Day 1: Arrival Bangkok
You will be greeted at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure and dinner tonight will be at a selected local restaurant.
Day 2: Bangkok
Today explore Bangkok’s best cultural landmarks. See the glittering temples of the Grand Palace and the large reclining Buddha at Wat Po, one of the oldest temples in Bangkok. Cruise the mighty Chao Phraya by a longtail boat and pop into the famous Temple of Dawn. Marvel at how ancient sites lie alongside glittering shopping malls and skyscraper – that’s Bangkok!
Day 3: Bangkok – Ayutthaya
Discover the grandeur of Ayutthaya the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Hear the tales of palaces filled with gold, lavish ceremonies and decorative monasteries that were the envy of old world Europe. See Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch, with its three-spire pagodas and the magnificent Buddha image at Phra Mongkol Bophit. Wander the grounds of King Rama V summer retreat and see Wat Chamrun Palace and Bang Pa-In, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Cruise back to Bangkok on the Grand Pearl arriving in to the city late afternoon.
Day 4: Bangkok – Chiang Mai
Fly to Chiang Mai. See Chiang Mai from a unique perspective as you travel the old walled city area by samlor – a cyclo. Pop into the Art and Cultural Centre for an introduction to the history and culture of Northern Thailand. Continue to Wat Chedi Luang with its big stupa and Wat Prah Singha that houses a sacred Buddha. After a local lunch, drive to Chiang Mai’s most famous place, Doi Suthep Temple. Climb the stairs to the top of the temple and be rewarded with magnificent views over the valley.
Day 5: Chiang Mai
Spend the day riding elephants through the forest and swimming in the Mae Ping River. See how these giants live and get a glimpse at the unique and very real relationships between elephants and their mahouts, often each other’s best friends for life. See elephants at work, the baby training school and bath time! On the return journey to Chiang Mai you will stop at an orchid farm to see exotic species in full bloom.
Day 6: Chiang Mai
Learn the secrets to a good pad thai or green chicken curry with a cooking class at the Cooking@home Thai Culinary School. Start with a tour of the village market where you will learn about the different herbs and spices. Then it’s off to spend the morning cooking in the open-air Thai style kitchen surrounded by herb gardens and overlooking rice paddies. Lunch is included, and after the class you’ll receive a full-colour guide to Thai cuisine.
Day 7: Chiang Mai – Phuket
Fly to Phuket. Enjoy a leisurely morning before flying to Phuket arriving mid afternoon just in time for a swim and a round of sunset drinks.
Day 8: Phuket
Start your beach break with a speedboat journey to Phang Nga Bay, a network of islands and lagoons in the Andaman Sea. Whizz to deserted beaches and looming caves before stopping at the infamous Khao Ping Gan (Leaning Rock), which was featured in the 1974 James Bond movie The Man with the Golden Gun. Here, a seafood lunch is served, and you’ll have plenty of time to relax and swim in the perfectly turquoise sea.
Day 9 – 11: Phuket
Spend the rest of your trip enjoying some quality downtown on Thailand’s largest paradise island. If sitting all day on a beach is not your thing, the island offers many activities such as elephant trekking, white water rafting, rock climbing and plenty of water sports. Or stay in town and shop up a storm at the local markets
Day 12: Phuket
It’s your last chance for a swim or last minute shopping before transferring to the airport and your onward travel.