Depart your hotel in the morning and settle inside your private vehicle for the scenic drive along winding roads into the jungle-clad mountains north of Chiang Rai. Make the acquaintance of local hill tribes at an Akha and a Yao village, which you’ll visit with your guide who describes the differences between traditional languages, garments and daily customs.
The village of Thoet Thai is next, where you’ll discover elements of Shan culture and religious practices at a Shan temple. Here, your guide regales you with tales of Khun Sa, the infamous drug lord who used the locale as his headquarters until the Thai army eradicated most of the opium trade by the early 1980s.
Stop for a picnic lunch after enjoying the view at a vista point. Then travel onward to the Chinese Haw village of Phaya Prai. From here, set out on a mountain trail for a walk near the Thai-Myanmar border and hear more about Northern Thailand’s shift from opium poppy cultivation to tea production.
Back in your vehicle, continue on to Mae Salong for a tour of the Choui Fong Tea plantation, situated nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level. Stroll the tea fields while you learn about tea cultivation from your guide, and savor the taste of oolong tea in the plantation’s tearoom. If you'd like to bring some tea home with you, it’s available for purchase in the gift shop.
Complete your full-day tour with a drive to the Akha village of Laoma before your driver returns you to your Chiang Rai hotel.