Our Hidden Wonders of the North Tour explores the temples, laid-back hill towns, and majestic landscapes of Northern Thailand. This action-packed four day tour is the perfect addition to a visit to Chiang Mai, taking in unspoiled Mae Sariang, the relaxed lakeside community of Mae Hong Son, and beautiful Pai located high up in the mountains.
The calming atmosphere of the north stands in contrast to the hustle and bustle of the great cities to the south. Far fewer visitors make their way up here. Those with an interest in the native cultures of Thailand can learn more about hill tribes like the Hmong, Shan and Akha. You’ll also experience the region’s unique food and architecture and observe skilled artisans crafting beautifully-decorated wares.
The landscape is spectacular, with soaring temples set on the crests of rolling hills, deep forests extending as far as the eye can see, and cool mountain lakes. Op Luang National Park is a spectacular gorge offering some excellent hiking. Pai is famous for its hot springs, which offer weary travellers the ultimate moment in relaxation. Around Pang Mapha you can explore deep caves, where a river flows into the mountains.
We recommend spending around three days in Chiang Mai prior to taking this tour, enabling you to settle into the pace of life. If you’d like to plan any further activities around the tour, get in touch to speak with one of our Destination Specialists.
- Visit the beautiful northern hill town of Pai
- Experience some of Thailand’s most stunning temples
- Explore the deep caves and forests of the Pang Mapha region
- Learn about the culture of the northern hill tribes
Start your Journey
Chiang Mai – Mae Sariang
From Chiang Mai you’ll start the day with a visit to the Baan Muang Goong Pottery Village in Hangdong, where you’ll see artisans crafting beautiful ceramics.
The historic city of Wiang Tha Kan is your next stop. Known for its impressive red brick architecture it’s a pretty place to explore on foot.
Stop for lunch at a local restaurant before driving on to Wat Prathat Sri Jom Thong, a celebrated monastery where the Buddha is said to have visited.
End the day at Op Luang National Park, a winding gorge known as the ‘Grand Canyon of the North’, before driving on to your hotel in Mae Sariang.
Mae Sariang – Mae Hong Son
Today it’s time to head out on the road to Mae Hong Son.
En route you’ll visit the World War II Museum in Khun Yuam, which provides an interesting look at the Japanese occupation of the region. You’ll also visit the nearby temples of Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham.
After lunch it’s time to rendezvous with a boat on the Pai River for a cruise to the village of a local hill tribe community. Get to know the friendly residents and learn about their customs and traditions.
At the lovely Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu temple you’ll finish the day watching the sunset, before arriving at your hotel in Mae Hong Son later that evening.
Mae Hong Son – Pai
Leave Mae Hong Son and head into the thickly-forested hills of the Pang Mapha District. Here you’ll visit Tham Pla (Fish Cave), where freshwater fish swim amid the rocks.
Tham Lot is a huge cave system with a deep river flowing through its heart. It boasts some remarkable rock formations and a unique atmosphere.
At Santichon Village you’ll stop for lunch. Built around the mid-century by refugees from China’s Yunnan province fleeing Chairman Mao’s regime, it provides an intriguing insight into a side of rural China few travellers get to see. Wander around the traditional clay houses, tea shops and enjoy some of the regional delicacies.
After checking into your hotel you can visit the Tha Pai Hot Springs for a relaxing soak, followed by a stroll around beautiful Pai, where you’ll find plenty of bars, restaurants and street food stalls.
Pai – Chiang Mai
Wake up early and head out for sunrise at the gorgeous Wat Mae Yen, returning to your hotel for a leisurely breakfast.
On the road back to Chiang Mai you can stop at an orchid farm, where you will see how these native flowers are grown and cared for.
You’ll arrive back in the city in the early afternoon, where you can connect for your onward journey or stay a while longer.
- Cost of accommodation (double room based on two people sharing) for a total of 3 nights (alternative but similar accommodation may be used at certain times of the year)
- Board basis is Half Board: breakfast, lunch/dinner in Mae Sariang and Mae Hong Son; Lunch only in Chiang Mai (first day)
- Transfers within Chiang Mai
- Assistance and porterage: meeting and assistance on arrival/departure at airports and hotels
- English-speaking local guides for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
- Entrance fees (excluding video camera fee) for all guided excursions as illustrated in the itinerary
- Small group air-conditioned coach transportation
- International flights and airfare taxes
- Visa arrangements and fees
- Travel insurance
- Personal expenses, such as alcoholic beverages, telephone calls, laundry, camera fees, spa and business facilities in the hotel
- Video and professional still camera fees during excursions
- Gratuities for drivers, local guides, naturalists and hotel staff
- Meals (unless specified)
- Optional attractions and excursions (unless specified)
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