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Best of Thailand (13 Days)
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 –Ayutaya –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: Chiang 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 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 –Chiang 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 –Phuket
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 Phuket.
Days 9-12: Phuket
You’re free to relax and spend your time at leisure on the beautiful island of Phuket for the next four days. Your hotel is ideally located on Kamala beach which is one of the best on the island and its gentle shelving and calm waters mean it’s perfect for swimming all year round. Golden sands lead up to an infinity pool and the rooftop bar offers spectacular sunsets with delicious cocktails.
There are numerous activities that you can do on the island, but one of the most popular is kayaking amongst the rocky caves of nearby Phang Na Bay, which is home to the iconic James Bond island. Or perhaps try your hand at scuba diving, there are plenty of dive schools nearby that offer ‘taster’ courses for the curious. In the evenings enjoy Kamala’s mellow bars and restaurants or take a short drive to lively Patong. From ladyboys parading in their glamorous costumes to street bars, sizzling food and loud music, Bangla Road in Patong feels like carnival every night!
Overnight in Phuket.
Day 13: Phuket
Today marks the end of your Thai adventure. After breakfast and hotel check out we will transfer you to Phuket airport in time for your onward flight.
Please note that your flight onward from Phuket is not included in the cost of this tour.
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- Tropical Phuket - 4 nights of rest and relaxation on one of Thailand's biggest and most popular islands
- Kanchanaburi - Allied War Cemetary, Bridge on the River Kwai and ‘Hellfire Pass’
- Ayuthaya - Former capital of Thailand, ancient ruins including iconic Wat Mahatat
- Cruising on the Kok River in a longtail boat
- Chiang Rai - Day trip to visit Hilltribe Community site and the Golden Triangle
- Bangkok - Grand Palace, tuk tuk ride to Wat Pho, Flower Market, long tail boat ride along the klongs and Khao San Road
- Erawan National Park - wildlife, evergreen forests, beautiful waterfalls & swimming
- Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple, trishaw ride around the old city, night market and cooking class. Plus free time for optional activities from spa treatments to canopy ziplines.
- Wat Rhon Khung - the unique ‘White Temple’
- Hmong Hill Tribe - Overnight stay in their community
- 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 4 dinners
- Economy class flights from Chiang Mai - Bangkok and Bangkok - Phuket
- Escorted by an English-speaking Thai tour guide
- Train ride over the River Kwai and visit to Hellfire Pass
- Longtail boat cruise on the canals of Bangkok and on the Kok River
- All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
- 10 nights 3 - 4 star & Special Class hotels, 1 night floating hotel in the jungle, 1 night overnight sleeper train from Ayuthaya to Chiang Mai
- Airport arrival transfer day 1 (Bangkok) & departure transfer day 13 (Phuket)
- Guided sightseeing - Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Erawan National Park, Ayuthaya, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
- Chiang Mai trishaw ride and cooking class
- Free time by the beach in Phuket
- International flights and visa