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.
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 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 Stride through the jungle on an elephant—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 school kids 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
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|
|Walk to Temple (2 Hours)|
|Sunrise Walk (1.2 Miles)|
|Maekok River Cruise (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*
- 12/28-1/4 Price: $4198 pp dbl. occ., (+ $600 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 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.
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
I LOVED everything about my trip! Our guides were knowledgeable, fun, helpful and endearing. The accommodations, events, food, and excursions were perfect. The van service was always available and support staff always helpful. Additional info and insights from all were so helpful, and the flexibility of the planned days fit well for our group.- Snoqualmie, WA
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
This may have been my favourite trip! Every day was special and unique. From trying out a local lunch spot to the cooking class and riding the elephants. Everything was perfect!!!!- Los Angeles, CA
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 traveling 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 seven 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 was 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" its game, providing such personal attention. Each participant experienced a journey that felt custom-made.- Boca Raton, FL
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