Enjoy this ultimate journey through Thailand. Begin by exploring the temples, food and unique culture of Bangkok before heading to the countryside of Kanchanaburi's River Kwai. Stop to discover the ancient cities of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai as you journey north to the cultural capital of Chiang Mai and the northern city of Chiang Rai. Interact with elephants, try your hand at Thai cooking and enjoy shopping at the local markets. End your epic adventure with a few days of island leisure, relaxing along the picturesque beaches of Phuket.
Welcome to Thailand! Upon arrival at the airport in Bangkok, clear Immigration, collect your luggage and exit Customs. Proceed to the Arrivals Hall and head towards the meeting point, where you will be greeted by a local representative holding a sign with your name on it. They will assist you in the transfer directly to your hotel, for a smooth and easy start to your adventure. Check into your room, get settled and spend the rest of the evening as you wish! (This service is on a private basis.)
With a population of over eleven million inhabitants, the capital city of Bangkok is Thailand’s largest city. This cosmopolitan city combines some of Asia’s oldest and most elaborately adorned temples, with modern shopping malls, skyscrapers and bustling markets. This variety of activities and sights make it a vibrant and eclectic destination to explore, with something to keep any traveler entertained.
This morning, after breakfast, meet your private guide and depart on a full-day exploration of Bangkok.
First visit the Grand Palace, where an English governess once tutored a young prince and may have influenced his powerful father. (The Thai people have enormous reverence for their royal family, thus both versions of The King and I are banned as an insult to one of their great rulers.) The highlight of this mind-and-eye boggling palace is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Pra Kaew), the most revered shrine in the Kingdom.
Located next to the Grand Palace is Wat Po, one of Bangkok’s oldest and largest temples. Visit this temple; housing the gigantic gold-plated Reclining Buddha. It is also the headquarters for the Traditional Medicine Practitioners of Bangkok.
After a break for lunch of tasty Thai specialties at a local restaurant, take a water taxi to Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. This is one of the best-known temples in Bangkok and dates back to the ancient Ayutthaya period. The tall, elongated central Khmer-style tower is surrounded by four minor towers, symbolizing Mount Meru, the earthly representation of the thirty-three heavens. Here, you'll find pavilions containing statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of life. The beautiful architecture and fine craftsmanship mark Wat Arun as one of the most remarkable temples in Thailand.
Then board a longtail boat and spend a couple of hours navigating Bangkok's fascinating maze of waterways and canals, discovering why Bangkok is known as the "Venice of the East." Venture into bucolic "backwater" neighborhoods where life is slower and simpler. View traditional waterfront homes with their salas (pavilions) and spirit houses as well as a couple neighborhood Thai temples.
Afterward, transfer to your hotel in Bangkok.
**Note that guests should wear long pants, shoes which cover heal, and shirts that cover the upper arm (no vests / singlet). This is to show respect to the Thai people. Also, the Grand Palace is closed on some National Days (dates TBA), when guests will visit alternative temples instead. (This service is on a private basis.)
Meet your guide at 8:30am and head to the Vimanmek Teak Mansion, an impressive teak building which used to be the residence of King Rama V in the early 1900’s. The exhibition shows some of the personal effects of King Rama V and a collection of early Ratanakosin art and antiques. Next visit Jim Thompson's House, which consists of a complex of six traditional Thai-style houses made of teak. The extensive art and antique collection is predominantly of Asian origin and includes detailed sculptures, paintings, porcelain and more. After lunch continue to Suan Pakkard, a museum complex that comprises several traditional Thai houses, including the famous lacquer pavilion before returning to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Enjoy a mouth watering exploration of Bangkok's 200-year-old Chinatown district this evening! You will have the chance to visit a variety of tasty eateries, from sit-on-the-pavement-vendors, to characterful restaurants. To begin the journey, your guide will transfer you from your hotel to the heart of Chinatown around 5:00 PM. Wander through the vibrant alleyways, and make your way to a local rooftop bar, from where you can admire magnificent views of the River. At this spot, you'll be given a short briefing by your guide, as you sip on a cocktail and marvel at the colorful sunset.
Once you have worked up an appetite, continue on to your next destination to begin sampling all kinds of dishes (and a few more local drinks too)! This selection includes the likes of dim sum, dumplings, fresh seafood, local deserts and much more! Throughout the evening, your knowledgeable guide will explain the background of all the different food and drinks that you taste, offering a better cultural understanding with each bite. They will also give you their own insight into the local area. Just when you feel like you can't eat a single thing more, you will make your way to a lovely open air bar. Enjoy some leisurely people watching and observe the hustle and bustle of Chinatown pass you by, as you indulge in one last cocktail. As the night comes to an end, you will be transferred back to your hotel around 9:00 PM. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you'll venture out to visit the unusual Railway Track Market in time for the 11:10 am train (driving duration: approximately 1 hour). One of Asia's most unusual markets, the vendors line and cover the railway track but when the train arrives they 'retract' the stalls very quickly before reassembling them as if nothing has happened. It is one of the most unique scenes and experiences for visitors to Thailand and you will be able to meander through the wet market adjacent to the train station and learn about the interesting and fresh items from your guide.
Trains arrive only four times daily at 8:30 am, 11:10 am, 2:30 pm and 5:40 pm, so timing this properly is very important. (This service is on a private basis.)
Early this morning, meet your guide and then depart the city for Kanchanaburi province. You'll drive northwest through the city to the suburbs, then through the endless emerald-green rice paddocks and on to the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai. The drive will take two-three hours depending on traffic. Once here visit the Chung Khai War Cemetery. This gives an impression of the circumstances in which the Burma Railway was built by POW's in WWII. Also stop for a visit at the newly opened Thailand-Burma railway center and then ride the train across the infamous bridge. Late in the day, you’ll be transferred to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
Kanchanaburi located approximately 2.5 hours outside of Bangkok offers visitors opportunities to explore Thailand's historical highlights as well as experience the country's natural attributes. Here you can combine the classic highlights including the infamous Bridge over River Kwai and Hellfire Pass with more adventurous activitis including hiking to nearby waterfalls or perhaps visiting an elephant sanctuary.
This morning, meet your guide and driver for a half-day tour to Erawan Waterfall (entrance is included). Erawan Falls has seven levels dropping down over 1,500m and is regarded as one the more beautiful in Thailand. You can walk to each level fairly easily on the paths but if you're aiming to get to the very top then it's a bit of a scramble up the cliff - it's worth the effort though! You can swim in some of the pools created by the falls.
After a simple Thai lunch at the falls, transfer to Mueang Sing Historical Park better known as Prasat Mueang Sing. The laterite sanctuary was constructed in the late Lop Buri Period circa 11th – 13th century an Influenced by ancient Khmer culture. Its principal tower is encircled by a laterite wall, moat and earthen mound and was built in a mixture of the folk school of art and Bayon style of King Jayavarman VII’s period in Cambodia.
Afterwards, return to your hotel. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning, depart Kanchanaburi and drive to Wang Krasae Pass, where wooden structures of the Burma railway are still in use today. Then, continue on the drive of approximately four-hours to Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Siam Kingdom.
Spend the afternoon exploring Ayutthaya with your guide. Not far from the old capital, visit Wat Niwet Thamprawat, built by Rama V (King Chulalongkorn). This unique temple looks more like a Gothic Christian church than a Thai temple. To access the temple, cross the river in a small, trolley-like cable car. Then, board a long-tail boat to Wat Phananchoeng, an ancient temple with a giant Sitting Buddha statue and walls filled with hundreds of smaller statues. Also visit Wat Chai Mongkol, famous for its leaning Chedi and Buddha galleries.
Included will be visits to the Temples and Ruins, recently declared a World Heritage Site, and the National Museum and Ayuthaya Historical Study Center.
After you tour you'll proceed to your accommodations for the night. (This service is on a private basis.)
The ancient city of Ayutthaya was once the thriving capital of the Kingdom of Siam and is now recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It stood as one of the most vibrant trading ports in Asia—doing brisk business with China, India, Persia, and Arab lands. Ayutthaya remained the capital for over 400 years until the Burmese invaded, destroying the city in 1767. The city's ancient ruins bears testimony to the ancient glory of the Thai nation and eloquently demonstrates the skills and heritage of the Siamese people.
After breakfast, meet guide and transfer to Lop Buri and make a stop at San Phra Kan. Located in the middle of a traffic circle, oddly placed right next to the railway line, is the San Phra Kan shrine. The shrine is housed in a small modern (built in 1951) temple building erected hard up against the remains of an ancient prang dating from the sixth century. The main statue in the shrine is a standing figure with four arms. It is probably meant to be Vishnu, although the Thais revere it as a type of Buddha image. There was a time when the temple grounds were filled with monkeys, but they've now been displaced by souvenir vendors. A few odd strays can still be found around the shrine, but most have moved across the street to the remains of the Prang Sam Yod temple.
In the afternoon, continue transferring to Phitsanulok and your overnight accommodations. Check in and enjoy the remainder of the day free. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today you will make a visit to Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, known among the locals as “Wat Yai”, and was founded in 1357 by King Phaya Lithai (King Maha Thammaracha I of Sukhothai). The temple was built at the same time as “Wat Phra Phut Chin Si” and “Wat Phra Si Satsadaram. During the Somdet Phra Ekathotsarot age in the Ayutthya kingdom, it was gilded with the Buddha’s image and later developed by King Rama 5 and King Rama 9 respectively. The temple is located at the foot of Naresuan Bridge. On the city side of Nan River, It has an area of 36 rai (1 rai = 1600 m^2). The temple is very famous because it has golden Buddha image name “Phra Phuttha Chinnarat”. In addition many Thai people considered to be the most beautiful Buddha image in Thailand.
After your temple tour you will continue to your accommodations in Sukhothai. (This service is on a private basis.)
Found in the 13th century, Sukhothai (literally means Dawn of Happiness) was the first truly independent Thai Kingdom, which enjoyed a golden age under King Ramkhamhaeng, credited with creating the Thai alphabet. The superb temples and monuments of this great city have been lovingly restored in Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must-see for all travelers.
This morning, meet your private guide, driver and vehicle and spend the day exploring the ancient capital of Sukhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage site and Thailand’s premier archaeological and historic park. Founded in the 13th century by Khmer rebels, Sukhothai flourished as the capital of Thailand until the 15th century. Spend the day exploring the archaeological park and rambling through the central temples, past brick-and-stucco towers, serene Buddhas and moats clogged with lotus blossoms. There will be ample time to visit the remarkable ruined temples of Wat Chang Lom and Wat Mahathat.
Then you drive to Lampang. Lampang used to be part of the Haripunchai kingdom and was a major center of the teak industry last century. Upon arrival, check in at the hotel with the rest of the day free at leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
After breakfast, drive to the city center of Lampang where you will make a horse cart ride through the old streets of Lampang. We will visit the Burmese style temple Wat Si Rong Muang. We will continue to Wat Prathat Lampang Luang, considered by many to be the most magnificent temple of Northern Thailand. Lunch will be in a local restaurant.
Before we drive back to Chiang Mai we will stop at the magnificent Wat Phra Keow Don Tao. Along the way back we can make a last stop at the colorful Thung Kwian Market. Then, drive to hotel in Chiang Mai. The rest of the day is free is your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
Chiang Mai, Thailand's second-largest city and the gateway to the country's northern region. Here you can explore the cultural highlights within the city's old walls, exploring fascinating temples, trying delicious street food or perhaps shopping at one of the famed evening markets. Chiang Mai also serves as an excellent base for outdoor and adventure lovers, offering excellent opportunities for trekking, cycling and river rafting in the surrounding countryside. The region is also home to some of the country's best elephant conservation camps and several ethnic hill tribe villages.
This morning meet your private guide and driver and spend the day touring some of the highlights and lesser-known gems in and around Chiang Mai. Start with a visit to the riverfront Worarot Market, with its colorful flowers, pungent spices and friendly, bustling crowds. Stroll the alleys next to the market, filled with excellent priced textiles, hill tribe clothes, silks, hats and beads. From the market, take a ride in a samlor (a three-wheeled rickshaw) along Thapae Road down through the city wall, passing important residential and government buildings around the city.
The last temple is Wat Suandok, where you will have the chance to visit with a local monk.
After lunch near a waterfall, continue to what is probably Chiang Mai’s most famous landmark: Wat Prathat Doi Suthep and experience a blessing ceremony. The temple is located at the summit of 5,000-foot-high Doi Suthep Mountain, which towers over the city. Climb the 300-step staircase, flanked by Nagas, or take the cable car up. The cool air and spectacular sunset views make the trip worth the effort.
You'll then return to the hotel with the evening free to relax or explore independently. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning at 9:00 AM you will be transferred to a local village to meet with a Raunkaew-Yanon family, who arrived in the area possibly on the back of an elephant, almost 150 years ago. They are a Lanna family, continuing the traditions of many generations in building their homes of teak wood and maintaining the natural surroundings in a way now rarely seen in Chiang Mai. Of course this is not your average commercial cooking class as you will learn more about their culture, the way of living and the architecture of a traditional Thai house and rice barn.
The family orchard has many types of fruit such as banana, mango, coconut, while the garden is filled with herbs for cooking. They also demonstrate their skills making a small bamboo basket. You will cook traditional home cooked recipes with authentic Northern Thai flavors that are different from standard dishes offered in commercial cooking classes. Also you will select fresh ingredients from the garden to add to today’s cooking extravaganza. Best of all you will have the opportunity to get to know a real Thai family, be their houseguest for the day and enjoy a delicious home cooked lunch with them! You will return back to your hotel later this afternoon (ETA 2:30 PM). (This service is on a private basis.)
Between 7:30 and 8:00 AM, you will be picked up from your hotel today and taken for a full day group experience at the Elephant Nature Park. Get ready for a day that is sure to be a highlight of your trip, and an adventure you will never forget!
A picturesque drive through agricultural Thai countryside, along Mae Taeng Valley, brings you to the Elephant Nature Park. You will have the opportunity to hear the personal stories of the rescued elephants, as told by expert guides. You will learn about the problems elephants face in Southeast Asia, and the role that Elephant Nature Park is helping in the treatment and care of Thailand's dwindling elephant population.
Next, the fun activities will begin...first up, feeding time! After unloading and distributing the fruit treats, you will have a chance to feed the elephants from the viewing platform. A sumptuous and varied buffet of Asian and International dishes follows, for you to enjoy for lunch. The tour will be continued, walking with the staff to the river that skirts the park. This is where the bathing process will take place.
Once you learn and feel confident in how to safely and properly bathe an elephant, plunge right in and help scrub these giants as they splash around. If you choose not to go into the river, then you can still watch the elephants bathe and play, while you stay dry on the sandy shore. Around 5:00 PM it will be time for goodbyes to the elephants and to Elephant Nature Park. You will then start the hour-long drive back to Chiang Mai, where you will be dropped off at your accommodations. (This service is on a group basis.)
Today after breakfast, we will head out to Chiang Rai. En route, visit the hot spring for relaxation. Continue to the Golden Triangle in Chiang Sean, where the three borders of Myanmar-Laos-Thailand meet. After lunch transfer to Mae Sai Border (migration fee THB 500 on your own for one day crossing to Myanmar). Lastly, visit villages dwelling the indigenous Akha and Yao hill tribes on our way back to hotel in Chiang Rai. (This service is on a private basis.)
The province of Chiang Rai is located within the renowned ‘Golden Triangle’ area where Myanmar, Laos and Thailand converge. Today, Chiang Rai is a traveler’s paradise, blessed with an abundance of natural attractions as well as a many sites of cultural interest - the province is itself is evidence of past civilization! Attractions range from the magnificent mountain scenery, ruins of ancient settlements, historical sites, Buddhist shrines and ethnic villages - the province is home to several hill tribes who maintain fascinating lifestyles.
This morning you'll set off with your guide to visit the mysterious Black House or ‘Baan Dam'. Not just one building, but a collection of almost forty monuments which are home to an extensive collection of weird taxidermy and bones. Perhaps not for vegetarians or the squeamish, wandering around the grounds, you will come across the entire skeleton of an elephant, bear skins, tiger skins, skulls of unidentifiable creatures, reptile skins, furs and bizarre furniture created from the bones of exotic animals. This unusual style is quickly gaining recognition and he is now considered a Thai National Artist House.
Then continue to visit Wat Huai Pla Kung a Chinese styled temple west of the city, surrounded by hills, 9 stories high, you can walk right to the top of the temple for a delightful view.
Afterwards continue to the iconic Wat Rong Khun, or the “White Temple”. The temple was designed and built by artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, and is artistically different from other temples in Thailand (parts of the interior of the temple may be closed for renovations after the recent earthquake).
Then, return to hotel. The rest of the day is free at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you will be met and transferred to the Chiang Rai airport for your flight to Phuket via Bangkok. On arrival in Phuket, you will be met by your driver and transferred to your hotel. Check in and enjoy the remainder of the day free.
Phuket is Thailand's largest and arguably most well known island. The island's size contributes to it's diverse offerings in accommodations and experiences, from luxurious secluded pool villa properties to boutique resorts close to all the action - restaurants, shopping and nightlife. Phuket also serves as excellent base for those looking to explore the surrounding marine parks, jungles and nearby islands.
Enjoy three free days in Phuket at your leisure.
Today, you will be picked up at your hotel in Phuket and transferred to the airport. (This service is on a private basis.)
Upon arrival at the airport in Bangkok you will connect with your international flight onward.
Ariyasom Villa is an enchanting family owned Thai style residence built in 1942. Ideally located in the heart of Bangkok in the bustling Sukhumvit area, the hotel is encircled with a myriad of dining and shopping venues as well as plenty of vibrant nightlife entertainment hot spots. Nana BTS Skytrain Station located nearby makes exploring Bangkok fast and easy. It’s the intimate touch and timeless classic charm of the architecture and interior design that make the villa uniquely attractive and unquestionably liveable.
Getting away from everyday life and be pampered on one of the world’s most extraordinary floating hotels – The Float House River Kwai Resort. Located in River Kwai, Kanchanaburi, Thailand, this distinctive and luxurious designed floatel is decorated to harmonize with gorgeous nature surroundings. Tasteful decoration in Thai folk style design with teakwood furniture enhancing the comfort and harmony with nature. Each villa features private balcony and pier where you can relax and be impressed by the beautiful ambience. All rooms are connected with spacious common space.
Sala Ayutthaya is an oasis located in the heart of Ayutthaya, along the banks of the Chao Phraya river offering intimate and indulgent experiences. Our boutique accommodation in Thailand is opposite the famous Wat Phutthaisawan and situated near archaeological and historical sites. This boutique accommodation in Thailand features twenty-six unique guest rooms including a duplex river view suite and a pool suite as well as a signature restaurant – Sala Ayutthaya eatery and bar.
Located in the heart of the historical city of Phitsanulok, this hotel makes for an excellent base to explore the several World Heritage Sites nearby. The cities of Sukhothai and Kampaengphet, as well as the Si Satchanalai Historical Park, are protected sites that are within easy reach. The hotel can help book excursions and tours, and for those who would like to explore the area on their own, the car rental (with or without a driver) will come in handy. In addition to that, the hotel also provides a complimentary pick-up service from the airport, bus, and train station. For those seeking to explore the history and culture of Thailand, Yodia Heritage Hotel makes for an excellent place to stay.
Well-positioned in Historical Park, Legendha Sukhothai Hotel is the ideal point of departure for your excursions in Sukhothai. From here, guests can enjoy easy access to all that the lively city has to offer. For sightseeing options and local attractions, one need not look far as the hotel enjoys close proximity to Wat Chedi Sung, Wat Maha That, Sukhothai Historical Park.
On the banks of the Wang River, surrounded by forests, this nature lover’s paradise has Lanna-styled bungalows and beautiful grounds. The isolated hotel is perfect for a few days away from touring. With the spacious rooms, white walls, and wooden furniture, separate living areas and a terrace give you the chance to spread out and relax. The nearby village will give you a glimpse of the traditional village life with views of the paddy fields. Wat Prathat Lampang Luang temple is also worth a visit. Two restaurants keep you delightfully nourished. For an adventure, take the half day bike tour that passes beautiful vistas and visit the local ceramic industry to see pottery craftsmen perform artistic magic on clay.
Tamarind Village is a unique and charming boutique property that is nestled in the heart of historic Chiang Mai. Surrounded by ancient temples and quaint shopping streets, it takes its name from magnificent 200 year old tamarind tree that shelters the hotel in a shady embrace. Set around a series of garden courtyards, the 42 guest rooms and 3 suites reflect the rich ethnic diversity of northern Thailand by using fabrics and patterns drawn from various tribes of the region. Intimate, serene and relaxing, Tamarind Village is an oasis of calm and tranquility, the perfect base for exploring Chiang Mai and beyond.
Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort, situated along the Mae Kok River, is moments from the town of Chiang Rai, the former capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom founded by King Meng Rai. Experience luxury and refinement, while exploring an area steeped in history. The resort comprises 159 modern rooms and suites in five wings. Revel in the expansive rooms, as the smallest measures 53 square metres. Views from the balconies overlook a private lake, lush lawns, and the Mae Kok River. The resort features a blend of activities, including therapeutic treatments at the spa, refreshing swims in the pool, and hearty workouts in the gym. Outdoors embark on hilltribe visits, elephant trekking, and river tours.
Mom Tri’s Villa Royale is a boutique hotel situated on a headland overlooking the Andaman Sea and the white sand beach of Kata Noi. Villa Royale is a personal creation of renowned artist and architect Mom Luang Tridhosyuth Devakul, better known simply as Mom Tri, who is a descendant of the King Mongkut Rama IV. Mom Tri opened his private summer home eight years ago to provide guests with a truly royal experience. Thirty-five suites offer the highest standard of privacy and comfort in Phuket’s last hideaway. Alluring glimpses of its distinctive Thai-style buildings, authentic Thai antiques and art, luxurious modern comforts, panoramic sea views and lush tropical gardens create an atmosphere of calm and tranquillity. Landscaped into the rocks, overlooking the sea, is a lovely saltwater swimming pool; also there are 2 fresh water swimming pools. A private path from the hotel leads to the sugar white sand beach and turquoise water of Kata Noi.
*Pricing is based on two persons traveling together, based on availability, subject to change.