- Explore majestic temples and quaint canals in Bangkok
- Feed, wash, and swim with elephants in Chiang Mai
- Whip up an authentic Thai feast at a local cooking class
- Soak up the sun at Phuket's beaches and nearby islands
|Day 1||Arrive in Bangkok||Bangkok|
|Day 2||Day Tour of Bangkok's Waterways & the Grand Palace||Bangkok|
|Day 3||Free Morning in Bangkok & Evening Bike Tour||Bangkok|
|Day 4||Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai||Chiang Mai|
|Day 5||Elephant Sanctuary Day Trip||Chiang Mai|
|Day 6||Thai Cooking Class & Free Afternoon||Chiang Mai|
|Day 7||Fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket||Phuket|
|Day 8||Free Day in Phuket||Phuket|
|Day 9||Free Day in Phuket||Phuket|
|Day 10||Depart Phuket|
Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok
Welcome to Thailand! Start your trip in the energetic capital, Bangkok, known for its ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River flows right through the city, and its banks are studded with landmark temple spires, bustling ferry piers, glitzy high-rise hotels and malls, and charming restaurants. Once settled in at your hotel, the day is free to spend however you see fit. Relax or maybe explore your surroundings aboard a tuk-tuk, Southeast Asia's iconic three-wheeled auto rickshaw.
For dinner, sample some local street food at a night market, or delve into the city's cosmopolitan dining scene at a chic restaurant. From classic Thai cuisine to global bites, there's something for everyone. You can also head down to Asiatique The Riverfront, a lively waterside mall with plenty of eateries and a giant observation wheel, Asiatique Sky.
Day 2: Day Tour of Bangkok's Waterways & the Grand Palace
Return to the Chao Phraya River and disembark in the city center. Break for lunch, then head over to the Grand Palace. This monumental complex was built in 1782 as the royal compound for the kings of Siam and is Bangkok's biggest and most visited site. Take in the ornate, colorful architecture and step into Thailand's most sacred shrine, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, covered with gold leaf and glittering gems. After the tour, the rest of the evening is free to spend as you wish.
Day 3: Free Morning in Bangkok & Evening Bike Tour
Take the morning and afternoon to explore Bangkok on your own. Learn new techniques in a cooking class, hit one of the city's myriad markets for some shopping, or relax with a Thai massage or spa treatment. In the late afternoon, you'll take a bike tour to see the city from a new perspective. After a short ride through the vibrant Bang Rak district, hop on the ferry to the Thonburi district.Visit a temple with a turtle pond and garden, learn about the area's Sino-Portuguese history, and taste traditional local pastries. Pedal over to the massive landmark Wat Arun to see the spectacular riverside temple light up at dusk. Take the ferry back across the river and continue to another temple, Wat Pho, whose star attraction is its huge, gilded statue of the reclining Buddha. Make a final stop at the Flower Market, where you can feast your eyes on exotic blooms before concluding the tour.
Day 4: Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
This morning, head to the airport for your hour-long flight to northern Thailand's cultural capital, Chiang Mai. After settling in, explore Chiang Mai on your own. Breathe in the cooler, calmer air of its mountainous and forested surroundings. Soak up the charming, laid-back atmosphere of Old Town. Don't miss Wat Phra Singh, which is the jewel of Chiang Mai temples thanks to its intricate, classical Lanna architecture. Wat Chedi Luang stands out for its evocative 15th-century stupa.
Hop in a cab to catch the sunset at the hillside temple Doi Suthep, where you can climb its iconic 306-step staircase—flanked by carved sea serpents and thick forest—to elaborate grounds with a huge golden chedi (stupa) and sweeping views. Tonight, follow the irresistible aromas of street food stalls and restaurants where you can try out the ultimate local dish, khao soi (coconut curry soup), and other northern Thai specialties.
Day 5: Elephant Sanctuary Day Trip
Day 6: Thai Cooking Class & Free Afternoon in Chiang Mai
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Today you'll roll up your sleeves and get hands-on with Thai gastronomy during a half-day cooking experience. Start by visiting a local market in Chiang Mai with your instructor to shop for ingredients. Head to your classroom in a beautiful home garden setting to learn how to make a variety of dishes like som tam (papaya salad) and traditional Thai curries and soups. During the course, gain an understanding of the philosophy and flavor balance of Thai cooking.
After the lesson, it's time to taste all the appetizers, soups, curries, and stir-fries you and your classmates have prepared. Transfer back to the hotel in the mid-afternoon with a souvenir cookbook. The rest of the day is free to spend as you wish. Wander the markets, hit any temples you might have missed, and gobble up more local culinary specialties before switching gears and heading for the beaches of Phuket tomorrow.
Day 7: Fly from Chiang Mai to Phuket
Day 8: Free Day in Phuket
For your first full free day in Phuket, you can stick with the perennial favorites—beach, seafood, and drinks—but today might also be a good opportunity to take an add-on boat excursion to Phuket's spectacular Andaman Sea neighbors, the Phi Phi Islands. Don't miss a chance to see these impossibly beautiful emerald coves and limestone cliffs. There are numerous tour options that also include lunch at a beachfront restaurant, plus picturesque swimming and snorkeling stops that are only accessible by sea.
For those looking to stay in Phuket, experience any number of the island's fantastic beaches. Patong and Karon offer stretches of sand and upbeat party vibes. Those looking for quiet can visit the crystal blue waters and quiet atmosphere of Kata Noi or the 7-mile (11 km) stretch of the wild and untouched Mai Khao. In the evening, explore Phuket's thriving nightlife, where you'll find bars, restaurants, cabarets, and live Muay Thai boxing matches.