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
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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