingdom of a million rice fields

7 days / 6 nights
from 1,550 USD /person

based on 2 people sharing the same room

 



The total price includes :
Accommodations for 6 nights
All meals as mentioned in the program
All transfers from airport, to airport and all destinations visited, as mentioned in the program (private A/C car)
Guided visit, activities and excursions mentioned in the program
English speaking guide for local sightseeing.
Government tax and service tax

The total price does not include :
Domestic and International flight to and from Chiang Rai / Chiang Mai
Early check in or late check out
Extra activities and meals not mentioned in the program
Personal expenses, drinks, tips, etc
Travel Insurance


This Secret Journey was designed in cooperation with Noppakran and Green Trails (License 24/00060).

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