|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||September 2015 – February 2016|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Bangkok’s Royal Grand Palace, Wat Arun, Wat Po (Reclining Buddha), Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the River Kwai, Maeklong Railway Market, UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya|
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
|As Seen in|
Even the most sophisticated travelers long to visit Thailand, with its beautiful beaches and islands, fascinating culture, exotic architecture, and ancient ruins. This tour to Thailand showcases some of the highlights of this magnificent country, including the bustling capital city of Bangkok, the historic River Kwai, and the ancient city of Ayutthaya—all for an amazingly affordable price. At prices this low, you can be sure that this tour will sell out quickly, so hurry to reserve your space soon!
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Tue||May 12||2015||Wed||May 20||2015||$1599||Departed|
|Sun||Sep 6||2015||Mon||Sep 14||2015||$1799||$1499||Available|
|Sun||Oct 4||2015||Mon||Oct 12||2015||$1799||$1499||Available|
|Sun||Nov 8||2015||Mon||Nov 16||2015||$1799||$1499||Available|
|Sun||Jan 3||2016||Mon||Jan 11||2016||$2099||$1799||Available|
|Sun||Feb 14||2016||Mon||Feb 22||2016||$1899||$1599||Available|
Please see price details below.*
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to stay later than the scheduled dates, including extra hotel nights and separate airport transfers. Contact us about prices and availability.
|Taste of Thailand|
|All other departures||+$299|
|Angkor Wat Extension1|
|Angkor Wat Extension||+$899|
|Cambodia Departure Tax2 (paid separately)||+$25|
|Cambodia Visa Fee3 (paid separately)||+$30|
1. The Angkor Wat extension is subject to availability and requires that your flights be confirmed separately by the airlines. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm your extension flights with the airline, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of the flights. This extension also requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
2. Departure Tax is paid locally
3. Visa Fee is paid locally
|Phuket Island Extension1|
|Phuket Island Extension|
|Nov 8, Feb 14||+$549|
|All other departures||+$499|
|Nov 8, Feb 14||+$299|
|All other departures||+$249|
1. The Phuket Island extension is subject to availability and requires that your flights be confirmed separately by the airlines. Please note that it typically takes 3 to 5 business days to confirm your extension flights with the airline, and that we will notify you immediately upon confirmation of the flights. This extension also requires a minimum of 2 passengers to operate.
|Los Angeles (LAX)||included|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above. Please review the flight schedule, especially if you're booking connecting flights.
Coming from somewhere else? Unfortunately, we don't offer departures from cities that are not listed, but you can book your own connecting flights separately.
Transfers: Transfers for this package are provided on a group basis only. For passengers deviating in any way from the group program, transfers are not provided. Individual, private transfers can be arranged at a supplement in price. Taxis and other forms of transportation are also available and may cost less than private transfers. If you wish to arrange private transfers, please request this service at the time of reservation.
To make a reservation, simply select an available departure date and reserve online using our secure booking system. Or call us one of our travel specialists at 800-555-5765, Mon–Fri 9:30–6:00 Eastern time. But first, check out our Things to Know section.
We only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card or PayPal account. This deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package, and is generally non-refundable (details). The balance is due 75 days prior to departure (or within 72 hours, if you're booking less than 75 days prior to departure), and can be paid by credit card, PayPal, check or money order.
|Optional PriceLock Deposit||$1000|
Day 1: Depart USA. Your exotic journey begins as you check in for your flight to Thailand, via Taipei.
Day 2: En route. Cross the International Dateline and lose a day en route. (You'll recover this day on your return trip.)
This afternoon, experience an exhilarating boat ride along the bustling Chao Phraya River and the quiet Klongs (canals) in a long tail boat. Be taken back in time to a more traditional way of life, far removed from Bangkok's modern skyscrapers. Visit the Royal Barge Museum to witness the beautiful barges used by the King on state occasions, then visit Wat Arun, the magnificent temple of Dawn with its 79-meter pagoda or 'prang', built in the Khmer style.
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 décor blends perfectly with the traditional architecture, and the views of the River, Grand Palace, and Wat Arun are downright spectacular. Accommodations: Rembrandt Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 4: Bangkok. 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. This afternoon, depart for 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 jadite (jasper). Continue to Wat Po, founded in the 17th century and the oldest temple in Bangkok. This temple is also home to the amazing Reclining Buddha, one of the largest in the world, whose face depicts the attainment of Nirvana and whose feet are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Bangkok, Kanchanaburi & the River Kwai. After breakfast this morning, drive about an hour south of Bangkok to Samut Songkhram Province, enjoying the beautiful Thai countryside along the way. 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.
Continue to Kanchanaburi. Upon arrival, visit the historic bridge over the River Kwai, part of the infamous Death Railway built by the Japanese using Allied prisoners of war during World War II. At the Death Railway museum, you'll learn more about life in the camps, the building of the bridge, and the more than 8,000 POWs who died during construction. Accommodations: River Kwai Resotel. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Kanchanaburi. This morning, take a one hour train ride on the famous Death Railway passing the breathtaking panoramic view of the Kwai gorge. The rest of the afternoon is yours at leisure. We suggest a visit to the resort's spa for a Thai massage, steam bath, or a dip in the pool. Breakfast provided.
Day 7: Kanchanaburi & Ayutthaya. After breakfast this morning, board your motor coach and drive through the picturesque rice fields of Suphanburi to visit the 100 year old Samchuck Market, where traditional woven houses line its riverbank. Here you can browse through a wide range of products from local food to antiques.
Continue to the 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, some having been restored. Exciting archaeological excavations are still proceeding at many sites in the area. Upon arrival, visit some of Ayutthaya's historical sites, such as Wat Chaiwattanaram, Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch, Wat Mongkhol Bophit, and Wat Yai Chaimongkhol. Accommodations: Kantary Hotel, Ayutthaya. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Ayutthaya & Bangkok. Today's sightseeing tour takes you first to Bang Pa to view King Rama IV's summer palace, used occasionally by the king and queen to host receptions and banquets. The palace and its surrounding temples represent an appealing fusion of Thai, Chinese, and European architectural styles.
Continue to Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples with its remarkable Gothic style architecture and stained glass windows. Continue to Bangkok this afternoon. This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Accommodations: Rembrandt Hotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 9: Bangkok/USA. Today, 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 or Phuket Island...or both! Breakfast provided.
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.
Day 9: 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: Sokha Angkor Resort. Breakfast provided.
Day 10: 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 have long since decayed and vanished.
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.
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 directions 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 keep 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.
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.
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.
Day 11: Angkor Explorations. This morning's excursion takes you to three early-Angkor 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.
Day 12: Siem Reap/USA. Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei. Breakfast provided.
Why not take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort.
Day 9: Bangkok & Phuket. Today you'll fly to Phuket. Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel and enjoy the balance of the day at leisure. Accommodations: Avista Hideaway Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 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 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 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. Continue to relax in Phuket. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Phuket/USA. Today, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei. Breakfast provided.
Travelers may take both Angkor Wat and Phuket extensions, in that order. On Day 12 of the Angkor Wat extension, passengers will continue to Phuket Island for 3 nights returning to LAX on Day 15.
Thank you for an amazing tour of Thailand! This was our first experience with Friendly Planet, but based on this, we would highly recommend them. We thought it was a fantastic value. There is no way that we would have been able to do as much, or travel to multiple cities on our own. All of the accommodations were excellent. Our guide, "Tick", was very knowledgeable, experienced, informative, entertaining, had a great sense of humor, and he spoke/understood English very well. We would definitely consider another Friendly Planet tour, to a new destination.
Danielle Lawson, Madison, WI