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Biking Mae Hong Son & the Mountain Jungles of Northern Thailand

While Thailand is most famous for its white sand beaches and turquoise water, the north is equally beautiful, with lush rolling valleys and jungle-covered mountains. This nine-day itinerary will take you through Chiang Mai, Mae Chaem, Mae Sariang, Khun Yuam, Mae Hong Son and Pai for a full tour of Thailand’s northern beauty. Get ready for long beautiful days spent biking through picturesque lush nature, followed by evenings relaxing in friendly, laidback mountain towns. 

Highlights   Pricing
  • Chat with the local hill tribes living outside of Pai Soak in natural, healthy hot springs after a full-day spent riding
  • Bike to the top of Thailand’s highest Peak - Doi Inthanon
  • Enjoy delicious, fresh, local dishes unique to the north of Thailand
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Day by Day Itinerary

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Day 1

Arrive in Chiang Mai and check into the Four Seasons or Anantara Chiang Mai. Touring the largest city in Northern Thailand by bike is ideal! The city is easily navigable and biking is very popular. Hit up the funky coffee shops in town. Keep your eyes open to spot pieces of the old city gate - the main gate separates the old town from the modern section. We recommend biking 18 - 31 miles on this day. This is a great warm-up for the full biking trip ahead!

Day 2
Chiang Mai - Mae Chaem

The day begins with a challenge - you’ll bike to the top of Doi Inthanon. This is Thailand’s highest peak, towering at 8,565 feet. The last five miles are the toughest as you near the top. Be careful as you bike back towards the base of the mountain - it’s just as steep going downhill! You will bike 75 miles in total for the day. Spend the night at a cozy guesthouse in Mae Chaem.

Day 3
Mae Chaem - Mae Sariang

It’s a beautiful bike ride today as you pass lush orchards, dense forests, and blossoming flowers all set against a picturesque mountain backdrop. Look for local tribes living in the hills. The Karen tribe lives near the small town of Mae Sariang - your final destination. This tribe is known for their unique neck stretching practices. You will bike 78 miles today.

Day 4
Mae Sariang - Khun Yuam

It’s an easier day of riding today with not as many steep rides and just a 56 mile distance to cover. There will still be a fair amount of hills to climb as you are now in the heart of hill tribe country. You’re now near the border of Myanmar and will notice the shift in culture and influence. Your final destination is the small village of Khun Yuam, where you’ll spend the night.

Day 5
Khun Yuam - Mae Hong Son

This is the easiest day of cycling throughout the whole trip! It’s a beautiful, mainly downhill ride to Mae Hong Son. The total distance for the day is 40 miles. You’ll finish early that afternoon. This gives you plenty of time to enjoy the refreshing pool at Golden Pai & Suite Resort. Going for a swim is the perfect way to stretch out sore legs!

Day 6
Mae Hong Son

Enjoy a day of peace and quiet in Mae Hong Son. This little town is tucked into the mountains. The area is populated by the Shans originating from Myanmar. The hilltribes are friendly and welcoming to foreigners. Many sell unique handicrafts within the villages. The surrounding tribes include the Karen, Hmong, Lahu, Lisu and Lua. Take a day to yourself and explore the surrounding rich culture. Rest up for a tough day of biking ahead at your hotel tonight.

Day 7
Mae Hong Son - Pai

After a day of relaxing it’s time to get back to biking with a challenging ride. The day is full of tough, long ascents. Don’t let the beginning fool you, as the journey starts with 10 miles of a gradual climb before the true steep ascent begins. You will cover 75 miles of ground today. Reach picturesque Pai - a charming, bohemian town nestled in the mountains. Check in to a charming hotel and relax for the evening.

Day 8
Pai - Chiang Mai

It’s your final day of biking as you begin with a 12-mile climb out of the vibrant green Pai Valley. Gaze over the stunning view of the valley from an altitude of near 5,000 feet. It’s the perfect combination of uphills, downhills and flat terrain on your last ride. Finish in Chiang Mai where we will celebrate completing a tough, fun riding trip. Spend your last night at a luxury Chiang Mai hotel - we recommend either 137 Pillars House, or The Chedi.

Day 9
Chiang Mai - Return Flight

After an exciting, active biking holiday, it’s time to return home. Now that you’ve biked through much of the Northern Thai mountains, you can truly appreciate Thailand’s natural beauty. Feel accomplished from completing such an athletic feat! Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight home.


Suggested Accommodations

Riverhouse Hotel

Riverhouse Hotel

Nestled on the banks of the gorgeous Nam Yam River, the Riverhouse Hotel is a home away from home while visiting Northern Thailand. Located in the center of Mae Hong Son province, the Riverhouse Hotel offers breathtaking scenery of lush green hills right from the balcony. This quaint hotel is built from tropical teakwood and offers 12 accommodating rooms, each equipped with modern amenities to make one’s stay a relaxing one. During the day, guests can spoil themselves with a traditional Thai massage on-site, indulge in savory Thai cuisine at the hotel restaurant or relax on the terrace and take in the stunning views of roaring rivers and rustic farmland. This hotel is also ideally-located to explore the gems of Mae Hong Son. The wild sunflower garden in Doi Mae Ho is opposite the hotel, the bustling local market is just up the street on Mae Sariang Road and the breathtaking Kaew Komol Cave and the Myanmar border is just an hour away.

Ban Farang Guesthouse

Ban Farang Guesthouse

Located in the lush jungles of Northern Thailand, the Ban Farang Guesthouse is the perfect option for travelers who want to experience untouched wilderness and beautiful views of the serene countryside. Nestled in the rustic region of Khun Yuam, Ban Farang Guesthouse offers accommodating bungalows set on a scenic wooded hillside. Elegant VIP rooms provide luxury and comfort and include king-size beds, spacious rooms, a balcony overlooking a gorgeous garden and more. At the guesthouse restaurant, visitors can indulge in fresh food purchased from local farmers market. Here, guests can enjoy delicious Thai cuisine or indulge in a mouthwatering hamburger if feeling homesick. After a long day of hiking, guests can spoil themselves with a health and wellness day at the massage studio on-site. Here, visitors can enjoy a soothing Thai massage from head to toe.

Golden Pai & Suite Resort

Golden Pai & Suite Resort

Situated on the banks of the beautiful Pai River, the Golden Pai & Suite Resort is the perfect getaway for travellers who want peace and relaxation. This four-star resort offers 70 picturesque bungalows in a serene garden setting. Each spacious room is equipped with modern amenities including mini-bar, cable TV, high speed Internet and more to ensure a comfortable stay. The resort offers an outdoor swimming pool, jacuzzi, grand meeting facilities and a riverside restaurant that serves delicious Thai cuisine. For guests interested in a spa day, the resort provides soothing mud-mask treatments, which are considered to have healing effects. Exciting recreational activities can also be booked at the hotel such as elephant and donkey trekking, bamboo rafting and hiking adventures through local misty mountains and scenic rivers.

Pai Hotspring Spa Resort

Pai Hotspring Spa Resort

Bask in tranquil hot springs and let all stress melt away at the elegant Pai Hotspring Spa Resort. Experience Thai hospitality at its best at this oriental chalet-styled resort, nestled in the quaint town of Pai. Situated on the banks of the scenic Pai River, the resort offers stunning views of pristine streams and endless rolling hills. Providing 68 private villas, each spacious room is equipped with modern amenities including satellite TV, high-speed Internet, mini-bar and more. Guests can spoil themselves by booking one of the stunning 29 Chalet rooms, which include a private balcony and personal hot spring tub. At the resort, guests can enjoy therapeutic hot springs where detoxifying mineral waters rejuvenate the mind and body. Other services offered include spa and health treatments where local herbs and volcanic mud are used to refresh face and skin. Finally, guests may take this opportunity to indulge in an authentic Thai massage and experience the ultimate relaxation. 

Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, Four Seasons Chiang Mai

Anantara Chiang Mai Resort

Formerly The Chedi,Anantara Chiang Mai Resort is a riverside hotel that offers private courtyards and balconies in each of its 84 rooms and suites. The on-site restaurant includes a selection of Thai, Indian and international cuisines in addition to the two bars on the main and second level. The resort facilities include a large swimming pool, fitness centers, a shopping boutique and a spa. Anantara is approximately 15 minutes from Chiang Mai airport.


Four Seasons Chiang Mai

The Four Seasons Chiang Mai blends with its natural surroundings seamlessly, with trees growing between and around the resort, overlooking terraced rice fields and the mountains of the Mae Rim Valley. The resort has 64 boutique pavilions, each with a private veranda, as well as 16 private luxury residences. The Sala Mae Rim serves Thai cuisine and offers sweeping views of the valley below, and the Terraces have international dishes with a view of the Doi Suthep mountain range. The hotel has a health club with state of the art equipment, including a sauna, herbal steam room, whirlpool, cold plunge pool, 20-meter infinity edge swimming pool, a business center and wi-fi access. There are also mountain bikes available for use, along with maps of trails through the surrounding forest. The Spa at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai has seven treatment suites with rain shower massage tables and private herbal steam rooms. Professional spa therapists can help you choose the best treatment package for your needs. The hotel is 25 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport.

Meet An Asia Expert
From Travelogues
Our co-founder Jay Tindall has lived in Thailand for many years. He loves relaxing on the amazing beaches and attending rural festivals in the wild north of the country.
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