Thailand Bangkok and Chiang Mai Explorer

Spend 10 days exploring the best of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Same same, but different. This Thailish T-shirt philosophy sums up Bangkok, a city where the familiar and the exotic collide like the flavours on a plate of pàt tai. The former seat of the Lanna kingdom, Chiang Mai is a blissfully calm and laid-back place to relax and recharge your batteries. Yes you’ll be surrounded by other wide-eyed travellers but that scarcely takes away from the fabulous food and leisurely wandering. Participate in a vast array of activities on offer, or just stroll around the backstreets, and discover a city that is still firmly Thai in its atmosphere, and attitude.

Price breakdown

SUGGESTED ITINERARY:

Day One: BANGKOK

Arrive in Bangkok, meet and transfer to your hotel. Check-in time is at 14h00 / Complimentary early check-in is subject to availability upon arrival, please contact the hotel reception directly. 

Transfer to River City Pier to meet The Apsara Dinner Cruise, embark and depart at 20h00. 

Apsara is a dining destination not to be missed, whether you are a local resident or a visitor to Bangkok. Converted from a vintage rice barge, Apsara is an elegant restaurant in Bangkok, cruising along the Chao Phraya River. The first-class service, royal Thai cuisine freshly prepared on-board, make Apsara the best way to dine on the river and enjoy the night view of Bangkok. 

Disembark at around 21h15 and transfer back to your hotel. 

Overnight in Bangkok
Meals: dinner

Day Two: BANGKOK

Breakfast at your hotel 

Optional: Bangkok Night Bike Adventure – private / ZAR 2125 per person. 

Transfer to the meeting point at Khao San Road. The tour will depart at 6 pm sharp. After a quick bike fitting and briefing we head out. Staying off the roads we wind our way through small laneways, past ancient temples and canals to see the heart and soul of Bangkok. After passing through Tammasat University we embark on a local ferry crossing the Chao Phraya River, Thailand’s biggest river. We usually cross around sunset, a truly beautiful time. Once across we ride quiet back roads to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn. At night, Wat Arun is spectacularly lit and free of the throngs of tourists who flock here daily. After enjoying the quiet ambiance of the temple, the bike tour heads riverside track passing a Chinese temple, Christian church, and another Buddhist temple. 

Crossing back over the Chao Phraya, this time by bridge, we stop at the flower market which is at its busiest this time of night. The market is a riot of colour and also a great place to snack on some of the local delights from the many street stalls. 

Next stop is Wat Pho, another spectacularly lit temple. The highlights here are the four burial stupas of the first four kings of the Bangkok kingdom. The temple is peaceful and quiet, so different from coming during the day. Riding on past the Grand Palace we find ourselves in Sanam Luang which comes to life in the evening with an impromptu market. There’s lots of junk and trinkets for sale all laid out on simple mats – a true flea market. From here we finish back at our shop in the Khao San Road area which will be just starting to build up for another big night out for the backpackers who stop over here. 

The tour usually takes 3-4 hours but this is variable by group. Dinner is not included in the tour but we do include some fun and tasty snacks when stopped at the flower market. 

Return to your hotel at around 22h00.

Meals: breakfast

Day Three: BANGKOK

Breakfast at your hotel 

Free time at leisure and overnight in Bangkok 
Meals: breakfast

Day Four: BANGKOK – CHIANG MAI

Breakfast at your hotel 

Check-out time is at 12h00 / Complimentary late check-out is subject to availability on the check-out date, please contact the hotel reception directly. 

At leisure until transfer to Bangkok Airport for your flight to Chiang Mai 

Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, meet and transfer directly to your hotel 

Check-in time is at 14h00 / Complimentary early check-in is subject to availability upon arrival, please contact the hotel reception directly. 

At leisure and overnight in Chiang Mai
Meals: breakfast

Day Five to Nine: CHIANG MAI

Breakfast at your hotel 

Optional tours are at supplement 

Optional: Full-day Northern Thailand Self-Drive Tuk Tuk – Group Experience (SIC) / ZAR 2390 per person. 

7:45 Meet the rest of the day’s group at the Chiang Mai Gate Hotel at 07:45, or get picked up from your hotel between 08:00 – 08:30 and transfer by minivan to our base for the day in the Mae Wang valley. (Please note that hotel pick-up can only be provided for hotels inside the Chiang Mai ‘middle ring road’.) 

9:30 (Approx.) Upon arrival in Mae Wang, our team will introduce you to your tuk tuk for the day and begin driving training. If you don’t want to drive a tuk tuk yourself, don’t worry, there’s also the option to enjoy the scenery – and a nice breeze – by simply riding in the back. 

NOTE: All drivers must be 18 or older and hold a valid manual driving license from their home country. 

10:30 (Approx.) Once everyone has mastered the art of driving, begin the journey driving along rural roads, snaking through farming villages and passing traditional temples. A guide will lead the group making sure that you don’t get lost and making frequent stops along the way to further explore the charms of northern Thailand. 

11:30 (Approx.) In the late morning, arrive at an elephant home to learn more about the significance of these incredible creatures in Thai culture as well as interact with them one on one. After being introduced to these gentle giants, help the mahouts (elephant trainers) with feeding time before sitting down to a Thai feast yourself right next to your new animal friends. 

13:00 (Approx.) After lunch at the elephant home, walk with the mahouts and their elephants through the local countryside to the river to help bathe the elephants – get read for some photos opps! 

NOTE: No elephant riding is allowed.

15:00 (Approx.) It’s hard to say good-bye to the elephants, but there’s even more fun to be had. After leaving the elephant camp we’ll trade the tuk tuks in for bamboo rafts to float lazily down the river. While you won’t find any rapids here, you will get to see a different side of the local surroundings while manoeuvring the river’s twists and turns. 

16:00 (Approx.) After rafting, it’s time to jump back into your tuk tuk and wind your way back through the valley enjoying your last moments behind the wheel. As the road curves and sweeps gently down the hill, be sure to have your camera out to catch the surprised look of local villagers when they see you driving your very own tuk tuk! 

16:45 (Approx.) Upon reaching the tuk tuk headquarters, transfer back to Chiang Mai via minivan. 

Optional: Full-day Hiking at Mae Wang Adventure – Private / ZAR 2300 per person 

Far less developed than Mae Taeng or Mae Rim areas, Mae Wang District is located south-west of Chiang Mai and north of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain. It is a stunningly beautiful area, especially during the monsoon when the rice fields are green and the rivers full. 

Hiking is perfect way to introduce the friendly Karen people who live on the mountain tops and their fascinating culture. Total hiking time is approximately 4 hours through tropical deciduous forests of Mae Wang National Park with its views, trails along the river and many waterfalls. 

Pick up from Chiang Mai hotel at 8 am and entering Mae Wang district, stop at Bam Kad market to buy your own packed lunch consisting of fried rice and veg, Chiang Mai sausage and fruit amongst other choices. Continue driving past rice fields and rivers up into the hills arriving near the summit at a Karen village around 1030 hrs. 

After a refreshment stop at a Karen home, hike through tropical deciduous forest to another village pausing to chat and learn more about their culture and traditions before continuing onto a large waterfall with a pool. 

Stop here for a swim and lunch around 1230 hrs. 

The afternoon is a 2-3-hour downhill hike on a good trail following a clear river cascading down the mountain to finish at a Thai village in the valley near the Mae Wang River. 

Optionally at the end of the hike, drive to a small rafting camp to start a relaxing bamboo raft trip for about 45 minutes on the Wang River. (Time depends on season/water level 

The drive back to Chiang Mai is 90 mins. 

– Total hiking time of max 4 hours, probably 3 if good walkers and perfect for families with children over 8 or 10 years. 

– Good hiking shoes required. 

Optional: Full-day Elephant at Karen Habitat – Group Adventure (SIC) / ZAR 1750 per person 

Highlights: Bathing with Elephants – Elephant food preparation and Feeding – Short forest walk (around 30 minutes) – Vegetarian lunch – Karen tribal hospitality 

Karen Habitat is a special, small group “saddle off!” program in cooperation with a Karen settlement to the south-west of Chiang Mai city. For more than 20 years, Karen tribes have rented their elephants to Elephant Camps because they could no longer legally use the Elephants for logging work. 

After seeing other Elephant owners change their way of caring for their Elephants, a group of Elephant owners in Mae Wang area, just south of Chiang Mai city, have agreed to stop renting their Elephants to the trekking industry and have committed to care for the Elephants at their homes with the support of Save Elephant Foundation and forget the trekking chairs and roam free in their natural habitat without riding. 

This trip differs from our other “saddle off!” programs as offers a short walk and learn Karen Tribes tradition. 

Time at leisure and overnight in Chiang Mai
Meals: breakfast

Day Ten: CHIANG MAI – DEPARTURE

Breakfast at your hotel 

Check-out time is at 12h00 / Complimentary late check-out is subject to availability on the check-out date, please contact the hotel reception directly. 

Free at leisure until transfer directly to Chiang Mai Airport for your departure flight. 

Meals: breakfast


Price and Package Inclusions

OPTION 1
from R41'853 pps
Flights (Qatar Airways & Bangkok Airways, economy)
Bangkok Accommodation: Shangri-La Hotel (Deluxe Shangri-La Wing)
Chiang Mai Accommodation: Shangri-La Hotel (Deluxe)
All sightseeing tours and transfer services as detailed in itinerary
Accommodation with breakfast as specified
Meals as specified in the itinerary
Service of English speaking guides as mentioned
OPTION 2
from R56'305
Flights (Qatar Airways & Bangkok Airways, economy)
Bangkok Accommodation: Hotel Muse (Jatu Deluxe)
Chiang Mai Accommodation: Tamarind Village (Lanna)
All sightseeing tours and transfer services as detailed in itinerary
Accommodation with breakfast as specified
Meals as specified in the itinerary
Service of English speaking guides as mentioned.

Services excluded: 

• Personal travel insurance 
• Personal expenditure, such as meals, drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc. 
• Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme 
• Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme. 
• Optional excursions as detailed above 

  • All itineraries can be tailored to suit your individual needs and budgets.
  • Terms and conditions apply, subject to availability and pricing based on November departures.