THAILAND

Bangkok & The North

12 days

History, hill villages, stunning scenery and amazing temples combine to provide a range of experiences in Bangkok and the north of Thailand during this 12-day journey. Northern Thailand is characterised by mountain ranges and the river valleys which run through them. You will visit hill villages, travel on rivers, explore a national park, ride an elephant and see incredible temples. A trip to historic Kanchanaburi includes visits to the Chong Kai Allies War Cemetery and the JEATH War Museum, dedicated to the building of the infamous Burma Railway including the building of a bridge - immortalised in the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. Take a train journey on the Death Railway over the bridge and a spectacular wooden viaduct built by the prisoners of war.

Day 1: BANGKOK

After you arrive at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Day 2: BANGKOK

Today you will have a Grand Palace and Temple Tour taking in the splendid palace complex and the Royal Temple of the Emerald Buddha where varied styles of Thai architecture are delicately woven together to enchant the viewer. Afterwards, visit three of the most famous monasteries in Thailand to experience the beauty of these spectacular yet delicate architectural works of art: the Marble Temple, the Reclining Buddha Temple and the Golden Buddha Temple.

Day 3: BANGKOK - AYUTTHAYA - BANGKOK

Drive to Ayutthaya to visit the historic ruins of this former capital of Thailand and also Bang Pa-In, the former Summer Palace. Founded in 1350, Ayutthaya is characterised by its ruins of the prang (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries. After your visit you will board a luxurious river cruiser for lunch which will be served while returning to Bangkok by way of the majestic Chao Phraya River.

Day 4: BANGKOK - KANCHANABURI - BANGKOK

A trip to historic Kanchanaburi with visits to the Allied War Cemetery, the JEATH Museum and the famous bridge over the River Kwai, which was immortalised in the film 'The Bridge on the River Kwai'. Take a train journey on the Death Railway over the bridges and a spectacular wooden viaduct built by the prisoners of war. After lunch take a short boat ride on Kwai Noi River before returning to Bangkok.

Day 5: BANGKOK - CHIANG MAI

You have leisure time today until transferring to the train station for an overnight journey to Chiang Mai in second-class sleeping berth with air-conditioning. The train departs about 6pm.

Day 6: CHIANG MAI

In the morning you arrive in Chiang Mai and transfer to the hotel. Next take a tour to visit the Temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, spectacularly situated on a mountaintop at an altitude of 1,073 metres. The temple's golden pagoda contains Buddha relics, and attracts Buddhist pilgrims from all over the world throughout the year. Its compound offers an exhilarating view of Chiang Mai city and surrounding countryside. The rest of the day you are free to spend as you wish.

Day 7: CHIANG MAI - DOI INTHANON NATIONAL PARK - CHIANG MAI

Set off by minibus for Doi Inthanon National Park which encompasses Thailand's highest peak - Doi Inthanon, the summit of which reaches 2,565 metres. Stop at the magnificent Mae Klang and Wachirathan Waterfalls before reaching the summit to see the large stupas erected in honour of the Thai King and Queen. After lunch visit a Meo hill-tribe village participating in a royally sponsored crop substitution program and also a Karen village before returning to Chiang Mai.

Day 8: CHIANG MAI - CHIAN RAI

In the morning set off by road to an elephant camp to see the elephants take their morning bath before giving a demonstration of how they were trained to haul lumber in the forest. Carry on to Thaton, stopping at a local market on the way. After lunch take a cruise down the Mae Kok River to the village of Ban Mai Mok Jam. Continue by road to visit unspoiled hill-tribe villages and then on to Chiang Rai.

Day 9: CHIANG RAI - CHIANG MAI

After breakfast visit the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet and enjoy a panoramic view of the Mekong River. Along the way stops will be made at an Akha hill-tribe village, the old city of Chiang Sean and the border town of Mae Sai which is the northern-most point of Thailand. After lunch explore the local market before returning to Chiang Mai.

Day 10: CHIANG MAI - BAN NAM PIENGDIN

Transfer to Chiang Mai airport for a flight to Mae Hong Son, an isolated city in the northwest of Thailand. Once you arrive you will transfer to your hotel and then take a boat trip in the afternoon along the Pai River to the Karen village of Ban Nam Piengdin.

Day 11: BAN NAM PIENGDIN - CHIANG MAI

Visit the monastery Wat Phra That Doi Kong Moo with magnificent views of the valley and the mountains stretching into Myanmar and the lake-side twin Burmese-style monasteries of Wat Jong Klang and Wat Jong Kham. Then transfer to the airport for a flight to Chiang Mai.

Day 12: CHIANG MAI

Transfer to Chiang Mai airport for your departure flight to Bangkok.

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