Wang Chin Route - 6 days, 5 nights
Lead by expert Dutch biologist Sjon Hauser, this route will start in Chiang Mai OR in the city of Phitsanulok 300 km Southeast of Chiang Mai and subsequently travel 800-1100 km while crossing through much of Northern Thailand in a comfortable minivan. At least four of Thailand’s most interesting national parks will be visited, beside religious, historical and cultural sites and mountain tribe villages in the relatively little known remote areas of the country. There will be no difficult trails to walk, only easy to moderate ones.
Along the route we will get to the summit of highest mountain in Thailand, visit waterfalls, hot-springs and viewpoints, with a little bit luck, in the right period of the year get chance to see sea of mist covering valleys in white from some great view-points.
Mr Hauser has lived in Chiang Mai area for more than 20 years. He is author of dozens of travel related books/publications, has expert knowledge of flora and fauna of Northern Thailand and is an expert in snakes in the region.
This tour is for maximum eight persons.
Day 1; (Bangkok or Chiang Mai) - Phitsanulok - Nakhon Thai
Option 1, Starting in the morning from Chiang Mai - You will meet your tour-leader Sjon Hauser in Chiang Mai for a five hours’ drive to Phitsanulok. The first stop will be the beautiful Wat Phra That Suthon with a giant but elegant Reclining Buddha statue. Before lunch we will also visit a rare shrine where local devotees have offered dozens of wooden phallus to a female spirit. Continuing, we will not visit the town of Phitsanulok, but turn onto the highway to the east and stop at a workplace where truck bands are recicled into trash bins and furniture. In Nakhon Thai, 100 km east of Phitsanulok, we will spend 2 nights in Panya Garden Resort. The resort is surrounded by paddy fields and teak trees.
Option 2, Starting in the afternoon from Phitsanulok - After meeting your tour-leader Sjon Hauser, Phitsanulok’s Wat Yai will be visited, a temple known for its venerated golden Buddha image called Phra Phuttha Chinnarat. Later on we will get to Nakhon Thai (see above).
Day 2; Nakhon Thai - Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park - Nakhon Thai
After an early breakfast we drive to the Phu Hin Rong Kla National Park further east. On the extensive flat top of this mountain we will walk a few short trails through moist evergreen forests. The mountain top was used as a stronghold by communist rebels back in the 1970s. We will visit the remains of their training camp, caves and rock formations which the rebels used as air shelters. A somewhat longer walk leads to the Lan Hin Pum viewpoint with impressive vista over the valley. This is also an ideal place for a picnic style lunch break. After the lunch we will visit a Hmong-village in the national park and later on if we still have time and energy visit a museum about the hectic history of the park or alternatively visit another area with strange rock formations and rare flowering plants.
Day 3; Nakhon Thai - Wang Chin
We will leave the resort and continue to the central parts of the Northern Thailand towards Si Satchanalia Historical Park. We will drive by villages, low hills, mountains and picturesque countryside and stop a few times to visit the morning market of Chat Trakan, and see various crops grown in the fields, see villagers working and observe egrets, storks and some other birds that may be feeding on the muddy fields. We will also stop at a large lotus swamp rich in bird life. We eat lunch on the bank of Yom River next to the Si Satchanalai Historical Park. Subsequently we will explore the park to see the 600 to 700 year old ruins and kilns. Then, we will continue to Punjen Hide Away Resort where you can relax at the swimming pool before dinner. We can spend the evening by an easy night walk along a forest stream in hope to see nocturnal animals.
Day 4; Wang Chin
After breakfast we visit the beautiful Mae Poeng waterfall in the Wiang Kosai National Park. During the peak of the rainy season, access to the waterfall may be restricted and there will be some alternative nature exploring nearby. In the late afternoon, we’ll continue to the west and will have a simple lunch at the market of the small town of Li. Li is the center of veneration of the legendary monk Khruba Si Wichai and if on schedule we may visit a nearby temple to learn more about the life and his temple projects in the 1920s and 1930s. From Li it is a 150-km drive to Mae Chaem, and halfway, near Hot, we’ll stop at impressive erosion formations in the bank of the Ping River. We’ll spend two nights at Mae Chaem’s Navasoung Resort in the foothills of Doi Inthanon, Thailand’s highest mountain.
Day 5; Wang Chin - Thoen - Hot - Mae Chaem
After the breakfast we’ll enter the Doi Inthanon National Park. When we reach the summit at 2565 meters above the sea level we will explore the cloud forest around, known to be home for some very rare birds. On the way down from the summit we will visit the twin Royal Chedis or make a 1-hour walk in dense evergreen forest. Later on we have a simple lunch in a Hmong village. After lunch we visit a royal agricultural project promoting alternative crops among the tribal population. On our way back to Mae Chaem, we visit the impressive, yet little visited Mae Pan Fall which is accessible by a short jungle trail.
Day 6; Mae Chaem - Doi Inthanon - Chiang Mai
In the morning we head for Hot again. We will visit a hot spring and then continue to Op Luang Gorge where the Mae Chaem River has cut a tunnel through the granite rocks. From here we will walk through deciduous forest and see some pre-historic rock paintings and gorgeous lianas hanging on the trees. Lunch will be near the gorge. After lunch we continue to Chiang Mai. Our driver will drive you to your hotel in the city.
The best time of the year for this tour is May to November during the rainy season when the nature is lush with much activity in the paddies and fields.
During the cooler December to January season some concerned areas for this tour may get overcrowded by tourists, this may pose problem for making reservations.
February to April is generally the driest period with very little activity on lower elevations, including agricultural activities.
Tour rates include:
- Entrance fees national parks (a total of 1200 baht per person) and temples
- English speaking guide
- All meals except dinner on day 4 and 5
- Some snacks & fruit
- Drinking water
Reviews from our guests
We appreciate your feedback after the tour when booking with us.
By: Allison Wells, United States | posted Sun 19 Nov, 2017
Our guides were very knowledgeable and we got to see lots of elephants! Great trip!
By: Stephen Healey, United Kingdom | posted Sat 18 Nov, 2017
Had a great time doing the half day elephant trip.
Picked up on time from hotel & before we knew it we had arrived at the park. Greeted with fresh fruit, banana chips & pineapple juice.
Introduced to our guide & his assistant & off we went. We were lucky enough to see a family of 7 elephants going about there business, & the knowledgeable guide pointed out numerous birds, lizards & other wildlife along the way.
Must say, it was worth paying the extra to do this to guarantee an English speaking guide & our own private truck without having to share with anyone else.
Many thanks for a great time.
Tour operator's response
We are happy to hear you had a successful trip and enjoyed our services.
By: Kim Morris, United States | posted Sat 18 Nov, 2017
I greatly enjoyed my experience at Khao Yai National Park. My tour guide was extremely knowledgeable about all the local flaura and fauna, and did an excellent job of pointing out wildlife for our group to see. The park was beautiful and I would definitely recommend visiting if you are traveling near Bangkok!
Tour operator's response
Thanks for sharing your experience Kim!
Glad to hear you enjoyed your trip.
By: Michel Oudoul, France | posted Fri 17 Nov, 2017
We had 2 great days. The park is beautiful and our guide Tata was great. Without him we would not have been able to enjoy and see all the animals he made us discover. by his action, we had the chance and happiness to see a group of about twenty elephants. It was fantastic.
I put the video that I could make elephants on my facebook and more than 200 people loved and asked where and a lot of information.
Our only criticism concerns the vehicles of the park for the safari of night which are not sufficiently well equipped in projector.
We keep a wonderfull memory of the park and guideTata
Tour operator's response
Thanks for your kind review.
Glad to hear you had a great time.
The night safari has often been a reason of debate within our organization. It is the only part of the tour for which the quality is not in our hands because we are not allowed to operate this by ourselves.
We have to rent the park rangers as driver and assistant for this. And sadly they are often not as skilled and willing to properly conduct the safari. Our guide can only join and help with explanation but we have no influence on the route and driving speed or the vehicle/ equipment quality.
You may wonder why we anyhow have decided to keep this activity in our itineraries. The reason is simply because even on nights that we were not happy with the service delivered we have been able to see interesting nocturnal wildlife which is impossible to see in daytime. Of course it is nature, so just like in daytime, it also depends on luck in the evening to get interesting sightings, but we believe it is still worth the try.
We wish we could operate this by ourselves and do it all properly in same line as the rest of our tour, but sadly park regulations are against us.
But thanks for sharing your criticism. Who knows we will decide otherwise on continuing offering night safaris in the future.
By: Elke Matthijs, Belgium | posted Tue 14 Nov, 2017
It was a perfect 1.5 day trip in the Khao Yai National Park.
Our guides were super friendly. They knew the area very well and tried their best to give us a wonderful time.
The bat cave was very impressive.
The walk through the forest was also very nice.
We didn't get to see any wilde elephants... Unfortunately, but that is something that you cannot know up front.
We enjoyed the trip very much and would recommend it to anyone else visiting the area :)
By: Yuk Tong Ma, Hong Kong | posted Sun 12 Nov, 2017
We went to Khao Yai National Park on 9 Nov 2017. Our guide was very helpful, and found many animals for us such as elephant, gibbon, squirrel, barking deer, sambar deer, Chinese water dragon, gliding lizard, water monitor, crocodile, green pit viper, porcupine, oriole, hornbill, owl and many others. In the jungle, our guide also introduced many plants to us, and told us which plants can be used to make tom yum goong, cure diseases, repel mosquitoes and so on. The weather on that day was very good. We could see beautiful waterfall and fantastic view at Pa Deo Dai Cliffs.
By: Yvonne, Germany | posted Fri 10 Nov, 2017
We spent a wonderful day in the national park. Our guide had a good knowledge about animals and plants which we highly appreciated. Moreover, he was very endeavored to show us an elephant. Finally, the day was well organized and we can recommend this tour.
By: Stephan Balle, Switzerland | posted Mon 6 Nov, 2017
We did enjoy a wonderful time in the Khao Yai National Park and were well guided through by our professional guide who should some magnificent views of small spots out in the environment even we been not that lucky seeing lots of different species due the circumstances of quite heavy wind, but I guess that is how nature sometimes can be, unpredictable.
We did enjoy the very private and good organized tour and hope we will be able to catch up again
Tour operator's response
Thank you for your review.
Yes nature is indeed unpredictable and weather conditions can sometimes work against us.
Wind is a particularly annoying one, because due to the wind it will be impossible to hear movements of animals, or notice dropping of fruits, and it even could make it harder to hear animal calls. Often it is our ears, especially on a jungle hike, that are most important. Often enough the animals are not directly visible yet due to leaf cover, but perhaps when eating they drop a fruit, or they jump on a branch and therefore create a noise. That will alert the guide to look and hopefully discover what made the noise. But that is hard to notice when it is windy and fruits drop simply by the wind, or branches rustle by the wind.
Heavy wind is not too common in the Thai jungles, but every now and then it happens.
But hopefully you enjoyed your time even despite the low number of species.
Thank you for booking with us, and you are welcome to give it a try again in the future.
By: Somers, United Kingdom | posted Mon 6 Nov, 2017
An awesome day out. TNP were quick to respond and to suggest an itinerary which worked with our timeframe. We had a great day exploring the park with Mr J including 2 waterfalls, a short trek through the jungle to look at the plant and wildlife, a delicious lunch and then we got an amazing photos of the elephants. Would definitely recommend.
Tour operator's response
Thanks Somers for your kind review.
Glad to hear you had a great time!
By: Anna Keys, United Kingdom | posted Thu 2 Nov, 2017
My husband and I only had a short time and wanted to fit in as much as possible, I wanted to take the stress out of organising it ourselves, finding transportation, using busses etc. I found this trip and thought that is exactly what we were looking for, we see the highlights and more.
Our guide Mai and driver Bird were fun and very knowledgeable, they did an excellent job and making us feel safe and secure, we totally trusted them
When traveling to a different country food is always a concern for me, I like to try new things and don’t want to live within my comfort zone but I get anxious about what to order, what if it’s too hot, what if I’ve accidentally ordered something really weird! Mai took this anxiety away and suggested dishes for us to try and the food was spot on! Aroi Mak Mak (very delicious to you and I) nothing to worry about at all, we felt totally spoiled.
The accommodation, although basic, it was magical, I am actually scared of water so picking to sleep on a raft house is not necessarily the best option for me! I actually couldn’t have been more at ease! We were totally safe, much to my delight there were no crocodiles that would eat me and the dining raft and bedroom raft were tightly bound together with very little movement.
I was nervous about the kayak so chose to get in the safety boat with our additional guides for the morning, Mai stepped in and paddled with my Husband, they had a fabulous time, I like to think I had a better time just sitting and watching the world go by, it was truly paradise
We felt truly privileged to have experienced it all
I’m not sure what my favourite bit was, but it could have been getting to the top of Erawan Falls, or maybe the food, or was it the raft house and waterfalls, no wait the kayaks, but the lawa cave was excellent too and then the sad history of Death Valley! I can’t actually decide!
One tip! Pack more clothes than you think you’ll need, it’s hot and sweaty and there are biting insects, I only took one pair of long trousers, I needed at least 3!
Thank you for an amazing experience we will never forget
Tour operator's response
Thank you very much for taking the time to review us, your feedback means a lot to us. I am happy to hear that you enjoyed your adventure with us and appreciated our service. I will gladly forward your kind words to Mai and Bird.
We hope you had a safe trip back and thank you for choosing us. Keep in mind, shared memories are the best memories :)
Tour details in short:
- Duration: 6 days, 5 nights
- Type: Private tour
- Price: (on request)
- Group size: 1 to 8 people
- Grade: Easy to moderate
- Transport: Air-conditioned minivan
- Start: 8 a.m. (Day 1) from Chiang Mai or about 2.00 p.m. from Phitsanulok
- End: 5.00 p.m. (Day 6)
What to bring:
- Long trousers
- Rain clothing
- Sweater or light jacket
- Hiking or sport shoes
- Insect repellent
- Sunblock lotion