Mae Hong Son Loop Tour
Travel from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, discovering non-tourist parts and impressive scenery of the Thai/Myanmar border, Doi Angkhang mountain, Authentic Hilltribe villages, Local cuisine, Karen Hilltribe homestay (optional)
This Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai tour combines the mainstream Chiang Rai tourist sights such as the Golden Triangle and White temple, but we also get off the tourist trail to explore more authentic parts of this rural province. Journeying along the Thai/Myanmar mountain border (Doi Angkhang), we will see a variety of hilltribes (Palong,Lahu,Lisu,Akha,Hmong), experience their hospitality, and learn about their culture and way of life
DAY 1 : Chiang Mai to Pai
Pick up from Chiang Mai and depart for Chiang Rai. On the way, we will stop to visit aspects of local life that arise along the way, such as roadside markets and hot springs
Visit the White Temple, this popular attraction is famous for its dazzling white and silver architecture. Then onto the Black House, a construction by the same creator- this architecture and constructions, are a display of local modern art.
Then onto Chiang Saen, once a former ancient capital city, today this is a sleepy, historical riverside town by the mighty Mekong River. Enjoy the historical beauty, such as the orange-brick ruins of the ancient walls and temples, remnants of an ancient Lanna Kingdom.
Overnight: Local guesthouse in Chiang Saen, near Mekong river
DAY 2 : Golden Triangle – Mae Salong
Visit the Golden Triangle where the Mekong River converges to form the meeting point of 3 countries; Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Visit a good viewpoint for pictures.
Optional Longtail boat trip on the Mekong river to visit a local market in Laos
Visit to Wat Tham Pla (Fish & Monkey cave) to see the wild monkeys scaling the cliff cave entrance. Then enjoy the countryside views as we drive up the rolling hills to a quaint Chinese village and former outpost of the Kuomintang party that fled communist China. Nowadays its known for its Oolong tea production and idyllic tea terrace plantations. We will have the chance to learn about tea production and sample local tea.
Visit 'Ban Lorcha' an authentic Akha Hilltribe village. This community based tourism project is one of our favourites unlike commercialised hill tribe villages, 'Ban Lorcha' is owned and run by its own members, and profits from any entrance fees go back to the village. An educational experience where a local Akha guide will demonstrate aspects of traditional Akha life such as dancing, weaving, and traditional houses
A chance to cook together and enjoy a traditional Karen meal together with your host family.
Overnight: Karen hilltribe homestay in a village (optional) or local guesthouse.
DAY 3 : Thaton – Doi Angkhang Mountain
After breakfast at the homestay, learn about Karen hill tribe culture and way of life. For example, we might see cotton weaving or visit the village school.
Optional short trek to the family farm, learn about local flora and fauna, and how the Karen farm the land- in a beautiful rural setting
Optional visit to Thaton hilltop temple for sweeping Landscape views of Thaton valley
Onto Doi Angkhant. Enjoy the landscapes as we drive up and through this sweeping and misty mountain range that borders Myanmar. A cluster of peaks and valleys this is home to colourful minorities that migrated from Myanmar
Overnight: local guesthouse
DAY 4 : Back to Chiang Mai
Visit authentic Lahu and Palong Hilltribe villages, where they still live in traditional bamboo stilt houses and hold beliefs in the spirits. Learn about their fascinating culture and way of life.
Visit an outlook point which overlooks the sweeping mountain range that forms part of the Thailand/Myanmar border
Optional visit to King's Royal Agricultural Centre
Descend Doi Angkhang and head back to Chiang Mai (approx 2hrs drive). On the way optional activities (if time permits); bamboo rafting, Handicrafts and other activities upon request
Drop off at hotel/ airport or other point of request in Chiang Mai