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.

Golden Triangle Experience of Life
 

(Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen, Golden Triangle, Chiang Mai, Elephant Camp)
Private tour, daily departure
English speaking guide
Meals B&B
Trip code: VI-2205
 

 

 


Day 1: Bangkok - Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle - Chiang Rai (no meals)
Morning flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival in Chiang Rai in the morning and continue from there to the Golden Triangle, to Chiang Saen, which is about 60 km from Chiang Rai - a small town on the bank of the Mekong River. The ruins of the earthen city walls and temples that scattered throughout the town are existing proofs of the Chiang Sean kingdom and thus are worth visiting especially for those interested in history. After lunch you start your sightseeing with the
Chiang Saen National Museum which is located near the old city walls, is famous for its invaluable Buddha images and arte facts of the Chiang Saen Kingdom which flourished in the 11th and 12th centuries.
Wat Phra That Chedi Luang is located next to the museum, this ancient temple features the tallest pagoda in Chiang Rai. The 88-metre high brick pagoda is in the bell shape of the classic Lanna style.
Wat Pa Sak, located outside the city walls, this temple remains with ornamental stucco motifs is regarded as one of the most beautiful examples of Lanna architecture
Continue to the Golden Triangle which is 9 km to the north of Chiang Saen county. It's the world-famous place where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. You can stand at the very point where the Ruak River from Myanmar flows into the Mekong, to take a fine view of the rice fields and the distant mountains. In the later afternoon back to Chiang Rai. (Drive is 1 ½ hrs each way)
Please note: Chiang Rai town is dotted with food shops and restaurants offering a wide variety of food, ranging from local dishes to international cuisine. Arriving here or any other Northen provinces, you are recommended to taste delicious local food. Generally, Khantok dinner, which is a traditional dinner set of Northern people, is served in most Thai restaurants.

Day 2: Chiang Rai - Doi Tung - Mae Fah Luang Royal Project - Chiang Rai (B)
After breakfast drive to Mae Fah. Chiang Rai which is located at the northern tip of Thailand. Of its area of 11,678 square kilometers, more than three quarters are mountains! Chiang Rai is among the oldest towns of Thailand. It was founded in 1262 by King Mengrai and was the first capital of Lanna Thai Kingdom. Its main tourist attractions lie in scenic places, such as national parks, botanical gardens, caves and waterfalls. Overnight in Chiang Rai.

Day 3: Chieng Rai - Chiang Mai (B)
After breakfast take a flight to Chiang Mai. (it is cheaper to take a flight as otherwise you have to pay the return way to Chiang Rai!) Upon arrival you will drive to 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. Visitors must take off their shoes and must be appropriately dressed. Before lunch time have a short visit to the beautiful decorated Wat Phra Singh. Interact with monks, they are always happy to talk English.
Half of the day leisure. You can walk and explore Chiang Mai by yourself, hire a tuc tuc or trishaw called samlor. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Day 4: Chiang Mai and its temples (B)
After breakfast you start your sightseeing with a visit to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai's most important and visible landmark, and overlook the city from its forest mountain backdrop. There are more temple visits on your today's sightseeing list: 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). Enjoy your lunch 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.

Day 5: Chiang Mai - Elephant Camp (B)
After breakfast you will spend pleasant morning in the company of these magnificent gentle giants. In present day Thailand, elephants are only used as tremendously powerful beasts of burden. But in the earlier times, they were a vital part of the King's army and played a very important role in Thai History. On this trip you will witness the traditional techniques still used in the training process. For a small fee, the adventurous can also enjoy the short but unforgettable elephant ride! 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.

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