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MYSTICAL THAILAND
  11 DAYS FROM $2,299 US  
Details below or click here for more information INQUIRY FORM

Angkor Wat On this extraordinary journey, discover ancient traditions, tranquil temples, authentic cuisine, and cosmopolitan cities.

Thailand has more than 30,000 Buddhist temples, and they have always been important as a social and spiritual center. Along the way you’ll see some of the most famous temples, including the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Also learn about the way of life in Thailand when you take a boat ride through Bangkok’s canals to see family homes and temples built here. Enjoy the Damnoen Saduak floating market, where goods are sold from boats. Also visit the Hill Tribe Village of Akha, known for gorgeous headdresses decorated with silver coins; the Lahu, skilled hunters and masters of herbal medicine; and the famed Padaung long-necked women, who as girls have brass rings placed on their necks and legs, creating the visual illusion of stretching their necks. Other highlights include an elephant-back ride through the jungle, a traditional Thai massage, and participation in an almsgiving ceremony.

Thai food has become popular throughout the world, and you will sample it throughout the country and even take a cooking class. Exotic fruits and vegetables are especially abundant. Leave room in your suitcase, because Thailand offers great shopping—from night bazaars and boutiques to high-end mega malls—and Chiang Mai is especially famous for its high-quality handicrafts.

Colorful cultures, historical sites, amazing temples, and spectacular cuisine—all of this and more await you on this enriching journey!


Day 1 Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
Welcome to Thailand’s capital city! Hotel rooms are available for mid-afternoon check-in.

Day 2 Bangkok
Today’s sightseeing starts with a BOAT RIDE through the klongs, Bangkok’s canals, to see family homes, temples, and the way of life that gives this city the nickname “Venice of the East.” Stop at Wat Arun, the TEMPLE OF THE DAWN, whose 260-foot-tall spire has become identified with Bangkok. Continue on to the GRAND PALACE, comprised of the Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House, and the TEMPLE OF THE EMERALD BUDDHA. Last stop is at the TEMPLE OF THE RECLINING BUDDHA, the oldest and largest Buddhist temple in Bangkok. It houses more than 1,000 Buddha images, including the 49-foot-high and 151-foot long massive Reclining Buddha. This evening, enjoy a special THAI WELCOME DINNER featuring traditional cuisine and dancers performing stories from classical Thai literature. (B,L,D) Map

Day 3 Bangkok
Today is at your leisure to explore Bangkok. Perhaps join an optional tour to the Jim Thompson House and silk shop or enjoy a dinner cruise aboard a luxurious teak barge along the Chao Phraya River. Your Tour Director will have plenty of recommendations. (B)

Day 4 Bangkok–Excursion to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market–Chiang Rai
This morning, travel to [LF] DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET. This colorful market provides an interesting glimpse into local life. Take a longtail BOAT RIDE through the canals filled with small, flat boats expertly paddled by mature ladies who are ready to stop and bargain at a moment’s notice. Later, fly to Chiang Rai. (B,D)

Day 5 Chiang Rai. Excursion to the Golden Triangle
Today, climb narrow mountain roads with stunning views and visit several villages en route to DOI MAE SALONG, a settlement founded by Kuomintang soldiers who fled China in 1949. Continue to MAE SAI, a market town on the Myanmar border, then drive to the renowned GOLDEN TRIANGLE, where the Ruak and mighty Mekong Rivers meet. Enjoy views over Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand, and consider an optional boat trip on the Mekong River. Next, visit the HALL OF OPIUM, built to educate people on the history of opium in the area and to help combat illegal drugs. En route back to Chiang Rai, stop in CHIANG SAEN, where you can still see evidence of the original 13th-century city. Tonight, take a TRISHAW RIDE and WALKING TOUR through the local NIGHT BAZAAR. (B,L,D)

Day 6 Chiang Rai–Hill Tribe Visits–Ban Thaton
This morning you have some free time in Chiang Rai before taking a BOAT RIDE on the Kok River. Then, drive to visit several HILL TRIBE VILLAGES. The AKHA are known for gorgeous headdresses decorated with silver coins and the LAHU are skilled hunters and masters of herbal medicine. Continue on to a [LF] KAREN VILLAGE, home to the PADAUNG LONG-NECKED WOMEN. Early in life, brass rings are placed on the necks and legs of the village girls. As they age and mature, additional rings are added, creating the visual illusion of stretching their necks.You will also visit the LISU, who like to settle high in the mountains. (B,L,D)

Day 7 Ban Thaton–Chiang Mai
A short drive this morning brings you to Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city. For lunch, participate in a THAI COOKING CLASS, where you will learn how to make several local dishes. The afternoon is at your leisure. After a long day, enjoy a TRADITIONAL THAI MASSAGE at your hotel. (B,L)

Day 8 Chiang Mai
Rise early this morning to witness and participate in the [LF] ALMSGIVING CEREMONY, a very special Thai custom. Each morning before dawn, Buddhist monks don their distinctive saffron-colored robes and walk along the streets, carrying alms bowls and receiving boiled rice and condiment donations. Personally present alms to the monks, and you will receive their blessings! After breakfast in the hotel, drive up a winding mountain road to visit the WHITE HMONG PEOPLE, another of northern Thailand’s unique hill tribes. Here you will witness life in the village and visit a local school (if in session). Then, visit the temple of WAT PHRA THAT DOI SUTHEP, which offers a spectacular view of Chiang Mai and the surrounding valley. (B,L)

NOTE:
You will travel on rough dirt roads in a utility pick-up truck to visit the White Hmong people.

Day 9 Chiang Mai
This morning, visit an ORCHID FARM and an ELEPHANT CAMP. Here you will see skilled mahouts show how elephants have worked for centuries and you will RIDE AN ELEPHANT through the jungle. For the more adventurous, perhaps join the optional float trip on handmade bamboo rafts. You have time this afternoon for independent exploration. Tonight, join your traveling companions for a KHANTOKE DINNER & SHOW, featuring local cuisine and traditional music and dance celebrating the Lanna Kingdom, which ruled northern Thailand from the 13th to the 18th centuries. (B,D)

Day 10 Chiang Mai–Bangkok
A short flight returns you to Bangkok. The rest of the day is at leisure. (B)

Day 11 Bangkok
Your tour ends with breakfast this morning. (B)

Vacation Highlights

BANGKOK
Guided sightseeing; boat ride through the klongs; visit the Temple of the Dawn, Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of the Reclining Buddha; [LF] excursion to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market with boat ride; Thai welcome dinner and show

CHIANG RAI
Trishaw ride and walking tour of local night bazaar; excursion to the Golden Triangle; visit Doi Mae Salong, Mae Sai, the Hall of Opium, and Chiang Saen; boat ride on the Kok River

BAN THATON
Hill tribe excursion; visit a [LF] Karen village with long-necked women, [LF] Akha village, Lahu village, and Lisu village

CHIANG MAI
Thai cooking class; traditional Thai massage; [LF] Almsgiving ceremony; visit a White Hmong village, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, an orchid farm, and an elephant camp including an elephant ride through the forest; Khantoke dinner & show

NOTE:
Small-Group Discovery – We never allow more than 20 travelers on our Small-Group Discovery vacations, allowing you to truly immerse yourself in the destination and local culture.

Meals
American breakfast daily, 5 lunches, 5 dinners including a Thai welcome dinner and show in Bangkok and a Khantoke dinner in Chiang Mai


DEPARTURE DATES
January - March
October - December

PRICES 
From approx $2,299 US per person based on double occupancy

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