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). Overnight in Bangkok.

 

Day 3: Floating Market, To Kanchanaburi and the Bridge Over the River Kwai

After an early breakfast we drive through the countryside to the lovely floating market at Damnoen Saduak. We continue by road to the town of Kanchanaburi, where we visit the JEATH 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.

We then board a long tail boat for our trip to the Jungle Rafts on the Kwae Noi River where we have lunch. The rafts are in a splendid setting, surrounded by mountainous jungle. You will find the meals here terrific and all rooms have private bathrooms.

Evenings are a great experience, as the rafts do not have electricity, instead, oil lamps provide a rustic but charming ambiance which is enjoyed while watching Mon dancing. Overnight at Jungle Rafts.

 

Day 4: Hike or Swim at Erawan Falls

Our day trip begins with a boat trip to Pakseng, followed by a short drive to Erawan Falls. We have the opportunity to hike to all, or just some of the 7 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 continue to our accommodations. Overnight at Royal River Kwai Resort.

 

Day 5: To Sukhothai

This morning we venture north into Central Thailand. Enjoy a lunch cruise aboard a converted teak rice barge along the Saekarang River, where the scenery has been virtually unchanged for centuries. In the afternoon we continue to Sukhothai, stopping en route in Pitsanuloke to visit Wat Mahadhat (or Wat Yai). Time permitting we will stop at the Folk Museum and Buddha image casting factory. Overnight Sukhothai.

 

Day 6: 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 for those who do not wish to cycle) to explore some of the seldom visited outlying temples scattered throughout the countryside. Overnight in Sukhothai.

 

Day 7: To Chiang Mai - Kantoke Dinner

We will depart for Chiang Mai following breakfast. Chiang Mai 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. This afternoon we visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep on the mountain overlooking Chiang Mai. In the evening enjoy a traditional Northern Thai dinner. Overnight Chiang Mai.

 

Day 8: To Chiang Mai - Elephant Work Camp, Orchid Nursery, Handicrafts

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 9: Chiang Mai; Ping River Bicycle Tour, Thai Cooking Lessons

This morning enjoy a private cooking course where you can learn to prepare four different Thai dishes. Lunch is included in the program.

In the afternoon enjoy a leisurely bicycle journey along the Ping River (cycling is optional). Cycle through quiet, narrow roads and through local fruit orchards, rice paddies and small villages. Stop occasionally to visit temples, markets and traditional northern Thai houses. Your ride will end at the seldom visited ruins of Wiang Khum Kaam, which some consider to be the ancient city on which Chiang Mai was built. This bicycle journey is at a very gentle pace with a variety of stops. Good bikes and helmets are used and technical support is provided. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

 

Day 10: Scenic Road to Pai - Mork Fah Waterfall, Hot Springs

Today we have an early departure from Chiang Mai on our drive to Pai. Along the way, we visit the Mork Fah Waterfall in its lovely jungle setting. The scenery is breathtaking during today's journey and we have plenty of stops, including Huay Nam Dang viewpoint and hot springs. Enjoy some leisure time in the afternoon relaxing at our resort in Pai. Overnight in Pai.

 

Day 11: Tham Lod Cave, Mae Hong Son or Trekking Option

Drive 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 as a trading center for a variety of Sino-Tibetan, ethnic hilltribe groups that thrive in the surrounding mountains. En route we will stop in a Lisu Tribal Village and the Tham Lod Cave, an enormous cave system that we can walk and raft through. We arrive in Mae Hong Son in the late afternoon and explore the Burmese temples of Wat Doi Kong Mu. Overnight in Mae Hong Son.

**AdventureTrekking Option (no additional cost) For those who would prefer this option you will split from the main group in the afternoon and head into the hills for a 2-day/ 1-night trek. Our adventure begins with a 1 1/2 hour hike along the Meuang Phem River to the Karen village of Meuang Phem. We will cross the river on foot many times. Overnight in the village or Mae Hong Son.

 

Day 12: Mae Hong Son - Long Tail Boat Trip to the Padaung Village - Hill Tribe Visits

Today we travel to a few hilltribe villages in the highlands and enjoy northern Thailand's wonderful natural setting. Take a longtail boat and visit the Padaung village Nam Piang Din. The Padaung originate from Burma and their women are ornamented by many copper rings placed around their throats, actually pushing down their shoulders, which give the impression that their necks are elongated.

Other highlights will include stops at Karen, H'mong and Shan hilltribe villages. Most of the tribes are native to Burma or China but have settled in these remote hills where they are free from the persecution found in their homelands. We will enjoy a picnic lunch in one of the local villages.

Adventure/Trekking Option - Depart following a hearty breakfast. Walk approximately 5-6 hours back to the road through bamboo forest and beautiful limestone rock formations. Upon meeting the road, you will be picked up and you will continue to the town of Paang Ma Pha by car. After lunch drive to Mae Hong Son. Check-in at the beautiful Fern Resort, approximately 4 kms out of town, where your luggage is waiting for you. Finish in Mae Hong Son with an overnight in the Fern Resort. Note: For those joining the trekking option, you must be prepared to hike along paths and up hilly terrain. The pace is relaxed and we make frequent stops, but the ground is rarely flat. Sleeping bags and foam sleeping mats are provided for trekkers.

Overnight in Mae Hong Son.

 

Day 13: Mae Hong Son, Fly to Chiang Mai

With the group back together, the morning is free to relax or further explore Mae Hong Son with its Burmese- style temples. In the early afternoon the entire group heads to the airport for our short flight to Chiang Mai. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

 

Day 14: Fly to Phnom Penh (via Bangkok)

This morning we transfer to the airport for our short flight to Phnom Penh. 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. Time permitting we may begin some sightseeing later in the afternoon. Overnight Phnom Penh.

 

Day 15: Phnom Penh

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 have some leisure time to explore on your own. Overnight Phnom Penh.

 

Day 16: Phnom Penh - Komphong Thom

After breakfast, depart from Phnom Penh to Kampong Thom and check in to your hotel. After lunch 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 17: 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 18: 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. Return to the hotel for lunch. After lunch we return to 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 19: 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 centre and a primary school. The health centre 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 20: Siem Reap, The Citadel of Women,Flight 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 21: Bangkok - Suan Pakard and Ban Chiang Museums, Thai Dance Performance

A morning visit to the Suan Pakard Museum and the adjacent Ban Chiang Museum. Before lunch, we also tour the house of Jim Thompson, the American businessman who opened the Thai silk market to the western world.

The afternoon is free for sightseeing, relaxing, or having a traditional Thai massage at a nearby temple. Tonight, we have our farewell dinner with a classical Thai dance performance at a site owned by the famous Oriental Hotel. Overnight in Bangkok.

 

Day 22: Depart Bangkok

Transfer to Bangkok airport for your departure flight.

 
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