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Please note that this tour has been extended by one more day in 2014 to allow for extra time in Chiang Mai. Please see trip code ATDT.
Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are free to relax, explore the city & adjust to the frenetic pace and humid heat of Bangkok.
Please arrive at our start point hotel before 6pm for an important group meeting where you will meet you Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board for the time and location of your group meeting.
At this meeting you CEO will ask to sight your travel insurance and complete some other paper work. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members.
We spend this evening in Bangkok. Our hotel is located in China Town, next to the central train station and MRT (Subway), and is only a short USD2 taxi ride from Khao San road and the central shopping area of Siam Square, MBK, Siam Paragon, etc. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. The hotel has a small pool and wifi is available at extra cost.
On Day 2 we head off on a long tail boat to explore the canals of Bangkok en route to Wat Po, home of the giant reclining Buddha. After lunch we depart by public bus to the town of Sukhothai.
Located about 450km from Bangkok, the ruins of Sukhothai date back to the mid-13th century, when the site became the capital of Thailand’s first kingdom. Sukhothai is viewed as representative of 'the Golden Age' of Thai civilization. The religious art and architecture of the era are considered to be the most classic of Thai styles. The ruins contain the remains of 21 historical sites with awe-inspiring Buddha images and 4 large ponds often filled with stunning lotus flowers in full bloom.
On day 3 we head out on bikes to explore the remains of this ancient royal realm, now one of Thailand's Cultural World Heritage sites.
Our hotel is located approximately 3 km from Sukhothai Historical Park and has comfortable twin share rooms with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. The hotel has a pool and free wifi in the lobby area.
Approx Travel Time:
Public bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai: 5 hours
We take a public bus drive to Lampang. Located approximately 100kms from Chiang Mai, Lampang was an important trade town during the Dvaravati period (around the 7th century), and was supposedly founded by the son of Queen Chama Devi of the Hariphunchai Empire (she was the first ruler of the state which was one of the important ancient towns of the Khmers). The state was eventually absorbed into the Lanna kingdom in the 13th century when King Miengrai (the founder of Chiang Rai) defeated the Khmers.
The city of Lampang was an important trade centre for teak wood both domestically and internationally. During that time (1900’s), Britain still controlled Burma (who possessed great knowledge about teak), sent a large company over to Lampang to ply their trade resulting in the construction of several temples. Lampang was made the temporary capital of the Lanna kingdom between 1776 and 1791 when Chiang Mai was deserted as a result of successive wars with the Burmese. Arriving around mid day you have a free afternoon to explore Lampang.
Our hotel in Lampang is situated in the city center and has comfortable twin share rooms with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. Wifi and computers are available for use at an extra cost.
Approx travel time:
Public bus from Sukhothai to Lampang: 4 hours
As we drive to Chiang Rai Province we stop at the Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre where we tour the facilities of the elephant hospital and see how sick elephants are cared for. All the money raised by this centre goes towards the care of the elephants. We have the opportunity to take a ride on the back of these majestic animals, an experience which many find to be a highlight of their visit to this enchanting country.
We then head onwards to Chiang Saen in the area known as the Golden Triangle, our home for 2 nights. This is an ideal base from which to explore the remote area where Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. Mountains form a natural border between Thailand and Myanmar, while the mighty Mekong River divides Thailand from Laos.
This region has long been associated with the opium trade, although poppy fields have now given way to vegetable plots.
A visit to the border town of Mae Sai on day 6 gives you the opportunity to see some local Burmese traders and pick up a few souvenirs. Pay a visit to the Opium Museum to understand the history of the region.
Our hotel is located in Chiang Saen just a short distance from the Golden Triangle and 45 minutes away from Chiang Rai city. Chiang Saen is a quiet town with limited amenities. The hotel has comfortable twin share rooms with air conditioning and en suite bathrooms. There is free wifi in the hotel lobby.
Approximate travel time:
Private bus Lampang to Chiang Rai: 4 hours driving time.
Using a private bus, we head to Chiang Mai. Surrounded by rolling hills, Chiang Mai offers both pretty surroundings and architecture. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafes, shops and accommodations. An important Buddhist centre since the 14th century, Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 temples. Many visitors come here to attend meditation retreats, massage classes or yoga lessons. It is also a centre of handicraft production, with a long history of silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving. Not to be missed is the Night Bazaar, a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand.
We arrive mid morning of day 7, and have free time to explore for the rest of the day. In the late afternoon we set off to visit the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep about a 45 minute drive from the center of the city. Doi Suthep is one of northern Thailand's most sacred temples. Our local guide explains the history of the temple to us. A naga (mystical serpent) staircase of over 300 steps leads to the temple at the top of the mountain from which there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside.
Day 8 gives you free time to catch up on shopping or maybe a cooking class before catching the overnight train back to Bangkok.
Day 7 accommodation in Chiang Mai is located just outside of the Chiang Mai Gate of the old city of Chiang Mai and withing walking distance of the famous night markets. The hotel has comfortable twin / double rooms with en suite bathrooms.
Day 8 accommodation is an overnight sleeper train. Beds are dormitory style, with bunks on two layers along the side of the train carriage. There are curtains along each bunk for privacy. Your luggage will be accessible during the journey. The train has air-conditioning and clean bedding is provided for each bunk. There are both western style and Asian style toilets at the end of each carriage. Food and drinks are served on the train but you can always bring your own food from the shops and restaurants in the train station.
Please note: Due to disruptions of Thai trains in the north during the monsoon season, trips running July through October may be upgraded to a flight and extra hotel night in Chiang Mai instead of the overnight train.
Approximate travel time:
Private transport from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai: 4 hours
Train ride from Chiang Mai to Bangkok: 12-13 hours
Private transport to train station: 20 min
Arrive back into Bangkok at roughly 8am where you have a free day to continue to explore the capital city.
We spend this evening in Bangkok at the same hotel as Day 1 of the trip.
After a short morning flight from Bangkok to Krabi we are transferred to the homestay on Koh Klang where you can learn about southern Thail culture.
Our homestay is on Koh Klang, situated at the mouth of Krabi River flowing into the Andaman Sea. It is the closest island to Krabi town. The island is connected only by longtail boats from two piers (Chao Fa pier and Tara pier). It takes about 10 minutes to cross. On the way to the Pier, we'll stop at Department of Fisheries to learn about fish in Andaman Sea, Mangrove forest, and the local ecosystem of Krabi.
Enjoy an included visit to the best OTOP (Government’s project: One Tambon One Product. Thailand consists of sub districts known as "tambons". In order to help build local communities, each Thai tambon has uniquely made and marketed products that are promoted and sold all over the world.)
Estimate Travel Time : Flight 1.20 hr From Krabi Airport to Homestay 30 – 40 mins.
After breakfast, the we'll take a private boat to Jao Fah pier and drive to Ao Nang Beach. A minivan will take us about 40 mins from the pier to the hotel.
Ao Nang, Krabi is paradise for anyone desiring relaxation. White sand beaches with swaying coconut palms surrounded by incredible cliffs are the standard view here. Anyone looking to stay busy will find a variety of activities here, as well.
From Ao Nang there are several excursions by boat available, as well as, kayaking, snorkelling and diving. The small village of Ao Nang still retains its tranquil pace of life, despite the fact that you now can find shops, bars and intimate restaurants. You will find boats and ferries with daily departures to Phuket, Koh Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta.
Today, head to Koh Phai, or Bamboo Island, by private longtail boat. With lovely beaches on the north and east sides, and coral gardens spreading to the south, this island won't leave you disappointed. Koh Phai is situated in the Andaman Sea and is part of Hat Noppharat Thara –Phi Phi National Park archipelago. The northern and eastern shores offer outstanding beaches and a long stretch of coral reef to the south of the island.
Here, we'll get closer to nature with two nights of camping. We provide luggage storage on Railay Beach for any large bags or suitcases. Please be prepared to pack a daypack with the items you'll need while camping.
During your time here, enjoy an include island hopping snorkelling tour. The tour will visit the following locations:
Koh Mor & Koh Tub: Mor Island is a rocky beach with very clean water, about 70m away from Tub Island. During low tide, a sand bar will appear linking three islands together.
Koh Kai (Chicken Island): This small island is situated just south of Poda and Tup Island about 30 minutes by longtail boat from the west coast of Krabi. Koh Kai is well known as Chicken Island because of a large rock formation that looks like the head and neck of a chicken. Snorkelling around this island is fantastic with spectacular coral reefs and surrounded with tropical fish.
Phra Nang Cave: Located on Railay Peninsula. The legend and mystery of Phra Nang goes back many centuries and the belief in the Princess Goddess still remains strong amongst local people. This cave is a sacred place.
Koh Poda: Located in west of Ao Nang. A wonderful beach on the north side of Koh Poda is gorgeous with white fine sand and crystal-clear water.
Head to the famous Railay Beach and spend one night in a cozy guesthouse. Railay is isolated from the mainland on a peninsula, surrounded by the warm Andaman Sea, lush jungle, and twisted rock. It contains enough activities for the most adventurous while allowing sunseekers to relax on the beaches as well.
Options abound here. Choose to go sea kayaking, scuba diving, rock climbing, snorkelling, jungle trekking, cooking, elephant trekking, whitewater rafting or quad biking.
Free morning on Day 16 before a transfer to the station and an overnight train to Bangkok.
Approx travel time:
Transfer to train station: 3 hours
Train to Bangkok: 13-14 hours
Our train will arrive in Bangkok early in the morning. Your tour ends at the train station, where your CEO can help you arrange onward transport. To explore more of the sights around Bangkok, book some post trip accommodation and take in some of the temples, life on the river or even head North on a trekking trip with us. Thailand is extremely diverse and there is always more to see! If you are leaving Bangkok today we recommend that you do not book onward travel until after 3pm, in case of train delays.
We look forward to receiving your evaluation regarding this tour itinerary and your CEO's performance. We value your input into what we could improve to make this trip even better and of course love hearing about what we are already doing well! You will be sent a post tour email on your return with details on how to go on line and fill in this simple form. Thank you so much in advance.