15-Day Best of Thailand Experience (Standard)

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Tour type

Tour Level: Moderate

Tour Comfort: Standard

Tour Period: 15 Days

tour highlights

  • New full-day excursion ‘In Depth Bangkok’ which features two special Diethelm Moments
  • Private blessing at Wat Jet Yot in Chiang Mai
  • Local tea plantation visit in Chiang Rai
  • New ethical Elephant Experience and community lunch in Khao Sok
  • Possibility to extend the trip with island stays on Koh Yao Noi and Koh Yao Yai

tour details

Arrive in Bangkok and transfer by private vehicle to your hotel

Day at leisure or join an optional tour in the afternoon

Optional: Essential Grand Palace Excursion (time on request - duration 3 hrs)
(See the price below)

A thrilling visit to the dazzlingly ornate Grand Palace, the former seat of the king, his court, and the entire government administration. The palace, official residence of the kings of Thailand from the 18th to the mid-20th century, is brilliantly coloured and gilded, a glorious expression of Thai art. In the palace grounds stands Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), the most sacred temple in Thailand. Construction of the temple began in 1785 when King Rama 1 moved the capital from Thonburi to Bangkok. The Emerald Buddha (actually carved from a single piece of jade) is only 17 inches tall, but it is the most revered object in Thailand. The Royal Reception halls are still used for important ceremonial occasions, like coronations, and are magnificent examples of Thai architecture.

Accommodation at Navalai Hotel

Meals included : none
Breakfast at hotel and morning at leisure

12:00 - 21:00 Best of Bangkok

Meet your guide in your hotel lobby at approximately 12.00 pm and head to the nearest pier on the Chao Phraya River (either by walking, skytrain or public riverboat depending on your hotel location). Then board a long-tail boat to explore Bangkok's maze of canals or Klongs. The trip takes us to Klong Bang Luang, a canal side artist's community of preserved wooden homes, small art studios, vintage antique galleries and an Artist House. Here you will have a tasty local lunch before continuing by long-tail boat deep into the Klongs for further exploration.

Eventually you will re-enter Bangkok's iconic Chao Phraya and see the magnificent Wat Arun, also known as the Temple of Dawn. Here you will be given an in-depth tour before crossing the river to the 17th century Wat Po, famed for its stunning Reclining Buddha. The complex also includes a renowned massage school and here you'll experience a traditional Thai massage.

Then you make the short trip back to the river and head down river towards Chinatown. You will be guided through some of China Town's most characterful alleys, and then enjoy the magnificent views of the River from a hidden away local rooftop bar. Here you'll enjoy a drink (beer or soft drink) whilst watching the setting sun.

Then jump on board a Tuk Tuk to head deep into Chinatown to Yaowarat Road, with its neon lights and bustling atmosphere. You'll be able to sample different dishes including dim sum, & your knowledgeable guide will explain the background to all the different food and the history of the local area.

At around 20:30 hrs. the tour finishes with a drink in a lovely open air bar from where you can sit in comfort and watch the hustle and bustle of China Town before transferring by private vehicle back to your hotel.

Accommodation at Navalai Hotel

Meals included : Breakfast at hotel
Snacks, dim sum & drinks for dinner at Chinatown
Breakfast at your hotel

07.30 Depart to Mae Klong Railway Market. Walk around the market, then ready yourself for the hectic activities of the vendors along the railway tracks, when they raise the awnings of their stalls to clear the passage for the train on its return journey to Mahachai at around 09:00hrs. The train passes right through the bustling fresh market, which offers unique photo opportunities

Note: Trains are now scheduled to arrive at Mae Klong station at 08.30 /11.10 /14.30 and Depart Mae Klong station at 09.00/ 11.30 /15.30 (Train schedule is subject to change. According to the railway station in Mae Klong, trains often run 20-30 minutes late, hence, the from-to arrival times).

Continue to Kanchanaburi and make a brief visit to the War Cemetery, Thailand Burma Railway Museum and of course the iconic Bridge over the River Kawai

After lunch at local restaurant, visit Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum. During the Second World War, thousands of forced local laborers and Allied Prisoners of War suffered and died constructing and maintaining the Burma-Thailand railway. The museum explains to visitors the story of why and how the railway was built and attempts to convey the hardships and suffering endured by so many who were forced to work in extremely harsh conditions. A walking trail follows the alignment of the original Burma-Thailand railway from Hellfire Pass to beyond Compressor Cutting.

Transfer to River Kwai Jungle Rafts located on the Kwai River by long-tail boat.

Set dinner included at Jungle Rafts

Accommodation at Jungle Raft

Meals included : Breakfast
Dinner
Breakfast at hotel

You will have a morning free at leisure to enjoy the stunning surrounds. You may want to visit the nearby Mon Village, swim in the river or just simply relax on your wooden riverside deck in front of your room.

11.00 hrs. Depart the river and after lunch in a local restaurant board the local train for the 45-minute scenic train ride across wooden viaducts and the Wang Po Viaduct, which offers wonderful scenery along the Kwai River. We depart the train and have the unique opportunity to walk over the wooden viaduct at Thamkrasae.

At approximately 14.00pm, transfer to Ayutthaya then visit Wat Chai Wattanaram and Wat Panangchern the most revered temple which contains the oldest large Buddha image in Ayutthaya.

19.00 Transfer to Ayutthaya Train Station for 2nd class new cabins train directly to Chiang Mai at 19.45 hrs.

Overnight on train

Meals included : Breakfast
07.15 hrs. Arrive in Chiang Mai then transfer from train station to your hotel

Morning at leisure
Hotel check-in time is at 14.00 hrs. (Early check-in subjected to room availability)

Optional Tour: 13.00 - 16.00 Chiang Mai Temple Tour by Samlor
(See the price below)

Your Samlor driver will be waiting for you at the Thapae Gate. Start your Chiang Mai Temple Tour by samlor. You will visit some very famous but also some lesser known temples that are located within the Old City of Chiang Mai.

First of all, we will head off to Wat Laam Chang. This temple has a very old brick chedi. Next up is Wat Chiang Man. This is Chiang Mai's oldest temple. King Mengrai, the founder of Chiang Mai, built this temple in 1296. We leave through the backdoor and head for Wat Phra Sing. This is probably Chiang Mai's most revered temple. Wat Phra Sing currently houses Phra Chao Thong Tip, the most venerated Buddha statue in northern Thailand. From Wat Phra Sing we make our way to Wat Phuak Hong, one of the lesser visited temples with a characteristic Mon style chedi. We continue to Wat Phuak Taem where local people make ornaments for temple roofs by hand.

After this we will visit Ban Phor Liang Meun's Terra Cotta Arts, a garden with remarkable statues. Next stop with be the Chiang Mai Gate market, the most popular market located within the moat. We taste some of the local delicacies on offer before we hop on the samlor to go to Wat Chedi Luang with its giant chedi. An earthquake in 1545 damaged the chedi. Next to Wat Chedi Luang is Wat Phantao which is a beautiful wooden temple. Finally get on your samlor for the last stretch of your Chiang Mai Temple Tour which will take you to Thapae Gate where the tour ends.
End of tour then transfer back to your hotel.

Accommodation at Rimping Village

Meals included : none
Breakfast at hotel

This morning enjoy an active tour which provides a wonderful way to discover the beautiful countryside surrounding Chiang Mai.

Firstly bike ride through tranquil villages and pass shimmering rice paddies, taking time out to visit Buddhist temples and see the local people at work in the fields. Cycling affords you a rare opportunity to get close to rural Thailand and visit an interesting water-buffalo farm. Follow peaceful back roads close to the Ping river, before embarking on a boat for a short cruise back to Chiang Mai city. The program (times are approximate):

08.30 hrs Meeting at guest's hotel and bike fitting. Short vehicle transfer by local pick up truck (songtaew) to Mae-Rim.

09.00 hrs Begin cycling following the river northbound. Cycle through rural countryside, rice fields and plantations. (Cycling distance approximately 10 kms).

09.30 hrs Stop for a visit of Elephant Poo Poo Park, where you can observe the steps
in making world famous paper product from elephant poop fibers.

10.30 hrs Continue cycling through the countryside.

12.00 Lunch at local restaurant

13.30 hrs Back on the saddle, cycle toward the Ping River and follow scenic small routes
southward towards Chiang Mai. Approx total 18 km cycling in the afternoon.

15.30 hrs Arrive at a riverside house for refreshments. Embark on a motorboat for a cruise down the Ping River back to Chiang Mai city.

16.30 hrs Arrive at disembarkation point with an interesting local temple, Wat Chaimongkol, on Charoen Prathet road. Transfer to your hotel.

Accommodation at Rimping Village

Meals included : Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

After breakfast transfer from your hotel to spend a spiritual morning with your own private blessing by a monk at Wat Jet Yot. The name means 'temple of seven spires' due to its seven-spired Chedi. This is a quiet and extremely peaceful setting to receive a blessing.

Then continue to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains at an elevation of 3,280 feet (1,056 meters). To reach the temple itself requires a climb up a Naga staircase of 290 steps. The monastery was built by King Gue-Na in 1383. In its center stands a huge Chedi (spired pagoda), which contains partial relics of Lord Buddha.

After lunch at local restaurant, transfer to Chiang Rai. En route we stop at Chiang Dao Caves which penetrate deep into the limestone hills. The caverns contain an assortment of Buddha and hermit images as well as some impressive natural rock formation. Continue to Wat Thaton, a large temple only a few kilometers from the border with neighboring Myanmar. The temple is located on top of a hill overlooking the village of Ban Thaton and the Mae Kok river. It is built over several levels of a forested hill offering magnificent views over the surrounding rural area.

Arrive at Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort & Spa in the late afternoon and overnight in the Bamboo Cottage.


Meals included : Breakfast
Lunch
Breakfast at hotel

09.00 hrs. Drive from hotel to the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge then continue by long-tail speed boat on the Mekhong River to visit the river bank scenery and Don Sao Island.

After lunch in a local restaurant visit the Hall of Opium, the 5,600 sq.m. state-of-the-art exhibition will journey through more than 5,000-year history of the use and abuse of opiates. They will learn about the origins of the opium poppy, the medical and ritual use of opium in ancient civilizations, its spread throughout the world, the Opium Wars and their impact on China, the century of legal opium use in Thailand, the role of opium and other narcotics in modern medicine, and international efforts to control narcotics. Vivid and thought provoking presentations of the effects of drug abuse and case studies help visitors to understand the severity of addiction and choices available to fight the temptation of drugs.

Then transfer back to your hotel for the rest of the afternoon at leisure (why not enjoy the pool or a massage).

Accommodation at Phu Chaisai Mountain Resort & Spa

Meals included : Breakfast
Lunch
Breakfast at hotel

Breakfast at hotel.

This morning, we visit 101 Tea Plantation, which focuses mainly on producing and selling various kinds of tea. The most popular is Mae Salong tea; Assam tea, Ching Ching No. 12. Enjoy your tea whilst admiring the tea plantation and stunning mountain backdrop.

After the visit, you will have a beautiful trip down the scenic Kok River, on board a traditional Thai long-tail boat. As we lazily cruise along the water way, we will take in the sights of the countryside, and learn a little about the land that surrounds us. Arrive in Chiang Rai and after a local lunch (payable locally) we visit two unique and very different sites.

Firstly, the Black House (Ban Dum), a unique creation of national artist, Thawan Duchanee. Part art studio, part museum, part home, Baan Dam is an eclectic mix of traditional northern Thai buildings interspersed with some outlandish modern designs.

Continue to your hotel in Chiang Rai and check in.

Accommodation at Le Patta (Superior Room)

Meals included : Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

Check out and transfer to Chiang Mai with stop en-route at the White Temple (Wat Rung Khun). While most temples visited by tourists have a history going back many centuries, this extraordinary place of worship was built only recently. It is the realisation of a dream for Thailand's noted artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, who designed and supervised the construction of this beautiful white temple and its many statues of figures based on religious beliefs.

Then 3 hours driving to Chiang Mai Airport for your flight to Phuket.

Suggested flight is PG - 248 at 14:30-16:40 (CNX - HKT)
Schedule flights are subject to change.

Arrive in Phuket then overland private transfer to your hotel in Khao Sok, arriving in the mid-afternoon.

Accommodation at Our Jungle House (Deluxe Gingah)


Meals included :Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

This morning you will be collected from your Khao Sok hotel and discover the first ethical, community-based Khao Sok Elephant Experience where you get to feed and bathe your own elephant! Somboon was rescued from a trekking camp, where he worked long days carrying tourists in harsh conditions. Now he is the star of this intimate experience where he is lovingly tended by guests under the tutelage of a mahout (elephant trainer). This experience is ideal for guests who wish to learn about Somboon's story and interact with him on a more personal level. By participating in this program, you are helping to fund the rescue of more abused elephants and helping to send a clear message that these majestic creatures must not be exploited. You will meet the Family that is taking care of Somboom, prepare his food consisting of fruits, vegetables and handmade sticky rice medicine pies. Then bathe him by taking him to the Mud Spa and scrubbing him down with an organically made "coconut elephant loofah". The experience ends planting sugar cane for Somboon and his elephant friends to eat in the future.

Then after waving goodbye to Somboon you'll be driven to a local hamlet reached via a picturesque hanging bridge that overlooks the Saeng River. Here there is a small collection of traditional Thai wooden houses set in the jungle surrounded by different fruit orchards. The area is home to a small local community who are working together to protect the stunning environment that they live in (much of the proceeds of the tour go to them). You will be given a tour of the orchards (it's great fun to see which fruit you recognise!) and then you will sit down with your hosts to enjoy a typical Southern Thai lunch with the local community. After saying goodbye, you will transfer back to your hotel arriving in the mid-afternoon.


Accommodation at Our Jungle House

Meals included : Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

Take in the sights on a kayaking trip in the morning. Gently float down the Khao Sok River. The journey takes you past towering cliffs and shoals of brightly coloured river fish, and includes a stop to swim in the cool waters and kayaking.

Then transfer by private vehicle to Phuket before taking the shared speedboat transfer to Koh Yao

Accommodation at Glow Elixir Koh Yao Yai

Meals included : Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

Day at leisure

Accommodation at Glow Elixir Koh Yao Yai


Meals included : Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

Day at leisure

Accommodation at Glow Elixir Koh Yao Yai


Meals included : Breakfast
Breakfast at hotel

Day at leisure & transfer to Phuket airport


Meals included : Breakfast

includes

  • All sightseeing tour and transfer services with private air conditioned van as detailed in our itinerary
  • Accommodation with breakfast as specified
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary
  • All entrance fees, boat fees for the places as mentioned in the program
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking throughout guide
  • Service charges, Government taxes and 7% VAT

excludes

  • International airfare to / from Thailand
  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if you require)
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Optional tours
  • High/Peak Season Supplement
  • Compulsory X'mas and New Year Eve dinners
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditure, such as meals, drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme.
Tour code: BKKDBBOTS15

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