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1st Trip to Thaiand- Advice on National Parks and Northern Thailand???

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I really interested in a trip to Thailand in February, 2014 with a focus on the natural environment, birding and wildlife. We are considering Khao Yai, Kaeng Krachen and. Doi Inthanon as possibilities. I also wanted to do some trekking and hill tribe visits. We are open to overnight village stays but really want to make sure that the experience is authentic. I am also somewhat confused about the best place to do such a trip. Is it better to start from Chiang Mai, Chaing Rai or Mae Hong Son. Also I am not sure if a four or five night trek might be too much and perhaps too repetitive in terms of scenery and the experience. I would love to hear from people that did overnight village stays and what they thought of the experience. We are experienced travelers and really prefer beautiful, remote places. Comfortable for me is an issue, not for the other half, so I understand that this could be a little challenging depending on the number of nights we choose to do. We have probably about 12 days in country for this trip. Also I contacted a number of different companies and that has been confusing about what each offer,so recommendations would be appreciated. Is it better to hire a local guide in each area or to have one company coordinate the whole trip?

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