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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.
- from $3,504 PP
- 9 Nights
- Oct - Apr
- 12 hrs from London / 20 hrs from NYC
This action-packed 10-day tour showcases all the quintessential Thai experiences, with adventures both on and off the beaten track ensuring you get a full overview of the Land of Smiles. Begin Thailand’s pulsating capital Bangkok, where you’ll discover the city’s highlights such as the Grand Palace and Wat Pho while also venturing into hidden neighborhoods off the tourist trail. You’ll also take in the Chao Phraya Delta’s famous floating market and train market, then head up to the northern capital Chiang Mai. Three nights in Chiang Mai include a thorough examination of the city as well as day excursions to a nearby elephant camp and an enthralling tuk-tuk around the stunning valley of Mae Wang. Round out the trip with three nights in Phuket, including an unforgettable boat tour of stunning Phang Nga Bay, and ample time to relax in tropical paradise.
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- 9 nights in 4-star accommodation
- Daily breakfast throughout plus other meals as per itinerary
- Private transfers and tours throughout, accompanied by private English-speaking guides
- Domestic flights as described in economy class
- 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
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 - highlights and hidden corners
After breakfast, you’ll be picked up by your guide and head out to discover the magnificent Thai capital.
This morning will concentrate on the city’s key highlights. First travel by private car to Wat Traimit, where you’ll be dazzled by the world’s largest solid gold Buddha. Then continue to Wat Pho, with its remarkable reclining Buddha, and then the Grand Palace, an icon of Thailand and the most famous sight in the country. Spend the morning exploring these culturally important sites in-depth, learning about the country’s regal history and of the deep-rooted spiritual traditions of its people.
In the afternoon you’ll move across to Yaowarat Road – Bangkok’s Chinatown. Visit tea shops, temples, and shophouses that have still retain an old-world charm, rubbing elbows with the locals at vibrant markets while browsing stalls overflowing with fresh produce and dry goods. Pay a visit to the nearby Bangkok Folk Museum; located in a seventy-year-old house, the museum has a small but fascinating collection of historic items and displays.
Then delve even deeper into local Bangkok life, taking a typical long-tail boat into the quiet canals (khlongs) of Thonburi, on the more traditional and less-visited western side of the Chao Phraya. Pass by houses built on stilts and see how local life takes place on the water.
Today’s final stop is at 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. On the opposite side of the river, facing elegant Wat Arun, are numerous terrace bars which make a fine spot for a post-tour sundowner.
Optional: Bangkok Street Food tour
Your guide will meet you at the hotel in the early evening, 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 3 Bangkok: Outer Bangkok’s remarkable markets
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.
Return to Bangkok by road, arriving in the early afternoon. You’ll have the rest of the day to relax back at the hotel, or continue exploring under your own steam. If you’re keen to head out make sure to ask your guide for their recommendations.
Day 4 Chiang Mai: Fly to Chiang Mai; Afternoon walking tour
This morning your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel and then drop you back at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport, where you’ll board a short domestic flight up to Thailand’s northern capital, Chiang Mai.
Thailand’s second city and capital of the north, Chiang Mai is an absolute must for first-time visitors to Thailand. Its higher elevation means it enjoys a cooler climate than Bangkok, and it has a more laid-back atmosphere too, with more of a sleepy town feel than a bustling capital. The historic city interior houses over 300 temples, and you’ll also find lively markets, cooking classes, craft stores, and fantastic street food.
You’ll be received on arrival a new private guide and driver, then taken to your hotel to check-in. Once freshened up, head back out with your guide to explore the city. Begin with a drive up to the peak of Doi Suthep mountain, overlooking the city. A steady walk up through Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple takes you past some wonderful Naga carvings and out to a 14th-century mountain-top pagoda.
Come back down from the mountain and then enjoy a walking tour through the heart of the Old City, taking in the best of the city’s ancient temples and also passing through an eclectic mix of ancient lanes, bustling markets, crumbling city walls, and majestic royal monuments.
Day 5 Chiang Mai: Full day at Elephant Conservation Center
This morning you’ll travel out in the countryside, around an hour north of Chiang Mai, where you’ll find the Elephant Nature Park.
Our pick of Chiang Mai’s many elephant centers, the Elephant Nature Park has excellent conservation credentials, rescuing former working elephants and providing a beautiful natural environment for their rehabilitation. The park runs a ‘hand’s off’ visitor program, during which you can walk with these beautiful creatures and observe them up close, but there is no direct interaction – such as feeding, bathing, and riding. The day will also involve a tour of the verdant park grounds and the opportunity to meet other rescued species under the park’s care, such as buffalo, dogs, cats, horses, and tropical birds.
You’ll be out and about with the elephants for much of the day and likely to join them in their daily dip, so please make sure to bring sunscreen, mosquito repellent, a hat, and a change of clothes! Lunch is included during your visit.
Optional: Street food tour of Chiang Mai
This evening you’ll embark on a cultural and culinary journey to discover the unique flavors of northern Thailand. Your guide will take you to the south gate of the Old City, where after dark a bouncing array of food stalls spring up to feed hungry locals and tourists alike.
Get a taste of some real local favorites here, such as Thai fish cakes, pork skewers, deep-fried taro, kanom jeen (rice noodles in soup), khao soi (similar), and teeth-achingly sweet kanom krok (coconut pudding). To cool you down, sample a refreshing fruit shake, or perhaps indulge in local beer or rice whiskey!
Walk off your indulgences with a stroll up to Wat Chedi Luang, a 15th-century stupa that looks simply magical in the evening light. Return to your hotel, or should you wish, stay out with your guide and continue discovering the best local food and drink spots!
Day 6 Chiang Mai: Full day tuk tuk tour around the Chiang Mai countryside
Today you’ll head out of the city again into the stunning valley of Mae Wang, around an hour outside of the city. Here you’ll meet a local guide and embark on an enthralling tuk-tuk tour of the Thai countryside – a day trip that is quite simply unlike anything else in Thailand!
These tuk tuk tours are both thoughtfully curated and lots of fun. Staying well away from the usual tourist traps, you’ll visit rural communities and temples to get a glimpse of true Northern Thailand. You’ll learn about the future of Thailand’s elephants at a fantastic small elephant home, float gently downriver on a bamboo raft, and travel remote country roads in your very own bright orange Tuk Tuk.
Lunch is included at a small local restaurant along the way, and you’ll be dropped back in central Chiang Mai late afternoon, with the rest of the day yours to explore independently.
Day 7 Phuket: Fly down to Phuket, transfer to your luxury beach resort
After a leisurely breakfast, you’ll be transferred back to Chiang Mai Airport, where you’ll board your 90-minute flight down to Phuket.
Thailand’s largest and most famous island is home to some of the country’s most enticing beach resorts. There are around 30 noted beaches, all featuring powdery white sands and cerulean seas, with visitors able to choose from busier or quieter locales dependent on their interest. Interior Phuket offers a huge array of amenities and activities, with opportunities to indulge in legendary Thai massage, dine on fresh-caught seafood, hike in the interior, arrange water sports, or enjoy lots of great shopping.
Day 8 Phuket: Phang Nga Bay boat tour
Today you’ll embark on an enthralling day tour around the spectacular islands of Phang Nga Bay. The day begins with an early morning pick-up from your hotel before boarding a typically Thai longtail boat and setting off into the Bay. You’ll visit a series of remarkable limestone outcrops, taking in Talu Cave, the fishing village of Tak Dad, the 150-year-old Muslim village of Koh Panyi, and the natural beauty of Panak Island. A further highlight will be a visit to Tapu Island, now known better as James Bond island following its starring role in ‘The Man With Golden Gun’.
In between these stops you’ll pause at a totally isolated cove for a picnic lunch on the beach. There will also be ample time to sunbathe and to swim and snorkel amongst incredibly clear waters and pristine coral.
Day 9 Phuket: Day at leisure in Phuket
Today is totally free to relax and enjoy Phuket. There are many excellent facilities on offer at your hotel, plus of course the magnificent beach, but should you wish to stay active we have a few ideas in mind. Another speedboat trip could take you out to the Phi Phi islands, or to dive or snorkel again in Phang Nga Bay. Staying on the island, dramatic hikes are available in the jungly mountainous interior, or you might like to indulge in some cultural immersion with a cooking class or village walk. Alternatively, head to one of the livelier beaches on the island for lots of shopping, dining, and nightlife opportunities. Make sure to ask your expert for their recommendations on how best to spend this day!
Day 10 Phuket: Departure day
Today your adventures in Thailand must come to an end. At the appropriate time, you’ll be transferred privately from your beach resort to Phuket Airport, 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
Hotel Riva Surya, Bangkok
Rachamankha Hotel, Chiang Mai
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