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 Exclusive Visit
 

(Temples, Lisu Lodge, Elephant Camp)
Private tour, daily departure
English speaking guide
Meals as specified
Trip code: VI-2206
 

 

 


Day 1: Chiang Mai (no meals)
After check in of your hotel you start your journey with the most important landmark of Chiang Mai.
13:30-17:30/Pick up from your hotel. Visit Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai's most important and visible landmark, and overlook the city from its forest mountain backdrop. It is 3,520 feet above sea level. The temple is approached on foot by climbing a steep staircase comprising 290 steps. (While climbing the stairs, you should pay attention to the giant dragons on the sides of the stairs - the less energetic may ascend by funicular railcars) The Temples' golden pagoda contains a holy Buddha relics and attract Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world throughout the year. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 2: Chiang MaiI (B)
After breakfast you start your sightseeing with a visit Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, where the famous Emerald Buddha was enshrined for 32 years (from A.D. 1436 to 1468). Leave Chiang Mai along the mountainous highway to Lampang (90 Kms. away). On the way shot stop at Local market where you could see wild animals. Drive on to visit Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang, one of the northern finest temples and the best presentation of Lanna style architecture. Continue to Lampang, a unique town that still uses a colorful horse carriage as a mean of today's transport. Then take a Horse drawn carriage around the city center, visit Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, where the famous Emerald Buddha was enshrined for 32 years (from A.D. 1436 to 1468). Lunch is provided at a local restaurant. Returning to Chiang Mai, branch off the highway into Lamphun, with its history dating back to A.D. 700, and its ancient and revered temple: Wat Phrathat Haripunchai, and Wat Chama. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 3: Chiang Mai - Elephant Camp (B)
After breakfast your guide will pick you up to visit Mae Sa elephant camp which is half an hour drive from Chiang Mai to visit the elephant camp. You will see the demonstration of the elephant work , their skills used in the logging industry as well as even some artistic! Mae Sa elephant camp is the best elephant camp in Thailand. Don’t miss the visit to the paper factory where the paper are made from elephant dung. On the return journey to the hotel a stop is made at the beautiful Mae Sa Waterfall, as well as one of the region's orchid farms displaying a full variety of some of Thailand's exquisite blooms. In the afternoon visit some of the handicraft workshops which makes Northern Thailand so popular. Of all Chiang Mai’s cultural achievements, none are more remarkable than their handicrafts. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 5: Chiang Mai - Lisu Lodge (B/L/D)
It is only an hour drive to Lisu Lodge which is located in the hills north of Chiang Mai offering a unique chance to experience exotic hill tribe atmosphere in relative comfort. Where the forest meets the rice fields, the Lodge brings the opportunity to experience traditional Thai hospitality that has been practiced for over 700 years. Nestled among the rice paddies, in the hills north-west of Chiang Mai, the Lodge provides a unique adventurous experience among the natural beauty of Northern Thailand. You arrive late morning and their guide from the village will take you for a walk through the village. It starts from Ton Lung temple and continues to Lisu village families. Have a cup of tea and a spot of traditional medicine at the shaman’s house! Return to Lisu Lodge for a tasty Thai Lunch.
In the afternoon visit the cultural center and ‘museum’ created by the villagers. Inside you will find a collection of typical household items and tools from the Lisu as well as well as the Akha mountain peoples.
Afternoon until dinner at leisure. You have several options to chill out in the afternoon:
Steam bath (appr. 200 Baht) or a Thai Massage (appr. 350 Baht)
Or get active and have a Ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the Thai village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng - about an hour ending up back at Lisu Lodge (appr. 350 Baht)
Or a guided biking tour around the Lisu Lodge area (appr. 200 Baht) Overnight at the lodge.

Day 5: Lisu Lodge (B)
Breakfast will be at the Lodge. Drive to Mae Kam Pong village, located in the mountains, and on the hills 1.300 meters above sea level. There is a little temple - Wat Mae Kum Pong - where the people produce tea leaf pillows (yes!) Take your lunch at the Tan Tong lodge and try delicious Northern Thai cuisine. After lunch drive back to Chiang Mai. Relax at a spa or shop till you drop! Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 6: Chiang Mai (B/L)
Today you cook your first Thai Food ! Learn how to create authentic 6 Thai dishes. Your chef will display a tray of ingredients and will go through each one and explain how to prepare it, how to store it and what can be used as a substitute. You will learn a 5 dish course - perfect for introducing your new skill to your family and friends back home! Bon Appetitet!

 

   
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