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I am totally captivated by Asia. Having lived in Singapore, Nepal, South Korea, and Hong Kong, traveled extensively across all of our destinations in Asia, and worked in luxury travel for many years, curating exceptional trips comes naturally to me.

Luke

Asia Specialist

+1 844 879 7838

Overview

  • from $3,791 PP
  • 11 Nights
  • Private
  • Oct - Apr
  • Moderate
  • 12 hrs from London / 20 hrs from NYC

Highlights

This action-packed itinerary is for those who wish to enjoy the best of Thailand’s great outdoors, without compromising on comfort or service. Across 13 enthralling days you’ll discover current and former Thai capitals Bangkok and Ayutthaya, and dive deep into the jungles of Kanchanaburi and Khao Sok National Park. Along the way take Bangkok’s alluring ‘khlongs’, the floating markets of Amphawa, the Bridge over the River Kwai, and the infamous Death Railway. You’ll also come face to face with a wide range of tropical wildlife and birdlife, and take in truly magnificent rural and jungle scenery. The tour finishes with three nights at a luxury beach resort in Khao Lak, with a final day out to the underwater wonderland of the Similan Marine Park. 

Our Flexi - Promise

  • 10% Deposit to Book

    Book your trip with us and pay a reduced deposit with the rest 90 days before your departure

  • Full Flexibility

    If you are not comfortable travelling, you have the right to cancel and get a refund up to 45 days before your departure

  • ATOL & ABTOT Protected

    Your trip with us is fully financially protected by our travel insurers. Peace of mind guaranteed.

  • No Change Fees

    We will not charge you any admin fees if you would like to change your travel dates or destination with us

What's Included

Death Railway, Kanchanaburi
  • 12 nights in 4 or 5-star accommodation
  • Daily breakfast throughout plus other meals as per itinerary
  • Full-board meals in Kanchanaburi and Khao Sok
  • Private transfers and tours throughout, accompanied by private English-speaking guides
  • Domestic flight as described
  • 24/7 support from our dedicated staff
  • Flexible, personalized itinerary based on your interests

Day by Day Itinerary

Day 1 Bangkok: Arrival into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport

Busy night scene in Sukhumvit, Bangkok

You’ll be met in the arrivals hall of Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport by a private guide, who will then lead you to a private vehicle in which you’ll be transferred to your downtown hotel. In typical traffic, this will be a transfer of around 45 minutes.

Thailand’s bouncing capital is one of the world’s great cities. Sitting at the mouth of a tropical river delta, facing the Gulf of Thailand, the ‘Venice of the East’ is bisected by the languorous Chaophraya river and riddled with natural and manmade canals. You’ll find the city caught between the past and present with modern shopping malls, galleries, and spas, sitting alongside atmospheric temples, glittering palaces, and ancient canal-side neighborhoods. Bangkok is a cacophony of sights and sounds, and the fun here is just diving into the nonstop action, while sampling some of the world’s best cheap eats along the way.

Day 2 Bangkok: Full day city tour by boat, tuk-tuk, and Skytrain

Tuk tuk driver, Bangkok

Today’s full-day tour of Bangkok will see you discover the city like a local, taking advantage of the city’s varied public transportation network to cover all the main sites while also getting a closer look at the traditions and lifestyles of the Thai people.

Your guide will meet you at your hotel around 8.00am and take you down to the nearby launch on the Chao Phraya. Here you’ll board a public ferry, traveling up along the river and watching the city skyline slip by. Disembark at the iconic Wat Pho and Grand Palace, Bangkok’s cultural icons, and spend the remainder of the morning exploring these two remarkable sites, learning about the country’s regal history and of the deep-rooted spiritual traditions of its people.

Hop aboard a tuk-tuk, the ubiquitous Thai three-wheeled moto-taxis, used by locals across the country. Zip through quieter city streets to Soi Ban Batra, where you’ll visit a family-run workshop that produces monks’ alms bowls. Witness the artisans at work and learn about the daily lives of the Buddhist monks who wake early to collect alms offerings from the city’s residents.

The final leg of the tour is on a ‘bus boat’ through the canals which cut right through the heart of the city. Rarely used by tourists, this mode of transport provides an up-close look at the ways of life of the local people who live right up against the edge of the canals. Disembark and take a short walk up to the Jim Thompson House. Take an insightful tour of the compound’s tranquil gardens and traditional buildings, which showcases the history of the mysterious American silk merchant. 

Afterward, stroll to the nearby modern shopping malls on Rami I Road for some retail therapy, then return to the hotel via Skytrain, Bangkok’s modern elevated railway which whistles through the city up above its busy traffic-clogged streets.

Day 3 Bangkok: Morning tour of the khlongs; evening street food tour

Thonburi Khlongs, Bangkok

This morning you’ll meet your guide again and travel down to the riverside to visit glittering Wat Arun – arguably Bangkok’s most attractive temple. Admire the incredible glazed pottery inlaid in this towering stupa, and learn about its spiritual connections with the city. 

You’ll then delve even deeper into local Bangkok life, taking a typical long-tail boat into the quiet canals (khlongs) of Thonburi. Here on the more traditional and less-visited western side of the Chao Phraya you’ll discover exactly why Bangkok is referred to as ‘Venice of the East’, zipping through tight waterways lined by stilt houses and fading colonial mansions. Disembark deep in the khlongs to explore the old alleys, stopping for a cool drink to sit back and observe local life on the water.

This morning’s sightseeing will finish around lunchtime. Ask your guide to drop you back at the hotel, or stay out in the city to continue discovering the city under your own steam – make sure to ask your consultant or guide for recommendations!

In the early evening, your guide will meet you once more, and you’ll then set off together on a voyage of culinary discovery. Traveling by tuk-tuk, you’ll whizz through the buzzing city streets and sample the best street food the city has to offer, including an authentic Isan (northern Thai) restaurant, a Michelin-listed chicken noodle stall, and a vendor who claims to serve up the best pad thai in the city. 

In between bites, you’ll enjoy an intriguing nighttime visit to Wat Pho, and a walk through the colorful flower market nearby. The evening finishes with a drink at a secret bar down on the river bank, facing the glittering Temple of Dawn. Your guide will drop you back at your hotel – unless of course, you prefer to stay out and keep the night rolling!

Day 4 Kanchanaburi: Transfer to Kanchanaburi, via outer Bangkok’s remarkable markets

Maeklong Railway Market, Bangkok

Make an early start this morning, driving 80km southwest from Bangkok to the suburban province of Samut Songkhram in the Mae Klong River Delta. You’ll be dropped at a small, unassuming local train station, where you’ll jump on a slow-stopping local service. A ride of around 30-40 minutes brings you into the terminus town Mae Klong, famed for its busy market which is held around and right on top of the train tracks. After time to explore the market, you’ll step back and watch the train begin its return journey, inching its way slowly back out through the market stalls on the way out of Mae Klong.

Continue by road to the famous Damnoen Saduak floating market. Although now rather touristy, the market remains the best example of how a floating market may have looked decades ago. Transfer to a gentle paddleboat into the quieter nearby waterways to visit a family that makes coconut sugar syrup at their teak house, stopping to observe the cottage industry in process and tasting a glass of the sweet produce. Also nearby are some beautiful local temples, a beautiful 400-year-old banyan tree, and a park dedicated to King Rama II, which houses a small local museum.

You’ll then continue by road to Kanchanaburi, a drive of around 2.5 hours. On arrival, you’ll have a late lunch in a local restaurant which is situated near to the famous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, built (under severe duress) by Allied POWs during WWII. You’ll be taken to visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, and then proceed to Kwai Noi Gorge, where you’ll take a short but memorable ride on a restored section of the Death Railway. Keep your camera ready as the train clings to the cliff edge with the jungle and river below. 

After disembarking you’ll be transferred by road and then longtail boat upriver to an isolated floating lodge, right on the River Kwai, where you’ll spend the next two nights.

Day 5 Kanchanaburi: Full day exploring Kanchanaburi

Waterfalls, Kanchanaburi

This morning leave the lodge and travel further upriver into Sai Yok National Park, arriving at Sai Yok Yai Waterfall. The falls are famed for their idyllic beauty, with water cascading down from a forest clifftop into a series of pools below. After time to enjoy the falls – and have a dip if you like! – continue to Hellfire Pass. This cutting was a particularly brutal section of the ‘Death Railway’, and here you’ll find a moving museum and gallery dedicated to the Allied laborers who perished during its construction. Should you wish, a hike of around 4km takes you through the full length of the Pass.

Lunch will be taken in a local restaurant, and on the way back down to your lodge, you’ll make a final stop at Lawa Cave, a large, bat-filled cave with several chambers of striking rock formations. Return to your accommodation in the afternoon and have the rest of the day at leisure to soak up your surroundings.

Day 6 Ayutthaya: Transfer to Ayutthaya; afternoon tour of the ancient ruins

Buddha face in tree, Ayutthaya

Leave the jungles of Kanchanaburi behind this morning. You’ll be picked up after breakfast and transferred by boat and then road across central Thailand to Ayutthaya, a journey of around 3hr30m through gentle rural scenery. 

Arrive in Ayutthaya, the erstwhile capital of the Ayutthaya Kingdom – also known as Siam – between the 14th and 18th centuries. Once the largest and grandest city in Asia, much of this area was destroyed by the Burmese invasion of 1767, but more than enough remains to showcase its former grandeur. 

Your guide will tour you around the most significant of the city’s UNESCO Heritage ruins including Wat Phra Sri Sanphet (with its 16m tall golden Buddha), Wat Mahathat (featuring a famous stone Buddha image, now enveloped within an overgrown tree), and Wat Yai Chaimongkol (with its numerous seated Buddha images). You’ll also enjoy a short walking tour through contemporary Ayutthaya, with its lively local market and bustling Muslim Quarter.

Day 7 Khao Sok: Fly down to your jungle camp in Khao Sok NP

Chiew Laan Lake, Khao Sok National Park

After an early breakfast, you’ll depart Ayutthaya and be transferred to Bangkok’s Don Muaeng Airport, a journey of just under an hour. From Don Muaeng you’ll board a short domestic flight south to Surat Thani, where you’ll be met by a private vehicle and transferred into the jungles of Khao Sok National Park. 

Situated in southern Surat Thani province, two hours inland from Khao Lak and Phuket, this dense nature reserve features towering limestone formations, pristine virgin jungle, and enticing wildlife, with the best accommodation found on floating villas on placid Cheow Lan Lake. You’ll need a sense of adventure to both reach and enjoy the national park – it is not a luxury experience – but those of an intrepid nature will be richly rewarded.

An initial road journey of just over an hour will bring you to a jetty on the edge of Chiew Laan Lake, and you’ll then proceed by longtail boat through ‘Guilin of Thailand’ – staggering scenery of towering limestone peak and dense tropical jungle. Take a photo stop at the iconic Sam Klur Rock formation, then arrive at your floating resort in time for a late lunch of delicious southern Thai specialties. Take the rest of the afternoon to relax among nature, swim or paddle in a canoe around the floating huts.

Day 8 Khao Sok: Full day activities in Khao Sok NP

Little Guilin, Khao Sok National Park

Rise early this morning for a memorable boat cruise around the lake, venturing out shortly after dawn when the jungle is at its most active. Traveling by longtail boat around the fringes of the lake you’ll keep a keen eye out for a wide range of flowers, plants, butterflies and watch for animals such as elephants, tapir, macaques, and gibbons. Head back to the lodge for a late breakfast, then take the remainder of the morning at leisure. An additional jungle hike can be arranged locally should you be feeling active. 

After lunch, you’ll head back out to explore Pakarang Cave. Also known as Coral Cave due to its unique stalagmite formations, this is one of the most scenically impressive corners of Khao Sok. A mix of longtail boat, bamboo raft, and short jungle hike will allow you to explore the caves and surrounds in-depth before you return to the floating lodge for dinner. 

Day 9 Khao Lak: Morning tour of Chiew Laan Lake, then transfer to Khao Lak

Bang Niang Beach, Khao Lak

This morning you have the option of another boat trip or jungle hike – to be arranged locally – before you check out late morning. You’ll be taken by boat back to the resort’s pier, where you’ll be met by a private driver and transferred by road to Khao Lak, a journey of around two hours. Check into your high-end beach hotel and spend the rest of the day at leisure. 

Situated around an hour north of Phuket, Khao Lak is a series of small villages and quiet beaches which stretch for about 30km along the Thai Andaman coast. As the beaches stretch across a wide area, rather than being concentrated in one ‘strip’, the accommodation here is spread out. Your stay in Khao Lak is very laidback – there’s no central area to dip in and out of, the onus is more on staying in resort and being looked after. 

Resorts all have their own package of activities, which include speedboat tours of Phang Nga Bay; diving and snorkeling around nearby Marine National Park the Similan and Surin Islands; jungle adventures in the Khao Sok National Park which sits immediately behind Khao Lak; and a full range of adventure activities such as mountain-biking, rock-climbing, and mangrove tours.

Day 10 Khao Lak: Similan Islands speedboat tour

Speedboat tour of Similan Islands, Khao Lak

Enjoy an action-packed day out today to the Similan and Surin Islands’ Marine National Parks, are just 1 hour away off the beaches of Khao Lak. These protected areas are renowned for their underwater beauty, marine life and coral, soft white sand beaches, and lush interiors. With reefs beginning only yards from the white sand beaches and up to 30 meters visibility, they offer superb snorkeling and diving experiences. Your day tour will be on a high-spec resort speedboat, inclusive of a delicious picnic lunch, and snorkeling gear. 

Day 11 Khao Lak: Day at leisure

Similan Islands

You have a final full day to relax back at the resort: taking walk on the beach, lazing around the pool, or perhaps indulging in a spa treatment. Additional activities – such as mangrove tours, cooking classes, mountain biking, or climbing – can be arranged locally. 

Day 12 Khao Lak: Departure day

Plane taking off in Langkawi

Today your adventures in Thailand must come to an end. At the appropriate time, you’ll be transferred privately from your beach resort in Khao Lak to Phuket Airport, around an hour to the south, arriving in good time to check-in for your onward flight.

What's not Included

  • As we have clients from all over the world. Our itineraries do not include flights. If you would like us to include flights in your trip, we are happy to do so. Please speak to your travel specialist at the planning stage to include them.
  • Gratuities for local guides
  • We strongly advise all guests to purchase comprehensive travel insurance
  • Visas if required

Let’s get started making this itinerary yours.

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