The temples and tuk tuks of Bangkok give way to the lush forests of Kanchanaburi and ancient traditions of Chiang Mai, on this in-depth exploration of Thailand.
You'll enjoy Insider moments like… easing out the stresses, with a massage at ancient Wat Pho temple in Bangkok and enjoying a northern Thai style lunch with a local family in their home, built on stilts.
Board your overnight flight to Asia (not included).
For the early risers, start your day with a visit to Lumpini Park to join the locals and learn the basic principles of T'ai Chi, a Cultural Insight. Alternatively, enjoy a leisurely start to the day before joining your fellow travelers on your City Tour, starting with a visit to Bangkok's most well-known fruit and flower market, Pak Klong Talad. Next visit the Grand Palace, which served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand from the 18th to the mid 20th century. The most famous building in the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. Afterwards visit Wat Pho, Bangkok's oldest temple, which features the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand. Wat Pho is also famous as Thailand's first University, and is a center for traditional Thai massage. Enjoy a Thai massage, a Cultural Insight, in the grounds of the temple. Later cross the river to visit Wat Arun with its impressive ceramic covered pagoda. Have some free time this evening to relax or take part in an Optional Experience.
Today learn some traditional Thai recipes during a cooking class with a Local Specialist in a charming Thai style house with wooden décor and furnishings. Before the class, you will visit to a local market to buy the fresh exotic fruits and vegetables that will be used to prepare the meal, a Cultural Insight. Later enjoy the various dishes you have prepared. Spend the afternoon and evening at leisure or opt to join an Optional Experience.
Make an early start this morning to travel to a coconut palm sugar plantation and discover how the farmer extracts the sap from the palm trees to eventually be turned into sugar, a Cultural Insight. Continue on to the famous floating fruit and vegetable market at Damnoen Saduak . The colorfully clad merchants at this lively market paddle along the congested canals in canoes laden with fresh fruit and vegetables to sell to shoppers on the banks. After lunch at a local restaurant, head to Kanchanaburi and the Hellfire Pass, a section of the Thailand-Burma Railway. It was built by Allied prisoners of war during Second World War under harsh conditions described as "hell on earth.' Then transfer to your hotel for dinner and a relaxing evening.
After a leisurely morning visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, a facility dedicated to presenting the history of the famous railway line. The Railway was built during the Second World War by Allied Prisoners of war and Asian laborers under the Imperial Japanese Army. Visit the War Cemetery, the final resting place for over 6,000 Allied prisoners before reaching the world famous Bridge over the River Kwai. After lunch board the train for your Cultural Insight, a thrilling ride across wooden viaducts offering fantastic scenery along the Kwai River. Dinner this evening is in a local restaurant.
After breakfast leave Kanchanaburi north towards Sukhothai, the ancient capital city of Old Siam. On the way visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya, the 2nd most important ancient capital of Old Siam and built after the fall of Sukhothai. Visit the remains of this historic city, founded in 1350, that was one of the world's largest and most cosmopolitan urban areas and a center of global commerce. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and continue your journey through the beautiful Thai countryside to Sukhothai. This evening during dinner experience an authentic Thai cultural dance in an open-air theater at the hotel.
Start the day with a visit to the Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site of the other, much larger ancient capital of Thailand founded in 1238. See thousands of years of history in this extensive and elaborate park and find the temple with the 15 meter seated Buddha hidden away in the trees. Your choice of exploring the large area by bicycle or on the internal tram which services the historical park. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant before visiting the village of Natonchan, where the community started an eco-tourism project. Interact with the local people, meet one of the elders to learn about doll making and the typical 'mud soaked clothes' worn by the villagers, a Cultural Insight. The local woven cotton clothes are soaked in mud to make them waterproof and excellent for working in the fields. Later return to the hotel for an evening at leisure.
Depart Sukhothai early this morning and make a stop at the unique temple of Wat Prathat Lampang Luang built on the site of an 8th century fortification that guarded the routes to Lampang. The temple has been preserved in it's original state from the 15th century, whereas many other Thai temples have been renovated to conform to modernity. Stop for a visit at a local market before continuing to your Be My Guest experience in a typical stilt house where the family will welcome you for a northern Thai style lunch. Continue to Chiang Mai and check in at the hotel. Later visit Wat Doi Suthep, one of Thailand's most sacred temples and observe the chanting of the monks at sunset; a magical experience. This evening is yours to enjoy at your own pace.
This morning meet the children and teachers at a local school before continuing with a city tour of Chiang Mai. Visit the temple of Wat Suan Dok and take part in a talk with a local monk about Buddhism, a Cultural Insight. Later enjoy a "cyclo" ride around the old city walls, which are still mostly intact. This afternoon enjoy some free time for shopping, exploring further or alternatively participate in an Optional Experience.
Spend the morning at leisure or choose to join an Optional Experience. Later visit the handicraft villages in the Sankamphaeng district of Chiang Mai, long known as the heart of the handicraft industry. Many of Thailand's major producers are located here and as are all the traditional crafts, such as the famous umbrella and fan making. This evening enjoy a delightful Farewell Dinner with your fellow companions and Travel Director at a local restaurant.
10 nights' accommodations, 10 buffet breakfasts, 7 lunches, 5 dinners.
|Depart Date||Return Date||Price||Discount||Availability||Price|
|16 Sep 17||27 Sep 17||$2,725pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|30 Sep 17||11 Oct 17||$2,725pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|18 Nov 17||29 Nov 17||$2,850pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|9 Dec 17||20 Dec 17||$2,925pp||Request Quote Book Now|
|16 Dec 17||27 Dec 17||$2,925pp||Request Quote Book Now|
Solo Travelers: These dates offer a discounted single supplement rate.
Price is per person and is based on two people sharing a twin bedded room. Single rooms are available at a supplement.
Single Room Supplement: from $670.
Room Share: Guaranteed Room Share is not available on this trip.
Early Payment Discount: Pay in full to save the amount listed above. For details, click here.
AARP Members are entitled to an exclusive Member Benefit Discount on all Grand European Travel vacations. Plus receive a free travel gift! Call Toll Free: 1-866-847-3858 for details.
Past Travelers: Save an additional 5% off the price of the vacation.
Special Discounts: At times we offer discounted departures. These discounts are valid for new bookings only and are not combinable with any other discounts other than our Past Traveler Discount and $100 AARP Member Discount. Other restrictions may apply, please call for details
The currency in Thailand is the Baht. The most convenient way to obtain cash is to use your ATM or debit card at local banks in Thailand. We recommend you also bring a valid credit card for purchases while you are traveling. It is important that you inform your financial institutions of your travel plans before you leave home so they don’t flag your purchases as potentially fraudulent charges.
One of the most enjoyable parts of traveling is sampling the local food, and Thai cuisine is one of the most popular in the world. You’ll find an emphasis on lightly prepared dishes and interplay of flavors including sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy. Glass noodles, curries, and hot and sour soups are popular meals and are usually served family style. You’ll also encounter a delicious selection of exotic fruits in Thailand such as lychee, durian, papaya and jackfruit.
We suggest bringing comfortable, loose-fitting clothing that can be layered for your trip. Sturdy walking shoes are important for sightseeing excursions; a hat, lightweight jacket, and shawl or scarf could also come in handy. Keep in mind that your shoulders and knees should be covered while visiting religious sites. For more helpful information please refer to our Packing Tips & Packing List.
Tipping in Thailand is not expected but always appreciated. It is common to leave extra change at most bars and restaurants. At nicer restaurants it is appropriate to tip your waiter 5-10 percent.
At the end of your guided vacation, it’s customary to offer your motor coach driver and Travel Director a gratuity. We recommend the equivalent of $4 per person/per day for your driver and $6 per person/per day for your Travel Director. Recommended gratuity for a Local Host and Local Specialist is the equivalent of 1-2 dollars per person, paid at the conclusion of each guided visit. A convenient option is to prepay your tips before your departure.
Baggage on our trips is restricted to one large suitcase per person with dimensions not exceeding 30x19x10 inches and a maximum weight of 50 pounds. You are also permitted one piece of hand luggage, which should be small enough to fit under your coach seat or on the small overhead shelf compartment. Please note that luggage with an adjustable handle and wheels will not fit in the overhead compartment of the coach. Hotel porterage is included in your vacation.
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