Thailand17An extensive introduction to the history and culture of Thailand by experiencing the new capital city of Bangkok and old capital city of Sukhothai (Siam's first unified kingdom) and Ayutthaya (Siam's second unified kiingdom). Enjoy elephant riding and rafting in Chiang Mai, visiting hill tribe villages in Mae Hong Son. Visit the Golden Triangle (where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet on the Mekong River). See the northerrnmost city of Thailand, Mae Sai in Chiang Rai province and cross into Burmese Tachileik if you like. See the sights in jungle encircled Kachanaburi, and relax on the beach in Phuket.

 Route: Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Elephant Camp, Doi Suthep, Mae Hong Son, Sukhothai, Phitsanulok, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Phuket and Phang-Nga

 

check16 Inclusive:

• Accommodation in shared twin rooms with daily breakfast
• All entrance fees
• Transfers and tours with English speaking local guides (or as specified)
• Train Ticket Phitsanulok to Ayutthaya
• One lunch
• Boat trip of Chao Phraya River (Bangkok), River Kwai (Kanchanaburi) & Phang-Nga Bay (Phuket)
• Bamboo raft (Chiang Mai)

stop16

 Exclusive:

• Travel insurance
• International Airfare
• Domestic Airfare (BKK-CEI and BKK-HKT-BKK)
• Expenditure of a personal nature, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, etc.
• International airport departure tax (700 Baht per person)
• Christmas and New Year's Eve gala dinner

 

noteItinerary:

 Day 1: Bangkok - Arrival

Arrive in Suvarnabhumi Airport, meet and transfer to city hotel for check-in. Overnight in hotel, Bangkok.

Day 2: Bangkok (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Today we commence our tour of Bangkok with a canal tour in a long-tail boat along the Chao Phraya River and the many lively inner canals which offer some fantastic views of the local life close up. Along the way we make a stop at Wat Aroon (Temple of the Dawn), before continuing to the Grand Palace dedicated to the Thai Royal Family's ceremonies. Adjacent to it is the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew, famous for the Emerald Buddha image which is the palladium of the nation. After seeing this complex we drive Chinatown to experience this bustling enclave that the immigrant Chinese made their home more than 300 years ago. You can find many strange things in the shops lining both sides of the main road of Yaowarat. Return to hotel. Overnight in hotel, Bangkok.

Day 3: Bangkok - Chiang Rai (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to airport for the flight to Chiang Rai province. Arriving in Chiang Rai airport, meet and transfer to Chiang Saen, The royal capital of the ancient Lanna kingdom, Chiang Saen, is situated on the Mekong riverbank which is now the border between Thailand and Laos. Arriving in Chiang Saen we visit the town's major sights including Wat Phrathat Jom Kitti, Wat Chedi Luang and a nearby museum. Heading out of the town we drive through some verdant and rugged mountain scenery to the famous Golden Triangle where in former times powerful warlords had fought for control of the opium trade. Drive to the border town of Mae Sai at the Thai-Myanmar border joined to Burmese Tachileik by a friendship bridge. Crossing into Burmese Tachileik from Mae Sai costs 500 Baht as immigration fee paid directly at the Burmese check-point. Tachileik is one of the many towns of Myanmar trapped in poverty, but is better than most because of the large amounts of Thai and Chinese trade. Ignore the persistent vendors trailing beside you pestering you to buy their shoddy goods. Duty-free liquour and cigarettes are sold in several genuine Duty-Free shops. Costume jewellery is plentiful. After that we return to Chiang Rai for checking into the hotel. Overnight in hotel, Chiang Rai.

Day 4: Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. At 8am meet your guide and ransfer to Chiang Mai, a drive over the northern hills and across valleys and stream for about 3 hours. Uporn arrival in Chiang Mai, check into hotel. A city tour follows to include the old and new Chiang Mai, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, and have a "Monk Chat" at Wat Chedi Luang under the tamarind trees with some monks. Visit the Warorot Market beside the Ping River for an idea of the local produce farmed in northern Thailand. Visit the Sankamphaeng craft industries to see teakwood carving, celadon-firing, silk and cotton weaving, lacquer ware and the paper-umbrella village of Bor Sang. Back in Chiang Mai prepare to enjoy the very interesting Night Bazaar where there are lots of handicraft, restaurants and snack shops, coffee cafes, money-exchange booths and hundreds of stalls on both sides of the road offering a wide range of products to the tourists. Visit also the Anusarn Market adjacent to the Night Bazaar full of stalls, seafood restaurants and health massage places. Overnight in hotel, Chiang Mai.

Day 5: Chiang Mai - Elephant Camp - Doi Suthep (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Full-day tour to an elephant camp to interact with elephants.You can ride on one for a romp into the jungle with a mahout. Have lunch at the riverside restaurant. Cruise down the river on a bamboo raft to where your transport waits to take you on a trip up Doi Suthep to see the Wat Prathat Mountain Monastery with its naga-lined stairway and golden chedi at its centre. On a clear day you can see Chiang Mai city below. There is a small "museum" on the grounds housing Lanna-style Buddha statues, votive taqblets and amulets. Be sure to ring all the bells surrounding the main chedi for merit and good luck. Return to hotel and be at leisure.
Overnight in hotel, Chiang Mai.

Day 6: Chiang Mai - Mae Hong Son (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel.The exciting adventure continues as we leave the city and drive through the breathtaking mountain landscape to Mae Hong Son. Along the way we make a stop at a hot spring near Ban Papae before we head towards Pai. There is plenty to see in this beautiful area , some of which are the Lisu Hilltribe Village, the Tam Lod Cave, the Lahu Hilltribe Village.We follow this with a trip to the Fish Cave, where thousands of carps live an undisturbed life. On arrival in Mae Hong Son we stroll around the town to soak up the pleasant climate and catch our first glimpse of Burmese influence in the architecture and lifestyle of the locals. The Burmese influence is prevalent as this town is bordered by Myanmar to the north and the west. Overnight in hotel, Mae Hong Son.

Day 7: Mae Hong Son (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel.Upon leaving the town we set off on a rough drive by pick-up truck to the Karen hill tribe village of Baan Nai Soi. At this small village we change our transport when we take a short but exciting elephant ride through the unspoiled forest to the Padong hill tribe village. This ethnic group still retains their age-old cultural traditions - one of which is that most of the women-folk attempt to have long necks by wearing numerous brass rings around their necks from an early age. We embark on our truck again for a short drive to Sop Soi and enjoy a longtail boat for a leisurely trip downstream on the Pai River which also provides us a taste of the tranquil countryside and an interesting view of rural life close up. Overnight in hotel, Mae Hong Son.

Day 8: Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. The sightseeing tour of Mae Hong Son would not be complete without a visit to Wat Jong Kham and Wat Jong Klang, two of the town's most famous Burmese style monastaries. The first structure was constructed around 200 year ago by the Shan people while Wat Jong Klang houses an old glass painting and many wood carvings which depict the various lives of the Buddha. A next stop is Wat Doi Kong Moo which sits on a low hill and dominates the town giving a wonderful view of the surrounding areas. We then spend the time on our own until transfer to the airport for the flight to Chiang Mai.
Overnight in hotel, Chiang Mai.

Day 9: Chiang Mai - Old Sukhothai (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning departure to Sukhothai, Siam's first unified kingdom of the 13th century. On the way visit the famous and very old temple of Wat Prathat Lampang Luang in Ko Kha - probably the most magnificent temple in northern Thailand. It is also the best compendium of Lanna-style temple architecture. We take the route to Den Chai to visit Si Satchanalai, touring the important monuments of Wat Chedi Jet Theeaw in typical Sukhothai style and Wat Chang Lom in Singhalese style as well as the hilltop chedi of Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng. Dive to Sukhothai, arriving in Sukhothai in late afternoon. Check into hotel. Overnight in hotel, Sukhothai.

Day 10: Old Sukhothai (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel.Touring of the Sukhothai Historical Park before checking into your hotel. This was the first united kingdom of Thailand when it was Siam. It began its political and cultural development when King Ramkamhaeng the Great wrested sovereignty from his Khmer overlord in last quarter of the 13th century. UNESCO-restored ruins in the 1960s have restored much of the glory of this first Thai kingdon. We will visit the main temple of Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Sawai, Wat Phra Phai Luang and Wat Si Chum – and others.
Overnight in hotel, Sukhothai.

Day 11: Sukhothai - Phitsanulok - Ayutthaya (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Depart from hotel after breakfast to drive the 58km to Phitsanulok. Tour of Phitsanulok. See an amazing sight of house-boats moored on the banks of the Nan River in Phitsanulok – the only city in Thailand which allows house-boats as homes for the people. This is gradually disappearing as the law forbids anymore building of such homes. Visit Wat Mahathat where is housed the magnificent Buddha Chinnarat image. Arriving in Phitsanulok railway, your guide will bid you farewell and put you on the train to Ayutthaya (Train No.106, departing Phitsanulok at 08.59am and arriving in Ayutthaya at 13.26pm), an interesting ride through the central plain of Thailand passing provincial towns and countryside of rice-fields, fish farms and fruit orchards. Your Bangkok guide will meet you at the Ayutthaya railway station with a car/van and driver to take you to the hotel for checking in. Touring of ancient Ayutthaya in the afternoon, visiting the temple ruins, among which are Wat Yai Chaimongkhol where you can see one of the biggest Reclining Buddha images as well as the ruins of the old Royal Grand Palace & other temples. Overnight in hotel, Ayutthaya.

Day 12: Ayutthaya - Kanchanaburi (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. This morning we travel by road to Kanchanaburi via Suphan Buri. Tour of the sights in Kanchanaburi. Visit the JEATH war museum, War cemetery and the Bridge over the River Kwai. Take a historic ride on the "Death Railway" train, passing lush forests. In the afternoon take a long-tailed boat from pier to get to the Jungle Rafts, passing by unspoiled mountainous jungle scenery. Check-in on arrival. Visit to the nearby ethnic Mon tribal village and elephant riding through the bamboo forest.
Overnight in hotel, Kanchanaburi.

Day 13: Kanchanaburi - Bangkok (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the Jungle Rafts.Take an exciting boat ride downstream to Resotel pier and continue your tour to the Hell Fire Pass Memorial; then return to the Jungle Rafts for check-out from the Jungle Rafts to transfer back to Bangkok. Upon arrival check into hotel.
Overnight in hotel, Bangkok.

Day 14: Bangkok - Phuket (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free until it is time to transfer to the airport for your flight to Phuket. Arrive in Phuket, meet and transfer to hotel. Enjoy the beach and hotel facilities for a relaxing time. Overnight in hotel, Phuket.

Day 15: Phuket - Phang-Nga Bay Tour (Breakfast/Lunch)

Breakfast at the hotel. Morning pick up at 8am to drive to Phang-Nga Bay for a boat cruise among the karst islands in the sea, like Ko Pin Kan (James Bond Island), where there are beautiful grottoes and caves and lovely seascape. Seafood lunch is included in the tour. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon to enjoy the beach and hotel facilities. Overnight in hotel, Phuket.

Day 16: Phuket - Bangkok (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free until time to transfer to Phuket airport in the late afternoon flight to Bangkok. At Bangkok domestic airport, meet and transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in hotel, Bangkok.

Day 17: Bangkok - Departure (Breakfast)

Breakfast at the hotel. Free until time to transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

End of Programme