Saturday. Welcome to Bangkok, the ever-alluring capital of Thailand. Arrival transfer to our hotel where our Welcome Meeting takes place later in the evening.
Today we explore the pulsating city of Bangkok starting with the stunning Grand Palace and its golden stupas. See the Emerald Buddha, the Wat Pho and visit the Original Thai Massage School. Stop at the 24hr Flower Market before boarding longtail boats for a cruise along the cityâ€™s canals, known in Thai as khlongs, passing stilted houses, old men fishing and pretty temples along the way. From where we disembark itâ€™s a short walk to the lively Khao San Road where street cafes and bars abound.
Bangkok - Kanchanaburi. Departing Bangkok we drive to the small town of Kanchanaburi where we pay our respects at the Allied War Cemetery, the site where thousands of Allied POWs are buried. Next we visit the infamous â€˜Bridge on the River Kwaiâ€™ immortalised by the film of the same name. A scenic train ride takes us over the bridge to follow the tracks laid down by the POWs during the Second World War. Arriving at Nam Tok we drive to â€˜Hellfire Passâ€™ and visit an interesting museum detailing how the POWs used little more than their bare hands to dig through the mountain. After a full dayâ€™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: Kanchanaburi Floating Hotel | Breakfast, 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 thereâ€™s time to take a quick dip in the crystalline waters before we visit an elephant park to see these amazing creatures up close and take 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 Ayuthayaâ€™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 Thailandâ€™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 thereâ€™s time to explore the nearby shops and bars before heading to Bangkokâ€™s main train station to catch our overnight express sleeper train (2nd class A/C sleeper cabins) to Chiang Mai.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast, Lunch
This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. This afternoon we take a trishaw ride and explore the old city of Chiang Mai before driving up to the majestic Doi Suthep, standing like a sentinel overlooking Chiang Mai. The tranquility of monks chanting as the sun slowly heads to the horizon is a highlight for many. In the evening we head into the night market to explore many of the street foods on offer and perhaps try our hand at haggling.
Overnight: Chiang Mai
Sat at the foothills of northern Thailand and spattered with pretty temples, Chiang Mai is a dream to explore. Today is free for you to partake in optional activities from spa treatments to cooking classes and white water rafting to canopy ziplines.
Chiang Mai - Ta Thon - Chiang Rai - breakfast. Departing Chiang Mai we travel through stunning karst and jungle scenery in our longtail boats to the relaxed town of Ta Thon for a lunch stop. Our private longtail boats wait to take us down the River Kok passing rural Thai life along the way - farmers work the land where tea grows and buffalo lounge. After disembarking we visit the unconventional Wat Rhon Khung, decorated with scenes from popular films including Star Wars and Superman! Continue to Chiang Rai for hotel check in and a visit to the night market for some bargain hunting.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast
Today we explore the hill tribe villages that surround Chiang Rai with our first stop at a local Karen tribe village. Known as the â€˜long neckâ€™ tribe, the native women wear neck rings that cause their necks to lengthen. Next we visit the border frontier town of Mae Sai where we may have the chance to cross over to Myanmar for a quick visit! At Chiang Saen soak up the views of Laos and Myanmar before learning about the regionâ€™s intriguing history at the Opium Museum.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast
Chiang Rai - Huai Khum. Our foray into Thailandâ€™s northern hills continues as we make our way to Huai Khum. Nestled on the banks of the River Mae Kok and surrounded by tribal villages, each with their own culture and traditions, Huai Khum is the ideal base for a day of trekking. Today we may encounter Akha, Lahu or Lisu tribes people working in the fields, collecting firewood or making traditional handicrafts. Depending on the season there may even be the chance to visit a local school and meet the children and teachers. Returning to our hotel in Huai Khum the rest of the afternoon offers time to relax by the pool or opt for a kayak ride on the river.
Overnight: Huai Khum | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Huai Khum - Mae Kampong. This morning we move on to the charming village of Mae Kampong where we meet our homestay families and enjoy the lunch prepared for us. This village has embraced the opportunities that surround it, generating enough electricity from the nearby rushing stream to supply the village and sell the rest back to the grid. They grow strawberries and flowers on hills that were once covered in poppies, a somewhat different crop and have developed a small homestay scheme to help supplement the income of the village. This afternoon a local village guide will take us on a walking tour whilst in the evening evening our gracious hosts may host a welcome ceremony in our honour with dances and music performances.
Overnight: Mae Kampong Homestay | Breakfast, Dinner
Mae Kampong - Mae Rim. Bidding farewell to our host families we travel back to Chiang Mai for a change of vehicle and continue to our lodge nestled in the foothills of Chiang Dao. The lodge, similar to a rural resort in style with a swimming pool is located in the land of the Hmong, a community that lives peacefully in the mountains raising animals and farming. Enjoy an afternoon stroll through the surrounding villages before an evening BBQ at the lodge.
Overnight: Mae Rim | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Mae Rim - Bangkok. Soak up the tranquility of the lodge and local villages this morning with some free time before heading back to Chiang Mai to catching our mid afternoon flight to the buzzing capital city of Bangkok. On arrival we transfer to our hotel with one last evening for shopping, dining and entertainment.
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast
Friday. Our tour concludes after breakfast. Hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport. You can extend your stay in this amazing city by booking post tour accommodation. If doing so your departure transfer to the airport will be offered at the completion of your arrangements.
Yi Peng Lantern Festival tour
On 20 November 2015 we are offering a special Thailand Temples & Tribes departure that coincides with the spectacular Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai. At the festival we will witness to the release of thousands of beautifully coloured, candle lit Lanna-style lanterns into the sky and local river. If travelling on this date, please see our Thailand Temples & Tribes, Yi Peng Festival notes for more info.
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 hotelâ€™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.
Bright, cheerful and knowledgable”
Great comunication with the group very easy to talk to and understand, always happy to help and give advice when taking photo's. Lee was always happy and joined in with the fun a pleasure to be with. ”
I really liked our second guide Ning who joined us in Chaing Rai. She made extra effort to show us more on our tour. I did not like the itinerary in the second week because Onthgo Tours had us driving back and forth over the same roads, retracing our route and driving too much. Why didn't you organise the tour so we had more time staying at the hotels instead of driving in the vans back and forth on the same roads? I liked almost all the hotels we used. Our guide Lee Sataporn had us go to the temple ruins in the evening instead of the next morning as scheduled. It would have been better if she would have given us the extra time at the hoitel the next morning, since she changed our itinerary. I did not like the massage place she took us to in Chaing Mai - it seemed dodgy and unprofessional. Was it actually a front for prostitution? I went to a different one the next day that was very professional, well-lit and seemed cleaner. I wished we had had Ning as our tour guide for both weeks, she was excellent, and was interested in ensuring we enjoyed our tour.”
Tour was fabulous...loved all the places we visited. Would have loved to have stayed longer at the floating motel as it was very special. Sun was exceptional, her manner, knowledge and sense of humour were outstanding. Nothing was too hard for her. The drivers were all courteous and I felt safe throughout the whole tour.
Was glad we added on a few days at Krabi before returning home to relax before going home.”
Wow, just back from this amazing tour. Our guide Sun was everything you could wish for informative, knowledgeable, and helpful. We always knew exactly where we were, what we were looking at and doing, what we needed to wear, bring and do at every stage, so we never missed a thing. Her thoughtful touches like buying local snacks for us to try really made the holiday. When I said that I would like to see the elephants paint a picture she re arranged the schedule to incorporate the show and helped me buy the picture itself, what service. Every day exceeded the previous day the Grand palace, the river raft floating hotel, the elephant conservation centre and the festival of light being my highlights. Amazing. I chose this holiday as a present to my husband for his 50th birthday and what a unforgettable birthday present it was thank you.”
Bright, cheerful and knowledgable”