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Head into the hills and get sky high on this northern Thailand adventure. Pass through the bustling hub of Thailand's capital, Bangkok, and take the time to check out the temples in Ayutthaya.Trek the hillside outside of Chiang Mai, and explore the city and its colourful nightlife. This eight-day exploration of temples, jungles, markets and mountains is sure get your heart pumping and your stomach rumbling.
Day 1: Bangkok
Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand. There’s a welcome meeting at around 6 pm tonight. If you do arrive early, perhaps take a walk around Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or head to the magnificent Grand Palace. Once you’ve had your important meeting, it’s definitely time for food. Bangkok is known for its street food, so be sure to check out some roadside stalls for a delicious coconut curry, tom yum goong or pad thai. Later on, get wild in Bangkok’s nightlife and head out. Ask your guide for directions or grab your new travel mates and attempt to navigate the MRT subway train.
Day 2: Ayutthaya - Overnight Train
Good morning! Time for an adventure. Take a train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya in the morning. Ayutthaya was the capital in the Kingdom of Siam, but now the ruins of this old city form the Historical Park: an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues. Take local tuk tuks on a visit to the Ayutthaya temple site, stopping by Wat Panan Choeng (adorned with a huge 19 metre Buddha image), Wat Yai Chai Mong Kol (with its 62 metre Victory Pagoda), and the famous Wat Maha That (the Buddhist temple with a striking figure head swallowed by tree roots). You’ll have the chance to buy some of Ayutthaya's famous Boat Noodles’ soup – trust us, they’re delicious. After your day exploring, hop on an overnight train up to Chiang Mai. You’ll have a few day-use rooms to share in Ayutthaya to freshen up before your train ride.
Day 3: Chiang Mai
Arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning and transfer to your hostel. Even though check-in is at 2 pm, you’ll still be able to use the facilities, if you’d like. Chiang Mai is the perfect entrance to the Thai highlands, with misty mountains and colourful hillside villages awaiting you to explore. This will be your base for the next few days, as you’ll return here after your hillside trek. Today, spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and exploring the city, then at night, why not get a group of you together and visit some of the trending bars in the happening Nimman area? You are on holiday, after all.
Day 4: Chiang Mai - Hilltribe Trek
This morning at around 8 am, leave Chiang Mai in a songthaew (approximately 2 hours). Head to Wachirathan Waterfall, then on the way up to the mountain, visit Hmong Hilltribe Market at Baan Khun Klang. Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant. After lunch, start trekking at Doi Pha Tang, trekking for 2-3 hours along a relatively smooth trail, mostly walking downhill through the natural forest. On the trail, you will pass the Mai Phai waterfall which is a great spot to take a break. After a bit more of a hike, arrive at a Karen hilltribe village called Baan Tin Tok, where you’ll be staying for the night. Around 20 Christian families of Karen people live in this village. Enjoy dinner cooked by your host, then take a walk around the village to chat with the locals, perhaps checking out their art of naturally dyed clothes. You’ll stay in a wooden house, surrounded by an organic vegetable farm, with shared facilities. This is special.
Day 5: Hilltribe Trek - Chiang Mai
The best thing about being deep in the jungle in the morning is to enjoy the natural wake-up sounds of wildlife calls to stir your sleep. After a hearty breakfast (you’ll need it!), get back on board for today’s hike. It’s a pretty easy walk through local agricultural practice and farmland for a couple of hours, before arriving at Mae Ya Waterfalls, the biggest waterfall in Doi Inthanont National Park. Lunch will be provided today as well – yeah! Then, you will also have time to visit Wat Phradhatu Sri Chom Tong Voravihara, which is highly respected because of the sacred Buddha relic that is enshrined here. The Wat Phra That Si Chom Thong was constructed halfway through the 15th century located where the Buddha relic was found. The oldest structure is the chedi, which was built around 1450. The chedi is a large golden structure with a square base and a spire on top of that. Afterwards, continue back to Chiang Mai (approximately 2 hours), arriving around 4 pm and checking into your accommodation. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore the city.
Day 6: Chiang Mai
Today you're free as a bird in charming Chiang Mai. There’s a heap of optional activities to check out today, and you’re free to choose. Maybe take an optional excursion to the temple at the top of Doi Suthep, which offers fantastic views over the city. Perhaps spoil yourself with a traditional Thai massage or try your hand at a local cooking class. It's totally up to you. What is recommended is, at night, get the gang together and check out Chiang Mai’s famed night markets, where you’ll find everything from souvenirs to sweet treats on offer.
Day 7: Chiang Mai - Overnight sleeper train
With another day to explore Chiang Mai, you’re spoilt for options. Included for today is your chance to learn one of the world legend Martial arts, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) this morning. Spend 2 hours exercising and learning the basics of Muay Thai with the pros, plus how to adapt yourselves to be the weapons and guard. Later in the evening, board an overnight train for Bangkok (approximately 13 hours). Soft sleeper class trains are used for the overnight journey, and they’ve got all you’ll need! The compartments are multi-share with air-conditioning and bunk beds that come with sheets and a pillow. Baggage travels in the carriage with you, and there's a food and drink service available on board.
Day 8: Bangkok
Your train is scheduled to arrive into Bangkok early this morning. You’ll transfer back to the hotel where the trip started, and you’ll have access to shared day rooms, available until midday. If you would like to spend more time in Bangkok (we don’t blame you), we can organise additional accommodation (subject to availability). There’s so much to see and do in Bangkok, so why not book yourself in to an Urban Adventures tour? There’s one called Chinatown Food Discovery, which will take you through the best haunts and markets selling foods you may never have heard of before! Head to urbanadventures.com/destination/bangkok-tours for more information.
Question: How many suitcases can I take with me on my trip?
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The trip was both both educational and exciting. I very much enjoyed the sights and culture.
The itinerary was just as I expected! The guide was very good as were the accomodations
Intrepid did such a great job. I never had to worry about where I was supposed to be and it felt so good not to worry about a thing but just to enjoy myself. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable about culture and history.
Taiwan people very friendly. Accommodation were centrally located and easily accessible. Did extra activities then in brochure which was greatly.
Larus our tour guide did an excellent job and was very attentive to our needs. He is very knowledgeable and has a great sense of humor.
Our guide Tarang chandola was exceptional. Courteous, knowledgeable, organized, polite, professional and went above and beyond taking care of our needs and requests offen anticipating what that might be. He made sure we all had the best possible time and offered suggestions to meet the needs of everyone on the tour. This made the trip even more enjoyable.
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