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Itinerary of a 4-week road trip through the North of Thailand

We did a road trip in Northern Thailand for 4 weeks to visit beautiful Nan and did the Mae Hong Son loop, you can shorten the trip to focus on one part Nan or Mahe Hong Son.

We did this road trip in 4 weeks but if you do have not enough time you can do it in 20 days also.

Phu Langka Thailand

We chose to fly to Chiang Mai because it was the easiest way to return to Utapao airport. But you can also fly directly to Nan.

For many locations, we visit I included the google maps locations for you, so if you follow this itinerary you never can be lost. Just click the links and you always can find back the places I suggested. Some hotels have Booking.com links and some homestays have a Facebook link because many homestays in Thailand just use Facebook.

I suggest you also download Line a Thai messenger app like WhatsApp as many Thais use only Line and you can better communicate with them via Line


sunset in the mountains of Chiang Mai

The first night we stayed in the old center of Chiang Mai at Parasol Inn and walked around the center of the old city where you can find many beautiful temples. We slept in a basic room with no breakfast on a budget.

The next day we drove for breakfast to Nekoemon cafe which is about a 10-minute drive. It was a weekday and very quiet. We went here to take pictures in the Japanese garden which is very photogenic. The breakfast was also very good at a reasonable price.


Nekoemon Cafe Chiangmai

From Chiang Mai to Nan is about a 5 hours drive, overnight we stayed at Ban Na Kang Tong which is a very beautiful resort with Swedish-style cottages around a rice field. Baan Na Kang Tong in Thai means “cottages in the middle of the field”- the hotel is tucked in between two hills and surrounded by forests, where visitors can see the early morning mists rolling through.


Ban Na Kang Tong

The price included a very good breakfast and afternoon tea at the cafe. It just opened a glamping spot where you can enjoy bbq food in the evening by the campfire. We really loved this place they take care very well. You can also easily visit the old city of Nan which is 10 min by car and in the evening there is a night market and you can visit some beautiful temples.


Baan Na Kan Tong Nan Thailand

After 2 nights we continue our trip to Sappan Valley we stopped at ·Ban Tai Lue Coffee which is considered a popular café that draws tourists to stop by when visiting Pua District. The coffee shop has a unique feature where is located in the middle of a rice field and offers pleasant scenery. There’s also the bamboo bridge you can walk further to see more views. another top-hit photo spot is the long walkway decorated with colorful woven fabrics which of course, you can get a good image from that point.


road nr 3 Nan

We continue our trip over Road no.3 Bo Kluea Road is another point that Thai tourists like to take a picture of. With the zigzag road up to the mountain right before your eyes, I promise it looks stunning. And if you decide to stop and snap a photo shot, please be careful with the car. Because cars on this road tend to drive fast since it’s a way up and down the hill, take good care of yourself.


Road no.3 on the Loi Fah Santisuk – Bo Kluea Road

To make you a big picture of the Sapan Village, I describe the place as a small village surrounded by mountains. You can take a leisurely walk while enjoying the natural landscape of mountains, rice paddies and experience the way of village life. The best time to visit Baan Sapan is the rainy season which is during the green rice fields in August – October. For those who want to see the fog scenery, it’d be better if you plan a visit in Winter. But I think the green paddy fields are more aesthetic.


Sapan Thailand

A must-see viewpoint of Baan Sapan, I’d recommend you to go up to ‘Wat Sapan’ (Sapan Temple) which is another spot you can take a walk and see a panoramic view of Sapan Village and its beautiful rice fields. In the village Bo Kluea, there is an ancient salt well to visit which is 10 minutes from Sapan. Google maps to the cafe where the viewpoint is


In the village Bo Kluea, there is an ancient salt well to visit

After Sapan, we drive back to Nan and stay overnight at Sriniman which is another great place surrounded by rice fields. The price included afternoon tea in the room, breakfast, dinner watching a movie during sunset. If you have time enough I would suggest you do lunch at Nan Native by Chef first which is a very good restaurant looking out over the mountains and it's near Sriniman


Sriniman Nan Thailand

The next morning we visited a beautiful cafe after checking out Natatha Farm Stay which is beautifully settled in the middle of a rice field after which we continue to drive to Phu Langka


Natatha Farm Stay cafe

We stayed at a basic homestay to watch the sunrise over Phu Langka at Magic mountain cafe the next morning, which is a popular spot by Thai tourists so be sure you book your homestay in advance. Phu Langka is, hands down, one of my favorite places in Phayao. I was completely blown away by just how dreamy and beautiful the landscape around Phu Langka is especially during the sunrise.

More about our trip to Nan


Phu Langka sunrise at Magic Mountain cafe

We continued our trip to Chiang Rai where we stayed at Pak Ping Ing Jay near the white temple of Chiangrai in a basic room by a great family and it's within walking distance to the white temple. I suggest you visit the white and blue temple in the early morning when it just opened at 8 and in the evening watching the sunset at the Wat Huay Pla Kung

More about Chiang Rai can find here


White temple Chiang Rai

Another great Glamping spot around Chiang Mai is La Na Wild where you can sleep in Tents with a jacuzzi in the mountains and in the evening watch the sunset during dinner. The road to La Na Wild is a little bit steep and small but worth visiting. The next morning we did it very slow and wandering around the village of Mae Kampong Pang Klang which has many beautiful cafes and restaurants.


Mae Kampong Pang Klang

Ban Mae Kampong is located in a lush, jungle-covered valley, about 50 km east of Chiang Mai. The village is a popular holiday destination for Thai tourists because of its beautiful nature and cool climate. The valley boasts numerous interesting places


La Na Wild

From La Na Wild we go to another great spot which I want to visit a long time ago but never find the time to do. Chai Lai Orchid is a great place outside of the National park Doi Inthanon. We stayed here 2 nights, one night in the mountain and one night by the river, which is, in my opinion, a greater place because the bamboo huts are beautiful there and just new. At Chai Lai Orchid you can interact with elephants wich walk around the resort freely and have fun interacting with people. Be sure to ask for a morning call from the elephants and visit the waterfall


Chai Lai Orchid

The Chai Lai Orchid is sure to provide many unforgettable memories. Whether you’re a solo traveler or on a Thai getaway with your significant other, this place is perfect for any visitor wanting an authentic once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Guests are welcome to stay the night on-site in a bungalow or visit for a day-trip excursion. (I suggest you do both!). Visitors who choose to stay the night can rent a bungalow for as little as $40 per night – perfect for anyone on a budget who wants to experience living with elephants.


The Chai Lai Orchid

From Chai Lai Orchid we continue our road trip to Doi Inthanon and visit two waterfalls on the way to our next stop. Mae Ya Waterfall and Wachirathan Waterfall are just 5 minutes from the parking area and easy to reach.


Mae Ya Waterfall

From the Wachirathan waterfall, it's not far anymore to the Kowit Maechaem Farmstay. Be sure you don't go off-road because the road Google maps will send you is dangerous just continue to Ban Pha Nang School and go from there to the Farmstay. The farm stay price included breakfast and dinner and was very good. The place is surrounded by beautiful rice fields which will be beautiful green around March and October


Kowit Maechaem Farmstay

We stayed 3 nights at Kowit Farmstay to just relax and enjoy the landscape and finished some work from previous trips. It's a great place and very peaceful. If you don't have the time you can continue your trip to Mahe Hong Son.


Kowit Farmstay

The road to Mae Hong son is one of the most beautiful sceneries in Thailand, with huge mountain backdrops, curved roads, and rice paddies. We stayed 2 nights at Lee Wine Ruk Thai a very popular Japanese-looking resort between a tea plantation which is popular by Thai tourists to see the foggy landscape during sunrise.


Lee Wine Ruk Thai

The resort is very peacefully settled between a tea plantation overlooking the valley with the lake.

Most people stay just one night to see the village and the sunrise here.

Lee Wine Rak Thai Resort

From Lee Wine Rak Tai we continued our road trip to Ban Cha Bo Hill Noodle which is beside it has the best noodles in Northern Thailand is also a great spot to watch the sunrise. Overnight we stayed opposite the noodle shop in a bamboo hut Jabo Campground on the hill which included dinner.


Ban Cha Bo Hill

After sunrise, we did breakfast at one of the many cafes and drive to Pai, which is a popular village for backpackers. We stayed there 3 nights at Pai Village Boutique Resort which is a great place just a few steps from the walking street. The best time to visit Pai is during summer when the rice paddies are green.


Pai Village Boutique Resort

For years, travelers have told me how much they loved Pai. “It’s aaa-mazing! It’s so much fun. There’s healthy food, lots of booze, waterfalls, and mountains to hike. You’ll never want to leave,” they would explain as if talking about the Garden of Eden.

We visited it during winter and feel there are much better places to stay at that time of the year than Pai. I feel its a much-overpriced area


A great place to watch the sunset in Pai is the Pai canyon which is a 5-minute walk from the parking space.

Pai Canyon

From Pai, we end our trip at the beautiful North Star Valley Bubble hotel which is a great place in the mountains of Chiang Mai. The check-in is at 1500 as the bubble is too hot during day time. The breakfast was very special and the best we had during this trip.


North Star Valley Bubble

It's a great place to just relax taking a bath and watch the sun setting in the mountains


North Star Valley Bubble


If you visit Chiang Mai during January a bonus stop is the blooming Sakura Cherry Blossom

You can find some places in Doi Inthanon national park too, the most beautiful place is Khun Changkhian Highland Agricultural Research and Training Station

For just a few days each year, generally between early January – the end of January cherry trees located in the gardens of Khun Chang Khian Highland Agriculture Research Center, as well as the village of Khun Chan Khian are in full bloom and are photographers and selfie paradise.


Khun Changkhian Highland Agricultural Research and Training Station

Travel ItInerary

Driving distance between places is around 2 and 5 hours over scenic mountain roads, be careful and use low gear when going down in the mountains to avoid your breaks burning,

If you have more time you can spend an extra night by the Elephants at Chai Lai, Orchid, Kowit Maechaem Farmstay, the Lee Wine Rak Thai Resort, in Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, etc