You will be met on arrival at Bangkok Airport and transferred to your hotel. You are welcome to arrive at any time on day 1, but please note that hotel check-in time is 12 noon. At 6pm there will be a group meeting where you will meet your Chief Experience Officer (Tour Leader) and fellow travel companions and go over the logistics of the upcoming adventure. Following the meeting your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will take you for your first experience of delicious Thai food (optional). Bangkok has plenty of appeal. With towering skyscrapers pressed up against Chinese shop-houses and brand-new Mercedes squeezing past vendors with pushcarts, this is a city of distinct contrasts. Culture fiends will delight in the city’s countless pagodas, while shoppers could spend weeks sifting through Bangkok’s malls and open-air markets. Whether you’re eating cuisine in a plush 5 star hotel restaurant or sampling fried crickets on the side of the road, prepare to have all of your senses engaged. This is the place to eat, drink and be merry. Our hotel tonight is centrally located in Bangkok near a number of great restaurants and markets. Each room is air conditioned and is twin/double share with attached shower and ensuite.
We head to Kanchanaburi, home to the Bridge on the River Kwai. Take a train journey on the 'Death Railway', visit the Thai/Burma War Museum and War Cemetery. We visit the Allied War Cemetery, built to commemorate the POW's who died building the Thai-Burmese railway. We’ll also visit the Thai-Burmese Railway Museum, JEATH Museum and then experience a train ride over the Bridge on the River Kwai and through the Kwai Noi Gorge on the Death Railway, taking a step back in time to WWII. Approx travel time: Bangkok to Kanchanaburi by private minivan: 3 hours.
Morning visit to Erawan Waterfalls then travel to Ayutthaya and enjoy dinner on a rice barge. We visit the seven tiered waterfalls of Erawan National Park where we soak in the coolness of the pools at the base of the falls. The highest fall is said to resemble Erawan, the three-headed elephant of Hindu mythology. Spend the morning relaxing by the water, trekking through the jungle, climbing through the local caves, or just relaxing in the reviving shade. Travel to Ayutthaya, where this evening, we enjoy a remarkable cruise on a converted 1930's rice barge taking in the incredible sites of the city at night while enjoying a sumptuous Thai set dinner. Approx travel time Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya by private minivans: 2 hours.
Explore the restored Khmer temple of Phnom Rung and the Muang Tam sanctuary. This evening, board our overnight train to Chiang Mai. Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Listed Ayutthaya Historical Park. Ayuthaya served as Thailand’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it ranked as one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Late in the 17th century its population reached one million, and foreign visitors wrote awestruck accounts of its size and splendor. Tonight's accommodation is an overnight sleeper train. Berths are not in compartments, but are arranged 'open plan' either side of a central aisle. During the evening and morning, pairs of seats face each other. At night, seats pull together to form the bottom bunk, and an upper bunk folds out from the wall. The attendant will make up your bunk with a proper mattress and clean bedding, and will hook up the curtains which are provided for each bunk to give you privacy. Luggage is stored under the seats (please do not bring hard cases or extra large bags for this reason). Security is not a problem, it's a fun way to travel and explore your adventurous spirit. There is a shared washing area with two sinks, and both western and squat toilets, at the end of the coach. Beverages are available for sale on the train, as well as food which is not always to everyone's tastes. There are various food shops in the train station and we recommend you pick up your dinner here and bring it with you on the train. In the rare occurrence that we are unable to secure 1st-class berths, for your comfort, we will replace the train with a flight to Chiang Mai. Note: Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips through mid-October may be upgraded to a flight and extra hotel night in Chiang Mai. Approx travel time: Overnight train to Chiang Mai: 12-13 hours
Arrive in the capital of the North where we take a Thai cooking class at a private culinary school and listen to monks chanting at Doi Suthep Temple. Also visit a rural Village and enjoy an authentic khantoke dinner of local specialties. Option to visit the Elephant Conservation Centre and explore the night market. Take a relaxing break from the fast pace of Bangkok. Visit Doi Suthep Temple, established in 1383, this is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in Thailand. The views and serenity, our reward after climbing over 300 stairs to reach the top, are amazing. Also enjoy a Village visit and home meal in a rural farming community. Travel to the country side of Chiang Mai where we have the opportunity to walk around the village to learn about local life. Surrounded with agriculture. After enjoy dinner northern Khantok style. Khantok dinner has always been one of the must dos when you reach northern of Thailand. Khantok in the Northern dialect means a wooden tray used for carrying dishes, round in shape, made of teak wood. The host will invite guests to sit on the floor around the Khantok. The main dishes on the Khantok usually include sticky rice, Hang-le curry (Burmese-styled curry), and some chilli pasted with crispy pork. After, enjoy tea time with the opportunity to talk with local people to learn their way of living. We also try our hand at creating some of the dynamic taste's we’ve been eating for the past few days at a Thai cooking school. With our teacher, we visit a local market to learn more about the main ingredients in Thai cooking and then take our purchases back to the school where the teacher will explain and demonstrate the basics of some of the more popular Thai dishes. We then enjoy the results for lunch. Surrounded by rolling hills, Chiang Mai offers both natural ambiance and historical architecture. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafes, shops and accommodations. An important Buddhist centre since the 14th century, Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 temples. It is also a center of handicraft production, with a long history of silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving. Not to be missed is the Night Bazaar, a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand.
Flight to bustling Bangkok for a klong riverboat tour and visit to Wat Po. We hop on a long tail boat ride along the bustling Chao Phraya River and the quiet canals. Taking you back in time to a more traditional way of life, far removed from Bangkok’s modern skyscrapers, passing many beautiful landmarks on the riverside. We also pay a visit to Wat Po temple.
You are free to depart anytime today. Please note that check out time is 12pm. We look forward to receiving your evaluation regarding this tour itinerary and your CEO's performance. We value your input into what we could improve to make this trip even better and of course love hearing about what we are already doing well! You will be sent a post tour email on your return with details on how to go on line and fill in this simple form. Thank you so much in advance.