Thailand & Angkor Temples - 13 days
Discover the Kingdom of Thailand from bustling Bangkok and the ancient ruins of Ayuthaya, to the night markets of Chiang Mai and hill tribes of Chiang Rai, before continuing into neighbouring Cambodia and discovering the legendary temples of Angkor.
Bangkok City Tour
Today we explore Bangkok. First stop is the colourful 24hr Flower Market before 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. From the Grand Palace we take an exhilarating ride on a tuk tuk to Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha before boarding longtail boats to explore the city’s canals.
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. With the ambience 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 - Erawan NP - Ayuthaya - Chiang Mai. This morning we travel to picturesque Erawan National Park, where we can explore the rivers, waterfalls and trails on foot. The park is home to a stunning tiered waterfall and there’s time to take a quick dip in the crystalline waters before driving on to Ayuthaya - the former capital of Thailand. This is one of Thailand’s most religiously significant places and we'll see the magnificent stupas at Wat Phri Sanphet and iconic Wat Mahatat. We drive to a local hotel to freshen up and have dinner before heading to the station this evening to board our sleeper train to Chiang Mai.
Overnight: Sleeper train | Breakfast, Dinner
Chiang Mai - Mae Rim. Early this morning our train arrives into Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. First up we visit the imposing Doi Suthep Temple that stands like a sentinel over the city. We take time to relax and enjoy the view before driving to the Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribes village. Four separate Thai hill tribes live at Baan Tong Luang - the Lahu, Hmong, White Karen and the Long necked Karen and we'll have the opportunity to learn all about their lifestyle and customs, see their traditional dress and purchase handicrafts that they make.
We travel on to the Hmong Hill Tribe Lodge where we will stay this evening. Here, you can take a walk into the surrounding countryside to visit the some of the nearby hill tribe villages and gain a wonderful insight into the lives of some of the smaller minority groups in the Kingdom. In the evening we enjoy a sumptuous BBQ before being entertained by dancers from the local community.
Overnight: Mae Rim | Breakfast, Dinner
Mae Rim - Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai. Following an early breakfast we bid farewell to our hosts at Hmong Lodge and set off north towards Chiang Rai, travelling through stunning karst and jungle scenery. We take a break to stretch our legs and explore a local Hmong market before continuing to our journey to the famous White Temple of Wat Rong Khun which depicts scenes from movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman! After exploring the temple, there's time for lunch before we board our longtail boats for a scenic hour long ride on the Kok River to Chiang Rai.
In Chiang Rai we visit Lahu village which is surrounded by lush green countryside and inhabited by the Lahu people, who make their living from farming the land. We’ll take a walk through this enchanting little village, which has stilt houses and livestock roaming the streets. Then we continue our boat journey to Ruammit village which is home to the Karen tribe and has retained its traditional culture. After a brief stop here we drive to Chiang Mai, where the evening is free to spend at leisure.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast
This morning you can join your tour guide in giving out Alms to the local monks before returning to your hotel for breakfast. We then take a traditional trishaw for a ride around the old city of Chiang Mai, visiting some of the key temples within the city walls. Then we head to a local cooking school to try our hand at preparing tasty local cuisine in a traditional Thai setting. This informative cooking class teaches us how to prepare three of Thailand’s most popular dishes that we’ll later get to enjoy for lunch.
The rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore at leisure. In the evening we visit the Chiang Mai night market, a haven of souvenirs and works by local artisans.
Overnight: Chiang Mai | Breakfast, Lunch
Free time in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai - Bangkok. Today is free for you to enjoy some of the many optional activities in the city, from zip lining through the jungle canopy to riding a bike through the countryside. There is a street of cottage industries which is great to pick up those last minute silk, silver or jewellery souvenirs. In the late afternoon we transfer to the airport in time to catch our flight to Bangkok. After checking into our hotel the rest of the night is free for you to enjoy this bustling city.
Overnight: Bangkok | Breakfast
Off to Angkor
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
All about Angkor Wat
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
Kbal Spean & Banteay Srei
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. Note: Between Feb - July the water levels at Kompong Phluk village maybe too low to go boating, if so, we will visit Chong Kneas floating village where it will still be possible to go boating.
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
Back to Bangkok
Thursday. 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!
Prices & Dates
Royal Benja Hotel, Bangkok
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.
River Kwai Jungle Rafts, Kanchanaburi
River Kwai Jungle Rafts Resort offers a unique accommodation experience right on the flowing Kwai Noi River. All floating rooms are tucked into a floating bamboo lodge moored along the historical River Kwai Noi surrounded by lush green mountains and jungle. The walls are weaved from local bamboo decorated with wooden furniture reflecting Mon living style. Each is appointed with en-suite private bathroom, balcony and a hammock. To work in harmony with the natural surroundings, the property does not use electricity and kerosene lamps are provided to light the rooms and evoke a romantic atmosphere.
Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, Mae Rim
Set within the spectacular mountains and rice fields of Mae Rim, the Hmong Lodge offers guests a unique opportunity to experience traditional Hmong culture amidst striking natural beauty. Conveniently located just an hours drive from Chiang Mai, The Hmong Lodge offers travellers the perfect balance of style and comfort and offers them the chance to meet and learn about nearby tribal communities. The comfortable guest rooms are beautifully crafted from wood and have a splash of colour added with the Hmong quilts. The lodge features an outdoor pool, spa and open-air restaurant. Days can be spent with local tribes and exploring the stunning surrounding landscapes while evenings at the lodge can be filled with a barbecue and al fresco dining followed by traditional Hmong performances including dancing.
Raming Lodge, Chiang Mai
Just a stone's throw from the bustling night bazaar, the elegant Raming Lodge is the perfect place to unwind after a day exploring the city. The spacious rooms are decorated with clear eastern influences and encompass beautiful wooden furniture, complimenting the rich fabrics that add a splash of colour to the room. Massages and other treatments are available at the spa and the pool is a great place to relax during your leisure time. A full breakfast is served in the morning and further food can be found in the hotel's gourmet burger restaurant.
Angkor Paradise Hotel , Siem Reap
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.
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