Unexplored Thailand: North & South

Thailand, the former kingdom of Siam, is a land steeped in ancient customs yet balanced with the conveniences of modern life.  As the most prosperous of SE Asian countries, Thailand offers a myriad of beautiful landscapes and friendly people, all known as the Land of Smiles. We take you to the less visited destinations where you will learn what makes this land so captivating and beguiling.

The tour begins in Chiang Mai, the magical capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. You will enjoy traditional dance and music and learning to cook Thai food at our custom cooking class located in the countryside. We will then take you on the magical and beautiful Chiang Mai Loop, a 5 day exploration in the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai. This is an area rich with tribal culture and rich nature; think waterfalls and hot springs. Returning to Chiang Mai, we will fly to Bangkok, the City of Kings, where we will spend three days exploring the less visited nooks and crannies of this amazing city. We will stay in Chinatown and travel on the mighty Chao Praya River taking you to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha and Temple of Dawn.

Satiated by the sights and sounds of the food and art world in this metropolis, we fly south to an area of Thailand which is less touristed and even more exotic. We will boat in search of Pink Dolphins, learn to cook southern style Thai food and enjoy our small boutique hotel on the coast. We finish the journey in Trang, which is the seafood capital of the south. We will fly back to Bangkok and see you off for your return flight(s) home.


Detailed Itinerary

Day One. Arrival Chiang Mai

Bangkok skyline seen from the LeBua Towers

Arrive in Chiang Mai, the gateway to northern Thailand.  You will be met at the airport and taken to our hotel with free time in the afternoon to unpack and rest or explore on your own. Later we will meet for our Welcome Dinner and a Khantoke Performance featuring traditional dance and music.

Hotel: Na Nirand or similar.

Meal Included: Dinner


Day Two. Chiang Mai.

River taxis provide a efficient means of transportation through parts of downtown Bangkok ThailandFollowing breakfast, we will visit an elephant camp which is working to restore to good health elephants who have been misused or mistreated. These beautiful iconic creatures are the revered in Thailand.

Hotel: Na Nirand or similar.

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Three. Chiang Mai.

Chatuchak Market is a shoppers paradise with more than 8,000 stalls.Today we will have a city tour of Chiang Mai. Historically, Chiang Mai is unmatched in northern Thailand, as the former capital of the Kingdom of a Million Rice  Fields. We will focus on the central old city which is within the ancient walls of the city. In the afternoon, we will attend a cooking class and learn the subtleties of northern Thai cuisine.


Hotel: Na Nirand or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner (at cooking class)


Day Four. Chiang Mai – Pai

Today we begin our exploration of the mountains surrounding Chiang Mai. We will drive the most scenic drive in all of Thailand, the Mae Hong Son Loop. On our way to Pai, we will stop at waterfalls and lovely pools–and even a hot spring. This drive to Pai is beautiful with unending mountain vistas.

Hotel: Reverie Siam or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch


Day Five.  Pai – Mae Hong Son

sukhothai historic park, Thailand

On our drive today, we will pass a prehistoric cave filled with beautiful stalagmites and stalactites. Have a bamboo boat ride inside of the cave.  Later we will visit a Lahu village and learn of their culture and history. Northern Thailand has a rich tapestry of diverse hill tribes such as the Hmong, Karen, Lisu, Lahu and Pa-O, among others. In Mae Hong Son we will stay at the lovely boutique Fern Resort, spending two nights there.

Hotel: The Fern Resort or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch,


Day Six. Mae Hong Son

thailand-chiangmai-elephantsToday is a free day to rest and recharge. Do this by the pool or go for a bike ride. Or take a leisurely stroll with our guide discover the Burmese style temples. The province of Mae Hong Son sits next to the border with Myanmar (Burma).

Hotel: The Fern Resort or similar

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Seven.  Mae Hong Son – Mae Chaem


Our first stop will be in the village of Muang Pon where we will meet the Village guide who will explain the culture of these Tai people.  We will learn to make one of their tasty desserts, learn how to make utensils from bamboo strips and see how their traditional costumes are made. We continue to Mae Chaem and stay in a locally owned, lovely resort made in the traditional  wooden Thai style.

Hotel: Huan Ram Chaem Muang

Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Eight. Mae Chaem – Chiang Mai

laos-luangprabang-food-vendorThis morning we learn how Tiin Jok, a part of the traditional women’s skirt, is made. This village is famous for its weaving.  We will drive to the summit of Doi Inthanon National Park to see Thailand’s tallest mountain (8415 ft.) and then return to Chiang Mai and pack for going to Bangkok!

Hotel: Na Nirand or similar.

Meals Included: Breakfast , Lunch


Day Nine. Chiang Mai – Bangkok

Beautiful waterfalls in LaosWe fly to Bangkok today and will discover the “City of Angels”.  After checking into our hotel, which is located in the colorful Chinatown, we will go to visit the Jim Thompson House and Museum.  An American who lived in Thailand following WW II, Thompson is credited with reviving the Thai silk industry. His home is now a beautiful museum enriched with traditional Thai objects and design. At sunset we will have drinks atop a rooftop bar with a panoramic view of the downtown skyline of Bangkok..

Hotel: The Shanghai Mansion or similar.

Meals Included: Breakfast


Day Ten. Bangkok

sunset over the lake of Phayao, ThailandAfter breakfast we will immerse ourselves in Thailand history with a visit to the Grand Palace, a former royal residence consecrated in 1782. Today it is used on ceremonial occasions and continues to be a pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists.  A short walk away is Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. It is considered the earliest centre for public education in Thailand. After lunch our final moment of discovery for the day will be the beautiful Wat Arun. To reach it, we will take a water taxi across the Chao Praya river.

Hotel: The Shanghai Mansion  or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Eleven. Bangkok

Cooking class learning Burmese recipes at Bamboo Delight on Inle Lake, MyanmarWe will delight and delve into Bangkok cuisine today as we go on the incomparable Chili Paste Tour. We will visit hole-in-the-wall shops, interact with locals, and explore little known eateries and markets. Bring an appetite, please!  In the afternoon we will visit the sprawling Chatuchak Weekend Market. Its sheer size and diverse collections of merchandise will bring even seasoned shoppers to their knees. The 35-acre area of Chatuchak is home to more than 8,000 market stalls and sells everything from clothes to crickets.

Hotel: The Shanghai Mansion or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch (on the  Chili paste Tour)


Day Twelve. Bangkok – Surat Thani – Khanom

tuk tuk is a popular means of transportation in Thailand and LaosWe fly south from Bangkok to Surat Thani to begin our foray into southern Thailand. The two provinces of Nakon Si Thamarat and Phatthalung have been completely overlooked in the past and now that is changing. We want to show you this relatively unexplored part of Thailand and share its art, culture, and cuisine with you. It is a paradise of nature, birdlife and wetlands along coastal Thailand.

Hotel: The Aava Resort and Spa or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Thirteen. The Pink Dolphins at Khanom

We will rise early in search of the Pink Dolphins. The Pink Dolphins. Known as “gymnasts of the water”, these beautiful creatures and super agile. We have the best chances to see them in these waters off of Khanom. Later we will see the Coral Pagoda of Khanom and visit a natural fish spa. The afternoon will be free to enjoy the beach and/or pool at the resort.

Hotel: The Aava Resort and Spa or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Fourteen. Baan Laem Village

Laotians waiting to make merit at a Buddhist ceremony.Today is our chance for a (optional) mud bath and also observe the planting of mangrove trees. Also, we have the opportunity to join a cooking class to discover the difference in cooking southern Thai food. Following our lunch the locals will teach us how they do tie-dying

Hotel: Lotus The Aava Resort and Spa or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Fifteen. Khanom Beach – Nakhon Si Thammarat

Monks walk early in the morning to receive alms of food and money in Luang Prabang, LaosIn the morning we will drive to Nakhon Si Thammarat to visit the The Wat Phra Mahathat and also the House of National Arts to see a Thai Shadow Puppet performance. This centuries old art form, called Nang Thalung originated in southern Thailand. Following lunch we will visit Kiriwong Handcraft Village which is known for it crafts of batik and tie-dying. Continuing on to Phatthalung, we will check into the Sri Pak Pra Boutique Resort.

Hotel: Sri Pak Pra Boutique Resort or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch.


Day Sixteen. Phatthalung – Trang

Kwang Si Falls outside of Luang Prabang, LaosWe have an early start this morning to visit the magical Thale Noi Lotus Lake. This freshwater lagoon is teeming with pink water lillies and bird life. As for as the eye can see are vibrant pink water lillies. It is one of the most bio-diverse places in Thailand. After breakfast we will visit Varni Craft, a community based endeavor in which the villagers weave baskets using a local weed-like material called Krajood.From there we continue on to Trang, Myo’s home town and the southern terminus of the tour.

Hotel: Thumrin Thana Hotel or similar.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner.


Day Seventeen. Trang – Bangkok

Trang is known for its seafood and barbecue. We will visit the local market to witness the sellers of the various types of fish and shellfish. For breakfast we will walk to a local restaurant to eat Dim Sum. After breakfast, we will have one last opportunity to buy batik or materials before flying back to Bangkok in the late afternoon.

Hotel: Marriott Suvarnabhumi Airport or similar

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Day Eighteen. Bangkok. End of Tour

The tour ends today and you will be transported to the nearby international airport (BKK) for your flights home.

What’s Included

(Almost everything once you’re there!)

  • Seventeen nights in boutique hotels, for two people sharing
  • Transfers to and from airports in Chiang Mai, Bangkok, Surat Thani & Trang
  • All local ground  & river transportation with bottled water, driver, English-speaking guides.
  • Full time English-speaking Thai Guides; American & Thai Tour Leaders
  • Admission to attractions.
  • Meals as indicated on the itinerary
  • Flights: Chiang Mai to Bangkok; Bangkok to Surat Thani; Trang to Bangkok

What’s Not Included

  • International air tickets to/from Thailand
  • Travel/Trip Cancellation/Medical Insurance
  • Thai Tourist Entry Fee ($10)
  • Single Room Supplement for rooming alone.
  • Gratuities
  • Meals not included on the itinerary
  • International airport taxes

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“Laos and Thailand are two of the most exotic countries in the world and it was wonderful to explore them through Benjamin’s and Myo’s eyes.”
– Judi, Asheville, NC