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Package details include
Begin in the capital city of Bangkok which boasts some of Asia’s oldest and most elaborately adorned temples alongside modern malls and skyscrapers. Tour the Grand Palace, one of the most beautiful examples of an ancient Siamese court and the former residence of the Kings of Bangkok. This 100-room palace complex features the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Reception Palace and the Funeral Palace.
Also marvel at Bangkok's most important and sacred temple, Wat Phra Kaeo. Built at the end of the 18th century by King Rama I, this splendid example of Thai religious architecture houses the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most venerated image. The small jade image symbolizes the independence, strength and good fortune of the country.
Get a taste of local life on a morning visit to an authentic floating market. You’ll take a private longboat along Damnern Saduak River to a market little known to tourists. Browse the goods and produce and perhaps make a purchase or two. Also visit the city’s Chinatown, with its many excellent street food vendors, and participate in offering alms to monks at a local temple.
Then jet north to Chiang Rai, located in the north of the country in the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet. Learn about the history of the opium trade at the Hall of Opium and visit the amazing Wat Rong Khun, known as the White Temple. Tour the ancient temples of the former capital of Chiang Saen and take a riverboat trip on the Mekong to meet a Hmong hill tribe.
On to Chiang Mai, famed for its beautiful architecture and lush tropical surroundings. See Wat Phrathad Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains at over 3,500 feet above sea level, and visit a local farm on the Ping River. Learn about elephant training and the history of elephants in Thai culture at the Chiang Dao Young Elephants Training Camp. You’ll delight in the interaction between elephant and mahout (elephant trainer) as the mahouts assist the elephants in taking their morning bath. Then get to know one of the elephants yourself on a one-hour ride.
Conclude your Southeast Asia getaway with four days on Phuket, Thailand’s largest resort island. Enjoy tropical sunsets, warm blue waters, palm-lined beaches and the many amenities of your comfortable beach resort hotel.
• 10 nights in Deluxe Hotels: 3 nights in Bangkok, 2 nights in Chiang Rai, 2 nights in Chiang Mai and 3 nights in Phuket
• Meals - Daily breakfast and 1 lunch
• On-tour transportation plus 2 internal flights
• English-speaking guide services throughout
• Sightseeing highlights:
- Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple in Bangkok
- Chiang Saen and Mekong River cruise in Chiang Rai
- Wat Phrathat and Elephant Training Camp in Chiang Mai
• Relaxation - Three full days to enjoy the idyllic beaches of Phuket
Note: Price given based on Deluxe category hotel accommodations but less expensive Superior accommodations are available. Pre-tour and post-tour hotel nights may be also added, based on availability. Please inquire at time of booking.
Day 1 - Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
Upon arrival at Bangkok Airport, you will be met and transferred to the hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.
Accommodation: Pullman Bangkok Hotel G - 3 nights
Day 2 - Bangkok Sightseeing
This morning experience an important part of Thai culture by offering food to the monks at a local temple. Afterwards cruise along Chao Phraya River and the canals, where you will see the serene family homes and temples dotted along waterways which inspired Bangkok’s reference as the “Venice of The East." After this uplifting experience, take a short ride on a tuk tuk (motorized tricycle) to visit The Grand Palace, one of the most beautiful examples of an ancient Siamese court, which incorporates several palaces and halls used for different occasions. Bangkok’s former royal palace is an intriguing blend of Italian Renaissance architecture and classical Thai roofing. It was begun in 1782 by King Rama I and improved by subsequent rulers. See the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Reception Palace and the Funeral Palace. Note: When visiting The Grand Palace, you are required to wear appropriate attire. Shorts, short skirts and sleeveless attire are NOT permitted to be worn on the grounds.
You will also see The Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaeo) - Bangkok’s most important and sacred wat (temple). Built at the end of the 18th century by King Rama I, this splendid example of Thai aesthetics and religious architecture houses the Emerald Buddha, Thailand’s most venerated image. So small and distant that it can hardly be seen, the jade image symbolizes the independence, strength and good fortune of the country. The interior walls are painted with superb frescoes, while murals between the window frames depict Jataka scenes from the life of Buddha. Your afternoon and evening are free to explore Bangkok at your leisure.
Day 3 - Floating Marketing & China Town
Today, we travel to Baan Paew and board a private longboat. Travel along Damnern Saduak River and then up a series of canals to visit the Floating Market. While the country of Thailand has many such markets, they have become increasing commercialized to suit the taste of foreign visitors. This market is a refreshing change as it is strictly a local Thai Market. You will have time browse and explore before returning to Bangkok.
Lunch and the afternoon are on your own. This evening visit the Flower Market and China Town. The night buzzes with activity; its narrow streets are lined with brightly adorned carts preparing delectable Chinese culinary creations to order.
Day 4 - Bangkok to Chiang Rai
After checking out of your hotel this morning, you will be met and transferred to Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Domestic Airport where you will take your connecting flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival at Chiang Rai Airport, you will be met by our local guide and transferred to your hotel.
Accommodation: Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort - 2 nights
Day 5 - Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen & Hmong Hill Tribe
Today we drive to "The Golden Triangle," so called because the region is where the border of Thai, Myanmar and Laos meets. This is one of Asia's two main opium-producing areas. Most of the world's heroin came from the Golden Triangle until the early 21st century when Afghanistan became the world's largest producer. Visit the Hall of Opium where you can learn about the history of opium and the problems caused by narcotics. Exhibits present the 5,000-year history of opium, the effects of drugs on the mind and body, strategies to control drugs, and efforts in dealing with drug addiction.
Later, drive along the scenic river banks to the old capital of Chiang Saen (A.D.1240) to visit its ancient temples and ruins. Lunch today is at a local restaurant followed by a Mekong River boat trip to Baan Muang Karn to visit the unique Hmong hill tribe village at Baan Kew Kan.
Day 6 - Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai
Depart Chiang Rai and drive overland to Chiang Mai (approximately 3.5 hours). En route, visit the Chapel of Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple, one of Thailand's most amazing and stunning temples. Continue your journey with a stop at Mar Kajan Hot Spring.
Upon arrival in Chiang Mai and after lunch on your own at a local restaurant, climb uphill to Doi Suthep to visit Wat Phrathad Doi Suthep (A.D.1384). Located 3,500 feet above sea level, this is the most important temple in Chiang Mai. Locals would say you haven’t really seen Chiang Mai unless you’ve visited Doi Suthep. Here you can explore a golden pagoda and get a magnificent bird’s eye view of Chiang Mai city. Later, check-in to your hotel and relax.
Accommodation: Tamarind Village Chiang Mai – 2 nights
Day 7 - Elephant Training Camp, Cruise & Wat Pra Singh
This morning, we’ll drive along the picturesque mountain roads between Chiang Mai and Chiang Dao to the Chiang Dao Young Elephants Training Camp. Watch the interaction between elephant and mahout (elephant trainer) as the mahouts assist the elephants to take their morning bath in the running stream. Following a refreshing and often playful scrub, the elephants will begin their day’s training and work, providing you with an insight into how elephants and humans have worked alongside each other in the Thai forest for centuries. Your visit to the camp will also include one-hour ride on an elephant as well as some time rafting on the river which flows through the campsite. Lunch is on your own.
This afternoon, visit a local farm house that grows many varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers then take a leisurely cruise along the Ping River. See rural wooden houses along the riverbanks interspersed with fields of crops, presenting an excellent opportunity to the rich variety of north Thailand’s fresh produce. Take a short tuk tuk ride to Wat Pra Singh, the second most important temple in Chiang Mai behind Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. There are three main buildings within the compound. The first temple here was built in 1345. But in 1367 an important Buddha statue called Phra Buddha Singh was enshrined and this is where the temple gets its name. Return to hotel in a late afternoon.
Day 8 - Chiang Mai to Phuket
After hotel check-out, you will be transferred to Chiang Mai Airport for a connecting flight to Phuket. Upon arrival at Phuket Airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Accommodation: Sala Phuket Resort & Spa - 3 nights
Days 9 & 10 - Free Days
Enjoy the amenities of your deluxe hotel located on a quiet beach. Enjoy spacious and modern guestrooms, free Wi-Fi, three beachfront pools, a spa, fitness center and rooftop dining. Swimming is excellent year-round and you can lounge on quiet, shady beaches fringed with nodding palms and tranquil waters.
Day 11 - Depart for home
This morning, you will be met and transferred to the airport for your return journey home.