From the luxury of Bangkok's malls and gleaming high-rises, head north to Thailand's hills. Eating and sleeping with the hilltribes will bring you face-to-face with these colourful cultures. We’ll leave plenty of time for fun in historic Chiang Mai with its night market and delicious cuisine. Our CEOs will help you get off the beaten path – but you'll stay flexible by being able to choose the activities you really want.

Itinerary

Day 1Bangkok

Arrive in Bangkok at any time.

Today is arrival day, so there are no activities planned. Enjoy free time to relax, explore the city, and adjust to the frantic pace and humid heat of Bangkok.

After your meeting, head out for an optional dinner to get to know your CEO and fellow group members better.

Please arrive at our start point hotel before 18:00 for an important group meeting where you will meet your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board for the time and location of your group meeting.

Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

1h18:00

The adventure begins tonight. Feel free to explore before your welcome meeting, but make sure you’re back in time to meet the group. After introductions, your CEO will review the details of your tour. Please note that normal check-in times apply at our start hotels, but you can usually store your luggage for the day if you arrive early.

Accommodation

Bangkok Centre Hotel (or similar)

Hotel

Day 2Bangkok/Chiang Mai

Opt to visit Wat Po and the Grand Palace, or check out the city's klongs by boat. Board an overnight train to Chiang Mai. 

 

Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may use alternative transport.

Basic overnight train (beds)

Bangkok – Chiang Mai12h

Experience overnight travel like a local. Sit back and get some well-earned (and likely much-needed) rest en route to your next stop.

Carte Blanche

BangkokFull Day

There's plenty to see and do in Bangkok, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like visiting the Grand Palace, hopping on a cycle tour of the city, and visiting the National Museum. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

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Optional Activities - Day 2

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 3Chiang Mai

Enjoy one of two street food crawls with the group and CEO. Opt to visit Doi Suthep temple, comb the night markets for souvenirs, or participate in a Thai cooking class.

 

Street Food Crawl

Bring your appetite and your wallet. The CEO will bring the group to the best spots to eat and teach everyone about the local street food. Yum!

Carte Blanche

Chiang MaiFull Day

There's plenty to see and do in Chiang Mai, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like ziplining, checking out the Mae Sa Waterfall, and learning about Thai cuisine with a cooking class. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

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Optional Activities - Day 3

Accommodation

Chiang Mai Gate Hotel (or similar)

Hotel

Day 4Chiang Mai/Ban Mae Jok

Trek through rugged forests and experience the wonderful diversity of this region: each village has its own language, belief system, style of dress, and traditions. Drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Malai village, where the trek will begin. After a few hours of hiking, reach the first village.

We might have time to visit a local market before stopping for lunch and starting our trek.

Tucked away in the hills of northern Thailand is where the most colourful and unchanged traditional communities can be found. Trek through forests and rural terrains to visit some of these diverse hilltribe villages; often, each will have their own unique language, clothing style, and belief system that differs significantly from those of neighbouring tribes. You are well looked after by your local guides, who take the responsibility of preparing all meals and carrying food supplies.

The exact itinerary of the walking on this trip may change from time to time, taking into account the weather and local conditions. Also, please note there may be times when the use of video and/or still cameras may be inappropriate -- your CEO and guides will be able to advise you. Be prepared for the accommodation to be basic; remember, it's all about an authentic and unique experience!

Pickup truck

Chiang Mai – Ban Mae Malai1h

Hop into the back and ride along to the next destination.

After being picked up at the hotel, quickly stop at the local tourist police station to stamp the document required for trekking in the area before transferring to Mae Malai. 

Hilltribe Trek Day 1

Mae Taeng – Ban Mae Jok2h-3h

Hit the road in an open pickup truck for Mae Malai where there is time to visit a local market to purchase food and snacks. Start the trek through forests and rugged terrain to Baan Mae Jok, a Karen village. 

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 5Ban Mae Jok/Pa Khao Lam

Trek 2-3 hrs and, after lunch, head to a Karen village to learn about traditional basket weaving and scarf-making. Continue trekking another few hours to the next village for the night.

You will also have the chance to fish at Mae Tang River using local tools; learn how to construct a bamboo raft.

Hilltribe Trek Day 2

Ban Mae Jok – Pa Khao Lam4h30m-6h

After breakfast, trek 3.5-4 hrs to reach the lunch stop. Take in the beautiful scenery along the way. Enjoy lunch before carrying on another hour or so to the Karen village of Ban Pa Khao Lam. 

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

Day 6Pa Khao Lam/Chiang Mai

After breakfast, leave the village by bamboo raft, stopping at other villages along the way. Meet the van after lunch and head back to Chiang Mai for some free time to explore.

 

Bamboo Rafting to Lahu Village

Pa Khao Lam – Lahu Village1h30m-2h

Board the traditional bamboo raft for a leisurely ride down the Mae Tang River. Reach the Lahu hill tribe village near Ban Pong Ngan. Enjoy a visit with the locals here and learn about the life and unique culture of the Lahu tribe.

Lahu Village Visit

Lahu Village

Take a bamboo raft down the Mae Tan River for one hour journey to a Lahu village to witness a lifestyle that dates hundreds of years.

Bamboo Rafting to Shan Village

Lahu Village – Ban Sop Gai2h

Board a traditional bamboo raft and enjoy a ride through some small rapids on the Mae Tang River. 

Pickup truck

Ban Sop Gai – Chiang Mai1h30m-2h

Hop into the back and ride along to the next destination.

Free Time

Chiang MaiEvening

Check out more of Chiang Mai.

Accommodation

Chiang Mai Gate Hotel (or similar)

Hotel

Meals included:

 Breakfast | Lunch

Day 7Chiang Mai/Bangkok

Opt to go shopping, enjoy a Thai massage, or explore Chiang Mai's many temples. Board an overnight train to Bangkok.

 

Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may use alternative transport.

Basic overnight train (beds)

Chiang Mai – Bangkok12h-13h

Experience overnight travel like a local. Sit back and get some well-earned (and likely much-needed) rest en route to your next stop.

Carte Blanche

Chiang MaiFull Day

There's plenty to see and do in Chiang Mai, and we wanted to make sure that you had some time to take it all in. Feel free to relax or try optional activities like ziplining, checking out the Mae Sa Waterfall, and learning about Thai cuisine with a cooking class. Your CEO has more ideas if you need them. Just ask!

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Optional Activities - Day 7

Meals included:

 Breakfast

Day 8Bangkok

The trip ends on arrival at the Bangkok train station.

Arrive in Bangkok at approximately 8am. Tour finishes on arrival at the train station.

cost 

Contact ben@photographerswithoutborders.org for pricing.

What's Included

  • Hilltribe trek
  • Bamboo rafting
  • Street food crawl
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Accommodations

Simple hotels (twin-share) or hostels (multi-share) (3 nts), basic hilltribe huts (2 nts, multi-share), sleeper trains (2 nts).

Meals

5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
Allow USD65-85 for meals not included.

Transportation

Local bus, songthaew, train, walking, river raft.

Staff & experts

Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, trekking staff.