Support an important animal welfare initiative and get close to incredible creatures at the Elephant Nature Park. Visit the home of the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, learn about its dark history and the construction of the railway during the war. Enjoy lunch on board a slow trip down the Mekong River observing the stunning scenery and remote village life, while visiting a cave crowded with shrines is all done at a relaxed pace.. With a visit to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, immerse yourself in the wonders of an ancient tribal culture without compromising on creature comforts
Thailand and Laos are two of South East Asia’s most exciting locations, thanks to a thrilling mix of bustling cities, natural splendour and historic intrigue. This 23-day trip begins in Bangkok and delves in-depth to the diverse Thonburi neighbourhood, before swapping the urban jungle for the incredible prehistoric forests of Khao Sok National Park. Based in unique boutique rainforest accommodation, explore the spectacular landscape of waterfalls and wildlife-laden trees of the park. Get acquainted with locals at a nearby village, then cross to the sublime Andaman Sea to cruise between isolated islands and feast on fresh fish. End on the extravagant island of Phuket, discovering the unique Old Town and farewelling this adventure with a dinner at a restaurant with an unbeatable location. This luxurious adventure offers just the right mix of city, beach, jungle and culture.
Breakfast Included: 22 Lunches Included: 4 Dinner Included: 7
Welcome to Thailand. One of our transfer representatives will collect you from the airport and take you to your hotel. After settling into your room, your journey begins with an important meeting at 6 pm. Please check for the Peregrine noticeboard in the reception area of the Hotel. Please advise your flight details at the time of booking so we can arrange your airport transfer. With free time, acquaint yourself with this frenetic city of tuk tuks, street food and traditional khlong boats winding down the Chao Phraya River. Tonight you'll enjoy a welcome dinner at a great local restaurant.
Enjoy a day of sightseeing and activities in lively Bangkok. Visit Wat Po, a larger-than-life temple complex in the city. This is the home of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is among the six officially recognised highest calibre temples in Thailand, and it's certainly one of the most impressive. Also visit the majestic Grand Palace, which has been the official residence of the kings since the 1700s, and enjoy a boat tour of the city's khlongs (canals) to see another, more tranquil, side of Bangkok. The afternoon is free to do as you wish, perhaps visiting Jim Thompson house or enjoying a Thai massage. You’ll have a BTS day pass so you can use the sky train to help you get around.
Travel by private transport to Kanchanaburi (approximately 3.5 hours). While the township may appear modern, it holds a dark past. Many Allied prisoners of war and conscripted Asian labourers were engaged here to help build a rail route to Myanmar (Burma), including the passage infamously known as Hellfire Pass. Visit the memorial museum of the pass to learn more about this chapter in history, and take a historical train journey along a portion of this 'death railway'.
Make the short drive to the Erawan National Park and waterfall. Its radiant emerald green ponds, named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology, make for a lovely photo opportunity. On the way back to Kanchanaburi, stop in at the World War II cemetery and museum and spend some time there. This cemetery is the main resting place for the prisoners of war who laboured suffered under Japanese rule in building the Thai-Burma Railway.
Depart Kanchanaburi in the morning and drive to Hup Pa Tat (approximately 3 hours). Spend an hour or so exploring this beautiful green area surrounded by limestone mountains. Legend has it that centuries ago this valley was a gigantic cave, until the ceiling caved in; massive chunks of limestone lying on the valley floor support the theory. Next you continue to Uthaithani town (approximately 1 hour) and enjoy some lunch there. Afterwards, visit nearby Wat Tha Sung (Crystal Hall). In the evening, sit down to dinner while cruising on a traditional rice barge, watching village life along the riverfront stream by, as the sun sets over the beautiful countryside.
Travel by private transport from Uthai Thani to Sukhothai (approximately 3.5 hours). In the afternoon you have the option to visit the Organic Culture Project and spend a couple of hours joining in on traditional Thai farm activities. Check out the organic vegetable garden and attend a demonstration out in the rice fields.
Sukhothai, established in the 13th century, was one of the first ancient capitals of Siam. Famed for its World Heritage listed historical park, which captures the Golden Age of Thai civilisation, the capital's name literally means 'Dawn of Happiness'. Today we visit the historical park, which spans the ruins of the town. You will rent a bicycle and take part in a cycle tour. As you ride around, you'll learn more about the history of this former metropolis and its fascinating structures. Enjoy a home-cooked picnic lunch in the beautiful grounds of Sukhothai Park. The rest of the afternoon is free, you might want to simply read a book by the pool back at your resort.
Travel from Sukhothai to Chiang Mai by private minivan (approximately 4 hours). In the afternoon, embark on an exciting culinary tour around town. Hidden down the back alleys of the city’s old town district you will sample dishes like khao man gai and khao kha moo from many local shops unknown to the tourist eye. Chat with street food vendors who have been serving the same dishes for more than 20 years and understand the influences that Isan and Shan have had on the Northern Thailand’s culinary scene. Your local guide will also suggest many other places you can eat throughout your time in Chiang Mai.
Head out and visit the Elephant Nature Park not too far from Chiang Mai (approximately 1 hour). Spend time at this important institution, learning about the various projects dedicated to rehabilitating and protecting elephants and other animals. There is many viewing platforms around the park that will get you up close with these wonderful creatures and you can even help out with feeding them. Banquet style lunch will also be included with the visit.
Start the morning with a visit to a local market to pick up an offering to take to Wat Suan Dok Monastic temple. This temple not only has one of the oldest stupa built in 1371 but also has the most beautiful cemetery for family members of the King of Chiang Mai. At the same location you will find Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University - a specific University for Buddhist Monks. Here you have a very unique opportunity to chat with some monks and learn the basics of Buddhism and you can ask them more about their schooling and lifestyle. Later, drive through rolling green countryside (approximately 2 hours) to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, your quarters for the night. The Hmong are an ethnic minority in Thailand who originated in the south of China. Today they comprise the second largest hilltribe group in Thailand. After a barbeque dinner in the lodge's open-air dining area, the day concludes with a cultural performance by the Hmong people. You'll gain an insight into the traditional lifestyle of the tribe, with a wedding ceremony enactment, shamanic ritual and makong (cotton ball) throwing.
Drive back to Chiang Mai for your flight to beautiful Luang Prabang, the jewel in Laos' crown. Spend the afternoon on your own exploring this charming, French-infused riverside town. Today you are also welcomed to the country with a Baci ceremony, which aims to bring the 32 souls (khouan) that look after you back to your body and attract beneficial influences. This ceremony is traditionally performed at all important events in a person's life.
Wake early to participate in the giving of alms, a daily ceremony between the monks and local folk. Alms giving takes place daily as the sun rises, beginning on the main street of Luang Prabang before spreading out to side streets. Follow the locals as they kneel down, ready to give offerings to the monks. Common gifts include rice, fruit and sweet snacks. The idea of the alms giving is for the Buddhist monks to make merit and to collect food for their one meal of a day. Later that morning, enjoy a visit to the Traditional Art Ethnology Centre before starting a boat trip on the sun-kissed Mekong River. This is an essential activity in Luang Prabang, as the river has a such a strong and central presence in the city. It's also a great chance to see the riverside from a different angle, with all its stately French villas, trees, and slow-paced two-wheeled traffic. Further along the stream, outside of town, you visit the Pak Ou Caves, located at the confluence of the rivers Mekong and Ou. Enjoy lunch on the boat along the way.