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Essential Thailand

Operated by: CostSaver

12 Days from $1,795 per person
JUN 2021 - MAR 2022
Asia Thailand River Kwai

Countries Visited

Thailand, Laos ...more Thailand, Laos

Locations Visited

Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai, Don Sao, Chiang Mai ...more Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai, Chiang Rai, Don Sao, Chiang Mai
  1. Day 1 Arrive Bangkok (3 Nights)

    'Sawadee ka' and welcome to Thailand! Your trip will kick off in buzzy Bangkok, an urban wonder boasting all the soaring skyscrapers glistening malls of any capital city, but with a distinctly Thai touch. Here you can see it all, with orange robe-clad monks strolling the streets with smartphones in hand, while glowing temples and neon-lit bars co-exist peacefully side by side. After transferring to your hotel you'll meet up with your Travel Director to get a glimpse of what's to come on your Thailand value tour, then dinner tonight will have you sampling some of Thailand's tasty cuisine while you get to know your fellow travellers.

    meals Dinner
    hotel Galleria 10
  2. Day 2 Bangkok Sightseeing

    Get ready for a full day of sightseeing in Bangkok. We'll show off Bangkok's best cultural and spiritual delights, starting at Wat Pho, Bangkok's most ancient temple. Set eyes on the hugely impressive Reclining Buddha, the largest in Thailand, before moving on to the Grand Palace, a former royal residence. The intricate architecture of this massive complex never ceases to amaze and be sure to see the jewel in its crown, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. We'll make a pit stop for lunch at a local restaurant then board a private boat and take to the maze of canals (klongs) that snake through the city. Kick back and enjoy the ride as you pass by traditional stilted family homes and soak up the quiet river lifestyle of those who work and live on the water. Still keen for more? This afternoon, you can join our optional visit to Jim Thompson's House, an exquisite example of traditional Thai residential architecture, where you'll find an incredible collection of Asian art.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch
  3. Day 3 Bangkok Free Day

    Today is all yours to explore Bangkok your way and the adventures are limitless. Want to check out the markets? You can find flower species of every shape, colour and origin at the lively Pak Klong Talad (Bangkok flower market), while the charming streets of Chinatown are the perfect place to munch on street food and shop for jade. If you love architecture, you'll likely choose to join our trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the former capital city of Thailand. We'll make a stop along the way at the stunning Bang Pa Summer Palace, then continue on to Ayutthaya, an archaeological hotbed of temples, monasteries and statues that offer a glimpse into the glory days of this ancient land. We'll head back to Bangkok on a cruise and enjoy a buffet lunch as you watch the local life go by along the banks of the Chao Phraya River.

    meals Breakfast
  4. Day 4 Bangkok - Kanchanaburi (2 Nights)

    It's goodbye Bangkok and hello Kanchanaburi town today, where we'll jump straight into the action with a visit to the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, and the War Cemetery where over 6000 prisoners of war were laid to rest. Next up, we'll pause for lunch then see the infamously named Death Railway, before boarding a local train for a ride with a difference. Gorgeous views over the river and a journey across wooden viaducts will keep your camera busy, as will the next and final stop for today - the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. Our hotel is just a short distance from here, where we'll dine as a group this evening.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    hotel Royal River Kwai Resort and Spa
  5. Day 5 Kanchanaburi Free Day

    With a completely free day today on your Thailand tour package, Kanchanaburi town is yours to explore your way. Those keen to take it easy can rest up at the hotel and take advantage of the spa facilities, or perhaps you'll take the opportunity to explore the town and its surroundings. Hoping to get out on the river? Our optional River Kwai Longtail Boat Cruise could be just what you're looking for. This adventure will begin with a visit to Hellfire Pass, a 500 metre long and 26 metre deep section of rock that was dug by Prisoners of War with nothing more than picks, rocks and their bare hands, to allow for the construction of Death Railway. From here you'll then travel on to the River Kwai and travel 30 minutes downstream by longtail boat to the River Kwai Jungle Rafts. Fuelling up on a yummy lunch, you'll then visit the Mon Tribal Village before continuing on downstream, where the coach will meet you and carry you back to the hotel.

    meals Breakfast
  6. Day 6 Kanchanaburi - Sukhothai (2 Nights)

    We'll be up bright and early this morning to travel north to Sukhothai. The Thailand essentials just keep on coming and along the way we have a treat in store, with a visit to Bhutsaya Khiri Suvarnabhumi, or Rock Buddha. This impressive carving of a seated buddha, masterfully etched out of the hillside, was only finished in 2019 and is a true sight to behold. Also stopping for a local lunch en route, we'll arrive into Sukhothai later this afternoon, then dinner tonight will be a group affair.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    hotel Le Charme Sukhothai Historical Park Resort
  7. Day 7 Sukhothai Sightseeing and Free Time

    Being famed as the birthplace of Thai civilisation is a pretty big reputation to uphold, but Sukhothai does it with ease. Still historically significant to this day, we'll start our adventures today with a visit to the UNESCO listed Sukhothai Historical Park, where we'll get to explore the centuries old temples and palace ruins. History itch scratched, this afternoon will then be yours to explore as you wish. Hungry to learn more about Thai cuisine? Our optional cooking class is there for all the budding chefs amongst you. You'll start this foodie adventure by learning about the unique herbs and spices of Thailand courtesy of your host, then put the farm to table craze into action by using these ingredients to make a signature Thai dish, such as "Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng". And the best part? You get to eat your tasty creation for dinner.

    meals Breakfast
  8. Day 8 Sukhothai - Chiang Rai (2 Nights)

    The dramatic mountain beauty of Chiang Rai awaits us today, so we'll be up early to travel further north. Along the way, we'll make a stop at Khaw Phayao Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the North, before heading on to Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as the White Temple. Unlike many Thai temples that are centuries old, Wat Rong Khun is unique in the fact that it was only built in 1977. The brainchild of artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, it's also one of the most recognisable temples in Thailand - you'll know it when you see it. Finally, we'll complete today's journey with a short drive to Chiang Rai, where we'll check in to our hotel and eat dinner tonight as a group.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    hotel Wiang Inn Hotel Chiang Rai
  9. Day 9 Golden Triangle Sightseeing

    Today is the day we journey to the heart of the Golden Triangle. This morning your first stop will be the self-proclaimed 'edutainment' Hall of Opium, a fascinating museum that reveals an incredible 5000 years of history. The state of the art exhibitions, harrowing recounts and even a tiny opium plantation all tell a vivid story of the conflicts, rituals and abuse that have all stemmed from opium, a trade that once ruled the Golden Triangle over the past century. Next up, we'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant, then hop on board a boat that will take you cruising along the mighty Mekong River to the exact spot where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos collide. You'll have time to step out onto dry land in Laos and head into the Don Sao Island Markets where you can browse all the handicrafts and local snacks on offer. It's the only part of Laos that can be visited without a visa, so make the most of it before heading back to your hotel in Chiang Rai.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch
  10. Day 10 Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai (2 Nights)

    Who's ready to dip their toes in some bubbling hot springs? We hope all of you, as our first stop today en route to Chiang Mai, are the lovely Mae Kajan Hot Springs. Feeling refreshed, we'll grab lunch in a local restaurant before travelling on to the laidback city of Chiang Mai. Sprawling in size but with a historic centre that has managed to retain the charm and pace of a low-key country town, Chiang Mai is also THE place for temple exploring. So, guess what we'll be doing this afternoon? You got it! We'll be exploring both Wat Phra Singh temple, which was built in 1345, and Wat Chedi Luang temple, a charming wooden creation famous for its huge Lanna style chedi.

    meals Breakfast, Lunch
    hotel The Empress Chiang Mai
  11. Day 11 Chiang Mai Free Day

    Your day your way is what today is all about, and with it being your last day, be sure to make the most of it. For those looking to get out of the city and into the tropical lush greenery that surrounds Chiang Mai on all sides, be sure to join our visit to Baan Tong Luang Village, located north of the city in a beautiful valley. This ecological village is the home of the Long Neck Karen hill tribe and you'll have the chance to learn about their ancient costumes, customs and rituals.

    meals Breakfast
  12. Day 12 Depart Chiang Mai

    Your incredible journey through Thailand's cities, rivers, mountains, temples and markets has come to an end. You've encountered diverse cultures, tasted all kinds of Thai foods and experienced the warmth of Thai hospitality and we're sure you'll be leaving with the iconic Thai smile on your face! Transferring to Chiang Mai International Airport, you'll catch your onward flight.

    meals Breakfast
Essential Thailand
Price Includes

Dining Highlights

  • 11 Breakfasts
  • 6 Lunches
  • 4 Dinners

First class travel Highlights

  • Audio Headsets Provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences
  • Luxury air-conditioned coach
  • Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted
  • Variety of Optional Experiences
  • City orientation tours
  • An expert Travel Director and separate driver
  • All hotel service charges and tips, baggage handling fees and local taxes

Sightseeing Highlights

  • Bangkok Visit Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, observe local life along the canals during a khlong tour
  • Chiang Mai Visit the famous Night Market and the temples of Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang
  • Golden Triangle Visit the Hall of Opium, take a boat trip along the Mekong River, visit a local market in Laos
  • Kanchanaburi Visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum and the War Cemetery.
  • Sukhothai Visit Sukhothai Historical Park

Dates & Prices

Prices shown are per person based on two people sharing a twin room. To request a personalized travel quote, click "Request Quote" and a Travel Specialist will send your custom quote including airfare if requested.

Online Booking Process

January 2022
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Jan 14 Fri
Jan 25 Tue
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TODAY'S PRICE - Based on twin share
February 2022
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Feb 18 Fri
Mar 1 Tue
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TODAY'S PRICE - Based on twin share
March 2022
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Mar 18 Fri
Mar 29 Tue
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TODAY'S PRICE - Based on twin share
Optional Add-Ons

Optional Experiences are subject to change. Your Travel Director will supply you with a final list of Optional Experiences available on your trip. Optional Experiences cannot be booked online; they can be purchased during your trip through your Travel Director.


Muay Thai Live at Asiatique

Visit Asiatique, the first and largest night-lifestyle riverside venue in Asia which combines shopping, dining, culture, activities and events all under one roof. On arrival enjoy some free time on your own to walk around and perhaps enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants. Later rejoin your Travel Director and fellow guests for ‘Muay Thai Live,’ an enthralling stage show which showcases the exquisite art of Thai boxing. It will take you back in time to experience the legend of Thai boxing from its history and its development, through to the imaginative art form that it is today. This epic live stage performance is presented through a combination of fights, stunts, drama, music, and electrifying sound and light effects.
Adult Price: ฿2,350


Hellfire Pass and River Kwai Longtail Boat Cruise

Join us for a moving trip to the infamous 'Hellfire Pass' where you'll hear the harrowing stories of how the 1,640-foot-long and 85-foot-deep section of rock was dug out by Prisoners of War. Soldiers were forced to remove the rock using no more than picks, hammers and their bare hands, to allow the ‘Death Railway’ to continue its route from Bangkok to Yangon. You'll have time to explore the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, dedicated Prisoners of War and laborers who suffered and died during WWll. Later, head to the River Kwai for a longtail boat ride, passing by unspoiled mountains and jungle scenery. Tuck into a delicious Thai lunch, before a taste of culture at Mon Tribal Village. Hop back in the longtail boat and get one last look at your gorgeous surroundings before heading back to your hotel. The price shown is in Thai Bhat.
Adult Price: ฿1,800


Thai Cooking Class

Learn the secrets of Thai cuisine at Baan Suan Suda, where your friendly host showcases homegrown herbs, vegetables and fruit while you stroll through the lush garden. Ingredients sorted, it's time to roll up your sleeves and show off your skills. You’ll make Stir-Fried Chinese Water Morning Glory or Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng where the Fai Daeng refers to the flames which leap up from the wok when the vegetables are thrown in. The best part? You'll get to feast on the dishes you've created for dinner. The price shown is in Thai Bhat.
Adult Price: ฿1,400

Chiang Mai

Hill Tribe Village Experience

Head to the north of Chiang Mai to visit Baan Tong Luang Village, an ecological Paduang village situated in a beautiful valley and the home to Long Neck Karen hill tribe from Myanmar. The women wear heavy copper neck rings as a ritual starting from when they are 5 or 6 years of age. Other hill tribes such as Lahu, Hmong and White Karen can also be seen in the village in their traditional costumes. The price shown is in Thai Bhat.
Adult Price: ฿2,015

Khantoke Dinner and Show

Experience the traditional customs and culture of the Lanna people of Northern Thailand at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Centre. Enjoy a feast of Northern Thai food served the Khantoke way, on a pedestal tray used as a small dining table, then watch a fantastic show of traditional hilltribe costumes, music and dancing. If you want to get an insight into Northern Thai culture, this is one of the very best ways to do it. The price shown is in Thai Bhat.
Adult Price: ฿1,550

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