Saturday. Upon arrival into Bangkok, you'll be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. A Welcome Meeting takes place this evening where you'll meet your guide and the rest of your group, and after we'll head into the city for an optional group meal at the Mango Tee, a modern Thai restaurant serving up traditional dishes from around the country.
This morning we embark on a sightseeing tour of Bangkok, making our first stop at 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. We’ll also visit the House of the Reclining Buddha and Original Thai Massage School before boarding traditional longtail boats to explore the city’s canals. Known as khlongs, the canals enable surface water to make its way to the sea and have long been a way of getting around Bangkok. On our journey we’ll glide by curious stilted houses and gleaming temples whilst old men fish and children folic about on the waters edge.
Our boats drop us off within walking distance of Khao San Road, popular with backpackers and hippies. We then return to our hotel to freshen up before setting out to one of the most popular micro-breweries in the city, Tawan Daeng. This popular spot serves a fusion of German/Thai drinks and food and sports a lively scene.
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast
Bangkok - Kanchanaburi. It’s an early start today as we drive 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 during World War II. After pausing at the Allied War Cemetery we continue to the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, immortalised by the novel and film of the same name.
You have a chance to take pictures here before we meet our teacher for the day and head to the market to buy the produce for our cooking class. We will learn about the different herbs and spices and fresh produce on offer, and how they have been used over the years. We then head to the cooking school where we scrub up and get cooking. Our teacher will run through the different catering styles and techniques as you produce food that you can snack on along the way.
Following our cooking class we take a leisurely longtail boat ride 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: Kanchanaburi | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Kanchanaburi - Ayuthaya. This morning we travel on to the beautiful Erawan National Park, to explore the rivers, waterfalls and trails on foot. The park boasts a stunning tiered waterfall and there’s time to take a quick dip in the crystalline waters before we visit an elephant centre to enjoy a ride through the forest. Our final destination today is Ayuthaya, the former capital of Thailand.
Overnight: Ayuthaya | Breakfast
Ayuthaya - Bangkok - Chiang Mai. 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, the giant Bronze Statue of Buddha 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.
Departing Ayuthaya we board a cruise ship on the mighty Chao Praya River, for a scenic cruise back to the Bangkok, enjoying lunch on board. On arrival there’s time to explore the nearby shops and bars before heading to Bangkok’s main train station to catch our overnight express sleeper train (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins) to Chiang Mai.
Overnight: Sleeper Train | Breakfast
Arriving into Chiang Mai in the morning we head out into the countryside to meet with our cook and teacher. We explore the organic garden to pick the herbs and spices we need before cooking our lunch. We return to our hotel in the late afternoon where the rest of the day and evening are free for you to enjoy at leisure.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast, Lunch
A free day for you to relax or participate in some of the many activities on offer. Choose from the more relaxing options with spa treatments and massages, to the adrenaline-fuelled with canopy zip lines and rock climbing.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast
Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai. Our journey today takes us through stunning karst and jungle scenery. Stopping for lunch at Ta Thon we board private long tail boats for a cruise down the Kok River watching rural life pass us by. Farmers work the land where oranges grow whilst men fish along the banks and buffalo wallow in the shallow waters. We later dock in a small village and enjoy a one hour elephant ride through the surrounding countryside. From our arrival point we continue to Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) - a beautiful complex of newly built white and golden temples that are still a work in progress.
We then continue to our hotel in Chiang Rai arriving in the early evening. After hotel check-in we take a short stroll down to the night market for you to do some last minute bargain hunting.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast
Today we visit the produce markets in Chiang Rai to get the necessary supplies for our cooking class, which will be focused on northern Thai cuisine. The class covers some of the best the region has to offer. In the evening you are free to explore the town or to simply relax by the river.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast, Lunch
Chiang Rai - Bangkok. After breakfast and hotel check-out we head out to a local village where you'll have the chance to encounter the famous Long Neck or Karen tribe. We then continue then to the border frontier town of Mae Sai, where you have the chance to cross briefly into Myanmar and enter the Burmese town of Tachilek (optional).
Our next stop is a viewpoint in Chiang Saen, better known as the Golden Triangle, which earned its name from the fact that so much opium once passed through the area. From this viewpoint we are able to see Myanmar in front of us and Laos to the right. We then have some time to visit the Opium Museum before returning to Chiang Mai to catch our flights back to Bangkok. Upon arrival we transfer to our hotel.
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast
Tuesday. Today marks the end of your Thai adventure. After breakfast and hotel check out we will transfer you to the airport in time for your onward departure flight. Your most welcome to extend your stay in Bangkok. If choosing to book post tour accommodation with us a departure transfer to the airport will be offered at the completion of your post tour accommodation arrangements.
For all our tours and tailor-made holidays we provide you with a clear categorisation of all hotels we use. The REGIONAL CATEGORY indicates the local rating of each hotel in each respective country. We have also rated each hotel using OUR CATEGORY, which will be in line with generally accepted western hotel grading standards.
Basic hotels and simple accommodation is a no frills option with an adventurous authentic feel.
Standard accommodation equates to a Western 3-star standard, always featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant.
Superior accommodation equates to a Western 4-star standard, featuring en-suite rooms and usually a restaurant and often a swimming pool and/or a fitness centre.
Deluxe accommodation equates to a Western 5-star standard, usually featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, excellent service and customer care.
Lavish accommodation equates to a Western 5-star plus standard - the creme de la creme. Featuring spacious, en-suite rooms, a restaurant, swimming pool and fitness centre and an array of amenities, this accommodation is a cut above the rest. Sheer opulence!
The Royal Benja Hotel provides homely accommodation in the heart of Bangkok city with a large outdoor pool to enjoy after a long, hot day sightseeing. Benjamas Restaurant serves a wide selection of local and international cuisine whilst drinks and live music are offered at the Buddy Pub.
This impressive high rise hotel offers comfortable accommodation and a host of facilities. The hotel’s extensive all day dining venue plays host to sumptuous buffets, themed evening and a extensive a la carte option bringing together the best of Italian, Japanese, International, Thai and Asian Cuisine. Perched atop of the hotel is the Sunflower Chinese Restaurant affording spectacular views of Chiang Mai and some of the best Chinese Cuisine this city has to offer. The hotel also features a spacious pool with its own bar, a state of the art gym and spa.
Enjoying a pretty location by the Maekok River, the Rimkok Hotel provides attractive grounds and comfortable rooms with a large outdoor swimming pool and free WiFi in public areas. Garden views can be enjoyed from the private balconies of the guestrooms. The hotel's restaurants serve a selection of Thai, Chinese and International dishes.
Tipping is not a natural part of many Western cultures and many of us feel uncomfortable, or unsure, about when, or how much, to tip. However, in Thailand, tipping makes up a significant part of many people's wages so it's important that we get it right. For this reason we've developed a very simple system to take all the hassle out of tipping. With our 'tipping made easy' policy, a nominal pre-determined amount is collected from all group tour participants to cover tips en route. This then saves you the hassle of when and how much to tip bellhops, luggage handlers, local guides and other support staff through the tour. Our 'tipping made easy' doesn't include a tip to your group tour leader. Naturally, though, the amount is up to you as tipping is an entirely personal gesture.