DAY 1: HIKE TO DOI SUTHEP
Chiang Mai is located at the base of Suthep Mountain. Drive to the top of Doi Pui and walk the trail along the ridgeline to visit a Hmong village. Try some of their locally grown and roasted coffee. Then, continue on to see the 800-year old temple ruins before climbing the steps up to Suthep Temple, one of Chiang Mai’s most revered temples.
The evening is yours to explore the night market, stroll along the Ping River, or explore the art and silk galleries all within walking distance of the hotel.
Hiking: 3 hours / 4.3 miles (7 km)
DAY 2: SIRI LANNA NATIONAL PARK
After breakfast, drive two hours to Mae Ngat Dam, home to a vast reservoir surrounded by mountains. This is the peaceful setting for your kayaking trip.
From the dam, kayak roughly two hours to a floating restaurant for lunch. Here, enjoy fried rice, spicy salads, grilled meats and other Thai favorites. If you feel like going for a swim, just jump into the water straight from the floating deck. If you’ve had enough activity today, feel free to lounge on the deck in the shade and read a book or watch the swimmers.
After lunch, take a long-tail boat back to the dam. Then, a scenic 30-minute drive through shady mountain passes will bring you to the curious Bua Thong Waterfalls, also known as the ‘Sticky Waterfalls.’ The limestone rocks here are porous and easy to climb when wet, making them feel ‘sticky’ beneath your feet. Take off your shoes and climb the falls, or simply take a stroll on the path that runs along the cascading water.
DAY 3: DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK; HOMESTAY IN A KAREN VILLAGE
Drive up past the North side of Doi Inthanon National Park. Hike for 30 minutes down to see the waterfall (and even go for a midday swim), before continuing on to the Karen village outside of Mae Cham. Arrive in the village and meet your homestay family. Immerse yourself in hill tribe culture by cooking with your hosts and learning how to weave baskets the traditional way from one of the elders in the village.
DAY 4: TREK TO SEE WILD ELEPHANTS
After an early start, hike for approx. 1.5 hours to find the wild elephants. Spend some time watching the elephants in their natural habitat, and have lunch in the jungle.
Travel on to a typical Thai town, where your hosts Ging and Bu will greet you. They have built some bungalows in their longan orchard, where you will stay. In the evening, dine at Ging’s house. Ging is a lover of modern Thai design and his home is a mix of repurposed antiques from Northern Thailand and Shan State in Myanmar. His wife Bu will show you how she makes typical Northern Thai dishes.
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Day 5: Arrive in Phuket; Drive to Phang Nga Bay
Today you head south, flying about 1.5 hours from Chiang Mai to Phuket, and then on to Phang Nga. Check in at the Jungle Lodge and unwind in the tranquil and serene location of your jungle home. Tonight you can try delicious Southern Thai dishes at the on-site restaurant that serves tasty organic seafood, among other things.
DAY 6: HIKE AND KAYAK THROUGH THE MANGROVES
After breakfast, start with a walk on the nature trail,then drive up to see the famous Sarasin View Point. Return to the Jungle Lodge for lunch. This afternoon, kayak in the estuary to explore the mangrove forest, or just simply relax in a hammock and enjoy the view from the lodge.
DAY 7: EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL FISHING LIFESTYLE
Awake before sunrise to spend the morning with a local fisherman in a small fishing village. Join him in his long-tail fishing boat on his daily fishing rounds. Swim in the ocean and relax on a secluded small island while enjoying the picturesque Phang Nga Bay while waiting to collect your catch of the day.
Tonight you will stay in a homestay in a small Muslim fishing village, Ban Samchong. This village sits on the edge of Phang Nga Bay and overlooks the scenic islands scattered throughout the bay. The village is small and is used as an access point for fishing and exploring in Phang Nga Bay. You’ll stay in local Thai-style homes among family members, with traditional Thai-style cushioned floor mats for sleeping, mosquito nets, sheets, pillows, fans, squat toilets and bucket showers. Enjoy the simplicity of village life in Southern Thailand.
DAY 8: SNORKEL AND SWIM IN PHANG NGA BAY
Enjoy a leisurely day trip cruising on your private long-tail boat through the dramatic, sheer limestone islands of Phang Nga Bay that jut out of the emerald-green water. As you will have spent the night in the village you can reach the iconic areas of Phang Nga bay before the day tour boats arrive from Phuket.
The first stop will be made at Khao Phing Kan and Khao Ta Poo. Since 1974, when the islands were featured in the James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun, these two islands have been popularly called “James Bonds island”.
Lunch will be at a local restaurant on the small Pan-Yee Island, comprised of huge, almost vertical limestone cliffs. You will see that hundreds of huts, shacks, restaurants, and houses where the villagers live are built on stilts over the surrounding shallow sea. No-one is quite sure how many wooden and concrete piles hold up this extraordinary community, but it is certainly a fascinating and unique feat of informal engineering.
After returning from your boat, check in at the elegant Aleenta Phuket Resort & Spa, and enjoy an evening walk on pristine Natai Beach while watching the sun set over the Andaman Sea.
DAY 9: DAY AT THE BEACH AT KHAO LAK BHANDARI RESORT & SPA
Pristine beaches of Thailand:
You will have the day to yourself at leisure at the resort and on the beach.
DAY 10: DEPART FROM PHUKET
Relax at the resort until it’s time to check out and transfer to the airport.