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Thailand Boutique Experience in 16-day tour

Venture away from the beaten path to discover a more authentic side of Thailand. Discover timeless traditions and historic monuments in Sukhothai and Lopburi, then head north to explore spectacular highland villages steeped in heritage. On the way, stay in boutique properties that embrace their natural and cultural surroundings. It is all within our 16-day Thailand Boutique Experience Tour.

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Sightseeing tour Bangkok & Kanchanaburi whilst watching the local life.
  • Road trip through the central Thailand via various remote areas of Kanchanaburi, and Prachuap Khiri Khan
  • Venturing into the evergreen nature of central Thailand and admire the wildlife in some national parks
  • Trekking & hiking to explore the hidden gems of central Thailand

Unforgettable moments

  • Kayaking along the local canal of Bangkok and admire the local life along the banks of the canals
  • Admiring the “death railway” on River Kwai, which was built by Allied prisoners during WWII
  • Admiring the wildlife at the national parks of Kaeng Krachan & Kui Buri
  • Enjoying the panoramic view of the nature of central Thailand.

Nature exploration

  • The nature along the local canals of Bangkok & the life along the banks of the canals
  • The unspoilt nature of Kanchanaburi & the famous River Kwai.
  • The refreshing nature of Kui Buri & Kaeng Krachan national parks & its wildlife.
  • The beach of Sam Roi Yot where you can enjoy the sand, the sea, and the sun.

Culture experience

  • The century old living style of the people living along the local canals of Bangkok
  • The culture & history of the Thailand in general and Bangkok in particular
  • The peasant culture of the countryside in Kanchanaburi & Prachuap Khiri Khan

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Bangkok

Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Sonasia’s guide & driver will pick you up and transfer directly to the hotel in center of Bangkok
Same same, but different. This Thailish T-shirt philosophy sums up Bangkok, a city where the familiar and the exotic collide like the flavors on a plate of pàt tai.
In the afternoon visit to Wat Pho and see its famous 45-metre reclining Buddha. In addition to the famous Buddha, Wat Pho is also home to Thailand’s oldest school of traditional medicine and Thai massage and considered to be the country’s first university.
Continue to the Royal Grand Palace, Bangkok’s number one ‘must see’ attraction and one of Thailand’s most important landmark. Marvel at the incredibly ornate architecture of this massive complex of stupas, temples, and throne halls, and then check out the famous emerald Buddha.
Overnight in Bangkok.

Notes

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – Bangkok City (33.7 km): 45 min Sala Rattanakosin Hotel – Wat Pho (150 m): 1 min

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Day 2 - Bangkok sightseeing - Art & Craft afternoon

Breakfast at the hotel.
Start your blessing day at Wat Saket where you can acquire some spiritual insights into Buddhism as the monks chant their morning prayers. Partake in the offering of alms to the monks to gain some blessing for a healthy and safe trip. Then make a short climb up to the temple’s golden mount to enjoy the panoramic view of Rattanakosin Island while listening to the chimes of hundreds of temple bells. Continue with a drive through the historical part of Bangkok, passing some of the city’s most beautiful landmarks and temples. Along the way, we will make a stop to buy a bucket filled with food and utility items for “Sangkatarn” – a special kind of offering for monks at Wat Ratchabophit. Visitors to Wat Ratchabophit will be amazed by the perfect blend of Thai architectural exterior with exquisite European influenced interior. The tour will cap off at the Tiger God Shrine, one of the oldest Taoist temples in Bangkok and renowned for being the most popular worshipping place amongst the Chinese community in the country.
Continue to have lunch at Steve Restaurant and Cuisine by the river.
The afternoon is dedicated to the tour of Art and Culture of Bangkok’s Klong.
Continue the day with boarding a private long tail boat taking guests onto the peaceful Klong Bang Luang. Pass by shop houses, local temples and vendors on this waterway which was once a major trading route and lined with impressive homes of aristocrats. The guide will point out local landmarks and cultural idiosyncrasies of the area. After observing this lively area the boat stops at Baan Silapin, a 100-year old renovated house now home to an art gallery. The gallery serves as a central gathering point for the community’s artisans. Spend time browsing the works of art on display and learn about Thailand’s modern arts scene. There may be time to take a short walk around the community and see the traditional houses that line the canal.
At Baan Silapin, there is also a chance to see intricately-designed Thai puppets, if the day visited falls on a Saturday or a Sunday. Learn about this ancient art form and, if lucky, the puppeteers may put on a live performance.
En-route back to the city stop to visit the Temple of Dawn – Wat Arun, arriving back early afternoon.   
Overnight in Bangkok.

Notes
  • Appropriate dress is required for a visit to temples. Shorts, mini-skirts, tight fitting trousers, sleeveless shirts or vests, and sandals are NOT allowed.
  • The Puppet show is available only on weekends, at 14:00; however, the show is also subject to change without notice.
  • Distance: Hotel – Wat Saket & Golden Mount (2.6 km): 15 min Wat Saket & Golden Mount – Wat Ratchabophit (2 km): 8 min Wat Ratchabophit – Steve Cafe & Cuisine (3.1 km): 12 min Steve Cafe & Cuisine – Sala Rattanakosin Hotel (4.5 km): 14 min
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Day 3 - Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Saraburi

Depart from Bangkok and drive to Ayutthaya, the capital of Thailand for more than 417 years before it was sacked by an invading Burmese army. First, stop at Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and explore the majestic royal mansions which are usually quiet in the afternoons. Continue to Wat Niwet Thammapravat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples in Thailand, with remarkable Gothic-style architecture and stained-glass windows.
In the afternoon, hop onto a “Kermit” tuk tuk (a special type of motorized tuk tuk available only in Ayutthaya and Trang province in the South) to discover the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park. Briefly stop near the Muslim Quarter and sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – candy floss roti.
Continue to Saraburi in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Saraburi.

Notes

Hotel – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace (67.8 km): 1.09 min Bang Pa-In Summer Palace – Ayutthaya Historical Park (21.7 km): 28 min Ayutthaya Historical Park – Saraburi (103 km): 1.25 hr

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Day 4 - Saraburi - Khao Yai National Park

Breakfast at the hotel. Drive into the National Park, stop and start a 3km walk through the forest to Nong Phug She Tower which is located near Nong Phug Shee pond, the main water source for many kinds of animal, and where you have a good chance of seeing elephant and other wild animals. Then we head to the famous waterfall in the film “The Beach” to have lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, it is time to explore the beauty of the waterfall. In the late afternoon, we head to the Lonely Cliff to visit the highest mountain of the park and the beautiful surroundings.
In the evening, we will take you to enjoy dinner and wine tasting at PB Valley, one of the famous vineyards in the region of Khao Yai.
Overnight in Khao Yai.
 

Notes

Saraburi – Khao Yai National Park (approximately 38.4 km): 50 min

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Day 5 - Khao Yai - Saraburi - Lopburi - Sukhothai

Early in the morning, depart for a visit to the Temple of Buddha Footprint in Saraburi before continuing on to Lopburi.
Lopburi was once an important part of the Khmer Empire and, later, the Kingdom of Ayutthaya. Visit a temple famously overrun by monkeys, especially in the area around Phra Prang Sam Yod and Phra Kaan Shrine. Be careful not to have belongings stolen by these cheeky ‘locals’!
In the afternoon, drive to Sukhothai and make a stop at Sukhothai Historical Park. Sukhothai is considered to be the birthplace of Thai culture and ‘Thainess’, and was once the capital of a bustling ancient empire. Explore the park by bike and check out some of the 200 remarkably well-preserved chedis and temple ruins.
Overnight in Sukhothai. 

Notes

Khao Yai – Saraburi (87 km): 1.20 min Saraburi – Lopburi (45.8 km): 35 min Lopburi – Sukhothai Historical Park (334 km): 4.14 min

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Day 6 - Sukhothai exploration

Breakfast at the hotel.
Today, you will discover the 2012 PATA Gold Award Winning Project’s tourist attraction in Si Satchanalai District, in the Heritage and Culture category, “Ban Na Thon Chan Community”. Established over 200 years ago, Ban Na Thon Chan is a local tourism-based community offering the balance of natural and cultural heritage to most of visitors. Most villagers are descendants of the ancient Lanna kingdom, and everyday’s life is based on their daily tasks and customs while conserving their local heritage. Here, you will have a chance to visit the local families and befriend with them. Enjoy delicious local lunch with the host family.
Free afternoon at leisure. 
Overnight in Sukhothai.

Notes

Sukhothai – Ban Na Thon Chan Community (93.1 km): 1.34 hr

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Day 7 - Sukhothai - Nan

Breakfast at the hotel.
Drive to Nan, with en route visit to Phrae, one of Thailand’s oldest cities and one of the most authentic Lanna towns. Phrae is packed with traditional Thai architecture in the form of beautiful teak houses, eclectic wats and quiet lanes as well as several large colonial period teak mansions. Spend some time visiting Vongburi House, a large two-storey teak mansion built in 1897 for a family that held a large teak concession in the area.
Continue to Nan, and enjoy a city sightseeing of Nan including Wat Phumin and the National Museum, and make a brief stop at the Riverside Gallery with paintings and sculptures of local artist Winai Prabripoo.
Overnight in Nan.

Notes

Sukhothai – Nan (287 km): 3.45 hr

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Day 8 - Nan - Lanjia Lodge

Breakfast at the hotel.
Head out of the city for an encounter with the Malbri, also called “Spirits of the yellow leaves“, a unique opportunity to meet one of the most mysterious and rarest hill tribes of South East Asia with as few as 150 people estimated by the experts.
Continue drive along the mountaineous route to Chiang Khong area of Chiang Rai. You arrive at Lanjia Lodge in the afternoon.
After enjoying your welcome drink, we will inform you by means of a Video presentation about the various tribal people residing in Thailand, with the main focus on the Hmong and Lahu tribes, for them being your hosts at Lanjia Lodge. Another presentation will give you insights on the various activities affecting the lives of people living by and from the Mekong River over decades and on the famous Giant Catfish (locally known as Pla Buek), the world’s largest freshwater that can still be found in the Mekong. In the evening, you enjoy a sumptuous dinner with local delicacies, followed by a performance of both, Hmong and Lahu music and dances.
Overnight in Lanjia Lodge.

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Day 9 - Lanjia Lodge exploration

You prepare yourself for an adventurous day with an early-morning breakfast in the lodge. A local guide will then guide you through the Hmong and Lahu village adjacent to the lodge, called “Baan Kiew Karn”.
You will learn about the many traditions, beliefs and the daily way of life of these two tribes, and also
enjoy a hands-on experience of the local Batik making, which you will be taught by an extremely skillful Hmong woman. Afterwards, the Shaman of the village will be pleased to answer all your questions regarding the local belief in Shamanism.
Later, we will transfer you in a local truck to the close-by village of Baan Muang Karn, from where you will board a local boat and cruise down the famed Mekong River to the city of Chiang Khong. You will enjoy your lunch today in a local restaurant right by the river.
After lunch, our guide will walk with you through parts of this charming border town, and you will visit two temples on the way, before heading to the village of Ban Had Krai, where you will meet with local fishermen who have seen and caught the famed Giant Catfish, and who will be pleased to share their unique stories with you.
As a last stop before arriving back to the lodge, you will visit the temple Wat Phra That Jom Meng on a mountain top with a most scenic view over the Mekong River basin and Laos.
Arrive back in the lodge in time to relax and prepare for another meal showcasing the unique flavors of the local cuisine.
Overnight in Lanjia Lodge.

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Day 10 - Lanjia Lodge - Fang

After breakfast, take a local truck and visit a small waterfall where there’s an opportunity to swim in a natural pool in the middle of a tropical forest. Enjoy a scrumptious picnic lunch in the forest before returning to the lodge in the early afternoon.
After enjoying some refreshments at the lodge, continue driving down-hill to the Fang District of Chiang Mai Province. Check in at Phumanee Lahu Home Hotel, and spend the rest of the afternoon cycling or walking through local temples.
Dinner and overnight in Fang.

Notes

Lanjia Lodge – Fang District (194 km): 3.21 hr

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Day 11 - Fang - Pai

Early morning activity, starting at 06:00, is to visit a local market in Fang town. (Note: Breakfast box will be provided.) Explore around the fresh market to buy some ready cooked food, fruits, drinks, and flowers as alms offering, and then continue by pick-up truck on the off-road uphill to Doi Pu Muen for about an hour.
Doi Pu Muen is a mountain and highland which is 1,306 metres above sea level with cooling temperatures almost all year round. Upon arrival at the mountain, get around seeing the village of Lahu, the Christian Tribe who mainly grows tea and coffee as their cash crops. Visit tea plantations and have fun learning how to pick tea leaves like a local, as well as heat and dry the tea leaves, also taste some good tea from Lahu people. Then visit Pu Muen Waterfall and enjoy tasting a very special Bamboo lunch. 
In the late afternoon, drive to Pai District of Mae Hong Son Province. Pai is a colorful town of just over 2000 people set in a picture-perfect mountain valley, and it has a strong cultural influence of the Shan people (from Myanmar) which is very visible in social makeup of Pai.
In the evening enjoy a stroll through the colorful Pai night markets for an evening snack or some hilltribe inspired crafts and gifts.
Overnight in Pai.

Notes

Fang District – Doi Pu Muen (31.3 km): 58 min Doi Pu Muen – Pai District (234 km): 4.10 hr

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Day 12 - Pai - Mae Hong Son

Following breakfast, continue further north to Tham Lod cave in the small town of Soppong (1.5 hours). This must see historic cave is explored by bamboo raft via a tiny river that winds through the cave. You will disembark the raft 2- 3 times to explore the huge taverns that contain remains of ancient teak coffins that date back over 2500 years and simple cave painting- all the while be accompanied by a local guide bearing a kerosene lantern. Indeed Tham lod is considered a good example of community based tourism as the all of the guides at the cave are from the local Shan village.
Continue to a local restaurant for lunch and then travel onwards to Mae Hong Son stopping at Tam Pla park. The park features a number of creeks running out of a cave and the waters are filled with soro brook carp fish. After the visit, resume your drive to Mae Hong Son.
Mae Hong Son is Thailand’s most remote town, nestled in a scenic mountainous setting with the Pai River as its thoroughfare. Mae Hong Son shares a border with Myanmar and as such its population is a cultural melting pot of Thai and Shan people with Lisu, Lahu, Karen and Hmong hilltribes populating the surrounding mountain regions.
Continue to Wat Phra That Doi Kong Moo which dominates the provincial city. Constructed by Phaya Singhanatracha, the first King of Mae Hong Son, the hilltop temple affords a wonderful view over the city and surrounding mountains and valleys. Also visit the Burmese-style temples Wat Chong Klang and Wat Chong Kham. Apart from the glass paintings depicting Buddhism and simple lifestyle of the villagers which draw much attention from visitors, there are over 30 wood carved dolls from Myanmar. Situated in front of the temples is a big natural pond called Nong Chong Kham, which used to be the bathing area for elephants.
Overnight in Mae Hong Son.
 

Notes

Pai District – Mae Hong Son (107 km): 1.57 hr

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Day 13 - Mae Hong Son exploration

Enjoy an early breakfast at the hotel before heading on a scenic drive up the nearby mountains to visit Pang Oung, located in Ban Ruam Thai. As part of Pang Tong Royal Development Project, Pang Oung, also known as the ‘Switzerland of Thailand’, is a beautiful place that can be visited all year round. It offers gorgeous views of a scenic lake nestled in a valley which glitters with sunlight in the morning hours. After a visit, transfer to Ban Rak Thai Village (Love Thailand Village), a small village with a Yunnan Chinese culture that lingers despite its inhabitants having immigrated to Thailand centuries ago.  Here, sip tea at the village and mingle with locals before enjoying lunch.
After lunch, drive back to Mae Hong Son.
Overnight in Mae Hong Son.
 

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Day 14 - Mae Hong Son - Chiang Mai

We begin with an early morning to visit the morning market area, where a colourful aray of foodstuffs can be bought including crickets, worms and ant eggs!
Depart from Mae Hong Son to Khun Yuam, stops on the way to see some authentic Burmese & Mon influent temples, such as Wat Muay Tor and Wat Tor Pae. Continue by road with beautiful montaineous route to Mae Cham, small charming town, for lunch. Then continue drive to Chiang Mai in the afternoon.
In the late afternoon, visit Wat Palad, one of the three temples in Doi Suthep National Park, with the age of more than 500 years old. It was also the old meditation center. Then depart down hill to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the temple on the mountain, and the most sacred in Northern Thailand. The stairs lead you to its impressive chedi and beautiful murals. At this time, the tourist masses have already left the temple grounds and dusk will give a very special atmosphere. End with the spectacularly romantic evening view over Chiang Mai with its millions of glittering lights.

Optional: Chiang Mai Night Discovery
You will be picked up at 17:00. Experience the charm of the evening in the city on this Chiang Mai night tour. With a local guide, enjoy a night out on the town embracing the spiritual traditions and rich heritage that make Chiang Mai so special.
Start with a visit to a local temple at sunset. Watch as the monks gather for their evening prayers and be soothed by the calm sounds of their chanting. Join local devotees in lighting incense and candles, offerings of good luck and health.
After this unforgettable experience, it’s time for dinner. Travel through the illuminated city streets to 137 Pillars House, one of Chiang Mai’s top tables. Enter the incredible courtyard which was inspired by ancient Chinese dwellings. In this atmospheric setting, enjoy a dinner of exquisite dishes of Thai cuisine.
Cap off the evening with a trip to Warorot Market. Busy from morning till late at night, the bustling market is a hub of local life. Browse stalls overflowing with fresh food, flowers, and more and enjoy the lively atmosphere. Sample Thai desserts from a popular street vendor, providing a sweet end to an enchanting evening. (D)
Time: 17:00 - 21:00
Departure: Daily
Blackout dates for dinner at 137 Pillars House on 24 and 31 Dec due to the hotel arranging only gala dinner.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
 

Notes

Mae Hong Son – Khun Yuam Districkt (66 km): 1.06 hr Khun Yuam Districkt – Chiang Mai (215 km): 4.02 hr

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Day 15 - Chiang Mai exploration

Breakfast at the hotel.
Today, we will make your day a very special one. You will experience a typical day in the life of a Thai person- no tourists, no sightseeing, just real-life home cooking in a real Thai neighborhood.
Join Mr. Prapat in his family car and transfer 20 minutes to Hang Dong to spend the day with your ‘Thai family’. In true Thai style, slip into a pair of local ‘fisherman’s pants’ discover the architecture of a traditional Thai house and rice barn. Your Thai family will also demonstrate their basket weaving skills, a tradition that has been in Thailand for centuries. Stroll around the small, family orchid and select fresh ingredients to add to the days cooking extravaganza. You will learn to cook traditional home cooked recipes with authentic Northern Thai flavors that are different from standard dishes offered in commercial cooking classes. Best of all you will have the opportunity to get to know a real Thai family and be their house guest for the day. Enjoy a delicious home cooked lunch with your family (cooked together). In the afternoon, go for a stroll around the neighborhood to see some cottage industry goods being made before returning to Chiang Mai.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.

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Day 16 - Chiang Mai departure

Breakfast and free day at leisure.
Depart to Chiang Mai Airport for the flight back to Bangkok.

Notes

Chiang Mai – Chiang Mai Airport (4.7 km): 11 min

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