Elephants, Golden Temples, and Jungle Trek

About the Experience

You have been daydreaming about Thailand. About climbing the steps of its temples, strolling through exotic gardens, and savouring a mouthful of spicy, sumptuous food.

You’ve longed to stand among these misty mountains, and find out for yourself where this place holds its magic. And, here you are. There is so much wonder to take in, you feel a buzzing in your bones the moment you begin your evening boat tour upon the meandering River Ping.

This trip is a tapestry of moments that are as astonishing and unique as the sarong you will learn to weave with a woman from the Karen Hill Tribe. Every moment is one to savour. Bouncing along the rapids of the Pai Thai river, luxuriating in a traditional Thai massage, purchasing fresh lemongrass from a bustling local market, and sinking into meditation in the tranquil beauty of the Buddhist Forest Temple.

Each day you will awaken filled with anticipation – what new experience awaits you in this wondrous place? Will it be watching the wild gibbons dance through the trees? Will it be staring into the wet, black eyes of a thundering elephant as you follow it along a jungle trek?

On your last day, you will partake in the legendary Loi Krathong Festival, witnessing locals make delicate, tiny boats of banana leaves and small candles, setting them adrift to pay respects to the spirits of the river. Standing amidst the beauty of these people, with the river glittering with thousands of dots of light, it is as if the stars have fallen around you, and are now twinkling at your toes. Truly, this trip does feel like a tiny slice of heaven come to earth.

Click here to see the full itinerary!
Elephants, Golden Temples, and Jungle Trek

About the Experience

You have been daydreaming about Thailand. About climbing the steps of its temples, strolling through exotic gardens, and savouring a mouthful of spicy, sumptuous food.

You’ve longed to stand among these misty mountains, and find out for yourself where this place holds its magic. And, here you are. There is so much wonder to take in, you feel a buzzing in your bones the moment you begin your evening boat tour upon the meandering River Ping.

This trip is a tapestry of moments that are as astonishing and unique as the sarong you will learn to weave with a woman from the Karen Hill Tribe. Every moment is one to savour. Bouncing along the rapids of the Pai Thai river, luxuriating in a traditional Thai massage, purchasing fresh lemongrass from a bustling local market, and sinking into meditation in the tranquil beauty of the Buddhist Forest Temple.

Each day you will awaken filled with anticipation – what new experience awaits you in this wondrous place? Will it be watching the wild gibbons dance through the trees? Will it be staring into the wet, black eyes of a thundering elephant as you follow it along a jungle trek?

On your last day, you will partake in the legendary Loi Krathong Festival, witnessing locals make delicate, tiny boats of banana leaves and small candles, setting them adrift to pay respects to the spirits of the river. Standing amidst the beauty of these people, with the river glittering with thousands of dots of light, it is as if the stars have fallen around you, and are now twinkling at your toes. Truly, this trip does feel like a tiny slice of heaven come to earth.

Day 1 - nov thailand

Day One: Hello Chiang Mai

Your adventure begins in Chiang Mai, a city that encapsulates all that is unique and breathtaking about Thailand. Its enduring Lanna characteristics are evident in the quaint, moated old city where so many temples are housed. The surrounding mountains with their legendary, mystical attributes loom large over the city. You will be picked up at the Chiang Mai airport and bring you to a lovely eco-lodge accommodation near the river, where you can relax in the peaceful gardens or by the pool after your long flight.

Trip guides will give a group introduction at 5:00 p.m. and brief you on your travel itinerary. Your Wild Women guides are Cat, a Belgian woman who has spent 12 years guiding outdoor adventures in Northern Thailand and Veronique ‘Nici,’ who studied photography in Belgium and is inspired by Asian culture, nature, and simple lifestyles. You will this evening dining and wining on a boat cruise on the enchanting River Ping. Drifting past old temples and houses that lie on the river banks before heading home for a good night’s sleep will surely be an idyllic way to begin your adventure!

day 2 - nov thailand

Day Two: Forest Temple Beginnings

After breakfast, your adventure gets wild and spirited with a hike to visit a Buddhist Forest Temple on Doi Suthep Mountain with stunning views over the city. The temple is surrounded by rivers, waterfalls and gorgeous greenery, with plumeria flowers and orchids weaving around statues of the Buddha. It is a gem that rarely sees a tourist, so it will likely be just you and the orange robed monks who stroll the grounds meditatively.

After lunch at a Thai fusion restaurant, there is time for serenity. You will spend an entire afternoon getting refreshed and rejuvenated at a luxury traditional spa experience, indulging in a 2.5 hour Fah Lanna Healing treatment including an Aromatic Herbal Steam, Traditional Thai Massage and Aromatherapy Oil Massage. After a deeply restorative day, a relaxing evening with Thai buffet dinner will follow.

Day 3 - nov thailand

Day Three: Lush Mountainside Lodging

After breakfast, you leave the city and visit a local community which focuses on earth building & herbal remedies. From lunch in an earthen house, you will cycle through vivid green rice fields at a comfortable pace, visiting local artisans along the way. You’ll have time to soak in the local hot springs at Pong Din Village, where the next chapter of your adventure is based. At the Sunflower Homestay, Noi, your host, will have you feeling right at home in her lovely lodge perched on lush mountainside. The dining hall is half open-air with a stunning view over the picturesque green hills and valleys. After a delicious home cooked dinner by Noi, a renowned Thai chef, you will enjoy an evening circle with the group.

day 4 - nov thailand

Day Four: Massage & Meditate

To start your day feeling bright and energized, join an introductory Qigong practice in the garden. After breakfast you will explore the village & visit a local school. In the afternoon, enjoy Thai herbal massages and walk or relax in the lodge’s beautiful garden. You will finish the day with a meditation overlooking the gardens to prep for a good night’s sleep.

day 5 - nov thailand

Day Five: Mountain Road to Pai 

After breakfast and one last wander in the gardens you will leave the Sunflower Lodge and head to the laid back artsy village of Pai for a 3.5 hour scenic drive through mountains with spectacular views of the most incredible national parks of Northern Thailand. Your evening will be free to relax at the resort or explore the evening village market.

Day 6

Day Six & Seven: Rafting Pai River

The Pai River offers one of the best rafting expedition experiences in Asia holding a fine balance between wilderness, safety, and challenge. Starting from Pai, your group will paddle 60 kms over two days, with 4-5 hours of rafting each day, including some fun rapids, rocky landscapes, and remote jungle. You will discover hot springs, swim in gorges, shower under waterfalls, glimpsing colourful birds and other wild animals in their natural habitat.

Given the season, the rapids will be easy to navigate and fun. You will travel in sturdy inflatable rubber boats controlled by English-speaking captains trained on an international standard level.

Rafting will lead you to Mae Hong Son, the romantic Shan city about 110km from Pai, where you will enjoy a stay at the warm and comfortable Fern Nature Resort.

Day Eight: Myanmar Temple Visit

Take this morning slow with time to relax by the pool or explore the walking trails. In the afternoon you will visit the Myanmar temples of Mae Hong Son and explore the colourful local market before overnighting at the Fern Resort.

Day 8 hiking with the elephants

Day Nine: Elephant Time

You embark after breakfast on a 2-hour scenic drive, passing several national parks on your way to Huay Pakkoot Homestay, in Mae Chaem district. A traditional elephant-keeping community, this Karen Hill Tribe village will be your base for the night. You will spend time in a simple Hill Tribe hut, and discover local customs and traditions of this village. For accommodation, you will be sleeping on raised platforms in a village hut. Toilet and washing facilities are very basic, so be prepared to rough it for the night. This will be an authentic experience to introduce you to the traditional lifestyles of Thailand. In the evening, local guides will regale you with stories around the campfire of their life in the jungle.

On this day you will also set off on a jungle trek with the elephants. You will accompany the elephants in their daily routine, as they follow jungle trails through large stands of bamboo. We will spend the entire afternoon getting to know the elephants and their natural behaviour. Our trekking guides know the jungle like the back of their hands and will spoil you with their delicious jungle-made meals.

10458726_963505817000532_7630559844453532960_n

Day Ten: Doi Inthanon

After breakfast and a last wander around the village, you will travel back to Chiang Mai, visiting a waterfall in Doi Inthanon National Park along the way. In the afternoon you’ll check into your eco-lodge and enjoy some quiet time by the pool and a peaceful sleep.

day 10 - nov thailand

Day Eleven: Culinary Adventure

After breakfast it’s off to your next adventure – a culinary tour of Thailand! Travel to an organic farm on the outskirts of the city to explore world-renowned Thai cuisine. Thai cuisine expresses fundamental aspects of Thai culture: it is generous and warm, outgoing and nuanced, refreshing and relaxed. Each Thai dish relies on fresh and local ingredients – from lemongrass and searing chilies to plump seafood and crispy fried chicken. With a tropical abundance, a varied national menu is built around the four fundamental flavours: spicy, sweet, salty, and sour. A Thai chef will tour you around the local marketplace to learn about Thai spices, produce and delicacies. Then you will be guided through an organic garden. Once you have learned the basics of Thai cuisine you can experiment and add your own touch. Hard work will be rewarded when you taste the mouth-watering exotic dishes.

The fun does not end when the sun goes down, as you return to Chiang Mai to explore the infamous night street market. The bazaar is a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand. You will have the evening free for shopping, a patio dinner, wandering around the illuminated golden temples, and perhaps stop for one last massage!

10261975_920671791283935_4799498146138346035_n

Day Twelve: Until Next Time

After breakfast you’ll have a closing circle to complete your adventure and will be driven back to the airport at any time.

Click here to see upcoming trip dates to book your spot!