Bangkok is the capital of Thailand.  It is divided by the Chao Phraya River and is nestled in one of the world's most fertile rice-producing deltas. Bangkok's 579 square miles (1,500 sq km) are surrounded by a series of canals carrying passengers and cargo, its roads clotted with endless traffic jams, while the city sprawls in all directions with a hodgepodge of urban, commercial and industrial buildings. A new overland metropolitan railway speeds above the city, providing visitors with a relaxed and efficient way to observe the hustle and bustle below.

 

Chieng Mai is Thailand's second-largest city and a center for excursions to the region's ancient and beautiful temples, the teak forests and their working elephants, caves and waterfalls, and journeys to visit the northern hill tribes. The main attractions are the Doi Suthep temple and elephant trekking. Doi Suthep is one of the most famous temples in northern Thailand. Perched high on a hilltop, it offers fine views over the city on clear days. The trip up can either be made via a funicular or a grand staircase with 400 steps. The banisters alone are worth a visit: a giant green-and-red glazed serpent winds its way down to end in a magnificent dragon's head. Elephant trekking in the surrounding countryside has become a big tourist buck earner in the last decade, but visitors should beware that some 'authentic' trips turn out to be just the opposite.

 

Climate & Weather

High temperatures and humidity levels are experienced throughout the year. The country is hottest between March and May, and monsoon season runs from June to October. In September and October much of the country suffers from flooding, particularly in the north, north eastern and central regions. The cool season, most favored by visitors, runs from November to February.  Please visit http://www.wunderground.com for more details on weather.
Customs and Formalities

Travelers to Thailand do not have to pay duty on the following items: 200 cigarettes, or 250g tobacco or equivalent amount of cigars; alcohol up to 1 liter; 1 camera with 5 rolls of film or 1 movie camera with 3 rolls of 8 or 16 mm film. Goods to the value of Bt10,000 per person for non-residents with transit visas and Bt20,000 per person for holders of tourist visas.  Prohibited items include firearms and ammunition without licenses, fireworks, and drugs.

What to bring

Lightweights and rainwear as advised with warmer layers from October to March and for highland areas.
 

Currency, Exchange and ATM

Baht (THB; symbol ฿) = 100 satang. Notes are in denominations of ฿1,000, 500, 100, 50, 20 and 10. Coins are in denominations of ฿10, 5 and 1, and 50 and 25 satang.  Foreign currencies can be exchanged at banks (which have the best rates) and hotels (which charge high commissions).   American Express, MasterCard and Visa are widely accepted. ATMs are found in all major cities and almost all provincial banks.

Heath Requirements

Travelers should take medical advice at least three weeks before traveling to Thailand. Malaria is a risk outside Bangkok and the major tourist resorts, and most physicians will also advise immunization against hepatitis A and typhoid fever.  You should drink or use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks. If you suffer from diarrhoea during a visit to Thailand you should seek immediate medical attention.  Medical facilities are good in major cities, but good medical insurance is vital: without insurance, or cash/credit card, travelers will not be treated. Bangkok has excellent international hospitals.

Airport Tax

Departure tax is included in the price of the air ticket.

Internet

There are plenty of Internet cafes, some even found in remote areas visited by tourists.

Language

Thai is the official language, although English is widely spoken in tourist areas.

Local Time and Working Hour

Local Time:  GMT + 7

Banking Hours: Monday – Friday  8:30am – 3:30pm.

Shopping Hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00am – 9:00pm.

Passport and Visa

All nationalities require passports valid for at least six months. Travelers entering Thailand are required to prove they have sufficient funds to cover the length of their stay, and are recommended to hold documentation for return/onward travel.  Visas are not required for travel by Australian passport holders for periods of 30 days or less. Those arriving at overland crossings will only be given visa free entry valid for 15 days.


Food

Thai food is traditionally fairly hot and spicy, but most tourist restaurants tend to tone down the heat for tourists. Most Thai food is prepared with fresh ingredients such as lemon grass and coriander and rice is commonly eaten with most meals.  The national specialties are tom-yam, a light coconut soup prepared with prawns, meat and lemon grass, and pad thai a stir-fried rice noodle served with prawns.  Locally made beer and whiskey are popular.

Post and Telecommunications

Country code: 66.

Roaming agreements exist with many international mobile phone companies. There is good coverage, especially around main towns.

Electricity

220 volts AC, 50Hz.  Both flat and round two-pin plugs are used.

Shopping

Thailand is one of the best places in Asia for bargain hunting and visitors will be spoilt for choice with the huge, glitzy shopping malls, department stores, small shops and bustling street markets. Both Bangkok and Chiang Mai have excellent night markets. 

Bargaining & Tipping

Tipping is not expected, but is becoming more common in places frequented by tourists. A 10% service charge is added to the bill at most hotels and restaurants. Taxi drivers are not tipped.


All of the above information is accurate at the time of publication.

Chieng Mai Soft Adventure
 

(Chiang Mai - Pai - Mae Hong Son - Hill Tribes - Chiang Mai)
Private tour, daily departure
English speaking guide
Meals as specified
Trip code: VI-2207
 

 


Day 1: Chiang Mai (no meals)
Upon arrival your guide will bring you to the hotel. In the afternoon you visit Doi Suthep to Wat Phra Thad Doi Suthep (AD 1384), the most sacred temple in Northern Thailand. Inside the temple's cloister you will see one of the most sacred stupas in all of Thailand.
A panoramic view of the city can be seen from here at 3,500 feet above sea level. Continue Wat Suan Dok where the ashes of Chiang Mai's royal family are interred and Wat Parsing from where you can do real nice pics! Visit Chiang Mai at night and enjoy the various night markets! Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 2: Chiang Mai - Pai (B)
Today you start your soft adventure with a 5 hours (including your lunch time and several stops) to Pai, a small lively
town with a unique atmosphere. The view is breathtaking but you have to endure 783 curves! The life-blood of Pai is the Pai River which is to the people of Pai what the famous Mekong is to the Laotian people. Explore Pai and relax! Overnight in Pai.

Day 3: Chiang Mai - Pai - Bamboo Rafting (B)
After breakfast go for bamboo rafting.! You will be on the raft the whole day long. No worries, you will get instructed how to do and either for beginners or for advanced ‘rafters : it is fun! Lunch will be at a local Thai restaurant. Overnight in Pai.

Day 4: Pai - Lod Cave - Lahu & Shan Village - Mae Hong Son (B)
After breakfast continue for a visit to Lod Cave, the largest cave in the Northern Thailand. After lunch time you continue to the Black Lahu village at Ban Jabo and have a short hike to the Coffin cave and visit the local Shan village at Ban Mae Lana. In the late afternoon you arrive at hotel or resort in Mae Hong Son. Overnight in the village.

Day 5: Mae Hong Son - Ban Nam Hoo - Ban Hua Hee (B/L/D)
Depart from Mae Hong Son town and drive along the beautiful mountain road with a 4wd. First stop will be at the beautiful viewpoint "Doi San Fa" where you a view to Mae Hong Son town nestled in the forests. Continue your journey on an off-road trip to Ban Nam Hoo, a small White Karen village which consists of 7-8 families living in the fertile forest area.
Upon arrival have a short tour around the village to visit the traditional Karen house. Here you will prepare for the trek to visit the waterfall. The trail starts from the village and follows down to the waterfall. Enjoy the beautiful bamboo forest and teak forest area. You will have lunch at the waterfall. Return to the village, take a short break, say goodbye to your new friends and continue drive to Ban Huai Hee for a one night home-stay with a Karen family. In the late afternoon explore the village while the Karen are preparing your dinner! Bon Appetit! Overnight in the village.

Day 6: Ban Hua Hee - Trekking to the summit (1722 m) - Mae Hong Son (B/L)
Wake up and prepare yourself for today's activities. After breakfast walk the trail up to the summit. Along the trail your guide will teach you a bit about herbal plants and traditional medicine in this area. Before you reach the summit you will visit the site of a wild orchid conservation project. You will have a picnic lunch in the middle of the fertile forest. Learn about the bamboo forest area, the many ways locals use the bamboo for their daily life such as house construction, food, arts etc. And the rotational farming area experience what the farmers grow. At a the woman group center you will be introduced into the traditional Karen hand weaving before you return to Mae Hong Son. Overnight in Mae Hong Son.

Day 7: Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai (B)
After breakfast you drive via Pai back to Chiang Mai. Enjoy the beauty of this area. Overnight in Chiang Mai

Day 8: Chiang Mai (B/L)
Your last day will be spent with some sight seeing such as visit Lampun, a Northern Thai silk weaving and umbrella making workshops. It’s an easy going day. Although s bit of a touristy spot, it is interesting. No need to buy! Your guide will bring you for lunch to a nice place on top of the hill which is by the waterfall and not popular for traveler, but it’s one of the fave of Thai citizens - which proves that the food is excellent!

Please note: You can either extend one night at the hotel or you can take an evening flight back to Bangkok.

 

 

 

A:Available - This tour is available for booking.
R:On Request - This tour is on request only
All prices are per person.
If you are interested, please contact your local agent to make the booking or alternatively email us at reservations@toursite.com.au