Uncover the hidden gems of northern Thailand on an unforgettable journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.
From the busy streets of Bangkok to the chilled-out city of Chiang Mai, there’s so much history, culture and delicious food to discover as you travel between these iconic Thai destinations. Foodie? Go on our Real Food Adventure to cruise down floating markets and learn ancient family recipes at a homestay. Culture seeker? Learn about Hmong hilltribe life and explore the stunning ruins of Ayutthaya. Wildlife lover? Spend your days hanging out with Asian elephants at a conservation park. Thailand is calling…
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Bangkok to Chiang Mai highlights
Hang out with elephants
Support an important animal welfare initiative and get close to incredible creatures. Meaning ‘relaxed elephant’ in Thai, ChangChill is a place where former working elephants can relax – and just be elephants! Watch these gentle jungle giants graze in the forest, bathe in the river and splash around in muddy pools – watch out as you might get sprayed! You’ll also get to enjoy a tasty riverside lunch alongside your new friends.
Explore the ruins of Ayutthaya
Calling all history buffs. The UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya was once the capital city of the Kingdom of Siam. Walking around the spectacular ruins of 14th-century palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries offers a glimpse into Thailand’s rich and complex history. Look out for the displaced Buddha head suspended in the roots of a Banyan tree – it's one of the country’s most intriguing and photographed landmarks.
Enjoy a homestay
Experience village life (and some of the best of northern Thailand cuisine!) at a homestay with a local family. With a villager by your side, you’ll get the inside scoop on the culture, sample the local delicacy of fermented rice noodles, visit organic farms to pick your own ingredients and cook up a tantalising 11-dish dinner known as khan tok – which has become a traditional way for locals to welcome guests in northern Thailand.
Ride a tuk tuk
You could just watch torrents of colourful tuk tuks splutter by, but that would be no fun. Plus, it’s the easiest way to get from A to B. Tuk tuks are part of everyday life in Thailand and you'll see locals using them for grocery shopping, taking kids to school and just about everything else. Hopping into one of these three-wheeled rickshaws is an adventure in every sense. Buckle up and enjoy the ride!
Shop at a floating market
Bangkok is packed with markets selling just about everything you can think of, but for a unique experience head to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market on the outskirts of the city. These narrow canals are full of colourful, bobbing boats selling fresh tropical fruit, sweet snacks and delicious hot meals made to order. It's quite amazing when you see how the vendors can cook up mouthwatering dishes on these tiny wooden boats.
Whip up Thai recipes
There’ll be plenty of opportunities to try all the Thai dishes your stomach can handle, but there’s nothing better than learning a few killer recipes to impress loved ones back home. Join a passionate local cook and learn how to make classic dishes such as crowd-pleasing pad Thai, creamy massaman curry, fragrant tom yum goong (hot and sour soup) and tangy som tam (green papaya salad). Bon appetite!
Bangkok to Chiang Mai tour reviews
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises). However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Some foreign nationals do not require a visa to enter Thailand if the stay is for less than 30 days, while other foreign nationals will require a visa. It's important that you visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Check the Essential Trip Information section of the itinerary for more information.
Your passport should be valid for a minimum period of 6 months after your arrival date in Thailand and should have a few blank pages left for a new stamp.
Thailand's climate is generally hot, humid and at times (like other South-East Asian countries) monsoonal. The seasons differ from coast to coast, so depending on which areas you're visiting, the weather can vary.
Thailand's north, east and west are great to visit from November to February, when the weather is cooler and dryer. If heading south, it's best to travel from January to April as these months provide conditions optimal for diving and snorkelling. This is peak time, however, so be aware that popular places like Chiang Mai, Ko Samui and Phuket can get particularly busy. It can also get quite busy from July to August as it's the northern hemisphere school holidays.
The monsoon season is from July to November, so it can get quite wet and the weather may be uncomfortably hot and humid for those who aren't accustomed to it. Yet travelling during this time can provide a different picture of Thailand, and is generally a less crowded time of year. March to June is less wet but is the hottest time in terms of temperatures. If you don't mind the heat then this can be a good time to go on holiday to Thailand to avoid the crowds.
Drinking tap water isn’t recommended in Thailand. Avoid drinks with ice and make sure to peel fruit before eating it. Help the environment and try to avoid buying bottled water. Instead, fill a reusable water bottle with filtered water. Your leader or hotel can tell you where to find filtered water.
Absolutely. All passengers travelling with Intrepid are required to purchase travel insurance before the start of their trip. Your travel insurance details will be recorded by your leader on the first day of the trip. Due to the varying nature, availability and cost of health care around the world, travel insurance is very much an essential and necessary part of every journey.
For more information on insurance, please go to: Travel Insurance
Tipping isn’t customary in Thailand, but feel free to leave restaurants, driver or service workers a small tip if the service has been particularly good. It’s always appreciated.
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