Day 1:Udon Thani – Chiang Khan
Pick up your car at Udon Thani Airport. Your self-drive will start from Udon Thani and you will drive straight to Nong Khai. Follow road nr. 210 to Chiang Khan, all along the Mekong River which forms the border with Laos (about a 4-hour drive). Enjoy soaring panoramas from time to time.
Stay the night at the Old Chiang Khan Boutique * * hotel or similar.
Day 2: Chiang Khan
Things you can do!
In the early morning, just after sunrise, join for a traditional Buddhist celebration. The hotel will provide you with original skills and you will be able to make merit to the monks that are passing by. A peaceful way of starting the day! Standing by the Mekong River and opposite of the Saiya Buri region of Laos, Chiang Khan was once a hectic trade route. It is now gaining recognition as a tourist destination thanks to its vintage shops, architecture, culture and generous local population. Today Chiang Khan is a cozy, small and lovely town. The town is quiet and holds a simple lifestyle. It is a very nice place for relaxation and letting your mind flow with local life.
Chiang Khan has been influenced by the French colonial as evidenced by some old wooden houses. You will experience the most authentic and very old, teak wooden guesthouses of Thailand. Walking on a small street on the banks of the Mekong river are also great things to do in the early morning or late afternoon. Explore the photogenic narrow streets with its small local restaurants and petite, lovely shops. Walking here will put your mind back in time for years! A boat ride at the Mekong river is a nice trip as well! You can hire a boat at Chiang Khan or at Kaeng Khut Khu.
Stay the night at the Old Chiang Khan Boutique hotel * * or similar.
Day 3: Chiang Khan - Loei - Dan Sai (128 km)
Drive from Chiang Khan to Loei (48 km, road nr. 203). Experience a local road with rice fields and other plantations. You will also see buffalos. From Loei, it’s approximately 80 km to Dan Sai (road nr. 203). This quiet road goes through the mountains with stunning panoramas. Thais call this road "the road of flowers" as there are many flower farms near the road.
Stay the night at the Phu Pha Nam Resort, located on a mountain with a stunning view over the other mountains.
Things that you can do!
Huay Krating Mountain lake is a quiet place to swim and relax! Rent a houseraft and float for hours on this peaceful lake. If you wish, you can also savour your lunch on the raft. A few hours floating on your raft could be compared to a type of meditation as well. A great place to clean up your mind!
Phua Rua and Chateau de Loei Winery.
The peak of Phu Ruea (1,365 meters above sea level) has been regarded the coldest location in Thailand during the winter season for several years. Phu Ruea covers an area of approximately 120 square kilometers, featuring cool climate, lush pine forest and beautiful winter flowers. Other attractions include observation points, waterfalls, rock gardens, and caves with highlights such as Pha Lon Noi, which offers a spectacular sunrise and beautiful scenery, Pha Sub Thong, a very steep cliff, Namtok Huai Phai, a 30 meter-high waterfall, and Phu Ruea Summit, which provides a fine view of Huang and Khong Rivers. The foot of Phu Ruea also finds Chateau de Loei Winery, a huge vineyard with modern wine-making facilities.
Day 4: Dan Sai - Wang Saphung (152 km)
Things you can do in the morning!
Dan Sai is another tiny village and is surrounded by mountains. There is a local market and a few streets to explore. Another point of historical interest is Phra That Si Song Rak Stupa. Wat Neramit is another, really beautiful, temple that is located on a mountain, just 2 kilomters out of the village. The wall paintings are impressive and the garden around the temple as well.
After exploring Dan Sai heading for Lom Khao, road nr 203. Again, a beautiful and quiet road. A lovely ride with only a few cars. After about a 35 km drive, you can stop by a coffee shop. After about 30 minutes, turn left to Wang Saphung (road nr. 2216 and follow 2016). This road is really stunning with soaring panoramas. There is plenty time for stops to take pictures. At the highest point, after about 45 minutes with really stunning views, is a coffee shop. Once you arrive in Wang Saphung, drive straight to the Sirila Farm Tent Camp.
Savour a really appetizing BBQ with candlelights, torches and a campfire in the evening. Stay the night in a comfortable safari tent at the farm. These big tents (60 sqm) are super comfy, they have their own private bathroom with an open air rain shower with hot water and a nice veranda with rocking chairs where you can adore the sunrise and sunset. There is no electricity but candles and some solar lights, so it’s back to basic but in some way quite comfortable!
Day 5: Wang Saphung
Experience a local biking tour through the village in the morning (included). Or if you don't want to bike, we will take care for a traditional "song taew" transportation. You won't spot other tourists in this village and the Thais are happy to talk to you and welcome you in their houses or just want to say hello and take some pictures with you. Bike peacefully along the village, see the rice fields and the way of life of the local farmers. You will also visit some Thai farmer families at their old traditional wooden houses as well a small traditional Thai kindergarten school (not on holidays and weekends).
Things you can do!
Visit Little Kunming (45 km from our farm)
Suan Hin Pha Ngam or well known as "Thailand’s Kunming" are limestone mountains aged around 230-280 million years. An uplift of the earth’s crust, together with millions of years of natural rot have made this mountain to be strangely beautiful, similar to the stone garden in Kunming (China). Therefore, it was named "Thailand’s Kunming". There is also a tourist information centre within the compound. To admire the nature, people who are interested can do a tour around the stone garden, partly by longtail tractor.
Visit Monkey Mountain (8 km from our farm)
As soon as you arrive, hundreds of rhesus monkeys will run down from the mountain to see if you brought some snacks for them. Not many people are visiting this interesting spot where the monkeys enjoy their life in freedom. In the hot season you can see the monkeys swimming too!
Day 6: Wang Saphung - Khon Kaen (182 km)
After breakfast, start at the last part of this self-drive that will end up at Khon Kaen Airport (follow road nr 210, then nr. 12). The first 90 km is a nice drive and you will pass some national parks.
If you are interested in a lovely jungle walk in one of the most beautiful National Parks of Thailand, then after 70 km follow the sign "Lom Sak". After 30 km you will arrive at Nam Nao National park. You can do a one or two-hour jungle walk or even longer if you wish. From Nam Nao to Khon Kaen, it's approximately 1 ½ hour drive. Drop your car at the airport and your program comes to an end.
How to continue:
From Khon Kaen you can fly to Bangkok or some other destinations in Thailand. You can also go by (night) train back to Bangkok.
If you want to extend your self-drive and end up in Bangkok, it is possible as well. Please contact us for advice and more information.