Thailand and the Temples of Angkor

Asia
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The heritage of two ancient kingdoms is traced along this pilgrimage through Thailand and Cambodia. Visit the spiritual centre of Sukhothai and explore the ruins of Angkor Wat.

Departure dates

From 12/05/2024 to 29/12/2024

What's included

Flight from Bangkok to Sukhothai and Chiang Mai to Siem Reap.
An expert Travel Director and professional Driver.
Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted.
All porterage and restaurant gratuities.
All hotel tips, charges and local taxes.
Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals.
Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras.
Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing.
Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys).
Optional Experiences and free time.
On occasion, hotels of similar standard and location may be utilised.
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Itinerary / more information

  • Day 1 Welcome to Bangkok Say sawadee ka to the land of smiles, starting your Thai adventure in Bangkok. Transfer to your hotel where this evening, we meet our Travel Director and fellow guests for a Welcome Reception drink with local appetisers.
  • Day 2 See the Sights of Bangkok Dive Into Culture Rise early and join the locals for a graceful T'ai Chi practice in Lumpini Park to kick-start your day. Alternatively, enjoy a leisurely start before joining your fellow travellers on a City Tour, which begins with a visit to Bangkok's Grand Palace, where you'll visit the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Kaew. See the largest-reclining Buddha in Thailand in Bangkok's oldest temple, Wat Pho, and enjoy a traditional Thai massage in the temple's massage centre. Return to your hotel by express river boat, cruising down the Chao Praya past beautiful Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn.
  • Day 3 Thai Cuisine and Cooking Experience Dive Into Culture Immerse your senses in the five flavours of Thai cuisine as you join a Local Specialist for a traditional cooking class in a colonial-style house. Visit a local market nearby to source the freshest ingredients that reveal the sweet, sour, salty, bitter and hot flavours of Thai cuisine. Sample the results later, then spend the afternoon exploring the City of Angels on your terms, or consider joining an Optional Experience to Jim Thompson's House, home to an impressive collection of Asian art.
  • Day 4 Onwards to Damnoen Saduak and Kanchanaburi Dive Into Culture A riot of colours greets us this morning as we embark on a visit to the famous floating market at Damnoen Saduak. Connect with the friendly merchants who paddle along the congested canals in their sturdy canoes, laden with fresh fruit and vegetables to sell to shoppers on the banks. En route, we'll Dive Into Culture, stopping at a coconut palm sugar plantation where we'll discover how the farmer extracts the sap from his palm trees to create palm sugar. After lunch in a local restaurant, visit the world famous Bridge over the River Kwai. After a walk along the bridge continue to the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, revealing insights into the history of the infamous railway line built during WWII by the Imperial Japanese army. Our final stop today sees us pay tribute to the thousands of allied prisoners of war who were laid to rest at the War Cemetery.
  • Day 5 Railways and Rivers in Kanchanaburi This morning, we visit Hellfire Pass, a section of the Thailand-Burma "Death Railway", so named for the tortuous conditions that prisoners of war endured during WWII to build it. After lunch, we embark on a thrilling train ride across wooden viaducts, skirting the winding waters of the Kwai River. We'll disembark and see the wooden viaducts first-hand walking across one. This evening, we enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.
  • Day 6 On to Ancient Ayutthaya and Sukhothai After breakfast, we travel to the UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya, once the second-most important ancient capital of Old Siam and the largest city in the world. Here, we'll delve into the trading heritage of a mighty city that was all but raised to the ground by an 18th century Burmese invasion. We'll enjoy lunch at a local restaurant, then return to Bangkok for our flight to Sukhothai, Thailand's first capital.
  • Day 7 Explore Sukhothai Gain insights into a powerful kingdom that enjoyed its golden age during the 13th and 14th centuries and shaped modern Thailand as we know it today. Start the day with a visit to the UNESCO-listed Sukhothai Historical Park which reveals thousands of years of history and a 15-metre seated Buddha secreted within its walls. Your choice of exploring will see you engage with the historic complex by bicycle or on the internal tram. This afternoon, visit the home of a local family and learn how to make amulets which are thought to protect the owner from harm.
  • Day 8 Continue to Chiang Mai Make Travel Matter Stays With Stories Our day begins with a visit to the first of our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) experiences today at the village of Natonchan, where our visit supports the community's eco-tourism project . We'll interact with the locals and meet one of the villagers to learn about 'gymnastic doll' making and the villagers' traditional cotton clothes which are soaked in mud to protect them from fading. Arriving in Chiang Mai, we enjoy an evening walk with our Travel Director and visit the colourful Sunday market. Our hotel tonight is located in the old town of Chiang Mai.
  • Day 9 Meet the Locals of Northern Thailand Connect with Locals Admire the delicate hand-painted fans and colourful paper umbrellas that are famously crafted in Chiang Mai's Sankamphaeng district. We continue to a small village nearby where we'll Connect with Locals, joining a family in their typical stilt house for a northern Thai-style Be My Guest lunch. Next is a visit to Wat Suan Dok where we'll meet a local monk and learn about Buddhism, against the backdrop of the temple's magnificent golden chedi.
  • Day 10 A Day to Discover Chiang Mai Your morning is free to spend as you please. Later, we visit Wat Doi Suthep, one of Thailand's most sacred temples. As the sun sets over this mystical temple, listen quietly to the tranquil sounds of the monks chanting. This evening, we join fellow travellers and Travel Director for a Farewell Dinner at a traditional Thai restaurant located next to the river.
  • Day 11 Continue to Cambodia Transfer to the airport for the short international flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia via Bangkok. On arrival you will meet your local Cambodian Travel Director, the rest of the day is at leisure.
  • Day 12 Amazing Angkor Wat Today, we venture deep into the Cambodian jungle, through a pyramid-shaped gateway into an ancient world. Serene stone faces watch over us as we cross the causeway suspended over a moat into the spiritual heart of the ancient lost city of Angkor. A Local Specialist and renowned Khmer scholar brings to life the stories behind the intricate carvings and murals of celestial nymphs and mythical serpents along the abandoned hallways of Angkor Wat. Our next stop are the terracotta-hued walls of Banteay Srei Temple - the "Citadel of Women" dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva. We'll have time to admire the 10th century carvings of women, said to have been too delicate to have been carved by a man, hence its name. We'll return to Siem Reap for some free time and this afternoon embark on a guided walking tour of the Old Town. We'll witness the revival of Khmer arts and crafts and help support the lives of rural youths during our visit to Artisans d'Angkor, a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Experience. Later we'll visit Wat Damnak and participate in a private blessing ceremony during which a sacred thread will be tied around our wrists to protect against evil spirits. Our final stop today is to the labyrinthine Old Market, where the locals spend their early mornings shopping for fresh fruit, vegetables and spices. Wander past the busy stalls and smell freshly baked baguettes, a remnant of the country's French heritage.
  • Day 13 Temples of Angkor Our intimate encounter with a lost empire continues today, as we uncover other iconic sites of the ancient abandoned city of Angkor that have been devoured by the Cambodian jungle. We explore its ancient ruins in the company of saffron-clad monks and monkeys that clamber up and over the roots of centuries-old trees that have carved their way deep into the Great City's walls. Our first stop today is a visit to the fortified Angkor Thom, where we'll see such iconic sites as the Terrace of Elephants, the Royal Enclosure and the Temple of Bayon with its giant smiling faces of Buddha. We venture underneath the dense tree canopy to the crumbling, moss-covered ruins of the Buddhist temple of Ta Prohm, which featured as the location for the film 'Tomb Raider', exploring its towers courtyards and corridors to uncover the intricate stone reliefs that are shielded by the surrounding foliage. Enjoy an afternoon at leisure or consider joining an Optional Experience to learn the secrets of Khmer cuisine or our MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) lunch experience at SPOONS Caf?.
  • Day 14 Visit Peak Sneng Village We begin the day in the company of local Khmer villagers with a MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Experience walk through the village to see how they spend their day-to-day lives. We'll Dive Into Culture, gaining insights into their time-honored craft traditions, such as weaving Cambodia's national hats made from palm leaves, or folding Lotus flowers into delicate works of art. After the rest of the day at leisure, this evening to say farewell to those not continuing on to Phnom Penh tomorrow, we'll join our Travel Director and fellow expeditioners for a Farewell Dinner with Apsara dance show.
  • Day 15 Farewell Cambodia Transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Dining Summary
  • 1 - Welcome Reception
  • 12 - Breakfast
  • 7 - Lunch
  • 2 - Dinner
  • 1 - Regional Dinner
  • 1 - Be My Guest
  • 1 - Farewell Dinner Be My Guest Chiang Mai: Join the Saiwangjit family who live in a wooden Thai stilt house for a traditional northern Thai-style meal. Dive Into Culture Bangkok: Visit Lumpini Park in Bangkok and join the locals in their daily T'ai Chi practice. Bangkok: Enjoy a traditional Thai massage in the grounds of Wat Pho, a centre for traditional Thai massage. Bangkok: Learn the secrets of Thai cooking and visit a local market to buy fresh ingredients. : Stop at a coconut palm sugar plantation and discover how the farmer extracts the sap from the palm trees to be turned into sugar. Iconic Experience Bangkok: Begin your city tour by visiting Bangkok's Grand Palace, home to the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand, Wat Phra Kaew. Continue your exploration of the city and its renowned landmarks. Bangkok: Embark on an Express River Cruise on the Chao Praya River and admire the beautiful Temple of the Dawn along the way. Damnoen Saduak Floating Market: Visit the famous floating market at Damnoen Saduak and paddle along the canals laden with fresh produce to sell. Kanchanaburi: Discover the "Death Railway" when you visit Hellfire Pass and learn about the horrible conditions of which the prisoners of WWII had to endure when building this landmark. Kanchanaburi: Bask in the views of the Kwai River as you make your way across wooden viaducts on your scenic train ride. Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya: Delve into the rich trading history of the UNESCO-listed Ayutthaya as you embark on your city tour. Sukhothai: Visit Sukhothai Historical Park and choose to explore the park by bicycle or tram tour. Sukhothai: Spend some time with a local family and learn the art of amulet making and how these jewels protect the owner from harm. Chiang Mai: Spend the evening enjoying a walk through the vibrant Sunday market of Chiang Mai with your Travel Director. Chiang Mai: See the vibrant paper umbrellas that are famously crafted in the San Kamphaeng District. Wat Suan Dok: Visit Wat Suan Dok Temple, marvel at the golden details and meet a local monk. Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep: Visit Wat Doi Suthep, which is one of Thailand's most sacred temples and listen closely for the chanting of the monks. Angkor Wat: Join your Local Specialist and immerse yourself in the stories of the celestial nymphs and mystical serpents. Angkor Wat: Discover the Banteay Srei Temple, also known as the "Citadel of Women" where you can admire delicate 10th-century carvings. Wat Damnak: Experience a private blessing with a Monk where a sacred thread is tied around your wrists to protect you against evil spirits. Angkor Thom: Enjoy a visit to Angor Thom and admire the iconic sites of the Terrace of Elephants, the Royal Enclosure and the Temple of Bayon. MAKE TRAVEL MATTER(R) Natonchan: On a visit to Natonchan we interact with the locals and meet one of the villagers to learn about traditional crafts such as gymnastic doll making and creating textiles in an array of patterns which are then soaked in mud to protect them from fading. Siem Reap: Visit Artisans d'Angkor, where our visit contributes to creating job opportunities for disadvantaged rural youths and at Peak Sneng village, meeting local villagers and discovering some traditional Cambodian crafts. Must-see Highlights : Explore Bangkok and Chiang Mai : Visit the Grand Palace, the temples of Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Pho in Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak floating market, the ancient city of Ayutthaya, Sukhothai Heritage, Siem Reap Old Town, the temples of Angkor Wat, Banteay Srei, Wat Damnak, Angkor Thom, Ta Prohm and Peak Sneng Village Park Whats Included : Flight from Bangkok to Sukhothai and Chiang Mai to Siem Reap. : An expert Travel Director and professional Driver : Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted : All porterage and restaurant gratuities : All hotel tips, charges and local taxes : Breakfast daily and up to half of your evening meals : Must-see sightseeing and surprise extras : Audio headsets for flexible sightseeing : Luxury air-conditioned coach with Wi-Fi in most countries or alternative transportation (such as rail journeys) : Optional Experiences and free time : On occasion, hotels of similar standard and location may be utilised.
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