Beautiful countryside and colorful cityscapes…you're sure to find the ancient beauty of Thailand eye-opening. It is a land of enchantment, with a temple at every corner, colorful spirit houses, and long-tail boats traveling the canals and rivers. This tour includes the captivating city of Bangkok where a city tour introduces you to Thai religious beliefs and Thai royalty. Travel through the countryside to the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya, where you'll see ancient ruins dating from the 14th century. Overnight in Phitsanulok and Lampang and take an exciting excursion across the Mekong River to Laos. In Chiang Mai, inhale the scent of orchids - Thailand's national flower - watch local artisans at their crafts and learn about the culture and traditions of the Hill Tribes. This tour also features a visit to the Maesa Elephant Camp.
Day #1 Overnight Flight - Your tour begins with an overnight flight to Thailand.
Day #2 Arrive Bangkok, Thailand - Tour Begins - You arrive in Bangkok, located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
Day #3 Bangkok - LANGUAGE DISCOVERY: Today, your Tour Manager will help you discover the origin and history of the language(s) you will experience on your tour along with key words and phrases that will help you communicate with the locals. Vibrant Bangkok is a central economic hub for Southeast Asia. Blending with its modern-day might is a captivating history that more than 10 million inhabitants call their own. A city tour provides you with insight into the fascinating religious composition of this area during visits to two of Bangkok's famous temples: The Golden Buddha, clad in plaster centuries ago to hide its value from marauders, and The Reclining Buddha which is about 150' long and is clad in pure gold. Visit the Grand Palace, an ornate royal residence built in 1782. Tonight you will be treated to a dinner cruise on a rice barge along the Chao Phraya River.
Day #4 Bangkok - Travel to the colorful and bustling floating market of Damnoen Saduak and take an exciting long tail boat cruise through the legendary canals, known as Klongs. Later, travel to Kanchanaburi to visit the famous Bridge on the River Kwai. The original bridge inspired the movie about its construction by Allied prisoners of war during WWII who were coerced into building it by Japanese troops.
Day #5 Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Phitsanulok - A trip through the countryside brings you to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Thailand. Founded in 1350 by King U-Thong, Ayutthaya's Golden Age of over 400 years of prosperity came to an abrupt end when the Burmese invaded and ravaged it before abandoning the city for the jungle. The ancient city is now a designated UNESCO World Heritage site and holds spectacular ruins dating from the 14th century.
Day #6 Phitsanulok - Sukhothai - Lampang - Journey north to Sukhothai which presided as Thailand’s capital from 1238-1376. Explore this walled city that created a legacy of a unified nation of Thai people and has a phenomenal artistic heritage. The impressive assembly of elegant ruins is one of the most visited ancient sites in Thailand. Later, arrive in Lampang, located in a picturesque valley surrounded by mountains. Relax this evening at your hotel located on the banks of the Wang River.
Day #7 Lampang - Chiang Rai - Travel north to Chiang Rai in the heart of the Golden Triangle. Founded in 1262 by King Meng Rai, Chiang Rai was the first capital of Lanna Thai, the “Kingdom of One Million Rice Fields.” Upon arrival, enjoy leisure time at your lodge situated on the Mae Kok River.
Day #8 Chiang Rai - Doi Tung - Chiang Rai - Travel to the highest peak on the Thai-Myanmar border. En route you have the opportunity to view many different Lahu and Akha Hill Tribe villages and picturesque terraced farming areas. Her Royal Highness, the Princess Mother of Thailand, realized that education was critical in the reduction of opium cultivation. Learn about her efforts at the Doi Tung “Flag Mountain” Development Project, created to help improve the lives of the local villagers by offering alternatives to opium agriculture and use. Next, take a leisurely stroll through the spectacular Mae Fah Luang Foundation, “Mother to Us All Garden,” inspired by the much-loved Princess Mother's living in Switzerland. Learn about many traditional local crafts at the Cottage Industries Center.
Day #9 Chiang Rai - Laos - Chiang Rai - A visit to the Hall of Opium takes you on a journey into this mysterious world. Using state-of-the-art multimedia, the exhibition depicts more than 5,000 years of use and abuse of opiates, its spread throughout the world and international efforts to control it. Enjoy the picturesque landscape along the Mekong River area in the most relaxing way - by long tail boat. Cross the river on this unique vessel to Laos where you will have time to wander through a small village town.
Day #10 Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai - Begin the day traveling south to Chiang Mai, known as the “Rose of the North.” This city is famous for diverse cuisine, dialects and architecture, as well as the celebration of many festivals. Tour the cottage industries area and see the local artisans at work.
Day #11 Chiang Mai - A scenic drive to the hills of Chiang Mai brings you to the heart of the Teak Forest where you will witness elephants at work & play at Maesa Elephant Camp. Your next stop is a beautiful orchid farm to see many varieties of the national flower of Thailand. Tonight, enjoy a Hill Tribe cultural show and witness the traditions and dance of the Hill Tribe people.
Day #12 Chiang Mai - Visit one of the most interesting temples in Chiang Mai, Wat Phrathat Dio Suthep, which is situated 3,520 feet above sea level. This temple is said to have been founded in 1383 and is a sacred site to many Thai people. Visit a jade factory and learn the history of this luminescent stone. A short film explains the basics of the process of turning jade into jewelry and other products before you watch the craftsmen at work. Tonight, enjoy strolling, shopping and bargaining at the Night Market.
Day #13 Chiang Mai - Bangkok - A short flight* brings you back to Bangkok. This evening, join your fellow passengers for a farewell dinner.
Day #14 Bangkok - Tour Ends - Your tour concludes in the city of Bangkok.