Incredible Thailand

Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ayutthaya & Bangkok plus Phuket Island & Angkor Wat optional extensions

This itinerary is for a past tour program.
Check out our new Incredible Thailand tour package.


Itinerary at a Glance
Incredible Thailand
Day Destination
1 Depart USA
2 En route
3 Bangkok
4 Bangkok
5 Bangkok
6 Bangkok & Ayutthaya
7 Ayutthaya, Lopburi, Phitsanulok
& Sukhothai
8 Sukhothai
9 Sukhothai, Phayao
& Chiang Rai
10 Chiang Rai
11 Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle
& Chiang Mai
12 Chiang Mai
13 Chiang Mai
14 Bangkok/USA
Phuket Island Extension
14 Bangkok & Phuket
15 Phuket
16 Phuket
17 Phuket, Bangkok, USA
Angkor Wat Extension
14 Bangkok & Siem Reap
15 Angkor
16 Angkor
17 Siem Reap, Bangkok, USA

Give us 14 days and we'll give you Thailand, one of the top travel destinations in the world. We've created this tour for travelers who don't want to miss a thing, traveling by coach from Chiang Mai in the north all the way to Bangkok in the south, in order to see it all.

And you'll enjoy this comprehensive journey for less than the cost of a Las Vegas weekend, including airfare, great hotels, lots of guided touring and every bit of the mystique, adventure and beauty imaginable in one country. You'll encounter an ancient, fascinating culture, friendly, welcoming people, gorgeous, peaceful countryside and bustling, modern cities, and the most amazing shopping—unbelievable bargains included! Once you experience this magnificent destination for yourself, you'll understand why we call our tour "Incredible Thailand."

Detailed Itinerary

Incredible Thailand tour itinerary Day 1: Depart USA. Check in for your mid-afternoon flight to Thailand via Taipei.

Day 2: En route. Cross the International Dateline and lose a day. (You will recover this day on the return leg of your trip.)

Day 3: Bangkok. Arrive in Bangkok very early in the morning (shortly after midnight). After customs formalities, transfer to your centrally located hotel for guaranteed check-in. Take time to rest from the long journey.

Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok Optional Excursion: In the afternoon, there will be an optional tour to the Grand Palace & Emerald Buddha. The Royal Grand Palace is a "must-see" attraction, as well as Thailand's most important landmark. Your guide will take you on an in-depth journey through Thailand's history and royal heritage, where you'll be amazed at the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls. This is also where you'll be treated to a special visit to see the mysterious Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand.

Floating market, Ratchaburi  © Tourism Authority of Thailand Tonight, enjoy a Thai Set dinner at Supatra River House Restaurant. Located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, this beautiful two-story traditional Thai house is the former home of Khunying Supatra Singholaga, a leading advocate of women's rights in Thailand. Its contemporary decor blends perfectly with the traditional architecture, and the views of the River, Grand Palace, and Wat Arun are spectacular. Accommodations: Dusit Thani. Breakfast & dinner provided.

Day 4: Bangkok. This morning, take an optional tour to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, where merchants and villagers buy and sell fruits, vegetables and many other items from small boats.

Reclining Buddha, Wat Po In the afternoon, your 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.

Marble Temple, Bangkok 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.

Day 5: Bangkok.Your last full day in Bangkok is at leisure for sightseeing or shopping. Explore on your own, or join our morning optional tour.

Wat Arun and the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok Optional Excursion: This optional tour 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. See Wat Arun, the magnificent Temple of Dawn, with its 79-meter pagoda or "prang", built in the Khmer style. Overnight in Bangkok. Breakfast provided.

Bang Pa-In summer palace Day 6: Bangkok & Ayutthaya. Depart to Bang Pa In Summer Palace that was built by King Rama IV at a time of growing European influence in Thailand. Explore the majestic royal mansions and visit Wat Nivet Thammapavat, a gothic inspired temple beside the river.

Wat Chai Watthanaram, Ayutthaya Continue to the beautiful ancient city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. King U-Thong founded the city in 1350 as the capital of his kingdom of Siam. By 1700, Ayutthaya had as many as a million inhabitants, making it one of the largest cities in the world at the time. But in 1767, the city was invaded and destroyed by the Burmese army. Magnificent ruins of the old city still remain, and archaeological excavations continue. Visit the most important of the ruined temples: Wat Yai and Wat Chai Watanaram. Accommodations: Krungsi River Hotel or Kantary Hotel Ayyutthaya. Breakfast provided.

Buddha amongst the ruins, Wat Phra Mahathat, Ayutthaya Day 7: Ayutthaya, Lopburi, Phitsanulok & Sukhothai. Drive through the beautiful countryside past fields of rice paddies to Lopburi and Phra Prang Sam Yot, regarded as Lopburi's chief landmark. Like many sites in Lopburi, Phra Prang Sam Yot is overrun by monkeys, so hold on tight to your baseball caps, sunglasses and scarves. Depart to Phitsanulok, this town served as the Siamese capital for 25 years and was also the birthplace of King Naresuan. Today it is a busy, dynamic city and one of the larger of Thailand's provincial towns. This morning visit the Bronze Case Factory where a huge range of bronze Buddha images are cast using the 'lost wax method' which visitors can observe.

Continue to Sukhothai, which in 1238 became the first truly independent Thai kingdom, where the Thai culture, language and alphabet originated. Accommodations: Sukhothai Heritage Resort or similar. Breakfast provided.

Buddha statue, Sukhothai Day 8: Sukhothai. Depart to Sri Satchanalai, the northern outpost town of the kingdom of Sukhothai, built by King Ramkamhaeng. Visit Ko Noi THuring, consisting of some 500 kilns which were the center of Sukhothai's famous 14th and 15th century Sangkhalok pottery manufacturing. Visit the main sites of the Sukhothai Historical Park, covering the period known as the golden age of Thai history. The park contains almost 200 ruined chedis in remarkable condition. Return to your hotel in Sukhothai. Breakfast provided.

Day 9: Sukhothai, Phayao & Chiang Rai. Depart for Phayao, a rural lakeside province surrounded by beautiful mountains and valleys dotted with fascinating religious sites. En route visit Wat Rong Khun, also known as the "White" Temple. A lifetime project of artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, the temple has a fine blend of traditional Buddhist art with contemporary themes and is decorated with small pieces of mirrored glass which add substantially to its dramatic beauty. Accommodations: The River House Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.

Day 10: Chiang Rai. Today will be at leisure to explore the town of Chiang Rai on your own, or take an optional Elephant Adventure and Hilltribe tour.

Akha women in traditional dress, northern Thailand Optional Excursion: Start with a one hour Mai Kok boat trip via a long-tailed speed-boat to Karen Hilltribe village. From here, you'll saddle up for a 2 hour elephant trek through the hills and woods, to a Yao Hilltribe village. After enjoying a local lunch, you will visit an Akha Hilltribe Village. Continue your trek to a waterfall, where you will have an opportunity to swim and take a short rest. En route back to your hotel, you will visit a Chiang Rai Handicraft Center. Breakfast provided.

Day 11: Chiang Rai, Golden Triangle & Chiang Mai. After breakfast, continue to Chiang Saen, a small town on the bank of the Mekong River, on the border with Laos. A boat trip on the mighty Mekong takes you to the Golden Triangle, the place where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. Depart Chiang Rai and drive to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand, separated from the Burmese border town of Thakhilek by a small river also called Mae Sai. Take a stroll through the local market where you'll find jade and other Burmese jewelry and handicrafts.

Hills & rice paddies, Chiang Mai province Continue through mountains, valleys and the lush landscape of northern Thailand to Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city, often called "Rose of the North" for the abundance of flowers that thrive in its cooler mountain climate. In the evening join your fellow tour members at a local restaurant. After dinner each couple gets a khum Loy (fire balloon) or a kratong (floating candle) to launch for good luck. Accommodations: De Naga Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.

Buddha, Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai Day 12: Chiang Mai. This ancient city boasts many of Bangkok's amenities, including excellent food and accommodations but without the frenetic pace of modern city life. From its origins as a small northern town, it has become a city representative of modern Thai culture with a beautiful personality of its own represented, in part, by the many temples found here.

Golden Chedi, Wat Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai This morning you'll visit some of the most interesting temples found in town and then travel high into the mountains, to Wat Doi Suthep, one of the most revered temples in all Thailand. Continue to a handicraft village where silk, cotton, pottery and stoneware are among the many traditional folk arts practiced. The afternoon is at leisure to explore on your own or take advantage of interesting optional tours. Breakfast provided.

Elephant Camp Day 13: Chiang Mai. This morning you will visit an elephant camp for a first-hand look at the important role elephants have played in every aspect of Thai life, from ceremonial purposes to warfare, transportation and farming. See a fascinating demonstration of elephants at work and play, and then visit a beautiful orchid farm to see how these lovely and prized plants are expertly and artistically cultivated. This afternoon is at leisure to continue your explorations on your own. Or, treat yourself with an optional, Lanna-style spa treatment. Breakfast provided.

Bangkok sunset Day 14: Bangkok/USA. Bid farewell to Thailand as you transfer to the airport to board your return flight to the USA via Taipei. Or, take advantage of your already-included international airfare and join our optional extensions to Angkor Wat and Phuket Island! Breakfast provided.

Optional Tours Package

To take full advantage of your visit to Thailand, we offer the option to pre-book a discounted package of our most popular optional tours for $185/person. If you don't want to book the entire package, individual optional tours will be available once you arrive in Thailand for a little more.

Package includes:

  • Half day visit to the Grand Palace (Day 3)
  • Thonburi Klongs tour (Day 5)
  • Elephant Adventure & Hilltribes tour (Day 10)

These are not "seat in coach" tours that pick up passengers in various hotels. These optional tours are operated for Friendly Planet groups only. (A minimum of 4 passengers is required to operate.) The special package price of $185/person is only available when booked and paid prior to departure.

Phuket Island Optional Extension

Take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort.

Phuket Island  Photo by Willem Proos Day 14: Bangkok & Phuket. Today you'll fly to Phuket, where the balance of the day is at leisure. Your hotel is ideally located at Patong Beach, overlooking Kalim Bay. Accommodations: Novotel Resort. Breakfast provided.

Day 15 & 16: 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.

Crown of Thorns starfish, Phuket 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.

Maya Bay, Ko Phi Phi Ley, location of 'The Beach' 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.

Ko Tapu, 'James Bond Island', Phang Nha Bay Join an optional tour 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. Breakfast provided.

Beach resorts, Phuket 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.

Day 17: Phuket, Bangkok, USA. Enjoy a final day at leisure. Later today, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei, arriving in Los Angeles later today. Breakfast provided.

Angkor Wat Optional Extension

Take advantage of your already-included international airfare by joining our extension to Cambodia for a special opportunity to visit Angkor Wat, a massive complex of temples that ranks among the most fascinating religious sites in the world.

Aerial view over Angkor Wat complex Day 14: Bangkok & Siem Reap, Cambodia. Transfer to the airport to take a short flight to Siem Reap, gateway to the Angkor Archaeological Park. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the park contains the ruins of more than 1000 stone temples dating from the 9th to the 13th centuries. Accommodations: Borei Angkor Hotel. Breakfast provided.

Angkor Thom west gate Day 15: Angkor Explorations. Built by the Khmer civilization between 802 and 1220 AD, the temples at Angkor and the great city that surrounded them represent one of mankind's most astonishing and enduring architectural achievements. The structures you see today are the surviving remains of a grand religious, social and administrative metropolis whose other buildings—palaces, public buildings, and houses—were built of wood and are long since decayed and gone.

Angkor complex © Holger Behr Satellite photographs reveal Angkor to have been the largest preindustrial city in the world, with an urban sprawl of 3000 square kilometers (the closest rival is Tikal in Guatemala, at most 150 square kilometers) and supporting a population of up to one million people. Mysteriously abandoned in the 15th century, the Angkor site remained largely cloaked by the forest until the late 19th century, when archaeologists began to clear away the forest and embark on a long restoration process that continues today.

Bayon temple, Angkor Wat After breakfast, begin your explorations at the mysterious royal walled city of Angkor Thom. Its 54-tower temple is an awesome sight that most visitors never forget, with each of its surreal towers topped with four giant, barely smiling faces, staring out in the direction of the four points of the compass. The faces, which depict a Khmer royal ruler as a Buddhist deity, are identical, but the staggered height of the towers and the different viewpoint of each keeps the design from appearing repetitious. You are engulfed by the silent, heavy, enigmatic gaze of those faces, through half-closed eyes, staring out from a remote time in history.

Ta Prohm, Angkor After lunch at a local restaurant, explore the temples of the Small Circuit. The most famous is Ta Prohm temple, built in the mid 12th to early 13th centuries. Ta Prohm is unique in that it has been left largely as it was found: overgrown by jungle trees and vines, with many parts of the temple crumbling to the ground, giving it the most mysterious atmosphere of the temples in the Angkor area.

Angkor Wat temples Continue to the magnificent Angkor Wat Temple, built by Suryavarman II in the early 12th century. Inside the temple, the walls are covered with carvings and bas-reliefs depicting Hindu mythology and the history of the region. Breakfast & lunch provided.

Banteay Srei temples Day 16: Angkor Explorations. This morning's excursion takes you to three early-era temples of the Roluos Group: Preah Ko, Bakong, and Lolei, built by King Indravarman I and his successor in the 9th century.

After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the "Citadel of Women" of Banteay Srei and Bantay Samré, considered to be the birthplace of Khmer classical architecture. Breakfast & lunch provided.

Boys selling postcards at Angkor Day 17: Siem Reap, Bangkok, USA. Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei, arriving in Los Angeles. Or, continue on our optional Phuket Island Extension. Breakfast provided.

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