Thailand, Temples & Tribes - 13 days    *alt*

13 days, from £1995
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- Chiang Rai - Hill Tribe villages
- Bangkok - Grand Palace, tuk tuk ride to Wat Pho, Flower Market, long tail boat ride along the klongs and Khao San Road
- Kanchanaburi - Allied War Cemetary, Bridge on the River Kwai and 'Hellfire Pass'
- Erawan National Park - wildlife, evergreen forests, beautiful waterfalls & swimming
- Ayuthaya - Former capital of Thailand, ancient ruins including iconic Wat Mahatat
- Hmong Hill Tribe - Overnight stay in their community
- Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple, Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribes village, trishaw ride around the old city, night market and cooking class. Plus free time for optional activities from spa treatments to canopy ziplines.
- Cruising on the Kok River in a longtail boat
- Wat Rhon Khung - the unique 'White Temple'
- Mae Kampong - Homestay with a local family
- Lisu Lodge - Small eco-lodge part of a community project to conserve the heritage of the hill tribes
- Seeing the hill tribe villages of northern Thailand's including Mae Kampong, Lisu, the Hmong community and the Akha, Lahu and Lisu tribes of Huai Khum

Tour includes:
- 11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 6 dinners
- 9 nights 3 - 4 star & Special Class hotels, 1 night homestay and 1 night in a floating jungle hotel, 1 night overnight sleeper train from Ayuthaya to Chiang Mai
- Economy class flight Chiang Rai - Bangkok
- Airport arrival transfer day 1 & departure transfer day 13
- Escorted by an English-speaking Thai tour guide
- Guided sightseeing - Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Erawan National Park, Ayuthaya, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai
- Train ride over the River Kwai and visit to Hellfire Pass
- Chiang Mai trishaw ride and cooking class
- 'SLongtail boat cruise on the canals of Bangkok and on the Kok River
- All relevant transfers and transportation in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Excursions to the hill tribe villages around Lisu Village, Huai Khum and Mae Kampong

Tour excludes:
- International flights and visa
- Tip for your tour guide. We recommend you allow USD$3 - 6 per day, per traveller. Tipping your guide is an entirely personal gesture
- Entrance Fees: USD$55-65, paid in USD


 Day 1 Bangkok

Saturday. Welcome to Bangkok, the captivating capital of Thailand. Arrival transfer to our hotel where our Welcome Meeting takes place later in the evening. Then it's just a short walk through the bustling streets of Bangkok to Silom Village, enjoy dinner in an alfresco setting with traditional music and dancing to watch.

 Day 2 Buddha & Boats

Today we explore the pulsating city of Bangkok. We visit the vibrant 24 hour flower market before exploring the stunning Grand Palace and its golden stupas. Then we take an exhilarating tuk tuk ride to Wat Pho, home of the reclining Buddha, before boarding longtail boats for a cruise along the city's canals, known in Thai as khlongs, passing stilted houses, old men fishing and pretty temples along the way. From where we disembark it's a short walk to the lively Khao San Road where street cafes and bars abound.

 Day 3 River Kwai

Bangkok - Kanchanaburi. Departing Bangkok we drive to the small town of Kanchanaburi where we pay our respects at the Allied War Cemetery, the site where thousands of Allied POWs are buried. Next we visit the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai' immortalised by the film of the same name. A scenic train ride takes us over the bridge to follow the tracks laid down by the POWs during the Second World War. Arriving at Nam Tok we drive to 'Hellfire Pass' and visit an interesting museum detailing how the POWs used little more than their bare hands to dig through the mountain. After a full day's sightseeing a leisurely longtail boat ride leads us to our fabulous floating jungle raft hotel. To the beauty of a hundred softly glowing lanterns and the sounds of the tropical forest and cool water flowing by we enjoy dinner and a relaxing evening on the deck.
Breakfast Dinner

 Day 4 Erawan NP & Ayuthaya

Kanchanaburi - Erawan NP - Ayuthaya - Chiang Mai. This morning we travel on to the beautiful Erawan National Park, to explore the rivers, waterfalls and trails on foot. The park boasts a stunning tiered waterfall and there's time to take a dip in one of the many refreshing pools. Ancient Ayuthaya is our next stop, the once former capital laden with golden temples and lavished decorated palaces that glittered from miles away. We explore Ayuthaya's famous ruins, visiting the magnificent stupas at Wat Phri Sanphet and iconic Wat Mahatat where the head of a damaged Buddha statue has slowly been embraced and lifted by a nearby tree. After diner we board a sleeper train to Chiang Mai.
Breakfast Dinner

 Day 5 Chiang Mai & Hmong Hill tribe

Chiang Mai - Mae Rim. This morning we arrive into the picturesque city of Chiang Mai, nestled in the foothills of northern Thailand. First up we visit the beautiful Doi Suthep Temple which is perched on a mountain top overlooking Chiang Mai. We enjoy the views before driving to the Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribes village. Four separate Thai hill tribes live at Baan Tong Luang - the Lahu, Hmong, White Karen and the Long necked Karen and we'll have the opportunity to learn all about their lifestyle and customs, see their traditional dress and purchase handicrafts that they make.
We travel on to the Hmong Hill Tribe Lodge where we will stay this evening. Here, you can take a walk into the surrounding countryside to visit the some of the nearby hill tribe villages and gain a wonderful insight into the lives of some of the smaller minority groups in the Kingdom. In the evening we enjoy a sumptuous BBQ before being entertained by dancers from the local community.

 Day 6 Chiang Rai

Mae Rim - Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai. Following an early breakfast we bid farewell to our hosts at Hmong Lodge and set off north towards Chiang Rai, travelling through stunning karst and jungle scenery. We take a break to stretch our legs and explore a local Hmong market before continuing to our journey to the famous White Temple of Wat Rong Khun which depicts scenes from movies including the Matrix, Star Wars and Superman! After exploring the temple, there's time for lunch before we board our longtail boats for a scenic hour long ride on the Kok River to Chiang Rai.
In Chiang Rai we visit Lahu village which is surrounded by lush green countryside and inhabited by the Lahu people, who make their living from farming the land. We'll take a walk through this enchanting little village, which has stilt houses and livestock roaming the streets. Then we continue our boat journey to Ruammit village which is home to the Karen tribe and has retained its traditional culture. After a brief stop here we drive to Chiang Mai, where the rest of the evening is free to spend at leisure.

 Day 7 Chiang Mai Cooking class

Early this morning there's the opportunity to give Alms to the local monks with your guide. After breakfast we take a traditional trishaw for a ride around the old city of Chiang Mai, visiting some of the key temples within the city walls. Then we head to a local cooking school to try our hand at preparing tasty local cuisine in a traditional Thai setting. This informative cooking class teaches us how to prepare three of Thailand's most popular dishes that we'll later get to enjoy for lunch.
The rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore at leisure. In the evening we visit the Chiang Mai night market, a haven of souvenirs and works by local artisans.
Breakfast Lunch

 Day 8 Chiang Mai free time

Sat at the foothills of northern Thailand and spattered with pretty temples, Chiang Mai is a dream to explore. Today is free for you to partake in optional activities from spa treatments to cooking classes and white water rafting to canopy ziplines.

 Day 9 Lisu Hill tribe

Chiang Mai - Lisu Village. This morning we set off for the Lisu Lodge, a small eco-lodge that is integrated into the heart of the local community by playing its part in a project to conserve the natural heritage of the hill tribes in Chiang Mai. The lodge is run by the Lisu hill tribe villagers, as are all the tours and activities available here, while the food is locally sourced and fetched from the organic rice fields and vegetable gardens. Enjoy free time to explore the area and to learn more about the lives of the locals. In the evening there is the chance to partake in a Basi ceremony, intended to bring good luck which involved the tying of blessed string around your wrist.
Breakfast Dinner

 Day 10 Mae Kampong Village

Lisu Village - Mae Kampong. This morning we move on to the charming village of Mae Kampong where we meet our homestay families. This village has embraced the opportunities that surround it, generating enough electricity from the nearby rushing stream to supply the village and sell the rest back to the grid. They grow strawberries and flowers on hills that were once covered in poppies, a somewhat different crop and have developed a small homestay scheme to help supplement the income of the village. This afternoon a local village guide will take us on a walking tour whilst in the evening our gracious hosts will prepare dinner before the traditional dance ceremony.
Breakfast Dinner

 Day 11 Tribal villages

Mae Kampong - Huai Khum. Our foray into Thailand's northern hills continues as we make our way to Huai Khum. Nestled on the banks of the River Mae Kok and surrounded by tribal villages, each with their own culture and traditions, Huai Khum Resort is the ideal base for trekking. The resort is best described as rustic, but what is lacks in luxury it more than compensates in location and charm.
We take a leisurely trek this afternoon through some of the small villages before spending a relaxing evening in the resort. On our walk we may encounter Akha, Lahu or Lisu tribes people working in the fields, collecting firewood or making traditional handicrafts.

 Day 12 Fly to Bangkok

Huai Khum - Bangkok. Soak up the tranquility of the lodge and local villages this morning with some free time before catching an afternoon flight back to the busy capital city of Bangkok. Enjoy your final evening in Thailand at leisure doing some last minute sightseeing or souvenir shopping.

 Day 13 Bangkok - your way

Thursday. Our tour concludes after breakfast. Hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport. You can extend your stay in this amazing city by booking post tour accommodation. If doing so your departure transfer to the airport will be offered at the completion of your arrangements.

Tour Map