Thailand & Cambodia

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Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok

Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to our comfortable hotel situated on the river.

Overnight in Bangkok.


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).

Dinner and overnight in Bangkok.


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.

After lunch, we visit the house of Jim Thompson, the American businessman who opened the Thai silk market to the western world. His house, built in traditional Thai style, is adorned with beautiful furniture and art worthy of a museum. We also learn about silk production.

Dinner and overnight in Bangkok.


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.

We continue by road to the town of Kanchanaburi, where we visit the Burma Railway Center Museum which illustrates the history of the Japanese occupation in World War II. We also take in the infamous bridge over the River Kwai and the War Cemetery.

Dinner and overnight on the River Kwai.


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.

Overnight at Royal River Kwai Resort.


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.

Dinner and overnight in Sukhothai.


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.

Dinner and overnight in Sukhothai.


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.

After lunch we continue to Chiang Mai, which has a striking mountain backdrop, over 300 temples and a quaint historical aura. It is also a modern, friendly, internationally flavored city with much to offer the visitor - food, accommodation and shopping are all top quality and the nights are relatively cool.

Dinner and overnight in Chiang Mai


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.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.


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.

In the afternoon we drive 15 km up Mt. Doi Suthep to Wat Doi Suthep, the impressive hilltop temple with great view of Chiang Mai. It is said to have been founded in 1383 when the first stupa was built. Upon arrival we start with a walk up the 300 steps of the beautifully carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase (lift option is also available). Upon reaching the top, you are greeted with the sight of the Golden Spire which decorates the center of the mountain top temple.

Dinner and overnight in Chiang Mai.


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.

After lunch, we explore sites within the old city surrounded by a wall and moat. We will stop at the most important sites including ancient temples. Our exploration will of the old city will be at a more relaxed pace with the help of local bicycle taxis.

Dinner and overnight in Chiang Mai.


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 'packpacker gettos' like Pai (where you will likely find more partying backpackers than local Thais).

In the national parks, see 28,000 year old rock paintings, burial sites, raging rivers and stunning mountains and rock formations. Today we explore on foot and also on bamboo rafts gently floating down the river.

Drive to the Mae Sariang where we have dinner and overnight.


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.

We continue our scenic drive though the mountains to a Hmong hilltribe village. The Hilltribes in Thailand are migratory ethnic group farming in mountainous regions. They normally have a distinctive ceremonial or even unique daily dress, particularly the women. The Hmong typically wear traditional black dress with white trim.

We continue to the small border town of Mae Hong Son, a city with Burmese, Thai and Shan influences. Much of Mae Hong Son's prosperity is due to rice production as well as, because of its location, a trading center for a variety of Sino-Tibetan, ethnic hilltribe groups that thrive in the surrounding mountains.

Dinner and overnight in Mae Hong Son.


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.

We return to the resort for breakfast followed by a short city tour including the visit market, temples and the reservoir in town.

After lunch, we take a longtail boats to visit the Karen (also known as Padaung) village Nam Piang Din. They originated from Burma and their women are ornamented by many copper rings placed around their necks, actually pushing down their shoulders, which give the impression that their necks are elongated. Return to resort relax or do a hike along the nature trail.

Dinner overnight in Mae Hong Son.


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.

Founded in the 14th century, Phnom Penh became the capital of Cambodia in 1422 and again in 1866.

Dinner and overnight Phnom Penh.


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.

Overnight Phnom Penh.


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.

Overnight at Sambor Village Hotel.


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.

Until the late 1990s, Beng Melia was considered unsafe because of its remote location in a Khmer Rouge-held area and could only be accessed by 4WD. However a new road has been completed making the journey much more comfortable. Good hiking shoes are a must as you'll have to scale walls (optional if you prefer not to) and descend jungle vines to access the inner courtyards. Afterwards continue to Siem Reap and check-in to our hotel.

Overnight Siem Reap.


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.

Overnight in Siem Reap.


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.

At the primary school we will meet the teacher and pupils and get the opportunity to tell about your life. The children of this school are very eager to learn English and to learn about the world outside Cambodia. They will have many questions for you!

After the school visit we drive to Andong Pei village where we start our hike to Prasat Banteay Ampil Temple. Covered in jungle vegetation this temple seldom sees visitors. After lunch we hike back to the main road and return to Siem Reap where there will be time to relax or to visit Les Artisans D'Angkor, where young Cambodians are taught the skills of woodcarving, stone carving, lacquerware and silk weaving.

Overnight in Siem Reap.


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.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Bangkok.


Day 22: Depart Bangkok

Transfer to Bangkok airport for your departure flight.

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