Considered the “Land of Smiles,'' Thailand is an amazing journey into what makes Asia such a fascinating destination. From metropolitan life, where everything is moving at an unprecedented pace to small villages; with the most authentic and sacred experiences among its people. Offering a bit of both worlds, journey through the true essence of what makes up Thailand, with an unforgettable expedition around this amazing country.
Upon arrival at Bangkok Airport. Go through Immigration and Customs. No visa is needed for German passport holder traveling to Thailand. Proceed to Arrival Hall (inside terminal) where your driver is waiting for you, holding a sign with your name on it. Then you will be transferred by private transportation to your hotel for check in.
At around 08:30am, meet your guide at the hotel lobby and transfer to visit the Royal Grand Palace, which is the most important shrine in the Kingdom. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha, known as Wat Phra Kaew, with its solid jade Buddha Image, is one of the country’s most adored relics and a must-see for any visitor. Visit the Throne Hall, State Reception Hall, and the Coronation Hall, then move on to Wat Po, which was built by King Rama I nearly 200 years ago and houses the gigantic Reclining Buddha and it is the spiritual home of traditional therapeutic Thai Massage.
Then walk a few steps to a local pier to board an engine powered long-tail boat to make your way along the fascinating Chao Phraya River, also referred to as the “River of Kings.” Enjoy an up-close look at the homes, temples, and daily activities along the river. Continue past the Temple of Dawn, locally known as Wat Arun, built in the late 1700’s and one of Bangkok’s best-known landmarks.
Drop off at your hotel to freshen up.
Food stalls on the streets of Bangkok can look a little intimidating to foreigners, but they provide convenient, delicious and cheap meals to the locals. Wherever you go in the city, these food stalls are plentiful and very often you will find a high concentration of them in particularly busy areas. Some street vendors operate in groups, often in local markets, which means you can go to the same place every night and have a different choice of meal. Some even open around the clock. The main attractions usually include noodle stalls, made-to-order food stalls, and 'curry on rice' stalls.
You should be able to figure out what kind of food a particular stall is selling by observing the ingredients in the glass display window and the way they're being prepared. There are many kinds of noodle stalls available; chicken noodles, duck noodles, egg noodles with wonton and 'moo daeng' (red barbequed pork), beef and meatball noodles, 'yen ta four' (noodles in red soy bean paste with fish ball, squid and morning glory) - the list is endless. The noodles themselves come in different sizes and shapes too.
Afterwards, you will be transferred by Tuk Tuk back to your hotel for relaxation. You will be back at the hotel around 10:00pm – 10:30pm.
After an early breakfast at around 07:00am, meet your guide at your hotel lobby and depart for a 1.5-hour drive to visit the Railway Track Market in Samut Songkram. This is a unique experience as you will see the vendors quickly pack up their stores as the train approaches the tracks.
Then continue to drive through Bangkok’s rural outskirts to visit Damnoensaduka Floating Market, stepping back in time to experience the traditional way farmers would trade their produce. The canals are lined with boats that are paddled by local women and piled high with vegetables, fruit and even souvenirs for the tourists. Almost always crowded with hundreds of vendors, purchasers and tourists, the best way to experience the atmosphere of the market is to board a rowing boat yourself and make your way through the small canals to buy fresh produce from the vendors. Sit back and soak up the atmosphere as the locals go about their daily life and entertain you with their haggling techniques. This is the only place to see the traditional way of selling and buying goods in Thailand.
Expect to return to your hotel around 2:00p.m.
Morning is at your leisure. Check out at 11:30a.m , you will be transferred directly to Bangkok airport for your afternoon flight to Chiang Rai.
Upon arrival at Chiang Rai Airport. After retrieving your bags, please proceed to Arrival Hall (inside terminal) where your driver is waiting for you, holding a sign with your name(s) on it. Then you will be transferred by private van to your hotel for check in.
After breakfast, meet with your guide at the hotel lobby at 8:30am and start exploring Thailand’s most northern city, home to about 65,000 people of whom 12.5% are ethnic hill tribes. The city was founded in 1262 A.D. and is home to a fascinating mix of Thai and Burmese architecture. Begin your tour by visiting the ancient temple of Wat Phra Kae, original home of the Emerald Buddha which is now housed in Bangkok. A replica was made and placed in the same spot where it was found. Continue with your visit to traditional Akha and Yao hill tribe villages. The Akha originated in Tibet and are among the poorest of Thailand’s ethnic minorities, whilst the Yao originated in China and are heavily influenced by Chinese traditions, still using Chinese characters in the writing of their language. Visit both villages and tribes and observe the differences between them.
Continue to Chiang Saen, which is a small crossroad town on the banks of the Mekong. Scattered throughout the town are the ruins of the Chiang Saen Kingdom, founded in 1325 A.D.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will also visit the Hall of Opium Museum. Then continue to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand. This is the perfect spot to observe the border lifestyle. Mae Sai is one of the very few official land crossing points between Thailand and Myanmar. Many Burmese (or Myanmese) come over during the day from Thakhilek to work or do business, hurrying back home before sunset.
Lacquerware, gems, jade and other goods from Laos and Burma are sold in shops along the main street.
Return to your hotel in the afternoon. Dinner is on your own.
After breakfast, at around 8:30am, meet with the guide and you will be transferred to Doi Mae Salong. Set high amidst the magnificent mountainous scenery. The villages of Mae Salong were founded by the Koumintang soldiers who fled China after Mao Tse Tung's victory in 1949. There are many fruit wines and liquors on sale in the market. Especially the illegal corn whiskey that is brewed locally in this district.
Continue on to Choui Fong Tea plantation, situated nearly 4,000 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level. Stroll the tea fields while you learn about tea cultivation from your guide, and savor the taste of oolong tea in the plantation’s tearoom. If you'd like to bring some tea home with you, it’s available for purchase in the gift shop. A nice lunch will be served at a local restaurant.
Return to Chiang Rai in the late afternoon. Dinner tonight is on your own.
After breakfast, check out of the hotel and start a 4-hour transfer to Chiang Mai over winding roads with incredible scenery. En route, take an exciting 3 hour long tailed boat ride passing tiny hill tribe villages, bamboo huts and jungle; visit the life of Karen hill tribe village, built along the banks of the Maekok River.
We will arrive at the boat landing port and continue your overland journey to Chiang Mai.
Lunch is at a local restaurant. Check in at your hotel in the late afternoon. Dinner tonight is on your own.
Breakfast at hotel. Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 08:30 a.m. for a private transfer to visit Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, which was founded in 1383 A.D. In 1935 a road was built to the top of the mountain, but nowadays people climb the 309 steps from the car park to the top or take a tram. The climb up is rewarded with a superb panoramic view over the city.
Then continue to visit Wat Suan Dok where ashes of former Kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family are kept. Make a stop to visit a local temple. 95% of Thai people are Buddhist, and this is a chance for you to learn more about the religion from a Buddhist monk. You will have an opportunity to talk with a monk about all aspects of his religion. Gain valuable insights from somebody who has devoted his life to a serene and simple lifestyle.
Enjoy a lunch of Khao Soi (with drinks) - Chiang Mai specialty of rice noodles and curried gravy with chicken or pork. Khao Soi is a curry noodle dish from the northern part of Thailand. It is often made with chicken, served over Chinese Bah-mi egg noodle, and garnished with fried noodles, shallots, cilantro, pickled mustard greens, fried whole chilies and a squeeze of lime juice. The dish is an exoticism of taste, each strong and distinct yet they blend into one beautifully harmonious bowl and delicious bowl, when done right, of course.
In the evening, enjoy Khan Toke Dinner and visit Chiang Mai Night Bazaar
It was not until 1953 that Khan Toke became a social gathering when a local politician invited honoured guests to sit with him and enjoy this special dinner. The “Khan Toke” dinner is traditionally related to the people of the northern region. Dinner is served in small bowls, known in Thai as Khan. Guests are seated on cushions at a low table, known as Toke in Thai. The cuisine served is northern Thai and during dinner, entertainment is provided by beautiful dancers, who will perform the Forn Leb, known as the finger dance, Forn Thien, known as the candle dance, Ramwong, referred to as the circle dance and the Ram Dab, known as the sword dance. Then you will be transferred to the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar where you can pick up everything from antiques to fake Rolex watches and an astonishing variety of handicraft souvenirs, or sample the smoothness of the colorful silk on sale everywhere. Every evening, the centre of Chiang Mai comes alive with the massive Night Market that stretches for several blocks and includes restaurants, bars and entertainment. In fact, the stalls that are squeezed onto the pavement and in the purpose-built arcades of Chang Klan Road are one of Chiang Mai's biggest attractions. Drive back to your hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Your guide will meet you in the hotel lobby at 08:00 a.m. Transfer (approx.1.30 hours) to an Elephant Camp. You will have an exciting trek on elephant back through the jungle. The trek continues back up river to the elephant camp. Our acquaintance with these gentle mammals are made in feeding them bananas, which is followed by a swim in the River Ping near the Elephants (for responsible and respectful practices with these beautiful mammals), a perfect setting for some spectacular photos and an interesting demonstration of the elephant’s logging skill follows.
Then board a bamboo raft for an hour-long relaxing float down the Ping River. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant (food only). Return to your hotel around 3:00 p.m.
Morning is at your leisure to explore the city on my own.
PANTAWAN COOKING CLASS (Dinner session from 04:00p.m – 08:30p.m.)
The school is a Thai classic teak wood house style, inside the school, we have 12 luxury wooden cooking stations, nicely set up and with big space for each person. Pantawan Cooking School has about one acre of beautiful garden and an organic farm. This is where you can see various kinds of herbs grow and use some of them for your cooking lesson.
At Pantawan Cooking School, we have different food options each day, the menus are not the same pattern like other cooking schools in Chiang Mai. It is the type of food you would order when you go to a good restaurant in Thailand. We guarantee that you will love it! Our experienced instructors will be teaching you in an old Thai style house classroom which will allow you to experience the real ambiance of traditional Thai, whilst you cook. The program starts with a tour at the local fresh market. There, our instructor will teach you the techniques of how to choose the perfect ingredients for your Thai cooking lessons. When we arrive at the school, our staff will welcome you with a welcome drink and a cold towel for refreshment. Our chef will then demonstrate to you how to cook each meal before you get a chance to cook by yourself at your own wooden station. All your dishes will be served at the table where you can enjoy our beautiful garden whilst having your delicious meal!
Cooking program included (shared transfer to/from the class and join-in the class)
Morning at leisure. Check out at 07:40a.m , you will be transferred to Chiang Mai airport for your afternoon flight to Phuket.
Upon arrival at Phuket Airport. After retrieving your bags, please proceed to Arrival Hall where your driver is waiting for you, holding a sign with your names on it. Then you will be transferred by private van to your hotel for check in.
Full day free at leisure or your own activities on the beach.
Full day free at leisure or your own activities on the beach.
Full day free at leisure or your own activities on the beach.
Morning at leisure. Check out no later than 12:00 p.m , you will be transferred directly to Phuket Airport for your flight home.