The Best of Thailand
- Price from:
- 805 GBP /person
- 01273 322040
- Payment Types:
- Credit Card
- Travellers cheque
- Wire Transfer
Last updated: 02/19/2009
Explore the fascinating royal city of Ayutthaya via the River Kwai, hike through the breathtaking mountain scenery of Chiang Mai, relax on a tropical island set amongst beautiful coral reefs.
Bangkok When you arrive in Bangkok you'll be collected from the airport and transferred to your hotel in a quiet street, tucked away from other tourists. You'll stay amongst the locals in a charming spot with a fragrant garden and shady outside seating area. Those that want to dig straight into Bangkok culture can take a riverboat express to the most important sightseeing locations. The pier on the River Chao Praya is a scenic 10 minute walk from your hotel.
Bangkok Today you'll have the morning free to explore Bangkok - the City of Angels. Make sure you visit the Royal Palace, and the awe-inspiring temple of Wat Phra Kaew. These can both be reached easily by express boat. Remember to dress modestly â you must cover your knees and shoulders in both the temple and the palace.
At 1pm, you'll begin your cycle trip in Chinatown. You'll cycle along narrow, winding lanes past simple, traditional houses in the suburbs. You'll also take a walk through a pungent food market, where locals do their everyday shopping. This community is typical of Thailand - no air conditioning, no shopping centres and no traffic jams. After this, you'll cross the Chao Phraya River in a longtail boat.
As you pass through the khlongs (canals) of suburban Bangkok, your guide will point out the tropical fruit trees and make a stop for refreshments and snacks. You'll return from the trip around 6pm, surprised at the huge contrast between the centre and the outskirts.
Bangkok - River Kwai After an early start and a bite of breakfast, you'll be collected by air-conditioned minibus and taken to the River Kwai with an English-speaking guide. On the way, you'll stop at the famous floating market to watch the rowdy traders in action. After this, you'll travel to the famous âBridge over the River Kwai'. Here, you'll begin your train journey over the remaining stretch of the infamous Burma Death Railway.
When you arrive at the small station a tasty lunch will be served and you'll step into a longtail boat. This boat will drift along the River Kwai, deep into the thick evergreen jungle. 40 minutes later you'll arrive at your floating bamboo bungalows on the river. You'll have your own room with a swimming ladder and hammock. The river will be safe for swimming, but make sure you are careful of the current. You'll eat an ambient dinner by the light of flickering oil lamps. Seated at long tables, you'll share the meal with your fellow travellers and discuss your experiences so far, as the jungle around you breathes with life.
River Kwai - Kanchanaburi
After a night in the Thai jungle, you'll climb back into your boat and travel back along the river, arriving at the Erawan Waterfalls an hour later (Â£6 entrance, paid locally). With a staggering total height of 1500m, you'll reach the top of the falls, depending upon your walking speed, in about 1Â½ hours. You'll see sparkling waterpools in light blue basins against a backdrop of limestone rocks, in which the water has carved out a sort of cave. You'll have a few hours of free time by the waterfall to wander around or take a dip in the shimmering pool.
Your guide will then leave you at your hotel in Kanchanburi, which has a swimming pool in case you fancy another dip. You'll have enough time to visit the JEATH War Museum and the moving memorial dedicated to the victims of the infamous Burma Death Railway.
Kanchanaburi - Ayutthaya Today you'll be transferred by minibus to the ancient city of Ayutthaya. Your friendly driver will drop you at your hotel where you'll spend one night. The afternoon is then completely free, allowing you to explore the historical city at your own pace.
Ayutthaya is a fascinating World Heritage Site. In the 12th century, this was one of the most important kingdoms in South East Asia - a huge network of palaces, temples and royal elephants eating from gold bowls. Eventually, the city lost its power and the temples were ransacked during the war with Burma. Today, you can visit some of the mystical Khmer temple complexes. Wat Phra Si Samphet, Wat Mahatat and Wat Mongkol Bophit are the best known ruins.
Ayutthaya Today you'll have another chance to visit the mystical Khmer temples strewn around Ayutthaya, wandering amongst the old statues and pagodas.
At around 5pm you'll pick up your luggage from your hotel and make your way to the station. You'll spend the next night in a comfortable couchette on the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai. The couchette is comfortable and there is a good restaurant onboard for your evening meal. You'll be gently rocked to sleep by the motion of the train, as it weaves its way through the hills towards Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai This morning you'll arrive in Chiang Mai, the cultural capital of the North. You'll spend the night in a charming hotel with a swimming close to the city gates. It's not difficult to find something to do in Chiang Mai - there are plenty of options available. We can highly recommend a trip to Doi Suthep, an impressive Buddhist temple 15km outside the city. Sitting on the top of a 1600m mountain, it towers over the landscape below. From here, you'll have a fantastic panorama of Chiang Mai and the surrounding mountains. In the evening you can take a walk to the lively night bazaar. The atmosphere there is usually electric, and there is a huge amount of trading going on. You'll also find massage salons, restaurants, and even karaoke bars - a little something for everyone.
Chiang Mai - Jungle Trek At around 8am this morning you'll be collected from your hotel and taken to the starting point of your trek. This will take just over 3hrs. All of your meals are included for the duration of the hike, as is your English-speaking guide. On the way, you'll stop at a local market for some last minute supplies. The drive will then take you to a shimmering waterfall for a quick refreshing dip. This is not the last dip of the day. After lunch, you'll visit some naturally hot springs where you can take an impromptu steam bath. You'll then continue into the mountains by road, until you reach the starting point of the hike. The first walk takes you steeply uphill through jungle paths for roughly two hours. You'll stay overnight in a hut in a Karen village, far away from the modern world. Your guide will cook you a tasty, well-earned dinner and sleep will come easily after your active day.
Elephant Trek and Hill Tribe Stay
Today you'll be woken by the cocks crowing and the snuffles of pigs foraging around the huts. After breakfast, you'll set off on the longest and hardest hike from the village to the elephant camp (roughly 4 hours). Initially, there is a gentle uphill walk, past termite hills and onto flat paddy fields surrounded by tropical vegetation. Once you reach the bamboo and teak trees, you'll start the first stiff uphill climb. After a while, the jungle trail flattens out, finally descending into the elephant village. After a tasty lunch, prepared by your guide, it's time to take it easy and let the elephants do the work! You'll be amazed by the way that these enormous animals tackle the most difficult of paths. After an hour and a half of swaying along, you'll arrive at a mixed Lahu/Akha village on the riverbank, where you can cool off with a splash around. Your evening meal is prepared for you, and you'll spend the night in another simple village hut.
Bamboo Rafting - Chiang Mai After breakfast the next morning you'll float downstream for about 2 hours on a bamboo raft. The river meanders through overgrown mountainsides and bare rocks cliffs, and on the way you'll see hundreds of wild banana trees. Your rafting trip finishes in a Shan village where you can freshen up and take a stroll around the village. After lunch you'll be taken back to Chiang Mai by minibus, which will take about two hours. The rest of the day is free for you to wander around the cultural city or belt out a few ballads at karaoke.
This three day hike can be swapped for a shorter, lightweight one that is more of a walk than a hike, making it suitable for all levels of fitness. It features one overnight stop in a mountain village, an elephant ride, and bamboo rafting.
Chiang Mai This morning you'll have time to recover from the hike. You may well be aching quite a bit so we recommend that you take it easy today.
Spend the day relaxing by the hotel pool or spend some more time exploring the town. In the afternoon, you'll gather your things together and head for the train station. Your overnight train back to Bangkok leaves at 4.30pm. From Bangkok, you'll take a domestic flight to Phuket, your gateway to southern Thailand.
Chiang Mai - Phuket Your overnight train will arrive in Bangkok early in the morning. On arrival, you'll take a taxi to the airport to catch your flight to Phuket.
You'll first fly up over emerald mountains that will gradually flatten into countryside and, as the pilot begins his final approach, you'll see the rocky limestone pillars rising from the sea in turquoise Phang Nga Bay. After your arrival at Phuket airport, you'll be taken to a comfortable resort at Kata Beach. This is set against a backdrop of lush green hills, only 50m from the beach with a swimming pool and a stunning view of the bay. You can spend the rest of the day soaking up the sun on the beach or by the pool.
Phuket - Ko Raya Today you'll be collected from your hotel in Phuket by minibus and taken to the pier. The speedboat for Ko Raya leaves at 11am and takes about 45 minutes. Once you've settled into your bungalow you can begin to relax. Head to the beach for some well-deserved laziness - reading and snoozing in the sun.
The best snorkelling area lies off the beach right outside your door, and renting the equipment costs next to nothing. The restaurant at your resort offers a wide range of tasty dishes, so you barely need to move to grab a delicious bite to eat. In the evening you can discuss your discoveries in the underwater world over a cocktail or two. If you want to take your snorkelling to the next level, walk down to the dive school near the beach and ask about the various courses available. They will be more than happy to help.
Ko Raya Your hotel has its own diving school, run by friendly Finnish staff. For those who don't dive there is snorkel gear for hire, enabling you to discover the underwater world without taking a more dramatic plunge. The visibility in the waters around Ko Raya can stretch up to an amazing 25m. The water temperature is about 27Â°C, so wetsuits are unnecessary. If would like to learn how to dive and obtain your PADI Open Water certificate, you can extend your stay on the island. Just let us know, and we'll put the arrangements in place. There are another two beautiful beaches on Ko Raya with white soft powdery sand and swaying palm trees. You can reach them by walking through the inland coconut groves to the other side of the island.
Ko Raya As you'll be flying back to Bangkok tomorrow, diving is off-limits today. You must leave a minimum of 24hrs between your last dive and your flight. Even though diving is off the cards, there's no reason to be landlocked today. You are still enjoy the stunningly beautiful underwater world in the little bay surrounding your resort.
Ko Raya - Bangkok This morning, make the most of your last few hours on Ko Raya. Take one last snorkel in the truly amazing bay and then enjoy a final fruit cocktail at the beach bar. You'll return to Phuket by speedboat before taking a domestic flight back to Bangkok, ready for your international flight home later that day.
- Inclusions -
- Breakfast and some other meals
- Exclusions -
- International flights to Thailand
- Extras -
- This is not a group tour and can be tailor made to create your perfect trip. We can play around with your itinerary until we get it just right.
Couldn't find what you're looking for? Check out more tours & excursions in Bangkok
- Bike tour in Bangkok Countryside - from 900 THB
- Cycling Floating Market - from 2500 THB
- Cycling Bangkok Countryside - from 2500 THB
- Cycling China Town - from 1400 THB
- Cycling Historic Ayutthaya - from 2500 THB
- Biking Around The World Heritage Site - from 75 USD
- Floating Market Cycling Trip - from 75 USD
- Bangkok - from 35 USD
- Khao Yai Wine Tour - from 80 GBP
- Bangkok Temples and City Tour - from 15 USD
- Cruise Thailand Dinner Cruise in Bangkok - from 1250 THB
- Kanchanaburi Tiger Temple - from 1900 THB
- Tiger temple Hell fire pass and River Kwai - from 3100 THB
- BKK 0118 BKK Adventure - from 2500 THB
- Half Day Tour Cycle in China Town - from 1350 THB
- Temples & City Tour - from 600 THB
- Morning Canals Tour - from 700 THB
- Ayutthaya Day Tour By River King Cruise - from 1500 THB
- Thai Boxing Evening Only - from 2500 THB
- The Royal Grand Palace - from 700 THB
- Damnern Saduak Floating Market - from 500 THB
- Curry Crab Club - from 1900 THB
- Thai Gourmet Journeys - from 55 USD
- Bangkok & Countryside by Bike - from 900 THB
- Ko Kret Island - from 2500 THB
- Bangkok Jungle - from 1000 THB
- 7 Days Thailand Special Bangkok Jungle Raft Chiang Mai - 7 days from 630 USD
- Easy Going Bangkok - 3 days from 55 GBP
- Elephants & Rainforests and Samui - 20 days from 948 GBP
- Thailand Travel Plans Choice - 19 days from 1074 GBP
- Siam One Travel - 3 days from 7130 THB
- Economical Thailand - 19 days from 653 GBP
- Bangkok and Highlands Loop 11D10N - 11 days from 46100 THB
- Bangkok and Central Thailand 6D5N - 6 days from 29900 THB
- Cycling in Bangkok - 3 days from 112 GBP
- Bangkok via Laos to Singapore - 28 days from 620 GBP
- Giant Trees and Bounty Islands - 12 days from 694 GBP
- Dream Islands And Coral Reefs - 15 days from 843 GBP
- Bangkok Samui Island Package 6 Days 5 Nights - 6 days from 730 USD
- Bangkok Kanchanaburi Package 5 Days 4 Nights - 5 days from 630 USD
- Bangkok To Isaan - 10 days from 1573 USD
- Exploring the Thai Peninsula - 7 days from 1510 USD
- Paradise Thailand - 12 days from 1680 USD
- Luxurious Thailand 14 Days &13 Nights From Central To North... - 14 days from 7650 USD
- Thailand In Style 7 Days & 6 Nights - 7 days from 4105 USD
- The Thai House Experience - 4 days from 12550 THB
- Thailand Grand Excursion - 14 days from 1350 USD
- 6 Day Thailand Classic Tour - 6 days from 665 USD
- North Thailand Cultural Tour - 5 days from 430 USD
- 12 Days Impressive Thailand Tour - 12 days from 1564 USD
- Perfect Thai Honeymoon 14 Days & 13 Nights by Exotissimo Travel - 14 days from 3215 USD
- The Old Siam and Jungle - 3 days from 8900 THB
- Motorcycle Tour of Thailand - 15 days from 565 GBP
- The Indochina Explorer - 19 days from 700 GBP
- Ultimate Thailand Wildlife Tour - 16 days from 75450 THB
- The Perfect Thai Honeymoon - 14 days from 2318 USD
- Experience Thailand - 6 days from 740 USD
- Photography School Asia - 5 days from 300 USD
- Gourmet Thailand - 11 days from 899 GBP
Email the tour operator - The Best of Thailand
Important Notice : Avoiding Fraud
It's rare, but some helpful hints to watch out for with regards to fraud:
- It is important to NEVER wire funds or use/employ other fund transfer mechanisms such as western union: Always use a credit card to protect yourself against fraud. If owners pressure you into providing a deposit or refuse to accept credit cards, there is a high probability that this is a scam.
- If at all suspicious of fraud, ask to see their website, or any other literature they can provide or send to you. Ask them for contact details for guests who have previously stayed on their property insisting on telephone numbers. Be suspicious of emails that originate from free email services (yahoo, hotmail, gmail, etc)
- Research the property thoroughly on the internet to see if there is any history or mention of scams associated with the property.