12 Nights / 13 Days
Classic Tour ¦13 Days¦Physical Level 1
Bangkok – Kanchanaburi – Chiang Rai – Lisu Lodge – Chiang Mai
A two-week journey from south to north, this perfect first-timer tour of Thailand encompasses all the top sights as well as venturing into less-explored areas to explore pristine nature and local culture with a stay at a beautiful eco-lodge.
● Marvel at Bangkok’s Grand Palace
● Visit the infamous River Kwai
● Explore historical Ayutthaya
● Meet traditional hill tribes
● Stroll through laidback Chiang Rai
● Master Thai cuisine with Chiang Mai’s cooking class
Thailand Highlights tour inclusions:
All sightseeing and entrance fees
All transportation and transfers
English speaking National Escort (if your group is 10 or more passengers) or Local Guides
Visa fees for UK and EU passport holders
Specialist advice from our experienced travel consultants
Comprehensive travel guides
Safe and secure with ABTA, ATOL and IATA
Please ask our sales agent to price the International Flights
The only thing you may have to pay for are personal expenditure e.g. drinks, optional excursions or shows, insurance of any kind, early check in or late checkout and other items not specified on the itinerary.
Itinerary – Thailand Highlights
Day 1-2: Bangkok
You will be met at Bangkok Airport by your local guide or National Escort from Wendy Wu Tours. Together with all other group members who may be arriving at a similar time, you will transfer approximately 1 hour to your hotel.
● Bangkok has been Thailand's dominant city since the 18th century. It was established as the capital after the former capital, Ayutthaya, was attacked by the Burmese and burned down. The emerging city, which was protected by a wall, was occupied by a large number of stilt and floating houses built to adapt to common seasonal flooding. Up until the Thailand War, Bangkok was still largely undeveloped until it became a popular place of rest and relaxation for the American soldiers, which resulted in a boom of nightclubs, massage parlours and bars. However, in the 80s and 90s, Bangkok underwent rapid modernisation and exploded into the metropolis it is today; a city that is lined with skyscrapers and is full of life. With a population of over 7 million, the fast pace of the city can be daunting for the first-time visitor, yet beneath all of the hustle and bustle there are many hidden gems waiting to be discovered, offering a unique taste of Thai culture and history. Bangkok’s dazzling neon signs, charming architecture, spicy Thai cuisine and colourful markets make for an exciting first few days of our tour.
Day 3: Bangkok
Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the city today. Tour the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Chinatown before cruising down Chao Phraya River on a longboat to Pak Khlong Talaat Flower Market, whilst enjoying an alternative view of the city. Sightseeing involves around 5 hours on foot today and involves hopping on and off the boats, often on unsteady and sometimes slippery surfaces, without handrails or assistance.
● One of Bangkok’s largest temples. Experience the monk’s chant as you explore the grounds of Wat Pho, which is over eight hectares. The largest reclining Buddha and the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand are housed here.
● The Grand Palace is the city’s most famous landmark. Built in 1782, for 150 years it was the home to the Thai King, the royal court and administrate seat of government. Within the Palace are several impressive buildings, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
Pak Khlong Talaat Flower Market
● The biggest wholesale and retail fresh flower market in Bangkok.
● Teeming with market stalls and side street restaurants, Chinatown is a not-to-be-missed experience in Bangkok.
Day 4: Bangkok – Kanchanaburi
Rise early this morning and drive to the Railway Track Market in Smut Songkram and then onto Damnoen Saduak Floating Market where you will travel by a motorised or paddle wooden boats through the canals. Sightseeing involves hopping on and off the boats, often on unsteady and sometimes slippery surfaces, without handrails or assistance. Continue to Kanchanaburi stopping at the famous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’ on the way. On arrival in Kanchanaburi, visit the Allied War Cemetery and JEATH War Museum.
Railway Track Market
● A open-air market with a little difference. Set on railway track; enjoy the unique experience as you see the vendors quickly pack up their stores as the train approaches the tracks.
Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
● Step back in time to experience the traditional way farmers would trade their produce. The canals are lined with boats that are paddled by local women and piled high with vegetables, fruit and even souvenirs for the tourists. Sit back and soak up the atmosphere as the locals go about their daily life and entertain with their haggling techniques.
Bridge over the River Kwai
● The infamous bridge built by prisoners of war during World War II, many of whom lost their lives during its construction.
● One of Thailand’s largest provinces, rich in history and which boasts undeniable scenic beauty.
Allied War Cemetery – See thousands of graves belonging to British, Dutch and Australian prisoners who died while building the bridge.
JEATH War Museum – The Museum displays many artefacts, photos and stories of the prisoners of World War II. There are graphic images of the terrible conditions and torment that the young men faced and the stories of those who survived; some group members may find this upsetting and confronting.
Day 5: Kanchanaburi – Bangkok
This morning visit Hellfire Pass, a dramatic part of the railway that literally cuts through mountain and take a 3 kilometre walk through the pass. Explore the Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum, which tells the stories of human suffering at the hands of this engineering feat before boarding the train at Nam Tok Railway Station. After lunch, travel back to Bangkok. This evening, enjoy a delicious Thai meal for dinner and watch a performance of traditional Thai dancing.
Please note the 3km walk will be on uneven ground, involves some steep steps and it is likely to be humid; be prepared for mosquitoes! If you do not wish to take part, you will still be able to see the pass from around 15 minutes’ walk from the museum and you may remain in the museum area independently, please be aware that the group will be gone for around 2 hours.
● Was constructed for the Burma to Thailand railway by Prisoners of War. This part of the railway was particularly hard to build due to its remoteness and the scale of rock-cutting required. It took only six weeks to build this section, as the prisoners were forced to work 16-18 hour days and throughout the night. Its name derived from the eerie glow produced by the torches at night, reflecting off the gaunt faces of the prisoners.
Day 6: Ayutthaya – Chiang Rai
Discover the historical highlights of Ayutthaya by minivan on a day trip to the ancient capital of Thailand. Departing from Bangkok in the morning, drive 1 and half hours to Bang Pa-In Palace, boasting a mix of European, gothic and Thai-Buddhist architecture. There’s time to explore the vast grounds that include several temple complexes, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, a temple that forbids monks to enter (due to its ‘royal’ status), and then on to Wat Chai Wattanaram is a Buddhist temple in the city of Ayutthaya Historical Park the west bank of the Chao Phraya River, outside Ayutthaya island. Sightseeing will involve around 3 hours on foot today. Enjoy lunch at the local restaurant and take the road trip back to Bangkok. Transfer to the airport for your 80-minute flight to Chiang Rai.
● The former Thai Kingdom capital city from 1350 to 1767. It ultimately suffered destruction at the hands of the Burmese. On arrival visit the largest temple of Wat Phra Sisanphet, which was used as the Royal Temple Palace by several kings. The following sight is Wat Chai Wattanaram where the construction patterns are very interesting. Then continue to Bang
● In Summer Palace, which served as the summer palace for many Thai monarchs from the 17th century. This structure has a captivating collection of marvellous pavilions in a variety of Thai, Chinese, Italian and Victorian architectural styles.
Day 7: Chiang Rai
This morning, stop at the area known as the ‘Golden Triangle’; the point where the borders of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet. Upon arrival, enjoy a boat ride crossing the Mekong River to Laos where you visit Don Sao Island. There is a small market on the island, selling Lao clothing, handicrafts and postcards, which you can send home with a Lao postmark from the small post office located here. Continue to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand and an important trading city on the Thai-Burmese border. Learn about its history and visit the local market. This evening, you’ll also have an opportunity to explore the colourful night market in Chiang Rai.
● The northernmost province of Thailand, sharing borders with Myanmar and Laos, and also one of the most ethnically diverse provinces in Thailand. The province is abundant with natural scenery; lush rice terraces, orchid-scattered hills and the distant outline of the mountains of Myanmar and Laos.
Day 8: Chiang Rai
Drive 1 and half hours to Mae Salong Mountain, renowned for its hill tribes and tea plantations. From the base of the mountain travel by truck to a plantation where you will have an opportunity to sample local tea. Enjoy lunch at a mountaintop restaurant before an excursion to Mae Salong, visiting a tea plantation, a Yao Tribe and an Akha village known as Ban Lorcha. Sightseeing today will include approximately 3 hours on foot.
● Once known as a centre for opium trade in the golden triangle, Mae Salong is now associated with tribal villages and the production of excellent local tea.
Day 9: Lisu Lodge
Depart Chiang Rai and take a short 30-minute drive to explore the Wat Rong Khun or ‘White Temple’. Next, stop at local market, then continue to Chiang Mai, where you will spend the night at the Lisu Lodge. As the name suggests, the lodge is located at a Lisu hilltribe village and you will be guided through the village by some of the locals before having dinner at the terrace of one of the wooden houses, where you will also be entertained by children from the local village who will perform some Lisu folklore. Built in traditional Lisu style with an eye for western comforts, the guest cottages overlook the lush fields and hills surrounding the valley. Each guest room has an en-suite bathroom. The cottages include electric fans (but no air con), a mosquito net, a universal power outlet at the headboard, 2 complimentary bottles of water, a hair dryer, hot water for showers, toiletries and slippers, towels and a shower cap. You will need to pack an overnight bag, as your main luggage will be left in safe storage and collected tomorrow.
Destination Information $4 White Temple
● One of the most recognisable temples in Thailand, the White Temple is a contemporary Buddhist and Hindu temple designed by Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat in 1997.
● Named after the Lisu hill tribe village that is found near the lodge, the lodge is also part of a community-based project that aims to conserve the natural heritage of the hill tribes in Chiang Mai. The lodge is operated by Lisu hill tribe villagers who will take care of you during your stay.
Day 10: Lisu Lodge – Chiang Mai
Have breakfast from the lodge’s organic farm and begin the 1 hour drive to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, visit the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam followed by lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, continue to Wat Chedi Luang and Wat Phra Singh. Sightseeing will be approximately 2 hours on foot today.
● Located among tall mountains, Chiang Mai is the largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand. The city was founded in 1296 and was the capital of the Lanna Kingdom, which was eventually occupied by the Burmese. For the next 200 years Chiang Mai was virtually abandoned until it was again taken over by Siam in the 18th century. During the 20th century, Chiang Mai became a thriving centre for handicraft pottery, weaving, silverwork and woodcarving; however tourism took over in the 1960’s as the main source of income. Today, Chiang Mai is famous for its hilltribes, tea plantations and elephants.
Wiang Kum Kam
● In 1984, just outside the modern Chiang Mai metropolitan area, archaeologists uncovered the remains of this city, which was said to have been buried underground by years of flooding. Nearly 20 temple sites have been uncovered in the area, many in ruins, except for two that are still actively used today.
Wat Chedi Luang
● Where the famous ‘Emerald Buddha’ was once enshrined.
Wat Phra Singh
● Founded in the 14th century to enshrine the ashes of King Kam Fu.
Day 11: Chiang Mai
After breakfast, you will visit the Thai Elephant Care Centre. The centre is located in the beautiful Mesa valley and is the peaceful final resting place for old elephants. You will be met by one of the local caretakers at the gate; they will guide you through the centre, explaining the history of the centre and its inhabitants. After the visit, have lunch and continue to Mae Daeng to enjoy an exciting rafting trip on the river. After the rafting experience, return to Chiang Mai.
Please note that in the rainy season, between June and August, bamboo rafting may not be possible for safety reasons.
Thai Elephant Care Centre – A care centre dedicated to looking after elderly elephants in their final stage of life. The elephants here have typically been rescued or retired from cruel situations such as illegal logging camps. Elephant riding is not permitted at the Thai Elephant Care Centre, nor on any Wendy Wu tour.
Day 12: Chiang Mai
Enjoy a cooking class where you will learn to cook traditional Thai cuisine and enjoy your creation for lunch. Later, drive 1 hour to Wat Doi Suthep where you will have the option of climbing the Naga staircase 300 steps to the top, or catch the cable car to visit the exquisite golden pagoda. This evening we enjoy a typical Thai (Khantoke) dinner while watching a performance of traditional song and dance from Northern Thailand by various hill tribes.
● Chiang Mai’s oldest and largest market. Stroll parades of stalls selling an assortment of items, from woks, toys and pickled tea leaves.
Wat Doi Suthep
● One of Thailands most sacred temples. Tucked away in the mountains at 1,056 metres above sea level, it offers a panoramic view of Chiang Mai.
Day 13: Depart Chiang Mai
Today you will be transferred from the hotel to the airport, according to the departure time of your flight home.
04/02/23 & 25/02/23 & 18/03/23 & 04/11/23 & 11/11/23 & 03/02/24 & 16/03/24 & 16/11/24 & 30/11/24