How to Spend Two Weeks in Northern Thailand

Akha woman, Northern Thailand | © Justin Vidamo/Flickr
Akha woman, Northern Thailand | © Justin Vidamo/Flickr
Photo of Iona Proebst
11 December 2017

Take the stress out of planning by checking out our handy guide on how to make the most of two weeks in magical Northern Thailand. You’ll experience lush nature, diverse culture, delicious cuisine and more…

Day 1 & 2: Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is arguably the most popular destination in Northern Thailand and is considered both a foodie and an artistic hub. It’s easy to spend a few days (or a few weeks) here with plenty of interesting sightseeing opportunities and activities. Must see sights in this charming city include the revered Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple, which provides breathtaking views over the city, Wat Chang Man (Chiang Mai’s oldest temple) and a visit to some Chiang Mai’s popular markets. Wander around the old city, treat yourself to a luxurious spa treatment or partake in a hands-on cooking class.

Charming Chiang Mai | © Andrea Schaffer/Flickr

Day 3: Chiang Dao

Chiang Dao is a nature lover’s haven, which is ideal for both hiking and relaxing. Chiang Dao is also home to the famous Chiang Dao caves, natural hot springs and the enchanting Wat Tham Pha Plong.

Day 4 & 5: Pai

Continue on to the hippie jungle paradise of Pai. Pai is a stunning town nestled in the mountains. There is ample opportunity for relaxing, exploring and eating. Pai is also a popular destination for yoga and meditation retreats and is a health-conscious haven. Looking for a place to party? This town has a dual identity which mimics the vibe of a Thai island, only its in the jungle.

Day 6: Mae Hong Son

In Mae Hong Son there are plenty of things to see and do. Check out the beautiful temple Wat Phra That Doi Kong Mu which overlooks the town, watch locals practice Tai Chi around Jong Kham Lake, and visit the ‘Walking Street” market. Dinner at the Salween River Restaurant followed by a few drinks at the iconic Crossroads bar guarantees a fun night out.

Jong Kham Lake, Mae Hong Son | © James Antrobus/Flickr

Day 7: Ban Rak Thai

Jump on a motorbike and enjoy the beautiful ride to the town of Ban Rak Thai. Ban Rak Thai is the perfect out-of-town adventure and is a stunning tea-growing village and settlement of former Kuo Min Tang fighters from Yunnan Province in China. Ban Rak Thai is a picturesque town located around a lake, with mud-brick houses and plenty of tea tasting opportunities.

Day 8 & 9: Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai is most famous for sights like the White Temple and the Black House, but did you know that it is also a great place to check out the thriving local art scene and try delicious local foods. There are also a host of fun activities to do, like soaking in the Pong Phra Bat Hot Springs.

Day 10: Doi Mae Salong

For a truly stunning experience head out of Chiang Rai and north to Doi Mae Salong, which is nestled in the mountains in Chiang Rai Province, and close to the border of Myanmar. The mountain was home to a Chinese military division settlement and is also home to numerous hill tribe communities. For the optimal experience, hire a motorbike and drive the stunningly beautiful 1234 highway. Mae Salong village offers stunning nature, delicious tea-tasting opportunities, and the chance to immerse oneself in rural village life.

Tea plantation, Doi Mae Salong | © Atibordee Kongprepan/Flickr

Day 11 & 12: Golden Triangle and Chiang Saen

The Golden Triangle is a popular tourist destination where Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos converge. Escape the crowds and head to Chiang Saen, Thailand’s oldest town. Travel back in time as you learn about Thailand’s rich history, sit on the banks of the mighty Mekong River, or mingle with locals in the evening market.

Day 13: Nan

Experience authentic northern Thailand in rural Nan. Stop by the Blessing Buddha at Wat Phra That Khao Noi, discover the Nan Riverside Art Gallery or marvel at the vegetable-dyed frescos at Wat Phumin. If you are in search of active adventure head to Doi Phu Kha National Park to see rare plant species and rock formations.

Day 14: Phrae

End your northern Thai adventure in Phrae, home to the famed Phae Mueang Phi Forest Park and the indigo-dyed textile village of Ban Thung Hong. Wat Luang is the oldest and one of the most revered temples in Phrae dating back to the 12th century and well worth checking out. Also of interest to see is the Thai and European architecture mix at Khum Chao Luang Museum.

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