Thais by their very nature are welcoming. With your kids even more so. They smile and invite you in. To their mountain villages, ornate temples, noodle shops and long-tail boats. Even the elephants are friendly, taking you for a ride, and letting your kids bathe and feed them. As you bike past, schoolchildren run out to greet you, their waves and big grins saying it all. Warm. Inviting. Exotic. Approachable. It's the Asia you dream of.
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.
AccommodationsThroughout the trip we've selected hotels that, in addition to being both comfortable and authentic, allow us to provide you with an itinerary that flows naturally and with purpose, becoming a genuine travel experience and not simply a collection of sightseeing events.
Suanthip Vana Resort, a Premiere Inn, is a lovely and comfortable hotel, but can lack the sophistication of the usual Backroads standard. We've chosen this hotel for its remote location and proximity to our favorite biking routes.
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. Plus, it's hard to find staff that smile bigger or try harder!
Days 1-2 Receive a blessing from the village elders and meet the resident monk Villagers greet you with smiles as you ride into the countryside on hard-packed paths, cutting through rice and garlic fields, and papaya and teak forests The younger set crafts traditional fire balloons made out of natural paper while adults relax at the resort or visit nearby Wat Phra That Sadet for a chance to meet the temple's head monk.
Days 3-4 Bike backcountry lanes through remote villages and rural scenery, with grazing water buffalo as your audience After visiting an Akha hill tribe village, a picturesque downhill and flat route leads to the trading center of Fang Welcome the sunrise by offering alms to monks on a hilltop beneath the White Buddha Grown-ups participate in a Thai cooking class while kids go on a scavenger hunt at the Fang market.
Day 5 Float in long-tail boats down the Maekok River Pedal along narrow lanes past small villages into vibrant Chiang Rai Embark on a culinary adventure, wandering the streets of Chiang Rai sampling some of Thailand's unique delicacies and delicious street food.
Days 6-8 A fascinating convergence of Thai, Laotian, Burmese and Chinese cultures Kids attend a mahout (elephant driver) camp and have fun helping feed and bathe a friendly pachyderm Bike alongside the Mekong River on the Laos border, past tobacco fields and rice paddies into the ancient kingdom of Chiang Saen Sop Ruak's market stalls provide a chance to sample Thai iced tea and shop for local handicrafts.
- Bike gorgeous backcountry lanes through remote villages, where schoolchildren rush out to say hello
- Jungle trek aboard an elephant - hold on!
- Intriguing interactions with Buddhist monks at ornate temples
- A scavenger hunt that turns the outdoors into a classroom
- A fascinating convergence of Thai, Laotian, Burmese and Chinese cultures
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): A large yet 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." (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|
|Adults: Walk to Temple (2 Hours)|
|Kids: Fire-Balloon Making|
|Kids: Fang Market Scavenger Hunt|
|Sunrise Walk (1.2 Miles)|
|Kids: Ropes Course & Jungle Cookout|
|Boat Trip Down the Maekok River (2 Hours)|
|Elephant Camp Visit (3 Hours)|
|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
2015 Dates & Pricing*
- 12/20-27 Price: $4498 pp dbl. occ., (+ $680 for sgl. occ.)
*Prices may change. Once you book your trip, your price is guaranteed.
Recommended Kids Ages
- Recommended minimum age for the trip: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction to ride own bike: 9 years
- Minimum age restriction to ride elephants: 8 years
- No Burleys available on this trip
General Info on Minimum Ages:We strongly encourage families to join our Family Trips, designed with kid- and adult-friendly features. Please note that we have a minimum age requirement of 1 year for all Inn trips and 2 years for all Camping trips. Other than that, we do not restrict trips to a minimum age except in the rare case of a hotel age restriction. We do, however, recommend minimum ages based on the following criteria:
- 12+ amount of cultural appreciation, difficulty of activities, routes
- 9+ difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions, routes
- 6+ several longer dinners, routes are difficult for pulling a Burley and therefore not appropriate for younger children, difficulty of activities/activity age restrictions
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 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. Call us for date availability.
Pricing for Private Trips (prices may vary based on departure date)
|8 - 9 guests from $4,798 pp dbl. occ.||12 or more guests from $3,998 pp dbl. occ.|
|10 - 11 guests from $4,298 pp dbl. occ.|
For groups of 2 to 7 guests, please call for Custom Trip pricing.
Youth savings do not apply to Private Trips.
Guest Trip Reviews
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
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