Thailand - A Land of Smiles
Discover the many attractions of exciting Bangkok then travel northwards through Thailand to the city of Chiang Mai. Along the way, visit ancient ruins and stunning temples, before your journey comes to an end in the relaxing coastal resort of Cha-Am.
13 nights from £2599pp
Call us on 01756 706505 (+44 1756 706505) to discuss this holiday
Thailand - A Land of Smiles Itinerary
DAY 1 UK to Bangkok
Depart on your overnight flight to Bangkok, arriving on day 2.
DAY 2 Bangkok
On arrival in Bangkok this morning we'll transfer to our hotel for a three-night stay. There's plenty of time to relax at leisure this afternoon, before we get to know one another better over dinner at the hotel this evening.Later we'll head out to discover the delights of Bangkok at night. We'll travel by tuk-tuk, an open-air vehicle invented in Thailand more than 50 years ago. As we wind our way through the city's streets we'll soak up the unique atmosphere and aromas and see many of its famous landmarks. Look out for the spectacular Grand Palace, the Wat Pho temple and Sanam Luang Park, also known as the Royal Field.
DAY 3 Bangkok
Situated on the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok is Thailand's exciting capital and we'll see many of its highlights on today's included sightseeing tour. We begin with a visit to Wat Pho, one of the city's largest temple complexes and home to a leading school of massage. We'll hear the morning chant of the saffron-robed Buddhist monks and see the 46-metre-long golden Reclining Buddha. Next we'll head to the magnificent Grand Palace, Bangkok's most famous landmark and for 150 years the home of the Thai kings, the Royal court and the government. Within its grounds we'll see the sacred Wat Phra Kaew, the temple containing the Emerald Buddha, a small revered image carved from a single piece of jade.After lunch we'll take things at a slightly slower pace as we step aboard a long-tail boat for a cruise on the Thonburi klongs. Thonburi is the old capital of Bangkok and on our journey along the klongs, or canals, we'll see traditional wooden townhouses and local people going about their daily life. Along the way we'll visit the Royal Barges National Museum and you can admire the stunning exterior of the Wat Arun temple with its majestic spires rising from the water's edge. This evening we'll gather together and enjoy dinner at an authentic Thai restaurant. We'll be able to sample a variety of local dishes and afterwards we'll enjoy a performance of Thai classical dance.
DAY 4 Ayutthaya
After breakfast this morning we'll begin our explorations at the beautiful Bang Pa-In Palace, which was once a royal summer residence. We'll then continue on to the UNESCO-listed ruins of Ayutthaya. Once a wealthy and glittering city, this was the capital of Siam between 1350 and 1767. It fell to the Burmese army in 1767 and was all but abandoned when the capital was transferred to present-day Bangkok. We'll take a stroll around Ayutthaya's impressive remains which include a head of Buddha embedded in a tree trunk surrounded by tangled roots. Lunch is included at a restaurant today.
DAY 5 Phitsanulok
We'll depart Bangkok after breakfast and drive to Phitsanulok, one of Thailand's most historic cities. En route we'll make a stop at Uthai Thani to enjoy lunch on board a boat. On arrival in Phitsanulok we'll visit the 14th century Wat Yai, a stunning temple which houses a bronze statue of Buddha and an array of decorative features.
DAY 6 Sukhothai
Our journey continues as we drive to the ancient city of Sukhothai, which flourished during the 13th and 14th centuries. This walled city was the birthplace of some of Thailand's finest art and architecture, and as we explore the UNESCO-listed site we'll discover magnificent Buddha images, wall paintings and beautifully carved elephants supporting a towering stupa. Next, we'll meet a local history expert to learn about the heritage and traditions that live on in this area and you'll be able to have a go at making your own lucky charm. For lunch we will sample Sukhothai noodles – rice noodles served in a broth, usually with meat and green beans, and then we'll drive to Lampang.
DAY 7 Chiang Mai
This morning we'll experience everyday life in a Thai town when we step aboard cyclos, three-wheeled bicycle taxis, for a tour of Phrae – once an important trading post for teak wood. We'll visit homes and call at workshops to learn about local handicrafts such as weaving and wood carving. We'll also learn all about the traditional dyeing process known as Mo Hom at a workshop in a nearby village before we transfer to the historic and colourful city of Chiang Mai. There's time to relax at our hotel before dinner this evening.
DAY 8 Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai was once the capital city of the Lanna Kingdom, which covered much of northern Thailand in the late 13th century. Today we'll visit a local family to learn about Lanna traditions which live on to this very day. The family will be happy to tell you all about local architecture, handicrafts and food, and after we've explored the traditional houses and gardens we'll enjoy a meal cooked over a fire.This afternoon we'll take the winding road up to the sacred temple of Doi Suthep. Considered to be the most important temple in Chiang Mai, it sits on a hilltop overlooking the city. En route we'll stop at Wat Palat, a peaceful temple tucked away in the jungle and surrounded by hills, forest paths, shrines and a tumbling waterfall. When we reach Doi Suthep there will be plenty of time to explore this intriguing site and we'll get an insight into the importance of religion in Thai society at a private monk blessing ceremony.This evening has been left free for you to dine at leisure. Why not head out with your travelling companions and sample the delicacies on offer at one of Chiang Mai's outstanding eateries.
DAY 9 Chiang Mai
We've got a great day planned today, as we head to the Elephant Nature Park, just an hour's drive out of Chiang Mai. The sanctuary is home to many of these majestic creatures, which roam free in this rural setting. You'll learn all about how the elephants are rescued, and get the chance to feed them from a special viewing platform. After a buffet lunch we'll head to the river where we can see these gentle creatures as they bathe and play in the water.
DAY 10 Cha-Am
After breakfast we'll transfer to Chiang Mai airport for our flight back to Bangkok. Upon arrival we'll transfer to the laid-back coastal resort of Cha-Am, our base for the next three nights. Your hotel is set beside a long sandy beach and the rest of the day is free for you to relax and enjoy this lovely location.
DAY 11 Cha-Am
Spend today enjoying the facilities at your hotel, perhaps take a dip in the outdoor pool or Jacuzzi, or go for a stroll along the beach. If you like to cook, we also offer a fantastic optional excursion today as we head to the nearby beach resort of Hua Hin, where you can learn the art of Thai cookery. During your class you'll cook with ingredients such as fish sauce, herbs, spices, limes and coconut milk, and whatever you cook you'll eat for lunch.
DAY 12 Cha-Am
Enjoy a final day at leisure. You could choose to soak up the sun on the beach and later, perhaps head out with your travelling companions to one of the nearby seafood restaurants for lunch.If you're feeling energetic, you could rent a bicycle and explore the hotel's grounds, or perhaps try out the well-equipped fitness centre. Your hotel also boasts a fabulous spa, so maybe book yourself in for a pampering session.This evening we'll gather together for a farewell drink before dinner.
DAYS 13 & 14 Cha-Am to UK
We'll transfer to the airport in Bangkok on day 13 for our flight back to the UK, arriving on day 14. Please note that the itinerary for 2020 will differ slightly from that shown here. The welcome dinner on day 2 will consist of an authentic Thai dinner at Kinnaree Gourment Thai, prepared by Vanessa Wu, where you'll sample a wide selection of traditional dishes.
Just You Tour Manager as your host
Return flights from Heathrow with Thai Airways and internal flights
Use of an airport lounge in the UK
11 nights in 3 & 4-star hotels plus 2 nights in flight
25 meals: 11 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 7 dinners
Specialist Local Guide
Welcome drink & farewell get-together
Overseas transfers & other transportation
Dedicated Just You representative to greet you at all UK airports