Enjoy this unique journey through Thailand and Cambodia exploring some of the world's most legendary monuments as well as the hidden, off the beaten path landscapes rarely visited by even the most seasoned travelers. This amazing adventure will combine culture and history with the vibrant modern day environment of these most intriguing countries. And let's not forget the relaxing time spent on the tropical island paradise of Koh Samui.
Welcome to Thailand! On arrival at the Bangkok airport, clear Immigration, collect your luggage and exit customs. Proceed to the Arrivals Hall and head towards the Meeting Point, where our guide will be waiting for you at “Exit B – Door 6”. You will then transfer to the hotel. Check in and enjoy the rest of day free. (This service is on a private basis.)
The capital, Bangkok, with a population of over eleven million inhabitants 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 busy markets making it a vibrant and eclectic city to visit with something for everyone.
This morning, after breakfast, meet your private guide for a full-day exploration of Bangkok and the Amphawa Floating Market.
Begin with a visit to 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 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, continue driving to the Amphawa floating market while it is in full swing. Unlike Bangkok’s well known Damneon Saduak floating market, few foreigners visit Amphawa, which is frequented almost exclusively by Thais. Locals congregate to buy and sell everything from cooking pots to fresh flowers to wind-up toys. Vendors pack their boats and cruise the waters, waiting for someone to wave them down to buy their wares. The area around the market is a lovely place to stroll, with open air restaurants, canals full of colorful boats, and crisscrossing bridges packed with people. Delicious meals are cooked right from the boats, including pad thai, curry and noodles, pancakes, and chicken satay, to name a few dishes on offer.
Afterward, transfer back to your hotel. (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.)
In the afternoon, transfer back to the airport, and check in for your International flight to Siem Reap.
Welcome to Cambodia! Upon arrival in Siem Reap obtain your Cambodia visa, if you haven't already. Clear Immigration and Customs and proceed into the arrival area. You will meet your private guide and driver who will transfer you to your hotel for check-in. Settle in and enjoy the afternoon free at your leisure. For interesting people watching, venture down to Pub Street and the Siem Reap Night Market, the place where you can buy a diverse range of goods.
Siem Reap is the best option for an international traveler's base from which to explore the Angkor temples. If not for the tourism boom brought on by the awesome sites around the city, Siem Reap might have been another sleepy Khmer village. Instead we find a bustling tourist town, complete with a well-named Pub Street, food vendors, luxury hotels, backpacking hostels, and the international travelers that drive it all. Sure, you'll probably want to spend most of your time outside the city, but don't underestimate the awesome opportunity to hit the town and mingle, bargain, eat, and drink your way through Siem Reap.
Early this morning you will be met by your private guide and transferred to Angkor Wat to watch the sunrise. Angkor Wat is the largest and most breathtaking monument at Angkor. Built as the funerary temple for Suryavarman II, who ruled from 1112 to 1152, Angkor never fails to reward the first time or repeat visitor with its grand scale, surreal bas-reliefs and unbelievable attention to detail. Here, you will spend the morning exploring one of man's most magnificent creations before returning to the hotel for a late breakfast.
Early this afternoon continue to visit the fortified city of Angkor Thom, built by Angkor's greatest king Jayavarman VII who ruled from 1181 to 1201. Also, explore the Bayon, Baphuon, Phimeanakas, and the Terraces of the Elephants and Leper King. You will continue on to the South gate of Angkor Thom to the Bayon temple then enjoy lunch at Nest Restaurant.
Later, visit the majestic Ta Phrom. Built in 1186 and dedicated to the mother of Jayavarman VII, Ta Phrom is a temple of towers, closed courtyards and narrow corridors. Unlike the other temples of Angkor, Ta Phrom has been left to the elements and looks very much like the other temples must have looked when "rediscovered" by Henri Mouhot in the 1860s.
After your tour you will be returned to your hotel. Enjoy the evening at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
Early this morning, you'll be met by your private guide to depart Siem Reap for Kulen mountain. Kulen is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia and it is a popular place for domestic visitors during weekends and festivals. Enjoy the most beautiful nature and water wall place in Siem Reap with the lunch (on own expense) at this setting.
This afternoon continue to Beng Mealea, another seldom visited ruin and a spectacular jungle temple. Almost no restoration of the area has been undertaken so the jungle is becoming one with the carved sandstone. Roots of kapok trees twist and wind their way around the carvings and gray galleries. Intricately carved depictions have been well preserved, including scenes from the sacred Hindu Vedas, such the bird-god Garuda giving birth to Vishnu, the god who preserves all things.
Time permitting we will stop to visit Banteay Srei Temple. Seemingly miniature in comparison to the other Angkor temples, Banteay Srei is considered to be the jewel of classical Khmer art. Because of its small size, fairy-like atmosphere and extraordinary examples of Khmer sculpture, this temple is often a favorite among visitors. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you'll be met by your guide and driven to Kampong Kleang Floating Village - approximately one hour outside of Siem Reap. Imagine wooden houses on 10-meter-tall stilts, surrounded by water in the wet season, and on the flood plains of the lake in the dry season. You will drive on dirt road to the village. Along the way, you will see wooden houses and traditional fishing equipment, as well as small children waving to say hello as you arrive. You will meet with a local family who will welcome you into their traditional stilt home for some tea and coffee. You'll then proceed to walk around and explore the village to learn more about life on the lake and the traditional fishing techniques employed here.
After a delicious lunch, you'll begin your work with a water filter installation. Together with the assistance of your guide you'll set up the water filter in the home of the recipient family, which will provide them with clean drinking water for the next five years.
Early this evening you will be transferred back to Siem Reap, where you will have the remainder of the day free to rest and relax at your leisure. (This service is on a private basis.)
This morning you will be picked up at your hotel in Siem Reap and transferred to the airport in good time to board your international flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival in Bangkok you'll connect with your domestic flight to Chiang Mai.
On arrival in Chiang Mai you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Today you'll be met by your private guide and driven to what is probably Chiang Mai's most famous landmark—Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the temple located on the 1676 high Doi Suthep. Climb the 300-steps staircase, flanked by Nagas, or take the cable car up. With clear weather, the sunset views are incredible. (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.
The morning will be free to rest, relax and explore the city independently. This afternoon you'll depart for a unique and authentic culinary experience.
Learning to cook Thai food can be as much a cultural experience as a culinary one. This fun excursion takes you to the traditional home of the Raunkaew-Yanon family, proud descendants of northern Thailand’s historical Lanna Kingdom. Located about 14 km outside of Chiang Mai, they maintain their teak home and generous garden in the Lanna style rarely seen now in modern times. Their local village is home to many artisans and workshops.
The home is a living museum. The friendly hosts show their family tree in photos of their forefathers arriving in Chiang Mai riding elephants almost 150 years ago. The wealth of the family shows in the size of the house and rice barn as well as the large area dedicated to gardens and orchards. Their Buddhist beliefs and cultural values are evident everywhere.
You will be welcomed with a refreshing drink and a pair of Thai fisherman pants (like loose-fitting spa pants) that immediately create a relaxed atmosphere. The homeowner will then take you out to the garden to select fresh ingredients and fruits such as mango and coconut from the orchard. You will then cook some traditional northern Thai food with flavors (and freshness!) quite unlike other commercial classes. In the end, the experience is really all about getting to know the way of life of a real Thai family by enjoying each other’s company and sharing together a delicious home cooked meal. (This service is on a private basis.)
Today you will be met in the lobby of your hotel at 7:30am and transferred to the Patara Elephant Farm outside of Chiang Mai (group basis). At the farm you will be given your mahout outfit and a brief talk on handling the elephants before heading into the bush to find them.
As the day goes on you will hear all about elephant farm management and the breeding program taking place here. You will meet the elephants and learn to approach them and work with them from the ground and to take them to the river for their morning bath. After a short ride to a local temple you can learn about elephants in Buddhism and the Thai’s ancient relationship with these traditional beasts of burden. Around mid-day you will set off for a ride through the jungle to some waterfalls where you will enjoy a picnic lunch and a swim with your elephant in the falls. Return to the camp in the afternoon and say goodbye to your new friends before being transferred back to your hotel around 4pm.
*Please come with short pants, t- shirt, swimming suit, face towel, extra clothes for change, sneakers, sandals, sun-block lotion, insect spray, and camera.
(This service is on a group basis.)
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel and transferred to the airport in good time to board your domestic flight. Upon arrival, you will be picked up at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Koh Samui, or often simply Samui as it is referred to by locals, is an island off the east coast of the Gulf Thailand. The island boasts beautiful white sand beaches, tropical foliage, hidden coves, rocky outcrops, and swaying palms. An eclectic array of spas; activity centers; resorts; world-class restaurants; beach bars, and a colorful mix of residents and tourists help you begin to understand the unique charm of Koh Samui.
Enjoy this free time on Koh Samui at your leisure.
Today you will join “Angthong National Marine Park Tour by SpeedBoad”
This group of islands, a combined area of 250 square kms, is located 45 kms north-west of Koh Samui. It takes about 2 hours by tour boat and 1 hour by speedboat or yacht. Visitors will be enchanted by a wonderland composed of bulbous green isles, clear blue lagoons, mysterious caves and strange shapes of rock formations.
The second National Park created in Thailand, Angthong comprises some 40 islands covering 250 sq. kms. Most islands are comprised of limestone masses, reaching heights up to 450 meters, and are blanketed by 4 difference types of forest such as Dry Evergreen Forest, Beach Forest, Limestone Forest and Mangrove Forest. There are many strange rock formations brought above by erosion of the earth and one island has a mysterious sink hole, completely enclosed by walls of sheer rock.
Today you will transfer to the Pier, board the one hour speed boat to Angthong National Marine Park. You will arrive at Koh Wao or Koh Tai Plow for snorkeling, a nice place for fish and wonderful coral reefs. Enjoy sightseeing around the National Marine Park. Climb up the steps to see the wonderful “Emerald Lake “ known as Talay Nai, surrounded by the mountain. You’ll have a buffet lunch at The National Marine Park.
This afternoon, relax on the beach, swim or climb the mountain’s top to see the fantastic panoramic view of Angthong Marine Park. At 3:00pm you’ll cruise back to Koh Samui and transfer to your hotel at 5:00pm.
Enjoy this full free day on Koh Samui.
In the morning, you will be picked up at your hotel in Koh Samui 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.
Rising 25 stories above the distinguished residential area of Langsuan Road in the city’s center, Hotel Muse offers 174 lavish guest rooms along with a distinctive array of dining and entertainment venues – unlike anything Bangkok has ever seen. Hotel Muse brings to the city its only hotel dedicated to the golden age of travel and the most opulent of art and design. Every element of the interior reflects a devotion to Rama V-era elegance yet with contemporary and sometimes playful twists.
This sophisticated boutique retreat is nestled in tropical gardens within what is referred to as Siem Reap Village, a few paces from the peaceful Siem Reap River. Only 6 kilometers from the renowned Angkor temples and 15 minutes from Siem Reap international airport. It takes a gratifying 4 minutes tuk tuk ride to reach the Old Market, the new fascinating National Museum and lively Pub Street. The Heritage is the ideal intimate base for an astounding Angkor experience. With only 26 suites and rooms, the staff can truly focus on a highly customized service, authenticity and tradition, while providing all expected modern facilities. The architecture, the beautifully spacious suites, the unequalled kindness and efficiency of the staff and its culinary delights make Heritage unique as a luxurious sanctuary.
Situated in the heart of Chiang Mai, close to Wat Phra Singh temple, this luxurious Relais & Chateaux property draws its architectural inspiration from a Lampang temple. Its beauty and voluptuous serenity are sure to delight travellrs. The Rachmankha is much more than just a hotel. It is an experience. For the owners, who are two of Thailand's most famous designers and architects, it is a creation of love and a treasury of Lanna art and Chinese antiquities, which can be found in every guest room and throughout the hotel. The combination of Lanna art and interior design, and the temple style architecture has created a haven of peace. This is an ideal hotel for people in need of rest and relaxation.
SALA Samui is a stunning deluxe pool villa resort, featuring private swimming pools in 53 out of 69 total villas and suites. A comfortable, relaxing ambiance is created by a harmonious blend of traditional Thai architecture with modern facilities and amenities. Friendly, well-trained staff pamper guests with professional, personalized service. Located on pristine Choeng Mon beach on the northeast corner of the island, SALA Samui is just 15 minutes from the Samui airport, 20 minutes from Bo Phut's quaint Fisherman's Village, and only 15 minutes from Chaweng Beach shopping and nightlife.