Chiang Mai & the Golden Triangle

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2014 - December 31st, 2014 Last Updated:
Download PDF

Introduction

Visit the fascinating city of Chiang Mai, a thriving metropolis with many points of interest to visitors and a less hectic alternative to the capital. Explore ancient temples, visit gentle elephants and delve into Thai culture and traditions in lush, mountainous scenery. Visit indigenous hilltribe communities for a glimpse into traditional life, and then venture by boat to the threshold of three different countries—the Golden Triangle—where the borders of Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos meet.

  • Get up close and personal with majestic elephants at a conservation centre
  • Delight in Chiang Mai with a khantoke dinner
  • Seek enlightenment at the temple of Doi Suthep
  • Marvel at the mysteries of Chiang Rai
  • Explore local hilltribe villages
Duration: 5 days
Start/Finish City: Chiang Mai to Chiang Mai
Service Level: Upgraded
  • All the adventure you want, with a softer landing
  • Handpicked, character-rich accommodations with upgraded amenities services
  • Upgraded and private transport, including flights to maximize time
  • More included meals, activities and transfers
Physical Grading: 2
There'll be some light walking and hiking. Suitable for most fitness levels. Nothing too challenging.
Travel Style: Comfort
Great adventures with a few extra frills along the way.

Looking for a little extra from your adventure but don’t want to skip out on all the genuine experiences? Comfort is your ticket. These trips offer upgraded accommodations and more inclusions while still delivering plenty of freedom to pursue spontaneous situations on your own.

Please note: The Comfort Travel Style is a renamed edition of the G-Plus, our collection of comfort-themed adventures. Same great trips, more descriptive name!

Trip Type: Independent Travel
Independent trips are either entire trips you take privately or solo extensions to a group tour. Local staff are available on standby 24/7.

Itinerary

Route map for Chiang Mai & the Golden Triangle (TATGTC)

Day 1 Chiang Mai (1D)

Arrive in Chiang Mai aiport by mid afternoon (before 4pm), where you will meet your transfer service to the hotel. This afternoon at 6pm you will meet your local guide who will explain the next few days in more detail. After meeting with the guide you will enjoy a traditional khantoke dinner and show by the local hilltribes.

If you arrive early you will have time to relax and explore Chiang Mai. Surrounded by rolling hills, Chiang Mai is the cultural center of Thailand. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafes, shops and over 300 temples.

All rooms are double / twin share with an attached ensuite bathroom.

Day 2 Chiang Mai (1B)

In the morning you will meet at your hotel for a private sightseeing tour to visit Chiang Mai's most famous temple, Wat Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains. The temples Golden Pagoda contains Buddha relics and offers exhilarating views over Chiang Mai. In your free time try your hand at one of the many optional activities on offer. Many visitors come here to attend cooking courses, massage classes or yoga lessons. It is also a mecca of handicraft production, with a long history of silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving. Opt to cruise down a stream on a bamboo raft. The fun does not end when the sun goes down, as the night bazaaar opens. The bazaar is a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand. You can ask your local guide to help you organize any of these activities.

Approx Travel Time:
Chiang Mai to Doi Suthep Temple: 45 minutes each way.

Day 3 Chiang Rai (1B,1L)

Today you will be picked up from your hotel and travel by private van through the Thai countryside to Chiang Rai. On the way you will stop at an elephant camp to learn about these majestic creatures, see them take a bath and opt to feed them. After lunch you cruise downstream on the Mae Kok river to the village of Ban Mai Mok Jam. You continue your journey north to Chiang Rai with one more stop at a hilltribe village where you can explore this unique way of life.

Approx Travel Time:
The sum of our driving today totals approximately 4.5 hours, but this is broken up into smaller segments. Timing largely depends on traffic leaving Chiang Mai.

Day 4 Golden Triangle (1B,1L)

After breakfast enjoy a private drive to the Golden Triangle - Mae Sai, the northernmost town in Thailand, which sits on the Burmese border. Stop off at a Jade factory, a colourful market, Fish Cave and Monkey Cave along the way. You will also visit the local hill tribes before heading back to Chiang Mai.

You return to Chiang Mai to stay in the same hotel that your journey began in. Comfortably equipped and well situated, this is a great point to branch out and explore the night markets, flower markets and handicraft shops that Chiang Mai is famous more.

Approx Travel Time:
Our total travel time today is approximately 6 hours, but once again this is broken up into smaller sections to ensure your journey is more comfortable. Timing is largely dependent on the traffic re-entering Chiang Mai.

Day 5 Chiang Mai (1B)

You are free to depart at any time, included departure transfer. Please note hotel check out is 12pm.

What's Included

Arrival and departure transfers. Kantoke dinner and show. Visit Wat Doi Suthep. Excursion to an elephant camp and conservation centre. Boat tour on Mae Kok River and visit some local hilltribe villages. Trip to the Laos and Burma borders. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Get up close and personal with majestic elephants at a conservation centre, delight in Chiang Mai with a khantoke dinner, seek enlightenment at the temple of Doi Suthep, marvel at the mysteries of Chiang Rai, explore local hilltribe villages

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

G Adventures requires your passport number and date of birth before we can confirm your booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.

This tour is run by a local specialist operator in Thailand. There is no G Adventures representative on this tour.

Group Leader Description

This tour is an Independent style trip with no group and no CEO (Tour Leader). A G Adventures representative will meet you and give you a briefing to start your trip and there will be local guides provided at the included sights.

Meals Included

4 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 1 dinner.

Meals

Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap.

Meal Budget

Allow USD75-100 for meals not included.

Transport

Private vehicle.

About our Transportation

Land Transfers & Included Tours/activities: Many of the land transfers and included tours will be by private van, car or taxi, while others may be shared with other travellers depending on availability, nature of the activity and destination. For transfers, you may have a local non English-speaking driver only, for included tours, you will be accompanied by an English speaking local guide.

Accommodation

Hotel (4 nts).

About Accommodation

Our Upgraded hotels are handpicked for class and comfort. The rooms have additional amenities and en suite bathrooms. All our hotels are centrally located and often chosen for the unique character and local flavour they offer.

Joining Hotel

Please see your tour voucher for specific name and address of your joining hotel for day 1 of this tour.

Joining Instructions

Your driver will be waiting for you in the arrival area of the airport with the sign G Adventures and your name on it. If you unable to make a contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel (see your voucher with the hotel name on it). The easiest way is to take a taxi from the official taxi stand.

**Please note, the arrival transfer included occurs on Day 1 of the tour. If you plan to arrive prior to Day 1, you will be required to arrange pre-tour accommodation through G Adventures to be eligible for the transport from the airport. Due to customer experience and quality considerations, all services related to the tour must be continuous.

Arrival Complications

We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact the emergency contact details provided in this dossier. If you have not made contact with our G representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instruct ions.

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

AIRPORT TRANSFER 
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel. 

If your call is specifically concerning Bangkok Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at:+66 81 847 3034 (081 847 3034 from within Thailand) or +66 86 339 5881 (086 339 5881 from within Thailand)

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574

After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

What to Take

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit.
Most travellers prefer to carry a softbag or rolling bag of small to medium size can be suitable. If you have combined Independent trip with some other G Adventures trip (basic or standard) we recommend you to travel with a backpack. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.
If you don’t know what type of clothes to bring, you can check different weather web sites. We also recommend you to bring sun protection creams (better to buy them at home, because ones in Thailand are produced for local types of skin).

Checklist

Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
USD cash
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Alarm clock
Flashlight
Sun hat, Sunblock, Sungalsses
Insect Repellent
Water bottle
hand sanitizers/ antibacterial wipes
Small towel and swim wear
Toiletries (biodegradable)
Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals
Moneybelt
Waterproof clothes for wet season May-Oct. Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs.
Camera
Reading/writing material
First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

All countries require a valid passport (with a minimum 6 months validity). Contact your local embassy, or consulate for the most up-to-date visa requirements, or see your travel agent. IT'S YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO HAVE THE CORRECT TRAVEL DOCUMENTATION.
Please note that visas for Thailand are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with you travel agent as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travellers there will probably have an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in. THAILAND - Most nationalities do not need a visa for Thailand for stays of 30 days or less but if you do they are available on arrival at Bangkok Airport.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

During this tour the local currency you will use is the Thai Baht. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers' cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets.

Tipping

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the quality of the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There may be times during the trip where you may wish to tip any local guides who have shown you around the monuments. Recommendations for local guides would range from 3 USD depending on the length of the tour and information given. At the end of your tour if you feel your driver/guide did a good job, tipping will also be appreciated. For your driver/guide it would be recommended to tip in the range of 5-6 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service.

Optional Activities

We suggest you bring along USD100 for additional sightseeing and pampering treatments.

Chiang Mai:
Bicycle tour - USD30 for Half Day
Thai Cookery Course - USD30 for Half Day
Kan Toke Traditional Dinner - USD30
Bicycle tour - USD30 for Half Day
Bamboo rafting (seasonal) - USD15 plus transport

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information about before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling your G Adventures representative has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your G Adventures representative will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. We offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility' is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our G Adventures representative work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day's activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. A G Adventures representative will have the right to expel you if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your G Adventures representative, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Planeterra is G Adventures’ non-profit foundation created to make a positive difference in the communities where G Adventures takes travellers. Planeterra supports sustainable social and environmental solutions in destinations travellers love to visit.

As travellers, it’s natural to want to give back to the places we’ve come to love. But to truly impact poverty, we work to build self-sufficiency, not dependency.

Planeterra partners with grassroots organizations with firsthand knowledge of local culture and true community needs. This ensures that solutions come from the people we support. Then G Adventures brings travellers to visit, fuelling sustainable local income in these communities. This model is helping many rural and marginalized communities on their way to self-sufficiency because they are harnessing the power of the tourism industry as a force for good. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit planeterra.org.

MAKE EVERY DAY COUNT
Fifty percent of our planet lives on less than $2/day. For the price of a coffee, you can make every day of your trip count by giving back to the communities you visit through Planeterra.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking).

Local Dress

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.