DAY 1: ARRIVAL BANGKOK
Arrive at Bangkok International Airport. Meet our guide at the EXIT no.3 and private transfer to hotel. Check in and free time at leisure.
Evening, meet our guide and private transfer to enjoy dinner on Loy Nava cruise. Loy Nava, the originator of Chao Phraya dinner cruises and operator of the uniquely beautiful antique teakwood rice barge, the Tahsaneeya Nava, awaits with pleasure the opportunity to serve you with the same attention to detail and standards as we have offered to royalty, celebrities and visitors from all parts of the world over the past thirty years. We will take you on a journey through Thai history, culture and gastronomy in a truly romantic ambiance and guarantee that it will be an experience of Thailand you will never forget.
DAY 2: BANGKOK CITY TOUR
09:00am, meet our guide at the lobby of hotel and private transfer to discover temples and the palace.
Uncover the royal and spiritual riches of Bangkok with this cultural half-day guided tour taking in the architectural masterpiece that is the Grand Palace of the kings of Siam and the wonderful Wat Pho and Wat Traimit temples, where the star attractions are golden Buddha, each one very special in its own right.
The Grand Palace is the historic royal mini-city located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It comprises dozens of buildings, courtyards, halls, temples, pagodas, garden and even a miniature mountain. The palace was the residence of the kings of Siam from 1782 to 1925 and among the attractions are the Funeral and Coronation halls while another big draw is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, where a 45cm statue of the Gautama Buddha was carved from one piece of solid translucent jade.
Adjacent to the Grand Palace is the city’s oldest temple, Wat Pho, which is famed for the Reclining Buddha. This 43 metre-long figure is covered in gold leaf and reaches up to 15 metres at its highest point. There are also more than 1,000 images of the Lord Buddha as well as a sacred tree.
NOTE: There is a strict dress code for visiting the Grand Palace. The Temple of the Emerald Buddha is Thailand’s most sacred site. Visitors must be properly dressed before being allowed entry to the temple. Men must wear long pants and shirts with sleeves — no tank tops. If you’re wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.) Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders, etc.
Conclude the tour at the Wat Traimit temple, which is home to a 5.5-tonne solid gold Buddha with an intriguing tale to tell. The Golden Buddha is believed to be about seven centuries old and at some point it was covered in plaster to hide its true value. Over time, this was forgotten and it was only when it fell in 1954 that its true composition was discovered.
DAY 3: BANGKOK – CHIANG MAI
Breakfast at hotel. Private transfer with guide from your hotel to Bangkok Airport and fly to Chiang Mai.
Upon arrival Chiang Mai, our guide will wait and welcome you at the airport. Today, head half-way up Doi Suthep – the mountain that towers over the city of Chiang Mai – to find the highly-revered Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. A visit here is an absolute must for first-time visitors, and part of the allure is in the journey getting here. Make the exciting drive up along the long and winding road to enjoy a surprisingly cooling of the surrounding air as you ascend.
Arrive at the temple and leave the car behind to start the walk up to the top. Opt to conquer the 300 steps, or swap two feet for a cable car instead. At the top, explore the central chedi adorned in golden flakes, renowned for its glittering façade under the mid-day sun. The architecture, statues, murals and shrines seen here are nothing short of breathtaking, and promise commanding views over the surrounding wilderness.
Evening, get a taste of what makes northern Thai food distinctive and famous even among Thailand’s iconic cuisine. Tonight’s outing is your chance to experience a unique and rather delicious Thai custom, the ‘Khantoke’ dinner. Served in large platters on low tables, enjoy a selection of iconic Northern-style dishes, including spicy chili dip with steamed vegetables, crispy pork skin, fried chicken wings, spicy sausage and the classic Burmese-inspired pork curry.
During your meal, enjoy a line-up of live dance and music performances by members of surrounding ethnic hill tribes, including Karen, Hmong, Lahu, Akha, Mien and Lisu. To cap off a memorable night, you’re invited to join in with the final act called ‘Ramwong’, where you can dance, smile and laugh alongside the local performers.
DAY 4: CHIANG MAI
Surrounded by the lush tropical jungles of Chiang Mai’s Mae Sa Valley, this landscape offers elephants their natural surroundings, and for much of the day the animals are free to roam around the camp. The mahout’s, or trainers, philosophy is to create a natural and healthy environment for the elephants while working to conserve and breed them. During your visit, get the once-in-a-lifetime chance to meet Thailand’s national animal with feeding and bathing sessions, as well as spectacular daily performances. Ride an elephant for 50 minutes. During the journey home, stop to visit an orchid farm, housing a large selection of exotic and colourful blooms.
DAY 5: CHIANG MAI – DEPARTURE
With Chiang Mai’s rich cultural diversity, there is no surprise you can find products from around the region at local handicraft markets. This tour will lead you to Sankampaeng District, the heart of the handicraft industry in the city. Many of Thailand’s major producers are located here and you’ll find all of the traditional crafts of both the old days and the new. Spend some time exploring the different craft shops and stalls, and even learn how some of Chiang Mai’s famous products are made, from silk umbrella painting, cotton weaving and lacquer ware, an ancient art form of decorating wooden objects with layers of black lacquer. Pick up some handicrafts to bring home, or buy some materials so you can try out your new craftsmanship skills on your own.
Drive back to hotel. Free time at leisure until private transfer with guide from hotel to Chiang Airport and fly to your next destination.
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