- Spend New Year’s Eve in Bangkok (December departure only)
- Visit the famous floating markets of Damnoen Saduak
- Bangkok sightseeing tour of the important cultural and historical sites
- Visit the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
- Stay overnight on a river raft (lodge)
- Visit to Sukhothai Historical Park including a bicycle ride to take in the ruins.
- Experience Chiang Mai’s lively night market
- Visit the Elephant Nature Park, Chiang Mai’s elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre
- Relax in Phuket for two nights, at a beautiful beach resort
- Enjoy an evening group farewell dinner in Phuket
- Small group touring, only for solo/single travellers
Pre Tour Stay
Consider arriving a day before the tour starting date, or enjoy a stopover. You can relax and refresh after your flight. The cost of the additional night/s of stay applies. Ask our travel team about this option, and the additional costs.
Arrive to Bangkok. You will be met at the airport by our representative and provided a transfer to our group hotel*. While enjoying your stay in Bangkok, you can indulge in some world-class shopping at the famous Siam Paragon shopping mall, savour the sights and smells of Bangkok’s street markets, or perhaps simply take advantage of the hotel’s swimming pool, gym and spa.
* Transfers provided on day 1 of tour for all flights, given you book your flights with us as part of your package.
After breakfast at the hotel, we head to Bangkok’s famous floating markets at Damnoen Saduak including a short longtail boat ride. Here, hundreds of longtail boat owners gather to sell a vast array of produce, from tropical fruits and vegetables, to steaming plates of ready-to-eat food prepared in mini kitchens on the boats themselves. Enjoy the rest of the day at your own leisure, perhaps purchasing some of the local food sold at the floating markets for lunch.
October departure only: In the evening we visit Asiatique The Riverfront, Bangkok’s first large-scale riverside community mall combining shopping, dining, sightseeing, activities and events under one roof. There will be time for shopping and we enjoy our group welcome dinner here.
December departure only: In the evening celebrate New Year’s Eve 2019 on the Chao Phraya River with Grand Pearl Cruises. Cruise down the river on New Year’s Eve, passing Thailand’s cultural heritage such as the Temple of Dawn, the Grand Palace and the Temple of Emerald Buddha and Rama VIII Bridge. Enjoy superb Thai and international buffet dinner with various special performances including Thai dances and live music band. Open wine to celebrate New Year “Farewell to the Old Year and Welcome the New Year” and view the graceful fireworks along the river before returning to the hotel.
Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner
Dine on a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel before meeting your tour guide and setting out for a day of sightseeing in Bangkok. Among other things, you’ll see the Grand Palace, the Emerald Buddha Temple and the klongs (canals) of Bangkok. The klongs are major arteries for a colourful, often-bewildering variety of huge barges, express passenger boats, cross-river ferries, and thundering “longtails”. We will then enter one of the smaller side canals to enjoy an intimate view of Thai riverine life.
Lunch is at your leisure before re-joining the group to take in some more of Bangkok’s fascinating sights.
Royal Grand Palace & Wat Pra Kaew
Wat Pra Kaew, home to the centuries-old, gold-clad figurine, “The Emerald Buddha” and the wonderfully impressive Royal Grand Palace, more stunning in real life than photography can convey. The Emerald Buddha is so sacred that only the Thai King may touch it.
We finish the day with a relaxed dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
SPECIAL NOTES (December departure)
Today is a holiday and many services will not operate as per regular hours, or will be closed.
Bangkok - Kanchanaburi
After breakfast we depart from the hotel in Bangkok and head up in to the scenic, riverside town of Kanchanaburi. Located in the west of Thailand, Kanchanaburi has a slightly cooler climate than Bangkok owing to its location on the edge of a mountain range. Famed for its stunning waterways, Kanchanaburi boasts countless waterfalls, caves and lakes. The largest and most renowned of these being the River Kwai, an increasingly popular tourist destination and the site of our unique ‘raft’ hotel for the evening.
During the day we will tour the fascinating historical sites that Kanchanaburi has to offer, including the Bridge on the River Kwai, the War Cemetery and Hellfire Pass. The remote “Hellfire Pass” the deepest cutting on the unfinished Death Railway line was built by Australian, British, Dutch and other allied prisoners during the Second World War. There is a cruel history to the conditions the prisoners of war endured at the hands of the Japanese. As you walk through the pass, it is hard to imagine the horrors that took place in this tranquil forest just a few decades ago. There are harrowing exhibits in the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, located on the site.
You have the remainder of the afternoon to explore Kanchanaburi, have lunch and relax in your jungle raft lodging. Dinner will be served atop the floating, open-air deck of the hotel restaurant where you can take in the uninterrupted, lush jungle surrounds as you dine.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Kanchanaburi - Ayutthaya
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel before we say farewell to Kanchanaburi and head to Ayutthaya, a world heritage site. You will visit the Royal Palace at Bang Pa-In, the summer palace for the King and Queen of Thailand. There will also be time to visit a local market in Ayutthaya.
Ayutthaya - Sukhothai
Have breakfast at the hotel before we visit the World Heritage listed ruins of Ayutthaya. Impressively jam-packed with ancient relics and ruins, Ayutthaya is a must-see for history buffs visiting Thailand. Founded in 1350 by King U Thong, there are countless temples and museums where visitors can get an insight into ancient Siam. Spend the afternoon travelling onto Sukhothai. This evening, you will travel by bicycle visiting the ruins of Sukhothai which are located in the highly regarded Sukhothai Historical Park. Within these protected grounds lie 193 ruins on 70 square kilometres of land.
Sukhothai - Chiang Mai
After breakfast, the next stop, Chiang Mai, is the largest city in Thailand, and although culturally significant, boasts an increasingly modern city. Founded in 1296, Chiang Mai is now the unofficial capital of northern Thailand. Many Thai festivals are held in Chiang Mai, such as Loi Krathong, Songkran and Chiang Mai Flower Festival, and celebrations so large and impressive that people living all over Thailand turn on their TVs to watch the spectacles unfold.
We arrive in Chiang Mai in the afternoon. For dinner you’re in for a real treat, as we will be dining at a traditional Khantoke restaurant. This northern-style dinner is followed by folk dances and a hill tribe show.
Meals: Breakfast, Highlight Dinner
Today we will visit Baan Tawai Handicraft Village, that boasts being the largest handicraft market in Thailand.
A wide range of handicrafts and artisanal creations are offered here. They are not only teak carpentry but also bamboo and rattan furniture as well as ceramics, silk, hemp, silver, cotton, plastic and glass. They are made from rough country style to meticulously crafted objets d’art, and from antiques to modern designer products.
Enjoy lunch and explore the town for the afternoon and evening at your own leisure. Perhaps check out the historical sites, shopping and Thai massage parlours that Chiang Mai has to offer.
Enjoy a full day visit to Elephant Nature Park; a natural home and sanctuary for elephants, buffalos, dogs, cats, birds and many other rescued animals.
Your visit starts with a picturesque drive through rural countryside to Elephant Nature Park. You will hear the personal stories of rescued and orphaned elephants. See how they became a proud herd and free from abuse for the first time in their lives.
Many find their visit to Elephant Nature Park rewarding and very relaxing. Observe free roaming elephants (no riding), and other rescued animals enjoying the natural surroundings of our sanctuary.
Your visit helps support regional projects and offers an invaluable opportunity of helping elephant conservation.
After an action-packed day at the Elephant Nature Park, we take you back to the hotel to enjoy your evening at leisure.
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Chiang Mai - Phuket
Have breakfast at the hotel before transferring to the airport for your flight to Phuket. Fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket for two nights at a beautiful resort to relax and enjoy some beach time, and get to know Phuket.
Tonight enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
Take advantage of the hotel’s buffet breakfast. before we begin the day by exploring Phuket.
Visit Phuket town and see the Sino-Portuguese architecture. Visit Khao Rang, a small hill near Phuket town, to see a beautiful panoramic view of the town and nearly the whole island. Visit an old Buddhist temple, Wat Chalong, where images of the two most venerated monks are enshrined. See Patong Beach, Kata Beach and Karon Beach. Enjoy a visit to Phomthep cape which is well known for its most beautiful panoramic views.
Afternoon at leisure.
Have breakfast at the hotel and then enjoy your final hours in Thailand before transferring to Phuket airport to catch your departing flight home.*
This is the end of the tour so for now we say goodbye, but we hope to see you again on another Encounter in the future!
* Transfers provided for all flights on the final day of the tour, given you book your flights with us as part of your package.
This tour is operated by Encounter Travel. Book with Encounter Travel for your Return Traveller Reward (conditions apply) or earn your status as a Return Traveller for future savings.
Itineraries may be subject to change, due to circumstances outside of our control. If there is any itinerary change prior to departure of significance we aim to inform you prior to travel. Itinerary changes while on tour will be informed by your tour leader/guide while on tour.