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From £1399 pp excl flights
14 Days
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If you’ve got a couple of weeks to experience all the things that make Thailand one of the world’s top holiday destinations, this is the trip for you. You’ll encounter the beautiful architecture and vibrant street life of Bangkok, cruise on the river and visit the famous floating markets, before heading up to the far north to see the Golden Triangle, the relaxed city of Chiang Mai and meet a rescued elephant herd in the forest.

In between, take a slow boat along the rivers of central Thailand to see life in the countryside and stop at the less-visited yet outstanding World Heritage sites of Ayuthaya and Sukhothai. And of course, no holiday in Thailand would be complete without a few days to relax on the gorgeous southern beaches around Krabi province. We can also arrange visits and stays with hilltribes on request. There you have it – the best of Thailand, with a twist!

 

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This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.

14 Days: Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Elephants World, Ayutthaya, Chiang Mai, Islands

Activities: City highlights, temples and Buddhist culture, WWII history, elephants, Thai cuisine, rafting and ziplining, hilltribes, beach time

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Day 1: Arrive at Bangkok airport where you will be met by our local representative and taken to your hotel.

Day 2: Today you will see the best of ancient and modern Bangkok, including the Grand Palace, Wat Arun and Wat Po, the city’s fascinating Chinese community and the city flower market, with a dazzling array of tropical blooms for sale. Of course, no Bangkok tour would be complete without a journey by long-tail boat, dipping into the small canals of the Chao Phraya River, which once gave the city the name ‘Venice of the East’. (B/L)

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Day 3: Early morning pick up for a drive westwards out of the city, passing by salt and rice fields, fruit orchards and coconut plantations.  On the way, stop at a villager’s house to learn how brown palm sugar - used in Thai dishes and all kind of sweets - is made from coconut nectar. We will take you to Tha Kha, where there is a traditional local market that operates on certain days of the lunar calendar. After observing the fascinating bustle of the market, visit one of WWII’s most infamous memorials, the Bridge Over the River Kwai. You will spend the night in a floating hotel.(B/L)

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Day 4: Catch a private long tail boat back down the river and then drive to Elephants World, a sanctuary for elephants that have been injured or are too old to continue with the logging work that they were doing before. This is not a place where you ride on the elephants, but it is run according to the needs and natural behavior of the animals, so each day is a little different. Continue to Ayutthaya (around 3 hours) for dinner and check in.


Day 5: Ayutthaya – Chiang Mai (B,L)
Ayutthaya was the longest serving Thai capital city from 1351 to 1767 and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. The kings of Ayutthaya were friendly towards foreign traders from all over the world, permitting them to set up villages outside the city walls and in the 16th century it was described as one of the biggest and wealthiest cities in the Far East

After a lie in this morning, spend the day exploring this UNESCO World Heritage site that takes you back to the heyday of traditional Thailand.

After you have spent the day soaking up the atmosphere and splendour of the temples, have dinner at a local restaurant before boarding an overnight train to Chiang Mai, a unique experience that trundles you into the mountain scenery of northern Thailand at day break.

Overnight on train #9 1st class cabins (19:45-07:15)(B/L)

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Day 6: Your scheduled arrival is at 07:15 and you will be met at the train station and driven to your hotel. 

In the afternoon around 4pm, release your inner chef as you try your hand at preparing delicious Thai food in a peaceful countryside setting outside Chiang Mai city. In a classroom modelled on classic northern Thai teakwood architecture, you will discover some of the secrets of the professionals and rustle up four dishes at the spacious cooking stations. Unlike other cooking classes, the menu changes each day, so you might be making Royal cuisine fit for a king, chef’s choices, all-time favourites or Lanna specialities. However, it’s guaranteed all of them will be delicious! The class includes a tour of the local market where you can try local foods. (D)

Day 7: Today it’s time for tree top ziplines and white water rafting, a true adrenaline rush to finish your visit to Chiang Mai. There are more than 18 platforms to try, working up to the highlight: a 400m river traverse on the highest and longest zipline in the northern Thailand. For thrill-seekers and nature-lovers alike this has got to be the most unique way to explore the beautiful forest. Afterwards, enjoy 2 hours of exciting whitewater rafting including the best 14 rapids in the country along the Mae Tang River.  In the evening you will visit the famous Night Market (open until 10pm), one of the best places for handicrafts and souvenir shopping in the country.  (B/L)

Day 8: Today you will explore the ancient history of CHiang Mai on foot, including Wat Phratat, Kad Luang local market,Wat Phra Singh before learning more about Thailand’s living Buddhist traditional with visit to the campus of the Buddhist University of Chiang Mai at Wat Suan Dok. Here you can learn more from the monk trainees, ask them questions and and chat to them about anything you like, such as how Thai people live according to Buddhist principles and put them into practice – knowledge you can take home and use yourself.  

To round off the day, take the cable car up to Doi Suthep mountain to visit Wat Phrathad Doi Suthep (A.D. 1384), which commands a panoramic view of Chiang Mai city from an elevation of 3,500 feet above sea level. Wat Doi Suthep is the most sacred temple in northern Thailand affording fantastic sunset views over the city and the chance to see the monks chanting and collecting alms. (B/D)

Day 8: Journey to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, conveniently located in the Mae Rim district, just an hour's drive from Chiang Mai. The lodge offers guests a unique opportunity to experience traditional Hmong culture amidst striking natural beauty and combines simplicity and style to create an environment of rustic elegance and serenity. With an elevation of 2,700 feet above mean sea level, the weather at Hmong Hilltribe Lodge is pleasantly mild and cool all year round.

During your stay at the lodge you can visit the tribal communities nearby, where you can learn intricate techniques of traditional Hmong embroidery, weaving and batik, while the landscaped pool area offers a great place to unwind and enjoy the scenery. Hmong neighbours from the village of Mae Khi also come to the lodge every evening to perform for the guests, communicating key aspects of their culture through song, dance and rituals.(B/D)

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Day 9: After spending the morning in the lodge you will head to the airport for your flight south to Koh Samui or Koh Tao.

Note: these islands are recommended for June-Aug but Thailand has numerous amazing beaches and islands - which one you go to depends on the prevailing weather when you travel and your tastes! (B/L)

Day 11-14: Free days to relax and enjoy the Thailand's famously stunning beaches. Tao is quieter and smaller than the other islands off the east coast and is known as one of the best scuba diving sites in the world. Koh Samui is better known and offers more varied amenities like shops and restaurants but it's still possible to avoid the crowds and discover a slice of tropical paradise. (B)

Day 15: Today, sadly, your trip ends and after a final swim in the crystal-clear, warm sea you will be taken to the airport, in time for your departure flight home or back to Bangkok. (B)

Prices from: £1095 per person
Services included: hotels on shared room basis, meals, transfers and activities as mentioned, entry fees, English speaking guide.
Services not included: flights, drinks, tips and personal expenses.
This is a suggested itinerary. Dates, stops & activities are all flexible.

Best Time To Travel
The weather in Thailand is governed by three seasons: rainy (roughly May–Oct), cool (Nov–Feb) and hot (March–April). The best time to travel is during the cool and dry season between November and early April, however the diversity of the areas on offer means you can visit all year round. In the south, the climate differs between the eastern and western coasts. The west coast is more favourable during the winter months, when diving and snorkelling will be at its best. The weather on the east coast is good for most of the year, with the lowest rainfall in January and February and the highest in November.

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