EXCLUSIVE SAVINGS! Book by February 21, 2023, for savings of $100 per person. Ask about savings on other tours to Thailand and Asia.
Delve into a land where bustling modern cities, ornate ancient temples, and stunning jungle beaches coexist. Discover the busy metropolitan roads of Bangkok by tuk tuk. Nosh on perfectly balanced street food. See intricate colored tiles and golden statues at Buddhist shrines. Explore the melting pot of culture and bright, eccentric Sino-Portuguese architecture in Phuket’s Old Town. Relax at pure white sandy beaches overlooking turquoise waters beside verdant green jungles. Uncover the beautifully balanced mosaic of old and new, metropolitan, rural, and coastal in Thailand.
ESSENCE OF THAILAND
15 days Bangkok to Phuket | 14 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, and 4 Dinners
- See the gilded Reclining Buddha, the sacred jade Emerald Buddha, and the dazzling Grand Palace in Bangkok
- Float along the waters of the Mekong River and see the Golden Triangle: where Laos, Myanmar, and Thailand meet
- Join a Lanna family, for a home-hosted meal
- Choose between a visit to the Suan Pakkad Palace Museum or a coach visit to the Marble Temple
- Choose between a one-hour Thai massage or a dinner at a local restaurant
- Visit Phuket's Old Town
Exclusive Bonus: $100 credit towards tour add-ons such as pre or post-tour stays, optional excursions, and more.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
Day 1: Bangkok, ThailandTour Begins
Hotel: Amari Watergate Bangkok
Begin your discovery of Thailand in Bangkok, its capital city. Here, vibrant street life is contrasted by a backdrop of ornate shrines and rich history.
Day 2: BangkokHotel: Amari Watergate Bangkok | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Begin your journey exploring the winding canals in Bangkok’s old town on a private boat trip. On Rattanakosin Island, visit Wat Po, the famous Buddhist temple complex in the Phra Nakhon District and see the world-renowned Reclining Buddha. Enjoy some free time before sitting down with your fellow travelers for a welcome dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 3: BangkokHotel: Amari Watergate Bangkok | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Today, experience more of Bangkok’s highlights, including a visit to the Wat Phra Kaew; the Emerald Buddha is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. Visit the ornately decorated Grand Palace – the official residence of the Kings of Siam since 1782. Enjoy some free time or choose to join an optional tour to the Jim Thompson house and museum, featuring lunch. This evening, a night tour of Bangkok will create memories for a lifetime as you experience the city from a completely fresh perspective. Climb aboard your tuk tuk – a motorized rickshaw – for a front row seat to the bustling Bangkok city streets lit up at night. The streets are alive with excitement and energy as your tuk tuk brings you for food tastings that capture the local flavor. End with a visit to the flower market – this normally busy, bustling landmark feels solitary and peaceful in the quiet of night. Enjoy more food tastings in a private setting before returning to the hotel.
Day 4: Bangkok - SukhothaiHotel: Sukhothai Treasure Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
Today, it’s your choice! Choose between a walk from the hotel to visit the Suan Pakkad Palace Museum, known for its Thai antiques -OR- take the coach to visit the Marble Temple where you will join Buddhist monks in their daily chanting. After, head to the airport for a short flight to Sukhothai. This evening, enjoy dinner at the hotel.
Day 5: SukhothaiHotel: Sukhothai Treasure Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Dive into history today as you discover the archaeological sites in Sukhothai. Visit its Historical Park, spanning the ruins of Sukhothai – which means “dawn of happiness” – as well as the famous site of Wat Si Chum, a landmark temple boasting a 49-foot Buddha and an open ceiling.
Day 6: Sukhothai - Chiang RaiHotel: The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Set off today for Chiang Rai. During this longer ride, stop for lunch at a local restaurant and visit the White Temple, called Wat Rong Khun – an intricately designed Buddhist-styled temple. Arrive in Chiang Rai, once the capital of the Mengrai Dynasty.
Day 7: Chiang RaiHotel: The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa | Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Explore the beauty of Chiang Rai today. This laid-back town offers up a cultural experience as an ethnic melting pot in Thailand. Enjoy a tour of the Golden Triangle, where Burma, Laos and Thailand meet, separated by the Mekong River. Visit the Opium Museum today. As you explore this museum, learn all about the opium trade and the impact to local communities. Then, it’s all aboard for a short boat ride along the Mekong River, to float at the confluence of Laos, Thailand and Burma. Back on land, walk to a restaurant for lunch before driving to the hill tribe village to learn from locals about the long, rich traditions of this beautiful area. Most of the Thai ethnic groups are set off in remote locales, and the hill tribes relocated here to warmly welcome visitors and introduce them to each of the ethnic groups. Meet with Akha and Karen Long Neck people. As the women weave during the visit, you have the opportunity to support these local artisans by purchasing some of the products they make for tourists. This evening, enjoy a walk in a night bazaar, experiencing the culture of this region in a whole new way.
Day 8: Chiang Rai - Chiang MaiHotel: Kantary Hills Chiangmai | Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Today, it’s off to Chiang Mai – once a religious center, where elaborate Buddhist temples create a beautiful backdrop reflecting its rich, cultural history. En route, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting Doi Suthep – one of the twin peaks of a beautiful granite mountain to the west of Chiang Mai. A cable car whisks you to its peak to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand. Marvel at the stunning views before taking the ornate steps back down. Flanked by jeweled naga – lavish serpents – these steps are the perfect spot for a photo! Enjoy dinner on your own this evening.
Day 9: Chiang MaiHotel: Kantary Hills Chiangmai | Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
See elephants in their natural setting today during a visit to ChangChill, which literally means “relaxed elephants.” This sanctuary prides itself on its ethical treatment of these endangered species. Climb aboard your 4x4 vehicles and meander through country roads to reach the camp. Then walk through rice paddy fields and meet the resident elephants.* From a distance watch them graze, bathe in the river, roam the lush forest, socialize with one another – and embrace their freedom. Make herb balls and fruit snacks to place in feeding stations. Enjoy a simple vegetarian lunch served by the camp staff as the elephants arrive for their snacks. Participate in a discussion with a mahout on changes to the elephant trade practices and the impact to the mahout community. Travelers who wish to observe the elephants grazing can set off for a 20-minute hike to do so. Tonight, it’s your choice! Choose between a relaxing one-hour Thai massage -OR- get a taste of the local flavor during dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 10: Chiang MaiHotel: Kantary Hills Chiangmai | Meals: Breakfast & Lunch
Enjoy a warm welcome today from an extended family belonging to the Lanna ethnic group. Visit their home where you can learn from one of the family members about their customs and religion, see their garden and hear all about the herbs grown here. Together with hosts you will learn how to prepare local dishes and then join them as you enjoy the fruits of your labor with a simple lunch.
Day 11: Chiang Mai - PhuketHotel: Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket | Meals: Breakfast
Fly to Phuket this morning and head to your resort, set on a private tropical beach. Relax for the rest of the day as the salty sea breeze rolls in, rustling the palms and soothing the soul. Perhaps hit the waves, or unwind with a good book, reflecting on your cultural journey thus far. Stay as long as you’d like.
Day 12: PhuketHotel: Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket | Meals: Breakfast
Travel to Phuket’s Old Town, adorned with brightly painted, historic Sino-Portuguese townhouses, stores, cafes and ice cream shops. Explore this charming old town all morning and enjoy free time for lunch on your own. After lunch, return to your beach-front resort to soak up those salt water vibes and laid-back tropical lifestyle for the day.
Day 13: PhuketHotel: Cape Panwa Hotel, Phuket | Meals: Breakfast & Dinner
It’s a completely free day today, so take advantage of your idyllic tropical resort or perhaps head back to the old town and dive into some of Phuket’s most popular haunts. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner, toasting an experience full of history, beauty, culture and incredible discoveries in Thailand.
Day 14: Phuket - BangkokHotel: Kantary House | Meals: Breakfast
Fly to Bangkok this afternoon and head to an airport hotel, preparing to return home with a lifetime of memories – the best kind of souvenir.
Day 15: BangkokTour Ends
Say farewell to Thailand and return home today.