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Yi Peng Express (6 Days)
Day 1: Bangkok
Welcome to Bangkok, the ever-alluring capital of Thailand. Arrival transfer to our hotel where our Welcome Meeting takes place later in the evening.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 2: Bangkok
Today we explore the stunning Grand Palace, crowned by lofty gilt stupas and home to the legendary Emerald Buddha. We’ll also visit the House of the Reclining Buddha, the Original Thai Massage School and the 24hr Flower Market before boarding longtail boats to explore the city’s canals, known as Khlongs. Exploring the city by boat gives insight into the lives of the city’s riverside dwellers – the overtly rich and incredibly poor.
Stepping off our longtail boat we head over to Khao San Road, popular with backpackers and hippies for a little free time before returning to our hotel to freshen up before taking the overnight express sleeper train (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins) to Chiang Mai.
Overnight in Sleeper Train.
Day 3: Chiang Mai
This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. We take a trishaw ride and explore the old city of Chiang Mai before driving up to the holy temple Doi Suthep, which is perched on a mountain top overlooking Chiang Mai.
This afternoon we prepare for tomorrow’s Yi Peng Festival by making our own Krathongs to sail down the river. Heading to the market first to stock up on all the materials we need. In the evening, we head into the night market to explore many of the street foods on offer and perhaps try our hand at haggling.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 4: Yi Peng Festival
Today is free for you to spend at leisure before the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong festivities this evening. Relax or partake in some of the activities on offer. Choose from adrenaline-fuelled adventures such a canopy zip lining and rock climbing or opt for a more relaxing affair with spa treatments and massages. No trip to Chiang Mai would be complete without trying a local cooking class and perfecting your very own Pad Thai!
This evening we join in the celebrations of the Yi Peng and Loi Krathong Festival. Celebrated throughout the Kingdom on the evening of the full moon of the 12th month in the traditional Thai lunar calendar, the Loi Krathong festival is named after the floating lanterns, boats and ornaments that are set adrift onto rivers during the celebrations. For some, floating a Krathong, especially when lit, are meant to honour Buddha. For most Thais, it’s a way to thank the Hindu Goddess of Water, Phra Mae Khongkha, for her help in providing the most basic of all human necessities.
In Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the former Lanna Kingdom, Loi Krathong coincides with the Lanna (northern Thai) festival known as ‘Yi Peng’ where a multitude of Lanna-style sky lanterns adorned with good luck wishes and prayer are released into the sky. Tonight, as both Loi Krathong and Yi Peng are being celebrated at the same time, we will see lanterns floating on the waters, strings of pretty lights hanging from houses and temples, and hundreds of beautiful lanterns floating by in the sky. Setting out on foot with our guide, we’ll aim to catch the lantern releases and join the other festivities which usually include fireworks, boat racing on the Ping River and parades through the streets.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 5: Chiang Mai –Chiang Rai
Our journey today takes us through stunning karst and jungle scenery. Stopping for lunch at Ta Thon we board private long tail boats for a cruise down the Kok River watching rural life pass us by. Farmers work the land where oranges grow whilst men fish along the banks and buffalo wallow in the shallow waters. From our arrival point we continue to Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) which depicts scenes from modern movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman! Arriving to Chiang Rai early in this evening consider taking some time to enjoy the hotel facilities before taking a short stroll down to the night market for some last minute bargain hunting.
Overnight in Chiang Rai.
Day 6: Chiang Rai- Chiang Mai
This morning we head out to a local village where you’ll have the chance to encounter the famous Long Neck or Karen tribe. We then continue to the border frontier town of Mae Sai, where you have the chance to cross briefly into Myanmar and enter the Burmese town of Tachilek (optional). Our next stop is a viewpoint in Chiang Saen, better known as the Golden Triangle, which earned its name from the fact that so much opium once passed through the area. From this viewpoint, we are able to see Myanmar in front of us and Laos to the right. We then have some time to visit the Opium Museum before returning to Chiang Mai at approx 8-9pm, where arrangements end. Post tour accommodation can be booked upon request. Alternatively, you can opt to finish your tour in Chiang Rai or book our Bangkok extension – see details below.
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- Bangkok - Grand Palace, Wat Pho, Original Thai Massage School, Flower Market and Khao San Road
- Cruising on the Kok River in a longtail boat
- Chiang Rai - Karen (Longneck) tribe village, frontier town of Mae Sai, Chiang Saen in the ‘Golden Triangle’ & the Opium Museum
- Yi Peng & Loi Krathong Festival in Chiang Mai. Watch as thousands of colourful lanterns are released into the Ping River and into the night sky
- Chiang Mai - The towering Doi Suthep temple, Chiang Mai night market and temples, trishaw ride around the old city
- Wat Rhon Khung - The ‘White Temple’
- Crossing the border into Myanmar to explore the small town of Tachileik (optional)
- 4 breakfasts
- Airport arrival transfer on day 1
- Guided sightseeing - Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
- Trishaw ride around the old city in Chiang Mai
- All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
- 4 nights 3 - 4 star & Special Class hotels, 1 night overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
- Escorted by an English-speaking Thai tour guide (for groups of 6 or more)
- Longtail boat cruise on the canals of Bangkok and on the Kok River
- Excursion to the hill tribe villages around Chiang Rai
- International flights, visa and departure transfer
Our Yi Peng arrangements do not include the 'Mass Release' event at Mae Jo. The Mae Jo Mass Release is a paid event with no historical significance. Tickets cost between $100 - $300, are limited and can be purchased independantly online, should you wish to make your own arrangements to attend