Highlights of Thailand holiday

“An exciting introduction to Thailand, with a homestay, river cruise, trekking and the chance to meet villagers, as well as bagging those beautiful sights.”

Highlights

Bangkok guided city tour | Kanchanaburi | Allied War Cemetery | Hellfire Pass | Bridge over the River Kwai | Ayutthaya | two hour river cruise | homestay | Sukhothai | Chiang Mai | trekking around Chiang Dao | market visits

Description of Highlights of Thailand holiday

See the sights of Thai capital of Bangkok, trek to visit hill tribe in the north, encounter gentle giants at Elephant Nature Park (an ethical elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai), kayak in Khao Sok National Park, then relax on the beaches of Phuket.

This 12-day Thailand tour takes in the highlights of this beautiful country, starting in Bangkok, where you'll take a city tour with a local guide down the Chao Phraya River to the Grand Palace and beautiful temples. You'll then fly to Chiang Mai, where you will discover the distinctive culture of northern Thailand, enjoy treks in the mountainous hill tribe region and stay at a remote hill tribe lodge, where you'll have an opportunity to visit local villages and engage in cultural exchange. Spend a day with the elephants of Elephant Nature Park near Chiang Mai, a highly respected and responsible centre for rescued and retired ex-working elephants in Thailand.

Flying down to southern Thailand, you'll head to Khao Sok National Park, where you can enjoy adventure activities such as kayaking and trekking. Your holiday ends with a few days on the island of Phuket, where you can discover the beautiful beaches, visit the Big Buddha statue, enjoy island hopping trips, or snorkel/dive on the colourful coral reefs. Don't miss the Hong by Starlight Experience, where you can spend the day exploring grottos and caves (hong) by kayak, then see the hong lit up in bioluminescence after dark.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Bangkok - Upon arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, you will be met by a representative and transferred to your accommodation. Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the evening to brief you about your itinerary and recommend some great places to eat in this exciting city.
Day 2:Guided Tour of Bangkok - Your day will start with a guided tour of Bangkok. You値l travel like a local using transport including klong (canal) boat, public bus, the Chao Phraya River public ferry and the elevated BTS or Skytrain. Your friendly and knowledgeable local guide will take you to Bangkok痴 magnificent temples and palaces, including Thailand痴 most sacred sites: the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The Grand Palace is without doubt the city's most famous landmark and Wat Phra Kaew, known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, is regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand.
Day 3:Fly to Chiang Mai - After breakfast, you値l check out of your hotel and be driven to Bangkok airport for your flight to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand. Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, you値l travel further into the hills, taking in incredible views before arriving at Hmong Lodge, nestled in the scenic valley of the Suthep-Pui mountain range. This evening, you値l enjoy a delicious buffet dinner at your lodge and a traditional Hmong song and dance performance.
Day 4:Explore Mae Rim - Today you値l enjoy a walking tour through the mountains and rice fields of Mae Rim District. You値l visit a local Hmong village, completely untouched by tourism, and you値l get a glimpse into the way of life of the Hmong people, taking in the impressive views along the way.
Day 5:Return to Chiang Mai - This morning you値l have a chance to relax at the hill tribe lodge before being picked up by your guide and transferred back to Chiang Mai. En route, you値l stop at one of northern Thailand's most sacred temples, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (often referred to as "Doi Suthep"). The temple is located on a mountain 15 kilometres from Chiang Mai and it offers magnificent views of the city. This afternoon, you値l explore the old town of Chiang Mai on a trishaw and this evening your local guide will take you out for a traditional Kantoke dinner.
Day 6:Day Trip to Elephant Nature Park - Today you値l visit the Elephant Nature Park, 60 kilometres from Chiang Mai. The Elephant Nature Park focuses on education and conservation and offers the opportunity to see ex-working elephants up close without exploiting them. You'll learn about elephants, plus you値l have a chance to interact with them and feed them. Your visit helps to improve the lives and conditions of these elephants.
Day 7:Fly to Surat Thani & Transfer to Khao Sok - After breakfast, you値l check out of your lodge and be transferred to Chiang Mai Airport. En route, you値l stop at the famous Doi Suthep Temple, where you can take photos of the spectacular views over Chiang Mai. This afternoon, you値l take a flight to Surat Thani in southern Thailand and upon arrival you値l be met and transferred to your treehouse accommodation in the Khao Sok National Park.
Day 8:Explore Khao Sok National Park - Khao Sok National Park is characterised by limestone mountains (known as karsts), caves, lakes, waterfalls and dense rainforest. Today, you値l have an opportunity to enjoy range of adventure activities including, kayaking down the Khao Sok River, trekking through the jungle, exploring remote waterfalls and secret caves and visiting Nam Ron Hot Springs.
Day 9:Transfer to Phuket - This morning you値l check out of your accommodation at Khao Sok and take a private vehicle to your hotel on the island of Phuket, where you値l stay for the remainder of your holiday. The island has beautiful beaches, spectacular viewpoints, lively night markets and interesting cultural attractions. It's also a fantastic base for exploring the nearby islands and must-see attractions, including Phang Nga Bay and the Phi Phi Islands.
Day 10:Hong by Starlight Tour - This afternoon, you値l join the famous John Gray Hong by Starlight Tour. This excursion takes you to islands in Phang Nga Bay, where you can explore the caves and hongs, plus you値l also have an opportunity to kayak and swim in the turquoise waters. In the evening, you値l enjoy a delicious Thai seafood buffet before returning to your accommodation in Phuket.
Day 11:Explore Phuket - Today, you can simply relax on one of the 30 beautiful beaches of Phuket, choose from Freedom Beach, Kata Beach, Patong Beach, Karon Beach, Nai Harn Beach, Kata Noi Beach or Laem Singh Beach. Or, you may wish to take an island-hopping boat trip to discover the stunning Similan Islands which are surrounded by clear blue seas and pristine white-sand beaches.
Day 12:Depart from Phuket - Your Thailand tour comes to an end. After breakfast, you値l check out of your accommodation and be driven to Phuket Airport for your flight home.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
Vouchers
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Highlights of Thailand holiday

Environment

The carbon emissions created in Thailand by this holiday are all offset in Southeast Asia through our partnership with a local environmental charity. These offsets are paid for out of our company profits so that you can travel with a green conscience and at no extra cost to you.

Many travel companies offer their customers the chance to offset the carbon emissions from their international flights too but we have gone a step further and offer to share this cost with you 50/50. If you select to compensate for your international flight emissions when you book with us then what you put in, we put in too!

To ensure that we are offering ground-breaking itineraries and are always keeping up-to-date with the latest developments abroad, our UK staff travel regularly to our destinations. This 層ork also leaves a carbon footprint and we compensate for all our staff travel by donating carbon-mitigating funds to our charity partners.

Our UK office takes a leading role in setting the standards for an environmentally friendly work environment. We work with local government to recycle our waste and continually look for new ways to be greener.

Community

We employ local guides and support staff who we pay fair wages, often exceeding government standards which we still consider too low, and thereby remove the reliance on tipping from travellers for livelihoods.

Our accommodation choices make use of locally owned properties where possible and often include adventurous, authentic choices such as local homestays which therefore involve local people and their communities in the very fabric of our holidays.

We encourage all our travellers to research local customs and read your trip notes before you depart to ensure you are conscientious and respectful in a different culture.

In most cases we strongly recommend that you do not give money to children beggars. If begging is a successful enterprise, parents are encouraged to forsake their children痴 education in pursuit of this opportunity.

Talk to us about packing for a purpose and see if you can get involved by making a small material contribution to the communities you are visiting. We have developed partnerships with charities and accommodations throughout Southeast Asia and are constantly working to extend our reach with the help of our travellers.

1 Reviews of Highlights of Thailand holiday

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 27 Sep 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Trekking at the lodge in the hills of Northern Thailand (Chiang Rai province). The scenery was stunning, the Lodge vey comfortable, the trekking fun, food delicious and staff very friendly and informative. I'd recommend it for anyone looking for some adventure in Northern Thailand.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Unfortunately we couldn't make the group date tours so our trip was tailor made, but based in the group tour itinaries. My main tip is to be prepared for travel in September - pack a rain jacket and lots of mozzie repellant! It's also very humid so perhaps not the best time of year to trek. (Although we still really enjoyed it).

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes. For instance the trip benefitting local people through, for instance, a homestay and staying at Lanjia Lodge where contributions from the stay are used on community projects that will improve the local hill tribe people痴 living conditions. The activities at the lodge are also designed to be eco friendly.


4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Brilliant. It visited a great mixture of places - bustling Bangkok, chilled Chiang Mai, scenic Chiang Rai province and the historic river Kwai and ancient cities of Sukhothail and Ayutthaya. There was also a variety of accommodation from jungle rafts/tent/lodge to boutique city centre hotels. Finally, the included activities were great - from visiting temples and ancient cities to jungle trekking.

I just wish we'd had time to be able to see even more of Thailand (and
neighbouring countries)!

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