Welcome to Thailand
As your co-hosts, we are so excited to have you join us on this adventure filled with wonder. Upon arrival, you will be transferred from the airport to the hotel accompanied by your guide in the comfort of a private, air-conditioned vehicle. Your guide will make sure your check process is seamless. The time now to just relax and enjoy the amenities offered by the hotel.
Check-in at the Riva Surya Bangkok Hotel
Along the Chao Phraya River in the heart of Bangkok, Riva Surya is surrounded by some of the city’s most treasured historical sites. A 68-room boutique hotel, Riva Surya adds a touch of style and charm to this bustling locale. Surrounded by cultural treasures and within walking distance of the lively entertainment district of Khao San Road, Riva Surya gives you direct access to many popular sites and connects you to the city center via a distinctive mode of transportation, the river boat.
Long-Boat Tour through Bangkok's Canals
This afternoon we will take a long-tail boat through Bangkok’s canals to discover the city’s local ways of life and iconic monuments. Starting with a ride along the Chao Phraya River, also known as the ‘River of Kings’, admire the passing skyline where glittering pagodas stand in the shadows of towering skyscrapers. The boat then turns off the main waterway and onto the canals, or ‘klongs’. See why Bangkok is often called the ‘Venice of the East while cruising along the intricate network of canals. Capture glimpses of small villages on the water’s edge and enjoy the slower pace of life away from the city center.
Cruising back onto the Chao Phraya we will visit Wat Arun, meaning "The Temple of Dawn" and one of Thailand's most beautiful temples. This 259-foot high pagoda is built in a style similar to Angkor Wat.
After crossing the river, we will disembark at one of Bangkok’s busiest piers and take a short walk to the seat of Thailand's revered Royal family for more than two centuries - the glittering Grand Palace. While exploring this spectacular complex of palaces, temples and museums we will learn about the history of the Royals. As we take our leave from this remarkable palace, don't miss a visit to the Emerald Buddha image, one of Thailand’s most sacred statues.
This evening we will be exploring the vibrant streets and tranquil temples along with our local guide to gain a different perspective of this capital city. Following our evening tour, we will enjoy dinner with a beautiful sunset view.
November 5th: Explore Local Markets by Land and by Water - Taste Local Delicacies
Whatever floats ur boat...
No country does markets quite like Thailand, and this tour allows us to experience two of the more unusual examples of these traditional trading hubs.
This morning we will have an early start to visit an amazing local market set up on the railway tracks. When a train pulls in or out of the station, the vendors quickly clear their stalls, setting them up again moments later when the train has passed! The journey continues on to the rural province of Samut Songkhram, home of the Tha Kha floating market where narrow wooden boats line the canals, filled with fresh fruit and other local produce.
Our relaxing boat ride through the labyrinth of canals will offer us the chance to stop and enjoy a cooling coconut drink with a friendly local family, before the tour continues to a local Buddhist temple and the King Rama II Memorial Park, filled with an ornate collection of Thai-style pavilions.
Time to regroup and refresh back at the hotel for a couple of hours.
This evening, we will hop onto Bangkok’s iconic 3-wheel Tuk Tuks, for a night adventure ride to visit the best local eateries. Bangkok claims to be the city that never stops eating and is especially well known for its street food. We will be joining many of the local Bangkokians as they usually find themselves eating out at night.
One of the stops along our way will include the local favorite restaurant of Northern Thai-Isan Food, a 2 star Michelin restaurant for 2 consecutive years. It's signature dish "Guay Tiew Gai" (rice noodles with chicken) is considered the best in town and popular with both locals and foreigners alike.
Some of the city’s old town landmarks we will visit include Wat Pho, the famous iconic sight of Bangkok. We will be enjoying a night time perspective as the chedis (buddist monuments) will be beautifully illuminated while we learn all about the history of the temple. In addition we will take a stroll through Pk Klong Talad, the city’s largest flower market which is busy 24-hours a day with wholesale vendors and local shoppers. Explore stalls where orchids, flowers, vegetables and other items spill over into the walkways. We will have a chance to taste some local snacks or fruits.
Our final tour stop this evening will be a secret, outdoor hidden bar located by the river. Sip on chilled Thai beer or your drink of choice, while enjoying amazing night views of the Chao Phraya River along with the glittering Temple of Dawn.
Then it's back to the hotel by tuk tuk to anticipate what awaits us tomorrow!
November 6th: Transfer from Bangkok to Chiang Rai
Today we'll be picked up from our hotel and transferred to Bangkok airport, where we'll hop on a quick 1-hour, 25-minute flight to Chiang Rai. Our private driver will meet us there to escort us to the hotel.
Check-in at Phu Chaisai Resort & Spa
Room / Bed Type
Close by, but a world away, Phu Chaisai is the iconic Northern Thailand destination resort and one of the first boutique resorts of Thailand to incorporate lifestyle and wellness experiences such as yoga and organically grown produce. Set among an unspoiled and lush subtropical mountain forest, peace and tranquility await you at Phu Chaisai. All cottages incorporate natural building materials to blend into the natural surroundings. Phu Chaisai is noted for its gentle Northern Thai hospitality, authentic regional Thai cuisine and open-air spa. At Phu Chaisai, television sets and electronic alarm clocks are absent from your room so you can rise to the sound of an awakening forest in your luxurious bamboo accommodation.
November 7th: Estate Farm Experience - Includes Cooking with Locals
Today's our day to have a real farm-to-table experience! The experience begins in the garden where we will help to select and pick fresh organic ingredients from our farm such as Duck Egg, Chicken Egg, Mushroom, Vegetable, Banana, Banana Flower or Bamboo Shoot (Season dependent). Next you can show off your culinary skills as we prepare today's harvest with an expert local chef from the village.
Throughout the day, head farmer Lung Adult will introduce us to the farm's livestock such as their buffalo and he will share the secrets to growing rice and tapping rubber trees.
November 8th: Chaing Mai Transfer and a Visit to Wan Ring Khuyn (The White Temple) & Wat Ring Sua Ten (The Blue Temple)
Today, we transfer from Phu Chaisai to our hotel in Chiang Mai accompanied by our local guide in the comfort of a private, air-conditioned vehicle.
We will be visiting some of the more recent architectural additions in Chang Mai.
Wat Rong Khun (popularly known as "The White Temple") is a privately owned art exhibit and a unique temple that stands out through the white color and the use of pieces of glass in the plaster, sparkling in the sun. The white color signifies the purity of the Buddha, while the glass symbolizes the Buddha’s wisdom and the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings. By the end of the 20th century, the original Wat Rong Khun was in disrepair.
Chalermchai Kositpipat, a local artist from Chiang Rai, decided to completely rebuild the temple and fund the project with his own money. The artist considers the temple to be an offering to Buddha and believes the project will give him immortal life. Today the works are ongoing but are not expected to be completed until 2070 (I guess a return visit for all of us will be in order!).
Wat Rong Sua Ten, also known as the Blue Temple, is immediately recognizable for its brilliant shade of rich sapphire. The temple walls, roof, and surrounding statues are all covered in this gorgeous hue, an unusual decorative choice in a country where most temples are made of gold. This color is symbolically associated with purity, wisdom, and the lack of materialism that Buddhists aspire to. The temple is a fascinating fusion of traditional Buddhist values and classic Thai architecture with extremely contemporary design choices. This modernism makes sense — the Blue Temple was designed by Putha Kabkaew, a student of the artist who built the eccentric White Temple.
Check-in at Tamarind Village Hotel Chiang Mai
Room / Bed Type
Lanna Deluxe Room
Tamarind Village is a unique and charming boutique property that nestles in the heart of historic Chiang Mai. Surrounded by ancient temples and quaint shopping streets, it takes its name from a magnificent 200-year-old tamarind tree that shelters the hotel in its shady embrace. Tamarind Village is situated at the center of Chiang Mai’s old town. Many of Chiang Mai’s historic landmarks and temples such as Thapae Gate, the Three Kings Monument, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang are located within a few minute's walk of the hotel. Each week, Chiang Mai’s famous ‘Sunday Walking Street’ takes place just in front of the hotel’s entrance.
November 9th: Temple Hike and Visit to White Hmong Hill Tribe Village
Temple Hike, Visit White Hmong Hill Tribe village
Make sure to lace up your tennies for an adventurous day today!
After breakfast we will be driving up the famous Doi Suthep Mountain. Our first stop will be at one of Thailand's most beautiful and sacred temples - Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Built in the early 19th Buddhist century, the beauty of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is marked by seven-headed serpent statues that line the stairs to the temple where a Chiang Saen style golden pagoda and all its exquisite Lanna architecture is situated. At 4,00 feet above sea level, the temples location offers magnificent views over the city of Chiang Mai.
Following our temple visit, it's time for us to leave civilization behind for a while and commune with nature on a 6 mile hike up a slight hill. Please be aware that there may be the need to climb under or over fallen trees so please let us know if this will present a challenge for any of you. On our way we will be passing by coffee plantations until we reach the White Hmong Hill Tribe village where we will learn about tribal culture and enjoy a local lunch.
What goes up must come down and you'll be pleased to know that we will be heading back down the mountain by horsepower with tires and a steering wheel!
November 10th: Elephant Rescue Park
Elephant Rescue Park
Today we get to experience what it means to be a "mahout" or elephant caretaker as we visit the Elephant Rescue Park. This sanctuary for rescued elephants is situated in a pristine and picturesque valley of Chiang Mai. We will even be provided with traditional mahout uniforms.
As part of our mahout experience, we will have the opportunity to feed, observe, and interact with the elephants as we walk with them to beautiful viewpoints. where you will have plenty of wonderful photo opportunities. Enjoy bathing and brushing the elephants in their very own natural swimming pool. After a busy morning, a delicious home-cooked lunch will be waiting prepared especially for you.
Here's your chance to become Tom Sawyer for an hour or so as we jump on a home-made bamboo raft to float down the river. This is the perfect way to cool yourself off and immerse yourself in nature.
Tonight will be our farewell dinner together as tomorrow the group will divide and either remain in Thailand at Koh Yao Noi or continue on to Cambodia and Angkor Wat.
Extension Option One: November 11th - Transfer to Angkor Wat
Today we'll be transferred to Chiang Mai airport for the flight to Siem Reap in Cambodia. There, we'll be greeted by our guide and escorted to our hotel near Angkor Wat.
Check-in at The Aviary Hotel
Tailorbird Standard Room
Set in the heart of Siem Reap, The Aviary Hotel is a sophisticated urban oasis that has been inspired by nature and Cambodia’s rich heritage of traditional crafts. The 43-room eco-friendly hotel in Siem Reap is a relaxing sanctuary filled with locally commissioned artworks, which celebrate the beauty and diversity of the Kingdom’s birdlife. Luxurious, welcoming and personal, the hotel offers thoughtfully designed, quality accommodations in a modern environment with a uniquely Cambodian twist.
Extension Option One: Sunrise at the temple (optional)
Today you will have the option to sleep in or arise in the early hours of the morning and drive to the Angkor Archaeological Park for a spectacular sunrise with the temple as the background setting.
Watching the temple emerge from darkness to being bathed in early-morning light is an unforgettable experience and an amazing photo opportunity.
We will be returning to the hotel in time for breakfast.
After breakfast, we will all visit the famous Angkor Wat Temple.
Angkor Wat, the largest monument of the Angkor group and the best preserved, is an architectural masterpiece and is well known for the more than 2,000 Apsara dancers decorating the temple. Construction is thought to have taken thirty years of intensive labor. Today, Angkor Wat is featured on Cambodia's national flag as the temple symbolizes the soul of the Khmer people.
The tour continues with a visit to the Ta Prohm temple. Unlike most Angkorian temples, Ta Prohm is in much the same condition in which it was found: the photogenic and atmospheric combination of trees growing out of the ruins and the jungle surroundings have made it one of Angkor's most visited and popular temples. UNESCO inscribed Ta Prohm on the World Heritage List in 1992. If the temple looks familiar it's due to the fact it's been featured in several Hollywood movies such as Tomb Raider, Indiana Jones and Two Brothers.
Mid-afternoon we will return to the town/hotel for lunch where you can explore the local fare on your own.
Following lunch we will continue our visit to the marvels in this area by visiting the ancient city of Angkor Thom. This city was the last capital of the Great Khmer Empire. It is surrounded by 24-foot-high wall that forms a perfect square with each wall 1.5 miles long.
Bayon Temple is located in the exact center of the city and it's most distinctive feature is the multitude of serene and smiling stone faces on the many towers which jut out from the upper terrace.
Time to relax and enjoy Champagne, soft drinks, and canapes on our private gondola paddle boat ride out to the southwest corner of the Angkor Thom moat. Here we will ascend the rampart to the ruins of the small Prasat Chrung temple that overlooks the moat to the south and west. Enjoy the setting sun before re-boarding the gondola boat for the trip back to the South Gate of the city and ultimately back to our hotel.
Tonight dinner will be your chance to find a new favorite Cambodian restaurant on your own in Siem Riep.
Extension Option One: November 13th - Tour of Rural Siem Riep and The Banteay Srei Temple
Today we will escape the tourist hub of the heritage town and take to the beautiful countryside that exists in the shadow of Angkor Wat to experience authentic rural lifestyles. Following our drive past expansive rice fields and through local villages, we will board a private wooden vessel for a boat trip along a canal that leads to Tonle Sap Lake.
Tonlé Sap lake belongs to the Mekong River system and is the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. It is considered one of the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world, designated as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1997 due to its high biodiversity.
As we cruise along the canal we will have a window into what it's like to live on the water in stilt or floating houses as a result of the water in the lake that rises and falls annually.
To gain a better understanding of the local lifestyle we will have the opportunity to enjoy a delicious picnic lunch with a local family along the river in their stilt house.
Next, we continue our tour to Banteay Srei. Built of pink sandstone, Banteay Srei is one of the smallest temples you can visit but is considered to be one of the most beautiful. Built in 967 AD by a guru of Jayavarman V, it showcases the most exquisite, deep and complex carvings in all Khmer architecture. The carvings and bas relief are in perfect condition even after more than 1,000 years.
In a small contemporary pagoda, Buddhist monks will celebrate a private blessing ceremony for you, wishing you health and a safe journey – a very special experience!
During our return trip, we will be able to stop at several villages and learn more about this rural lifestyle from the locals themselves. Popular local products include Palm Wine and Palm Sugar (sampling seems like the only polite thing to do!) and you'll have the chance to see how rice paper is produced.
Tonight our trip comes to a close with a farewell dinner at a local restaurant with fellow travelers and new friends. Time to reminisce and share photos about your amazing experiences before we head back home.
Extension Option Two: November 11th - Transfer to Phuket then onward to Koh Yao Noi
In the morning, will be transferred to Chiang Mai airport for the 2-hour flight to Phuket. Upon arrival in Phuket, the private driver will be waiting to transfer the group by boat to the Paradise Koh Yao Botique Beach Resort and Spa .
Check-in at Paradise Koh Yao Boutique Beach Resort & Spa
Although only an hour away from Phuket, Paradise Koh Yao is away from the crowds, peaceful and quiet. It's a laid-back and close-to-nature setting that is perfect to relax and unwind. You'll enjoy walking on the 1,200-foot private beach, indulging in the tropical spa or practicing your yoga and meditation. Koh Yao Noi is unspoiled, largely untouched with a wonderful remote feel. The resort has 69 rooms, two restaurants and two bars. All of the exquisite rooms and villas are nestled in the tropical forest. They are spacious and private featuring a Thai-style semi-outdoor shower and Hollywood swing in the open sala living area. The main restaurant of the Paradise Koh Yao is nestled in a covered area among palm trees with additional seating on the open beach, looking out on the beautiful bay. In this wonderful tropical setting, you will enjoy outstanding Thai and Western cuisine. The restaurant offers a great variety of fresh seafood as well as changing buffets and a tasty a la carte menu.
Extension Option Two: November 12th & 13th - Day of Leisure and Evening Farewell on the 13th.
Free day for leisure. Feeling Active? Feel free to drop by the activity center of the resort and see what they have on offer to fill your day.
November 13th: Breakfast at the hotel and another relaxing day on the beach.
Tonight our trip comes to a close with a farewell dinner at the resort restaurant with fellow travelers and new friends. Time to reminisce and share photos about your amazing experiences before we head back home.
Extension Option One & Two: November 14th - Time to Depart
OPTION 1: Depart Siem Reap
Enjoy some time at leisure before being picked up and transferred to the airport for your flight home.
OPTION 2: Depart Koh Yao Noi
After breakfast, you will be picked up by the resort boat and brought back to Phuket airport in the comfort of a private, air- conditioned vehicle.
Next stop, the USA!
$3959/person based on double occupancy (does not include international flights)
$5037/person based on single occupancy (does not include international flights)
Discount is available if paying by check:
$3770/person based on double occupancy (does not include international flights)
$4797/person based on single occupancy (does not include international flights)
Non-refundable deposit due at time of registration - $1000
Final Non-Refundable Payment of the balance is due on or before September 4th, 2022
Insurance policies will be purchased as individuals, not groups, so not included in the deposit amount
Uplift gives you the freedom to buy what you want now and pay over time. With affordable monthly payments, you can easily budget for your trip. Spread the cost of your purchase over fixed monthly installments with no late fees or pre-payment penalties and with easy auto-pay, there are no payment dates to remember.