Day 1: Bangkok
Arrive at any time; your arrival transfer is included.
Day 2: Bangkok/Kanchanaburi
After breakfast, travel to the city of Kanchanaburi, situated at the convergence of the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers. Board a train for a winding journey into World War II history as you cross the bridge made famous by the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai. At the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, learn about the Burma Railway, constructed by imperial Japanese forces to connect Bangkok and Burma; then visit the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery to see where the prisoners of war who worked on the railway were laid to rest.
Day 3: Kanchanaburi/Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
This morning, hike into the lush landscapes of Erawan National Park, located high in the mist-shrouded Tenasserim Hills. Take a dip in the turquoise pools of the Erawan Falls—so called because its top tier of cascades resemble the three-headed, mythological elephant known as the Erawan. This afternoon, transfer to the historic city of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya—better known simply as Ayutthaya—a former capital of the medieval kingdom of Ayutthaya, also known as Siam. Sample traditional Thai dishes during dinner on a converted rice barge from the 1930s.
Includes: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 4: Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya/Chiang Mai
Set out to explore the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Ayutthaya Historical Park, centered on the old city which served as the Siamese capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it was one of the largest and most cosmopolitan regions in the world. Stroll down well-planned city streets to view magnificent palaces and Buddhist monasteries that set the standard for Thai architecture for generations to come. Later, return to Bangkok and transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. Visit a traditional village in the countryside and enjoy a khantok-style dinner.
Khantok in the Northern dialect means wooden tray, used for carrying dishes, round in shape and made of teak wood. The host will invite guests to sit on the floor around the khantok. After dinner, enjoy tea time with the opportunity to talk with local people to learn their way of living.
Includes: Breakfast, Dinner
Day 5: Chiang Mai
Delve into the bustle of Chiang Mai’s morning markets with a local chef, and learn about colorful fruits and fragrant herbs as you select ingredients for a Thai cooking class. Enjoy your creation for lunch, then set out to visit a historic temple. Sit down with one of the resident monks to discuss daily life and the tenets of Buddhism. Later, clear your mind to the chanting of monks at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most spectacular gilded temples in Thailand.
Monk Chats are a great cultural exchange, but is also important in helping the young Monks improve their English.
Includes: Breakfast, Lunch
Day 6: Chiang Mai
Spend a full day exploring Chiang Mai’s temples and forested hills on your own, or choose between a variety of optional activities. Traverse the rural lanes of Chiang Mai in a tuk-tuk, or opt to take a cycling tour through verdant rice paddies and the elegant historic district. In the evening, choose to visit Chiang Mai’s vibrant night market.
Day 7: Chiang Mai/Bangkok
This morning, fly to Bangkok and board a traditional klong boat for a ride along the winding canals that have earned the city the nickname the “Venice of the East.” Glide past colorful temples, modern skyscrapers, and houses perched above the water. Visit Wat Pho, Bangkok’s largest and oldest temple complex, and often considered Thailand’s first public university—its many inscriptions were intended to instruct visitors. Marvel at the magnificent statue of the Reclining Buddha, glittering with gold leaf and mother-of-pearl.
Day 8: Bangkok
Depart at any time.