With dazzling temples, an indulgent Thai massage and a dreamy sunset dinner in the cosmopolitan city of Bangkok; elephant encounters and a dinner cruise under the stars in the ancient Lanna capital of Chiang Mai – this is the perfect romantic escapade for adventurous culture lovers.
On arrival at Bangkok airport our guide and driver will be waiting to bring you to your hotel.
Overnight in Bangkok
Today we’ll visit two of the most important sites in Bangkok – the Grand Palace and the Wat Pho.
Located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River is the dazzling Grand Palace, a perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Within the compound is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Inside this sacred and incredibly ornate temple is the Emerald Buddha itself, a highly revered image of the Lord Buddha.
The Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, houses a giant lying Buddha, 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf. The temple is also famous as a school for Thai massage, so what better place to stop for a while and indulge in a relaxing one-hour massage.
After lunch in a local restaurant, we’ll hop aboard a boat for a cruise along the Chao Phraya River. Our boat will veer off through the network of klongs (canals) of Thonburi. Along the way we can capture life along the banks of the canals – rickety wooden houses on stilts and serene waterside temples – giving us an insight into a slower, older way of life, and the reason why the city was nicknamed the ‘Venice of the East’. A stop at Wat Arun will give us a chance to stretch our legs and admire the glittering pagoda. It rises 76 meters into the sky and is covered with glazed ceramic pieces that reflect the rising sun, hence the reason for its name: Temple of Dawn.
In the evening, we’ll head back to the river for dinner with sunset views of Wat Arun, at either The Deck Restaurant or Sala Rattanakosin Restaurant.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Note: Please wear proper attire for visiting temples: no bare shoulders, bare knees or strapless-heel shoes. Shoes must be removed before entering.
After breakfast in the hotel, transfer to the airport for the flight to Chiang Mai (flight ticket not included). On arrival in Chiang Mai, our guide and driver will be waiting to take you to the hotel.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Today is all about elephants. Interact, feed and walk with the elephants – and discover how their poop is used to make beautiful paper products!
In the morning we’ll depart from the hotel into the countryside of Mae Sa to a very special home for elderly elephants. In the lush countryside is the Thai Elephant Care Centre, set up to provide care for elephants who have retired from working in the logging camps and elephant shows. We’ll spend time lavishing much-deserved affection on these gentle giants – helping to prepare their food and feeding them. A walk into the jungle leads them to their favorite place – a deliciously messy mud bath.
After saying goodbye to our four-legged friends, we’ll drive to Mon Cham, located high up on the ridge of a small mountain. This is the perfect spot from which to view the Royal Project farms and rural villages scattered amongst the distant hills and lush valleys.
After a Thai lunch at Mon Jam, we’ll visit the unique and eco-friendly Elephant Poo Poo Paper Park. This very enterprising outdoor museum produces colorful paper products from elephant poop fibers! A walk through the fun and interactive stations tells the history and all the stages of the paper production. After shopping for unusual souvenirs in the ‘Poo-tique’ gift shop, we’ll return to the hotel.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
After breakfast, we’ll drive to the top of Doi Suthep Mountain at 1050 meters to visit Wat Doi Suthep. This serene and sacred temple features an elaborate gold-plated chedi with commanding views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Back in the old part of Chiang Mai we’ll explore the streets Thai-style – in a trishaw. We’ll pass through some of the most historic areas and visit two important temples: Wat Phra Singh, which houses the beautiful Lai Kham Chapel with its exquisite wood carvings and northern-style murals; and Wat Chedi Luang whose enormous pagoda was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545.
For an insight into local life, we’ll visit Muang Mai Market which specializes in vegetables and fruits fresh from the nearby farms. Many of the local farmers come to this market to sell their produce direct.
The afternoon is at leisure.
In the early evening, we’ll board the Mae Ping Dinner Cruise – a special 48-seater boat that glides along the scenic river revealing the romance and magic of Chiang Mai after dark. Dinner is a delicious set menu of Thai favorites including river prawn soup, mixed fried vegetables, sweet and sour fish, spring rolls, mixed fruits and steamed rice (drinks not included). We’ll return to the jetty at around 8pm.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the departure flight to your onwards destination.