Language barrier, embrace it. Travel guide book, dump it. Fear of street food, chuck it. Liberate yourself from all that. Wake up expecting anything. Mai pen rai (no worries). Because "hey, you're in Thailand." Bike an uncharted oxcart path among lush rice paddies and garlic fields. Be startled by an ornate Buddhist temple quietly sitting in the middle of a jungle-filled valley. Relish a truly homemade curry and stare at the jagged limestone hills that have not changed for thousands of years. Say to yourself, "Is it Tuesday?" Even that doesn't matter because you're in Thailand. So mai pen rai.
We want to make sure you're on the right trip and that you have the best experience possible. Every Backroads trip is unique and this one is no exception.
AccommodationsOur hotels in Thailand are selected for their amenities, cultural charm and ideal location that allow for a flexible itinerary full of genuine travel experiences. While there may be other hotel options that look better on paper, they would involve long shuttles and superficial sightseeing. We believe this trip offers the best itinerary possible and provides the chance to customize the days as the mood strikes, whether you want to maximize your time on the bike (and never hop in the shuttle) or take the time to leisurely explore the local markets and temples. Either way, we make it happen!
The Maekok River Village Resort, a Casual Inn, is our home for two nights. Although it offers simpler guest rooms than the other hotels on this trip, it is by far the nicest lodging in the area - and has been selected because of its access to the best riding in the region.
Suanthip Vana Resort, a Premiere Inn, is a lovely and comfortable hotel, but can lack the sophistication one might expect. We've chosen this hotel for its friendly staff, remote location and its proximity to our biking routes.
Days 1-2 Receive a blessing from the village elders and visit with the resident monk Meet Ghing, our Thai guide who knows the back roads of northern Thailand better than anyone Ride into the countryside on hard-packed paths, cutting through thriving rice and garlic fields, and stands of papaya and teak.
Days 3-4 Bike gorgeous backcountry lanes through remote villages, where schoolchildren rush out to greet you Beneath the White Buddha, offer alms to monks at sunrise Fall for the handmade jewelry at an Akha hilltribe village A scenic descent leads to the trading center of Fang and temple-rich Thaton Savor Thai cuisine at an atmospheric café - and find inspiration for your upcoming cooking class.
Day 5 Float in long-tail boats down the Maekok River Pedal on narrow lanes past small villages into vibrant Chiang Rai Embark on a culinary adventure, wandering the streets of Chiang Rai and sampling some of Thailand's unique delicacies and delicious street food.
Days 6-8 A fascinating convergence of Thai, Laotian, Burmese and Chinese cultures An elephant ride through the jungle–hold on tight! Bike alongside the Mekong River on the Laos and Myanmar border, passing tobacco fields and rice paddies on the way to the ancient Burmese kingdom of Chiang Saen Relax poolside, indulge in a massage or spin to the spectacular Chom Kitti temple Browse Sop Ruak's market for delectable Thai iced tea and one-of-a-kind handicrafts.
- Bike gorgeous backcountry lanes through remote villages, where schoolchildren rush out to greet you
- Jungle trek aboard an elephant - hold on!
- Intriguing interactions with Buddhist monks at ornate temples
- Float down the Maekok River in traditional long-tail boats
- A fascinating convergence of Thai, Laotian, Burmese and Chinese cultures
Premiere & Casual Inns
Suanthip Vana Resort (2 nights): A countryside retreat blending Thai and Western comforts, with an open-air restaurant in forested surroundings. (pool)
Maekok River Village Resort (2 nights): Basic teak-framed rooms and a fantastic riverside setting at this authentic Thai-style inn. (pool)
Le Méridien Chiang Rai Resort (1 night): An inviting resort with modern furnishings and an idyllic setting along the banks of the Kok River. (pool, spa)
Anantara Golden Triangle Resort & Spa (2 nights): Described by the Hideaway Report as a "stylish hill country retreat amid 160 acres of tranquil gardens in the Golden Triangle overlooking Burma." Travel + Leisure World's Best. (pool, spa)
Every Backroads trip is designed to appeal to a wide variety of
interests and fitness levels. We know your pace may vary from one
day to the next-and your traveling companion's may differ somewhat
from yours. So we present a range of mileage options, and each
day you decide exactly what and how much you want to do.
Routes For All Abilities
|Daily Route Options|
|Level 1||Level 2||Level 3||Level 4||Level 5|
|miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain||miles||feet gain|
|Walk to temple (2 hours)|
|Sunrise walk (1.2 miles)|
|Maekok River crusie (2 hrs)|
|8||Conclusion of the trip|
On this trip, we'll be using titanium mountain bikes that are just right for the non-technical dirt road riding as well as the paved riding. (approximately 20% dirt and 80% paved).
* Includes a shuttle
2013 Dates & Pricing*
- 12/25-1/1 Price: $4598 pp dbl. occ., (+ $590 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/30-1/6 Price: $4498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $590 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
2014 Dates & Pricing*
- 1/5-12 Price: $4298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 1/26-2/2 Price: $4398 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/15-22 Price: $3998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/22-29 Price: $4198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/31-1/7 Price: $4198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 2/5-12 Price: $4298 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 11/22-29 Price: $3998 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
- 12/29-1/5 Price: $4198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $770 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Gather your favorite people to share a Backroads adventure on a ready-to-book Private Trip - featuring all the legendary Backroads hallmarks from expert leaders to unforgettable activities.
You can pick any open date in next year's lineup for your group of 8 or more except for trips departing during the last two weeks of December, where a 16 guest minimum is required - just book by December 31st of this year. Call us for date availability.
Pricing for Private Trips
- 8 - 9 guests $4,898 pp dbl. occ.
- 10 - 11 guests $4,598 pp dbl. occ.
- 12 or more guests $3,998 pp dbl. occ.
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Guest Trip Reviews
It seemed to be designed for me. Just the right amount of biking, wonderful food and accommodations and of course learning so much of the Thai people and cultures. I've taken many memorable active trips over the years but Backroads Thailand might be the benchmark for future ones.- Woodstock, MD
Anantara Resort & Spa Golden Triangle: One of the most beautiful resorts I've ever seen, the attention to detail in the design and landscaping is incredible, and of course the elephants and their wonderful families are special. Waking up to the early mist and hearing elephants in the fields and the birds was just magical.- Needham Heights, MA
The immersion into the local Thai culture along with the Backroads’ leadership made this trip a truly amazing experience. The daily itinerary with all the special "surprises" was beautifully orchestrated. After 23 trips with Backroads, I can say with no hesitation that the quality of Backroads trips remains superb...off the charts in every way!- Minneapolis, MN
Just returned home from the Backroads Thailand bicycle adventure. I am exhilarated, enthused and disappointed that it had to end. This was my first experience with Backroads, and all aspects of the trip were exceptional. Your organization sets a very high standard of customer service, and it is very much appreciated. The leaders were exceptional. Their enthusiasm for their jobs and their lives is contagious, and their dedication to service is obvious. What a pleasure to spend a week in such an exotic location and have these great people take care of everything. The complete success of each day was never doubted. You can be assured that I will travel with Backroads in the future, and will probably become a Backroads junkie! Thanks for a great trip.- Seattle, WA
Having never been on a Backroads trip, I didn't have too many expectations.In fact,I don't generally (historically) travel with groups or organizations.It was on the first day that I realized that I was not only in good hands, but travelling with experts who not only were well organized, but were excellent communicators and engaging with all participants.- Seattle, WA
Backroads never ceases to amaze me...they plan and think ahead for you so that you can enjoy and savor each moment of your vacation!- New York, NY
What an incredible trip - in every way! I couldn’t believe how HAPPY, kind, genuine the Thai people are, how delicious the food was. I have such wonderful images of happy faces, gorgeous scenery, cooking class, long boats, wats, monks, water buffalos, massages - not a dull moment the entire time.- Kentfield, CA
My wife and I had a wonderful trip, and the entire experience was so much better than we could have ever hoped for. The trip was well balanced with great food, activity and cultural experiences. It far exceeded our desires. We look forward to our next Backroads adventure.- Lafayette, CA
I am still overwhelmed by what a great trip this was. Perfect support (always there when needed, never hovering), great rides, incredible cultural experiences, unbelievable accommodations and delicious food experiences.- Issaquah, WA
Having lived in Thailand for 7 years growing up, I was looking forward to EXPERIENCING it from a completely new and different perspective. My expectations were greatly exceeded in all areas. I could not have imagined a more enjoyable trip in any way.- Northborough, MA
What an awesome trip! Taking in the culture, people, and scenery by bike is such a wonderful way to experience Thailand. The various activities planned throughout the trip, combined with great leaders and support staff made the trip very enjoyable and enriching. Thanks Backroads for some great memories and a great travel experience!- Cambridge, MA
I could not have asked for a more fabulous introduction to Thailand and SE Asia. As a woman traveling solo in so foreign a culture, I was admittedly nervous. I had no reason to be. I think the energy and the enthusiasm flows from the top - and our guides were phenomenal. It helped, too, that our fellow travelers were fascinating, energetic, fun and funny. The range of activities off the bikes were wonderful, and the various mileage options each day made individualization of the trip completely viable. Beyond the breathtaking Thai environment as seen from a bike, I truly feel that I got an inside look at Thai culture, religion, politics and history. Its amazing breadth and warmth and energy. I could not be happier I took this trip and I would definitely take another in the future. THANK YOU!- New York, NY
This was my third Backroads trip, each of which has been fabulous. The Thailand trip was the best trip yet!!! The leaders were fabulous and incredibly accommodating.- New York, NY
Best trip so far! The planning was flawless. The service was outstanding. We loved riding the elephants.- Wayne, PA
After our Bhutan trip, the bar was set very high. This trip totally exceeded our expectations. Backroads has really "upped" it's game, providing such personal attention. Each participant experienced a journey that felt custom made... - Boca Raton, FL