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|Itinerary at a Glance
Bustling Bangkok & Beijing
|2||Arrive Bangkok, Thailand|
|3||Bangkok Temple Tour|
|6||Bangkok to Beijing, China|
|8||Great Wall of China|
No tour escort; explore at your own pace
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), San Francisco (SFO), Houston (IAH); other gateways on request (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Wat Trimitr Golden Buddha, Wat Po Reclining Buddha, Great Wall of Badaling|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This leisurely-paced, independent tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness. This tour does not include a tour guide or escort.|
This amazing deal is your chance to visit a unique combination of Asia’s most bustling destinations: Bangkok, Thailand & Beijing, China. First, you’ll explore Bangkok and its fascinating culture, exotic architecture, temples, canals and colorful markets. Then, you’ll travel from Bangkok to Beijing, China's capital city and host of the 2008 Summer Olympics. You’ll tour the Great Wall of China and experience the best this beautiful city has to offer. Of course, all of this is yours at prices that are absolutely amazing!
I was a little unsure about booking a vacation with a bunch of strangers worried that I might be stuck with a group of people with whom I had no common interests or who wouldn't be interesting...wow was I ever wrong. The people I was with were all like old friends and we had a fantastic time in our travels through Thailand. Many of the people I was with will surely be lifelong friends. Friendly Planet did a great job of designing the trip and our guide Lhing did an incredible job of making sure we all got to see the things we wanted to see. I can’t say enough good things about the trip and I will definitely be booking more trips with Friendly Planet hopefully with some of the people from this trip.
Paul Macy, Rochester, WA
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Check approximate costs to depart from other U.S. cities.
Passengers departing Houston (IAH): Your flight departs IAH shortly after midnight on the morning of day 1. You must check-in no later than 9:00 PM of the night before!
Day 2: Bangkok, Thailand. Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand this evening. After customs formalities, transfer to your riverside hotel for check-in. En route, you'll have your first glimpse of the 24-hour a day bustle, that makes Bangkok one of the world’s most exciting cities. Accommodations: Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside.
Day 3: Bangkok. This morning, your included city tour takes you to Bangkok center. Temples, along with the monarchy, are the fabric that binds together the national identity that is Thailand, and some of the most interesting of Thai temples are found in Bangkok. Begin at Wat Trimitr where you will view the 700-year-old Golden Buddha, the largest in the world weighing approximately 5 tons. At Wat Po, founded in the 17th century and the oldest temple in Bangkok, you'll view the amazing Reclining Buddha, whose face depicts the attainment of Nirvana and whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. You'll also visit Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the "Marble Temple" and one of Bangkok's most important tourist attractions. Built of white Italian marble, it is a wonderful example of Thai temple architecture. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: In the afternoon, you can choose an optional excursion to The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. For 150 years, the Grand Palace, served as the home of the King and his court as well as the entire administrative seat of government. Within its grounds, you'll also visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew), a structure built to house a large Buddha image carved from a solid piece of green jadeite. ($64 per person). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 4: Bangkok. Today is at leisure in Bangkok. Explore on your own, or join the optional excursions. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: This morning’s optional excursion will take you to the Thonburi Klongs (canals), the Royal Barge Museum, and Wat Arun. Experience an exhilarating boat ride along the busting Chao Phraya River and the quiet Klongs (canals) in a long-tailed boat. This is where you'll see the traditional way of life, far removed from Bangkok's modern skyscrapers. Visit the Royal Barge Museum to see the beautiful barges used by the King on state occasions. See Wat Arun, the magnificent Temple of Dawn, with its 79 meter pagoda or "prang", built in the Khmer style. ($66 per person) This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: Tonight's optional excursion offers you buffet dinner and a visual extravaganza at the Ratchada Grand Theatre, one of the biggest stages in the world. Travel back in time through the Kingdom of Siam and experience Thai history and culture during this spectacular show. ($62 per person, includes dinner) This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 5: Bangkok. Enjoy you final day in Bangkok at leisure. Take advantage of some last minute shopping and sightseeing by joining a unique optional excursion to the Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Breakfast provided.
Feb 19, Mar 5, Mar 12, & Mar 19 departures: Due to an airline schedule change, passengers will depart Bangkok in the evening of Day 5 and will arrive in Beijing, China just after midnight. Please refer to the flight schedule for details.
Optional Excursion: At just an hour’s drive south of Bangkok, get a glimpse of the Thai countryside. Start the day with a stop at a local train station to experience a short train ride bound for an amazing country market that has sprouted up along the tracks, the Maeklong Railway Market. The true marvel here is watching as vendors skillfully move their stalls out of the way of trains passing right through the market. Next, visit Damnoen Saduak Floating Market and take a long-tail boat ride through the canals and see how Thai people live alongside the labyrinth of canals in this area. Arrive at the famous market where you can stroll around the colorful floating stalls bustling with boats and vendors selling tropical fruits and other delights. ($85 per person). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 6: Bangkok to Beijing, China. Today, transfer to the airport for your flight to exciting Beijing, the historical and cultural capital city of China. Transfer from the airport to your centrally located hotel for check-in. Accommodations: New Otani Chang Fu Gong. Breakfast provided (For early morning departures, a contintental breakfast box will be provided).
Day 7: Beijing. Enjoy a full day at leisure to explore on your own. Your hotel is centrally located in the heart of Beijing, close to major attractions, restaurants and shopping. Alternatively, take advantage of an optional excursion to the Summer Palace, Panda Zoo and Forbidden City. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Enjoy some time at the Summer Palace, the quintessential Chinese garden, a UNESCO World Heritage site ranked among the most noted classical gardens of the world. Continue your optional tour to the Panda Zoo, dedicated to the preservation of this endangered (and adorable) species of bear, of which only about 2000 remain in the wild. Next, continue to the Forbidden City, located at the exact center of the ancient city of Beijing where it served as the imperial palace during the mid-Ming and Qing Dynasties. Known as the Palace Museum today, its extensive grounds cover 720,000 square meters, 800 buildings and more than 8,000 rooms. The Forbidden City is listed by UNESCO as the largest collection of preserved ancient wooden structures in the world and was declared a World Heritage site in 1987. ($62 per person, includes lunch). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 8: Great Wall of China. Depart after breakfast on a full day included excursion to the only man-made structure visible from the moon, the Great Wall of China. En route, enjoy a visit to a jade factory with a presentation and some time for shopping. The Great Wall follows a ridge of barren hills and stretches at least 13,000 miles. Construction of the Great Wall, which spanned more than two thousand years, began between the 7th and 6th century BC and continued through the Ming Dynasty. The wall was originally built of stone, wood, grass and earth, but during the Ming Dynasty, bricks were produced in kilns set up along the wall. The bricks were transported by men carrying them on their backs or by donkeys, mules and even goats, which had bricks tied to their heads before being driven up a mountain. Tonight, take advantage of an optional dinner and Kung Fu Show. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Optional Excursion: Tonight, enjoy an optional Peking Duck dinner followed by the Legend of Kung Fu show, a special Shaolin Kung Fu stage performance that blends music, martial arts, and a moving story. ($53 per person, includes dinner). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 9: Beijing. Enjoy your final day in Beijing at leisure, or conclude your stay with an optional excursion Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: For those who want to explore the way the Chinese live and have lived for centuries, a jaunt down the intricate maze of Beijing's Hutongs is essential. These ancient, labyrinthine alleys or lanes are still an important feature in the urban landscape of Beijing, where houses along Hutongs still occupy one third of the total area, providing housing for half the population and providing yet another example of Beijing as an ancient yet modern city. Continue to the Temple of Heaven, the most holy of Beijing's Imperial temples, is the place where Chinese Emperors came to worship heaven and to pray for a good harvest, since a bad harvest could be interpreted as the Emperor's fall from heavenly favor and threaten the stability of his reign. The 6-meter-high walls surrounding the temple take a square shape to the south and a semi-circular one to the north. The main buildings in the temple are circularly shaped. This pattern represents an ancient belief that heaven was round while earth square, and this pattern is quite architecturally unique. The whole complex, gorgeously painted and set off by thousands of pine and cypress trees, expressing a harmonious atmosphere as if heaven and earth are integrated into one. You will also pay a visit to the famous DIY shopping place of the Pearl Market. ($65 per person, includes lunch). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: After a long day exploring Beijing, relax tonight with a traditional Chinese foot massage. Let a massage therapist soak and kneed your worries away. Conclude the evening with a set menu dinner. ($45 per person, dinner included). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 10: Beijing/USA. Today, bid farewell to Beijing as you transfer to airport, to board your non-stop return flight home. Your amazing Asian adventure to Bangkok and Beijing ends on arrival in the USA later today. Breakfast provided.
Passengers returning to Houston (IAH): On Day 10 you will overnight at the New Otani Chang Fu Gong. You will return to the U.S. on Day 11, one day later than return dates shown on the Dates & Prices tab.
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