Thailand Family Adventure

Trip Length 11 Days
Group Size 4–16
Activity level
Starting from
$3,299 for REI Members
$3,609 for non-members
Departures Jun 2021-Dec 2021

Spend 11 days hiking, biking, kayaking and exploring from bustling Bangkok to the northern adventure hub of Chiang Mai.

Thailand’s treasures deliver fun for the whole family: a healthy dose of adventure with plenty of time to relax. Ancient ruins, cascading waterfalls, thriving night markets and verdant jungles provide a stunning backdrop for our exhilarating journey. Our excursion is the perfect way to see this beautiful country full of vibrant culture from a variety of perspectives.

Early on, enjoy a bike ride through the spectacular Kanchanaburi countryside. Kayak down the River Kwai, pedal among Sukhotthai's ancient temples and spend two nights in the jungle at a luxury tented camp. Take a break from adventuring to explore the cultural side of the coin: enjoy a Thai cooking class, bathe and feed Asian elephants, and spend two nights at a local Hmong lodge. We depart with picturesque Thailand still on our minds and rooted in our hearts.

REI Flash 18 Pack

Kids get an REI day pack—Kids traveling on our Family Adventures will receive an REI day pack for their adventure! Kids age 8–17 will receive the REI Flash 18 Pack (while quantities last, colors may vary). Learn more about REI Family Adventures.

Not traveling with kids under 18? Check out our Thailand Multisport trip or inquire about a private departure of this itinerary.

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Trip Highlights

  • Hike, bike, kayak, and more on a journey from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
  • Learn Thai culture through meaningful interactions with villagers and farmers
  • Visit a nurturing elephant sanctuary
  • Hone your cooking skills with a private Thai cooking class
  • Enjoy an itinerary specially designed for families
  • Continue on a four-day extension kayaking in southern Thailand

Activities

This trip is rated Easy Active [2]. It contains a variety of activities. Participants should be prepared to walk or hike 2–3 hours on multiple days (on easy but sometimes uneven terrain); biking up to 2 hours on flat roads (both paved and dirt surfaces); kayaking for 2 hours; All activities are suitable for novices.

  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Kayaking

What's Included

All accommodations as noted in itinerary; meals as noted in the daily itinerary; private bilingual guides; private ground transport within Thailand; 27-speed touring bikes and bike helmets; kayaking equipment and life vests; entrance fees to various parks and temples; airport transfers on Day 1 and Day 11 only.

Accommodations

Hotel/Resort/Lodge, 10 nights.

Your Adventure Itinerary

Day 1

Welcome to Bangkok. Enjoy a luxury tent camp on the River Kwai.

Our trip begins today in Bangkok, Thailand. Meet your guides at the Bangkok international airport, Suvarnabhumi, in late morning for a group transfer to Kanchanaburi. We'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant situated near the famous bridge on the River Kwai. We will have the option to visit the JEATH World War II museum or take a short walk across the famous bridge. Depending on our time of arrival in Kanchanaburi we may have the opportunity to visit a unique country market along the railway tracks. We overnight in Kanchanaburi this evening in our luxury tent camp on the River Kwai. All the tents are air conditioned and have their own bathrooms. Before dinner we enjoy a dip in the refreshing natural spring pools! Lunch and dinner included.

Vehicle transfer time: 3+ hours

Note: Approximate total vehicle transfer times are listed for each day but these drives are broken up with many stops, activities, lunches, bathroom breaks and time to stretch our legs.

Day 2

Enjoy river kayaking and bike through lush Thai countryside.

Wake to the sounds of nature surrounding our riverside camp. After breakfast, we head out for a fun and easy six-mile bike ride through the spectacular Kanchanaburi countryside. Stops are made en route to enjoy friendly chats with the local villagers as they go about their daily tasks. After a snack and a bit of rest, it's time to switch gears and embark on a two-hour kayaking excursion on the River Kwai. Following the lead of our experienced instructor, we dip our paddles into this scenic waterway and glide past villages and lush riverside vegetation. We break for lunch, enjoying the tasty cooking of a local Thai restaurant before heading out to the Erawan Waterfall, a beautiful seven-tiered waterfall in Erawan National Park. Bring your swimsuit and enjoy a swim in the fall's natural pools! We return to our accommodations in Kanchanaburi for a delicious Thai dinner at an open-air restaurant with great views of the nearby river. All meals included.

Kayaking: 2 hours; Biking: 1–1.5 hours (paved and dirt roads)

Day 3

Transfer to the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai.

Departing from Kanchanaburi this morning, we drive further north into central Thailand to our next adventure destination. Sukhothai, meaning "dawn of happiness", is a shining example of the golden age of Thai history and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Watch as the countryside rolls along as we drive through the expansive Chao Phraya river valley. Arrive in the late afternoon to our hotel and prepare for dinner and a bit of relaxation. Overnight in Sukhothai. All meals included.

Van transfer: 8 hours including stops

Day 4

Cycle to explore UNESCO World Heritage temples and palaces.

After a delicious breakfast we jump on our bikes to explore the Sukhothai Historical Park, formerly a walled city surrounded by a moat, which contains almost 200 chedi ruins in remarkable condition. Chedis are mound-like structures containing Buddhist relics and are important places of worship. After lunch we return to the hotel where kids can swim in the pool while parents enjoy a refreshing beverage at the poolside open-air bar or enjoy a foot massage. Dinner tonight is on our own to stay in at the resort or explore a local restaurant in town. Breakfast included.

Biking: 2 hours (easy terrain)

Day 5

Explore Sri Satchanalia and travel to Chiang Mai.​

Today we continue north to Sri Satchanalai Historical Park on the banks of the Yom River. Walk through the ancient town, exploring the stunning ruins and visiting the preserved Celadon Kiln ceramic site at Ban Ko Noi. In the afternoon, we complete the drive to the northern capital, Chiang Mai. This rest of the day and evening is free to explore Chiang Mai on your own or simply relax at our luxury resort set on the banks of the Mae Ping River. Breakfast and lunch included.

Walking/Sightseeing: 2–3 hours (easy terrain); Van transfer: 5 hours

Day 6

Visit with monks; explore or relax on your own.

Put on your hiking shoes to hike a section of the "monk" trail. The trail, traditionally used by monks, links Wat Pha Lat and Wat Phra Doi Suthep. Our destination is Wat Pha Lat, a hidden gem perfectly nestled in the forest and ideal for exploring. Next, we transfer to Wat Suan Dok where we visit with one of the monks to talk about their life and Buddhism, Thailand's main spiritual belief. Afterward, we return to the hotel with the remainder of the day to spend as you choose. Your guide will have suggestions for those who want to get out or you can simply relax poolside. Breakfast included.

Hiking: 1–2 hours (easy terrain); Van transfer: 2 hours

Day 7

Cycle the charming backroads of Thailand. Overnight at a hill tribe lodge.

It’s time to leave the high energy of Chiang Mai behind for the quiet beauty of the Mae Rim district. We begin our countryside bike ride at the family home of our guide. The quiet roads and inviting trails meander through green rice paddy fields, mango and lychee orchards, and small villages. Along the way, there will be spontaneous opportunities to interact and learn firsthand about the daily lives of the Thai people. Whether it’s a visit to a skilled potter, an umbrella maker or a seasoned rice farmer, we’ll roll up our sleeves and join in. Villagers and farmers welcome the opportunity to showcase their culture and teach visitors a new skill. We overnight at Hmong Hilltribe Lodge surrounded by verdant jungle and rice terraces. All meals included.

Cycling: 3–4 hours (easy terrain); Van transfer: 1.5 hours

Day 8

Hike through lush jungle and visit hill tribe villages.

This morning we lace up our hiking shoes for our visit to the hill tribe villages of the Palaung, Akha and Lisu people. A local guide escorts us through the villages where each tribe retains a different culture and way of life. It’s a unique opportunity to visit their homes and farmland. On our way to Mae Khi village, a Hmong settlement, we hike through the leafy jungle. At Mae Khi, we witness how the Hmong Hill Tribe people still live a relatively traditional lifestyle. The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of Vietnam, Laos, Thailand and Burma. Their clothing is richly decorated with magnificent embroidery, silver jewelry, and imbued with animistic symbolism. We return to our lodge for the evening. All meals included.

Walking: 2–3 hours through villages (easy with some uneven terrain); Van transfer: 2.5 hours

Day 9

Observe and interact with Asian elephants; take a Thai cooking class.

Today we learn about Asian elephants firsthand. It is an unforgettable day and a unique experience for children and adults alike. We drive to the Elephant Rescue Park in the scenic Mae Taeng valley outside of Chiang Mai. Established in 2015, Elephant Rescue Park provides a sanctuary and rescue center for Asian pachyderms. Throughout the day, we learn about the problems elephants face in Southeast Asia as well as the changes advocated by the park regarding their care, treatment, and training. We interact with the elephants by feeding, bathing and walking the grounds with them. This afternoon we return to Chiang Mai where we take a Thai cooking class and learn the secrets of Thailand's internationally revered cuisine. Finally, we enjoy our freshly prepared family feast. All meals included.

Van transfer: 2–2.5 hours

Day 10

Hike to a Karen hill tribe village and visit Watchirathan waterfall.

We depart early, 6 am, to participate in the daily alms—a uniquely enlightening experience for many. At Ton Payom Market we buy dishes and join the locals during the daily alms-giving ceremony with the monks. Next, we head to Doi Inthanon National Park which is known for its beautiful wildflowers, great bird watching, and majestic waterfalls. Our hike starts at a Karen hill tribe village where many of the villagers work at the coffee plantation project. We sample their coffee while chatting with our Karen hosts. From here our hike takes us through forests, over fields, and past several waterfalls. On the way back to Chiang Mai, we visit Watchirathan waterfall, one of the most spectacular falls in Northern Thailand. Tonight we are treated to a lovely farewell dinner. All meals included.

Trekking: 2 hours (easy terrain); Van transfer: 2 hours

Day 11

Depart for home

Our journey ends this morning. There will be one group transfer to the airport. Breakfast included.

Gear List

The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. This gear list has been created to help you in choosing your equipment for the trip. Try to bring only what is necessary, as this will help you and the field staff.

What to pack

You might also consider

Travel documents

  • Airline Tickets (Confirmation and Itinerary)
  • Final Bulletin (Emailed Prior to Departure Date)
  • Valid Passport

Contact Us

Feel free to give us a call at 800-622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out REI Expert Advice , which has great information to help you prepare for your trip.