Embark on the famous Mae Hong Son loop starting and ending in Chiang Mai. On this ‘road less traveled’ we’ll wind through gorgeous terrain and experience the beauty and nature of the lush green mountainous surroundings. We’ll get to play with elephants; discover ethnic tribes; spend the night in laidback riverside towns; hike through soaring mountains; and venture into magical caves.
On arrival in Chiang Mai, your guide and driver will be waiting for the transfer to the hotel.
After check in, we’ll drive to the top of Doi Suthep Mountain at 1050 meters and visit Wat Doi Suthep. This serene and sacred temple features an elaborate gold-plated chedi with commanding views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Early morning, we’ll drive out of Chiang Mai for about 50 minutes through beautiful countryside, forest, and local farming areas to the Kanta Elephant Sanctuary. This ethical and sustainable eco-tourism project provides a safe retirement home for elephants who have previously worked for tourism entertainment or in the logging industry.
After changing into traditional clothing we’ll get to meet our four-legged friends. Through feeding, interacting and playing with them we’ll gain an insight into their history and behavior. There’s plenty of opportunities for photos as we all walk together to the water where the elephants can cool off while we observe. After tea, coffee and fruits, it’s time to say goodbye to our new friends and set off to Pai, set approximately halfway between Chiang Mai and Mae Hong Son.
There will be a stop for lunch along the way.
On arrival in Pai, we can stretch our legs with a short walk.
Pai is a small sleepy town located in a valley on the banks of the Pai River and surrounded by endless mountains. It has a laid-back hippy vibe and is popular with travelers who come to chill out in the many café-galleries or to explore the surrounding nature.
Overnight in Pai.
After breakfast and check out, we’ll visit the Water Cave, Tam Lod, a large limestone cave with a stream running through it. On bamboo rafts we’ll float through the darkness of this spectacular cave with its impressive stalactites and stalagmites. There are various other chambers that are reached by ladder including an unusual burial cave used in ancient times.
Back in the daylight, we’ll have lunch in a local restaurant and then continue to Mae Hong Son – a remote, misty, mountainous area close to the border with Myanmar. It’s known for its beautiful nature, interesting local culture and diverse ethnic tribes. The tranquil lake adds to the beauty of this quaint, peaceful town set on the valley floor.
On arrival, we’ll visit the mystical Fish Cave, where thousands of carp live an undisturbed life. The fish, which can grow up to one-meter long, are believed to be sacred by the locals.
Overnight in Mae Hong Son.
After breakfast we’ll hop aboard a boat to take us along the river to the visit the village of the Long-necked women, the Padongs. From an early age, the females in this ethnic group adorn their necks with brass coils.
The journey back takes us to the Su Tong Pae Bamboo Bridge, a beautiful bridge spanning several rice paddies.
After lunch, we’ll continue to Mae Sarieng, a small laidback town in an attractive riverside setting. After arriving, we can explore the peaceful streets of the town to see the local way of life.
Overnight in Mae Sariang.
Today, our first destination is the Doi Inthanon National Park.
The granite mass of Doi Inthanon, part of the Himalayan mountain range, rises 8,500 feet above sea level and is the highest summit in the country. Designated as a national park, the moist natural environment is a paradise for birds, with almost 400 species, as well as animals, flowers and fauna. We’ll visit the Twin Pagodas set in beautiful gardens, built by the Thai Air force in honor of the late king and queen’s 60th birthday anniversaries.
A two-hour trek along the Pha Dok Siew trail will take us through scenic rice fields to a waterfall and a Karen tribal village. The Karen live in accordance with nature and practice organic farming. We’ll stop for a while and sample delicious, good quality coffee amidst the peaceful and beautiful atmosphere. After lunch in a local restaurant, a final stop will be made at Wachiratarn Waterfall where we can relax and refresh ourselves by the clear waters.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the departure flight to the onwards destination.