Language barrier, embrace it. Travel guide book, dump it. Fear of street food, chuck it. Liberate your family 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 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
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
Private Trips Options & Pricing
Guest Trip Reviews
With its misty valleys, meandering rivers, ancient temples, colorful markets and truly outstanding cuisine, the Golden Triangle is a sensory feast. Cycle an uncharted oxcart path through rice paddies and garlic fields, ride an elephant through the jungle, float in long-tail boats down the Maekok River and savor the best curry you've ever tasted. I'm happy to invite you and your family on this cultural exploration of the traditions and lifestyles of northern Thailand.- Regional Manager, Asia