Overview

This comprehensive tour of Thailand provides a fascinating insight into the hidden gems of the Khmer era. Our trip begins with a day tour of Bangkok, visiting some of the best known attractions of the capital city. Bangkok is known as the city that never sleeps- with its vibrant night life and exotic bazaars. It is also a city steeped in history with ancient relics and monuments that have stood the test of time and bear testimony to the old kingdom’s glorious past. Explore the stately Grand Palace, see the world’s largest gold Buddha and learn of its intriguing discovery. The next part of the tour takes you on a luxury cruise on the River Khwae Noi. Visit ancient temples and war memorials dating back to the Second World War. The confluence of Hindu and Buddhist cultures is rife in Thailand and its many temples and monuments represent that fusion. Get a glimpse into rural Thai life by visiting ethnic Mon villages and interacting with the native tribesfolk. Visit hidden waterfalls, and enjoy rafting or canoeing in the river. The last leg of the tour explores the north-eastern region of Isaan visiting ancient temples across the former capital of Ayutthaya, Khorat, Surin, Ubon Ratchathani and Nakhon Phanom. The tour provides an interesting introduction to Southeast Asian history. It takes you to some of the lesser known trails and spots of Thailand while offering superior comfort. 

8 Nights 9 Days 07 Dec, 08 Dec, 09 Dec, and more
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Airport transfers and all local transport in luxury sedan
  • Ferry and speedboat transfers between islands
  • Hotel accommodation in Krabi and Phuket
  • All meals as specified in itinerary
  • All local permits

What is NOT included in the tour

  • Any meal not specified in itinerary
  • Air travel
  • Any personal purchases like alcohol
  • Any additional services like private massage
  • Travel Insurance
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Local sightseeing in Bangkok
  • Downstream river cruise on Khwae Noi River
  • Visit to World War II Memorial site at Hell Fire Pass
  • Visit to Ayuthhaya temples
Itinerary
Day 1 (Bangkok sightseeing)
  • Arrive at Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok where a premier sedan/SUV and our tour guide will await you. Complimentary mineral water bottles and wet tissues are provided as you drive to your hotel in downtown Bangkok. Enjoy a welcome drink when you check-in at the hotel. Guests can choose to freshen up in their rooms before proceeding to lunch.
  • This is a lavish buffet of signature Thai curries, skewered meats in exotic spices, fresh tropical fruit and dessert. After lunch, we take you on a guided tour of some of the best known attractions of Bangkok City.
  • Our first stop is the Grand Palace. Situated in the heart of Bangkok, the palace was built in 1782 and remained the home of the royal family for the next 150 years. The Palace grounds house several buildings, each used for different administrative and military affairs. The most famous building inside the palace is the Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. A 17-inch Buddha made from a single block of jade and dating back to the 14th century is kept inside the temple and is one of the most sacred idols in Thailand.
  • The Wat Phra Kaew Temple being the holiest temple in Thailand, entrance rules inside the Grand Palace premises include a strict dress code. Guests are advised to dress modestly. Trousers and covered shoes are recommended while shorts and sleeveless outfits are discouraged. A large section of the palace can only be viewed from the outside with restricted access for visitors.
  • After exploring the palace grounds, we make our way to Wat Pho or Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Located a mere 10 minutes away from the Wat Phra Kaew, Wat Pho is the largest temple complex in Bangkok. The colossal statue of a reclining Buddha inside it is covered in gold leaves and measures a staggering 46 metres. Wat Pho was also the first university open to public in Thailand and is a renowned centre for traditional medicine and massage.
  • Next, we make our way to Wai Traimit located at the end of the city’s Chinatown area. Wai Traimit is famous for its solid gold Buddha statue that is the largest of its kind in the world. The statue weighing a massive five and a half tonnes and five metres in height is a spectacular specimen of Thai craftsmanship. Interestingly, the statue was discovered by accident. In the olden days, statues were concealed under films of plaster to protect them from invading armies. So it was that while the Buddha statue at Wai Traimit was being moved, it fell to reveal the solid gold statue that we now see, under a false exterior of plaster.
  • From here, we make our way back to the hotel. The evening can be spent at leisure. Guests can choose to relax at the hotel or explore the local markets.
  • Dinner at the hotel is another elaborate affair of some of the best known dishes of Bangkok using fresh local produce.
  • Our tour guide will brief you about the next day’s itinerary and post dinner you can retire to your rooms for the night.
Day 2 (Bangkok- Kanchanaburi- start of river cruise)
  • Today we set off early for Kanchanaburi. En route, we stop at Phra Pathom Chedi, the largest stupa in Southeast Asia.
  • From here we move on to the Khao Noi Cave Temple, one of only two Chinese temples in Kanchanaburi. The temple was built in 1881 and sits on top of a hill. You can see the intricate Chinese murals and tapestries inside the temple in addition to the many laughing Buddha idols symbolising happiness. The temple premises also offer stunning views of the surrounding landscape of Kanchanaburi.
  • After spending some time taking in the views and the artwork of the temple we visit the nearby Tiger Cave Temple. A massive golden Buddha statue at an elevation of 278 metres is the highlight of the Tiger Cave, locally known as Wat Thaem Suea. The architecture of the temple is distinctly Thai and it houses several interesting historical artefacts like ancient stone tools and moulded footprints of Buddha. After this we drive on towards Kanchanaburi, stopping at a restaurant for lunch on the way.
  • From here, it’s onward to Hell Fire Pass. This is part of the infamous Death Railway that was built by Allied prisoners of War during World War II. Here, we walk along a trail that leads to Hin Tok Bridge where a plaque commemorates the soldiers who died while building this historical bridge. A memorial complex dedicated to the dead soldiers is situated here and we pay a brief visit before continuing our journey.
  • Our cruise ship will be anchored at Daowadung Bridge. This is where you board the ship that is to be your home for the next three days. Enjoy a welcome drink as you come aboard and gather on deck to watch the spectacular views as the ship lifts anchor and sails downstream on the Khwae Noi River. The rooms on the cruise ship are appointed with plush upholstery designed for your comfort. As the ship sets sail, you will gather on deck for a brief talk about safety regulations.
  • The evening can be spent enjoying snacks and drinks on deck as we make our way towards the Sai Yok Yai Waterfalls. This is where we drop anchor for the night. After dinner, it’s time to retire to your cabins.
Day 3 (River Cruise- Floatel Jungle Raft)
  • We get an early start today with breakfast on board and then make our way to our first stop of the day- a boarding school for refugee children commissioned by H.R.H. Crown Princess Sirindhorn.
  • We disembark here and then drive to the Hin Dad Hot Springs. The springs were discovered by Japanese soldiers during World War II. They are now a popular tourist spot and include two pools in addition to private baths. The water in these natural springs is believed to have medicinal properties and known to cure ailments like arthritis. Guests are advised to carry their swimwear to enjoy a dip in the pools.
  • Our next stop is the Pha Tat Waterfall, a massive three-tiered fall considered one of the most picturesque waterfalls in Kanchanaburi. The falls originate from Kala Mountain range and flow into River Khwae Noi. The Pha Tat Waterfall is a great place for swimming for the whole family. Those who don’t want to swim can enjoy a relaxing time by the side of the falls. The views are amazing and it’s a great spot for photographs.
  • After this we return to the ship at Kaeng Pa Lorm for lunch as our ship sails towards the Floatel Jungle Raft, Kanchanaburi’s celebrated floating lodge that provides unique and eco-friendly accommodation. Enjoy rafting or canoeing on the Khwae Noi River. Our safety instructors will accompany you to ensure your safety. This is a moderate sport that can be enjoyed by the whole family.
  • In the evening, return to the cruise ship which will be anchored near the Floatel. You can enjoy a traditional Thai massage on board for an additional cost should the exertion from the rafting tire you out. You can enjoy a special cultural show by the Mon community on special request. This is followed by dinner.
Day 4 (Downstream River Cruise- Bangkok)
  • Have breakfast on board as the ship sails downstream. Our first stop today is the Sai Yok Elephant Village situated by the river bank. Spend a short time interacting with the big animals. See how they are bathed and trained by their mahouts.
  • Next, we sail towards Wat Tham Khaopoon, a Buddhist temple, used as a camp during the Second World War. This is one of the many temple caves of Kanchanaburi with vast caverns lit by fluorescent lights. Several interesting Hindu and Buddhist shrines are found in each cave in addition to spectacular stalagmite and stalactite formations inside.
  • From here we drive to the iconic Bridge over the River Khwae. The bridge immortalised in the popular Hollywood movie was part of the infamous Death Railway that completed the rail link between Bangkok and Rangoon and was built by Allied prisoners of war during World War II. The bridge was damaged by Allied bombings during the war and was later rebuilt by the Japanese as war reparations. The bridge took 16 months to build and cost several lives. A War Memorial dedicated to the memory of these dead soldiers as well as a War Cemetery for 6982 Allied soldiers will be next on our route.
  • We will board our ship once again at Saphan Mai and have lunch as we sail towards Nong Ya dock. This is where we disembark and drive back to Bangkok. The drive takes around three hours and you reach your hotel in Bangkok by evening.
  • The rest of the time can be spent at leisure inside the hotel. Guests can choose to treat themselves of another Thai massage to prepare for the next day’s journey. The evening ends with dinner at the hotel.
Day 5 (Bangkok- Ayuthhaya- Khorat)
  • Have an early breakfast at the hotel and drive to Ayuthhaya, the former capital of the kingdom of Siam. The once prosperous trade hub was pillaged during the Burmese invasion. The ruins of the former city are now housed inside a Historical Park. The park itself is an important historical and archaeological centre and houses several palaces, monasteries and temples. Ayuthhaya Historical Park is situated on a picturesque island at the confluence of three rivers. We will visit the Wat Chaiwattanaram, one of the most famous temples of Ayuthhaya, located along the bank of the River Chao Phraya. The 17th century temple was commissioned by King Prasat Thong and is one of the most iconic landmarks of Ayuthhaya. Your tour guide can acquaint you with the history of the ancient capital city as you visit each of its relics.
  • We will stop for lunch at a local restaurant and then continue towards the quaint town of Phimai, known for its famous Prasat Hin Sanctuary. Phimai is home to a Historical Park that houses the largest Khmer temple in Thailand dating back to the 11th century. This tour and the places we visit will be particularly intriguing for those interested in Southeast Asian history.
  • Next, we will make our way to the city of Khorat. We will check into a hotel in the city and after the full day’s excursion, have an early dinner and retire to your rooms.
Day 6 (Khorat sightseeing)
  • Today will be another exploration of Thai culture and history. Khorat is famous for its intricate pottery. After breakfast at the hotel, our first stop is a visit to the pottery village of Dan Kwian. See the many different colours and shapes of pottery being created by local artisans at this village. Pick up a souvenir or two.
  • From here, we continue our journey to Phanom Rung, considered the most beautiful Khmer temple in Thailand and reminiscent of the iconic Angkor Wat of Cambodia. Muang Tam is another Khmer temple close to Phanom Rung and a fine example of the craftsmanship of the Khmer era.
  • After lunch at a local restaurant, we set off for the silk weaving village of Ban Tha Sawang. Discover the fascinating process of silk weaving and see the traditional motifs used by weavers. You can see their work up close and watch their deft fingers weaving the silken threads with gold sequins and creating intricate designs. For those interested in textile and design, it’s interesting to learn about the natural methods of yarn dyeing used by the weavers.
  • After this interactive visit, we make our way to Surin and check into our hotel. There’s no fixed schedule for the rest of the evening. You can relax over drinks and spend the evening at leisure.
Day 7 (Khorat- Khongjam- Mekong riverside resort)
  • Today we set off for Prasat Sikhoraphum, a 12th century Khmer temple. Interestingly, the temple is dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. The temple has several beautiful and intricate lintel carvings. We will also visit an adjoining temple, the Prasat Sa Kamphaeng Yai, another fine example of Khmer craftsmanship.
  • From here, we make our way to Khongjam, a town located on the eastern- most frontier of Thailand at the confluence of the Mekong and Mun rivers.
  • En route we stop for lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy a boat ride on the Mekong River as you sail towards your riverside resort. This is where we check-in for the night.
Day 8 (Sightseeing along Mekong river bank)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and depart for Pha Taem National Park in Ubon Ratchathani Province along the river Mekong. The park is famous for its ancient rock art on cliffs overlooking the river. Some of these paintings date back to 3000 years. There is a Visitor Centre located at the top on the park which has a trail that is ideal for a short hike and provides beautiful views of the river and the neighbouring landscape of Laos. Make sure to carry your cameras for some great photo opportunities at this spot.
  • From here we move on to a nearby restaurant for lunch where you can sample some delicious local fare. Post lunch our next stop is the famous Indo-China market selling a wide assortment of wares from Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos and China. You can pick up some beautiful souvenirs from this market before we make our way to Wat Phra That Phanom, a 16th century Thai temple believed to contain the Buddha’s breast bone. This is a significant temple in the region and a popular pilgrimage site for Buddhists.
  • Our journey continues to Nakhon Phanom, a quaint town by the Mekong River. Here, we check into our riverside resort where you can spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 9 (Udon Thani- Bangkok)
  • On the last day of the tour, we have an early breakfast at the hotel before visiting the former residence of the Vietnamese leader Ho Chi Ming who lived here in the 1920s.
  • Next on our itinerary are two more interesting temples of the area- the Wat Phra Thad Choeng Chum and the Phra Thad Narai Cheng Weng Sanctuary. Both have exquisite artwork and carvings inside as well as interesting idols of the Buddha and Hindu Gods Shiva and Vishnu.
  • We will stop for lunch on the way and then continue the tour to a UNESCO-conferred Word Heritage site at Ban Chiang National Museum. Ban Chiang is a treasure trove of historical artefacts. A wide array of utensils, jewellery and pottery dating back to 7000 years were excavated from its vicinity and are now on display at the museum. Experience the excitement of seeing burial pits found in the compound of Ban Chiang, left as they were found, that show how earthly possessions were buried with the dead.
  • After the wonders of Ban Chiang we resume the final leg of our journey to Udon Thani town. We reach Udon Thani Airport in the evening for your onward flight to Bangkok. This is where the long and eventful tour comes to an end.