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Venture out of the city and travel to the northern tip of Thailand. Here, you will cross the border to shop at a Burmese market, unravel the secrets behind the Burmese refugees' life and the former narco base by the Golden Triangle. This week-long getaway can be a part of a long tailor-made journey and you will be rewarded with delightful experiences.
  • Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai discovered at a depth
  • Boat upstream to check out the knock-off bags at a Burmese market across the Thai-Myanmar border
  • Visit the former base of opium trade which is now a peaceful town
  • A handful of classic temples including the White Temple, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Lok Molee and Wat Phra Signh
  • Offering alms to monks in the early morning of Chiang Mai - believed to bring you good karma
  • Interesting conversation with a local monk in Chiang Mai's tunnel temple

Journey route

tour map of a private tour package to northern thailand including chiang rai, mae sai, mae salong and chiang mai

What's included

  • Internal flights as detailed in the itinerary
  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guides
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Temporary one-time pass to Myanmar
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches as detailed in the itinerary
  • Governmental taxes

Itinerary in detail

For most first-timers, Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai can be done within 3 days. However, this week-long getaway differs your journey as it offers more experiences and better understanding. It can be either a starter or the last leg of any regular Thailand itinerary. Also, this is just a sample itinerary and you may change anything based on your own interests and time frame.

Day 1 Bangkok - Chiang Rai | Northern Hill Breeze

Domestic flight in the afternoon Grand Vista Hotel Chiangrai / Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort

Upon your arrival at Bangkok airport, you will proceed with the onward flight to Chiang Rai in the afternoon.
After one hour of flying, you will reach Chiang Rai, where a local private tour guide awaits. Transfer to your hotel by a private car. Check in and free at leisure.
Tailor-made Guideline:
- We will book an afternoon flight at around 0400pm after your international arrival. However, if you arrive the day before or later than 0400pm, an extra night in Bangkok is needed.
- For this 7-day northern Thailand private tour, you will be guided by local guides from Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai who know better about the land. However, we can assign you with an escort guide from Bangkok upon your request.

Day 2 Chiang Rai - Tachileik (Myamar) - Chiang Rai | Boat Upstream to Myanmar

Private car and boat

Rise up to Chiang Rai's first ray, you will kick start today with a good coffee. Later, you will be taken to Mae Sai, a border town on the edge of Myanmar. Mae Sai is 60km at the north of Chiang Rai, the one-hour drive passes by Chiang Rai's outskirt fringed with humble villages and extensions of rice paddies. You will board a long-tail boat heading to the border.
Once arrive at Thai-Myanmar border, you will firstly go to the Thai immigration and your passport will be held there temporarily as a procedure manner. Crossing border to Myanmar, you will reach Tachileik where you will get a stamped on your copy of the original passport (this will be the receipt of your entry to Myanmar as well as getting back your passport when return).
Things in Tachileik seem similar with Chiang Rai yet people are dressed up differently and the market sights give out a typical border trade town vibe. Here you will find a wide selection of cheap knock-off bags and shoes, cigarettes and trinkets, as well aqs electronics at an unbelievably low price. Getting around in Tachilek Market is a fun experience itself. Hop on a motorbike to roam around the town, with views of Burmese-style pagodas and stupas.
Enjoy a good meal at Dinosaur Bistro, the finest restaurant in town offering creative international dishes with Thai and Burmese touches.
Get back to the Thai border in the afternoon and retrive your passport. Carry on to the famous Golden Triangle. But before that, you will stop by the Hall of Opium Museum, showcasing how the opium is made, used and distributed and how this evil trade ruined thousands of families living around this area.
Watch the sun slowly setting down the river surface at the Golden Triangle, where Thai-Myanmar and Thai-Laos meet.
You will be back in Chiang Rai town by the evening.
Tailor-made Guideline:
Due to limited dining choice, we will arrange today's lunch at an international restaurant (also with some Thai and Burmese options). Please inform us if you have special interest in authentic all-Burmese cuisine or other dietary requirements.

The gloomy sunset over the river somehow indicates the dark pass of the Golden Triangle

Day 3 Chiang Rai - Mae Salong - Chiang Rai | Opium Kingdom's Yesterday and Present

Private car

Yesterday's visit at the Hall of Opium Museum gave you an intro of the dark history around Chiang Rai and today you will take a glance at its present.
We will drive northward to Thoet Thai Village in Mae Fa Luang District, about 80km from Chiang Rai. The village is widely-known as the former base of narco-warlord Khun Sa, also known as the Opium King. Its former name was Ban Hin Taek, literally meaning "The Village of Broken Stone", suggests its isolation as almost no roads leading to the outside world and it was made easily a virtual kingdom by Khun Sa on his notorious trading.
Here you will visit Khun Sa Museum, where you will be guided through Khun Sa's hateful life and the VIP Chamber houses a creepy life-size model of Khun Sa. Nevertheless, it is still comforting enough to learn that the village has recovered from the dark past and now it is a thriving agricultural base for tomatoes, maize, onions, garlic, potatoes and tea.
Theta Thai is also one of the earliest settlement for the Ahka people, who are known for wearing much silver and live on houses built of wattle and mud.
Have some simple lunch and we will head down to Mae Salong. This region is situated on a higher altitude and ideal for coffee and tea cultivation. We will stop for a nice cup of coffee at Doi Mae Salong Coffee before we head to a tea factory. The factory provides livelihood for the local villagers as you can watch them busy with tea picking on the tea planations that lace up the mountains.
You will be back to Chiang Rai by evening.

Some tea-leaf-picking workers come from families that used to live on narco industry back in the last century

Day 4 Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai | The Surreal White Temple

Private car Bodhi Serene Chiang Mai / Le Meridien Chiang Mai

You may have a late start this morning. We will drive down to Chiang Mai at around 1000am.
On the way, you will stop to visit the framed White Temple (aka Wat Rong Khun). Transfer to Chiang Mai after the visit. Check in and free at leisure.
Tailor-made Guideline:
When to set off to Chiang Mai is totally your call. If you would like an early start, you may take in more natural landscape en route or arrive in Chiang Mai just in time for a foodie hunt at the night market. Let us know when you are ready to go.

Day 5 Chiang Mai | Morning Alms-Giving, Old Town, Massage and Chat with a Monk

Wake up early in the morning and you will take part in a very important ritual: Alms-giving. Every morning, monks from every temple of Chiang Mai will walk over the town to collect food. The locals believe such a good deed will be helpful for one's karma.
Later, return to hotel and enjoy your breakfast. We will start the day again at around 1000am.
The Old Town of Chiang Mai is constructed based on the grand temple complex that consists of Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Lok Molee and Wat Phra Singh, all in graceful Lanna-style. Today you will have a taste of this spokemen of Chiang Mai-style temples.
Stay away from the mid-day sun, you will enjoy a 60-minute Thai traditional massage after lunch (Cost included, service at Fah Lanna Spa, Zira Spa or similar).
Later in the afternoon, we will venture out of Chiang Mai and reach the 700-year-old temple Wat Umong. This temple is known more widely as the tunnel temple. The tunnels were constructed by the Lanna King Mongrel, the founder of Chiang Mai, all dedicating to monks for a peaceful meditation chamber. Here you are free to join a conversation with a monk under the tree shades. Your tour guide will be your interprtor and you are free to ask any questions you like.
Drive back to Chiang Mai by the evening.
Tailor-made Guideline:
- Chat with monk at Wat Umong is only available on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 0530pm to 0730pm. For other times, we will choose other venues for you. Normally we will invite the monk around the same age as yours, however, some travelers might be more interested in learning about the younger novices or part-time monks. Please let us know and we will see what we can do for you.
- A one-hour traditional Thai massage is included and it is possible to be changed to a spa treatment upon your request.

Wat Lok Molee is widely known for its powerful visual impact

Day 6 Chiang Mai | Your New Friend from the Jungle

Baanchang Elephant Park is dedicated to providing elephants with the highest quality-of-life possible. We are a managed by private owner in all ways. All funds are from visitors : meaning we are funded exclusively by visitors and every cent we receive goes towards making our elephants lives as pleasant as possible and, of course, retiring and rescue new elephants.
The Park invites you to hands-on experience on participating, sharing responsibilities and taking care of an elephant.
In the morning, you will have a private transfer arranged by Asia Highlights to the park. Once inside, you will be guided by the park staff and your private tour guide and transfer will wait outside.
Here you will learn about the habbits about the elephants, as well as how to feed, bathe and even communicate with them.
You will meet your private tour guide and transfer at noon after the session. Transfer back to downtown Chiang Mai and have lunch on your own.
Tailor-made Guideline:
The elephant sanctuary visit is often arranged in the morning from 0700am to 1100am so as you don't get worn out in the afternoon heat (especially during June to August). However, if you want to stay in late in the morning, an afternoon session is always available.

Help bathing your new friends from the jungle -- Asian elephants

Day 7Chiang Mai | Chiang Mai Departure

Your week-long adventure in northern Thailand has come to an end. After some free time at leisure, you will be taken to the airport for your onward flight back home or the next destination.

Asia Highlights handpicked hotels

Both Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai boost for a wide selection of great hotels. With location being our first factor to consider, Asia Highlights' handpicked hotels in these destinations feature with traditional Lanna styles and ideal balance of senerity and access to actions. Room type in bold letters are what we choose especially for you.

Chiang Rai Grand Vista Hotel Chiangrai
  • One of the best picks on Booking.com, especially loved by couples.
  • Located close to the Old Town and free shuttle bus to Night Bazaar.
  • Deluxe Room , 36sqm bigger than most hotels with city view.
Chiang Mai Bodhi Serene, Chiang Mai
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence and #62 out of 412 on TripAdvisor.
  • Located inside the Old City of Chiang Mai, garden setting and quiet.
  • Deluxe Room , 40sqm with balcony and garden view.

Journey information

  • Seasonal information: This private Thailand tour package is truly an all-time favorite as it is harldy effected by weather or climate. More specifically, if you are traveling during school summer vacation (June to August), the northern highland air is definitely a bliss.
    During the rainy season (May to September), there might be floods in the Mekong River and we will alter the trip slightly to overland transfer instead of boat ride.
  • Meals:Daily breakfast at hotels and a lunch for days with sightseeing are included. For meals that are not included, your tour guides will suggest where and what to eat.
    Food in northern Thailand is lighter in spice and seafood, yet richer in vegetables. As a border domain, food in Mae Sai is deeply inflenced by Burmese and Chinese cuisines, which might be a bit spicier and greasier.
    For your stopover in Tachileik (Myanmar), you will dine at an international restaurant in case you want to forget you are in Asia for just one minute.
    If you would like to make special arrangements, such as Halal or Kosher food, or none-dairy, please inform your travel advisor at the time of inquiry. We will do our best to accommodate you.
  • Transportation: You will have a private car in each destination; our cars are within 5 years of usage and your private drivers will be polite and drive with strong regard for safety.
    We will charter an entire long-tail boat for your adventure at the border. However, during peak season, a very slight chance is that such operation might not be possible and you may need to share the boat with other travelers especially when you are traveling with less than 4 persons.
    Internal flights are operated by Thailand's nation-run airlines such as Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways. 20KG luggage per person for check-in.
  • Arrangements Sightseeing, activities and accommodations that are mentioned in this tour you are looking at are just for your inspiration.
    If you would like to have a free day in Chiang Mai instead of visiting the elephant sanctuary, we can do that; if you are concerned about the opium museum and village visit for your youngsters, we will arrange something else. Anything except for the festival date can be adjusted to your own interests.
    If you are looking for experiences that are not done by others, Discovery your way, Asia Highlights' motto suites you the best.
  • Responsible travel: Travel avails you with special experiences. Somehow its impact on the local community can be more beyond imagination and what Asia Highlights wishes to do is lead the impact onto a good path, a path that helps the local people (not only your tour guides) boarden their outlook and the local communities develop.
    Some lunches are served at local restaurants that are also training centers for former street kids. Taking baby steps one at a time, we highly appreciate you would like to be part of it (of course, we can make other arrangements if needed).
    With that being said, detours to so-called factories or specialty workshops are strictly prohibited. We make sure your tour guides earn enough to support their families without squeezing commissions out of you.
7 Days from $1,298p/p (Based on a 2-people private group)

Local guide

Most of our guides in Thailand have at least 5 years of experience and their are extremely passionate for introducing you their motherland. We asign different guides in all destinations so as to better your chance blending with the locals.

Mini van

All of vehicles are in good maintanence and with A/C. Experienced, polit and professional drivers take the wheel, they will ensure you have a safe and smooth ride. We have bottled water, wet tissues, first-aid kit and baby car seat equipped with our vehicles.

What our clients say about us

My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job... It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout... Read more
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