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|Itinerary at a Glance
Dazzling Dubai & Bangkok
|3||Dubai City Tour|
|5||Dubai & Bangkok|
|8||Bangkok & Phuket|
|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW), Houston (IAH), Seattle-Tacoma (SEA) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Abra Water taxi ride, Dubai Museum, Burj Khalifa; Wat Trimitr (Golden Buddha) and Wat Po (Reclining Buddha)|
|What to Expect||This leisurely-paced, locally hosted tour requires minimal walking and is suitable for most levels of physical fitness.|
|As Seen in|
Prepare to be dazzled twice on this innovative vacation to Dubai and Bangkok. In Dubai, you’ll tour the world’s tallest building, a man-made island archipelago created for luxury living and vacationing, an indoor ski resort complete with ski lift, plenty of fine dining, and an ancient culture that has leapt from desert tent to skyscraper condo in less than 50 years. But your vacation in Dubai is only one-half of this exotic tour package.
In Bangkok, Thailand you’ll tour Asia’s most popular city, with 24-hour a day bustle, incredible shopping, phenomenal cuisine, sky trains, and amazing nightlife, all amid an ancient, fascinating culture, exotic architecture, temples, canals, markets, ruins and among the most friendly people on earth. Friendly Planet has been arranging Bangkok tour packages for nearly 30 years, and our guided tours will make sure you get the most out of your vacation package. The icing on the cake of this amazing vacation is that you’ll fly from the USA on Emirates, one of the world’s 5 best airlines.
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Day 2: Dubai. Arrive this evening. Our representatives will assist you through visa and customs formalities and escort you to your waiting coach for the short transfer to your award-winning, centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Hyatt Regency Dubai.
Day 3: Dubai City Tour. After breakfast, your tour manager will conduct a short orientation meeting at your hotel to review the activities available during the next few days. You will have an opportunity to arrange optional excursions if you wish, or spend your time in Dubai wandering on your own. After the meeting, it's time to board your touring coach and begin your tour of the city. The first stop is Dubai's picturesque Creek, which divides the city into two parts, the Deira on the northern side and Bur Dubai to the south. This is your first photo opportunity and one that gives you a magnificent panorama of the city and its amazing futuristic skyline.
Next stop is the Bastakiya district, where traditional courtyard houses, with characteristic wind towers that cleverly catch the breezes to cool the houses, line the narrow alleys. Many of the houses in this picturesque area of Dubai, previously home to the city's merchants have been lovingly restored by proud locals who wish to preserve the unique ambience of the district.
Continue to the Dubai Museum, housed in the massive, restored Al Fahidi Fort. Inside, lifelike dioramas offer a fascinating view of life in Dubai before the discovery of oil. You'll learn the importance of the date palm to the desert culture, the maritime traditions of fishing and pearl-diving, boat building and much more. Take a walk through the bustling, exotic souks, where you'll find beautiful and bargain-priced textiles, spices and gold.
Later, visit the Burj Khalifa (formerly known as Burj Dubai) “At the Top” observation deck, which officially opened in 2010 as the tallest building in the world. This miracle of international cooperation and coordination houses a luxury Armani hotel, offices of some of the world’s most succesful companies, and for a lucky few, residences that are as high as the clouds.
Another highlight of your city tour is a chance to take one of Dubai's most reliable and inexpensive forms of transportation, the Abra Water taxi. Your touring coach will be waiting as you disembark from your water taxi to take you back to your deluxe hotel. Lunch is on your own, either at your hotel or in one of the many restaurants around town. Your hotel is centrally located so that you can explore the city's sights. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: This evening, we recommend an optional dinner cruise by dhow boat on the Dubai Creek. A magnificent view of both sides of Dubai Creek illuminated by night adds to the charm of this wonderful way to experience Dubai ($90).
Day 4: Dubai. Enjoy a full day at leisure in Dubai. Take time to visit the Mall of the Emirates, where you'll have a chance to don ski jacket, boots, gloves and hat and take to the indoor ski slopes. The temperature here is a cool, 32° while outside, it might be 100! Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Today's optional excursion features a tour of Modern Dubai, a bonanza of visual extravagance that shows the face of modern Dubai—the city of innovation. Allow your camera to capture the opulence of Burj Al Arab, the tallest hotel built on land reclaimed from the sea, and the world’s most expensive hotel, with a fleet of 25 white Rolls Royce limousines parked in the courtyard to chauffeur guests wherever they need to go. Drive past the unique Palm Island and zip through the trendy Dubai Marina, Internet City and Media City. Conclude your tour with a visit to Emirates Hills, a picturesque venue of posh villas and lush greenery, and the renowned Gold and Diamond Park ($50 per person).
Optional Excursion: If you are in the mood for adventure, set out on an optional desert safari tour, where you'll discover the vastness and stark beauty of the sand dunes that surround Dubai. You'll also enjoy a BBQ dinner and live belly-dancing entertainment on this exciting optional tour ($90 per person).
Day 5: Dubai & Bangkok. Early this morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok. After completing immigration and customs formalities, transfer to your deluxe, centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Dusit Thani. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: 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).
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 Kongs (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. (The Royal Barge Museum is closed through Nov 2012, and will be replaced with a visit to Ananta Samakhorn Throne Hall.) See Wat Arun, the magnificent Temple of Dawn, with its 79 meter pagoda or "prang", built in the Khmer style. ($66 per person).
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)
Day 8: Bangkok/USA. Take advantage of some last minute shopping and sightseeing by visiting one of Bangkok’s colorful markets like the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, where merchants and villagers buy and sell fruits, vegetables and many other items from small boats. This evening, bid farewell to Bangkok, as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Dubai. Or, take advantage of your already-included international airfare and join our optional extension to Phuket Island! Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Arrive USA. Your amazing adventures come to an end as you arrive in the USA this morning.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort. You will return home 3 days later than the return dates listed.
Day 8 Bangkok & Phuket. Today you'll fly to Phuket, where the balance of the day is at leisure. Accommodations: Cape Panwa Hotel & Spa or similar. Breakfast provided.
Day 9 & 10: Phuket. Two full days at leisure to relax, shop or tour this scenic island, Thailand's largest. Phuket and the 39 smaller islands to the southeast are studded with tropical forests, mountains, gravity-defying limestone formations, and pristine beaches, surrounded by coral reefs and the aquamarine water of the balmy Andaman Sea.
With warm, humid weather year-round, you'll enjoy plenty of sun-drenched days lounging on the beach and all manner of water sports, including jet-skiing, parasailing, surfing, scuba and snorkeling. Most of the dive locations are suitable for all skill levels, and the waters abound with colorful coral forests, tropical fish and other marine life, including leopard sharks, moray eels, octopus and turtles. Phuket is also the sailing and yachting center of Thailand and adjacent countries, with several races and regattas happening throughout the year. And in the unlikely event that you can pull yourself away from the beach, you'll find opportunities to ride horses or elephants, hike, mountain bike, and even golf. Afterwards, unwind at one of the many spas or one of the excellent acrobatic, theatrical or cultural shows.
Join an optional excursion (available for purchase locally) to the breathtaking Phi Phi islands, filming location of The Beach. Take a trip by boat and bus to Phang Nha Bay and to the famous limestone spire known as "James Bond Island" for its role in The Man with the Golden Gun. Phuket is a melting pot of Buddhists, Thai-Chinese, Muslims and even sea gypsies, whom you'll find warm and welcoming. The west coast of Phuket was hit severely by the Indian Ocean tsunami of December 2004, but the resilient people have quickly rebuilt, and almost no evidence of the damage now remains. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Phuket/USA. Enjoy a final day at leisure. Later today, transfer to the airport for your overnight return flight to USA. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Arrive USA. Your amazing adventures come to an end as you arrive in the USA this morning.
$179/person if pre-booked
To take full advantage of your visit to Dubai, we offer a discounted package of the most popular optional excursions featured on our tour. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers in various hotels. All the optional excursions are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. (A minimum of 4 passengers is required for optional excursions to operate).
Optional Excursions Package includes:
The special package price of $179 per person is available when booked and prepaid prior to departure. We cannot accept bookings for the pre-paid optional excursions package within 75 days from departure or after final payment has been received. If you don't want to book the entire package, individual optional excursions will be available once you arrive in Dubai. (When booked individually in Dubai, these excursions cost $230).
$169/person if pre-booked
To take full advantage of your visit to Bangkok, we offer a discounted package of the most popular optional excursions featured on our tour. These are not "seat in coach" excursions that pick up passengers in various hotels. All the optional excursions are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. (A minimum of 4 passengers is required for optional excursions to operate).
Optional Excursions Package includes:
The special package price of $169 per person is available when booked and prepaid prior to departure. We cannot accept bookings for the pre-paid optional excursions package within 75 days from departure or after final payment has been received. If you don't want to book the entire package, individual optional excursions will be available once you arrive in Bangkok. (When booked individually in Bangkok, these excursions cost $192).
The Friendly Planet staff was responsive to questions and concerns. Everything promised occurred as it was promised and there were some nice bonuses added by our local tour guides. We are flat out impressed at the quality of this trip given the very reasonable price. Our guide for Borneo was great. Our guide for Bangkok was thorough and took good care of us. Batang Ai was the real highlight of the whole trip. The hotel and the visit to the Iban longhouse village were great experiences. The hotel in Kuala Lumpur was the top of the trip. Our tour guide was excellent and added an additional half day tour to our itinerary (for a fee) as well as a Malaysian dinner and show (no additional charge).