Travel ▻ Southeast Asia ▻ Thailand11-Day Budget Best of Thailand
11-day Budget Best of Thailand

11-Day Budget Best of Thailand

11 days

11-Day Budget Best of Thailand
from $1495 USD

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In just a brief 11-days, see the "real Thailand" that has made the country such a landmark international destination for decades. We will take you into the vibrant backwaters of old Bangkok and then deep into the jungles of Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai. From there, visit ancient Ayutthaya and enjoy a night train, a quintessential Southeast Asian travel experience, to Chiang Mai. Here we explore Buddhist temples and learn more about the role the religion plays in day to day life while relishing all of the great photographic opportunities found here. We finish in the beach town of Phuket, home to fantastic beaches with great excursions on offer into the sky blue Andaman Sea.

You can start this trip any day of the year and customize it to meet your needs and interests. Accommodation upgrades are quotable on request. The best time of year is December through March, with November, April, and into mid-May usually being okay too but hotter). If traveling in the monsoon season (generally, June to October), you can consider switching from Phuket to Koh Samui. Lower prices are in effect for trips between April 1 through October 31, please inquire for specific rates. 

Full Itinerary expand all collapse all

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok and overnight

Welcome to sunny Thailand! Arrive anytime today. Following your arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport, meet your guide at arrival gate B, situated on your left-hand side as you exit the arrival hall. From there, you’ll be transferred to your Bangkok hotel. The balance of the evening is free at your leisure.

Meals included: n/a
Mid-Range Accommodations: Nouvo City Hotel, Deluxe room

Day 2: Guided Best of Bangkok tour by Tuk Tuk and Boat (BL)

At 8:30am, meet your guide in the hotel lobby and depart by tuk tuk together to explore the best of Bangkok. We begin the journey by visiting the Grand Palace. The highlight of this majestic palace is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Pra Kaew), the most revered shrine in the Kingdom. Located next to the Grand Palace, we’ll also pay a visit to Wat Po, one of Bangkok’s oldest and largest temples. The temple is the headquarters for the Traditional Medicine Practitioners of Bangkok. After a break for lunch, take a water taxi to visit Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn. Here, you'll find pavilions containing statues of the Buddha at the most important stages of life. The beautiful architecture and fine craftsmanship mark Wat Arun as one of the most remarkable temples in Thailand. Then, you'll board a longtail boat and enjoy a splendid couple of hours navigating Bangkok's fascinating maze of waterways and canals, discovering why Bangkok is known as the "Venice of the East." We’ll venture into bucolic "backwater" neighborhoods where life is slower and simpler. Afterwards, we return to the hotel and the rest of the evening is free at leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Mid-Range Accommodations: Nouvo City Hotel, Deluxe room

Day 3: Travel Bangkok to Kanchanaburi (BL)

This morning, you and your guide will depart Bangkok for the three-hour journey to the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. Here visit the evocative Kanchanaburi War Cemetery, containing the graves of POW’s who perished during the construction of the bridge. Tens of thousands of "coolies" and POWs died while working under brutal conditions to complete this vital link to the Indian subcontinent.

After a break for lunch, continue the drive and visit the enchanting Erawan waterfall (entrance fee is included). Erawan Falls has seven levels dropping down over 1,500 meters and is regarded as one the more beautiful of its kind in Thailand. You can walk to each level fairly easily on the paths but if you're aiming to get to the very top then it's a bit of a scramble up the cliff - it's worth the effort!

Have your swim suit handy and you can swim in some of the pools created by the falls. Around the park are also several caves where you can explore and see some fascinating limestone formations including impressive stalactites and stalagmites. After exploring, we’ll continue to the hotel for the evening. Balance of the day is free at leisure.  

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Mid-Range Accommodations: Royal River Kwai Resort & Spa, Superior Room

Day 4: Kanchanaburi (B)

Free day at leisure.

Optional "join-in" tour with others (extra cost): Hike the Hellfire Pass.

This hike includes plenty of gorgeous vistas of the Kwai river valley. It includes a visit to the memorial, a hike through the bamboo forests and past limestone formations, a trip on a bamboo raft, a traditional Thai lunch and a train trip down the most impressive stretch of the original Death Railway. 

Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: Royal River Kwai Resort & Spa, Superior Room

Day 5: Kanchanaburi, Ayutthaya, Train to Chiang Mai (B)

This morning, start your trip north to Ayutthaya. Ayuthaya was the capital of the Siam empire from the 15th through the 18th century until it was destroyed by the Burmese. After the invasion, Thai's moved their capital to Bangkok (“Krung Thep”) in the 1770s.

While mostly renowned for its ancient, distinctive art and architecture, Ayutthaya is still home to a flourishing artistic community. Ayutthaya-period Buddhas are still some of the most treasured in the land. We visit some of the historical temples like Wat Sri Sanpet, Wat Phananchoeng and Wat Yai Chai Mongkol.

After the tours in Ayutthaya, you will be transferred to Ayutthaya Railway Station where you will board the nigh train to Chiang Mai.

Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: Night Train Ayutthaya – Chiang Mai 1st class A/C Sleeper

Day 6: Guided Discovery of Chiang Mai (B)

Upon arrival, meet your guide waiting for you at the train station and head to the riverfront Worarot Market to enjoy a local breakfast. After that, drive up to visit Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, the most sacred temple in Chiang Mai, as it houses an original holy relic of the Lord Buddha. Tucked away in the mountains at an elevation of 3,520 feet, the temple compound – accessible via a 300-step staircase – offers an exhilarating view of Chiang Mai and the surrounding countryside. Drive back down to the city center to visit some of the other impressive temples of which Wat Suan Dok is one of them. This temple houses one of the most famous monk schools in all of Thailand and the Wat Jedyod, also known as the Temple of Seven Spires.

Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: De Lanna Hotel, Superior room

Day 7: Free day in Chiang Mai (B)

Free day at your leisure.

Optional Tour  (extra cost): Tribal Culture and Trekking in Chiang Dao

Your guide will meet you at the hotel. Our first stop today will be at the local market at Mae Malai. Your guide with take you around and explain you about the herbs and vegetables, used in Thai cooking as well as the strange kinds of food and the other local products you can find here. 

Then we head to the rafting put-in. This is simple bamboo rafting, so it’s more like a relaxing scenic float trip down the river than a wild ride. While the helmsman maneuvers your raft downstream, you have time to look around and enjoy the scenery and fantastic birdlife.

After that we will continue to Chiang Dao. Here we will leave the main road proceed further into the countryside where we will stop at a Karen hilltribe village. The Karen tribe is the biggest of all the tribes living in Thailand. As we will walk around the village, you’ll see villagers with their traditional dress.

After this visit we hike to a nearby Lisu village. For many generations the economic livelihood of the Lisu people has been based upon the cultivation of the opium poppy. Some of these people have given up this trade and are now seeking to supplement their income through the sale of skillfully produced crafts.

After this we will continue hiking and arrive at an Akha village. Every Akha village is distinguished by their carved wooden gates, presided over by guardian spirits.

Afterwards, walk through the jungle for about another hour to Pang Dang Nai, a Palong village. Your guide will show you around the village. He will explain about the village shrine and about the ‘huja rawl’, the ‘village heart’ as well as about the Royal Project.

After the trek, we reach the road and climb into our truck and head back to Chiang Mai where we will arrive late in the afternoon. We can make a stop at an orchid nursery on the way back if time and interest is there.  

 

Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: De Lanna Hotel, Superior room

Day 8: Chiang Mai to Phuket (B)

This morning, transfer to Chiang Mai Airport for your direct flight to Phuket.

*** Fly Chiang Mai (CNX) to Phuket (HKT) - flights not included in the tour price

Upon arrival at Phuket airport, you’ll meet with your guide and the driver transfer you to the hotel. Then you’ll check in at the hotel. The afternoon/evening is free at leisure.


Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: Kata Palm Resort & Spa, Superior Pool View

Day 9: Free day on the beach (B)

Free day on the beach.

Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: Kata Palm Resort & Spa, Superior Pool View

Day 10: Free day on the beach (B)

Free day on the beach.

Optional Tour (extra cost): Phuket Old Town Discovery Walk

The private guided discovery walk is all about learning more about daily life here, so we start with a visit to a local shrine and pay respect to the spirits, then visit the "oldest herb shop" in town and learn more about traditional medicine using, of course, herbs. We also walk along the historic Chinese shop houses in the beautiful streets of Thalang and Soi Romanee and visit the old-style barber shops. Food plays a part too, so we will try the Muslim-influenced ‘roti’ bread and some Chinese food as well, a cuisine brought here by Hokkien immigrants in the 19th century. With its printing shops, old sarong and cloth Indian sellers on Thalang and cluttered hardware stores, there is a nostalgic feeling to old Phuket town that you should experience before modern times sweep it away.


Meals included: Breakfast
Mid-Range Accommodations: Kata Palm Resort & Spa, Superior Pool View

Day 11: Phuket to Bangkok, departure (B)

Morning is free. At the right time, meet your driver in the hotel lobby and transfer to Phuket Airport to connect with your flight to Bangkok (flights not included), where you’d connect with your flight home.

Meals included: Breakfast

Pricing

11-Day Budget Best of Thailand
from $1495 USD

NOTE: Prices are per person in U.S. dollars based on double/triple occupancy. All quotations are based on the current rates of park fees, VAT, other government taxes, and current exchange rates. Should any of these be increased or a new tax introduced, these increases will be added on even if your trip has already been paid for.

INCLUDES:
  • All accommodations per itinerary
  • All meals per itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • All tours and entrance fees per itinerary (unless listed as excluded)
  • All transportation and transfers per itinerary
EXCLUDES:
  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals not listed
  • Beverages and alcohol
  • Tips for guides, drivers, hotel staff
  • Optional tours
  • Single room supplement
  • Personal expenses (visas, airport taxes, Internet, etc.)
  • Slight supplements may be in effect for New Years stays (Approx. December 29-January 1), the Chinese New Year and Songkran. Over New Years, some properties also impose a mandatory New Years Eve Gala dinner charge.

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