North to South
This amazing vacation will take you the length of Thailand where you’ll find yourself hunting the markets of Bangkok for the best bargains, traveling north to ride elephants in the hills of Chiang Mai and coming down south to rest on the white sands of Phang Nga.
Once you’ve landed in Bangkok it’s straight to your hotel, the stunning riverside Peninsula. Soak in the sights, sounds and smells that make up Bangkok in all its vibrancy as your guide takes you through the streets and stores, cutting past the traffic by chartering a canal boat to the Grand Palace and Erewan Shrine or riding a tuk-tuk through the khlong communities of Bangkok Noi.
We’ll take you out on a night stroll across Bangkok, visiting the night markets and snacking on delicacies. The next morning you’re off to the floating market of Tha Kha to try your hand at haggling for some bargains and to sample some more Thai food then board a traditional long-tail boat to cruise through the palm plantations and visit Talad Rom Hoob, the train station doubling as a market.
Landing in Chiang Rai head to your beautiful bolthole – Le Méridien Resort. Immerse yourself in the local culture and head over to Doi Mae Salong and the Golden Triangle for a gentle hike through the sloping tea plantations and hill tribe villages.
Drive through the hills back down south for an afternoon tour of Chiang Mai; from the Doi Suthep and Wat Chedi Luang temples to the night bazaar, there’s more than enough to keep you enthralled. Take on the role of elephant trainer for the day as you learn how to feed, command and best of all, ride your very own elephant. Amble along, 12 feet off the ground, through forest paths and up hillsides as you make your way towards the nearby waterfall for a spot of bathing with the elephants.
After all the temples, markets, boat rides and elephants, we reckon you’ll have deserved some time off. Luckily, the Sarojin Resort in Phang Nga is designed to perfectly accommodate all your needs. Think infinity pools, long stretches of beach, even jungle dining besides the resort waterfall… If you’re still feeling adventurous, spend your last few days in Thailand exploring the nearby National Park of Khao Lak, or take a dip on the Surin Islands, one of the world’s top ten dive sites.
East to West
Pioneer your way off the beaten track in this incredible journey, seeing untouched Thailand and all the treasures it carries. Switch the bustle of Bangkok for the north-eastern city of Udon Thani with a short flight and then prepare to give the crowds the slip as you cross the mystical Phu Lua mountain range to reach your hillside teakwood sanctuary at Phu Pha Nam, your base for the next two nights. From here you can explore Phu Luang Wildlife Reserve, home to more than a hundred elephants, rare flora and fauna and a mind-blowing 120 million-year-old dinosaur footprint.
Next, let the Mekong River guide you through sleepy villages and farming communities for a glimpse of unspoilt rural Thailand, stopping off to rest at the enchanting Mekong Villas, with unrivalled views of the idyllic still water and over the border to Laos. Continue your riverside trail to your next destination – the charming town of Nong Khai, rich in culture and influences from next-door Laos. Here you can drop by the fantastic Buddhist and Hindu-inspired concrete sculptures at Sala Kaew Ku and meet the friendly locals before resting up in the beautiful grounds of Nong Khai Resort.
Achieve enlightenment in one of the region’s wonders at Wat Phu Tok, a remarkable Buddhist temple atop scarlet sandstone cliffs and home to over fifty monks and stunning views. As your week winds to a close, traverse the beautiful rice plains and peaceful Ubonrat Dam to finish your trip with a bang in the glitter of Kohn Kaen. Dine in first-rate restaurants and sip in downtown bars before dozing off in the plush Pullman Raja Orchid – the perfect subwaypolitan ending to your unforgettable week in the Thailand where few have gone before you.