|Style||Fully Escorted & Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||January – May 2015|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), San Francisco (SFO) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Dinner Cruise on Chao Phraya River, Royal Grand Palace, Kanchanaburi & Ayutthaya, Hellfire Pass Museum, Hill Tribes of Chiang Rai, Wat Phra That Doi Tung, & Elephant Ride in Chiang Mai|
|Included in the Price||
|What to Expect||This moderately-paced, escorted Thailand tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.|
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
Prices, fees and deposits are per person. Prices and availability are subject to change. More about our prices.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Thu||Oct 9||2014||Mon||Oct 20||2014||$2499||Departed|
|Thu||Nov 13||2014||Mon||Nov 24||2014||$2799||$2499||Closed|
|Thu||Dec 11||2014||Mon||Dec 22||2014||$3199||$2899||Closed|
|Thu||Jan 15||2015||Mon||Jan 26||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Thu||Feb 5||2015||Mon||Feb 16||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Thu||Mar 19||2015||Mon||Mar 30||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Thu||Apr 16||2015||Mon||Apr 27||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Thu||May 14||2015||Mon||May 25||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
Want to stay longer? We may be able to arrange for you to extend your stay later than the scheduled dates, subject to availability. Contact us about dates, prices and restrictions.
|Treasures of Thailand|
|Single Room Supplement||+$599|
|Angkor Wat Extension1|
|Angkor Wat Extension|
|All other departures||+$899|
|Cambodia Visa Fee2 (paid separately)||+$30|
|Cambodia Departure Tax3 (paid separately)||+$25|
|Single Room Supplement||+$199|
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. Fee is paid locally
3. Departure tax is paid locally
|Phuket Island Extension1|
|Phuket Island Extension|
|Nov 13, Jan 15, Mar 19||+$549|
|All other departures||+$499|
|Single Room Supplement|
|Nov 13, Jan 15, Feb 5, Mar 19||+$299|
|All other departures||+$259|
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)|
|All other departures||included|
|New York Kennedy (JFK)||included|
|San Francisco (SFO)||included|
Departure airports subject to availability.
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.
Coming from New York Kennedy (JFK): Due to China Airlines' schedule, passengers returning to JFK from Chiang Mai or Phuket will depart very early in the morning before breakfast is served at the hotel. Please refer to the flight schedule for details. The Angkor Wat Extension and the combination of both extensions must be arranged on a custom basis to be coordinated with China Airlines' JFK schedule, please contact us for details.
To make a reservation, we only require a per-person deposit payment, which you can pay with your credit card. This non-refundable deposit will be applied towards the cost of your package. You can pay the balance due later by credit card, PayPal, check or money order. Your final payment is due 75 days prior to departure, or within 72 hours of booking, whichever is later.
Discover the wonders of Thailand on our new, deluxe Treasures of Thailand vacation package. 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! Start your journey in the bustling capital city of Bangkok, and then travel by motor coach to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, and the historic River Kwai. Next, you'll fly to Chiang Rai, Thailand's northernmost city, and visit the Hill Tribes of surrounding region. Continue by road to Chiang Mai, the "Rose of the North", where you'll discover ancient temples, mysterious ruins, and even enjoy an exciting elephant ride through the jungle. But don't wait too long to reserve your spot, our groups are small, our prices are exceptional, and space is definitely limited.
Day 1: Depart USA. Check in for your overnight flight to Bangkok, 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. Today, arrive in Bangkok. After customs formalities, transfer to your centrally located hotel for check-in.
Tonight, experience a romantic evening, Bangkok-style, on a lovely dinner cruise that will take you along the Chao Phraya River, passing the glittering sights of Bangkok. Enjoy sumptuous Thai cuisine as you take in stunning views of the Temple of Dawn, the illuminated Grand Palace, magnificent temples, striking bridges and other landmarks. The cruise offers a perfectly relaxing experience that you will never forget. Accommodations: Royal Orchid Sheraton. Dinner provided.
Day 4: Bangkok. This morning, visit Bangkok's number one ‘must see' attraction, as well as Thailand's most important landmark: the Royal Grand Palace. 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. 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.
The afternoon is at leisure to explore Bangkok on your own, or join other locally available optional excursions. Breakfast provided.
Day 5: Bangkok. After breakfast, spend the morning at leisure or enjoy an optional activity available for purchase locally. This afternoon, board a private long-tail boat on the peaceful Klong Bang Luang. Pass by shop houses, local temples and vendors on this waterway which was once a major trading route and lined with the impressive homes of aristocrats. After observing this lively area, the boat stops at Baan Silapin, a 100 year old renovated house now home to an art gallery. Stop here for a few hours to enjoy the gallery, take part in an art workshop or explore the local community. En-route back to the city, visit the Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, followed by a visit to the Portuguese settlement near the stunning Santa Cruz Church. Breakfast provided.
Day 6: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, & Kanchanaburi. After breakfast this morning, drive north 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. Visit Wat Yai Chaimongkol, a temple best known for its enormous statue of the Reclining Buddha. Conclude the tour at Wat Chai Watanaram, a monastery commissioned by King Prasatthong in 1630 in honor of his mother. However, its striking resemblance to Cambodia's famous Angkor Wat has led some to believe that the King also built the wat to commemorate his victory over Cambodia. Visit local houses to see how handicrafts such as palm leaf fish mobiles are produced. Continue driving to Kanchanaburi and in the afternoon visit the famous bridge of River Kwai, the Second World War cemetery and the JEATH Museum. This evening enjoy dinner at your hotel. Accommodations: River Kwai Resotel. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7: Kanchanaburi, Bangkok, & Chiang Rai. After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the northwestern part of the city. Visit the Hellfire Pass Museum before embarking on a trek through the nearby canyon. The walk is along the Memorial Walking Trail which looks out on to Myanmar. A free audio guide is provided to help create the scene and to link the context and location with real life experiences narrated by POW's while working on the line. Continue by motor coach back to Bangkok, for your flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival in Chiang Rai, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Accommodations: Imperial River House Resort. Breakfast provided.
Day 8: Chiang Rai. This morning embark on a full day tour to visit the Doi Tung region. En route to Doi Tung, visit various hill tribe villages. In the past, the forest area around Doi Tung was destroyed by shifting cultivation. In 1987, the Doi Tung Development Project was established according to the King's Mother's initiative in order to protect the region, eradicate the cultivation of opium, and encourage farmers to use sustainable agricultural practices. Visit the Mae Fah Luang gardens with its beautiful flowers and shrubbery. Continue to Wat Phra That Doi Tung, a sacred hilltop shrine, regarded as the most holy sanctuary by the residents of Chiang Rai. The temple was built in 911 AD and it's believed that the left collarbone of Lord Buddha is enshrined within its twin pagodas.
In the afternoon, drive to the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge. Visit the ancient kingdom of Chiang Saen on the steep banks of the Mekong River, across from Laos, where you will see magnificent ancient ruins and temples. Then embark on a long-tail boat and see the area from the majestic Mekong River's perspective. Breakfast provided.
Day 9: Chiang Rai & Chiang Mai. After breakfast at the hotel, depart from Chiang Rai and continue to Chiang Mai, Thailand's second largest city, often called "Rose of the North" because of the abundance of flowers that thrive in its cooler mountain climate. En route visit Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple and one of the must-see sights of the northern region. The temple features unique architecture and amazing drawings. Next, enjoy lunch at the Bakanaz Restaurant, which is located on a beautiful pineapple plantation. Arrive in Chiang Mai late this afternoon, checking into your hotel for an evening at leisure. Accommodations: Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 10: Chiang Mai. This morning, travel to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, built in 1384 and one of the most revered temples in Thailand. Climb the 309 steps of the Golden Naga staircase to reach its golden pagodas. Inside the cloister of the temple, you will see one of the most sacred stupas. Walk around the compound and admire the many bells and statues of Buddha. Next, proceed to Wat Umong, a heavily forested temple covered by moss and small plants offering a unique yet charming sense of natural decay. Afterwards, enjoy a delicious bowl of Khao Soy. This famous Northern Thai dish is a combination of coconut cream, crispy noodles and plenty of spice that is sure to delight! Enjoy some time to relax and then later this evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast, lunch & dinner provided.
Day 11: 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 the elephants taking their morning bath in the stream, before starting their daily training and work. Next, enjoy an elephant ride through the jungle with a stop at Lisu Hill Tribe Village. Afterwards, take an ox-cart ride back to the elephant camp. Later, visit a beautiful orchid farm to see how these lovely and prized plants are expertly and artistically cultivated. Breakfast provided.
Day 12: Chiang Mai/Bangkok/USA. Bid farewell to Thailand as you transfer to the airport to board your flight to Bangkok, and then 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 or both! Breakfast provided.
Passengers returning to JFK will depart very early in the morning before breakfast is served at the hotel.
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. For JFK passegners, the Angkor Wat Extension must be arranged on a custom basis to be coordinated with China Airlines' JFK schedule; please contact us for details.
Day 12: 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 13: 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 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 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 14: 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, & dinner provided.
Day 15: Siem Reap/Bangkok/USA. Transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei. Breakfast provided.
Take advantage of your already-included international airfare and enjoy a luxurious and relaxing stay on Phuket Island, Thailand's most famous resort.
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. Accommodations: Avista Hideway Resort & Spa. Breakfast provided.
Day 13: 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 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" famous for its role in The Man with the Golden Gun. Breakfast provided.
Day 14: Phuket. Another day to relax and enjoy Phuket. Breakfast provided.
Day 15: Phuket, Bangkok, USA. Today, transfer to the airport for the short flight to Bangkok. Continue to the USA via Taipei. Breakfast provided.
Passengers returning to JFK will depart very early in the morning before breakfast is served at the hotel.
You may take both Angkor Wat and Phuket extensions, in that order. On Day 15 of the Angkor Wat extension, you'll continue to Phuket Island for 3 nights, returning on Day 18. For JFK passegners, the combination of both extensions must be arranged on a custom basis to be coordinated with China Airlines' JFK schedule, please contact us for details.
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