Northern Highlights

a 7 day bike tour in Thailand

Buddha images at Wat Baan Den near Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai, the ancient kingdom of King Mengrai dating back 700 years, is well known to tourists around the world but its surroundings are often missed by visitors to Thailand. We invite you to explore Chiang Mai and it surroundings in depth on our Northern Highlights bike tour. Discover ethnic hill tribes still living in thatched villages on the hill tops dressed in their colorful garments, explore ancient temple ruins and city fortifications, taste the delicious cuisine that Thailand is renowned for worldwide and meet the friendly Thais.

Your week long Thailand bicycle tour begins in Chiang Mai, where 700 year old stupas co-exist side by side with modern offices, where vegetable and fish markets open every morning at 5 am and where teeming night markets spring up on the sidewalks where business men in suits ply by day. We'll explore the city before heading north through vast farmlands and spectacular landscapes. Ride an elephant through the jungle, soak in a natural hot spring feed pool and discover daily lives of the Paduang and Karen tribes.

Your cycling holiday winds down in the northern reaches of the kingdom, pedaling along the Mae Kok River through lush forests and green rice paddies. Enjoy a variety of excellent accommodations, ranging for delightful city lodges to remote mountain resorts, and fine dinners at our favorite local restaurants featuring the best of the region's cuisine. Join us for an awesome bike tour through the best of northern Thailand.
Thailand has 79 different varieties of spicy chilies. Want to try them all?
Launching fire balloons to bless our Thailand bicycle tour

Meet in Chiang Mai, enjoy northern style Khantoke Dinner, launch fire balloons.
Your bike tour group will gather today in the vibrant northern city of Chiang Mai. After checking into our lodge, we will get everyone set up with their bikes, then head out for a traditional northern Khan Toke dinner with classical Thai and hill tribe dancing.
Meals: D
Cycling past Wat Chedi Liam

Cycle through the ruins of ancient Wiang Khum Kam, explore the wood working shops of Baan Tawai, dinner at our favorite riverside restaurant.
This morning we head south of town to explore the ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, site of the first city built by King Mengrai some 700 years ago. Unfortunately his choice of land was subject to frequent floods, so after a short while he moved the city to it's current locale. After lunch we will explore the wood working village of Baan Tawai and then return to Chiang Mai. Tonight we enjoy dinner at our favorite restaurant perched on the banks of the Mae Ping (Ping River) which flows through the heart of the city.
Cycling: 22 mi / 35 km, Terrain: flat, Meals: B L D
Elephant ride through the forest

Visit an elephant camp for demonstrations and a ride through the jungle, pedal the rural countryside to a remote lodge.
We head north this morning, following small roads along the Mae Ping through villages and past flower farms. Lunch time will find us in the town of Mae Rim, where we will break from cycling to visit an orchid grower, butterfly farm and the Mae Rim Elephant camp, where we enjoy a demonstration of the elephant's former work. In late afternoon, we remount our bikes for a beautiful ride through emerald rice paddies and past colorful temples en route to our overnight stop in the village of Baan Rai.
Cycling: 31 mi / 50 km, Terrain: flat, Meals: B L D
Golden Buddhas at Wat Baan Den

Discover the ornate colorful temple of Wat Baan Den, cycle through the lush Mae Ping Gorge, enjoy dinner while relaxing in a hot spring.
Our morning ride takes us first to Mae Malai, where we visit a traditional market featuring a broad selection of local vegetables, fruits and fish, along with a tasty array of prepared foods from pad se yu (noodles) to fried insects. We will also visit the magnificent Wat Baan Den, before heading north into the rolling, forested countryside. Our bike tour winds down the day at a delightful resort with a dramatic sunset view of Doi Chiang Dao, Thailand's second tallest mountain. We'll enjoy a post ride soak in a private hot spring pool at the base of Doi Chiang Dao.
Cycling: 57 mi / 92 km, Terrain: flat then small hills at end, Meals: B L D
View cycling across Chiang Dao Hills

Cycle the Chiang Dao Hills, passing golden Buddhas, then wander into the 1000 year old Temple Cave at Tab Tao.
After breakfast this morning, we will pedal north, visiting a local hill tribe market offering fresh produce from various Royal Projects, along with delicious teas and dried fruit. Then up to a beautiful giant Buddha, perched beneath the golden cliffs, before enjoy a thrilling descent onto the agricultural realm around Fang. Our last stop is Wat Tham Tub Tao, an ancient temple complex with 100s of Buddha images inside a giant cavern. Each year a gathering of 2500 monks takes place at this temple and has been happening for hundreds of years. We will walk into the giant caverns to visit a stupha deep in the heart of the mountain that allegedly dates back more than 1000 years. Our stop is a few miles further up the road in Chai Prakan.
Cycling: 39 mi / 63 km, Terrain: moderate climb, then flat, Meals: B L D
Learning hilltribe weaving

Cycle through remote rural valleys and farms, explore Burmese style temples, enjoy dinner on the banks of the Mae Kok River.
The last day of this Thailand bike tour pedals along rural roads through the flat plains of the far north. Along the way discover Burmese style temples with Buddha statues made from woven wicker. Enjoy numerous photos ops with emerald rice paddies, quiet villages and remote temples. Our last night's celebratory dinner will be at a great restaurant overlooking the Mae Kok River.
Cycling: 40 mi / 64 km, Terrain: flat, Meals: B L D
Morning mist over Mae Kok River

Return to Chiang Mai to prepare for your next adventure. Sawasdee
Our cycling holiday must come to an end today. We will shuttle back to the Chiang Mai Airport in our vans, one last chance to enjoy the scenery through which you pedaled for the last few days. Khap khun khap, sawasdee khap.
Meals: B

From Our Guests . . .

Oh gosh, where to start? Thailand is an amazing backdrop, with gorgeous weather, friendly folks, and yummy food. Of course, the cycling was the highlight, with a moderate pace that left me tired but not beaten down. I've always been a solo cyclist, so I was wary of the whole "guided trip" aspect. In fact I came to realize how wonderful it was to have the route pre-planned, the logistics covered, the sights and culture explained. And we saw so many wonderful, out-of-the-way spots that I never would have found on my own. At the same time, there were opportunities to go off on our own, whether that was racing through the rollers or exploring towns during our free time. - -
The Northern Highlights tour is a must for anyone wanting to really see Thailand. Having visited the country many times before I was astounded at how much I didn't know and how much I hadn't seen. The pace of a bicycle is certainly the best way to see, hear, smell and taste this wonderful country. Tom and Yai are exceptional guides with limitless local knowledge and stories. Yai is a passionate cook and her encouragement of us to taste everything we laid eyes on made me very glad we were cycling an average of 60km a day. The accommodation all along the route, which begins in Chiang Mai and ends up just by the border of Myanmar, is of an exceptionally high standard as is the support and care you receive in the sag wagon every step of the way. - -
7 days (5 days cycling)
Inn to Inn
Level: A

Boutique inns and resorts
3 and 4 star    See some of our hotels

Tour meets and ends in Chiang Mai, Thailand (CNX)
Paved roads, moderate traffic, mixed terrain

Total: 189 mi / 304 km
Daily Avg: 37 mi / 61 km

Scheduled Departures:
Tour Cost: $2275
Deposit: $200

Private Trips:
6 or more people: $2360
2 to 5 people: $2685
1 person: $3085

Single Supplement: $550
Bike Rental: free of charge
(All costs per person in US $. Seasonal supplements may apply on private trips.)

More Ideas

Here are some other great bucket list trips in the region.

Comfortable Boutique Accommodation

The Rim Resort
A delightful lanna styled boutique property overlooking the historic moat.

Baan Rai Lanna
Delightful, intimate resort with bungalows set on tiered rice paddies.

Aurora Resort
Unique collection of Thai Houses and deluxe rooms in lovely landscaped gardens.

Saimoonbury Resort
A charming resort hidden away in tiny Chaiprakan town.

Maekok River Village
Beautiful resort set on the banks of the Mae Kok River offering endless panoramic views.

The hotels listed here are our preferred properties, but may not be available for all dates. When alternates are used, they will be of the same quality and style.

Book the Northern Highlights tour in Thailand

Trip Starts Departure
Trip Ends
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14 Dec 2015
20 Dec 2015
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
4 Jan 2016
10 Jan 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
1 Feb 2016
7 Feb 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
5 Jun 2016
11 Jun 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
3 Jul 2016
9 Jul 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
2 Oct 2016
8 Oct 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
6 Nov 2016
12 Nov 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
4 Dec 2016
10 Dec 2016
$ 2050
$ 550
$ 200
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