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Beautiful Thailand

Trip type: 
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
Max group size: 
Avg user rating: 
Asia, Thailand | 17 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Train, minibus, local bus, songthaew, rickshaw and Taxi

Accommodation - Hotels/guesthouses (8nts), overnight train (2nts), hilltribe villages (2nts), homestay (1nt), rafthouse (1nt)

Meals - 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 4 dinners

Trip Highlights: 
See the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai
Visit the beautiful temple complex of Doi Suthep
Trek through remote hilltribe villages
Uncover traditional Thai culture with a homestay
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Thailand
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
We often have multiple itineraries so please check to see which itinerary is suitable for you, by selecting the relevant tab.
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Itinerary for Beautiful Thailand

(Departures in 2014-15)
  • Day 1-2 - Bangkok
  • Day 3-5 - Kanchanaburi; River Kwai
  • Day 6 - Ayuthaya
  • Day 7/8 - Chiang Mai
  • Day 9 - Doi Mae Salong
  • Day 10 - Homestay
  • Day 11/12 - Hilltribe Trek
  • Day 13 - Chiang Rai
  • Day 14 - Chiang Mai
  • Day 15 - Bangkok
  • Day 16-17 - Tour ends
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »


Take an overnight flight - on arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 2.

You can arrive at any time as there are no activities planned until this important meeting. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.

Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore - why not take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in some Thai massage?

Optional Activities

  • Bangkok - Thai kickboxing exhibition - THB2000
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Chatuchak Market visit - THB150
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB100
  • Bangkok - Thai massage - THB350


Hotel (1 nt)


Kanchanaburi; River Kwai

Kanchanaburi; River Kwai

Travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok (approx 1 hr). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital.

Pay a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage.

Travel by local bus to Kanchanaburi (approx 2 hrs).

Located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.

Enjoy a saamlaw (bicycle rickshaw) tour around the town of Kanchanaburi - the perfect way to take in the splendour of this city and the monuments to its tragic past.

Explore the Jeath War Museum and the Allied War Cemetery.

Travel to Erawan National Park (approx 1.5 hrs each way), where you can explore the famous seven-level waterfall or simply swim and relax.

Included Activities

  • Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho temple
  • Kanchanaburi - Erawan Water Falls
  • Kanchanaburi - Baan Tham temple

Optional Activities

  • Kanchanaburi - Kayaking - THB250
  • Kanchanaburi - Thai cooking class - THB750


Guesthouse (2 nts), Rafthouse (1 nt)




Travel by local bus via Suphanburi to Ayuthaya (approx 5 hrs).

Day rooms will be arranged as you take an overnight train later tonight.

There's time for a guided tour of of the picturesque ruins and temples spread across the town. The ruins at Wat Phra Mahathat provide many photo opportunities and the Buddha head surrounded by Banyan tree roots is perhaps the most photographed site in Ayuthaya.

Board an overnight train bound for Chiang Mai (approx 11 hrs). You use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. Multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds - sheets and a pillow are provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There's a food and drink service available on board.

Included Activities

  • Ayuthaya - Historical ruins guided tour


Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)



Chiang Mai

The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This 'Rose of the North' is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people.

In Chiang Mai there is the chance to have a traditional Thai massage before heading down to the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a shopaholic's dream.

The Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School offers courses for budding chefs and will definitely allow you to impress your friends upon your return. A novel way to see the surrounding countryside is to take a cycling tour, on which you will visit temples and ruins, the McCain institute for handicapped artists, and possibly a sticky rice factory among other sites.

Explore the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep. Drive along a scenic, winding mountain road that ends at an impressive 300-step naga-guarded stairway (approx 45 mins). The rewards justify the climb with one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand on display, not to mention fantastic panoramic views of the city and the opportunity to listen to hypnotic evening chanting by resident Buddhist monks.

You set off early and drive along Mae Taeng Valley to Elephant Nature Park (approx 60 km), a unique project providing a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants.

Greeted by an expert guide you learn about the story of rescued elephants and elephants problem in South-East Asia. After that you will have a chance to feed the elephant from the viewing platform.

Lunch is provided before elephant bathing time. After a safety briefing you can join in to scrub and bathe the elephant (bring some shorts/swim gear and change of clothing) or alternatively just kick back and enjoy watching the elephants bathe.

You depart the Elephant Nature Park at around 5pm to return to Chiang Mai.

Included Activities

  • Day trip: Elephant Nature Park

Optional Activities

  • Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB350
  • Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB750
  • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB750


Hotel (2 nts)



Doi Mae Salong

Set off by road to the Golden Triangle region.

After lunch, explore the five interconnected Chiang Dao Caves before heading to our destination, Doi Mae Salong.

The atmosphere in the charming town of Doi Mae Salong is reminiscent of a small southern Chinese village. The region is famous for its Chinese tea traders and you can enjoy a cup of tea in a traditional Chinese tea house overlooking the mountains. Check out the interesting markets, full of produce and crafts made by hilltribe people.


Guesthouse (1 nt)




Using local songthaews, visit the point of the Golden Triangle where the Thailand, Burma and Laos borders meet. Stop at the border town of Mae Sai, which is full of colourful shops stacked with Chinese goods.

Pay a visit to the House of Opium for a deeper insight into this area's problematic past.

Head to a small Thai village to stay in the home of some local friends. There's plenty of time to experience the quiet village life before sampling a traditional northern Thai khantohk dinner. This evening enjoy a traditional Thai musical performance from our local friends children's band. Staying here is a true privilege and a chance to experience the real Thailand - something very few travellers are able to do. Our basic multishare homestay is in a local village. There will be fold-out mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms.

Included Activities

  • Chaing Rai - Opium Museum


Homestay (1 nt)


Hilltribe Trek

Hilltribe Trek

Walking through hilltribe villages and meeting the locals is, for many, the highlight of this trip. Visit various villages, each with their own unique language, clothing style and belief system.

Please note that you should be fairly fit as you hike across hilly countryside and rain or hot, humid weather pose extra challenges. You walk for about 5 hours each day so there's no great rush. The terrain is rural rather than jungle - the hilltribes grow rice and other vegetables on the slopes - and you trek along village tracks. There's also the possibility of some shallow river crossings. Please note, there may be times during the trek when the use of video and/or still cameras may be inappropriate. Your group leader will advise you further. Each person carries their own pack for the whole trek (see the 'What To Take' section for luggage requirements). All meals are included while trekking, but you'll need to purchase and carry your own water (please allow US$10 for the entire trek).

Accommodation is multishare, sleeping on your rented roll mats on the floor of the wooden/bamboo huts typical of the villages. There are shared squat toilets and basic washing facilities (a hose or water pipe) in most villages. You may also be able to wash in a nearby stream. Warmer clothing and sleeping bags are recommended from November to January as the nights are usually quite cool during this period.

Included Activities

  • Hill-tribe - 3 day trek


Hilltribe village (2 nts)



Chiang Rai

Trek for around 3 hours before transferring to Chiang Rai.

Chiang Mai's 'little sister', Chiang Rai boasts a great night market and a variety of good restaurants.

Optional Activities

  • Chiang Rai - Mekong River boat trip - THB450


Guesthouse (1 nt)



Chiang Mai

Travel by bus to Chiang Mai (approx 4 hrs).

The rest of the day is free to explore.

Board an overnight train for Bangkok (approx 13 hrs). You use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. Multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds - sheets and a pillow are provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There's a food and drink service available on board.


Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)




Arrive back in Bangkok and spend your day shopping or sightseeing before meeting again for our final night's dinner. Being a weekend, this is a great opportunity to visit the weekend market at Chatuchak - one of the biggest and busiest markets you will ever see. Your leader can also give you other ideas of what to do - places like Jim Thompson's House, the Grand Palace and Chinatown are all great to explore. There's a fantastic array of transport options available for getting around this traffic-choked city and although it's most efficient to stick to the canals, river and Skytrain, a trip in a tuk-tuk is certainly an experience!


Hotel (1 nt)



Tour ends

Your adventure ends today and you will be transferred to the airport for your overnight flight home.