Upon arrival you will be transferred to hotel. There are no activities planned. You are free to relax, explore the city & adjust to the frantic pace and humid heat of Bangkok. Please plan your arrival at our start point hotel before 6pm for an important group meeting where you will meet you Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board for the time and location of your group meeting. At this meeting your CEO will ask to see your travel insurance and complete some other paper work. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members. Our hotel is located in heart of Silom, very close to the BTS Skytrain which allows easy access to most of Bangkok including MBK, Siam Paragon shopping areas. The hotel has a beautiful pool and has wifi available.
Today we rise with the sun, and start the day by giving alms to the local Buddhist monks. After that walk through Pak Klong Talaat, the flower market where you will see many of Thailand’s exotic flowers and flora including many species of orchids. Experience the hustle and bustle of the busy working market and drive you to Chinatown square where you start an interesting walk through one of the oldest parts of Bangkok. Walk along Yaowarat Road where you visit interesting shops selling birds nests and shark fins, continue to a very old teashop to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea with the locals before heading down Trok Leng Moi Eia (a small soi)to Talad Kao for a busy local market with variety of fresh food, fresh & dry fruits, Chinese herbs, groceries. End the walk at Wat Leng Neng Yee to visit the Taoist temple. This afternoon, hop on a long tail boat ride along the bustling Chao Phraya River and the quiet canals. Take 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. Disembark at Ta Chiang pier to visit the incomparable Grand Palace where you will be awed by the majestic throne halls and mysterious Emerald Buddha. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon where you will join your Discovery Adventure Guide for a one hour Thai language lesson. Overnight in Bangkok.
After a short flight northward we arrive into Chiang Mai, and settle into our exquisite surroundings, taking a relaxing break from the fast pace of Bangkok. Later in the day we 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. In the evening, we enjoy a Kantoke dinner, sampling several small dishes of exotic Thai flavors and relaxing to some Thai music and dance. Our hotel is located in the heart of Chiang Mai city, within 5 a minute walk of the famous night bazaar. The hotel has great views of the city. The rooms are all air conditioned with en suite bathrooms. Wifi is available for an additional cost. There is also a pool for a relaxing afternoon swim. Approx travel times: Transfer to Bangkok airport: 45 min Flight Bangkok to Chiang Mai: 1 hour Transfer to Chiang Mai hotel: 30 min
We try our hand at creating some of the dynamic taste creations you’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 explains and demonstrates the basics of some of the more popular Thai dishes. We then enjoy the results for lunch. To congratulate ourselves on our culinary achievements, we’ll be rewarded with the pleasures of a traditional Thai massage. In the evening, we are treated to a traditional Thai massage and explore Chiang Mai’s popular downtown night market where all the locals and visitors are spending the evening.
Today we travel to an Elephant Conservation Center. All the money the center raises goes towards the care of the wrinkled giants. We tour the facility and learn about the regal history of elephants in Thailand. We also take a ride on an elephant and imagine living life in the hill tribes of Northern Thailand. Also visit the hospital, nursery and dung paper factory for a demonstration on how elephant dung is turned into lovely paper products and handicrafts. This evening we overnight in Lampang, known as Meuang Rot Mah, or Horse Cart City. Our hotel in Lampang is situated in the city center and has comfortable twin share rooms with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. Wifi and computers are available for use at an extra cost. Approx travel times: Private transport Chiang Mai to Lampang: 1 hour
On the morning of day six we drive to Sukhothai. After checking into our hotel we visit one of Thailand's UNESCO World Heritage sites, Sukhothai Historical Park, which we explore by bicycle with our local guide. If anyone in the group prefers not to cycle, other options will be available. The city of Sukhothai, literally translated as; Dawn of Happiness, was the original capital of Thailand's first kingdom and is viewed as representative of the Golden Age of Thai civilization. The religious art and architecture of the Sukhothai era are considered to be the most classic of Thai styles. The Sukhothai ruins contain the remains of 21 historical sites with awe-inspiring Buddha images and four large ponds often filled with stunning lotus flowers in full bloom. Explore the remains of the ancient royal realm, now one of Thailand's World Heritage sites and marvel at the evocative religious art and architecture of the classic Sukhothai era. Tonight we stay in a beautiful boutique resort located in the old city within a kilometer of the Sukhothai Historical Park. The rooms are air conditioned twin and double share with en suite bathrooms. There is a pool for relaxing and internet is available. Approx travel times: Private transport Lampang to Sukhothai: 4 hours
This morning we travel to Ayuthaya, where we take an extensive temple tour. 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. Located 54 miles (86 km) north of Bangkok, the ruins of this UNESCO World Heritage Site may be visited on foot and include various pagodas and Buddha images. Our hotel is centrally located and all the required amenities such as swimming pool and fitness centers. The twin and double share rooms all come with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. There is a business center for all your internet needs. Approx travel times: Private transport Sukhothai to Ayuthaya: 5 hours
Today we visit the seven tiered waterfalls of Erawan National Park and 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 a day relaxing by the water, trekking through the jungle, climbing through the local caves, or just relaxing in the reviving shade. Our hotel is 5 km from Kanchanaburi town, located along the River Kwai. The comfortable twin and double rooms all come with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. There is a pool and internet available. Approx travel times: Ayuthaya to Kanchanaburi: 3 hours
Today we take a visit the Allied War Cemetery, built to commemorate the POWs who died building the Thai-Burmese railway. We’ll also visit the Thai-Burmese Railway Museum, and then experience a train ride on the Death Railway, taking a step back in time to WWII.
We drive back to Bangkok in the morning and board our plane to Siem Reap, Cambodia the gateway to the temples of Angkor. Angkor, the former capital of the Khmer kingdom, is a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the great wonders of the archeological world, rediscovered at the end of the last century by French explorers. This vast ruined city is becoming one of the most popular sites in Southeast Asia. We arrive in the afternoon, and catch our first views of Angkor Wat at sunset. Our hotel is in the center of Siem Reap, about 6 km from the Angkor Archaeological Park. The twin and double share rooms all have air conditioning and en suite bath. There is a beautiful pool and free wifi available. Approx travel times: Private bus Kanchanaburi to Bangkok: 2 hours Flight Bangkok to Siem Reap: 1 1/4 hours Siem Reap to hotel: 30 min
Over the next two days, we visit some of the highlights of this ancient capital, such as: the magnificent temple of Angkor Wat, the enigmatic Bayon within the walled city of Angkor Thom, Preah Khan and Ta Prohm, which is the temple in the jungle otherwise known as the Tomb Raider temple. We also visit New Hope, a Planeterra supported project located in Mondul 3, Siem Reap, one of the poorest areas in Cambodia. This community consists of army families, karaoke/sex workers and displaced men, women and children. The mission of this project is to restore hope, dignity and promise to these once proud and prosperous people. New Hope conducts workshops in the community, with the goal of providing people with skills they can use to earn a living including; a sewing work shop, tourism courses and a cooking and hospitality school. During our visit we learn about the importance of this project and have lunch at the cooking and hospitality school. Here we will see the positive results of the project, as local villagers work in the kitchen, and are taught how to prepare meals using local ingredients. Other villagers work as waiters and restaurant staff, providing them with skills that will help them find jobs. While here, we will taste the delights of Khmer Cuisine. Known for its use of Prahok, a type of fermented fish paste, and coconut milk, Khmer cuisine is often less spicy than its South East Asia neighbors. Over lunch, we get to sample some well known local dishes that can include: -Local Catch of the Day - Frog,locust,snake,tarantula or simply fish -Vegetable Curry -Stir Fried Noodle with Veg -Hot and Sour Fish Soup or Amok Trey, fish cooked in a thick coconut milk curry wrapped and steamed in a banana leaf -Pork with Ginger -Loc Lac, a stir fried beef served with lime and pepper sauce. -Rice -Fresh tropical Fruit
Today we say goodbye to Cambodia and board a plane back to Bangkok. Explore this wondrous city, indulge in some last minute shopping, or just relax by the pool. In the evening we will head out for a farewell dinner together. We stay in the same hotel where we started our trip on Day 1. Approx travel times: Transfer to Siem Reap airport: 30 min Flight Siem Reap to Bangkok: 1 1/4 hours Transfer from Bangkok airport to hotel: 45 min