Day 1: Bangkok
Welcome to Bangkok, the ever-alluring capital of Thailand. Once you have checked into your hotel the rest of the day is free until 6pm when you meet your guide for a welcome meeting. Then it’s just a short walk through the bustling streets of Bangkok to the famous ‘Cabbages and Condoms’ restaurant where you get to sample some of the best Thai dishes that you will encounter during your tour.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 2: Bangkok
This morning we set off to explore this sprawling metropolis. The first stop is at the 24 hour flower market where you get to view stunning orchids and roses on sale to the local restaurants and florists. Then we visit the spiritual and religious heart of the city – the striking Grand Palace. Topped by golden stupas, the complex has been the site of royal coronations and is home to the legendary Emerald Buddha. From the Grand Palace we take an exhilarating ride on a tuk tuk to Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha.
After a break for lunch we board a longtail boat and set off on an exploration of the labrynth of klongs (canals) that criss cross the city. On our journey we’ll glide by stilted houses and gleaming temples whilst old men fish and children play about on the waters edge. Our boat drops us off within walking distance of Khao San Road, popular with backpackers and hippies. The evening is free for you to explore the many bars, restaurants, market stalls and tailors that line this vibrant road.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 3: Bangkok –Kanchanaburi
It’s an early start today as we drive 2.5hrs west of the capital to the small town of Kanchanaburi. Here we pay our respects to the thousands of Allied POWs who perished in the area under the hand of the Imperial Japanese Army. After pausing at the Allied War Cemetery we continue to the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, immortalised by the film of the same name. You have a chance to take pictures before you board a train for a 2 hour journey that crosses the bridge before following the tracks dug by the POWs and locals some 75 years earlier.
Disembarking at Nam Tok we have a short drive to ‘Hellfire Pass’ where the POWs dug through a mountain often using only their bare hands. A fascinating museum at the entrance details the region’s history.
After our day’s sightseeing a leisurely longtail boat ride leads us to our fabulous floating jungle raft hotel. To the beauty of a hundred softly glowing lanterns and the sounds of the tropical forest and cool water flowing by we enjoy dinner and a relaxing evening on the deck.
Overnight in Kanchanaburi.
Day 4: Kanchanaburi –Erawan – Ayuthaya –Chaing Mai
This morning we travel on to the beautiful Erawan National Park to explore the rivers, waterfalls and trails on foot. Following a walk in the jungle we head to Ayuthaya, the former capital of Thailand. Ayuthaya was sacked by the Burmese, leading them to abandon the site and relocate the capital to Bangkok. All that remains are the stone and brick temples from the era. Today we explore Ayuthaya’s famous ruins, visiting the magnificent stupas at Wat Phri Sanphet and iconic Wat Mahatat where the head of a damaged Buddha statue has slowly been embraced and lifted by a nearby tree. This is one of Thailand’s most religiously significant places. This evening we head to the station to board our sleeper train to Chiang Mai (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins).
Overnight in Sleeper Train.
Day 5: Chaing Mai –Mae Rim
This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. First up we visit the imposing Doi Suthep Temple that stands like a sentinel over the city. We take time to relax and enjoy the view before driving into the countryside to the Hmong hill tribe lodge in Mae Rim where we will stay this evening. Here, you can take numerous walks into the surrounding countryside to visit the some of the nearby hill tribe villages. In the evening we enjoy a sumptuous BBQ before being entertained by dancers from the local community.
Overnight in Mae Rim.
Day 6: Mae Rim –Chiang Rai –Chaing Mai
Our journey today takes us to Chiang Rai, travelling through stunning karst and jungle scenery before we arrive at the Kok River for an hour long longtail boat cruise along the waterway. Following a break for lunch we visit the Golden Triangle and learn of the Opium Trade that made this region so wealthy. We then visit a hill tribe community site where you have the chance to learn more about how five of the most prominent tribes in the area live, including their traditional costumes and homes. Our last stop of the day is the unique Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) which depicts scenes from movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman! After exploring the temple we return to Chiang Mai arriving late in the evening.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 7: Chiang Mai
This morning you can join your tour guide in giving out Alms to the local monks before returning to your hotel for breakfast. We then take a traditional trishaw for a ride around the old city of Chiang Mai, visiting some of the key temples within the city walls. Then we head to a local cooking school to try our hand at preparing tasty local cuisine in a traditional Thai setting. This informative cooking class teaches us how to prepare three of Thailand’s most popular dishes that we’ll later get to enjoy for lunch.
The rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore at leisure. In the evening we visit the Chiang Mai night market, a haven of souvenirs and works by local artisans.
Overnight in Chiang Mai
Day 8: Chiang Mai – Koh Samui
Today is free for you to enjoy some of the many optional activities in the city, from zip lining through the jungle canopy to riding a bike through the countryside. There is a street of cottage industries which is great to pick up those last minute silk, silver or jewellery souvenirs. In the late afternoon we transfer to the airport in time to catch our flight to Bangkok.
Upon return to Bangkok airport board an onward flight to the beautiful island of Phuket in the Andaman Sea. Arriving very late in the evening you’ll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel.
Overnight in Koh Samui.
Days 9-12: Koh Samui
Enjoy four days of sun, sea and relaxation in Koh Samui. Nestled in the Chumphon Archipelago, Koh Samui is one of Thailand’s most popular islands and with tropical sandy beaches, excellent scuba diving and beautiful Buddhist temples it’s easy to see why.
Your hotel is located in Chaweng – the most popular part of the island. Situated just south of the airport on the east coast, the town offers a plethora of leisure activities including scuba diving, kayaking, elephant trekking and fishing, as well as a fantastic array of restaurants and bars, so you’re free to do as much or as little as you’d like. Perhaps opt for a day trip to An Thong Marine Park which is famous for its incredible snorkelling and pristine beaches.
Overnight in Koh Samui.
Day 13: Koh Samui –Bangkok
Today you will fly from Koh Samui to Bangkok. Upon arrival to Bangkok our holiday arrangements do come to an end. If we have your onward flight details from Bangkok well will aim to co-ordinate the included Koh Samui – Bangkok flight to suit.