Welcome to Bangkok. Transfer to your centrally located riverside hotel and relax before meeting your Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Reception drink with local appetisers.
For the early risers, start your day with a visit to Lumpini Park to join the locals and learn the basic principles of T'ai Chi, a Cultural Insight. Alternatively, enjoy a leisurely start to the day before joining your fellow travellers on your City Tour, starting with a visit to Bangkok's most well-known fruit and flower market, Pak Klong Talad. Next visit the Grand Palace, which served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th to the mid 20th century. The most famous building in the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. Afterwards visit Wat Pho, Bangkok's oldest temple, which features the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. Wat Pho is also famous for Thailand's first University, and is a centre for traditional Thai massage. Enjoy a Thai massage, a Cultural Insight, in the temple's massage centre. Have some free time this evening to relax or take part in an Optional Experience.
Today learn the secrets of traditional Thai recipes in a cooking class with a Local Specialist located in a charming colonial style house. Before the start of the class visit a local market to buy fresh ingredients. Discover the exotic fruits and vegetables found in Thailand that will be used to prepare the meal, a Cultural Insight. Later enjoy the various exciting dishes you have prepared. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure or opt to join an Optional Experience.
Make an early start this morning to travel to the famous floating fruit and vegetable market at Damnoen Saduak and arrive there before the crowds. The colourfully clad merchants at this lively market paddle along the congested canals in sturdy canoes, laden with fresh fruit and vegetables to sell to shoppers on the banks. En route make a short stop at a coconut palm sugar plantation and discover how the farmer extracts the sap from the palm trees to eventually be turned into sugar, a Cultural Insight. After lunch in a local restaurant discover the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, a facility dedicated to presenting the history of the famous railway line. It was built during WWII by the Imperial Japanese army, using Allied prisoners of war alongside Asian labourers. Continue with a visit to the War Cemetery, the final resting place for over 6,000 allied prisoners of war.
This morning visit the famous Hellfire Pass, a section of the Thailand-Burma Railway. It was built during WWII under very difficult conditions and said to have resembled hell on earth. After lunch board the train for your Cultural Insight, a thrilling ride across wooden viaducts offering fantastic scenery along the Kwai River before experiencing a walk over the wooden viaduct. Dinner this evening is at a local restaurant.
After breakfast leave Kanchanaburi and travel to Ayutthaya to visit the remains of this historic city which was once the 2nd most important ancient capital of Old Siam, built after the fall of Sukhothai. It was founded in 1350 and was one of the world's largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then travel back to Bangkok for your flight to Sukhothai. This evening during dinner experience an authentic Thai cultural dance in an open-air theatre at the hotel.
Start the day with a visit to the Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the other, much larger ancient capital of Thailand founded in 1238. See thousands of years of history in this extensive and elaborate park and find the temple with the 15 metre seated Buddha secreted away amongst the trees. Your choice of exploring the large area by bicycle or on the internal tram which services the historical park. This afternoon go off the beaten track with a visit to the home of a local family. Learn how to make amulets which are important to many Thais and thought to protect the owner from harm.
Depart early this morning and travel to the village of Natonchan where the community started an eco-tourism project. Interact with the local people, meet one of the villagers to learn about 'gymnastic doll' making and the typical 'mud soaked clothes' worn by the villagers, a Cultural Insight. The local woven cotton clothes are soaked in mud to protect them from fading. Continue the journey north and enjoy lunch in a local restaurant followed by a stop in Lampang and a visit to the unique temple of Wat Prathat Lampang Luang built on the site of an 8th century fortification that guarded the routes to Lampang. The temple has been preserved in its original state from the 15th century, whereas many Thai temples have been renovated to conform to modernity. Later visit the 'Friends of the Asian Elephant' Hospital a foundation that cares for wounded elephants before continuing on to Chiang Mai. This evening is yours to enjoy at your own pace.
This morning visit the temple of Wat Suan Dok and take part in a talk with a local monk about Buddhism, a Cultural Insight. Meet the children and teachers at a local school before continuing to a small village nearby for your Be My Guest experience. The family will welcome you to their typical stilt house for a northern Thai style lunch. Later visit the handicraft villages in the Sankamphaeng district of Chiang Mai, which has long been known as the heart of the handicraft industry. Many of Thailand's major producers are here and all the traditional crafts such as the famous umbrella and fan making can be found.
Spend the morning at leisure or choose to join an Optional Experience. Later enjoy a visit at Wat Doi Suthep one of Thailand's most sacred temples and observe the chanting of the monks at sunset; a magical experience. This evening join your fellow companions and Travel Director for a delightful Farewell Dinner at a traditional Thai restaurant located next to the river.
Depart this morning for Chiang Rai and en route visit an Ahka village, a Cultural Insight. The Akha are known for their bright headdresses and are among the poorest of Thailand's ethnic minorities. Visit Doi Tung a pilgrimage site for Thai, Shan and Chinese Buddhists and once a cultivating site for opium. The Doi Tung Development Project was initiated by the late Princess Mother of Thailand to help the struggling local people to educate and empower themselves to be economically self-reliant. Take a stroll through the beautifully landscaped flower garden at the villa. Make a brief stop at the unique white temple of Wat Rong Khun before continuing to Chiang Rai and your hotel for a relaxing evening.
Today start the day with a City Tour of Chiang Rai visiting some of its amazing sights like the Clock Tower and Wat Phra Kaew. Afterwards visit the little known village of Banyafu where the houses are made of wood and bamboo and the Lahu hilltribe people live their lives according to their traditions, a Cultural Insight.
This morning visit Chiang Saen, the former capital of the first Thai Lanna Kingdom. Travel by boat on the Mekong River towards the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. Stop in Laos and visit the Don Sao Island Markets, which have an abundance of local handicrafts. After lunch visit the Hall of Opium, situated in the heart of the Golden Triangle, which provides an excellent Cultural Insight into the opium trade, so prevalent in this area over the past century. Later return to your hotel in Chiang Rai.
Transfer to Chiang Rai Airport for your onward flight.
Special Rate Solo Rooming: The following departures of 20 May 2018, 17 June 2018 and 30 September 2018 include a discount of up to 12% on our standard single supplement.
Flights: Prices include internal airfare and taxes for flight: Bangkok to Sukhothai and are accurate as of 1st June 2017.
Visas are generally not required for Thailand for many nationalities. Please contact the consulate/embassy for further information.