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.
This morning 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. We’ll also visit the House of the Reclining Buddha, the Original Thai Massage School and the 24hr Flower Market before boarding 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. Late afternoon offers free time for you to enjoy the many bars, restaurants, street performers, market stalls and tailors - that will measure you up for a new suit, that line this vibrant road.
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast
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: Kanchanaburi | 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 there’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 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, 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
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. No trip to Chiang Mai would be complete without trying a local cooking class and perfecting your very own Pad Thai!
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.From our arrival point continue to Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) - a beautiful complex of newly built white and golden temples that are still a work in progress. Proceed to Chiang Rai where we wander the night market for last-minute souvenirs and tasty street food.
Overnight: Chiang Rai | Breakfast
Chiang Rai - Bangkok. The city of Chiang Rai is a great base for visiting local hill tribes and this morning we visit a Karen village where we may encounter the famous Long Neck tribe, so known for the neck rings that the women wear to elongate their necks. Continuing to the border frontier town of Mae Sai, we may have the chance to cross briefly into Myanmar and enter the Burmese town of Tachilek (optional). At Chiang Saen we stand at a viewpoint that lets us see both Myanmar and Laos. We take time to visit the Opium Museum before returning to Chiang Rai to catch our flight back to Bangkok.
On arrival in Bangkok we transfer to our hotel arriving late in the evening - not really a problem in ‘the city that never sleeps’!
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast
Bangkok - Siem Reap. Today offers free time for you to independently explore before early this evening heading to the airport for our included flight to Siem reap, Cambodia. Arriving to the Kingdom of the Khmer empire at at approx 9.30pm, you can either grab a good nights rest or head out for a late night bite to eat.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Today we immerse ourselves in one of the most astounding archaeological sites in the world. The magnificent Angkor complex of temples is scattered over an area of 200 square kilometers.
We start our exploration this morning with a visit to Ta Prohm when the birds and parrots out number the tourists. We then continue towards Angkor Wat. We return to our hotel for a well-earned siesta.
This afternoon we return to the temples by private vehicle and visit to the ancient city of Angkor Thom. We enter at the best preserved South Gate and take an in depth look at the Terraces of the Elephants and the Leper King, the Royal Palace, and Baphoun. But we save the best till last, the Bayon is perhaps Angkor’s most moving of all temples. As the sun gently falls it casts its rays on the giant stone faces and as the light changes so do their expressions, a magical experience!
In the evening, there's a lovely dinner and cultural dance performance you can attend or alternatively opt do your own thing. Siem reap offers some hidden Cambodian culinary gems as well as international restaurants and everything in between. There is also ‘Pub Street’ for the party goer and to the fine dining options at the Foreign Correspondents Club, Raffles or Amansara.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
This morning we drive to Phnom Kulen to visit Kbal Spean, commonly known as the River of a Thousand Lingas. This site was only ‘rediscovered’ in 1969 and is a tranquil place with an attractive waterfall.
Later we head to visit the elegant temple of Banteay Srei built by a Brahman in the 10th Century. It is said they must have been carved by women as the detail is too fine for the hands of a man. This gives us the origin of the Khmer name, Fortress of the Women.
In the late afternoon we return to Siem Reap where the rest of the evening is at leisure.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Today we take a short drive to Kompong Phluk, a floating/stilted community on the immense Tonle Sap. Here we board a private boat and explore the floating community of Kompong Kleang. The community is made up of ethnic Khmer, Viet and Cham, who tend to spend their entire lives on this bountiful lake.
In the afternoon we enjoy some free time to relax by the pool, or to explore the town. We recommend a visit to the Artisan’s D’Angkor workshops, where talented artisans from some of the poorest villages in the country are taught the ancient Khmer skills and are then encouraged to return to their communities to generate further work and opportunities there.
Overnight: Siem Reap | Breakfast
Friday. This morning we say goodbye to our guide and transfer to the airport for our included flight to Bangkok's Don Muang Airport (DMK) arriving at approximately 12:55. If flying onward from Don Muang airport, we suggest you book flights no earlier than 3pm. If flying internationally from Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, the main airport (BKK) we'll offer a complimentary transfer to this airport. Flights from BKK should be booked after 5pm. You may have a little time up your sleeve at the airport, though we've allowed for delays and possible traffic. Happy travels!
Yi Peng Festival Tour - 20 Nov 2015
On 20 November 2015 we are offering a special Time for Thailand departure that coincides with the spirited and always lively Yi Peng festival of Chiang Mai. At the festival we will bear witness to the release of thousands of beautifully coloured, candle lit Lanna-style lanterns into the sky and local river. This tour also starts in Bangkok, before visiting the River Kwai and ruins of Sukhothai, before arriving to Chiang Mai in time for Yi Peng. For more info, check out our at our Yi Peng Lantern Festival tour itinerary.
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.
Not far from Angkor Wat, the Angkor Paradise Hotel offers elegant accommodation in a world famous setting. Guest rooms are beautifully firnished with traditional wooden floors and all mod cons. All rooms have either fabulous views of the city or the hotel's outdoor pool. The hotel also boats a great onsite restaurant, fitness centre and pool terrace. The Angkor Paradise Hotel is situated a short distance from Siem Reap international airport and the majestic Angkor Archaeological Park.
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.