This itinerary is for a past tour program.
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Day 2: En route. Cross the International Dateline and lose a day en route. (You'll recover this day on your return trip.)
Day 3: Bangkok, Thailand. 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.
This afternoon, depart for Pak Klong Talaat, Bangkok’s Flower Market, where you will experience the hustle and bustle of the busy working market and see many of Thailand’s exotic flowers including many species of orchids. Afterwards, enjoy an exciting canal boat ride that gives you a close up look of traditional Thai life as you explore some of Bangkok's waterways. The network of canals (klongs) branching out from the main Chao Phraya River, still follows an old lifestyle that leaves the modern face of Bangkok behind. Continue to Wat Arun, the magnificent temple of Dawn, with its 79-meter pagoda or "prang", built in Khmer style. Before returning to your hotel, disembark at the River City Shopping Complex to browse for some of the best treasures in Bangkok!
Tonight, enjoy a traditional 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 downright spectacular. Accommodations: Dusit Thani. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Optional Excursion: Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha tour. 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 (jasper). This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: Tonight's optional excursion offers you 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. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 5: Bangkok. Today is another day at leisure for independent exploration or join an optional tour. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Depart early (7:00am), driving South of Bangkok to the Damneon Saduak floating market, popular with locals and tourists alike. Take a short paddle boat ride through the canals to see the old part of the market and the maze of canals. Along the way, visit a local temple and see the 400 year old banyan tree and replicas of traditional Thai boxing. Continue to Rama II Park and visit a museum made of up of typical Thai houses that have been converted to house a collection of musical instruments, beautiful masks and various household items used by the King. Return to Bangkok approximately at noon. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Optional Excursion: This afternoon, choose an optional Temples tour, visiting two additional important temples or "wats" in the city. The first stop is Wat Trimitr, where you'll view the 700-year-old Golden Buddha, the largest in the world, weighing approximately 5 tons. (Occasional maintenance work is conducted at Wat Trimitr, in which case passengers will visit Wat Saket instead.) Conclude your temple tour at Wat Benchamabophit, also known as the Marble Temple because of its abundance of white Italian marble. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 6: Bangkok & Hua Hin. After breakfast this morning, drive south (approximately 3 hours) from Bangkok to Hua Hin, one of Thailand’s most popular resorts, that is located on the shores of the Gulf of Thailand. It was here in the 1920s, that King Rama VII built a summer palace which became a favorite retreat for the Royal Family to this day. The area boasts beautiful beaches, fishing, national parks and waterfalls. Accommodations: Dusit Thani Hua Hin. Breakfast provided.
Optional Excursion: Today, take a fascinating tour to the Kaeng Krachan National Park, near the Burmese border, about 60 kms. west of Hua Hin. En route, drive through the mountains and pineapple plantations. See the Pa-La-U Waterfall, with its 16 steps is one of the biggest waterfalls in Thailand. The surrounding forest is over 1000 years old, where rare wild animals may be found. Continue up to the third level, see the pool with wild carp fish. Wild monkeys and birds can be heard and sometime spotted in the jungle surroundings. After lunch in a local restaurant, continue to an elephant camp for an experience of a lifetime: riding an elephant. Return to Hua Hin. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally.
Day 8 & 9: Hua Hin. Enjoy the beautiful surroundings, or join another optional tour which will be available locally.
Optional Excursion: Depart in the afternoon for a tour of the town of Hua Hin. Visit the Phraratchaniewet Marukhathayawan Palace, the beautiful teak Palace of Love and Hope built by Rama VI. Continue to visit an exotic animal garden as well as the beautiful railway station in the center of Hua Hin. Then visit Khao Takiab, with its wild monkeys, for a view of the skyline of Hua Hin, before returning to your hotel. This optional excursion can only be purchased locally. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: Hua Hin/Bangkok/USA. Enjoy breakfast and leisure time this morning before returning to Bangkok. Bid farewell to Thailand later today 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 extension to Chiang Mai. Breakfast provided.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare and visit Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest northern city, often called “The Rose of the North” due to the abundance of flowers which grow in the mountain climate.
Day 10: Bangkok/Chiang Mai. Enjoy breakfast and leisure time this morning before connecting to Bangkok and connect with your flight to Chiang Mai. This ancient city boasts many of Bangkok's amenities, including excellent food and accommodations, without the frenetic pace of modern city life. From its origins as a small northern town, Chiang Mai 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. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your centrally located hotel. Accommodations: Rati Lanna. Breakfast provided.
Day 11: Chiang Mai. This morning, travel high into the mountains above Chiang Mai to Wat Doi Suthep, one of the most revered temples in all of Thailand, where you will see monks walking up or down the hill collecting alms. Visit the temple, the most famous landmark of Chiang Mai. Climb the Naga (serpent) staircase to visit the exquisite golden pagoda., Return to Chiang Mai and explore some of the city’s most important temples of Wat Phra Singh, home to a sacred Buddha image, Wat Chedi Luang, where the famous Emerald Buddha was once enshrined and Wat Suan Dok, where Chiang Mai’s royal family’s ashes are interred. Drive around the old city walls and gates where you will see markets, residential areas, foreign consulates and government buildings. See the Three Kings monument and the Chiang Mai University grounds. Return to your hotel. The remainder of the day will be at leisure. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Chiang Mai. Enjoy the day at leisure, or enjoy the opportunity of an optional visit to 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, followed by a 30 minute elephant ride through the countryside, up and down hills and in the river – a true highlight of your tour. The remainder of the day is at leisure to continue exploring on your own. Or, treat yourself to an optional, Lanna-style spa treatment. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: Chiang Mai/Bangkok/USA. Bid farewell to Thailand as you transfer to the airport to board your flights to Bangkok, and then your return flight to the USA via Taipei. Breakfast provided.
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