The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand

A comprehensive six-night Thailand Tour visiting the highlights of the two main northern loops. From Chiang Rai, set out to explore the mystical Golden Triangle area, spending the time to really experience the local cultures. Visit local community-based tourism projects, relax and rejuvenate at the hot springs of Pong Duad and explore the jungle. Head towards the charming town of Pai and onto Mae Hong Son to learn about indigenous hill tribes. The perfect choice for an in-depth look at this fascinating region.

Touring Style: private tour with your driver and professional English speaking guide. Alternatively, this may be undertaken as a self-drive holiday.

Best time to travel: November to April

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, touring and transfers. Starts from:

GBP 825 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels. International airfares are extra.

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand at a glance
  • Day 1: Chiang Rai Arrival
  • Day 2: Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle
  • Day 3: Golden Triangle - Mae Sai - Doi Tung - Mae Salong - Thaton
  • Day 4: Thaton - Chiang Dao - Pai
  • Day 5: Pai - Tham Lod - Mae Hong Son
  • Day 6: Mae Hong Son - Khun Yuam - Mae Sariang
  • Day 7: Mae Sariang- Doi Inthanon - Chiang Mai
The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 1

Day 1: Chiang Rai Arrival

Arrive in Chiang Rai for a transfer to your hotel. Overnight in Chiang Rai.

Distance and Journey time: 8 km, 15 mins

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 2

Day 2: Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle

After breakfast at your hotel, enjoy a half-day sightseeing tour of Chiang Rai city. Transfer from your hotel to the King Meng Rai Monument. From there, board a samlor (rickshaw), and start with a ride to the main market area, to get a feel for the local life in town.

Continue to Wat Phra Kaew with its beautiful brass and copper Buddha image and continue by rickshaw to the Hilltribe Museum. Continue by road to Wat Rong Khun with its unique architecture. Visit the ancient Kingdom of Chiang Saen on the banks of the Mekong River, where you will see some magnificent ancient ruin of Wat Pasak. Embark on a long-tail boat trip to the Golden Triangle area, to visit the Hall of Opium. The museum is dedicated to teaching about the history of opium and the problems caused by narcotics. Overnight in the Golden Triangle.

Distance and journey time: 79 km, 1.30 hrs

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 3

Day 3: Golden Triangle - Mae Sai - Doi Tung - Mae Salong - Thaton

After breakfast at your hotel, depart for Mae Sai, the bustling trading town at the northernmost border between Thailand and Myanmar. Proceed to the Doi Tung region, 2000m above sea level. The Doi Tung Development Project was established to eradicate the cultivation of opium and encourage farmers to use sustainable agricultural practices. Visit Mae Fah Luang Gardens and Doi Tung Temple. Continue to the Royal Handicraft Centre to discover mulberry paper making, pottery, and weaving.

After lunch at a local restaurant, drive up into the hills to Doi Mae Salong. The town of Mae Salong was founded in the 1960s by former Kuomintang soldiers who had been expelled from Myanmar. You can visit their tea and coffee plantations for an amazing photo opportunity. Overnight in Thaton.

Distance and journey times:

Chiang Saen to Mae Sai: 67 km, 1.15 hrs

Mae Sai to Mae Salong: 82 km, 2 hrs

Mae Salong to Thaton: 41 km, 1.20 hrs

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 4

Day 4: Thaton - Chiang Dao - Pai

After breakfast at your hotel, depart to the Elephant Nature Park, a unique project set in Chiang Mai province, Northern Thailand. Established in the 1990s their aim has always been to provide a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants where you can volunteer and visit to help. The Park provides a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals.

Continue towards Pai with stops en route at Mok Fah Waterfall and Pong Duad Hotspring. Overnight in Pai.

Distance and journey times;

Thaton to Chiang Dao: 145 km, 2.30 hrs

Chiang Dao to Pai: 130 km, 3 hrs

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 5

Day 5: Pai - Tham Lod - Mae Hong Son

After breakfast, continue towards Soppong. The area boasts limestone caves, said to be some of the largest in South East Asia. Visit the chambers, following a series of walkways and crossing small creeks by bamboo raft. After the visit, continue by car to Tam Pla, a park with a number of creeks running out of a cave that is packed with Phluang fish. Then continue to Mae Hong Son. Upon arrival in town, drive around the central lake to visit Burmese style temples Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham. Overnight in Mae Hong Son.

Distance and journey times:

Pai to Tham Lod: 49 km, 1.25 hrs

Tham Lod to Mae Hong Son: 74 km, 1.45 hrs

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 6

Day 6: Mae Hong Son - Mae Sariang

After breakfast, drive to Huai Dua boat landing and take a (30 minutes) long-tail boat ride along a scenic route with marvellous cataracts on the Pai River to a small market on the Thai-Burmese border.

Continue to Khun Yuam where you will have lunch, followed by a visit to the World War II Museum containing an assortment of weapons, uniforms, military equipment and personal possessions left behind by Japanese soldiers who took possession of the town in the closing weeks of the war in neighbouring Myanmar.

Late afternoon, arrive into Mae Sariang for overnight. 

Distance and journey time:

Mae Hong Son to Khun Yuam - 66 km, 1.20 hrs

Khun Yuam to Mae Sariang - 84 km, 1.35 hrs

The Northern Loop Tour of Thailand Image 7

Day 7: Mae Sariang - Doi Inthanon - Chiang Mai

Depart for Doi Inthanon National Park. The park is home to Thailand’s highest peak - Doi Inthanon. The park is especially popular among bird-watchers, with more than 300 species reported. Visit the summit to see the shrine of Chao Inthawitchayanon, the former prince of Chiang Mai, before stopping at Wat Phra That Chom Thong with its holy relic and ancient treasures. A short trek along Michael’s Trail offers a beautiful and unforgettable experience.

Proceed to Chiang Mai. Why not extend a few more days in Chiang Mai or fly south to enjoy a week’s relaxation at a beach resort?

Distance and journey times:

Khun Yuam to Mae Chaem: 77 km, 2 hrs 

Mae Chaem to Doi Inthanon: 73 km, 1.50 hrs

Doi Inthanon to Chiang Mai: 97 km, 2 hrs 

Not quite right? This itinerary is just to give you an idea of what is possible. Need some more inspiration? Please get in touch at 01473 214305 or email to We welcome your questions. We're here to help!


Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai, Thailand’s ‘Rose of the North’ retains the grace and charm of an ancient royal capital, with every convenience of a modern city

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Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai, former royal capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom is in Thailand’s far north, close to the borders with Laos and Myanmar

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Chiang Saen at the Golden Triangle

Set on a stunning stretch of the Mekong River where Thailand meets Burma and Laos, this former Thai kingdom dates to the 7th Century and is rich in cultural heritage

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Mae Hong Son

Deep inside a valley shrouded in mist, against a backdrop of rugged mountain scenery the town of Mae Hong Son is located in Thailand’s remote north-west

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Yaang Come Village

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The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort

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The Imperial Golden Triangle Resort

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The Riverhouse Resort

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Fern Resort

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Pai, Superior Class
Reverie Siam Resort

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Pai, Standard Class
Baan Krating Pai Resort

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Thaton, Standard Class
The Maekok River Village Resort

The Maekok River Village Resort is idyllically located on the banks of the Mae Kok River with sweeping views across the valley to the distant forested mountains. The peaceful, rural setting makes an ideal getaway for those wanting to escape the usual city tourist traps. For the interested and adventurous the resort also makes an excellent jumping off point for discovering Northern Thailand

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