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 running July through 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
Enjoy the capital of the North where we take a Thai cooking class with lunch and market visit and listen to monks chanting at Doi Suthep Temple. We also visit a rural Village for 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 boat tour and visit to Wat Po. We hop on a long tail boat ride along the bustling Chao Phraya River and the interesting 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.
Enjoy the day in bustling Bangkok. Option to visit temples, museums, visit a spa or go shopping. As this is a combination of 2 tours, some of the group may be leaving and some new passengers may be joining. We will have a meeting this evening to go over the plans for our visit to the south and welcome any new travelling companions.
Catch our flight to the tropical island of Koh Samui. Relax on the beach or visit the town. Lying off of Thailand’s east coast in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Samui offers everything you could possibly want in a beach retreat: white sandy beaches, coconut palms, fresh seafood and warm, clear waters. With an area of 247 square kilometers, Koh Samui is the largest island in an archipelago of around 80 islands. Like Phuket, Koh Samui attracts many visitors but still has plenty of out-of-the-way spots for those wishing to get away from it all. Approx travel time: Bangkok hotel to airport: 45 minutes. Flight to Koh Samui: 1 hour Transfer from Koh Samui Airport to the hotel: 40 minutes.
Embark on a boat tour to Ang Thong Marine Park, including a kayak trip along Koh Mae Ko and take an easy jungle trek to the green lagoon. On Day 11, option to take an elephant ride, snorkel, enjoy a Thai massage, visit a spa or take a jeep tour. On Day 10 we transfer by boat to Angthong Marine National Park and enjoy morning kayaking along the stunning coastline of Koh Mae Ko. After landing on the beach you can try an easy but spectacular climb through the dense tropical forest and narrow ravines taking you up to the Talai Nai or 'Green Lagoon', with a spectacular island viewpoint. Return to the boat and cruise through the stunning scenery of the Park while a delicious buffet lunch is served. Continue on to Tai Plao Island in the north of the Park and explore ancient limestone caves and rock formations along the coast by kayak. After, you can choose to return to the boat and sunbathe or snorkel before returning to Koh Samui. Note: this tour is depending on weather conditions on the day.
Flight to our next tropical paradise, Krabi. This evening enjoy a sunset barbeque on the beach. Stay close to the beach and enjoy some of the most beautiful scenic views that have made southern Thailand so famous. In the evening grab a cocktail and watch the sunset over the Andaman Sea. Your CEO will fill you in on all the other interesting options - such as sea kayaking and rock climbing - that are available in the area. This is the perfect place to get active or simply chill out and relax. Flight Koh Samui to Krabi - 1 hr 30 minutes
Enjoy a boat trip to Maya Bay and the surrounding islands including Monkey Island, Koh Phi Phi, snorkelling and the Viking Cave. On Day 14, option to visit spas and relax, rent kayaks, snorkel or rock climb. On our excursion, our first stop is Monkey Island. The monkeys live off seafood and so have long fangs to crack open the shells of crabs. Continue on to Phi Phi Leh and discover the magical landscape of Maya Bay, where the movie 'The Beach' was filmed. We can swim and snorkel, then go to Viking Cave - where locals go to collect Swift's nests to make the chinese delicacy Bird Nest Soup. This afternoon we stop at Leamtong beach for lunch, before going to Hiun Klang and snorkel from off the boat. Before heading back to the marina we stop at Bamboo Island and Khai Nai Island.
Flight to Bangkok, tour finishes late afternoon at the airport. Flight times can vary and are always based on availability. Please do not book any flights from Bangkok until after 3PM to ensure you have enough time to catch your forward flight.