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$2999Tour + Flights from$2499Tour Only 12days
price per person, double occupancy,* based on Apr 6, 2023 departure from LAX
Save up to $400 on this package!
$100 Discount (Dec 8 departure only) during our December Departures Sale. Expires Oct 4, 2022.**
$300 Instant Savings. Expires Oct 27, 2022.*   All prices reflect savings.
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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.
This tour is traveling! Our partners in Thailand are ready to receive you with exceptional care and protocols necessary to keep you safe and healthy. Please click here to review the COVID-19 entry requirements.
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. More of these packages
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
Departures December 2022 – April 2023 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 new, 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 9, 2021 & October 29, 2022 Departures: 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
  • 16 Meals: 9 breakfasts, 4 lunches & 3 dinners, including a farewell dinner
  • Comprehensive touring program including entrance fees
  • Professional English-speaking tour directors and local guides

Optional add-ons

  • 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.
  • Explore the beauty of the Doi Tung region in Chiang Rai and learn more about the sustainable agricultural practices introduced to protect the natural land.
  • 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.
  • Learn how Chiang Rai’s hill tribes use various agricultural techniques to farm their heavily forested lands.

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 Oct. 27, 2022!
Dates & Prices, with flights
per person, double occupancy*, during sale**,
including Instant Savings and sale discounts**
2022 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Sale Your
Price
Departs U.S.: Thu, Oct 6, 2022
Finishes: Mon, Oct 17, 2022
Oct 6 – Oct 17
$3299 Sold Out
Departs U.S.: Sat, Oct 29, 2022
Finishes: Wed, Nov 9, 2022
Oct 29 – Nov 9
$3699 Sold Out
Departs U.S.: Thu, Dec 8, 2022
Finishes: Mon, Dec 19, 2022
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Dec 8 – Dec 19
$3499 –$300 -$100 $3099 Select
2023 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Sale Your
Price
Departs U.S.: Thu, Feb 16, 2023
Finishes: Mon, Feb 27, 2023
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 16 – Feb 27
$3399 –$300 $3099 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Mar 2, 2023
Finishes: Mon, Mar 13, 2023
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Mar 2 – Mar 13
$3399 –$300 $3099 Select
Departs U.S.: Thu, Apr 6, 2023
Finishes: Mon, Apr 17, 2023
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Apr 6 – Apr 17
$3299 –$300 $2999 Select
Dates & Prices, tour only
per person, double occupancy*, during sale**,
including Instant Savings and sale discounts**
2022 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Sale Your
Price
Starts: Sat, Oct 8, 2022
Finishes: Mon, Oct 17, 2022
Oct 8 – Oct 17
$2799 Sold Out
Starts: Mon, Oct 31, 2022
Finishes: Wed, Nov 9, 2022
Oct 31 – Nov 9
$3199 Sold Out
Starts: Sat, Dec 10, 2022
Finishes: Mon, Dec 19, 2022
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Dec 10 – Dec 19
$2999 –$300 -$100 $2599 Select
2023 DEPARTURES
Dates Regular
Price
Instant
Savings
Sale Your
Price
Starts: Sat, Feb 18, 2023
Finishes: Mon, Feb 27, 2023
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Feb 18 – Feb 27
$2899 –$300 $2599 Select
Starts: Sun, Mar 5, 2023
Finishes: Mon, Mar 13, 2023
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Mar 5 – Mar 13
$2899 –$300 $2599 Select
Starts: Sat, Apr 8, 2023
Finishes: Mon, Apr 17, 2023
Book by Thu, Oct 27, 2022 (midnight ET) to get the Instant Savings!
Apr 8 – Apr 17
$2799 –$300 $2499 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
Oct 29, 2022;  Dec 8, 2022;  Feb 16, 2023;  Mar 2, 2023 $749
All other dates $699
Angkor Wat Extension
Angkor Wat Extension1
Oct 6, 2022;  Oct 29, 2022;  Dec 8, 2022;  Feb 16, 2023;  Mar 2, 2023 $1049
All other dates $999
Cambodia Visa Fee2 (paid separately) $30
Cambodia Departure Tax3 (paid separately) $25
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Occupancy
Oct 6, 2022;  Oct 29, 2022;  Dec 8, 2022;  Feb 16, 2023;  Mar 2, 2023 $249
All other dates $199

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

2. Paid locally.

3. Paid locally.

Phuket Island Extension
Phuket Island Extension1
Oct 29, 2022;  Dec 8, 2022 $649
Feb 16, 2023;  Mar 2, 2023 $699
All other dates $599
Rooming Selection
Double Occupancy included
Single Occupancy
Feb 16, 2023;  Mar 2, 2023 $349
All other dates $299

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

Transfers for Passengers Booking Land Only
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
New York Kennedy (JFK) $75
San Francisco (SFO) $75

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? Unfortunately, we don't offer flights from other cities, but you can book your own.

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
  • Continue to the Royal Grand Palace
  • See the mysterious Emerald Buddha and the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
  • Evening at leisure or optional excursions

COMO Metropolitan Bangkok or similar Breakfast

Full Day Itinerary
Grand Palace

A full 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 present as an offering at any of Bangkok's magnificent temples. Then, proceed directly to Bangkok's number one 'must-see' attraction and Thailand's most important landmark, the Royal Grand Palace. Your guide will take you on an in-depth journey through Thailand's history and royal heritage, where you'll be amazed at the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls. Enjoy a special visit to see the mysterious Emerald Buddha, Thailand's most revered Buddha image. At Wat Pho, founded in the 17th century and the oldest temple in Bangkok, you'll view the impressive Reclining Buddha, 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 excursions.

Optional Excursion: Chinatown Walk (purchased locally), $35
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.

Sold locally at approximately 1,150 THB

Optional Excursion: Calypso Cabaret Show (Temporarily closed), $48

This evening, transfer to the Thai dance show at Calypso Cabaret, one of Bangkok’s famous shows. Calypso Cabaret is located at Asiatique the Riverfront, a renowned night venue for dining, shopping, and entertainment, and a panoramic view of the Chao Phraya River. Afterward, transfer back to your hotel.

Temporarily closed until further notice. 

 

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 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), $105
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.

Sold locally at approximately 3,200 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

  • Embark on a full day tour to visit the Doi Tung region
  • En route visit various hill tribe villages
  • Visit the Mae Fah Luang Garden
  • In the afternoon, drive to 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

Full Day Itinerary
Golden Triangle

This morning, embark on a full-day tour to visit the Doi Tung region. En route to Doi Tung, visit various hill tribe villages. In the past, the forest around Doi Tung was destroyed by shifting cultivation. In 1987, the Doi Tung Development Project was established according to the king's mother's initiative to protect the region, eradicate the cultivation of opium, and encourage farmers to use sustainable agricultural practices. Visit the Mae Fah Luang Garden with its beautiful flowers and shrubbery.

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.

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
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai

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.

Day 10 Chiang Mai Oct 29, 2022 Departure: Yi Peng Lantern Festival

  • Spend the day with a local family and experience the Thai lifestyle
  • Celebrate the festivals of Loy Krathong and Yi Peng
Full Day Itinerary
Lantern Festival

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.

Join the Loy Krathong and Yi Peng Festivals in Chiang Mai this evening. Enjoy a wide range of northern food and cool beverages as you watch the Lanna performance and play traditional games. Place your Krathong (candlelit float) into the still water as the soft sounds of monks chanting float through the air during the ceremony. Finally, the evening ends as you release your lanterns into the sky and stand in awe at the dreamlike scene around you.

Day 11 Chiang Mai

  • 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.

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.

Sold locally at approximately 260 THB

Note: 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

*NOTE: 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, 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 humanity's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. Today's structures are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social, and administrative metropolis whose other buildings—palaces, public buildings, and houses—were built of wood and had 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 that continues today.

After breakfast, begin your explorations at the mysterious walled city of Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire. The town 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 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 from each keep the design from appearing repetitious. Atop the temple, you are engulfed by the silent, enigmatic gaze of those faces, through half-closed eyes, staring out from a remote time in history.

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 unique in that it has been left as it was found: 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, the walls are covered with carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the region's history. This evening, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Day 14 Angkor Explorations

  • Visit the "Citadel of Women"
  • Lunch at a local restaurant
  • Create a memorable souvenir at a social enterprise that re-purposes recycled plastic
  • Afternoon tour of the Roluos Group: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei temples
  • Spend the evening at leisure or join an optional excursion
  • NOTE: JFK schedule may require flying from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for overnight

Borei Angkor Resort & Spa or similar Breakfast & lunch

Full Day Itinerary
Banteay Srei

This morning's excursion takes you to the "Citadel of Women" of Banteay Srei and Banteay Samré, considered the birthplace of Khmer classical architecture. After lunch at a local restaurant, join a group of underprivileged mothers and learn how to make a personal re-purposed souvenir. Receive a warm welcome from the women who are part of a social business fighting two massive issues in Cambodia, the circle of poverty and plastic waste. Enthusiastic about showing their artistry, these wonderful women are crafting incredible and colorful products made from recycled plastic. Take the time to prepare your memorable souvenir as you interact with your new friends.

Next, 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.

Note: JFK schedule may require flying from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh for overnight and continuing back to the USA from Phnom Penh on Day 15.

Optional Excursion: Dining For a Cause (purchased locally)

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
A full day at leisure to relax, shop or tour this scenic island, Thailand's most significant. 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.

Join an optional tour of the breathtaking Phi Phi Islands. Take a trip by boat and bus to Phang Nga Bay and the limestone spire known as "James Bond Island" for its role in The Man with the Golden Gun. 
Optional Excursion: Day Cruise by June Bahtra (purchased locally)
Phang Nga Bay

Departing early this morning, experience the spectacular limestone scenery of Phang Nga Bay on board the June Bahtra, a traditional Chinese junk bearing designs from Thai, Malay and Dutch influences. Recline on comfortable deck cushions below the schooner’s striking red sails as the scores of beautiful islands, and towering limestone spectacles unfold before you. Stopping at a deserted white sandy beach, a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters beckons. Later, a ride on a long-tail boat will take you to the caves and caverns scattered throughout the mangrove delta, with birdsong and monkey chatter keeping you entertained along the way. At James Bond Island, revel in the views of the iconic rock formation jutting out of the azure bay. Back on board, enjoy a delicious lunch followed by a leisurely afternoon of swimming, sunbathing, and relaxation. Sailing the open sea on this idyllic cruise will make an unforgettable memory. (Lunch included)

Day 14 Phuket

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

Amari Phuket or similar Breakfast

Optional Excursion: Day Tour of Phi Phi Island by Speedboat (purchased locally)
Phi Phi Islands viewpoint
Departing this morning, escape to a quieter and more natural side of southern Thailand with this day trip from Phuket. Travel by speedboat across the Andaman Sea to the six scenic Phi Phi Islands. The journey to Phi Phi takes around 45 minutes, passing by spectacular limestone karsts that jut out from the blue seas. Sit back and relax, enjoying the views as the boat cruises closer to paradise.

See stretches of islands that boast swaying palm trees and white sands. There are also calm, clear waters brimming with fish for those wishing to discover Thailand’s underwater beauty.
 

During the day, enjoy lunch while admiring sweeping views of the surrounding sea. Spend the afternoon cruising around the islands for more chances to snorkel and swim in the Andaman Sea. (Lunch included)

Day 15 Depart Phuket/Arrive USA

  • Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok, 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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