Travel Notices

Best of Thailand

Bustling Bangkok, historic Kanchanaburi & ancient Ayutthaya, then explore the wild north in Chiang Rai & the Buddhist temples of Chiang Mai; optional extensions to Angkor Wat & Phuket

Overview

from$3649Tour + Flights from$2849Tour Only 12days
price per person, double occupancy,* based on Sep 12, 2024 departure from LAX
$300 Instant Savings. Expires Mar 7, 2024.*   All prices reflect savings.
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$199 deposit. Lock in your spot for less.††
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Carefree Booking. Change your travel plans with no penalties. See details & restrictions.
Traveling with friends or family? Claim a departure as a private trip for you and your crew (minimum 10 travelers). Call us to learn more.
Style Small Group TourTravel with a small, intimate group of no more than 16 likeminded travelers (and often much fewer), escorted by an English speaking guide and/or tour manager for some or all of your journey. (Some exceptions, including special promotional packaged, may accommodate up to 24.) More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures September 2024 – April 2025 Group Size 16 travelers max
Themes History & CultureGrand Tours
Activity Level Moderate
What to Expect This moderately-paced, escorted Thailand tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness. Travel safely and confidently with our new health & safety protocols.
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Discover the wonders of Thailand on our deluxe Best of Thailand vacation package. You'll encounter an ancient, fascinating culture, friendly, welcoming people, gorgeous, peaceful countrysides and bustling, modern cities, and the most amazing shopping—unbelievable bargains included! Start your journey in the bustling capital city of Bangkok, and then travel by motor coach to the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the historic River Kwai and the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Next, you'll fly to Chiang Rai, Thailand's northernmost city, and visit the hill tribes of surrounding region. Continue by road to Chiang Mai, the "Rose of the North", where you'll discover ancient temples and mysterious ruins.

November 6, 2024 Departure: Join the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Lantern Festivals in Chiang Mai!

 

Package includes

  • Flights
  • Coach
  • Transfers
  • Hotel
  • Meals
  • Guides
  • Round-trip flights from Los Angeles including taxes & fees
  • All intra-Thailand flights and ground transportation
  • 9 nights at superior first-class & deluxe hotels
  • 17 Meals: 9 breakfasts, 5 lunches & 3 dinners, including a farewell dinner
  • Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
  • Professional English-speaking tour directors and local guides

Optional add-ons

  • Flights from other select cities are available. Request pricing when making your reservation.
  • Optional Excursions in Bangkok and Chiang Mai
  • Optional Angkor Wat post-tour Extension
  • Optional Phuket post-tour Extension

Why you'll love it

  • For each traveler visiting, Friendly Planet contributes to a carbon-neutral program which supports reforestation, clean water, replenishing mangroves, and seeding coral reefs.
  • Embark on a sumptuous dinner cruise past the glittering sights of Bangkok.
  • Visit Bangkok’s must-see attractions, including the Royal Grand Palace, Emerald Buddha & Wat Pho.
  • Discover the mouth-watering flavors and fragrant aromas of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
  • Immerse yourself in Thailand's rich history with visits to the famous Bridge on the River Kwai, Hellfire Pass Museum, and Memorial Walking Trail.
  • Explore the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, once the capital city of King U-Thong’s Kingdom of Siam.
  • Witness ancient traditions at the Santikhiri Kuo Min Tang village and "Hloyo Village," a small community of Akha hill tribes.
  • Ascend the Golden Naga staircase to admire the golden pagodas of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.
  • Experience the Thai lifestyle in Chiang Mai by spending the day with a local family.
  • Learn and partake in the traditional methods of tea making with a visit to a tea plantation.

Itinerary at a Glance

Best of Thailand map

Angkor Wat Extension

Phuket Extension

Videos

Dates & Prices

Dates & Prices

Instant Savings: Get $300 off if you book by Mar. 7, 2024!
Dates & Prices, with flights
per person, double occupancy*, including Instant Savings discounts
2024 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Your
Price
Departs U.S.: Thu, Feb 29, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Mar 11, 2024
Feb 29 – Mar 11
$4049 Departed
Departs U.S.: Thu, Apr 4, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Apr 15, 2024
Apr 4 – Apr 15
$3999 Sold Out
Departs U.S.: Thu, Sep 12, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Sep 23, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Sep 12 – Sep 23
$3949 –$300 $3649 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Oct 10, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Oct 21, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Oct 10 – Oct 21
$3999 –$300 $3699 Select
Departs U.S.: Wed, Nov 6, 2024
Finishes: Sun, Nov 17, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Nov 6 – Nov 17
$4449 –$300 $4149 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Nov 21, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Dec 2, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Nov 21 – Dec 2
$4199 –$300 $3899 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Dec 5, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Dec 16, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Dec 5 – Dec 16
$4349 –$300 $4049 Select
2025 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Your
Price
Departs U.S.: Thu, Jan 9, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Jan 20, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Jan 9 – Jan 20
$4299 –$300 $3999 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Feb 13, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Feb 24, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 13 – Feb 24
$4049 –$300 $3749 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Feb 20, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Mar 3, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 20 – Mar 3
$4049 –$300 $3749 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Mar 13, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Mar 24, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Mar 13 – Mar 24
$4049 –$300 $3749 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Apr 3, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Apr 14, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Apr 3 – Apr 14
$3999 –$300 $3699 Select
Dates & Prices, tour only
per person, double occupancy*, including Instant Savings discounts
2024 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Your
Price
Starts: Sat, Mar 2, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Mar 11, 2024
Mar 2 – Mar 11
$3349 Sold Out
Starts: Sat, Apr 6, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Apr 15, 2024
Apr 6 – Apr 15
$3299 Sold Out
Starts: Sat, Sep 14, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Sep 23, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Sep 14 – Sep 23
$3149 –$300 $2849 Select
Starts: Sat, Oct 12, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Oct 21, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Oct 12 – Oct 21
$3199 –$300 $2899 Select
Starts: Fri, Nov 8, 2024
Finishes: Sun, Nov 17, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Nov 8 – Nov 17
$3649 –$300 $3349 Select
Starts: Sat, Nov 23, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Dec 2, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Nov 23 – Dec 2
$3399 –$300 $3099 Select
Starts: Sat, Dec 7, 2024
Finishes: Mon, Dec 16, 2024
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Dec 7 – Dec 16
$3549 –$300 $3249 Select
2025 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Your
Price
Starts: Sat, Jan 11, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Jan 20, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Jan 11 – Jan 20
$3499 –$300 $3199 Select
Starts: Sat, Feb 15, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Feb 24, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 15 – Feb 24
$3249 –$300 $2949 Select
Starts: Sat, Feb 22, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Mar 3, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 22 – Mar 3
$3249 –$300 $2949 Select
Starts: Sat, Mar 15, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Mar 24, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Mar 15 – Mar 24
$3249 –$300 $2949 Select
Starts: Sat, Apr 5, 2025
Finishes: Mon, Apr 14, 2025
Book by Thu, Mar 7, 2024 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Apr 5 – Apr 14
$3199 –$300 $2899 Select

If you want a few extra days to explore on your own, we may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers, for an additional charge. Ask us about prices and availability when (or after) you book. More information Want to extend your trip?

Options & Fees

Best of Thailand
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Occupancy
Apr 4, 2024 $699
Feb 29, 2024 $899
All other dates $799
Angkor Wat Extension
Angkor Wat Extension1
Apr 4, 2024 $1049
Sep 12, 2024;  Apr 3, 2025 $1099
All other dates $1149
Cambodia Visa Fee2 (paid separately) $66
Cambodia Departure Tax3 (paid separately) $25
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Occupancy
Sep 12, 2024;  Apr 3, 2025 $199
All other dates $249

1. Requires a minimum of two passengers to operate and is subject to availability.

2. All visitors to Cambodia must obtain their own visa. This price is approximate, based on a single-entry visa from Sherpa. Price includes $36 Government fee + $30 Convenience fee. Actual price may vary. Visa is also available for purchase upon arrival for $30.

3. Paid locally.

Phuket Island Extension
Phuket Island Extension1
Apr 4, 2024;  Sep 12, 2024;  Apr 3, 2025 $749
Feb 29, 2024 $799
All other dates $849
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Occupancy
Feb 29, 2024;  Apr 4, 2024;  Sep 12, 2024 $299
Feb 13, 2025;  Feb 20, 2025;  Mar 13, 2025 $499
All other dates $399

1. Requires a minimum of two passengers to operate and is subject to availability.

OPTIONAL AIRPORT TRANSFERS FOR TOUR ONLY PASSENGERS
Optional Airport Transfers
Arrival Transfer: Bangkok airport to hotel1 $45
Departure Transfer: Chiang Mai hotel to airport2 $25

1. Price based on a minimum of two passengers.

2. Price based on a minimum of two passengers.

So that we can offer you the best deals, our packages are, like most hotels and cruises, priced based on double occupancy rooms or cabins. We charge solo travelers an extra fee to cover the extra costs of single occupancy rooms or cabins. (Consider: if you booked a $200/night hotel room solo, you would pay the $200 yourself; but if a couple booked the same room, each one would pay only $100.) But you only pay extra for the rooms or cabins, nothing else, including meals, sightseeing, tips, etc. Why are single rooms more?

Flights & Departure Cities

Departure Airports
Los Angeles (LAX) included
San Francisco (SFO) $75
New York Kennedy (JFK) $100

This package offers round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.

Want to fly from another city? For this package, you may request flights from Chicago, Houston, and Seattle, based on availability. Please ask for a quote when booking.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1 Depart USA

  • Check-in for your overnight flight to Bangkok, Thailand via Taipei

Day 2 En route

  • Cross the International Dateline and lose a day (which you will recover on the return leg of your trip)

Day 3 Bangkok

  • Upon arrival in Bangkok, transfer to your hotel for check-in
  • Tonight, experience a lovely dinner cruise on the Chao Phraya River

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok or similar Dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Bangkok cityscape

Today, arrive in Bangkok. After customs formalities, transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in.

Tonight, experience a romantic evening, Bangkok-style, on a lovely dinner cruise that will take you along the Chao Phraya River, passing the glittering sites of Bangkok. Enjoy sumptuous Thai cuisine as you take in stunning views of the Temple of Dawn, the illuminated Grand Palace, magnificent temples, striking bridges, and other landmarks. The cruise offers a perfectly relaxing experience that you will never forget.

Day 4 Bangkok

  • Begin at the Flower Market and learn how to create your own Thai garland
  • Tour The Royal Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha
  • See the mysterious Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
  • Balance of the day at leisure or enjoy an optional excursion

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Grand Palace

Your day of discovery begins with a visit to Bangkok's vibrant and colorful Flower Market. Meet with a local vendor and create a traditional Thai flower garland that you can then present as an offering at any one of Bangkok's magnificent temples. The temples and the monarchy are the fabric that binds Thailand's national identity, and Bangkok is home to some of the most fascinating Thai temples. This morning, depart for The  Royal Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. For 150 years, the Grand Palace served as the home of the King and his court and the entire administrative seat of government. Within its grounds, you'll also visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), a structure built to house a large Buddha image carved from a solid piece of green jadeite (jasper). Continue to Wat Pho, founded in the 17th century and the oldest temple in Bangkok. This temple is also home to the remarkable Reclining Buddha, one of the largest in the world, whose face depicts the attainment of Nirvana and whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl.

The afternoon is leisurely to explore Bangkok on your own or join other locally available optional excursion.

Optional Excursion: Chinatown Walk (purchased locally), $52
Chinatown, Bangkok

This afternoon, drive to Bangkok's Chinatown, where you'll head out on an exciting walk through one of the city's oldest parts. Walk along Yaowarat Road, filled with exciting shops filled with unique treasures. Continue to an old tea shop to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea with the locals before heading to Talad Kao, a busy local market offering a variety of fresh food, fruits, and Chinese herbs. End the walk at Wat Leng Nei Yi to visit the Taoist temple. Then proceed to Wat Traimit on the edge of Chinatown, which houses the world's most giant solid gold Buddha.

Note: Sold locally at approximately 1,290 THB

Optional Excursion: Cabaret show with dinner (purchased locally), $84
Cabaret and Thai Martial Arts show © Mirinn Show

This evening, transfer to the Mirinn Theater for a night of live entertainment at the Thai dance and cabaret show filled with elaborate sets and costumes. Afterwards, transfer back to your hotel.

Note: Sold locally at approximately 2,520 THB. 

Day 5 Bangkok

  • Morning at leisure or join an optional tour
  • Board a long-tail boat and cruise the peaceful Klong Bang Luang
  • The boat stops at Baan Silapin, a local art gallery
  • Visit the Royal Barge Museum to see the ceremonial barges of the Royal family
  • Marvel at the Temple of Dawn, also known as Wat Arun
  • Evening is at leisure.

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Wat Arun

Spend this morning at leisure, or join an optional tour.

Board a private long-tail boat on the peaceful Klong Bang Luang. Pass by shop houses, local temples, and vendors on this waterway which was once a significant trading route lined with the impressive homes of aristocrats. After observing this lively area, the boat stops at Baan Silapin; a 100-year-old renovated house now home to an art gallery. Enjoy the gallery, participate in an art workshop, or explore the local community. En route back to the city, visit the Royal Barge Museum and see the decorated ceremonial barges of the Royal family. Later, stop at the Temple of Dawn, also known as Wat Arun, on the banks of the Chao Praya River.

Optional Excursion: Bites & Sites in the "Village of Love" (purchased locally), $120
Thai food

Begin the day by joining a local guide on an insightful walking and food tour through the Bangrak neighborhood, also known as the "Village of Love." This tour is ideal for food lovers and curious travelers that want to connect with authentic local culture and cuisine. Known for its food and family-run stalls, stop to taste the best local snacks, from the traditional to the exotic. Engage with the chefs and store owners and listen to their personal stories and the history of Bangrak. After glimpsing into the past and the culture of the 'real' Bangkok, continue to the afternoon tour.

Note: Sold locally at approximately 3,590 THB

Day 6 Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak & Kanchanaburi

  • Discover the colorful Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
  • Continue to Kanchanaburi and visit the famous Bridge on the River Kwai and the World War II cemetery
  • Visit the Hellfire Pass Museum and walk along the Memorial Walking Trail

U Inchantree Kanchanaburi or similar Breakfast & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

After early morning breakfast, depart Bangkok for the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi Province. Take a boat ride along the canal to see the colorful floating marketplace, bustling with boats and vendors selling tropical fruits and other delights.

Then, continue to Kanchanaburi and visit the famous Bridge on the River Kwai and the World War II cemetery. Next, visit the Hellfire Pass Museum before embarking on a short trek through the nearby canyon. The walk is along the Memorial Walking Trail, which looks out onto Myanmar. A free audio guide helps re-create the scene, linking the context and location with real-life experiences narrated by POWs while working on the line. This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel.

Day 7 Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, Bangkok, & Chiang Rai

  • Depart Kanchanaburi and travel to the ancient city of Ayutthaya
  • Discover the sculpture of a Buddha head woven in tree roots
  • Visit Wat Yai Chaimongkol and see the statue of the Reclining Buddha
  • After lunch, return to Bangkok for your flight to Chiang Rai

Imperial River House Resort & Spa or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Stone Buddhas, Ayutthaya

After an early breakfast this morning, depart Kanchanaburi and travel to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. King U-Thong founded the city in 1350 as the capital of his Kingdom of Siam. By 1700, Ayutthaya had as many as a million inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in the world at the time. But in 1767, the city was invaded and destroyed by the Burmese army. Magnificent ruins of the old city remain, and some have been restored. Exciting archaeological excavations are still proceeding at many sites in the area. Among the ruins, discover the Wat Mahathat, a sculpture of a Buddha head sticking out of winding tree roots. Visit Wat Yai Chaimongkol, a temple best known for its enormous statue of the Reclining Buddha.

After lunch at a local restaurant, return to Bangkok in time for your flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival in Chiang Rai, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 8 Chiang Rai

  • Witness ancient traditions at the Santikhiri Kuo Min Tang village
  • Visit the “Hloyo Village”, a small community of Akha hill tribes
  • Stop at the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge
  • Embark on a long-tail boat ride and see the area from the majestic Mekong River's perspective

Imperial River House Resort & Spa or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Golden Triangle

After breakfast, travel higher into the hills at Doi Mae Salong to the Santikhiri Kuo Min Tang village, founded in the 1960s as a refugee camp for Chinese soldiers who were expelled from Myanmar. Admire how, 50 years later, the residents retain the traditions of their ancestors, speaking their own language and practicing ancient beliefs. The Kuo Min Tang descendants are successful farmers, growing tea and other produce. Continue to a unique hill-tribe village, "Hloyo Village," a small community of Akha hill tribes, and witness the natural way of life and admire the surrounding nature. A local guide will accompany you to explore the community and their local lifestyle and learn more about the culture. See traditional bamboo houses, Akha style, where local people use their wisdom to build their own homes. Then, enjoy a home-cooked local lunch served in Akha Khantoke style.

In the afternoon, drive to the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos converge. Visit the ancient kingdom of Chiang Saen on the steep banks of the Mekong River, across from Laos, where you will see magnificent ancient ruins and temples. Then, embark on a long-tail boat ride and see the area from the majestic Mekong River's perspective.

Day 9 Chiang Rai & Chiang Mai

  • Depart from Chiang Rai and continue to Chiang Mai
  • En route visit Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple
  • Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant en route to Chiang Mai
  • Evening visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
  • Arrive in Chiang Mai late this evening

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Wat Rong Khun

After breakfast at the hotel, depart from Chiang Rai and continue to Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city, often called "Rose of the North" because of the abundance of flowers that thrive in its cooler mountain climate. En route, visit Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple and one of the must-see sights of the northern region. The temple features unique architecture and impressive drawings. Next, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

Continue on a winding drive into the Doi Suthep mountain hills. Climb the staircase of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, and admire the intricate naga carvings along the way. Upon reaching the top explore the 14th-century pagoda and hear about its origins. Wander around the towering gilded stupa and take a moment to enjoy the views of Chiang Mai in the distance. Before the sun sets, witness the magical evening chanting of the monks, a serene way to end the day's spiritual tour. Arrive in Chiang Mai later this evening.

Note: On November 6, 2024 departure, experience the Loy Krathong Festival and Yi Peng Lantern Festival, the former is celebrated all over Thailand while the latter is unique to Northern Thailand, mainly in Chiang Mai. Travel on this festival date and enjoy Loy Krathong dinner on Day 9, Day 10 and on Day 11, celebrate the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar at the Yi Peng lantern festival.

Day 10 Chiang Mai

  • Spend the day with a local family and experience the Thai lifestyle
  • Evening at leisure

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Basket weaving

Rise early to spend the day far removed from the tourist areas of Chiang Mai to join a local family for a day. First, it's important to dress like a local, so don a pair of provided "fisherman's pants," the comfortable cotton trousers worn in rural villages in the north. Then venture out of the city center to the local district of Hang Dong to meet your new family. The hosts will provide you with a warm welcome into their home. After meet and greets, explore the property to encounter local architectural styles and unique traditional ways of life, including basket weaving, a handmade process that has remained unchanged for centuries.

Next, visit the gardens to browse your hosts' vibrant array of vegetation. Select some fresh ingredients, grab an apron, and head inside to begin the interactive cooking experience! The family will share their recipes and demonstrate the traditional techniques to prepare delicious northern Thai dishes. Share stories of food and family while cooking today's lunch, and afterward, dine on the tasty meal.

The afternoon is free to explore the neighborhood, capture the scenes of daily life and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of this local area. Towards the end of the day, say farewell to your host and his family and return to Chiang Mai.

Note: On November 6, 2024 departure, experience the Loy Krathong Festival and Yi Peng Lantern Festival, the former is celebrated all over Thailand while the latter is unique to Northern Thailand, mainly in Chiang Mai. Travel on this festival date and enjoy Loy Krathong dinner on Day 9, Day 10 and on Day 11, celebrate the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar at the Yi Peng lantern festival.

Day 11 Chiang Mai

  • Optional early morning Almsgiving
  • Learn the traditional methods of tea making
  • Enjoy a farewell dinner with fellow travelers

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Akha women picking tea leaves

Make your way through Thailand's scenic evergreens to the Araksa Tea Garden in the Mae Tang district. Upon arrival at the tea plantation, receive a warm welcome from the local guide, who will explain the processes and methods used to cultivate the young tea plants, select seeds, and pick tea leaves. Then, take a bamboo basket and get ready to partake in harvesting tea leaves. Instructed by the guide, gather and collect tea leaves to fill your basket. Following this, move to the roasting station to enjoy the art of making tea by hand, from kneading to roasting the tea leaves. After the roasting, enjoy a tea tasting with delicious Thai snacks and a Thai set lunch.

This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner and share your favorite memories from your journey through Thailand.

Note: On November 6, 2024 departure, experience the Loy Krathong Festival and Yi Peng Lantern Festival, the former is celebrated all over Thailand while the latter is unique to Northern Thailand, mainly in Chiang Mai. Travel on this festival date and enjoy Loy Krathong dinner on Day 9, Day 10 and on Day 11, celebrate the 12th full moon of the Thai lunar calendar at the Yi Peng lantern festival.

Optional Excursion: Morning Almsgiving (purchased locally), $8
Sunrise from atop Doi Suthep Mountain Photo by Ash Edmonds on Unsplash

Depart your hotel at 6:00 am and arrive at the foothill of Doi Suthep Mountain in time to observe the alms offering to the monks. Join the locals during the daily alms-giving ceremony. This is a peaceful Buddhist procession where dozens of monks walk barefoot through the street, collecting food and everyday items for those in need.

Note: Sold locally at approximately 260 THB. Breakfast box available from the hotel.

Day 12 Chiang Mai & Depart Bangkok/Arrive USA

  • Bid farewell to Thailand as you transfer to the airport to board your flight to Bangkok, and then your return flight to the USA via Taipei
  • Or, take advantage of your already-included international airfare and join our optional extensions to Angkor Wat and Phuket Island, or both!

Breakfast

Important Notes

  • Due to high water levels during and closely following monsoon season (summer into early winter), select sites among the canals may have restricted access. If any sites are temporarily restricted, equally enjoyable visits will be substituted.

Angkor Wat Extension

Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our extension to Cambodia for a special opportunity to visit Angkor Wat, a massive complex of temples that ranks among the most fascinating religious sites in the world. For JFK passengers, the Angkor Wat Extension must be arranged on a custom basis to be coordinated with China Airlines' JFK schedule which may require flying form Siem Reap to Phnom Penh on Day 14 and overnighting in Phnom Penh; please contact us for details. 

Day 12 Bangkok/Siem Reap, Cambodia

  • Transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia gateway to the Angkor Archaeological Park
  • A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park contains the ruins of more than 1000 stone temples dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries

Borei Angkor Resort & Spa or similar Breakfast

Day 13 Angkor Explorations

  • Tour the royal walled city of Angkor Thom
  • Visit the Bayon Temple in the exact center of the city
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Explore the temples of the Small Circuit
  • Discover the famous Angkor Wat archaeological site
  • Dinner at a local restaurant

Borei Angkor Resort & Spa or similar Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Full Day Itinerary
Ta Prohm doorway Photo by Daniel Lienert on Unsplash

Built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, the temples at Angkor and the great city surrounding it represent one of mankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. Today's structures are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social, and administrative metropolis. Other buildings, such as palaces, public buildings, and houses were built of wood and have long since decayed and vanished. Satellite photographs reveal Angkor to have been the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an urban sprawl of 3000 square kilometers (the closest rival is Tikal in Guatemala, at most 150 square kilometers) and supporting a population of up to one million people. Mysteriously abandoned in the 15th century, the Angkor site remained primarily cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century, when archaeologists began to clear away the forest and embark on a lengthy restoration process.

After breakfast, begin your explorations at the mysterious walled city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire. The city is surrounded by an 8-meter high wall, drawing a perfect square, 4km on each side. Enter the city through the South Gate, an impressive stone entryway flanked by larger-than-life carved elephants and capped with four giant smiling faces of the Buddha. On each side of the entrance path stands a row of 54 gods and demons, each holding a sacred Naga snake.

Continue to Bayon Temple, located in the exact center of the city of Angkor Thom. This monument includes dozens of towers featuring faces that some believe depict King Jayavarman VII as a Buddhist deity. While the scores of faces are nearly identical, the staggering height of the towers and the different viewpoints keep the design from appearing repetitious. Atop the temple, you are engulfed by the silent, enigmatic gaze of those faces, staring out from a remote time in history through half-closed eyes.

After lunch at a local restaurant, explore the temples of the Small Circuit. The most famous is Ta Prohm Temple, built in the mid-12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is still as large as it was when discovered: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground, giving it the most mysterious atmosphere of the temples in the Angkor area.

Continue to the magnificent Angkor Wat archaeological site, built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. Inside the temple, carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the region's history cover the walls. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant. Moreover, Angkor Wat is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken nearly forty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is featured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.

This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 14 Angkor Explorations

  • Visit the "Citadel of Women", the best preserved temple in Cambodia
  • Learn about mine awareness at the Landmine Museum
  • Create a Khmer style smok box
  • Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant
  • Tour the Roluos Group: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei temples
  • Spend the evening at leisure or join an optional excursion

Borei Angkor Resort & Spa or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Banteay Srei

This morning's excursion takes you to the "gem" of the Angkor area, the beautiful pink-sandstone temple of Banteay Srey, best viewed in the warm morning light. The so-called "Citadel of the Women" was built between the 11th and 13th centuries and remains the best preserved temple in Cambodia. The temple displays some of the finest examples of classical Khmer art and is noted for its truly remarkable fine bas-reliefs depicting the Hindu god Shiva.

Stop by the Landmine Museum, which promotes mine awareness. The museum founder, Mr. Aki Ra, was trained as a child soldier during the Khmer Rouge regime. Today, he is working as a de-miner. The museum serves to educate and serve as a rescue center for several landmine amputee children that Aki Ra has brought off Phnom Penh's streets or from impoverished rural communities.

After lunch at a local restaurant, be picked up by ramork (local transportation) and join the artisans at Senteurs d'Angkor for a smok-making workshop. Learn how local artisans make smok boxes using parts of the sugar palm tree. Weave the palm tree leaves to create your own Khmer souvier.

Later, visit three early-Angkor era temples of the Roluos Group: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei, built by King Indravarman I and his successor in the 9th century. The surrounding countryside, with its paddy fields and sugar palm trees, is very typical for Cambodia – enjoy the natural beauty and get in touch with rural Cambodia and its friendly people.

This evening is at your leisure, or join an optional dining tour that visits some of Siem Reap's tastiest restaurants.

Optional Excursion: Dining for a Cause (purchased locally), $58

One distinctive feature of the culinary scene in Siem Reap is a selection of restaurants providing culinary arts training to disadvantaged Cambodian youth. Visit various such social enterprises to enjoy some of the finest Khmer cuisines while supporting the education of at-risk youth.

Day 15 Depart Siem Reap/Arrive USA

  • Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok, then continue to the USA via Taipei

Breakfast

Phuket Extension

Take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort.

Day 12 Chiang Mai & Phuket

  • Fly to Phuket and transfer to your hotel upon arrival
  • Enjoy the balance of the day at leisure

Amari Phuket or similar Breakfast

Day 13 Phuket

  • Full day at leisure on the island or enjoy an optional excursion

Amari Phuket or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Longtail boats, Phuket Photo by Frankie Spontelli on Unsplash

Spend two full days at leisure to relax, shop, or tour this scenic island, Thailand's largest.  Phuket and the 39 smaller islands to the southeast are studded with tropical forests, mountains, gravity-defying limestone formations, and pristine beaches, surrounded by coral reefs and the aquamarine water of the balmy Andaman Sea. The west coast of Phuket was hit severely by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004. Still, the resilient people have quickly rebuilt it, and almost no evidence of the damage now remains. Phuket is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims, and even sea gypsies, whom you'll find warm and welcoming.

With warm, humid weather year-round, you'll enjoy plenty of sun-drenched days lounging on the beach and all types of water sports, including jet-skiing, parasailing, surfing, scuba diving, and snorkeling. Most of the dive locations are suitable for all skill levels. The waters abound with colorful coral forests, tropical fish, and other marine life, including leopard sharks, moray eels, octopus, and turtles.

Phuket is also the sailing and yachting center of Thailand and adjacent countries, with several races and regattas happening throughout the year. And in the unlikely event that you can pull yourself away from the beach, you'll find opportunities to ride horses, hike, mountain bike, and even golf. Afterward, unwind at one of the many spas or one of the excellent acrobatic, theatrical, or cultural shows.

Optional Excursion: Full-day Phi Phi Island by Speedboat with Lunch (purchased locally), $135
Phi Phi Islands viewpoint

Escape to a quieter and more natural side of southern Thailand on a day trip from Phuket. This morning, board a speedboat for a 45-minute trip to the six scenic Phi Phi Islands. As you cruise toward paradise, see spectacular limestone karsts that jut out from the blue seas. Pass by Maya Bay, arguably one of Thailand’s most beautiful places, as well as Phi Phi Lay Cove and Monkey Beach--featuring stunning white sands lined with swaying palm trees. 

Enjoy lunch at Tonsai Bay, the southern stretch of Phi Phi Ley Island, surrounded by sweeping sea views. In the afternoon, cruise to the Bamboo Islands for snorkeling and swimming in the Andaman Sea.

After a spectacular day cruising the Phi Phi Islands, it is time to return to Phuket in the early evening.

Important notes

  • This is a shared tour. 
  • September 2023 to April 30, 2024: Sold locally at approximately 4,010 THB.
  • May 1 to October 31, 2024: Sold locally at approximately 4,210 THB.

Day 14 Phuket

  • Full day at leisure on the island or enjoy an optional excursion

Amari Phuket or similar Breakfast

Optional Excursion: Half-day Southern Community and Cultural Experience (purchased locally), $121
Kaeng som

Discover the enchanting cultural village of Baan Kamala in Phuket, where tradition meets tropical paradise. Immerse yourself in Thai heritage as you explore this vibrant Muslim community, known for its warm hospitality and captivating local customs. From traditional performances to authentic cuisine, Baan Kamala is a must-visit destination for a truly immersive and enriching experience in Southern Thailand.

Meet with locals when you arrive, and throughout the half-day tour, participate in hands-on activities, allowing you to be a part of the tapestry of local life. Learn how to make khanom duen, a local dessert, and kaeng som--a famous (and spicy!) Southern Thai dish made of buffalo oranges. Or, enjoy painting sarong or batik with a personal design. 

Important notes

  • September 2023 to April 30, 2024: Sold locally at approximately 3,350 THB.
  • May 1 to October 31, 2024: Sold locally at approximately 3,880 THB.

Day 15 Depart Phuket/Arrive USA

  • Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok, Thailand, then continue to the USA via Taipei
  • Passengers returning to JFK must leave Phuket early in the morning before breakfast is served at the hotel

Breakfast

Hotels

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok
COMO Metropolitan Bangkok
Deluxe

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok is a contemporary and stylish hotel located in the central district of Sathorn. The hotel is located 10 minutes away from Silom’s vibrant nightlife scene with close access to train stations, including the Skytrain Station. COMO Metropolitan is a mixture of relaxation and excitement, quietly removed from Bangkok’s traffic, yet steps away from the areas nightlife, shopping and restaurants.

More information

U Inchantree Kanchanaburi
U Inchantree Kanchanaburi
First Class

U Inchantree Kanchanaburi is a boutique hotel located along the north bank of the Kwai Yai River, within close proximity of the famous River Kwai Bridge. The hotel derives its name from the ancient “Inchantree” within its courtyard.

More information

Imperial River House Resort & Spa
Imperial River House Resort & Spa
First Class

Surrounded by a beautiful blend of scenic mountain and river views The Imperial River House Hotel & Spa is located in Chiang Rai on the River Kok. The hotel is a delightful retreat with a friendly and attentive staff. Engulfed by pristine gardens, this hotel is ideal for relaxation.

More information

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort
Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort
Deluxe

Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort is a charming hideaway nestled in the heart of Chiang Mai. Legendary stories combined with the history of the area are inspiration behind the creation of this unique resort.

More information

Borei Angkor Resort & Spa
Borei Angkor Resort & Spa
Deluxe

Located near the center of Siem Reap Town, the Borei Angkor Hotel is a short drive from many of the finest monuments of the Angkor Temple Complex. The property's philosophy is based on authentic Cambodian heritage and lifestyle. The hotel decor reflects the intricate and ornate designs that adorn the ancient monument of Khmer Culture.

More information

Amari Phuket
Amari Phuket
Superior First Class

Hidden on a secluded beach, Amari Phuket offers a prime location in Patong’s southernmost corner surrounded by the Andaman Sea. Less than an hour’s drive from Phuket International Airport, Amari Phuket is conveniently set within a 5-minute walk to Patong Beach while Phuket Town and the island’s popular attractions are also easily accessible from the resort.

More information

In the unlikely event that a particular hotel is not available, a similar or better hotel may be substituted.

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