Chiang Rai Northern Exposure – Chiang Rai Tour

Six days in Thailand's far northern hills - mix it up with cycling, hiking, kayaking, motorscooters, boating and elephants!

  • Intro
  • Itinerary
  • Dates
  • Price and What's Included

The Kingdom’s northernmost province deserves an intimate exploration. This unique Chiang Rai tour explores the many faces of Chiang Rai in a creative, cozy and immensely enjoyable manner. From life along the Myanmar and Laotian borders, to the delectable food and charming places to stay, you’ll satiate your senses on the back roads of the far north where getting there is half the fun.

Using mountain bikes, motorscooters, sea-kayaks, foot power, boats, elephants and a private vehicle, each day allows you to challenge – or pamper – yourself as you wish. Using the best adventure ingredients, this is the finest experience in northern Thailand!

Chiang Rai Northern Exposure – Chiang Rai Tour itinerary

View Detailed itinerary

Day 01 – Fly to Chiang Rai
In the afternoon you’ll board a flight from Bangkok to Chiang Rai city. Upon arrival you’ll be escorted by your host to a gorgeous villa along the Mae Kok River. Enjoy the rest of the day to get into the northern groove – perhaps enjoy the herbal spa, a dip in the infinity pool or a traditional Thai massage. If time permits your host will take you on a late afternoon cyclo trip around the city. You’ll spend the first two nights of your odyssey at The Legend Chiang Rai, a stunning boutique riverside resort, sure to stimulate the senses.
Meals: D

Day 02 – Bikes, Boats & Elephants
Hang on for a day you’ll never forget. Using bicycles we’ll ride through beautiful valleys, past mountain temples and visit a monk’s cave en-route to a Karen hilltribe elephant camp.
Mount your very own pachyderm, ride through the hills then enjoy a light lunch along the river. We’ll journey back to Chiang Rai in a longtail boat, as postcard-like visuals fill the backdrop.
Tonight celebrate with a dinner of champions at a traditional outdoor restaurant and top it all off with a visit to the Night Bazaar.
Biking: 20-40km (paved/dirt roads, depending on your preference)
Note: bicycles are well-maintained, high-performance bikes with front suspension, helmets, gloves and safety light provided
Meals: B, L, D

Day 03 – Hilltribe Hiatus
For those who wish to…summon your sense of adventure, strap on a helmet and learn how to ride a Thai motorscooter!!! With our comfy van and scooters we’ll embark on a picturesque drive through rolling valleys, passing hilltribe villages and water buffalo en-route to the tiny riverside town of Mae Salak.
Here we’re treated to superb bamboo and brick chalets with panoramic views over the Mae Kok River. After a tasty lunch you can either chill-out at the riverside pool or embark on a river kayaking expedition and jungle hike, passing quaint villages and lush forest along the way. A signature northern Thailand experience!
Scooter/Drive: 85km (paved roads)
Note: Motorscooters are well-maintained 100+cc Honda bikes, equipped with safety helmets, gloves and comprehensive training program.
Hiking: 2 hours
Paddling: 1-2 hours slow river current
Meals: B, L, D

Day 04 – To Chinatown
Today we’ll ride up to one of the Kingdom’s most stunning destinations – Doi Mae Salong. Originally settled by indigenous hilltribe groups and more recently by Yunnanese settlers who fled China’s Communist Revolution, this outpost was once opium country but is now home to Thailand’s premier Oolong tea production.
After sampling some tea and a local Thai-Chinese lunch, head into the hills for a great hike through terraced tea and rice plantations, coffee fields and several small hilltribe villages. We round out the day with a twisty drive over the hills to a renowned mountain resort, the Phu Chaisai. Today’s journey will impart lasting visuals of the spectacular landscape and endearing faces of Chiang Rai’s highlands.
Van/scootering: 75km (paved roads and thrilling turns)
Hiking: 1-3 hours
Meals: B, L, D

Day 05 – Mountains to the Mekong
Mount your scooter or hop in the van and drive up to Doi Tung Royal Gardens, a renowned development center for hilltribe groups and a stop for a robust local coffee. From here a gorgeous ascending ridge brings you to one of the province’s highest mountains, Doi Chaang Mub, then down one of the most spectacular roads on earth along the Thai-Myanmar border. With spaghetti-like turns and gorgeous backdrops these quiet mountain roads bring us out to Thailand’s furthest frontiers. After lunch we’ll pass the Golden Triangle’s lush farmland towards a small resort on the banks of the Mekong River. After an awe-inspiring day, we’re rewarded with deluxe cottages commanding grand views over the river with Laos facing us on the other side. Enjoy a beverage on your balcony and soak it all in.
Van/scootering: 125km (paved roads and thrilling turns)
Hiking: 1-3 hours
Meals: B, L, D

Day 06 – The Golden Triangle
Your final day is a wild one! Board a rocket-boat for a thrilling, 60km/hr ride, up the Mekong into the Golden Triangle. En-route you’ll visit a Laotian trading port then experience the impressive Hall of Opium, which chronicles the fascinating history of one of the world’s most notorious crops and its role in the region.
Enjoy lunch along the Mekong before shuttling back to Chiang Rai for your afternoon flight to Bangkok. You’ll land about 17:00, giving you time to connect to your next destination. As we say goodbye you’re bound to be thinking about your next Unique Trails adventure! Krang na, pope gan mai na (see you again next time).
Boating: 65km
Meals: B, L

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Base price per person $1650

What is included

  • Western and Thai guides/hosts
  • All transport on the trip
  • Round trip flight aboard Thai Airways from Bangkok to Chiang Rai
  • All transfers
  • Three nights of premium accommodation
  • Most meals – as per the itinerary
  • All equipment
  • All snacks
  • All admissions

What is not included

  • International flight to and from Bangkok
  • Airport taxes
  • Travel insurance (We insist you have one)
  • Emergency evacuation (make sure it’s covered by your travel insurance in case you need it)
  • Personal expenses (bar bills, laundry, donations, excess baggage charges, extra snacks etc)
    Optional trips and sightseeing tours
  • Additional nights at the beginning or end of trip
  • Any meals not mentioned in the itinerary
  • Tips

Eye Candy

The rafting and the hotel choices were awesome and Suri was very helpful. Couldn't do enough for us.
Robin Malinowski Dubai