Day 1 - Depart the USA
Depart the USA for your overnight flight to Bangkok, Thailand.
Day 2 - Bangkok
Day 3 - Bangkok
Immersion into this ancient culture begins with a city tour visiting three of the most unusual Buddhist temples: Wat Trimitr with its invaluable Golden Buddha; Wat Po, with its colossal Reclining Buddha; and the Chedis of the Kings. At the Grand Palace, former residence of the Kings and Thailand’s most sacred site, admire the beautiful architecture and intricate detail.
See several palaces, each significant in its own right: the Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Having explored this landmark of the Thai Kingdom, return to the hotel for an afternoon and evening at leisure. Meal: B
Day 4 - Bangkok
Today is about exploring local markets. Begin with an excursion to a floating market, a true Thai phenomenon. Colorfully clad merchants paddle boats along narrow canals, same as they did in the ancient times of the Siam Kingdom. See the traditional way of buying and selling fruits, vegetables and other goods and how the locals use the boats in everyday life. Amongst the hubbub of activity, visitors have the chance to bargain for handicraft items in the area. A visit to the rural Maeklong Railway Market is truly something to witness as a trains roll right through the center of the market, with inches to spare!
This evening, it’s time for an eating adventure on a food tour
via the iconic 3-wheel Tuk Tuk! Cruise through local streets to taste a variety of savory menus at some of the most beloved spots of the locals. This unique experience lets you discover a side of Bangkok unknown to visitors. Meal: B, D
Day 5 - Bangkok – Chiang Mai
After breakfast, depart for the airport and the flight to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, meet your local guide and drive up the serpentine road to the magnificently situated Wat Doi Suthep. Perched atop a forested mountain with sweeping views of the city below, this most sacred of Chiang Mai’s temples houses a wealth of Buddha images, murals and art. On your return to the city, visit two important temples – Wat Chedi Luang, “The temple of the Great Stupa”, located in the ancient walled part of the city.
Continue on foot to Wat Phan Tao, an ancient temple known for its exquisite Lanna-style ordination hall (Wihan). Entirely made of teakwood, it is one of the few remaining all wooden structures of its sort in Chiang Mai. A stop is made at the city’s biggest market, Talat Warorot, before arriving at the hotel for a bit of relaxation before tonight’s special event. This evening, enjoy a superb Northern Thai Dinner, complete with folk dances and presentations by hill tribes at the Old Chiang Mai Cultural Center. Meals: B, D
Day 6 - Chiang Mai
After breakfast, head to the private Baan Hongnaul cookery school. Accompanied by an English-speaking instructor, travel to the Nong Hoi local market to purchase fresh ingredients for your class. Partake in a hand-on experience, cooking a Lanna Thai meal and enjoy the finished product for lunch.
After lunch, journey to the Lanna Wisdom School, known for its activities with the aim of compiling information of local knowledge and wisdom from village elders and traditional teachers. The teachings include the Lanna language, local musical instruments, basket weaving, traditional poem composition, dancing, lantern making, drawing, making children’s toys, sculpting and carving among others. Return to your hotel for the rest of the day at leisure. Meals: B, L
Day 7 - Chiang Mai
Enjoy the beauty of the lush tea plantation and learn all about the tea growing process on the visit to the Araksa Tea Plantation. Meet local tea pickers and watch how the leaves are processed according to age-old traditions. At the roasting station, staff will demonstrate the art of making tea by hand from kneading to roasting tea leaves. When the roasting is done, enjoy a cup of tea with a delicious Thai snack. Cultural preservation, sustainable agriculture and healthy living are all demonstrated on this excursion.
Following lunch at a local restaurant, visit Baan Tong Luang, home of the Long-necked Padong tribe whose female members are known for wearing numerous brass rings around their elongated necks. End the day with a stop at an Orchid Farm to see some exotic species before returning to the hotel. Meals: B, L
Day 8 - Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai
Depart Chiang Mai and journey to Chiang Rai via Mae Kachan Hot Spring and Wat Rongkun, also known as the ‘White Temple’. This temple differs from most in that its history does not go back many centuries. This extraordinary place of worship, the realization of a dream for Thailand’s noted artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, was built only recently. Arriving in Chiang Rai, visit Wat Rong Suer Ten (Blue Temple), distinguished by its vivid color and intricate carvings. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit a local market before returning to the hotel. Meals: B, L
Day 9 - Chiang Rai
After breakfast, explore the mountainous area of Mae Salong (Santikhiri), originally settled by the renegade KMT 93rd regiment that fled to Myanmar from China in 1949. Dine at a local restaurant for lunch. Explore the "Golden Triangle" (once a center for trading opium) and taking its name as the location where the borders of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. Relax on a one-hour boat trip on the mighty Mekong River before continuing by minibus to Chiang Saen, a small crossroads town on the banks of the Mekong River. A visit is made to the Opium Museum before returning to Chiang Rai for a farewell dinner. Meals: B, L, D
Day 10 - Chiang Rai – Departure
After breakfast, transfer to Chiang Rai airport where you’ll connect with your flight to your onward destination. Meal: B