THAILAND: THE LAND OF SMILES
January 8th – 21st
14 Days – 13 Nights
With glistening temples, bustling floating markets, majestic elephants, gleaming Buddhas, beautiful beaches, jungle and adventure, Thailand is a wonderful country for an incredible holiday. Travel the “Land of Smiles” and you’ll uncover a country of contrasts from the vibrancy of Bangkok to the rugged villages and hill tribes. Be surrounded by stunning scenery, fascinating history, mouth-watering food, beaches, mountains, animals and most importantly, the amazing people who will help you appreciate it. On this singles vacation, you will be immersed into the glorious past of Thailand and the beauty of its present.
Day 1: Bangkok
Bangkok certainly lives up to its reputation as a travel hotspot in South East Asia. The “City of Angels” has funky markets, upscale malls, a riverside full of surprises, a vibrant nightlife scene and attractions that reflect its unique heritage.
On arrival at the Bangkok Airport, you will be met by our guide and transferred to our beautiful hotel, the Eastin Grand Sathorn. To give everyone a chance to arrive, no activities are planned today, however, our guide is available to advise on activities if you wish. Today is a good day to enjoy the luxurious hotel, relax by the pool or enjoy a massage. We will meet for an optional dinner at 7:00 PM in the hotel lobby.
Day 2: Bangkok
The Long Tail boat trip (Klong Tour of Canals), is a perfect way to start our exploration of Bangkok. You will get a real sense of how people in Bangkok used to live and some still do. Our speedboat will whisk us down the Chao Phraya River and Canals (Klongs). Along the way, we will make a stopover at Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, before continuing to the Grand Palace. The dazzling Grand Palace is undoubtedly the city’s most famous landmark. For 150 years this was the home of Thai Kings. You will be in awe of its beautiful architecture and intricate detail, all of which is a proud salute to the creativity and craftsmanship of the Thai people. We will also visit the Wat Phra Kaew, The Temple of the Emerald Buddha. After a stop for lunch, we will drive to one of the most significant temples in Bangkok. The Wat Pho Temple houses a gigantic gold plated reclining Buddha.
Tonight, we will enjoy an included buffet dinner at the Blue Elephant Restaurant. Feel free to go out after dinner. The dinner is followed by free time to explore Bangkok at night on your own. Nights in Bangkok are famous. Remember the song “One Night in Bangkok?” The city is buzzing 7 nights a week with world famous clubs and a variety of music.
Day 3: Bangkok – Damnoen Saduak – Kanchanaburi – Sai Yok
Heading out of town, we make our way to Kanchanaburi with a stopover at the picturesque floating market of Damnoen Saduak, which opens early in the morning until noon. Here, we will have a chance to go around by boat, exploring the bustling trade of local villagers. We continue our journey to Kanchanaburi, stopping enroute to visit Nakhon Pathom, the country’s largest pagoda. Kanchanaburi is an enchanting town with plenty to see including the famous bridge over the River Kwai. Enjoy lunch by the River Kwai before we make our way through the beautiful countryside to see Sai Yok National Park.
Check into The FloatHouse River Kwai, the magnificent close-to-nature floating lodge. Enjoy the stunning natural surroundings of the tropical forest, a unique blend of the culture and tradition of the people, and the history of World War II. Put on a life jacket and take a river jump. You will be floating along the hotel in the Kwai Noi River. The beautiful scenery will look even more remarkable when you view it from the water. Dine under the clear blue sky and watch the river flowing at its own pace. Included dinner at the hotel.
Day 4: Sai Yok – Hellfire Pass – Kanchanaburi – Bangkok
The exploration of the Kanchanaburi region continues with a drive to the Hellfire Pass. This world famous site features the fascinating museum chronicling the events of World War II and the notorious “Death Railway.” This rail link was all but partially destroyed by the offensive, however it is still fascinating to walk along the ruins.
Then we step further back in time when we visit Mallika City R.E. 124, the “City of Culture and Tragedy.” Be amazed by the Thai people’s lifestyle of 100 years before: their houses, food, tools and language used in daily life. Enjoy our walk passing Saphan Han where we can still see people trading on boats. See the local food on the roadside, form of money, Thai language used at the time, their jobs and how to cook. In this town, you can rent and dress up in traditional Thai clothes and walk around the town.
Upon leaving this site, we drive to Nam Tok and take a train ride through the breathtaking landscape on a wooden bridge built along the mountainside by the allied prisoners of the Second World War. The train journey delivers us to Thakilen Station where we meet up with our driver and return to Bangkok.
Day 5: Bangkok – Free Day
Today will be a free day to do optional activities. See the National Museum, rent a 3-wheel Tuk Tuk, get a massage, swim in the pool, or go shopping at the Flower Market.
Tonight, our driver will take us to the new and fabulous Asiatique night bazaar. Bargain for great handicrafts or fine goods. The dollar is strong here to buy Thai silks and gems like sapphires. There are many dining options. Anthony Bourdain raved about the food stalls. Try a coconut shrimp bowl for next to nothing. Clubs and bars are opened til 3:00 AM. Bangkok never sleeps.
Day 6: Chiang Mai
After breakfast, we fly to Chiang Mai, the capital of the north, rich in historical and cultural heritage. Chiang Mai has over 300 temples, and we will visit the most famous one on top of Doi Suthep Mountain, named Wat Phra That. The temple grounds offer a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. Chiang Mai is known for its exquisite crafts. We’ll check into the stunning Centara Khum Phaya Resort and Spa and then set off on a short drive to the villages of San Kamphaeng, famous for its silks and Borsang to see how they make their paper umbrellas. On our way back to the hotel, we will drive through the old city of Chiang Mai. Tonight, there will be free time to visit the vibrant night market, which is filled with local treasures, or just enjoy a wonderful dinner and some music.
Day 7: Tiger Kingdom – Baan Tong Luang Hill Tribe Village – Chiang Mai
This afternoon we begin at Tiger Kingdom, a sanctuary and rescue center for Indo-China tigers, as well as other big cats from Sumatra and Bengal. Tiger Kingdom contributes to ensuring the continuation of the species and providing a strong genetic base for breeding future generations. Management wants you to leave with a greater understanding of these cats. There’s ample opportunity to interact with the animals, like bottle feeding cubs and petting the big guys. The tigers are not sedated, unlike other places in Asia, and are treated with great care here. You will get sensational photos for bragging rights back home.
We continue into breathtaking hills and valleys to visit the “long neck” hill tribe village of Baan Tong Luang. Another kodak moment! Women in colorful traditional dress can be seen tending their small shops and are happy to receive visitors. Our guide will explain their traditions and customs. Lunch will be provided at a local Thai restaurant. On the return journey, a stop is made at orchid farms to admire a variety of exotic flowers. Tonight, have a massage, swim or explore the town.
Day 8: Elephant Day- Chiang Mai
A full day visit to Elephant Nature Park (ENP) is a wonderful introduction to Asian elephants. You’ll learn of their plight and personal stories of resident elephants. We will accompany the staff to the market to load food on the trucks. After the scenic drive through Mae Taeng Valley, we arrive to be greeted by more than 100 friendly, rescued resident dogs, all eager to be pet. Some tourists actually adopt a dog to fly home. A big highlight is Bath Time when we follow the elephants with their mahouts to the river. After the briefing, get in the water and test your skills at bathing your elephant. Guides take photos from the shore, so you can focus on the task at hand. Later we unload and prepare fresh food and vegetables for Feeding Time, which everybody loves. After the elephants eat, it’s your turn. Enjoy a fantastic Thai cuisine lunch right on the viewing platform as the elephants roam free. The guides will teach you more about treatment, care and training their elephants. It’s a full day you will treasure forever. Bring a swimsuit, change of clothes and camera.
EPN is based on love. Read about the local veterinarian founder Sangduen Lek Chailert who has brought joy to the residents. She continues to rescue and provide emergency health care to elephants in remote villages.
Day 9: Chiang Mai – Free Day
Today there are many choices and I can book specific activities for you in advance. There is jungle zip lining, hot air ballooning, Temples and Monk chats, Trishaw rides around the city, Thai cooking classes, river rafting and much more. Chiang Mai is the arts and crafts capital of the country filled with art studios and affordable boutiques. Buy fine lacquered wares, paintings, silks and one-of-a-kind traditional handicrafts. Also, you can check out the Art in Paradise 3D art museum, the Bua Thong Waterfalls or Sticky Waterfalls, the only place where you can actually walk up the falls without slipping.
Day 10: Phuket
Fly to the resort island of Phuket, a mountainous rainforest island in the Andaman Sea. Spectacular scenery surrounds the region both inland and at sea with many of Thailand’s finest beaches. Check into the magnificent Katathani Phuket Beach Resort, your luxury getaway located on the beautiful beach of Kata Noi Bay. At nearly half a mile, it’s one of Phuket’s smaller beaches, but it has soft sand, crystal clear water and a lush green jungle backdrop. Our hotel offers many water sports, such as stand up paddle boards, snorkeling and kayaking. Take a dip in one of the resort’s six swimming pools, relax in one of the three jacuzzis, two bubbly water springs or have fun on the mini water slide. Try a massage, pedicure or manicure. In the late afternoon, we will take a shuttle to Old Phuket town to explore the culture and history. Thalang Road is lined with colorful 9th century shop houses and museums. Or, you can just choose to enjoy our luxurious Five star hotel. Tonight, there is the option to go to the Simon Cabaret, Ladyboy show. This is an evening of glamorous entertainment and one of the most popular shows in Phuket. This unique show is a visual spectacular that will have you wishing there was more to see.
Day 11: Phuket – The Ultimate Phi Phi Island Tour – 6:30 AM – 2:30 PM
Today our boat trip will be with Simba Sea Tours, a family-run company with the best private boat tours on the whole island of Phuket.
We concentrate our tour on the two main islands, famous for their natural beauty and spectacular underwater scenery. Phi Phi Don, the largest island, has been a mecca for divers and snorkelers for well over 30 years. We will visit all 6 islands that make up this location in the Andaman Sea. This is where the movie “The Beach” was filmed. Enjoy snorkeling, a lagoon swim, a Thai picnic lunch and a monkey beach experience. Prepare yourself for a fabulous, fun day.
Day 12: Phuket – Free Day
We offer a popular optional tour, if you’re interested:
Phang Nga Bay and Beyond Tours: Cost – $140.00 7-8 Hours
This company leaves earlier in the morning than anyone else to avoid the crazy crowds. Get ready to snap many pictures of the dramatic sea cliffs as we cruise past Koh Panak Island. We will continue to Hong Island for a thrilling sea canoe tour. Accompanied by our guide, paddle your way around the island’s unusual rock formations, limestone caves and hidden lagoons. You can also just relax on the boat and enjoy the scenery. Then it’s time to cruise around James Bond Island. Get your camera ready as we spot the famous Ko Tapu, the 66 foot rock that was featured in “The Man With The Golden Gun.” Then we will stop for a delicious lunch in the fishing village of Koh Panyi. Last stop will be Naka Noi Island to swim and sunbathe on the beach. You can also try any water sport offered such as jet skiing or a banana boat ride for an additional fee.
Day 13: Phuket – Free Day
**Enjoy a massage, pool or beach at our wonderful hotel
**Patong Beach and nightlife
**Hiking, ziplining and so much more…
Early evening, we will find some of the best sunset bars available in the town of Kata, where we can enjoy with a tasty dinner and refreshing drink. Then we can choose to go to Patong by the beach for nightlife you have not yet to experience anywhere else. Bangla Road has beer bars, Go Go’s, live music, market stalls, street performances and nightclubs. After sunset, all the roads are closed to cars.
Day 14: Departure
Our wonderful vacation has come to an end. You will be provided transportation to the airport to fly home this morning.
Thailand: The Land of Smiles
Price (Double Occupancy): $3650.00
Single Supplement: $1355.00
Balance Due: Nov. 8th
13 Nights Accommodations
1 Night Jungle Raft Hotel
Flight from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Flight from Chiang Mai to Bangkok
Flight from Chiang Mai to Phuket
Flight from Phuket to Bangkok
Phi Phi Island Full-Day Boat Tour with Lunch
Breakfast Daily, 2 Dinners, 3 Lunches
Guided Private Tours, Admissions and Activities
English-Speaking Tour Guide and Leader
Airport/Hotel Transfers on Tour Dates
All Taxes and Surcharges