The Best Luxury Small Group Tour of Thailand

Annual Thanksgiving Sale - 11.21 - 12.5


Private Tours

Day 1: Arrive at Bangkok, Thailand. Your arrival and departure transfers can be reserved with your guest relations manager, who is assigned to you after you book your tour. We strongly recommend that our guests consider arriving a day earlier, as this allows you to recuperate from jetlag, and serves as insurance against international flight delays and cancellations. An additional night’s lodging at your luxury riverfront hotel can be added as part of the process as you reserve your tour.

Bangkok Sunset

Bangkok Sunset

If you are arriving a day earlier, your airport to hotel transfer will be provided a day earlier. Our services begin with your greeting as you exit the customs area at Bangkok airport.

You are then driven to your wonderful riverfront hotel for assisted with your check-in to your upgraded river view room if it is after 3pm. If it is much before 3pm, an earlier check-in can be arranged at an additional charge.

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.
(Overnight – Shangri La Bangkok)

Day 2: Bangkok. (Breakfast and Lunch) Your day will start in the mid-morning so as to give you time to relax after a long day of travel. Enjoy a river cruise to your first destination this morning.

Wat Arun

Wat Arun

Your will stop at the spectacular Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), which is by far the most striking structure in Bangkok, and is the city’s iconic riverside monument.

This is the most unique historic temple in Thailand, very different from anything else you will experience. We do not include the opportunity to climb the monument as the steps are very steep (12 to 15 inches in height) and there are inadequate or nonexistent support structures for hands. As with other Thai places of worship, bare legs and shoulders are not acceptable.

After the temple, you will board longtail boats and head to the opposite bank of the river. Proceed to a very nice riverfront restaurant where you will enjoy lunch. Besides the great food, you will have excellent views of the busy river and the spectacular Wat Arun on the opposite riverbank. An interesting 7-to-8-minute walk will bring you to Thailand’s largest flower market, where millions of amazing flowers are spread across hundreds of stalls. 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.

A very short walk will bring you to Wat Pho, known also as The Temple of the Reclining Buddha. The famous statue of the Buddha 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.

Another very short walk will bring you to the Grand Palace complex, which has been the state residence of Thai royalty since 1782 and parts of which are still used for official events. Your Thailand Connoisseur Guide 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. After exploring Bangkok’s most famous attractions, you will be escorted back to your hotel.
(Overnight – Shangri La Bangkok)

Day 3: Bangkok. (Breakfast and Lunch) As of 2022 Easy Tours no longer includes a floating market on our Bangkok itineraries. Over the last couple of decades, we have watched as these wonderful local experiences got progressively more touristy, to the point that now no actual locals do any shopping in the large and popular markets.

Tourists at Damnoen Saduak

Tourists at Damnoen Saduak

Busloads of aggressive tourists start arriving in the early morning, and the feel of the market is loud, crowded, and, to those of us who have experienced earlier times, depressing.

What exists now is solely for tourists, and the only Thai people you will see buying or eating around the markets are people who are working in the market There are lots of small charming non-touristy markets that people will refer to as a ‘floating market’. All this means is that the market is located next to a canal, and a couple of the intrepid stall owners are offering their wares from a boat parked next to the market. So as to offer our guests a genuine local market instead, you will visit the most interesting weekend street market on our planet on this day.

Your morning will start with a drive to Jim Thompson’s House & Museum, a great introduction to amazing Asian art, and Bangkok before it became the major city it is today. Before his disappearance in Malaysia over a half century ago, the silk magnate collected an incredible plethora of Southeast Asian art, from Thailand and many other surrounding nations. He had a beautiful home constructed to showcase part of his collection, and also had the museum constructed to house the rest of the collection. The museum buildings themselves are fascinating as they include ancient wooden homes that were brought in from all around Thailand, as well as new wooden construction. You will experience a well-designed tour of the facilities conducted by an expert from the museum.

From here you will head to the Chatuchak Weekend Market. Spread over 30 acres with more than 10,000 stalls, this market originated in 1942 and is the oldest, largest, and most diverse weekend market on our planet. Literally anything a local or a visitor could possibly want is available here, and we need to mention that group members are not going to be able to stop at multiple stalls and haggle. The colors, activity and general feel are a joy to experience on a walk through an interesting section of the market.

From here you will proceed to the banks of the River of Kings and enjoy lunch at another great restaurant with a river view. After lunch you will enjoy an urban excursion by long-tailed boats to discover the canals of Thonburi. The people of Thailand, including the residents of Bangkok, have always lived a lifestyle that is primarily dependent on their rivers. You will explore the intricate network of canals, or Khlongs, as you cruise past colorful homes and other structures.

This adventure will offer great insights into how the locals live. In some parts 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 for a brief visit at Baan Silapin (Artists House), a charmingly decorated centuries-old structure on a residential part of the canal, this succession of small canal front structures is a whimsical art gallery showcasing local creative talents. You will end you experience at your hotel’s jetty.
(Overnight – Shangri La Bangkok)

Day 4: Bangkok – Chiang Mai. (Breakfast and Lunch) You are assisted with your check-out in the slightly early morning and driven to the airport to board your flight to Chiang Mai, capital of the fascinating Lanna Kingdom. Arrive at Chiang Mai and begin your exploration with the historic walled city, one of the most charming ancient cities in Southeast Asia. This tour demonstrates the architectural diversity and blending of styles that the Lanna people were famous for. It is also a great way to get familiar with the city, should you decide to go out during the evenings to explore on your own.

Wat Phra Singh in Chiang Mai

Wat Phra Singh in 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.

The Lanna Kingdom flourished in northern Thailand between the 12th - 15th centuries, and Chiang Mai was the longtime capital of the kingdom after it was moved from Chiang Rai. 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.

There is a break for lunch at a highly rated restaurant in the Old City. After lunch you will be assisted with your check-in at your beautiful boutique riverfront resort, which happens to be the top-ranked upscale lodging in Chiang Mai. The resort is extremely charming, serves great food, and has an excellent spa. There is a spectacular century plus old Rain Tree that graces the resort at the river’s bank, adding even more to the natural charm of your surroundings. Your boutique resort is an easy walk (or an easily available tuk-tuk ride) to downtown Chiang Mai where there are scores of cafés, restaurants, and bars, as well as the night markets.

In the mid-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 Doi Suthep, which are flanked on each side by beautiful Nagas running the entire length of the stairs. You also have the option of taking a large elevator (which does usually have a short waiting 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.

Chiang Mai has a great street market every night, with the largest market occurring on Sunday nights. Join your Country Connoisseur Guide this evening for an excursion to Chiang Mai’s most exciting and extensive night market. it is a fascinating street food scene with its crowds and activity making it another one of Southeast Asia’s amazing photo opportunities.
(Overnight – Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort)

Day 5: Chiang Mai - Doi Inthanon Excursion. (Breakfast and Lunch) Head to spectacular Doi Inthanon mountain and national park, which includes a visit to the most photographed attractions in Northern Thailand, Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Naphaphonphumisiri. These massive and gorgeous Chedis are the subject of the most popular photos that travel journals and websites use for the Chiang Mai region, and are not situated in Chiang Mai, but close to the peak of Doi Inthanon. You will also enjoy other experiences inside Doi Inthanon National Park, which is a protected area that is home to the highest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon.

This is a full day excursion and you will get back to your resort in the evening. Doi Inthanon is a superb national park full of majestic waterfalls, lush green valleys, terraced paddy fields, fruit, flower and vegetables crops, and ethnic communities living happily and comfortably 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 this adventure you will be driven downhill and lunch will be at the Royal Project Kitchen (with fresh natural and organic ingredients from project farmers), while admiring the beautiful surroundings and views. After lunch there will be two more not-to-be-missed experiences on your way back to Chiang Mai.

First you will stop at the two afore-mentioned spectacular Chedis, which are dedicated to the Beloved Late King and the Revered Queen and are located in a magical spot with lush undulating hills and spectacular views.

Royal Chedis at Doi Inthanon

Royal Chedis at Doi Inthanon

The immaculate terraced gardens with a plethora of colorful exotic flowerbeds that surround the Chedis make for a breathtaking locale and a fantastic photo opportunity.

The second short and 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 well-to-do 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. The Royal Projects granted the Hill Tribes their own land to cultivate, free seeds, tools, and all other resources needed 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.
(Overnight – Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort)

Day 6: Chiang Mai – Elephant Sanctuary (No Elephant Riding). (Breakfast and Lunch) After an early breakfast this morning you will head out with your Thailand Connoisseur Guide and drive 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.

Baan Chang Camp stopped offering Elephant Riding a while back, and even when they did offer that activity, they never used cages for riding. The “Elephant Day 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 current 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.

Tusker

Tusker

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 your Guide and be driven back to your Chiang Mai resort, arriving at about 4 PM.
(Overnight – Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort)

Day 7: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai. (Breakfast and Lunch) You are assisted with your checkout in the morning and you will now proceed on the scenic drive through the hills as you head to Chiang Rai. 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.

This is Thailand’s northernmost city and was the first capital of the Lanna Kingdom. Today it is the commercial center of the once infamous Golden Triangle Region. Chiang Rai is tiny compared to Chiang Mai, and this northern outpost has an even slower pace and a markedly laid-back feel. Its rural surroundings are showcased by the fact that, during your exploration of the city, you may come across a number of visitors from regional ethnic tribes, in town to buy and sell goods.

Arrive at Chiang Rai there is a break for lunch at a top-rated restaurant. After lunch you are driven to a monument that is nothing like anything you have ever seen before, Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. This recent striking creation of a famous local architect is extremely ornate and beautiful in its design and 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 completely different from any other monument in Southeast Asia.

Next you will visit the original Wat Phra Kaew, 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 far less crowded when compared to Bangkok and Chiang Mai’s main temples.

Wat Phra Kaew

Wat Phra Kaew

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 be driven to your riverfront resort, Chiang Rai’s top-ranked upscale lodging. Your beautiful suite 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.
(Overnight – The Riverie by Kathathani)

Day 8: Chiang Rai. (Breakfast and Lunch) 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 spectacular region was once the infamous location for the production of most of the world’s opium. This is the spot where the countries of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet and you will view the lush countryside of each nation as you cruise. Disembark from the boat and you are driven to a hilltop viewing site where you can clearly see the spot where the three nations meet at the confluence of two rivers.

Buddha Statue at Golden Triangle

Buddha Statue at Golden Triangle

There is also a large golden Buddha image which gazes out over the Mekong.

You will break for lunch at the only upscale restaurant in this area and after lunch you will 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.

Long Neck Women in Chiang Rai

Long Neck Tribals

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 your resort in Chiang Rai after walking through the villages.
(Overnight – The Riverie by Kathathani)

Day 9: Chiang Rai – Bangkok – International Flight. (Breakfast) You are assisted with your check-out and driven to the Chiang Rai airport where you are assisted in boarding your flight to Bangkok. Arrive at Bangkok and your Thailand Connoisseur Guide will escort you to the check-in counter for your international flight and bid you farewell.

Please note that almost all international flights depart from Thailand’s airports either very late at night or early in the morning.

Your assigned Easy Tours’ Guest Relations Manager will make further recommendations based on your international flight details, once you provide us with that information. Any additional services, such as a one-night hotel stay, will be suggested based on those details.



 

Lodging

Bangkok Shangri La Bangkok – Deluxe Balcony River View Room
Chiang Mai Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort – Romantic Laana Deluxe
Chiang Rai The Riverie by Kathathani – Riverie Suite with River View

Inclusions

Accompanying Country Connoisseur Guide for Airport Assistance on all in-country flights
Breakfast and Lunch Daily
Ground transportation via upscale private vehicles
Representative for assistance on departure / arrival transfers per the itinerary
Services of the best English-speaking Accompanying Country Connoisseur Guides
Applicable monument entrance fees as per the itinerary
Bottled water during sightseeing
Hotel accommodation as listed above
All Boat Fees/Fares per the itinerary

Not Included

International travel except countries on your Easy Tours Journey
Any expenses of a personal nature, such as tips, laundry, phone calls, drinks etc.
Meals other than those specified on itinerary
Travel insurance, visas, etc.

Dates & Prices

Annual Thanksgiving Sale - 11.21 - 12.5

Tour ID: ET-1325
Arrival Date Double or Single
Occupancy Price
On Tour
Flight Cost
Total Cost
Per Person
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Tour
Dec 15, 2022
$4014 $3600
$286 DBL - $3886
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Jan 19, 2023
$4014 $3600
$286 DBL - $3886
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Feb 16, 2023
$4014 $3600
$286 DBL - $3886
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Mar 02, 2023
$4014 $3600
$286 DBL - $3886
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Mar 30, 2023
$4014 $3600
$286 DBL - $3886
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