Truly experience Thailand on this comprehensive tour through its exotic heartland. Witness the dramatic changes in landscape, cuisine and culture as you travel south to north, meeting local people and discovering renowned landmarks. To enhance your time in this enchanting country, memorable experiences include a Thai cooking class and a visit to the responsible Elephant Nature Park.

• Bangkok: 2 nights

• Ayuthaya: 1 night

• Sukhothai: 2 nights

• Chiang Rai: 1 night

• Chiang Mai: 3 nights

11nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE

Truly experience Thailand on this comprehensive tour through its exotic heartland. Witness the dramatic changes in landscape, cuisine and culture as you travel south to north, meeting local people and discovering renowned landmarks. To enhance your time in this enchanting country, memorable experiences include a Thai cooking class and a visit to the responsible Elephant Nature Park.

• Bangkok: 2 nights

• Ayutthaya: 1 night
• Sukhothai: 2 nights
• Chiang Rai: 1 night
• Chiang Mai: 3 nights

11nights Escorted Small Group Tour
NATURE
CULTURE
ACTIVE
 
 
ITINERARY

Day 1: UK to Bangkok Depart the UK on your overnight flight to Bangkok.

Day 2: Bangkok On arrival, transfer to your hotel and enjoy some time at leisure ahead of an exciting first evening. You’ll be picked up and taken to the River City Pier 2 for a beautiful riverboat dinner cruise down the Chao Phraya River. Provided by Banyan Tree, the Apsara Cruise will give you the chance to see Bangkok’s famous sights from the water while indulging in authentic Thai cuisine. Stay: Rembrandt Hotel, or similar. D.

Day 3: Bangkok A morning visit to the Samyan Market will introduce you to the ingredients used in Thai cooking and some of the most popular tropical fruits. Then step back in time at the century-old Nanglerng Food Market, with its wooden shop houses. Have lunch at a small but well-known local restaurant near Bangkok City Hall before continuing on to one of the city’s most famous sights – the Grand Palace. Here you will see the famed Emerald Buddha – one of the most revered images of Buddha in the whole of Thailand. You’ll also see the temple of Wat Po, the largest temple complex in Bangkok and home to the Reclining Buddha. This evening head to Chinatown, rich in tradition, history and aromas, for a behind-the-scenes look at this unique neighbourhood. Wander past shops and bazaars, sample the street food and visit religious and cultural landmarks. Dinner tonight will be dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. Stay: Rembrandt Hotel, or similar. L, D.

Day 4: Bangkok to Ayutthaya Begin your journey north to the city of Ayutthaya, the capital of Thailand from the 14th to the 18th Century. On arrival in the city you will head straight to the Ayutthaya Historical Park to see the ruins of the old city which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. Governed by 35 kings of Siam during its time as the capital, the city was destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767 but today is still an impressive sight to behold. After lunch at a local restaurant – complete with an interesting dessert of the popular Thai cotton candy – head south to the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace, dating back to the 17th Century and revived and restored in the 19th Century. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 85 miles. Stay: Sala Ayutthaya, or similar. L.

Day 5: Ayutthaya to Sukhothai The journey north continues to the city of Uthai Thani on the western bank of the Sakae Krang river. Begin your exploration of the city with a visit to Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri and the striking temple of Wat Tha Sung. Later you will take a trip along the Sakraekrang River on a traditional rice barge, witnessing life on the water that has hardly changed throughout the centuries. Have lunch on board as your make your way along the river observing the simple way of life and the houses built on bamboo rafts with their floating gardens and fish farms. Your next stop is the city of Phitsanulok where you will visit the riverside temple of Wat Phra Si Ratana Mahathat, home to one of the most sacred images of Buddha in all of Thailand, and the Cha Tawee folk museum. Then continue on to Sukhothai in the late afternoon. Approx. journey time: 6 hours, 250 miles. Stay: Sukhothai Heritage Resort, or similar. B, L.

Day 6: Sukhothai Today’s visit to the Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the tour’s highlights. You will have the opportunity to explore the ruins of what was the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Built in the 13th Century, the beautiful buildings here – which include stupas, temples, a monastery and the royal palace – marked the beginning of the Thai style of architecture that you will have witnessed throughout the country. This afternoon, following a mouthwatering organic lunch overlooking the rice fields, you can learn about the region’s rural industry during a rice planting workshop. Don the distinctive dress worn by Thai farmers and get to grips with the traditional farming methods and practices. There’s even the opportunity to plough the paddies with water buffalo. Stay: Sukhothai Heritage Resort, or similar. B, L.

Day 7: Sukhothai to Chiang Rai Rise early this morning for the chance to ‘make merit’ with the Buddhist monks by making offerings of food before returning to the hotel for breakfast. Much of the day will be spent on the journey north to the city of Chiang Rai, located just 37 miles south of the border with Burma. En route, stop at a pineapple plantation near Lampang before passing through Phayao which sits on the shore of the lake of the same name. On arrival in Chiang Rai visit the Golden Triangle – the point on the Mekong River where the nations of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. While here you can visit the Opium House and learn about the region’s poppy cultivation. Approx. journey time: 7 hours, 300 miles. Stay: The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa, or similar. B, L, D.

Day 8: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai A cultural morning begins with a visit to the two hill tribe villages of Akha and Yao where a Songtaew (two-row seated local truck) journey will take you to Mae Chan to meet with some of the tribespeople of Northern Thailand. Continue on to Chiang Mai and head to the San Kamphaeng district to visit a handicraft centre. After lunch at a local restaurant, walk around Chiang Mai’s Old City. Begin at the Tapae Gate, reconstructed in the 1980s to give an idea of what the original gates would have been like. Take in Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phan Tao with its peacock-adorned doorway. This evening, experience a Khantoke dinner – an authentic Thai affair with performances of traditional dances and songs of ancient Thailand and its hilltribes. Approx. journey time: 5 hours, 180 miles. Stay: De Naga Hotel, or similar. B, L, D.

Day 9: Chiang Mai Another highlight is a full day spent at the Elephant Nature Park, around an hour outside of Chiang Mai. During your time at this well-respected park, where they provide a sanctuary for rescued elephants and other wildlife, you’ll be able to help with bathing and feeding the elephants – unloading and distributing their treats before heading to the viewing platform to watch them eat. This responsible park provides the perfect opportunity to spend time observing these incredible creatures. There’s no strict schedule so you can spend the day relaxing in the company of the elephants. Stay: De Naga Hotel, or similar. B, L.

Day 10: Chiang Mai Spend this morning at an insightful – and delicious – cooking class. Your first stop will be the Nong Hoi market to purchase fresh ingredients. The class takes place in an open Lanna-style kitchen and after a briefing session, you’ll get to work on preparing four authentic dishes including a Thai curry – which you’ll get to eat for lunch. You can also wander around the herb and vegetable gardens. After all of the morning’s cooking and tasting, this afternoon is at leisure. Stay: De Naga Hotel, or similar. B, L.

Day 11: Chiang Mai Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B.


Stay longer

Beaches of Thailand – Hua Hin 3 nights
Extend your comprehensive tour with a beach stay at the summer residence of Thailand’s Royal Family.

Burma Encounter 11 nights
Discover an enigmatic country filled with beautiful temples, mystical pagodas and a wonderful culture waiting to be explored.

Day 1: UK to Bangkok Depart the UK on your overnight flight to Bangkok.

Day 2: Bangkok On arrival, transfer to your hotel and enjoy some time at leisure ahead of an exciting first evening. You’ll be picked up to enjoy a cocktail at Banyan Tree Bangkok before heading to River City Pier 2 for a beautiful riverboat dinner cruise down the Chao Phraya River. Provided by Banyan Tree, the Apsara Cruise will give you the chance to see Bangkok’s famous sights from the water while indulging in authentic Thai cuisine. Stay: The Landmark Bangkok (or similar). D.

Day 3: Bangkok A morning visit to the Samyan Market will introduce you to the ingredients used in Thai cooking and some of the most popular tropical fruits. Then step back in time at the century-old Nang Loeng Food Market before having lunch at a small but well-known local restaurant near Bangkok City Hall and continuing on to one of the city’s most famous sights – the Grand Palace. Here you will see the famed Emerald Buddha – one of the most revered images of Buddha in the whole of Thailand. You’ll also see the temple of Wat Po, the largest temple complex in Bangkok and home to the Reclining Buddha. This evening head to Chinatown which is rich in tradition, history and aromas. Wander past shops and bazaars, sample the street food and visit religious and cultural landmarks. Dinner tonight will be dim sum at a Chinese restaurant. Stay: The Landmark Bangkok (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 4: Bangkok to Ayutthaya Begin your journey north to the city of Ayutthaya, the capital of Thailand from the 14th to the 18th Century. On arrival you’ll head straight to the Ayutthaya Historical Park to see the UNESCO-listed temples and ruins of the old city. Governed by 35 kings of Siam, the city was destroyed by the Burmese army in 1767 but today is still an impressive sight to behold. After lunch at a local restaurant – complete with the popular Thai cotton candy for dessert – head south to the 17th-Century Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. Approx. journey time: 3 hours, 85 miles. Stay: Sala Ayutthaya (or similar). B, L.

Day 5: Ayutthaya to Sukhothai The journey north continues to the city of Uthai Thani where you will visit Wat Sangkat Rattana Khiri and the striking temple of Wat Tha Sung. Later you will take a trip along the Sakae Krang River on a traditional rice barge, witnessing life on the water that has hardly changed throughout the centuries. Have lunch as you make your way along the river, observing the houses built on bamboo rafts with their floating gardens and fish farms. Your next stop is Phitsanulok to visit the riverside temple of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, home to one of Thailand’s most sacred images of Buddha, and the Cha Tawee folk museum (closed on Monday), before continuing on to Sukhothai. Approx. journey time: 6 hours, 250 miles. Stay: Sukhothai Heritage Resort (or similar). B, L.

Day 6: Sukhothai Today’s visit to the Sukhothai Historical Park is one of the tour’s highlights. Explore the ruins of the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Built in the 13th Century, the beautiful buildings here – which include stupas, temples, a monastery and the royal palace – marked the beginning of the Thai style of architecture that you will have witnessed throughout the country. This afternoon, enjoy lunch overlooking the rice fields and don the distinctive dress worn by Thai farmers and get to grips with the traditional farming methods in a rice planting workshop. There’s even the opportunity to plough the paddies with water buffalo. Stay: Sukhothai Heritage Resort (or similar). B, L.

Day 7: Sukhothai to Chiang Rai Rise early this morning to ‘make merit’ with the Buddhist monks by making offerings of food before returning to the hotel for breakfast. Much of the day will be spent on the journey north to the city of Chiang Rai, located just 37 miles south of the border with Burma. En route, stop at a pineapple plantation near Lampang before passing through Phayao. On arrival in Chiang Rai visit the Golden Triangle – the point on the Mekong River where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. While here, visit the Opium House and learn about the region’s poppy cultivation. Approx. journey time: 7 hours, 300 miles. Stay: The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 8: Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai A cultural morning begins with a visit to the two hill tribe villages of Akha and Yao where a Songthaew (two-row seated local truck) journey will take you to Mae Chan to meet some of the tribespeople of northern Thailand. Continue on to Chiang Mai and head to the San Kamphaeng district to visit a handicraft centre and watch the spinning and weaving of Thai silk. After lunch at a local restaurant, walk around Chiang Mai’s Old City. Begin at the reconstructed Tapae Gate and see Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phan Tao with its peacock-adorned doorway. This evening, experience a Khantoke dinner – an authentic Thai affair with traditional dances and songs of ancient Thai hill tribes. Approx. journey time: 5 hours, 180 miles. Stay: RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, Chiang Mai (or similar). B, L, D.

Day 9: Chiang Mai Another highlight is a full day spent at the Elephant Nature Park, around an hour outside of Chiang Mai. Here they provide a sanctuary for rescued elephants and other wildlife and you’ll be able to help with bathing and feeding the elephants. This responsible park provides the perfect opportunity to spend time observing these incredible creatures. There’s no strict schedule so you can spend the day relaxing in the company of the elephants. Stay: RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, Chiang Mai (or similar). B, L.

Day 10: Chiang Mai Spend this morning at an insightful – and delicious – cooking class. Your first stop will be the Nong Hoi market to purchase fresh ingredients. The class takes place in an open Lanna-style kitchen where you’ll learn how to make four authentic dishes including a Thai curry – which you’ll get to eat for lunch. You can also wander around the herb and vegetable gardens. After all of the morning’s cooking and tasting, return to the hotel and spend the afternoon at leisure. Stay: RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort, Chiang Mai (or similar). B, L.

Day 11: Chiang Mai Transfer to the airport for your flight to the UK, arriving the following day. B.


Stay longer

Beaches of Thailand – Hua Hin 3 nights
Extend your comprehensive tour with a beach stay at the summer residence of Thailand’s Royal Family.

Burma Encounter 11 nights
Discover an enigmatic country filled with beautiful temples, mystical pagodas and a wonderful culture waiting to be explored.

ABOUT THIS TOUR

Is this for you?

On this tour we aim to give you a rounded cultural experience, as well as take you to famous landmarks. You’ll meet monks, farmers, traders and tribespeople and get your hands dirty down on the farm.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests.

The Grand Palace will be closed 25-29 October 2017 for the Royal Cremation Ceremony of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej. The visit to the Grand Palace on Day 2 will be replaced by a suitable alternative. Please note roads may be temporarily blocked as a result.

What to expect

• Air-conditioned transport
• Full days of sightseeing and cultural experiences as well as some long journeys
• Visits to rural villages, temples and cultural sites
• Encounters with monks, villagers and tribespeople.

Accommodation on tour

The Sala Ayutthaya is one of Ayutthaya’s newest hotels. A boutique oasis with just 26 individually-designed rooms and an on-site art gallery featuring the works of local artists, it’s a chic base in the heart of this historic region. You’ll get to stay at more traditionally designed hotels too. In Chiang Mai, the De Naga Hotel is a beautiful modern Lanna-style property with teak wood, ornate details and an elevated setting.

Single travellers

Dedicated departures recommended for single travellers: 25 Feb; 11 Nov 2017. Single supplement on other dates from £436

Is this for you?

On this tour we’ll show you famous landmarks and offer you a rounded cultural experience as you meet monks, traders and tribespeople and get your hands dirty on a farm.

Good to know

• All departures are guaranteed
• For guests over 16 (unless travelling on a private journey)
• Average group size of 10 guests
• A maximum of 16 guests.

What to expect

• Air-conditioned transport
• Full days of sightseeing and cultural experiences as well as some long journeys
• Visits to rural villages, temples and cultural sites
• Encounters with monks, villagers and tribespeople.

Accommodation on tour

The Sala Ayutthaya is one of Ayutthaya’s newest hotels. A boutique oasis with just 26 individually-designed rooms and an on-site art gallery featuring the works of local artists, it’s a chic base in the heart of this historic region. In Chiang Mai, the RatiLanna Riverside Spa Resort is a luxurious retreat with traditional Thai teak wood, private balconies and a swim-up bar.

Single travellers

Single room supplement from £488.

DATES AND INCLUSIONS

Tour dates

2017 Jan 14, 28; Feb 11, 25°; Mar 11; Apr 08; Jun 17; Jul 15; Nov 11°, 25; Dec 02

° Dedicated departure recommended for single travellers

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice.

Tour dates

2018 Jan 27; Feb 10; Apr 07; Nov 10

Included in price

• Quality accommodation
• Insightful local tour leaders
• Hand-picked itineraries
• Flexible arrival times
• Small groups and a relaxed approach
• Porterage and guide tips
• Meals where most convenient (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner), or the freedom to explore local restaurants independently
• All specified flights.

Upgrade your tour

Private tour Upgrade to a private tour with a local tour leader on the same itinerary, departing on the date of your choice from £774 per person, ref FE9063.

Special offer
From
£2295
 
ESCORTED SMALL GROUP TOUR
Price per person for 11 nights
Experience Thailand on this comprehensive tour
through its exotic heartland
Escorted small group tour departs 27th Jan 18
 
Fly with Eva Airways from London Heathrow

Why Kuoni?

We’ve chosen some memorable hands-on experiences to give a real insight into Thailand. The cuisine is a huge part of the culture here and you’ll learn about the rural industry during an organic lunch and rice planting workshop, where there’s even the opportunity to plough the paddies with water buffalo. A Thai cooking class will also take you through the steps from purchasing fresh market ingredients to creating flavoursome, fragrant dishes.

Why Kuoni?

We’ve chosen some memorable hands-on experiences to give a real insight into Thailand, particularly its all-important cuisine. You’ll learn about the rural industry during an organic lunch and rice planting workshop, where there’s even the opportunity to plough the paddies with water buffalo. A Thai cooking class will take you through the steps from purchasing fresh market ingredients to creating flavoursome, fragrant dishes.