|Style||Escorted or Guided
Dedicated tour escorts & guides throughout
|Departures||October 2015 – April 2016|
|Departs||Los Angeles (LAX), New York Kennedy (JFK), San Francisco (SFO) (flight schedule)|
|Highlights||Dinner Cruise on Chao Phraya River, Royal Grand Palace, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, Kanchanaburi & Ayutthaya, Hellfire Pass Museum, Hill Tribes of Chiang Rai, Wat Phra That Doi Tung, & Elephant Camp in Chiang Mai|
|Themes||History & Culture, Premium|
|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.|
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 famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, the historic River Kwai and the ancient city of Ayutthaya. 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 feed and bathe elephants. But don't wait too long to reserve your spot, our groups are small, our prices are exceptional, and space is definitely limited.
Departures & Prices
per person, double occupancy*
|Mon||Sep 14||2015||Fri||Sep 25||2015||$2699||$2399||Closed|
|Mon||Oct 12||2015||Fri||Oct 23||2015||$2699||$2399||Available|
|Mon||Nov 16||2015||Fri||Nov 27||2015||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Mon||Dec 7||2015||Fri||Dec 18||2015||$2899||$2599||Available|
|Mon||Jan 11||2016||Fri||Jan 22||2016||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Mon||Feb 22||2016||Fri||Mar 4||2016||$2799||$2499||Available|
|Mon||Mar 21||2016||Fri||Apr 1||2016||$2799||$2499||Available|
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.
|Treasures of Thailand|
|Single Room Supplement|
|Sep 14, Oct 12||+$499|
|All other departures||+$549|
|Angkor Wat Extension1|
|Angkor Wat Extension||+$799|
|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 16, Dec 7||+$549|
|Jan 11, Feb 22||+$599|
|All other departures||+$499|
|Single Room Supplement|
|Nov 16, Dec 7, Jan 11, Feb 22||+$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|
|San Francisco (SFO)||included|
|New York Kennedy (JFK)|
|Sep 14, Oct 12||included|
|All other departures||+$100|
This package includes round-trip flights from the cities listed above, subject to availability. 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.
New York (JFK): Due to China Airlines' schedule on Sep 14 and Oct 12 departures, passengers returning to JFK must leave Chiang Mai early in the morning before breakfast is served at the hotel. For Nov 16, Dec 7, Jan 11, Feb 22, Mar 21, Apr 18 and May 16 departures, passengers will need to overnight in Taipei en route back to JFK.
Transfers: Transfers for this tour 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.
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, 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 is 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. Spend some time to enjoy the gallery, take part in an art workshop or explore the local community. En route back to the city, visit the Royal Barge Museum, to see the decorated ceremonial barges of the Royal family. Later, stop at the Temple of Dawn, also known as Wat Arun, on the banks of the Chao Praya River, followed by a visit to the Portuguese settlement near the stunning Santa Cruz Church.
The afternoon is at leisure to explore Bangkok on your own, or join other locally available optional excursions.
Day 6: Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak, & Kanchanaburi. After an early breakfast this morning, depart Bangkok for the famous Damnoen Saduak Floating Market in Ratchaburi Province. Take a boat ride along the canal to see the colorful floating marketplace, bustling with boats and vendors selling tropical fruits and other delights. Then, continue to Kanchanaburi and visit the famous bridge of River Kwai, the Second World War cemetery and the JEATH Museum. Next, visit the Hellfire Pass Museum before embarking on a short 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 re-create the scene, linking the context and location with real life experiences, narrated by POW's while working on the line. This evening, enjoy dinner at your hotel. Accommodations: Home Phutoey River Kwai on Sep 14 & Nov 16, 2015 departures; River Kwai Resotel on all others. Breakfast & dinner provided.
Day 7: Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, Bangkok, & Chiang Rai. After an early breakfast this morning, depart Kanchanaburi, and travel 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.
After lunch at a local restaurant, return to Bangkok in time 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 or similar. Breakfast & lunch 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: Dusit Princess Chiang Mai on Nov 16, 2015 departure; Siripanna Villa Resort & Spa on all others. 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!. Breakfast & lunch provided.
Day 11: Chiang Mai. This morning, drive about an hour north of Chiang Mai to the Maesa Elephant Camp, and join a half-day Thai Elephant Care program. At the camp, you will learn about Elephants in Thailand, and have the opportunity to interact and take care of them. Upon arrival at the camp, you will be briefed about elephant safety and change into a mahout’s (elephant minder) uniform. The morning activity starts with visiting and interacting with the elephants, learning to make grinded grass and feeding them. Then, you will visit the elephant cemetery and the elephants’ night-time sleeping area. Finally, you will bathe the elephants and feed the elderly elephants their favorite snack, bananas! Before you leave, give a heartfelt farewell to these majestic animals, knowing that you’ve helped to care for these gentle giants.
On the way back to the city, make a stop at Baan Tong Luang hilltribe village, where you can see the life of hilltribe people such as the famous long-necked Karen, and other tribes such as Lahu, Yao or Mien, and Palong. On the way back to Chiang Mai, visit an orchid and butterfly farm.
This evening, join your fellow travelers for a farewell dinner at a local restaurant. Breakfast & dinner 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.
New York (JFK): For Sep 14 and Oct 12, passengers returning to JFK must leave Chiang Mai early in the morning before breakfast is served at the hotel. For Nov 16, Dec 7, Jan 11, Feb 22, Mar 21, Apr 18, and May 16 departures, passengers will need to overnight in Taipei en route back to JFK.
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 passengers, 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 Hideaway 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 must leave Phuket 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.
We had a very interesting trip to Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Our tour guide in Vietnam, Toan Truong, was extremely helpful and informative. The guides in Cambodia and Thailand both did a very good job teaching us about those countries. The accommodations and transportation were outstanding! This is our third trip with Friendly Planet and we continue to be very pleased with everything.
Janice & Ron Beller, Parker, CO