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Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to our comfortable hotel situated on the river.
Day 2: Bangkok - Grand Palace, Wat Pra Keo, Canal Trip
This morning we visit the Grand Palace, Wat Pra Keo, and the ancient temple of Wat Po which includes the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. After lunch we board our longtail boats to travel along the Chao Phrya River and the small canals to see how the Thais live on the water, with restaurants, fruit sellers, laundry and even temples all accessible by boat! Two highlights along our journey are stops at the King's Royal Barges and Wat Arun (also know as the Temple of Dawn).
Day 3: Bangkok - Flower Market, Jim Thompson's House
This morning, we avoid the traffic of Bangkok as we take a water taxi along the Chao Phraya river to the interesting and colourful flower market.
Day 4: Floating Market, to Kanchanaburi & the Bridge Over the River Kwai
After an early breakfast, we drive through the countryside to the lovely floating market at Damnoen Saduak. We can enjoy this colourful market as we explore the floating market by canal boats.
Day 5: Hike or Swim at Erawan Falls
Our day trip begins with a boat trip followed by a short drive to Erawan Falls. We have the opportunity to hike to all, or just some of, the 7 stunning waterfalls. At the falls you can relax and swim in the natural pools. We have lunch at the waterfalls and in the late afternoon we return to our accommodations.
Day 6: To Sukhothai, Wat Mahadhat
This morning we venture north into Central Thailand. In the afternoon, we continue to Sukhothai, stopping enroute in Pitsanuloke to visit Wat Mahadhat (or Wat Yai). Time permitting we will stop at the Folk Museum and Buddha image casting factory.
Day 7: Sukhothai - Ancient Temples of Classical Siam
Today we have a full day to explore "Old Sukhothai", a beautiful complex of pagodas, gardens and temples dating from the 13th century. For those keen to ride, we take bicycles (cycling is optional and the temples will be also be visited by minibus or microbus for those who do not wish to cycle) to explore some of the seldom visited outlying temples scattered throughout the countryside.
Day 8: To Lampang - Elephant Hospital, to Chiang Mai
We depart for Chiang Mai following breakfast. Enroute we stop in Lampang as well as an elephant hospital which even produces prosthetic limbs for elephants.
Day 9: To Chiang Mai - Elephant Work Camp, Orchid Nursery, Handicrafts, Kantoke Dinner
We visit the Mae Sa Elephant Camp today where we will learn about the purpose of the camp and have an opportunity to speak with the staff. We will also visit an orchid and butterfly farm. This afternoon, those interested can visit some of the cottage industries producing traditional Thai handicrafts such as laquerware, jewelry and handpainted umbrellas, to name a few. This evening we will enjoy a folk dance while at our special Kantoke Dinner.
Day 10: Chiang Mai - Thai Cooking Lessons, Wat Doi Suthep
This morning, enjoy a Thai cooking course where you can learn to prepare four different Thai dishes. Lunch is included in the program.
Day 11: Chiang Mai - Wat U Mong, Old City by Bicycle Taxi
Today we visit the 700 year old forest wat, built at the foot of Mt. Doi Suthep, which occupies a tranquil setting with a large pond with fish, turtles and ducks. "Talking trees" have words of wisdom in Thai and English. The wat is famous for its ancient tunnels and large stupa. There are tunnels with Buddhist images below the chedi which can be easily explored. If we are lucky, we may have the opportunity to learn about Buddhism from one of the monks at Wat U Mong.
Day 12: To Mae Sariang, Obluang N. P., Mae Ngao N.P., Bamboo Rafting
Today we set out on a long but interesting drive through the mountains with stops in 2 national parks and a relaxing bamboo river journey (1 1/2 - 2 hours). Our journey is off of the tourist route as we avoid 'backpacker gettos' like Pai (where you will likely find more partying backpackers than local Thais).
Day 13: To Mae Hong Son, Kaew Komol cave, Hmong Microwave Village
Today we travel to Mae Mong Son but with a few stops along the way. First we visit Kaew Komol cave, a small cave with beautiful crystal formations.
Day 14: Mae Hong Son - Longtail Boat to the Long Neck Karen Hilltribe
In the early morning, we get up to see the monks receiving alms (optional to make an offering to the monks yourself) at Phusama Monastery by the Sutongpe (bamboo) bridge over the rice fields.
Day 15: Fly to Phnom Penh (via Chiang Mai & Bangkok)
This morning we transfer to the airport for our flight to Phnom Penh (via Chiang Mai and Bangkok). Upon arrival meet your guide and driver and transfer to your hotel.
Day 16: Phnom Penh - Royal Palace, Killing Fields & Toul Sleng
After breakfast, you will visit the impressive Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda followed by a visit to the Killing fields and Toul Sleng, which are a reminder of a sad era in Cambodia under the Khmer Rouge. In the afternoon, we will visit the National Museum and afterwards have some leisure time to explore on your own.
Day 17: To Komphong Thom, Visit Pre-Angkor Temples
After breakfast, depart from Phnom Penh to Kampong Thom and check in to your hotel. After lunch, we visit Sambo Preikuk. Here you can explore the ruins which were built even before Angkor Wat such as Prasat Sambor, Prasat Tor and Prasat Yeah Puon. The setting is magnificent! This will be an opportunity to learn about the community based tourism project underway here.
Day 18: Komphong Thom - Siem Reap (Angkor)
After breakfast we depart from Kampong Thom and travel to Siem Reap. You will have the opportunity to stop at the old bridge of Spean Prabtoes, hailing from Angkorean times, but still in good condition. Also visit the ruins of Beng Melia, a former Angkorian capital and one of the most remote temple sites in Cambodia which is currently accessible.
Day 19: Explore the Grand Circuit of Angkor Wat
Following breakfast, visit the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon Temple and, of course, the famous and magnificent Angkor Wat Temple. After lunch, we continue our exploration at Angkor and visit Terrace of the Elephants, Terrace of the Leper King, Royal Enclosure and Phimean Akas until sunset. Dinner at the Madame Butterfly restaurant.
Day 20: Angkor - Chhuk Village, Hike to Prasat Banteay Ampil Temple
Today we drive to Chhuk district to visit some of the projects of a Cambodian-Dutch foundation. We will visit a health center and a primary school. The health center was founded in 2001 and delivers medical services to the people living in Chhuk Village.
Day 21: Angkor - The Citadel of Women, Fly to Bangkok
This morning, visit Banteay Srei, "The Citadel of Women". Tucked away in the countryside the sand stone carvings are better preserved here than most of the other temples at Angkor. After lunch transfer to the Airport for our flight from Siem Reap to Bangkok.
Day 22: Depart Bangkok
Transfer to Bangkok airport for your departure flight.
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