Biking past mountains and fields in Chiang Dao, Thailand. Photo via Flickr: fulloftravel

Different artwork to be found in Thailand. Photo via Flickr: echiner1

Northern Thailand

Thailand Bike Tours

A bike tour in the land of a million rice fields!

This exotic bicycle tour in Northern Thailand is as diverse as the landscape. You will cycle, hike, and boat your way through spectacular scenery, following wonderful trails and back roads with little traffic and fantastic scenery.

The acccommodations are varied as well. You will overnight at the charming Huai Khum resort, the beautiful Puchaisai Resort, the comfortable Imperial Golden Triangle Resort, and also lodges that are in tune with Northern Thailand and its traditions.

Your adventure will include visits to two former capital cities of the former Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Rai and Chiang Rai. Translated, Lanna means "a million rice fields" which is a fitting name as you will encounter rice fields at every turn! You will also discover yourself why Thailand is called the “land of smiles”.


  • Spectacular limestone mountains of Chiang Dao
  • Scenic village of Mae Salak
  • Doi Mae Salong, unique Chinese village
  • Burmesse markets in Mae Sai
  • Regional cuisine
  • Authentic and luxury accommodations

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Skill Level

This guided and fully supported tour is rated difficult. You will encounter steep climbs, dirt paths, and one day in a mountainous region that is quite challenging. Total distance cycled will be 553 kilometers and total ascents/descents will measure +8,674 m / -9211 m. The support vehicle is always close by but due note that some of the rides cannot be fully supported due to the remoteness of the trails. The guides will always have a powerful two way radios at their disposal if necessary and you will be fully informed well beforehand the details of the day’s route in the event that you would like to utilize the support vehicle. You will be led by a local English-speaking guide and if the group is 8 people or more, another guide will be added.

Where You’ll Stay

You will stay in carefully chosen accommodations that are the best available for the location and offer a good mix, from home stays to luxurious lodges.

What’s Included

  • Overnight accommodations for the duration of the tour
  • Air-conditioned vehicle for transfer and back up
  • Snacks, local fruits, and water provided throughout the day when cycling
  • Mountain bike rental
  • English Speaking Guide
  • First aid kit
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B – Breakfast, L – Lunch, D – Dinner)
  • Sightseeing tickets where mentioned in the itinerary
  • Boat fee

What’s Not Included

  • All meals not mentioned as included in the itinerary
  • Beverages
  • Bicycle protection
  • Trip insurance
  • Gratuities
Length10– days
From$2310 Rates
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Tour Dates

January 3, March 6, May 8, June 12, October 9, November 20, and December 11, 2016.

Day-To-Day Itinerary

Northern Thailand Map

Day 1: Arrival Chiang Mai, ride to Ban Tawai and return, 25 mi. (40 km)
Day 2: Teak Forest Ride, 37 mi. (60 km)
Day 3: Chiang Dao Tribal Trails, 47 mi. (75 km)
Day 4: Mae Salak, 51 mi. (82 km)
Day 5: Bike and Boat to Chiang Rai, 30 mi. (48 km)
Day 6: Doi Mae Salong Ascent, 20 mi. (32 km) 
Day 7: Doi Mae Salong Descent, 30 mi. (48 km)
Day 8: Ride to the Golden Triangle, 61 mi. (98 km) 
Day 9:  Mekong River Ride, 18 mi. (28 km) 
Day 10: Doi Suthep Downhill, 26 mi. (42 km)
*All distances are approximate.

Day 1: Arrival Chiang Mai, 40 km
The group meets in the afternoon for a briefing and bike fitting, afterwhich, there will be a short transfer out of town. As an introduction to cycling in Thailand, there will be a  nice, easy ride along the Ping River to Ban Tawai, he “handicraft village". Once famous for teak carvings and wood, it now offers a wide range of handicrafts and artisanal creations now on offer here, ranging from rough country style furnishings to meticulously crafted objets d’art, and from dusty antiques to modern designer products. All kinds of wood are now employed including bamboo and rattan for furniture as well as ceramics, silk, hemp, silver, cotton, plastic and glass. You will have time to browse the stalls before heading back to Chiang Mai and overnight in the  Aruntara Riverside Boutique Hotel. +155 m/ -155 m (D)

Day 2: Teak Forest Ride - Chiang Dao, 37 mi. (60 km)
Once again, riders are transferred out of the city to a nearby reservoir and a boat ride to the cycling route. Consisiting of dirt tracks, the trail leads through a scenic teak forest to end at a waterfall where the support truck awaits to replenish water supplies and provide a snack. More biking ensures to  a great little restaurant overlooking a reservoir for a lunch stop. After lunch, the cycling involves both country roads and off road trails, including an elephant trail through the forest to the overnight destination, to the Royal Ping Resort, near Chiang Dao. There will be time for a refreshing swim before dinner. +731 m/ -755 m (B L D)

Day 3: Chiang Dao Tribal Trails, 47 mi. (75 km)​
Today’s ride is a real treat for mountain bikers! First, there will be a morning transfer from the resort to Chiang Dao Caves for the start of the ride which leads through rice fields and among soaring limestone cliffs before hitting the dirt path. This trail has been cut bye the hill tribes of the Akha, Lisu, Lau and Palaung people. The colorful Palaung are recent migrants and you will see their women adorned with heavy brass waist-bands working the fields. Lunch today will be at a Forestry Camp, followed by a  memorable afternoon ride on outstanding mountain trails. The support vehicle will be waiting at trail end for transfer to the Saimoonburi Resort, a comfortable Thai-style inn. +855 m/ -819 m (B L D)

Day 4: Mae Salak, 51 mi. (82 km) 
After an early breakfast, you ride to the Tub Tao Caves and temple retreat and then on back roads through many small villages before arriving in Fang and a stop for lunch. In contrast to the previous day, much of the ride is flat and the distance will be traversed quickly. The ride to Mae Salak, the day's destination, is one of the most scenic on the trip. The Huai Khum Resort will be the accommodations, complete with a pool.The rooms have a splendid view over the river and are situated next to a Lahu village and the local children will come to the resort and perform traditional music and dance. Huai Khum Resort.  +328 m/ -380 m (B L D)

Day 5: Bike and Boat to Chiang Rai, 30 mi. (48 km)
An 8 km off road ride directly from the resort begins the morning to a Lahu village, followed by a boat ride on long-tail boat, with bikes, to a scenic riverside area and then another 20-km off-road ride.  It's just about 20 km more to the provincial capital of Chiang Rai. You can relax at the hotel, La Luna, go out in the city, see the famous night market, or just enjoy the lively downtown area.  +609 m/ -645 m (B L D)

Day 6: Doi Mae Salong Ascent, 20 mi. (32 km) 
After breakfast we cycle 14 km along dirt roads flanked by ride paddies to Chiang Rai's spectacular white temple, Wat Rong Khun. Be sure to have your sunglasses on as you will take in the splendour of one of Thailand's most famous edifices. Following lunch, there is a transfer to the foot of Doi Mae Salong to conquer the first big mountain climb in the late afternoon. It is 18 km up and down through magnificent scenery to Mae Salong. Almost entirely populated by descendents of Chiang Kai Chek’s Chinese Nationalist Kuomintang Army, the village has the look and feel of China’s Yunnan province rather than Thailand. The night is spent at the simple resort, Mae Salong Flower Hills, with a swimming pool that has outstanding views across the tea plantations. +915 m/ -703 m (B L D)

Day 7: Doi Mae Salong Descent, 30 mi. (48 km)
First on the agenda today is a visit to temple at the very top of the hill and then, the trail! A 30-km (14 km) off road descent through the forest along some glorious trails. will eventually spill out onto the road  and a short ride to Phu Chaisai Resor resort,  one of north Thailand’s best kept secrets. Built by a well known architect this charming resort fuses western comforts with Lanna design to provide a delightful refuge for weary cyclists. The afternoon is free to enjoy the resort’s facilities, laze by the pool or explore the surrounding countryside. +1,240 m/ -1,903 m (B L D)

Day 8: Ride to the Golden Triangle, 61 mi. (98 km)  
Get ready for the longest ride of the tour and also the  most spectacular. First you will enjoy off-road ride through lychee orchards and have a chance to visit the only horse temple in Thailand. Then you tackle Doi Tung, where the Thai royal family has a palace. The climb is on good tarmac and the rewards are  amazing views and lunch on top of the mountain. The temple here is said to contain the Buddha’s clavicle. An amazing ridgeback road comprises the afternoon cycing. Finally, there is a fast downhill ride into Mae Sai and then a nice flat ride alongside the Sai River to Sop Ruak, the site of the Golden Triangle, and the Imperial Golden Triangle Hotel. +1,914 m/ -1,969 m (B L D)

Day 9:  Mekong River Ride, 18 mi. (28 km) 
After a breakfast,  you ride on a very scenic loop deep into the heart of the countryside surrounding the Golden Triangle. You will return to the hotel to refresh before heading to Chiang Saen and have lunch. There will be opportunity for sightseeing in this ancient town, one of the first Thai Kingdoms and then a transfer back to Chiang Mai (approx. 3 hours). Once checked into the hotel, there will be a farewell dinner at a great riverside restaurant. Accommodations this evening will be at the De Lanna Hotel. +228 m/ -230 m (B L D)

Day 10 - Doi Suthep Downhill, 26 mi. (42 km)
Saving the best for last threr is an outstanding off-road ride for your last day. You can begin with a climb (or transfer) to Chiang Mai’s most impressive temple, Wat Doi Suthep, which is perched on a hilltop overlooking the city. Then, you embark onThailand’s most exciting mountain bike trail. Winding for 30 kilometers through spectacular mountain scenery, this ride is a fitting finale to an amazing cycling adventure. The support vehicle awaits at a picturesque reservoir to transferback to the hotel or to the airport for your onward travels. +1,699 m/ -1,652 m (B L )

This tour ends in Chiang Mai. Perhaps you would like to extend your stay in Thailand or the region. Chiang Mai Airport is an international airport with regular flights to Singapore, Hong Kong, Mandalay, Luang Prabang and many other regional destinations. 

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