Grand Tour of Thailand
This luxury tour of Thailand has a little bit of everything, touching on the country’s fascinating history and proud cultural heritage as much as its boutique hotels and idyllic island beaches. You begin your journey in Bangkok, getting a flavour for the central city streets, lesser-visited spots and historic ancient temples. A change of pace then comes in Chiang Rai, where you’ll visit traditional rural communities, tribes, and a string of bewitching sacred sites. Next, the countryside and craftsmanship of Chiang Mai Province, known for both its lush mountainous landscape and age-old artisan industries such as umbrella making and fine silverware, before finishing up on the golden sands of Phuket Island in the Andaman Sea, where boat trips, food markets and lazy afternoons on the beach await.
On arrival in Bangkok you’ll be greeted at the airport and transferred directly to your hotel for check-in, before spending the rest of the day at leisure. Bangkok is a busy and exciting city, so you can either enjoy the comforts of your hotel this evening or venture out in town for a sumptuous fine-dining meal, which Elite Travel Concierge can arrange.
Exploring Exotic Bangkok
Your introduction to Bangkok on the first full day of this Grand Thailand Tour with Elite Travel Concierge is a gentle one, beginning at the Pak Klong Talad Flower Market where a rainbow of bouquets, tropical flowers like orchids and lilies, fruits, herbs and vegetables can be admired. This is very much a working marketplace in Bangkok so is not just for show, and from here you’ll get a glimpse into the city’s cultural past too as you cross the Memorial Bridge to the Thonburi district, on the banks of the Chao Phraya River.
While in Thonburi visit the historic old town, Church of Santa Cruz and Baan Kudi Chin Museum, which details the story of 16th-century Portuguese settlers, who were the first Westerners to arrive in the region nearly 500 years ago. In the afternoon, take a tour of the wonderful Kian An Keng Shrine, awe-inspiring Wat Kalayanamitr and the Buddhist Temple of Dawn, Wat Arun, before a well-earned late lunch having already seen some of the spectacular highlights of Bangkok already. The rest of today can be spent at leisure.
Off-the-Beaten Track Bangkok
Day 3 of your Thailand adventure sees you getting away from the crowds in Bangkok to visit some of the capital’s lesser-known attractions, including a host of interesting houses, temples and gardens.
You’ll begin with a tour of Rattanakosin Island, visiting various ornate pavilions and learning the heritage of this historic part of the city, before the 19th-century Loha Prasat Temple and wider Wat Ratchanatdaram complex, in Bangkok’s Phra Nakhon district. Next up is Ratchadamnoen Avenue, which links the Grand and Royal Palaces, where many low-key monuments can be seen, as well as the impressive Wat Ratchabophit. This striking temple is known for its mix of Eastern and Western building styles, elaborate decoration and grand interiors laced with gold. You will also find Bangkok’s Royal Cemetery here, where many former Thai kings and princes still lie, as do their tributes and memorials around the grounds.
This particular tour of Bangkok provides a taste of the city’s more intimate side, giving you lots to digest by the time you stop for lunch, and the rest of the day that can either be taken at leisure or enjoying the exhibits of a nearby museum.
Travel from Bangkok to Chiang Rai
Your Elite Travel Concierge tour of Thailand now moves to Chiang Rai, an incredibly scenic city and province in northern Thailand where some of the country’s most beguiling monuments and temples can be found.
After breakfast then, a private driver and guide will be on-hand to take you to the airport in time for your flight to Chiang Rai, and onwards for hotel check-in once there. This afternoon can be spent enjoying the hotel facilities, or perhaps a relaxing walk around the surrounding area.
Traditional Villages in Chiang Rai
Today’s Chiang Rai tour could not be further removed from the bustling city streets of your previous stop, Bangkok, as you make way for the rural village of Hloyo, home to the Akha Hill Tribe whose customs and farming techniques are as traditional as they come.
Visiting Hloyo Village offers a fascinating insight into the completely different way of life here, one which relies on the surrounding forest for food and nearby bamboo plantations to construct their simple thatched homesteads. Upon arrival in Hloyo, you’ll be greeted by a village elder and shown around the settlement, before a tour of the modest Mudhouse Museum and then a fun-filled cookery class, using foraged ingredients to create typical Akha community food.
Following this homecooked lunch, you’ll next head further into the forest to witness the small-scale farming tools and techniques used by the Akha Tribe, who only cultivate what grows naturally in this region of Thailand, depending on the seasons. When ready, you will then return to the village and eventually home to your hotel.
At leisure in Chiang Rai
Enjoy a complete day at leisure to explore the best of Chiang Rai, at your own pace. You may wish to visit the simply breathtaking temples of Wat Rong Khun (the White Temple) and Wat Rong Seur Ten, or admire some modern art exhibits at the Baandam Museum instead. Other highlights of Chiang Rai include the King Mengrai The Great Monument, Mae Fah Luang Art & Cultural Park, the Oub Kham Museum, Wat Klang Wieng and ancient forest temple of Wat Phra Kaew.
From Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai
The midway point of your Elite Travel Concierge trip to Thailand takes in another of the country’s spectacular ancient areas, Chiang Mai, whose beautiful old town dates back to at least the 13th century.
After breakfast, a private driver and guide will be ready to take you to the airport in time for your connecting flight, which should include a stop at the quite magnificent White Temple, or Wat Rong Khun along the way, if you’ve not already visited.
Then, upon arrival in Chiang Mai, you’ll be taken to your hotel for check-in, and a relaxed evening at leisure.
Discovering Wider Chiang Mai
On top of its incredible cultural sites, unique temples and ornate shrines, Chiang Mai is also a place of bucolic countryside and dramatic landscapes too, as you’ll see during today’s tour which takes in a little bit of both.
Your destination is Doi Suthep Mountain and the enchanting, 14th-century, hilltop temple that sits on its summit, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Your journey to get to the top comes courtesy of an elaborately adorned staircase of carvings and statues, leading all the way up Doi Suthep until reaching the temple.
Once here, the views alone are worth any effort to climb the staircase, as are the gold-clad monuments, evocative archways and secluded rooms of the temple itself. You can spend as long as you like looking around Doi Suthep Mountain Temple or venturing into the wider countryside, ahead of an afternoon and evening at leisure.
Uncover the culture of Chiang Mai
Your final full day in Chiang Mai involves a further exploration of this region’s cultural heritage, traditional way of life and sacred sites too. It starts with a trip to Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre, followed by a visit to the Puak Tam and Muen Sarn Communities to witness the age-old skill of ceremonial umbrella making and production of exquisitely delicate silverware, respectively.
Both communities are noteworthy for their artisan craftsmanship and specialist techniques, which are a joy to observe before meeting more community members at the Sri Suphan Temple, who are also known as master craftspeople. Having picked up a few souvenirs and maybe even tried your hand at pottery making while at Sri Suphan, the rest of the day can be spent at leisure.
Travel from Chiang Mai to Phuket
This Grand tour of Thailand with Elite Travel Concierge culminates on the idyllic beaches of Phuket, Thailand’s famous tropical island out in the Andaman Sea.
At the appropriate time, a private driver and guide will pick you up and take you to the airport for your flight to the island where, upon landing, you’ll then be transferred to your luxury Phuket resort for check-in.
Walking Tour of Phuket
As wonderous as the beaches and bays around Phuket are, a walking tour of the island’s old town is also a must while here. When ready, you’ll head off in the company of an expert local guide and visit Phuket’s morning produce markets, as well as stopping off at local cafés and coffee houses to get a flavour for the island’s authentic cuisine.
Along the way, you can’t help but be admire the atmospheric colonial architecture, balconied buildings and brightly painted houses that Phuket Old Town is loved for, which all leads perfectly to the grand Thai Hua Museum, a former mansion and gardens that today hosts a series of interesting history exhibits, exhibitions and videos.
From here, enjoy lunch in the old town and the remainder of day 11 at leisure.
Exclusive Boat Ride around Phuket
Gear up and get ready to set sail today, as you board an exclusive catamaran and head off for a boat trip with a difference, around Phuket and its neighbouring islands. The vessel itself will be a luxurious craft of daybeds and live DJ music, cocktails and fine food, sushi and tapas, perfectly fitting for such a stunning part of the world and all you’ll need to make the voyage even more memorable.
Throughout the course of the day, stops will include the islands of Coral and Racha plus Prompthep Cape too, with plenty of chances to swim in the Andaman Sea’s crystalline waters, snorkel, and simply enjoy the service onboard. A picture-perfect sunset and drinks will then round off the day, before heading back to your hotel this evening.
DAYS 13 - 14
At Leisure in Phuket
The finale of your Grand Thailand Tour with Elite Travel Concierge is one of outright relaxation, around the resort and beaches of Phuket Island. You may wish to return to any temples, shrines or sites, markets or shops already visited during your time here, though with such heavenly coastline, cobalt seas and gourmet cuisine both at your hotel and around town – it may be time for some unashamed indulgence instead!
When the time comes, a private vehicle will be ready and waiting to take you back to Phuket Airport, in preparation for your flight home.