Coffee, Floating Pagodas and Elephants Tour
Day 1 Chiang Mai to Suan Lahu and Phayao
180 km, total driving time 3,5 hours
Your guide and driver will meet you at your hotel at 0800 for your Coffee, Floating Pagodas and Elephants Tour. Our first destination today is the Suan Lahu Organic Coffee Farm. This coffee plantation is located about 10 km from the main road from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai. We will meet and spend the morning exploring the plantation and learning about growing, roasting, and grinding coffee. The people working at the coffee farm are from the Lahu indigenous minority and live very close to the farm. You can roast your coffee beans in an antique traditional coffee roaster.
The Lake of Phayao aka Kwan Phayao
After this, we will visit the Lahu village and chat with some of the people. We return to the farm where we have lunch before we continue our journey to Phayao. On the way, we will stop briefly at the Mae Kachan Hot Springs and turn right into the mountains of the Doi Luang National Park. On top of the pass, we visit a viewpoint that, on a clear day, offers a view of the Lake of Phayao aka Kwan Phayao. We continue to Phayao and check into the hotel that offers a view of the lake. This is the largest freshwater lake in north Thailand. If there is time we will take a rowing boat for the short ride to Wat Tilok Aram. Only a Buddha statue remains on a small island. If it is too late we will do this on day 2.
You can have dinner of your own. Overnight at the Phug Long Hotel.
Day 2 Explore Phayao
60 km, total driving time 1 hour and 15 minutes
Three different forest temples
Day 3 Phayao – Wat Chalermprakiat – Lampang
165 km, total driving time about 3 hours
Today’s destination is Lampang, the city of horse carriages. About 100 years ago Lampang was the economic and political center of the North of Thailand but gradually Chiang Mai became the most important city in the north. After breakfast, we leave Phayao and will drive to Wat Chalermprakiat aka the “Floating Pagodas”. After coffee it is now time for floating pagodas, elephants have to wait until tomorrow! Our journey takes us through some of the most remote countryside of Lampang province where time stood still, it appears. We pass through authentic communities and great landscapes until we reach the place where we park our vehicle and transfer to a converted shuttle pickup truck.
This truck will take us to a temple complex from where we have to walk up steep stairs to the “floating pagodas” that are constructed on rocky outcrops on top of this mountain. On a clear day, the views are amazing.
The Horse Carriages of Lampang
After this, it is time for lunch in a local restaurant. It is still about an hour’s drive to Lampang, where we will spend the night. If we still have time we will make a ride by horse carriage through the old market to the Louis Leonowens House, the former office of the Leonowens company, and the residence of Louis T. Leonowens. This heritage house, which dates back to the heyday of the teak industry, was restored a couple of years ago. It is open on Saturday and Sunday only. If there is no time today, we will do this horse carriage ride tomorrow morning. The Asia Hotel is an old renovated hotel in a great location, close to restaurants and the Wang River.
Overnight will be at the Asia Hotel, an old favorite.
Day 4 Lampang – Wat Phra That Lampang Luang – Chiang Mai
140 km, total driving time about 1 hour 45 minutes
After breakfast, we will visit the Burmese temple Wat Si Chum, funded by immigrants from Burma who worked in the teak industry more than one hundred years ago. We continue our exploration to another, very different Shan/Burmese temple Wat Si Rong Muang. Lampang has the most Shan and Burmese temples in Thailand, the legacy of the teak industry. We continue to the morning market close to the iconic railway station that was opened in 1916. This gave Lampang a headstart on Chiang Mai where the railways only reached six years later. We continue to one of the most impressive Buddhist temples in the north of Thailand.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is one of the most revered Buddhist temples in the north of Thailand. Massive stone walls guard this ancient temple complex. We will spend time here before we have lunch in a local restaurant. Our last stop today will touch your heart. We will meet Mosha and Motala, two elephants who lost a limb after stepping on a mine in Myanmar. The Friends of the Asian Elephant Foundation raised funds for prosthetic legs for these elephants. After watching a short video about the foundation and its founder we will meet them and visit the hospital. After this, we continue to Chiang Mai, where we will drop you off at the hotel.
We hope you have enjoyed our Coffee, Floating Pagodas and Elephants Tour.