Northern Hilltribes & Villages
From the luxury of Bangkok’s malls and gleaming high-rises, head north to Thailand’s hills. Eating and sleeping with the hilltribes will bring you face-to-face with these colourful cultures. We’ll leave plenty of time for fun in historic Chiang Mai with its night market and delicious cuisine. Our CEOs will help you get off the beaten path – but you’ll stay flexible by being able to choose the activities you really want.
Hilltribe trek. Indigenous village stay. Bamboo rafting. Street food crawl. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
Experience the bustle of Bangkok, explore the vibrancy of Chiang Mai, trek through northern hilltribes and meet the locals, float downstream on a bamboo raft.
The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
1. COMBO TRIP
Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
Group Leader Description
All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our Chief Experience Officers (CEO). The aim of the CEO is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.
Group Size Notes
Max 18, avg 12.
Eating is a big part of traveling. Traveling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each others company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favorite restaurants during your trip. Included breakfasts will usually be Asian style consisting of noodles or rice soup or bread and eggs. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice maybe limited. While trekking in remote regions food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
Local bus, songthaew, train, walking, river raft.
All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
Simple hotels (3 nts), basic hilltribe huts (2 nts, multi-share), sleeper trains (2 nts).
My Own Room Exceptions
A variety of styles of hotels/guest houses are used on this trip. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home as service and efficiency can vary. In some areas we stay in simple local guest houses in stunning locations – rooms are small and simple and there may only be shared toilet facilities and showers.
Bangkok Centre Hotel
328 Rama IV Road
Tel: +66 2 238 4980
When arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced ‘su wan na poom’) in Bangkok proceed to the Arrivals Hall where you can change money into Thai Baht. (You may be approached by nicely dressed, official looking touts offering an expensive limousine service to your hotel; ignore these offers.)
You have three transport options; public bus, the Airport Train & MRT or public taxi. All transportation is located on the ‘ground’ floor.
The Airport Bus operates 4 bus routes to downtown for a cost of 150 Baht for the entire route. Bus AE4 goes to Hua Lamphong train station. Our hotel is located in the Hua Lamphong area.
The airport is located 30km’s away from downtown Bangkok. Approach the taxi counters, advise them where you are going and they will write this information down for you along with the taxis registration details. Taxis should always use the meter and you are required to pay a 50 Baht airport surcharge on top of the metered fee plus any tollway fees (approx 70 Baht depending on the route taken). Total journey will cost between 350 THB – 500 THB, depending on traffic and toll fees. The expressway is substantially faster, so tell the taxi driver to use the expressway, you can say either ""kuen ton-way"" (from ‘tollway’) or ""kuen taang duan"" in Thai (but most understand Tollway/express way in English).
If you are staying at the Bangkok Centre Hotel you can take the Airport Train. Board the express airport train at a cost of 150 THB to the City Air Terminal; Makkasan. Here you will need to disembark and change to the MRT (subway) Blue line, boarding at Phetchaburi Station. From Phetchaburi Station travel to the last stop, Hua Lamphong, and follow the signs at the exit for the Bangkok Centre Hotel.
If you have paid for an arrival transfer when you booked your trip then please proceed to the Airport Information Counter near entrance 3 and look for the driver who should be holding a G Adventures sign.
We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer please meet your driver near the information counter at Entrance Door number 3 of the airport, in the arrival hall. If for any reason you can not locate you driver please call the emergency transfer phone number at +66 (0) 800 562777.
If you have still have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
If your call is specifically concerning Bangkok Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at:+66 81 847 3034 (081 847 3034 from within Thailand) or +66 86 339 5881 (086 339 5881 from within Thailand)
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574
After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
What to Take
What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips and certainly not for trekking! Most travelers carry a backpack of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!). You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like iPods and mobile phones. If your trip involves overnights in home-stays, villages or camping then you usually have the opportunity to rent sleeping bags if need be instead of bringing one with you.
Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Dry shoes – sealed, sneakers, hiking boots
Wet Shoes – crocs, sandals, reef shoes etc
Light Jacket – March-November
Medium Jacket – Dec-Feb
Long pants for night, shorts ok for day
Respectful clothing covering knees and shoulders for villages
Towel or sarong
Small backpack 15-30ltr
Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry
First Aid Kit, personal medicines (including car sickness)
Sleep sheet (other bedding provided)
Feminine Hygiene Products (these are not available in the villages)
Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
Please note that visas for Thailand are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your Governments Foreign Ministry website or with your travel agent as rules do change.
THAILAND – Most nationalities do not need a visa for Thailand for stays of 30 days or less but if you do they are available on arrival at Bangkok Airport. Please ensure you obtain a multiple entry Visa as we do exit and re-enter Thailand on this tour.
Only 15-day tourist visas are issued when entering Thailand overland. If you are staying more than 15 days you should consider getting your visa prior to your trip.
Please note that certain nationalities (including: Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan and Ukraine) may not be able to obtain visa at a land border.
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
During this tour the local currency you will use is the Thai Baht. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers’ cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets.
It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
Optional Activities: USD100 for optional activities not included in the trip.
Grand palace (Bangkok) – USD11
Wat Po (Bangkok) – USD2
Klong(Canal) Tour (Bangkok) – Approx $10-30 dependent on numbers
Thai massage (Bangkok) – USD10 per hour
Doi Suithep (Chiang Mai) – USD2 (plus transport)
Bicycle tour (Chiang Mai) – USD30 for Half Day
Thai Cookery Course (Chiang Mai) – USD30 for Half Day
Kan Toke Traditional Dinner (Chiang Mai) – USD30
All prices are per person (unless stated otherwise), and are subject to change as services are provided by third party operators.
Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our CEO’s are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.
Safety and Security
Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government’s advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
Trip Specific Safety
We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that, as a minimum, an average level of fitness and mobility’ is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our CEOs work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.
The medical questionnaire can be found online at:
A Couple of Rules
Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
A Word of Warning
Please do not buy gems in Bangkok unless you know what you are doing. Even if genuine you should not expect to be able to sell them at home. If you fall victim to a gem scam, we are unable to assist you.
Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation
Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org
Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our G Adventures for Good projects.
To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)
In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples,mosques or other holy sites and Hilltribe Villages.
Travel Forum - The Watering Hole
Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you’re interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.
Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, trekking staff.
Allow USD65-85 for meals not included.
5 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners
PRODUCT_LINE: ATHV, ID: 23399
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.
Day 1 Bangkok
Today is arrival day, so there are no activities planned. Enjoy free time to relax, explore the city, and adjust to the frantic pace and humid heat of Bangkok.
After your meeting, head out for an optional dinner to get to know your CEO and fellow group members better.
Please arrive at our start point hotel before 18:00 for an important group meeting where you will meet your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel’s notice board for the time and location of your group meeting.
Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting
Day 2 Bangkok/Chiang Mai (1B)
Opt to visit Wat Po and the Grand Palace, or check out the city’s klongs by boat. Board an overnight train to Chiang Mai (potential for alternative transport during monsoon season, depending on conditions).
Note: Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may use alternative transport.
Overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))
Day 3 Chiang Mai
Enjoy one of two street food crawls with the group and CEO. Opt to visit Doi Suthep temple, comb the night markets for souvenirs, or participate in a Thai cooking class.
Street Food Crawl
Day 4 Chiang Mai/Ban Mae Jok (1B, 1L, 1D)
We might have time to visit a local market before stopping for lunch and starting our trek.
Tucked away in the hills of northern Thailand is where the most colourful and unchanged traditional communities can be found. Trek through forests and rural terrains to visit some of these diverse hilltribe villages; often, each will have their own unique language, clothing style, and belief system that differs significantly from those of neighbouring tribes. You are well looked after by your local guides, who take the responsibility of preparing all meals and carrying food supplies.
The exact itinerary of the walking on this trip may change from time to time, taking into account the weather and local conditions. Also, please note there may be times when the use of video and/or still cameras may be inappropriate — your CEO and guides will be able to advise you. Be prepared for the accommodation to be basic; remember, it’s all about an authentic and unique experience!
Hilltribe Trek Day 1
Pickup truck (1.00 hour(s))
Day 5 Ban Mae Jok/Pa Khao Lam (1B, 1L, 1D)
You will also have the chance to fish at Mae Tang River using local tools; learn how to construct a bamboo raft.
Hilltribe Trek Day 2
Day 6 Pa Khao Lam/Chiang Mai (1B, 1L)
After breakfast, leave the village by bamboo raft, stopping at other villages along the way. Meet the van after lunch and head back to Chiang Mai for some free time to explore.
Bamboo Rafting to Lahu Village
Lahu Village Visit
Bamboo Rafting to Shan Village
Pickup truck (1.50-2.00 hours)
Day 7 Chiang Mai/Bangkok (1B)
Opt to go shopping, enjoy a Thai massage, or explore Chiang Mai’s many temples. Board an overnight train to Bangkok (potential for alternative transport during monsoon season, depending on conditions).
Note: Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may use alternative transport.
Overnight train (beds) (12.00-13.00 hours)
Day 8 Bangkok
Arrive back into Bangkok at about 8am, where the trip finishes and everyone is free to depart from the train station (or airport, depending on the season).
Departure Day (Activities)