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Save $1,000 per couple | $500 solo

Hill Tribes of Thailand

12 days

Never more than 16 guests. Guaranteed.

Our Distinctive A+R Style

  • Visit the unusual Railway Track Market, where vendors and shoppers alike have to scramble fast to avoid passing trains – up to 8 times per day!
  • Join Chiang Mai residents for a moving daily ritual – providing food to monks walking silently through the street.
  • Spend time with rice farmers and tea plantation workers for fun genuine experiences of Thailand’s enduring agricultural traditions.
  • Join our chef in Bangkok to shop for ingredients at a colorful vegetable market before a hands-on cooking class where you’ll learn to prepare a complete Thai luncheon.
  • Spend two nights in a lavish floating villa on the River Kwai.
  • With 11 nights in first class and deluxe hotels; 25 meals with wine and beer at lunch and dinner; comprehensive sightseeing; all transfers; two internal flights; and all gratuities except Trip Leader.
Visit 1 UNESCO World Heritage Site

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Day
1

VIP Fast Track Arrival in Bangkok

Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn - Bangkok, Thailand

Upon arrival at the airport, our exclusive Fast Track Service offers expedited service through all immigration and customs formalities. Before you know it, you’ll be on your way into the heart of the capital where you will check in to the deluxe Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn.

Your morning tour begins with the glittering halls and pavilions of the magnificent Grand Palace, including Coronation Hall and the Royal Guest House. At Wat Phra Kaew, home to the famed Emerald Buddha, you’ll discover one of Thailand’s most venerated Buddhist temples. Continue to Wat Pho, one of the city’s largest temples. In addition to being one of the country’s oldest institutions of learning, this spectacular complex is home to beautiful murals, ornate architectural detail and an enormous 150-foot long gilded image of a reclining Buddha.
 
After lunch at the Supatra River House, your guided touring continues with an excursion along Bangkok’s famous Klongs; venturing out in a traditional long-tail speed boat is a delightful way to experience the sights and sounds of life along the city’s bustling canals. Along one of these waterways, you’ll explore the Khlong Bang Luang Artist Village, a small enclave of traditional wooden homes that are now home to studios, galleries, cafes and shops. Then continue your boat excursion onto the Chao Phraya River to visit the magnificent Temple of Dawn before returning to your hotel. You’ll have time to refresh and relax before dinner at your hotel.  Meals B+L+D

This morning we’ve made special arrangements for our intimate group to enjoy a private class at the famed Blue Elephant Cooking School. After a welcome herbal drink with the chef and a review of the day’s menu, you’ll take the Sky Train to the colorful Bang Rak Morning Market where our culinary expert will introduce you to some of the fruits, vegetables and spices that you’ll be using. Back at the school, a demonstration of Thai cooking techniques is followed by a hands-on class. With your own prep table and wok – and the chef on hand with guidance and assistance – you’ll prepare a complete meal of traditional Thai cuisine. After a congenial luncheon featuring the dishes you’ve prepared, the rest of the afternoon is yours to enjoy as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
4

Remarkable Markets + On to Kanchanaburi

The Float House River Kwai - Thailand

Leaving the busy capital behind, our first stop this morning will be Thailand’s famous Railway Track Market. Here you’ll be amazed by the sight of local merchants who come daily to set up their stalls along 100 yards of train track! Up to 8 times per day, vendors and shoppers alike have to scramble fast to avoid the passing trains. This is an active rail network, so you’ll have to pay close attention to your guide and surroundings! Continuing into Ratchburi Province, we’ll visit the floating market at Damnoen Saduak, one of the country’s busiest and most colorful. Hundreds of vendors ply the canals in their traditional wooden boats selling everything from tropical fruits and produce to daily staples and even souvenirs.
 
Then continue into the lush forests of Kanchanaburi Province, arriving in time for lunch before boarding the storied Death Railway for a journey through some of the region’s most spectacular scenery. As captivating as these landscapes are, this rail adventure also offers a powerful look into World War II history. In particular, as the train makes its way through rocky gorges dug at the cost of numerous POW lives and over the original wooden viaducts that still hug the steep cliff walls, you’ll gain a very personal understanding of this tragic chapter of the War. Stepping off the train near the site of the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai – immortalized in book and film – you’ll visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Center and the Allied Cemetery to learn more about the thousands of prisoners of war who lost their lives during the construction of the Bridge and the Death Railway.
 
Then we’ll take you to the pier, where long tail boats will take you the Float House River Kwai. Here on the edge of the gently flowing river against a forested mountain backdrop, you’ll check in to your unique and spacious floating villa. Take some time to enjoy your private terrace on the river and the extraordinary setting of our evocative resort.   Meals B+L+D

Day
5

Tailor Your Stay + Visit a Mon Tribal Village

The Float House River Kwai - Thailand

With our compliments, A+R guests will have a chance today to join one of the activities offered by the resort. Depending upon your interests and taste for adventure, you might explore the area on a biking, hiking or canoeing adventure. We also offer a guided excursion to Lawa Cave, filled with impressive stalactites and stalagmites.
 
Later this afternoon, rejoin your guide to venture by boat through spectacular river gorges into the jungle to visit a Mon tribal village. Enjoy dinner and a performance of Mon music and dance at our resort before retiring to your floating room.  Meals B+D

After breakfast, you’ll embark on a scenic journey through the fertile farmlands and jungle-clad mountains that lie along Thailand’s eastern border with Myanmar. Our destination this morning is Ayutthaya, where vast ruins bear witness to the splendor of the ancient kingdom of Siam that flourished from 1350 until 1767. After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll delve into the rich history of the erstwhile royal capital, exploring fabulous ruins including Wat Phra Sri Sanphet. This was the holiest temple on the site of the ancient Royal Palace and its still intact stupas attest to Ayutthaya’s former glory!

Then we’ll take you to the airport for your included flight to the north of Thailand. On arrival in Chiang Rai, you’ll be met and escorted to the Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa.  Meals B+L+D

This morning, you’ll enjoy a unique cultural experience at Doi Tung Royal project, a community-based sustainability effort outside of Chiang Rai. Learn about the Golden Triangle, its natural resources and its diverse hill tribes. You’ll also visit Mae Fa Luang garden with time to explore its winding pathways and manicured flower beds showcasing hundreds of different types of tropical flowers. 
 
After lunch continue deeper into the pastoral beauty of the Golden Triangle – where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos come together. You’ll have time to browse at your own pace through the lively and atmospheric Mae Sai Border Market before a short visit to the opium museum. Later ascend to a hilltop vantage point for breathtaking views over the Golden Triangle before returning to our resort in Chiang Rai.  Meals B+L

After breakfast, the start of today’s guided excursion takes you to Wat Rong Khun. Also known as the White Temple, this is a contemporary and extravagantly embellished Buddhist and Hindu complex. Next travel by boat on the Mae Kok river to visit a local hill tribe village. 

Following lunch continue along the scenic rolling countryside where there are stunning clear-day views of Doi Mae Salong, an iconic peak in the Daen Lao Range that stretches across northern Thailand. Here in this splendid mountain setting, you’ll spend time with workers at a tea plantation, known for its fine Oolong teas. You’ll even have a chance to try your hand at harvesting tea leaves as you learn about the farm’s community development programs to provide a livelihood for tribal villagers. Returning to the Legend Chiang Rai Resort in the late afternoon, your evening is free to enjoy and dine as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
9

Onward to Chiang Mai

U Chiang Mai, Thailand

After breakfast and check-out, you’ll spend some time in Ban Lorcha, an Akha tribal village where the residents still live in simple huts with thatched walls. Continue your journey into the forested mountain landscapes of Chiang Dao National Park where an experienced guide will show you the impressive stalactites, stalagmites and other geological formations of the Chiang Dao Caves. Venerated for centuries by local residents, the entrance to these caverns is marked by statues and other Buddhist offerings.
 
In the village of Ban Pang Daeng, you’ll meet members of the Palong community who came to the region from Burma in the 1980’s to escape the fighting between government and rebel forces. The Palong are regarded for their extraordinary weaving skills and many villagers, especially the women, still prefer their traditional, very colorful dress. Then continue to Chiang Mai for a leisurely 3-night stay at the U Chiang Mai Hotel. This evening is free for you to enjoy and dine as you wish.  Meals B+L

Day
10

In and Around Chiang Mai

U Chiang Mai, Thailand

Join Chiang Mai residents early this morning as they "gain merit" with food offerings to young saffron-robed monks walking silently through the city streets; it's an ancient ritual that offers rich insight into an enduring facet of Buddhist culture. After breakfast back at our hotel, we’ll take you into the countryside to spend time with local farmers. Learn the many steps of rice cultivation as practiced for centuries throughout the region, and even try your hand at planting this important staple. Then sit down to a delightful al fresco lunch surrounded by sweeping rural vistas and rice paddies.
 
This afternoon’s visit to a White Hmong village offers an intimate look into their daily life and traditions – and how they have changed since the Thai Royal Family introduced initiatives to eradicate opium cultivation and replace it with other sustainable agriculture. Next we’ll visit the lavish Doi Suthep Temple; set on a hill top at an elevation of 3,500 feet, this venerated complex offers spectacular views of Chiang Mai and the surrounding valleys. Your visit here has been timed so you can enjoy the sunset from this mountaintop setting – an experience made all the more special by the nightly chanting of the Temple’s resident monks.  Meals B+L

Day
11

Elephant Nature Park

U Chiang Mai, Thailand

After breakfast, we’ll take you to Elephant Nature Park, a sanctuary highly respected for its care and protection of elephants that have been orphaned or rescued from abusive situations. Beyond this, Elephant Nature Park has been recognized for its other work, from rain forest restoration to community development and sustainability. During your visit, you’ll have a chance to engage with the staff, learning about their work and watching the elephants as they go about their normal routines. You’ll observe these giant animals being cared for and even have chance to help in their feeding. After a vegetarian lunch here at the Park, we’ll take you back to Chiang Mai where the rest of your afternoon is at leisure – a great chance to explore on your own, do some shopping, indulge in a spa treatment, or simply relax poolside. This evening, gather with your fellow travelers for a Farewell Dinner.  Meals B+L+D

Day
12

Return to Bangkok for Departure

We’ll take you to the airport this morning for your included flight to Bangkok where you can connect to your homeward flight or continue with us on a privately-arranged extension.  Meals B

Extend Your Trip

Travel on to Angkor Wat

4-Day Post-Tour Extension from $1099

The magnificent jungle ruins of the ancient Khmer Empire are the perfect addition to this trip. We include your international flight from Bangkok to Siem Reap, 3 nights at your choice of deluxe or luxury hotel, daily breakfast and extensive sightseeing including the major temples, important lesser-known sites and Tonle Sap Lake.

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Day
12

Bangkok to Siem Reap

We take you to the airport today for your included flight to Cambodia. Upon arrival in Siem Reap, you’ll be warmly greeted and escorted to your choice of hotel: The deluxe Victoria Angkor or the luxury Sofitel Phokeethra Golf Resort & Spa. This afternoon, our expert guide will show you the imposing majesty of Angkor Wat – the largest temple complex in the world. Late in the day, you’ll be led to a prime vantage point to witness the sun set over the jungle ruins of Angkor – a magnificent and unforgettable spectacle.  Meals B

Day
13

Temples of Angkor

This morning, you’ll tour Angkor Thom – the last capital of the Khmers – with its Elephant Terrace and the Terrace of the Leper King. At Bayon Temple, you’ll behold a 12th-century masterpiece of architectural grandeur and symmetry. After visiting the extensive monastic complex at Preah Khan, you’ll have a break to relax and enjoy lunch on your own.

In the afternoon, your sightseeing focuses on some of the less-visited but equally impressive sites of Angkor including Chau Say Tevoda, Prasat Kravan and Ta Keo. You’ll also tour the oft-photographed Ta Prohm; dedicated in 1186, this vast temple complex has been largely left in its natural state, surrounded by the massive roots and limbs of the encroaching jungle.  Meals B

Day
14

Farther Afield at Angkor

After breakfast, a scenic one-hour drive brings you to Banteay Srei – considered by many to be the “jewel in the crown” of all the Angkor temples. Also known as the Citadel of Women, this delicately carved, pink sandstone temple is ornamented with hundreds of figures cut into the walls and lintels. Not far away, you’ll also tour Banteay Samre, a complex with impressive towers and balustrades that evoke the grandeur of Angkor Wat. Return to your hotel in the afternoon and enjoy the rest of this day at leisure.  Meals B

Day
15

Life + Nature along Tonle Sap Lake

After breakfast, we’ll take you to the shores of Tonle Sap Lake to embark on a guided boat excursion to Kompong Phluk. Comprised of three villages built on wooden stilts over the water, this isolated Khmer community is home to about 3,000 residents who farm fish and raise vegetables on floating platforms. It’s an excursion that promises fascinating insight into the enduring traditions and daily life of rural Cambodia. The tour also shows you the mangrove forests that thrive along the edges of the lake; it’s a unique ecosystem home to unusual wildlife including crab-eating macaques. In the afternoon, you’ll be escorted to the airport in Siem Reap for your onward flight.  Meals B

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Family + Friends

Travel is one of  life's most rewarding experiences, perhaps even more so when it's shared with those you love! Take advantage of our Family & Friends offer and Save $100 per person anytime you book 4 or more people on the same A+R program.

Pay-In-Full

Save $1,000 per couple + $500 solo on all of our Small Group, Small Ship and Private Journeys when you book by Dec 31 and pay-in-full within 7 days of booking and prior to the final payment date listed in our published terms and conditions.

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