Welcome to Bangkok fellow globe roamers, where 25 glorious days of Asia exploration lie ahead of us. After checking into our hotel you may wish to do some DIY exploring, grab a massage or just lie by the pool soaking up those sweet Thai rays. Later the group will join forces to hear what's in store for the trip, then the night is yours. Maybe take to the streets for some authentic pad thai and eye-popping nightlife, or jump in a tuk-tuk and hit the buzzy Patpong Night Market, with its neon lights and vibrant street life.
The Royal Palace and its 61 acres of incredible buildings will be number one on today's to do list. We'll start the day early, with so much to see there's no time to waste. We'll take a Locally Guided tour of Wat Arun temples, sitting by the side of the Chao Phraya River. The temple is one of the symbols of Thailand, with its golden temples gleaming in the sunshine giving us a peep into Thailand's Royal past. We'll follow this up with a tour of the klongs (canals) and some fish feeding, as well as watching locals go about their day and living life along the river. Just listing today's sites gives us the butterflies, and we'll take it all in with our Local Guide leading the charge. Armed with more Local knowledge than we know what to do with, get ready for ME Time. From shopping, grabbing a massage to indulding in delicious local eats, this afternoon is gearing up to be brilliant. Bangkok, you've been a dream, but the show must go on! Fast becoming a must-visit in this part of the world, we make tracks to our next destination, the sleepy town of Kanchanaburi to really get local. We jump straight into the way of life here, visiting sites including learning about the darker times past at the WWII Cemetery and the famed Bridge on the River Kwai, with our guide giving us all the info we need on this riverside spot steeped in history. There's nothing like getting some local transport to keep things intersting, so we'll pop into a boat along the River Kwai where we'll reach our home for the night, the The Jungle Raft Hotel, Kanchanaburi. Rooms lit by candle light are what you'll be greeted with, followed by a delicious included dinner of local specialties at dusk. You can even jump in the river directly from your room. Amazing! Because of course here at Contiki we like to keep things a bit special. Tonight as we watch the sunset over the landscape we'll no doubt be toasting our first full day on the trip and contemplating just how good life is.
Waking up in paradise is what your first thought of the day will be...after a no doubt blissful slumber. What's on the cards is pretty dreamy, swims and chill should be high on the agenda, or explore the local village for a cup of coffee and some people watching. After lunch we'll go chasing waterfalls in beautiful Erawan National Park. Chances are you've probably seen the photos - Thailand's 12th National Park is made up of lush forests, waterfalls, endless plains and streams. This is the stuff that Instagram dreams are made of, so grab that camera as we explore the local trails keeping our eyes peeled for birds, or even wild elephants if you're lucky. After a morning getting a nature fix, we make our way to the ancient city of Ayutthaya for a serious throwback into Thailand's past. Tonight, grab the crew and head to a local restaurant for dinner and a few drinks. Known as 'the' place to try some freshwater prawns, it would be downright wrong not to get out there and see what all the fuss is about.
Fuel up on breakfast this morning as we'll be heading out for our included bike tour of Ayutthaya with the crew. We love getting up on two wheels, and you'll soon realise why it's one of our favourite ways to get around. Cycling past pretty villages, rice paddies and temples, you'll see there's no better way of exploring this UNESCO listed city and its surrounds, which was once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam. The city ruins now form the Ayutthaya Historical Park, with the tall towers (prangs) standing as beautiful ruins that dot the landscapes, giving a glimpse into the glorious past of this once thriving metropolis. After freshening up at the hotel and perhaps a little more exploring, it's all aboard the overnight train to Chiang Mai, where tomorrow will be a full day of exploring.
Good morning travellers. We pull into Thailand's northern capital bright and early, and the city is yours to make the most of YOU style - maybe that means roaming the old quarter or the city's heart on foot, maybe it means little more than a Thai massage or lazing back by the hotel pool. Tonight, why not explore the buzzy night markets that make Chiang Mai so legendary, just ask your Trip Manager for some tips on where to head and what to do.
After some city vibes, it's time to get a little bit rural. A solid dose of culture is approaching our horizons, so a scenic drive through lush rolling hills and local towns is just what we need. Rolling into Pai (pronounced 'bye') this morning, prepare to be wowed by this picturesque mountain town. The rest of the day is yours to explore the town your way. Head out on foot, or even by bike and explore this traveller paradise with it's little streets that pack some punch, no doubt stopping for some freshly squeezed juices and coconut shakes to keep things fresh. This afternoon, why not pick up some Muay Thai skills from an expert, then head out to experience Pai by night - a quintessential traveller's experience to rival that of its big sister Khao San Road in Bangkok.
Pai, it's been real, but we've got more to see and do, and new lands to uncover. Chiang Mai It’s back to Chiang Mai today, because 1 day in this city is just never enough. And with a ziplining experience on the cards today for those feeling adventurous, we'll be thanking ourselves for this chance to return. Tonight, dabbling in the art of Thai cooking will be one activity that most of us can't resist. Cooking Class.
With memories firm in tact and firm plans for a reunion trip being discussed over one last delicious Asian breakfast we end our trip here in Chiang Mai. For those choosing to travel back to Bangkok, speak to your Travel Agent/Contiki about adding on a flight back to Bangkok where your trip will end on arrival.
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Trip Name: Northern Thai Highlights
Duration: 8 Days
From Price: 1135
Trip Code: 163518
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