Although it attracts more visitors than Beng Mealea, it is still uncrowded when compared to the main complexes in the Siem Reap Region. Banteay Srei is another Cambodian temple dedicated to the Hindu God Shiva, and, at more than a thousand years of age, it is older than almost all of the more significant in the Siem Reap Region. Constructed from hard Red Sandstone, this complex is a study in detail – it is small when compared to the main complex’s structures in Siem Reap, or even the Beng Mealea Complex, but its intricacy of amazing original sculpture, especially the detailed figures of Hindi Gods and Goddesses, including voluptuous and beautiful Apsaras, has to be viewed so as to appreciate talent of the ancient artists that created this masterpiece. Some parts of this temple, more so than in other Angkor Region monuments, are replicas due to theft over the last few decades, before adequate protection was added. From Banteay Srei you will head to the Siem Reap airport, where you will be assisted in boarding your flight to Bangkok - bid farewell to your Cambodia Tour Director at the airport.
Arrive in Bangkok and you are greeted at the airport by your Thai Accompanying Tour Director and our staff, and ushered to a vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel for assisted check-in.
The giant metropolis of Bangkok is a fascinating blend of modern skyscrapers, congested traffic, beautiful and ornate Wats (temples), incredible street food, and a lot more. The colorful Thai culture and the easygoing local lifestyle make this unique city even more interesting.
Your highly rated hotel offers upscale accommodation, great dining options, including a large and diverse selection of delicious western and eastern breakfast options, and is located in the best area of Bangkok for tourism, a short walk to Bangkok’s heart, the iconic Chao Phraya River. An enviable advantage is your ability to walk straight from the hotel’s 3rd floor to the BTS station, Bangkok’s Metro and the fastest way to traverse the city.
Besides the excellent restaurants within the hotel, there are multiple dining options available, ranging from great street food to upscale dining, right outside your hotel. A 20-minute walk through safe and populated major streets will take you to the Patpong Night Market, with its infamous nightlife. There are a multitude of Thai 7 Elevens within a couple of minutes, where you can buy pretty much anything that you desire, ranging from snacks, drinks, local cell phones, sim cards, to a selection of western spirits.
Day 4: Bangkok (B & L).
Starting in the morning, you are assisted in boarding your boat and you will now enjoy the fascinating ride on the River of Kings to the Grand Palace complex, which has been the state residence of Thai royalty since 1782 and is still used for official events. Your Tour Director will show you some of the more interesting highlights of the complex. The collection of buildings serves as a nice introduction to Thai architecture and provides many great photo opportunities. Just one of the several stops you will make within the complex is Wat Phra Kaew, also known as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. This is the most sacred Buddhist temple (wat) in all of Thailand. Except for the Thai King, no other person is allowed to touch this statue. The King changes the statue’s cloak three times each year to correspond to the summer, winter, and rainy seasons.
Next, you will visit Wat Pho, known also as The Temple of the Reclining Buddha, adjacent to the Grand Palace. This large statue is 50 feet (15 meters) high and 140 feet (43 meters) long and is covered in gold leaf. The bottoms of the feet are inlaid
with mother of pearl, divided into 108 panels depicting the 108 auspicious symbols used by the Buddha.
A colorful interlude during this morning’s exploration will be a walk-through Bangkok’s wholesale flower market, where millions of colorful displays are spread throughout. Flowers are an integral part of Thai society, and the plethora of fragrant colors amidst the extremely busy shops and stalls are a delight to experience.
After lunch you will enjoy an urban excursion by long-tailed boat to discover the canals of Thonburi. The people of Thailand, including the residents of Bangkok, have always lived a riparian lifestyle. You will explore the intricate network of canals, or Khlongs as you cruise past colorful homes and other structures. Unlike the tourist areas that you stay in with most tours, this adventure will offer great insights into how the locals live. You will see women washing clothes and utensils in the water, children swimming, locals throwing food to teeming schools of fish (considered a religious offering), and a lot more.
Stop at Baan Silapin (Artists House), the beautifully decorated centuries-old structure on a residential canal, for a brief visit. This succession of buildings is a whimsical art gallery showcasing local creative talents. Your last stop in the canals will be a quick visit to the hidden Museum of Royal Barges, which houses a few of the ornately carved and painted barges used by Thai Royalty.
As you pull out of the canals into the river for your cruise back, you will enjoy great photo opportunities of beautiful Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), Bangkok’s iconic riverside monument.
Day 5: Bangkok (B & L).
Continue your exploration of Thailand with an excursion to a fascinating area located a little over an hour away to the southwest of Bangkok. As your first stop you will experience the famous Maeklong Railway Market,
locally known as the Umbrella Pulldown Market. This name is derived from the fact that the vendors spread their wares and awnings to cover the railroad tracks,
and then everything is pulled back upon a trains approach - your time here will be during one such train arrival. The market is one of the largest fresh seafood markets in Thailand and also sells a host of other local food specialties, as well as other goods, including clothing and souvenirs.
From here you will be driven to the seashore at Klong Khone, where you will be assisted in boarding your boat. Proceed on a calm cruise to your lunch destination, a seafood restaurant built on stilts on the water. There are other options for those not interested in fresh seafood.
After lunch you will enjoy a very unique experience as you cruise through the dense mangrove forests of Samut Songkhram. You will visit a charming oyster farm and will encounter the local monkeys that are expert swimmers, providing visitors with great photo opportunities. All this while you will be experiencing rural Thailand, cruising past remote villages as you experience one fascinating activity after another.
It is Easy Tours policy to do our best to avoid touristy experiences such as weaving villages (shopping stops), monk chats (talking to novice monks whose superiors want them to practice their English and get some donations) and other similar mass market experiences such as the over-crowded (mainly by Asian tourists) floating market of Damnoen Saduak. Instead, your next stop will be picturesque Amphawa Floating Market; the authentic Amphawa market is the perfect place to observe traditional Thai way of life. Wander through the wooden walkways of the market and imagine a time gone by. The Market was revived from an old market where fruit and vegetable growers used to trade their produce 50 years ago. There is an incredible variety of Thai food available, from fresh sea food to cut fruits to all sorts of fried street food, and the stalls at the bank of the river are peddling the unavoidable local souvenirs. The food boats are usually manned by colorfully attired Thai women, and the culinary options are charmingly well presented. After the floating market you will enjoy the scenic drive back to Bangkok.
Day 6: Bangkok - Chiang Mai (B & L).
You are assisted with check-out in the early morning and driven to the airport to board your flight to Chiang Mai. Arrive in Chiang Mai and you are greeted at the airport and driven to the city center.
Located on the Ping River, Chiang Mai
was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which flourished in northern Thailand between the 12th - 15th centuries. The city is the second largest city in Thailand, and the cultural capital of the north. Possessing great natural beauty and a host of outdoor activities and parks on its outskirts, the city itself is a fascinating combination of unique architecture, ancient history with its associated rituals, and a modern metropolis. Chiang Mai is one of Asia’s best cities to explore on foot, with a bustling street food scene.
You will explore the historic walled city of Chiang Mai. Included are visits to some of the iconic old temples of ancient Chiang Mai, including Wat Phra Singh, Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Chiang Man. This tour demonstrates the architectural diversity and blending of styles that the Lanna were known for. It is also a great way to get familiar with the city, should you decide to go out during the evenings and explore. During the middle of the city tour there is a break for lunch.
In the late afternoon you will proceed on the short drive up to Doi Suthep, the hill on the edge of the city that dominates the Chiang Mai skyline. Once at the top,
you will find the 309 stairs up to Wat Phra That, which are flanked on each side by beautiful Nagas, which run the entire length of the stairs. You also have the option of taking a large elevator (which does usually have a line) up to the Wat. Once at the top, enjoy the spiritual ambience of one of Thailand’s most holy places, as well as some superb sunset views of the city. You will see devout Thai’s circling the main stupa in a ritualistic manner, and many others on their knees in deep prayer. Walk down the stairs and you are driven to your top rated small boutique resort and assisted with check-in. Your resort has among the best locations in the city on the riverfront in a quiet upscale area, yet only a 10 to 15-minute walk (or 5-minute tuk-tuk ride) to Chiang Mai’s famous night market, the area where there are scores of cafés, restaurants, and bars. It is a truly boutique property and widely recognized as one of the most charming accommodations in the city. Your view of the river is framed by a beautiful ancient tree on the resort grounds by the riverbank.
Chiang Mai has a great street market every night, but the best and largest one is on Sunday nights. Join your Tour Director this evening for an excursion to Chiang Mai’s most exciting and extensive night market. This market has a really fascinating street food scene and is another one of Southeast Asia’s amazing photo opportunities.
Day 7: Chiang Mai (B & L).
You have the option to either enjoy a full day excursion to the Doi Inthanon region (about 8 hours round-trip, with just under 4 hours of drive time), or experience one of Northern Thailand’s best Elephant Camps, which takes a total of about seven hours, including drive time. This decision needs to be made soon after you reserve you tour. You can also opt to spend the day on your own, enjoying your boutique resort and the charming city of Chiang Mai.
Doi Inthanon Excursion:
Proceed for a visit to the most photographed attractions in Northern Thailand, located in the Doi Inthanon region. You will also visit other major attractions inside Doi Inthanon National Park, which is a proudly protected area that is home to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.
Doi Inthanon is a huge and superb national park full of majestic waterfalls, lush green valleys, terraced paddy fields, fruit, flower and vegetables crops, and ethnic communities living prosperous, free and happy in their natural environment. Once at the peak you will admire the views and then enjoy an easy trek through the mist laden virgin forest and be fascinated with the unique flora that is found here.
After a break for lunch, there will be two more not-to-be-missed experiences on your way back to Chiang Mai.
The subject of the most gorgeous and popular photos that travel journals and websites use for the Chiang Mai region are actually situated close to the peak of Doi Inthanon. Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphaphonphumisiri are two gorgeous and colorful Chedis, dedicated to the Beloved Late King and the Revered Queen, located in a magical spot with spectacular views.
The immaculate terraced gardens with unbelievably beautiful flowers that surround the Chedis would be an attraction by themselves, but the massive and beautiful Chedis facing each other at the center of this breathtaking locale, make this a true treat for your eyes and your soul.
A fascinating stop as you head down the mountain is the Royal Projects Highway Market run by the Hill Tribes of the Doi Inthanon region. You will stop and walk around the outdoor stalls selling fruits, produce, nuts and other items organically grown by the simple and now prosperous tribal locals, some of whom will be dressed in their unique clothing. This market, its wares, and the tribal people that grow and sell here are a growing testament of the success of the Late King’s vision and efforts. In the 1960s, poppy fields were widespread in the mountains of Northern Thailand, and hill tribe villagers were working as laborers for opium producers and smugglers. King Bhumibol (Rama IX) initiated drastic reforms in the region to put an end to it. It was the beginning of the ‘Royal Projects’. These projects were highly profitable to the whole region and to the ethnic communities who were literally slaves of the drug barons and addicts to opium.
The Hill Tribes were given land to cultivate, provided with free seeds, tools, and all kinds of resources to make them succeed in becoming successful natural farmers. Now, over half a century later, the results of the Late King’s vision have brought happiness to everyone involved. Arrive back in Chiang Mai in the early evening.
Elephant Sanctuary (No Elephant Riding).
You are picked up by the Elephant Camp staff after an early breakfast and driven out to the mountains to enjoy some time with Thailand’s iconic animal - the elephant. You will be spending the day at one of the finest elephant camps in Northern Thailand and taking part in a hands-on experience that will allow you to truly interact with these majestic animals. Baanchang Camp stopped offering Elephant Riding a while back, and even when they did offer that activity, they never used cages for riding. The “Elephant D
Care” is an interactive and personalized program that aims to spread knowledge about elephant conservation efforts while creating a unique and special experience for everyone who joins.
The Elephant Sanctuary experience is orchestrated by the camp operator and you will be picked up by the camp operator’s vehicles along with other participants from local hotels, and be joined by others while interacting with the gentle giants.
The schedule, as per the camp operator, is as follows:
Arrive at Baan Chang Elephant Park, change into traditional clothing.
Prepare fruits for the elephants and meet the elephants. Feeding, roaming, touching, and playing with elephants.
12:00 pm Lunch
1:00 pm Prepare and cook sticky rice in order to be mixed with herbal stuff for the elephants. Learn about the background, health care and behavior of elephants.
2:00 pm Enjoy more time roaming, feeding and taking the elephants for a walk to a clean water pond where they will cool themselves off and you will have a chance to observe and join them in bathing as well. Feed sticky rice balls and fruits to the elephants.
This part is focused on taking your time and allowing the elephants to enjoy each moment of their freedom, scratching, rubbing, and throwing dirt on their backs, an activity that is good for their skin.
** Tea and coffee break.
Visit and play with the baby elephants in the Nursery Zone.
At about 3 PM you will join other experience participants and be driven to your Chiang Mai resort, arriving at about 4 PM.
Day 8: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai (B & L).
You are assisted with your check-out from your hotel and now you will enjoy the scenic drive to Chiang Rai. Arrive at the outskirts of Chiang Rai and there is a break for lunch, after which you will visit a monument that is nothing like anything you have ever seen before, Wat Rong Khun,
also known as the White Temple. This striking modern creation of a famous local architect is extremely ornate and beautiful in its design, and also houses an impressive array of intricate sculptures. This is the attraction
that gets the most visitors in the Chiang Rai region and for good reason - it is strikingly different from any other monument in Southeast Asia.
From here you are driven to your resort and assisted with check-in. The city of Chiang Rai has no upscale hotels within its boundaries, and your hotel is the closest upscale lodging to the old city and its attractions. Your room has an enviable view of the lush and hilly Chiang Rai region, including the beautiful river than runs right next to your resort. Unlike Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai city itself does not offer a lot of attractions. It is what is around it that is most charming. The Peak Wine & Grill at your resort is the highest restaurant in Chiang Rai and offers spectacular views of the river, mountains, and countryside, with a sunset that has to be experienced to be believed.
Thailand’s northernmost city was once the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, and today is the commercial center of the Golden Triangle region. The mountainous region of the north has been significantly influenced by Burmese and Chinese culture due to its proximity to those nations. The culture, language, and food, even the physical appearance of the local Lanna descendants, all stand in subtle contrast to the rest of Thailand.
proceed on a tour of Chiang Rai. A much smaller city than Chiang Mai, this northern outpost has a slower pace and a markedly laid-back feel. Its rural surroundings are showcased by the fact that, during your exploration of the city, you will come across a number of visitors from rural ethnic tribes, in town to buy and sell goods.
The tour starts with a visit to the original Wat Phra Khew,
which was home to the precious Emerald Buddha statue before it was moved to Bangkok. With a known history going back about 700 years, this is one of Northern Thailand’s most revered Buddhist pilgrimage destinations. The beautiful temple complex is housed in gorgeous gardens with orchids and other blooming flora and is less crowded as compared to Bangkok and Chiang Mai’s main temples. Photography of the replica Emerald Buddha is permitted, unlike in Bangkok, and the architecture of the temple, and the quality of the craftsmanship of the statues inside, especially the massive 7 century old brass and copper statue of Lord Buddha in the main chapel, is outstanding.
From the wat you will board rickshaws and explore a busy market area, and then you are driven back to your resort at the end of the day.
Day 9: Chiang Rai (B & L). Golden Triangle Excursion.
Continue your exploration of Northern Thailand with a drive to the ancient region of Chiang Saen. Located along the banks of the Mekong River, the once great city here was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom during the 12th and early 13th centuries, before Chiang Rai took its place. Now all that remains is a sleepy riverside town with some well-preserved remnants amongst beautiful teak and banyan trees. Here you will be assisted in boarding your boat for a cruise along the upper Mekong River toward Sop Ruak and the exact coordinates of the Golden Triangle. This is the spot where the countries of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet. This notorious piece of real estate was once the location for the production of most of the world’s opium. Disembark from the boat and you are driven to the hilltop viewing site where you can clearly see the spot where the three nations meet at the confluence of two rivers. There is also a large golden Buddha image which gazes out over the Mekong.
After lunch you will proceed on a very short drive to the fascinating Hall of Opium. This is a first class museum and interactive exhibit, dedicated to teaching visitors about every aspect of the poppy and its derivative. This informative exhibit shows opium’s effects on the human body and its profound influence on human history. Even those who usually do not like museums are always intrigued by this place, and it only requires a short visit.
From here you proceed for a scenic drive to a group of rural villages in the hills near Chiang Rai.
Hill Tribes and today’s reality - many travel companies continue to paint a picture of the unique traditional clothing, jewelry and lifestyles of Southeast Asia’s hill tribes as if these
have remained unchanged over the last few decades. The truth is quite the opposite. The hill tribes were an integral part of poppy farming for a long time, and supported themselves and their unique lifestyles through its cultivation. As mentioned during your Doi Inthanon excursion in Chiang Mai, about five decades ago the revered late King of Thailand decided to end the drug trade in this region issuing a series of Royal Proclamations and Royal Projects to uplift and empower the tribal people. His goal was to provide them with alternative livelihoods and education for their children so that they could assimilate into the rest of Thailand’s population. Although some still live in their villages and farm, their lifestyles have changed; they dress like other Thai people do, practice modern cultivation methods, live in brick and mortar houses, speak the Thai dialect that is local to their region, ride motorbikes and drive pickup trucks as part of their daily routine.
There are a handful of locales where the tribal communities have been somewhat preserved in their original form with support from government funded agencies whose goal is to provide the few who do not want to change a place to live, while also making them self-sufficient. Easy Tours guests visit one of the better such villages, located near Chiang Rai. During this excursion, you will pay a visit to the Kiran (longneck), Akka, Lahu, and Yao tribes. Your Tour Director will introduce you to some of the villagers and explain the origins and customs of these unique tribal peoples. These villagers still honor their heritage by dressing in the vibrant and colorful garments unique to their people. The entry fees to this set of villages supports the hill tribe residents of the village, and the tribal residents also offer hand crafted items for sale, although they are not the least bit aggressive in pushing their wares. A few reviews condemn these village tours as being degrading to the tribal people, but the reality is that this is still the best way for them to earn a living, without completely changing their lifestyles. You are driven back to Chiang Rai after walking through the villages.
Day 10: Chiang Rai - Bangkok - Kanchanaburi (B & L).
You are assisted with your check-out and driven to the Chiang Rai airport where you will board your flight to Bangkok. Arrive at Bangkok and you are greeted at the airport and then you will now proceed on the scenic drive to Kanchanaburi, stopping for lunch along the way.
Soon after you exit Bangkok you will witness the landscape begin to change from relatively flat farmland to the rocky mountainous jungle often found along the Thai-Burmese border. Lunch will be enjoyed at a stop during the journey. The Kanchanaburi region was the theater of historic battles and tragic episodes during WWII. It is here that prisoners of war built the famous bridge over the River Kwai.
You will pass the town of Kanchanaburi and proceed to this late afternoons experience, Hell Fire Pass. This excursion does require a slightly strenuous uphill climb,
and those who do not feel like making the climb can choose to enjoy the scenery and wait for the short time during which other group members explore the pass.
Hell Fire Pass is a man-made crevasse in the mountain that was carved using hand-held chisels by prisoners of war, mostly Australian soldiers. The POW’s worked in horrible conditions under the whip of the Japanese soldiers, who were desperate to complete the Thai-Burma railway. Many lives were sacrificed to complete this project. The name Hell Fire Pass comes from one soldier’s description of the site, describing the scene as workers toiled through the night by firelight.
You will walk along the remnants of the tracks from the path of the railway. There are memorials to the POW’s and a small museum at this site.
After this you will drive to a pier in the wilderness on the River Kwai. You will be assisted in boarding your boat and then you will enjoy a 15-minute boat ride along the river to your amazing floating boutique resort. Both banks of the river are lush jungle climbing up the surrounding hills.
You are assisted with your check-in at your resort. In many years of facilitating tours, Easy Tours has only had a few hotels receive the praise that we get for the Float House. We recommend that at some point on this night, your turn off the exterior lights of your floating villa and step out on your floating porch to admire the star-studded night sky. Almost everyone who has stayed here raves about the incredible sleep they enjoyed on their floating villa.
Day 11: Kanchanaburi (B & L).
This morning you will awake to the sounds of the river and the jungle. By making it our first activity for this day, you will miss most of the crowds at your first attraction, Erawan National Park, which gets day-trippers from as far as Bangkok. For those that want to briefly enter the pools created by the waterfall, we recommend that you bring swim wear and a towel from your villa.
Enjoy the boat ride from your hotel to the pier, and then the incredibly scenic drive to Erawan National Park. The park is one of Thailand’s most beautiful parks, and the 7 tier Erawan Falls have emerald green pools best experienced in the morning. You will enjoy the easy hike to the base of the waterfall, and then, those willing to make a little bit of an effort, can use the trails and ropeways up the different tiers of the waterfall, until the 6th tier. You can stop at any tier and enjoy the beauty that surrounds you, and get into the emerald pools of water if you so desire.
The park itself is lush and tropical, and macaques and a variety of birds will entertain during your time here. You will break for lunch outside the park.
After lunch you will experience another scenic drive to Nam Tok Railway Station Railway Station, where you will board the train for a fascinating trip along the infamous Death Railway. Enjoy the scenery as the train snakes around hills alongside the River Kwai and passes through dense bamboo forests and jungles. After approximately 45 minutes of riding in the slow moving historic train through amazing scenery, you will disembark at the Thakilen Railway Station, from where you will be driven back to your resorts pier. Enjoy the captivating river and your idyllic resort and it surroundings as the sun begins its process of setting for this day.
Day 12: Kanchanaburi - Bangkok - International Flight (B & L).
Those interested in the morning excursion will have an early breakfast and join your Tour Director for a gentle hike up the hill behind your floating villa to the Lawa Cave. At over 1400 feet deep, this impressive geological formation is the largest in Kanchanaburi and features several chambers with many large stalagmites and stalactites.
You are assisted with your check-out at 10:30 AM and you then proceed on the drive to Kanchanaburi Town. Lunch will be at a restaurant located next to the
Bridge Over the River Kwai.
Explore the infamous bridge
before sitting down for lunch - you will have close up views from your table. The bridge was built in about 16 months by allied prisoners of war and Asian conscripts, and then later destroyed during allied bombing raids. It was later rebuilt by the Japanese as war reparations. These events were the basis for one of Hollywood’s all-time great movies. Next, proceed to the JEATH Museum. The name refers to the nationalities of people who were responsible for constructing the Thai-Burma Railway - Japan, England, Australia, America, Thailand, and Holland. This interesting museum features reconstructions of the building of the Death Railway and of the quarters used by the POW’s.
After the museum you are driven to Bangkok Airport, arriving there in the early evening.
Bid farewell to your Thai Tour Director here.
Please note that international flights have check-in requirements that require you to be at their check-in counter approximately 2.5 to 3 hours (for coach), and 2 hours for premier classes, before that flight departs. Please also allow for unexpected delays on the drive to Bangkok.
We strongly recommend that travelers who book their own international flights use caution and not book a flight that departs before 11 PM on this day, or, upon request, we can alter your touring in Kanchanaburi to get you to Bangkok earlier.
If you used Easy Tours services for your international flights, we will factor the above when recommending flights to you.
If your flights timing requires an extended period at the airport, a stay at the only hotel connected to Bangkok Airport, the upscale Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport, can be added during the reservation process.
Our services end at the Bangkok airport.