Bangkok to the Golden Triangle
This Thailand adventure tour is a winner for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get physical in a destination bursting with spiritual and cultural flavour. A whole slew of transportation modes make up the itinerary from biking and hiking to kayaking and elephant riding. We start in Bangkok and shoot north for a backcountry traverse alongside the borders of Laos and Myanmar. We’re exposed to grandiose Buddhist temples glistening in the morning sunrays. Monks draped in brilliant saffron robes meander barefoot making their daily offerings. As we wind further north, we'll meet various ethnic groups that reside in the hillsides and dress in distinctive colourful attire. Fusing outdoor activities with cultural flavour, this trip showcases the best adventure travel Thailand has to offer.
- Biking the Golden Triangle, the tripoint where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet
- Training Elephants and riding them through the hills of Chiang Mai for a mud bath
- Hiking in Doi Mae Salong through terraced rice plantations and hilltribe villages
|2||Bangkok||Tuk-tuk, Train, & Boat||Hotel||B,L|
|4||Chiang Mai||Elephant Riding||Hotel||B,L|
|8||Doi Mae Salong||Biking||Hotel||B,L|
|9||Mae Sai - Golden Triangle||Biking||Hotel||B,L|
|10||Mekong Life - Bangkok||Departure||-||B,L|
Day 1: Arrival Bangkok
A BikeHike Adventures representative will be awaiting as your plane touches down in Bangkok, welcoming you to the ‘Land of Smiles’. You’ll be escorted to your hotel and introduced to the local surroundings. Sit back, relax, and get ready for the adventure of a lifetime.
Day 2: Bangkok (Tuk-Tuk, Motorcycle, Train and Boat)
This day is simply incredible! Today we’ll tick off five must-see sites, while using all forms of urban transport (tuk-tuk, motorcycle, rapid train and boats) in a citywide blitz of temples, alleyways, rivers, canals and fine eats to give you a true appreciation of the ‘City of Angels’. Today you’ll see the Golden Mount, the stunning Grand Palace, Wat Po (reclining Buddha), Wat Arun and the urban-canals of Bangkok Noi, to name but a few of our stops. Not only can you tick Bangkok off your list, but you’ll do it in swinging style! (B,L)
Day 3: Ancient Ayutthaya (Biking)
Prior to its sacking by the Burmese in 1767, Ayutthaya was the crowning jewel of Siam. We’ll board a private shuttle from Bangkok, and then board a longtail boat for a 1-hour journey up river to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here we'll use Mary-Poppins-style bicycles to explore the ancient ruins and stone palaces that make up this fascinating destination. The best part is there are no ropes between you and the sites, affording an up close and personal look at these historic stone temples. After our day exploring, we’ll blast back to Bangkok in our private shuttle and catch an early evening flight to the country’s northernmost province, Chiang Mai, where we'll spend the next two nights at a comfortable hotel. Riding: 10km/6mi on paved roads. (B,L)
Day 4: Chiang Mai (Elephant Training and Riding)
Hang on for a day you’ll never forget. After breakfast we'll transfer to the Thai Elephant Home, located 45 minutes from Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, we will meet and greet the elephants and begin our mahout training. We'll learn basic commands for riding, bonding and responding to the elephants. Eventually we’ll learn to control our pachyderms and form a system of standard communications. Thereafter, we'll take our elephants for a ride in the forest where we'll break for lunch. We'll continue our ride to the area's natural black mud reserves - this is a wellness spa, elephant style! From here it is bath time in the river for us and our elephants, before riding back to camp. We'll have snacks at the camp and then transfer back to our hotel in Chiang Mai. (B,L)
Day 5: Chiang Rai - Into the Bush (Biking)
Today's a gorgeous ride as we drive from Chiang Mai towards Chiang Rai. We'll visit a couple of sights en route before getting on our bikes and heading towards the far-flung town of Mae Salak. We can either take a tough dirt path or hilly paved road there; either way the ride is amazing. We'll pass jungle covered mountains, lush fields and smiling locals along the way. We have a short ride in a longtail boat to our lodging for the night - a neat bamboo resort along the banks of the Mae Kok River. The resort is peaceful and truly away from civilization. Enjoy the rest of the day swimming in the pool, relaxing on your balcony and exploring the Lahu hilltribe village next door. Riding: 50km/34 miles, depending on group abilities, on dirt trails and paved roads. (B,L,D)
Day 6: Paddlers Paradise (Kayaking)
Enjoy a leisurely morning and then we'll go up river to the "Tha Ton", a riverside town near the Thai-Myanmar border. Here we'll learn about the Shan people that inhabit the area and have a look at local weaving shops before the main event - kayaking. We'll board sit-on-top kayaks for a journey down the quiet Mae Kok River, passing hilltribe villages and lush fields. A riverside picnic will round things out and an optional short hike back to the hotel is the capstone to a perfect day. Paddling: 3-4 hours. Hiking: 1-2 hours. (B,L,D)
Day 7: Hilltribe Hiatus (Hiking)
Today it's off to one of Thailand's most stunning destinations - Doi Mae Salong. Nestled among terraced tea plantations, this area was once opium country, but is now home to Thailand's premier Oolong tea production, and Chinese who fled China during the Cultural Revolution. Put on your hiking shoes for a day trekking through terraced tea and rice plantations, hilltribe villages and stunning rolling mountains around the Doi Mae Salong area. Today is a photographer’s dream and great shots abound. Locals are sure to be as curious about you as you are with them. We’ll also sample local teas, visit a mountaintop temple and a local school. The evening is yours to explore other nooks and crannies. Hiking: 15km/9mi on dirt footpaths. (B,L)
Day 8: Doi Mae Salong - Into the Sticks (Biking)
An early morning shuttle through the mountains takes us to one of the kingdom’s most renowned community development projects – Doi Tung, run by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation. Here we’ll learn about the foundation’s successful eradication of opium production, then head out for a challenging day in the saddle. We’ll pedal to the top of Doi Chang Mub, one of the province’s highest mountains and along a spectacular road that literally straddles the Thai-Myanmar border, passing through several military checkpoints along the way. Hang on to your handlebars as dramatic descents bring you to the country’s northernmost city Mae Sai. Here we’ll have lunch, stroll colourful markets and check out the bustling border trading. Then it’s back on the bikes for a final ride through flat farmland to the infamous Golden Triangle where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Tonight we’ll sleep at the ‘Greater Mekong Lodge’, run by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation. Biking: 65km/40mi on hilly and paved backroads. (B,L)
Day 9: Mae Sai - Golden Triangle (Biking)
Get ready for the final ride of the adventure! Today’s pedal is stunning! We’ll make our way through lush farmland, over a couple of small mountains and finally along the banks of the Mekong River to our destination Chiang Khong. Tonight we’ll stay in a riverside teak hotel and enjoy the best Mexican food in Thailand! Biking: 65-80km/37-50mi on paved and country roads. (B,L)
Day 10: Mekong Life - Bangkok - Departure (Boat and Plane)
Our final day in the far north is a great one to sit back, relax and take it all in. Chiang Khong serves as a border crossing point between Thailand and Laos. This small town is full of ultra laid-back characters and effuses a charming, quiet bliss. Enjoy the morning to do as much or little as you like. In the early afternoon we’ll shuttle to the Chiang Rai airport for our flight back to bustling Bangkok. From here connect to your flight home, or continue your travels to the beach or other areas in the region. (B,L)
All accommodation (twin shared), meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all transportation including two domestic flights, entrance fees, airport transfers, and veteran guides.
Trip Does Not Include:
International airfare, airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not indicated and items of a personal nature.
9 Breakfasts, 9 Lunches, 2 Dinners
Hotel: 9 Nights
“Great time and experience - good food, great traveling partners and super guide and support staff.”
– Annelie Vandenberg
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Thailand’s marvelous and multifarious sights are spread over 200,000 sq miles of mountains, rivers and jungle. It is a world of vast beauty, boasting unblemished beaches and hulking mountains. From the fertile rice fields of the central plains to the screaming traffic of Bangkok city, Thailand constantly stirs up adventure. To augment its natural wonders, it is blessed with a warm and wonderful culture that will steal your heart. The combination of natural and cultural beauty has made Thailand one of the world’s most sought-after destinations, as well as one of Asia’s most ecologically minded.