Thailand – Bangkok , Chiang Mai, Phuket & Krabi
The group meets at OR Tambo international airport from various destinations in South Africa. Your Tour Director will greet you with a warm welcome and introduce everyone. You board an overnight flight to Phuket.
Day 1 – Arrival and orientation
You arrive in Phuket in the morning where the shuttle will take you to the hotel to check in, refresh and rest after the long journey. The Tour Director will suggest nearby restaurants for the travellers to have lunch and stroll around the neighbourhood at leisure.
The group meets for welcome dinner where the Tour Director will review the up-to-date daily schedule and any changes, discuss responsibilities, safety guidelines, emergency procedures, and answer any questions you may have.
Day 2 – Phuket City Tour
This morning you will be picked up from your hotel and head to Old Phuket Town to get an idea of the island’s culture and history. You get to learn about the town’s Sino-Portuguese heritage and architecture before heading to the viewpoint to take some photos.
You then have lunch and then visit Wat Chalong, the biggest Buddhist temple on the island. Here you will learn about the Buddhist religion and view the 3-story complex filled with Buddha statues. You then move to Phuket’s very own marble Big Buddha, before driving along the south side of the island on a beautiful coastal road, watching the sunset from the southern tip of the island. Finally you will take a tour of a local rum factory and enjoy a free cocktail while learning about the rum-making process.
Day 3 – full-day Phang Nga Bay excursion
This day you will have a full-day Phang Nga Bay excursion. At the marina, enjoy some light snacks before getting on a speedboat and cruise for about an hour to Phang Nga Island. Once on the island, you will hop on a canoe, with your guide leading you to Hong Island.
You will take a break for lunch on Paynee Island at a Myoulim Village and spend some time shopping for souvenirs).
Thereafter, you move off to James Bond Island, also known as Khao Phing Kan before you continue on to either Lawa Island or Naka Island to relax on the beach or to go for a swim in the turquoise-coloured waters.
You will then get back to the marina in time to catch a lift to your hotel, and arrive back in Phuket around 5pm.
Day 4: Phi Phi Island Adventure Day Trip by Speedboat from Phuket with Lunch
Today you will take a tourto Phi Phi Islands aboard a speedboat. Following a scenic boat ride, you will first stop at Pileh Lagoon, a natural lagoon framed by sheer cliffs. You then cruise over to Maya Bay, the filming location of Leonardo DiCaprio’s hit 2000 movie The Beach.
You will then visit Viking Cave where you get to snorkel and observe nesting seabirds. You then stop off at Phi Phi Don for a buffet lunch and then spend some free time snorkelling, swimming, and exploring on Bamboo Island.
Day 5 – Departure to Chiang Mai
The morning is free time to spend the day either discovering Phuket further on your own or do your shopping at many of Phuket’s many shopping malls before your afternoon departure for Chiang Mai. You arrive in Chiang Mai to check into your hotel.
Day 6 – tour to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle
Today you will embark on a tour to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle. You board an air-conditioned minivan and make a short stop at the Mae Khachan Hot Spring (Wiang Po Po). You then continue to Wat Rung Khun aka the White Temple. Your next stop is Chiang Saen, a river town replete with ancient temple ruins where you get the chance to break for a buffet lunch.
You then get to admire the views of the Golden Triangle, the name given to where the borders of Laos, Thailand, and Myanmar intersect, and relax during a boat ride on the Khong River.
Your tour ends with a short stop at the Hall of Opium, before you return to Chiang Mai.
Day 7 – Chiang Mai City and Temples Half-Day Tour and Local Food Tour
The morning is spend embarking on the Chiang Mai City and Temples Half-Day Tour. You will have a chance to sample the most famous and beautiful of the city’s 36 Buddhist temples (Wats), both inside the city walls and in the nearby countryside. You will get to visit Wat Chedi, an ancient structure in Central Chiang Mai where you get to look inside the temple to observe statues of guardian spirits that some say protect the temple to this day.
You will also climb the rolling hills surrounding the Chiang Mai to experience the immaculate Wat Phrathat Doi Sutep. You will get to gain first-hand insight into habits of the temples’ Buddhist monks as they go about their daily routines, and many opportunities to photograph historic environs of Chiang Mai and the majestic views from the foothills surrounding the city.
In the evening you will go where the locals go and eat what the locals eat. You will meet your tour guides at the Three Kings Monument, located in the Old City. You will get to try a simple yet must-eat staple dish of Thailand. The restaurant you will be dining at is a favourite amongst locals and visiting Thais, and has been family owned since 1957. The next stop will be visiting the first temple built in the old city (walk), learning about the main religion of Thailand, Buddhism. You will try Chiang Mai’s famous noodle dish, Kao Soi and experience this meal and learn about its history and origins.
You will then sample Chiang Mai’s number one dessert for Sakoo Sai Hmoo and Kao Griap Paak Hmaw before you cross over the Ping River walking bridge and conclude with a street food experience at Warorot Market, which has been around for over a century, and is one of Chiang Mai’s oldest, largest and most diverse open-markets. Inside the market, you will choose five favourite stands and try local highlights like freshly made soft Golden Curl, mango sticky rice, Thai iced tea, and more. The tour will end at Warorot Market.
Day 8 – Departure to Bangkok
You depart for Bangkok this morning where the shuttle will take you to the hotel to check in, refresh and rest. The Tour Director will suggest nearby restaurants for you to have lunch and stroll around the neighbourhood at leisure.
Day 9 – Grand Palace Complex and Wat Phra Kaew and Bangkok Food Tour
Today you embark on the tour of Bangkok’s Grand Palace Complex and Wat Phra Kaew. Your driver will pick you up from your hotel in an air-conditioned bus. You then travel to one of the city’s most historic neighbourhoods, where the Grand Palace stands near the banks of the Chao Phraya River, where you will get a chance to follow in the footsteps of Siamese kings and queens as you visit the Royal Funeral Hall and Royal Coronation Hall, grand spaces where ceremonial occasions still take place.
You then enter Wat Phra Kaew, also called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, to pay your respects to a historic Buddha that’s carved from solid jade. You end your adventure near the Grand Palace at the Gems Gallery, convenient to top sites, attractions, and restaurants in historic Bangkok.
The afternoon and evening will be spent exploring Bangkok cuisine. You will meet your local guide near the food-centric Bang Rak district, who will teach you about Thailand’s diverse culinary culture as you visit your first food stall. You will taste curry puffs and Thai iced tea from stalls at the Bang Rak Bazaar; feast on exotic fruits at a yout market; and share plates of stir-fried noodles topped with egg in a family-run eatery. You will also sample the Northern Thai specialty of green papaya salad, the minced-meat dish larb, and a sugar fix from a suset shop.
Day 10 – Floating Markets Day
This day you will visit Bangkok’s Floating Markets in Damnoen Saduak. When you arrive, you will be transferred to a long-tailed boat and speed through marshes and past atmospheric stilt houses. On the journey, you’ll receive a comprehensive introduction to the culture and history of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market.
You then cruise past floating stalls selling fresh produce and exotic fruits while your local guide explains the origin and use of particularly unique ingredients along the way. For an additional cost, you can purchase souvenirs and opt to take a ride on a local boat.
There will be plenty time to explore the market before you return to your hotel via boat and bus.
Day 11 – Shopping
Today is a free time to spend the day either discovering Bangkok further on your own or do your shopping at the city’s many shopping malls.
In the evening, you will enjoy a Farewell Dinner at a local restaurant to toast to your unforgettable week.
Day 12 – Departure
You enjoy free morning before your departure. You will be transferred to the airport by a shuttle to catch your evening flights.