Day 1: Chiang Mai – Doi Inthanon – Mae Chaem
Total distance today appr. 160 km, driving time about 4 hours
Nature Trails in Doi Inthanon National Park
Your guide and driver will pick you up from your hotel for an early departure for your Doi Inthanon and Mae Sariang Explorer. It’s a private tour so you can ask them to stop anywhere you want. Today you will hike the famous one of the great nature trails of the park. Doi Inthanon is the highest mountain in Thailand (2,565 m). The park boasts the highest diversity of forest types and bird species found in any single park in the country and has many beautiful waterfalls.
We will continue to the Vachirathan waterfall, the most popular and one of the most spectacular waterfalls. The next stop will be the Karen village Ban Mae Klang Luang. The local coffee here is excellent. We will taste a cup. Continue to the Hmong market, where products from the Royal Project are for sale. The Royal Project (1969) is a non-profit organization founded by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej to solve deforestation, poverty, and opium production by promoting alternative crops in Thailand.
The roof of Thailand: Doi Inthanon
Lunch will be at a local restaurant. After lunch, we will briefly visit the two Royal Chedis. They were constructed to honor the 60th birthday anniversary of King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1987 and the 60th birthday anniversary of Queen Sirikit in 1992, respectively.
We will drive up to the summit of Doi Inthanon, where we will embark on a beautiful nature trail, the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail*. This trail is only open in the dry season. It is a lovely walk partly through the moist evergreen cloud forest and somewhat along a very steep ridge with fantastic views over Mae Chaem and the Mae Pan river valley. Let’s hope for sunny weather. There will be enough time to take pictures. A local guide of the Hmong tribe will accompany us. Here we walk for a couple of hours through an unspoiled cloud forest. When the skies are clear, the views are magnificent. After this, we will board our vehicle and descend to Mae Chaem. The Chaem Muang House is a cozy, small accommodation not far from the center. Overnight will be at the Chaem Muang House.
*Please note that the Kew Mae Pan Nature Trail is closed from May 31 until October 31. During that period we will do the magnificent Pha Dok Siew Nature Trail instead. This trail is managed by the Karen people of Baan Mae Klang Luang.
Day 2: Mae Chaem – Mae Sariang
Total distance today appr. 165 km, driving time about 4 hours
Mae Cheam teen jok textiles
Few people visit Mae Chaem, but we love this small, sleepy, and charming town. This morning we will rise early, if you wish, to visit a local temple. At this temple, you will meet a local monk who will perform a typical Buddhist blessing ceremony. Return to the Chaem Muang House for breakfast. After breakfast, we will explore some of the most beautiful temples of Mae Chaem, such as Wat Buddha Enn and Wat Yang Luang. We will also visit the local textile artisans. Mae Chaem is known for its production of Pha Teen Jok, unique for its original patterns, vibrant colors, and weaving style.
After lunch, we will continue our Doi Inthanon and Mae Sariang Explorer to…right: Mae Sariang. There will be time for stops along the way to enjoy the magnificent views. We will stop at the pine tree forest. The Pinus Kesiya is also known as the Khasi pine, the Benguet pine, or the three-needled pine. In the late afternoon, we will arrive in Mae Sariang. Check into the Riverhouse Resort, where you will stay overnight for three nights.
This hotel is right on the Yuam River. It is close to the morning market and restaurants.
Overnight at the Riverhouse Resort
Day 3: Mae Sariang – Huay Horm – Mae Sariang
Total distance today appr. 130 km, driving time about 3 hours
Delicious Huay Horm Coffee
After breakfast, we will drive to Mae La Noi, which is about 30 km from Mae Sariang. Today we will visit several Karen and Lawa villages. At Mae La Noi, we will leave the main road and drive into the mountains towards Huay Horm, a Karen village. The road is winding. The views are magnificent. We will stop to take pictures and enjoy the scenery. Huay Horm produces the best coffee and is one of the leading suppliers of Starbucks in Thailand. We taste a cup of this delicious coffee.
Wonderful Lawa villages
The next stop will be Ban Dong, a Lawa village. At Ban Dong, there is a Royal Project site that produces vegetables and other cash crops. We will stop at several places to enjoy the splendid views. The Lawa are the indigenous people of North Thailand. We visit a house where you can watch some traditional weaving and see samples of Lawa textiles.
We will have lunch here. After lunch, we will to another Lawa village called Mae La Up. With your guide, you will explore the village and meet some of the villagers. We will visit the local silversmith and walk around the village. After this, we will drive back to Mae Sariang. Just outside of Mae La Noi is a small abandoned chedi on a hilltop. It is a short steep walk but worth the effort. The history of this chedi is unknown. Return to Mae Sariang. Before we reach Mae Sariang we will stop at Wat Tham Phra, which originally was a small cave temple. It now has become one of the most opulent temples in Mae Sariang district. You will be surprised!
Overnight at the Riverhouse Resort
Day 4: Mae Sariang – Baan Mae Sam Laep – Mae Sariang
Total distance today appr. 100 km, driving time about 2,5 hours
Journey to the border
After breakfast, your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel. We will drive to Ban Mae Sam Laep for our boat trip on the Salawin River. It will be one of the highlights of your Doi Inthanon and Mae Sariang Explorer. The source of the Salawin River river is on the Tibetan Plateau. The river flows through China and Myanmar and forms the border between Myanmar and Thailand for about 120 km in Mae Hong Son province. At Moulmein in Myanmar, it flows into the Andaman Sea. The river forms the border here between Thailand and Myanmar. In Myanmar, they call this river the Thanlyin River.
Ban Mae Sam Laep used to be called Dagwin in the past. There was a border crossing here, connecting to Rangoon (Yangon), the capital of Myanmar, in the past.
Fantastic boat trip on the Salawin River
We board our local private boat and take a boat trip to Sop Moei, which will take about 50 mins. Enjoy the fantastic scenery. At Sop Moei, a Karen village, we take a short walk. We will briefly drop by at the local school. Not many people visit this remote and very quiet area. We board our boat again and travel back to Ban Mae Sam Laep, where we will enjoy a local lunch.
Drive back to Mae Sariang. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure. There are some magnificent temples near the hotel such as Wat Jong Soon and Wat Sri Bunruang. You can also relax at the pool which is on the Yuam River.
Overnight at the Riverhouse Resort
Day 5: Mae Sariang – Chiang Mai
Total distance today appr. 200 km, driving time about 4 hours
Magnificent Ob Luang Gorge and Wat Hariphunchai
This morning we leave Mae Sariang and drive back to Chiang Mai. On the way, we will visit Ob Luang National Park. We will make a comfortable, relaxing walk to the magnificent Ob Luang Gorge. Enjoy the rock formations and some interesting prehistoric rock paintings. If you want, you can climb up to a great viewpoint. We will have lunch at the restaurant near the park entrance. Continue to Chiang Mai. At Sanpatong we leave the main road. The Chiang Mai Doll Museum is one of the great attractions in Chiang Mai but overlooked by most visitors. The museum also has a small factory where they produce beautiful traditional dolls. We continue to Wat Kukut aka Wat Chamathewi, one of the oldest temples in North Thailand. It is time for lunch which we enjoy in a local restaurant.
After lunch, we will visit Wat Phra That Hariphunchai, one of the most revered and exceptional temples. Opposite the temple, there is an attractive market where local products are for sale. We take our time here. Then it is time to drive back to Chiang Mai. We follow a nice and scenic route along the Ping River. Your guide and driver will drop you off at the hotel after a beautiful Doi Inthanon and Mae Sariang Explorer.
We also offer a slightly longer tour called the Mae Sariang Loop.