Tempting Thailand

Thailand

“It’s hard to choose any one experience (as a favorite). The hotels, food and sites were outstanding.”
Betty, North Carolina

Sample Thailand’s temptations on this exotic Far East adventure.  Begin in Bangkok where you are greeted by majestic palaces, ornate temples, and a fascinating array of klongs (canals).  Visit the Royal Grand Palace complex, a compound of gilded spires, ornate buildings, and rich murals.  Explore the temple ruins and magnificent stone carvings at Ayuthaya, which was Thailand’s capital from 1350 to 1767.  See vendors hawking their goods from hand-fashioned canoes at Damnoan Saduak’s floating market, and travel to Kanchanaburi to see the Death War Museum, the Cemetery of Allied Prisoners, and the famous Bridge on the River Kwai.

Visit the treasures of well-preserved Sukhothai, capital of Thailand during the Golden Age of Thai civilization.  In Chiang Mai, shop at the Night Bazaar, which comes alive after sunset.  Travel through the Teak Forest to Maesa Elephant Camp, the largest in Thailand, where you will witness elephants at work and play and have opportunity to take a jungle trek aboard an elephant.  Spend the final days of your journey relaxing on the sandy, tropical beaches of Phuket, or exploring the caves and mangrove jungles at nearby Phang Nga Bay.

The sequence of touring and days may be altered to adjust to religious holidays, special closings of sites, air schedule changes, etc. Hotels listed subject to availability. Meal inclusions may vary by departure.

DAY 1: Chicago/Los Angeles/Bangkok

Depart today for the west coast, where we connect with our flights to Bangkok. (meals aloft)

DAY 2: Arrive Bangkok

We arrive late this evening in Bangkok, the exotic capital of the kingdom of Thailand, resplendent with 400 temples and laced with a fascinating array of klongs (canals).  Transfer to our luxurious hotel, The Royal Orchid Sheraton, located along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. (meals aloft)

DAY 3: Bangkok

This morning we take our own long-tail speedboat on the Chao Phraya River and its klongs, visiting the colorful markets and the famous Temple of the Dawn (Wat Arun).  Later, we will visit the Royal Grand Palace complex.  This compound of gilded spires, ornate buildings, and rich murals includes the dazzling Wat Phra Keo, or Temple of the Emerald Buddha. (B)

DAY  4: Ayuthaya/Bangkok

Today’s full day tour takes us to Ayuthaya, the former capital of Thailand from 1350 to 1767.  Explore the temple ruins and magnificent stone carvings.  Continue on to Bang Pa In, the royal summer palace, before boarding a relaxing cruise down the Chao Phraya River back to Bangkok. (B, L)

DAY  5: Damnern/Saduak/Kanchanaburi

An early departure takes us to Damnern Saduak and its authentic floating market, where vendors hawk their goods from hand-fashioned canoes.  Afterwards, we head to Kanchanaburi, visiting the Phra Pathom Chedi en route.  Upon arrival, we visit the Death War Museum, the Cemetery of Allied Prisoners, and the famous Bridge on the River Kwai.  Included is a train ride on the historic Death Railway Train. Tonight our hotel is The River Kwai Village. (B,L,D)

DAY 6: Kanchanaburi

A morning boat trip downstream takes us to the mystical caves of Kaeng Lawa.  After lunch, we visit the Hell Fire Pass section of the River Kwai Railway, constructed by Allied prisoners during World War II. (B,L,D)

DAY 7: Sukhothai

We depart for Sukhothai this morning, stopping first at Uthai Thani to visit the beautiful temple of Wat Chantaram.  After lunch, we board a traditional wooden rice barge for a relaxing journey down the Sakaekrang River.  We arrive later this afternoon at Sukhothai and our hotel, The Pailyn. (B,L,D)

DAY 8: Sukhothai

Capital of Thailand during the Golden Age of Thai civilization, Sukhothai is now a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site.  This well-preserved area is in effect a treasure trove of temples, monasteries, and palaces from which the heart of Thai artistic and spiritual culture was derived. (B,L,D)

DAY 9: Lampang/Chiang Mai

We travel further north to Chiang Mai with a stop in Lampang.  There we visit the Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang and its emerald Buddha, the pagodas of Wat Sri Don Thao, and more.  This afternoon, we complete our journey to Chiang Mai, the second largest city in Thailand.  Our hotel is The Westin. (B,L)

Floating Market

DAY 10: Chiang Mai

An early departure takes us to one of the working elephant camps, where a 30-minute jungle trek aboard one of the elephants is included.  Take plenty of bananas to reward our new friends!  We also enjoy a special performance from the elephants, showing off their skills, strength, and dexterity.  Elephant bath time is always a treat as well. Time permitting, we will also visit a nearby village to see how the Hilltribe peoples live, and perhaps an orchid farm as well.  After arriving back into town, we enjoy visits to the local handicraft centers, where the wares include beautiful silks, hand-carved teak, lacquer ware, colorful hand painted umbrellas, and much more. (B)

DAY 11: Chiang Mai

While in Chiang Mai, we will likely spend much of our available time at the Night Bazaar.  After sunset, the city comes alive with shops and sidewalk vendors selling everything from knock-off name brand items (need a Rolex?) to beautiful handicraft creations.  On this day, however, time will also be given for optional visits to local mission centers or resting by the pool. (B)

DAY 12: Chiang Mai/Phuket

This morning we fly to Phuket to complete our coverage of Thailand’s most popular areas.  The sandy beaches of this island tropical paradise await you for the next few days.  Our hotel is The Amari Coral Reef, which overlooks the famous beach of Patong. (B)

DAY 13: Phuket

Today we enjoy a half-day orientation tour of  Phuket during which we can discover what the island has to offer.  There is plenty of time today for us to relax by the pool or on the beach as well.  For those who have not found that final bargain, there are plenty of shopkeepers nearby ready to haggle for that last dollar. (B)

DAY 14: Phuket

Highly recommended for today is the optional Sea Canoe trip to Phang Nga Bay.  Expert guides take you into the incredible rock formations to discover vast caves and mangrove jungles.  Others may prefer swimming, a round of golf, or a visit to the hotel spa for a relaxing massage. (B)

DAY 15: Phuket/Bangkok/USA

Today we pack our bags after an incredible experience to one of the world’s premier destinations.  We fly to Bangkok for an overnight flight to Narita (Tokyo). (B, meals aloft)

DAY 16: Arrive USA

Connecting in Narita, we continue to the USA and our domestic flights home. (meals aloft)