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Floating market in Thailand
Rural village in Thailand
Sala Rattanakosin in Thailand
The Floar House, River Kwai, Thailand
Wat Phra Sing in Thailand
Elephants & Mahouts in Thailand

Thai Temples Waterways and Wildlife

FURTHER JOURNEYS IN THAILAND  brown-arrow-right.png

Thailand is a beautiful and diverse country best known for its Buddhist ways and glittering palaces and pagodas.  This itinerary allows you to take the path less travelled to unveil the deep and fascinating history that lies amidst the verdant Thai countryside, to explore ancient temples, receive a spiritual blessing, understand the part the River Kwai played in military history and train with Mahouts and their sacred elephants.  Accommodation ranges from a riverside gem in Bangkok to floating thatched villas on the River Kwai to glamorous tents in Elephant Hills and throughout you will be able to enjoy the best of Asian service and cuisine.

Day 1 - Arrive Bangkok

Arrive in Bangkok, where you will be met and privately transferred to your riverside hotel.  SALA Rattanakosin is a hidden gem tucked away in a back street on the Eastern Bank of the Chao Phraya River boasting a front row view of the Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun) from its rooftop bar and restaurant.  The hotel is just steps away from some of Bangkok's iconic attractions such as The Grand Palace, the flower market and Wat Pho Temple to name a few.  A little oasis amidst the buzz and culture of this wonderful city.

Overnight: Sala Rattanakosin

Day 2 - Bangkok

With your private guide, an early start will get you to Wat Pho in time to experience the monks' early morning chanting ritual and avoid the crowds. After this uplifting experience you will visit the temple grounds and the famous 45-metre reclining Buddha. The day will be a colourful blur as your guide expertly guides you though the highlights of The Grand Palace, Wat Phra Kaew, Chinatown and the fabulous and various markets.  We will recommend a local restaurant for lunch and throughout the day you can sample delicious street food and enjoy cups of tea to keep your energy levels up.

After a few hours of relaxation back at the hotel, take an early evening stroll along the Flower Market to see the myriad varieties of exotic orchids and sweet smelling flora. Grab a few bargains at the night market before heading back for an Asian feast on the roof of your hotel.

Overnight: Sala Rattanakosin

Day 3 - Bangkok - Kanchanaburi

This morning depart by road for a 3 hour drive to Resotel Pier in Kanchanaburi.  From here it is just a short boat ride to your floating hotel on the River Kwai where you will spend the next two days relaxing. 

Overnight:  The Floathouse River Kwai Resort

Day 4 - The River Kwai - Hellfire Pass

After a leisurely breakfast, visit the Bridge over the River Kwai which was built by the Japanese during World War II and was responsible for the deaths of 100,000 Asian labourers and 16,000 allied prisoners.  A 4km walking trail takes you through "Hellfire Pass", aptly named by the prisoners of war due to the complexity of its creation and how it appeared when lit up by torchlight at night.  If you wish you can take the train which runs 50kms along this historic route.  Return to The Floathouse for an afternoon at leisure.

Overnight:  The Floathouse River Kwai Resort

Day 5 - Lawa Cave - Erawan Waterfall National Park

Take the boat back to the pier where your guide will meet you with mountain bikes for your 30 minute ride to Lawa Cave.  The largest cave in Kanchanaburi Province, it sits on the Kwai Noi River and comprises several chambers with impressive stalactites and stalagmites and Khun Kitti, the world's smallest bat.  Your guide will then drive you 1½ hours on to Erawan Waterfall National Park, home to Thailand's most stunning waterfall and the perfect place for you to enjoy a picnic lunch and a relaxing swim in one of the many rock pools.  Return to your hotel stopping en route to visit the Tiger Temple; a conservation area where many different types of wildlife live together in harmony and befriend the resident monks and visitors.

Overnight:  The Floathouse River Kwai Resort

Day 6 - Kanchanaburi -  Ayutthaya

Depart today by road for a 2½ hour journey to Ayutthaya, the second Siamese capital after Sukothai.  Check in to your hotel and freshen up before an afternoon exploring the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya Historical Park, with your guide.   The best way to meander around the ancient palaces and temples is by bicycle.

Overnight:  Baan Thai House

Day 7 - Ayutthaya - Phitsanulok

After breakfast drive the 4½ hour journey to Phitsanulok, stopping en route for a walk around King Rama IV's summer palace.    Phitsanulok is one of the oldest cities in Thailand and you will visit Phra Si Ratana Temple which is a bronze-casted statue widely considered to be the most beautiful Buddha in Thailand.  This afternoon you can relax at your hotel and enjoy a swim and possibly a spa treatment.

Overnight:  Patara Resort in Phitsanulok

Day 8 - Phitsanulok - Sukhothai - Chiang Mai

Today you have a 4½ hour drive to Chiang Mai.  Stop en route to visit the Sukhothai Historical Park.  Once a walled city surrounded by a moat, it contains almost 200 ruined chedis in remarkable condition.   Your guide will show you the main sites of Wat Mahathat, Wat Si Chum, Wat Sri Sawai, War Sra Sri, Wat Trapang Ngoen and Ramkamhaeng Museum.   On arrival at Chiang Mai, you will check in to a boutique hotel dating back to 1889 in the heart of the city, ideally located for wandering out to the markets and restaurants and  once owned by Louis Leonowens, son of Anna (of Anna and the King movie fame).   

Overnight:  137 Pillars Hotel

Day 9 - Chiang Mai

Embark on a gastronomic journey with a Pantawan cooking class. Select your ingredients from the vibrant colours and flavours of a local market before learning the secrets of Thai cuisine.

After lunch, your guide will take you to explore ancient Chiang Mai with its old city walls, moats and markets.    Finish the day with a drive up the mountain to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the temple on the mountain, and the most sacred in Northern Thailand.   Receive a private, spiritual blessing and as the light fades you can witness  the magical evening chanting of the monks and as you look down over Chiang Mai.

Overnight: 137 Pillars Hotel

Day 10 - Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai is surrounded by extremely beautiful countryside and national parks, so today we recommend that your guide takes you for a hike about an hour's drive from the city centre.  This can be entirely to your preferred pace and we will tailor it accordingly.  You can either do a full day's hike or a morning or afternoon depending on your preference.   Alternatively, you may prefer to include more time in Chiang Mai itself either by yourselves or with a guide.

Overnight:  137 Pillars Hotel

Day 11 - Chiang Mai - Bangkok 

Depart this morning on your flight to Bangkok where you will spend your last night in 5-star luxury.  Enjoy a final dinner at Vertigo, Banyan Tree's incredible roof top restaurant offering panoramic views of the city at night.

Overnight:  Banyan Tree

Day 12 - Depart

After breakfast, depart for the airport and say a final farewell to Thailand before boarding your flight home.  


OPTIONAL EXTENSION

If you can spare a few more days then we would highly recommend you fly on to Phuket for two nights of luxury camping in Khao Sok National Park.  

Day 11 - Chiang Mai - Phuket - Khao Sok National Park
Depart this morning on your flight to Phuket, via Bangkok, from where it is only a 2½ hour drive up to Khao Sok National Park.  Here you can enjoy your last nights under canvas at Elephant Hills, Thailand's first luxury tented camp.  

Overnight:  Elephant Hills Tented Camp

Day 12 - Khao Sok National Park
A day of adventure and relaxation at Elephant Hills.  Set in the largest open area of the 120,000 hectares of virgin rainforest, the camp is made up of 30 luxury tents, each complete with handmade furniture and comfortable beds, providing the perfect base from which to explore the jungle, canoe on the Sok River and get close to the much loved Asian elephants, as well as other indigenous flora and fauna.

Overnight:  Elephant Hills Tented Camp

Day 13 - Khao Sok - Phuket - Bangkok
Drive back to Phuket this morning for your flight to Bangkok.  Enjoy your final night at Banyan Tree's 5-star hotel with dinner at Vertigo, the hotel's incredible roof top restaurant offering panoramic views of the city at night.

Overnight:  Banyan Tree

Day 14 - Bangkok - Home
After breakfast, depart for the airport and say a final farewell to Thailand before boarding your flight home.  

 

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