Hill Tribes and Elephants

12 days - from £2,465

Thailand has so much more than stunning beaches. This itinerary is great for those wanting to get in touch with nature and get off the beaten tourist path. It can easily be combined with a few beach days on one of the stunning islands in the Gulf of Thailand or Phuket.


  • Take a longtail boat ride through the ‘klongs’, Bangkok’s waterways
  • Discover the ancient capital of Ayutthaya
  • Get in touch with the local hill tribes and stay at a community-based eco-lodge in the Golden Triangle
  • Visit the iconic Wat Rung Khun Temple in Chiang Rai
  • Get off the beaten track in Chiang Mai
  • Bathe in emerald green ponds at Cheow Lan Lake
  • Make friends with elephants at the Elephant Hills Camp at Khao Sok National Park

Day 1 - Sawasdee to Thailand

You will be met at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport by your private chauffeur and be driven to the U Sathorn Hotel, one of our favourite boutique hotels in Bangkok. We have left this afternoon and evening free for you to get accustomed to your new surroundings and to enjoy a dip into the pool. Your Fleewinter guide will offer tips and suggestions if you would like to eat out tonight. (U Sathorn, Superior Garden Room)


Day 2 - Bangkok’s maze of canals and waterways

This morning you will be picked up by your private guide for a full day of explorations in Bangkok. We will be at Wat Po just in time for the monk chanting, before we continue to Lak Muang, Bangkok’s city pillar, the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. After a typical Thai lunch you will see parts of traditional Thai life during a longtail boat ride through the ‘klongs’, Bangkok’s waterways. After a visit of Wat Arun, we will stop for a relaxing massage by the blind before we will transfer you back to your hotel.

Day 3 - A day in Ayyutthaya

Early this morning, you will be picked up to discover the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, the capital of Siam from the 15th through to the 18th century. We will start the tour with a visit to Bang-Pa-In, the old royal summer residence. From here we take a longtail boat to Ayutthaya and visit Wat Phanachoeng, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and Wat Mahathat. After, you will be transferred to the jetty to board your cruise back to Bangkok. Enjoy lunch and drinks on board while taking in the serene riverside scenery.

Day 4 - From Bangkok to Chiang Rai

This morning we will transfer you to Bangkok Airport for your flight to Chiang Rai, from where your driver will take you to Lanjia Lodge, a community-based eco-friendly lodge nestled high on a hill in Chiang Rai Province. In the coming days, you will explore beautiful natural surroundings around the mighty Mekong River and get in touch with the hill tribes living and working in this area. (Overnight at Lanjia Lodge)


Day 5 - The Hmong and the Lahu

Learn more about the Hmong and Lahu tribes and the Golden Triangle today, before we visit the Hmong and Lahu village. Drink tea with the local shaman and discover why the fireplace is important to the Hmongs and why they bury the placenta and umbilical cord of their newborn babies. In the afternoon, the Hmong villagers will teach you how to make Hmong batik handkerchiefs, or you can learn how to make and set animal traps. A home cooked dinner will be served at Lanjia Lodge.

Day 6 - To Chiang Mai via the White Temple

Today we will drive you to Chiang Mai, but a visit to Chiang Rai wouldn’t be complete without a stop at the iconic Wat Rung Khun Temple (aka. the White Temple). Explore this fascinating temple before continuing to the Mae Kachan Hot Springs, natural hot springs. Enjoy your evening at leisure in the capital of the North. (Overnight at Yaang Come Village, Deluxe room)


Day 7 - Explore Chiang Mai

Discover Chiang Mai the most fun way today: by bicycle. We will start pedalling through the streets of Chiang Mai towards the Ping River. Our guide leads us through the McKean Rehabilitation Centre, a former leper colony, founded by Dr. James McKean in 1908. Cycle past various fruit orchards and experience the local way of life as we meander around villages on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. Explore the temple ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, the former capital of the Lanna kingdom, before heading back to Chiang Mai.

Day 8 - The old Opium Trail on Doi Pui

Today we take you to interesting off-the-beaten-track places around Chiang Mai and go for several treks. We start with a visit of Wat Doi Suthep on the mountain before the  crowds arrive. Continue to Doi Pui Village, a Hmong community. Your guide will tell you about the thriving history of this community; in the past they were involved in opium cultivation. Once in the forest learn about the flora and history of opium cultivation on the mountain. Visit FORRU, the forest restoration unit of Chiang Mai University. From here we will visit the Hmong museum and the FORRU tree nursery before making our way back to Chiang Mai.

Day 9 - Going South

Today you will be transferred to Chiang Mai Airport for your flight to Surat Thani. From here, a representative of the Elephant Hills Camp will pick you up and drive you to Khao Sok National Park. Start your stay at the camp with their unique Elephant Experience, during which you will get to wash, feed and interact with these magnificent creatures. After an exciting day you may enjoy a drink from the Jungle Explorer’s Bars before sinking onto the comfortable mattress in your luxurious en-suite tent. (Overnight at the Elephant Hills Camp).


Day 10 - Spectacular Cheow Lan Lake

Wake up to the sounds of nature and birds calling from the bushes next to the tent. Today you will explore Cheow Lan Lake by local long-tail boat. Cruise across emerald waters passing towering rainforest covered Limestone Mountains to the “Guilin” of Southern Thailand. After lunch at the Rainforest Camp, canoes are available to explore the spectacular surrounding. (Overnight at the Rainforest Camp).


Day 11 - Bon Voyage

Wake up to the sounds of Gibbons calling high up in the trees, whilst the clearing mist unveils the true beauty of the lake. After breakfast your guide will invite you to join in on a guided canoe safari into the little channels and side arms of Cheow Lan Lake. You will find yourself in heart of the rainforest on a silent adventure. Lunch is served at the floating tented camp before you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Bangkok. Safe travels.


This itinerary costs from £2,465 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights. Please note that we recommend this itinerary for children over the age of 8.

You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively, we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

Please remember this is a sample itinerary and we are happy to modify it to suit your plans.  We can add or remove days and look at different places to stay.


  • Prices start from £2,465 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Private transfers (air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guide for excursions
  • Lunches on Day 2, 3, 5, 8, 9, 10 and 11
  • Dinners on Day 4, 5, 9 and 10
  • Internal flights
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered