This 10-day journey begins in Chiang Mai, where you'll attend a traditional northern Thai dinner. Get up close with elephants at a local sanctuary before flying to Bangkok, visiting the Grand Palace, the vibrant Mae Klong Railway Market, and a colorful floating market. The adventure finishes in Cambodia, where you'll explore the ancient city of Angkor and the floating village of Kampong Phluck.


  • Experience northern Thai culture during a Khantoke dinner 
  • Spend a day learning how to care for rescued elephants
  • Catch the sunrise at Angkor Wat and discover the otherworldly Ta Prohm temple 
  • Immerse yourself in Bangkok's culinary scene with a progressive dinner tour
  • Visit floating markets and a colorful floating village

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in Chiang Mai (Thailand), Khantoke Dinner with Live Performances  Chiang Mai
Day 2 Visit Wat Suan Dok & Doi Suthep, Go on a Rickshaw Ride Chiang Mai
Day 3 Interact With Elephants at a Local Sanctuary Chiang Mai
Day 4 Fly to Bangkok, Leisure Time Bangkok
Day 5 Tour the Grand Palace & City Temples, Progressive Dinner Experience Bangkok
Day 6 Discover Mae Klong Railway Market & Damnoen Saduak Floating Market Bangkok
Day 7 Fly to Siem Reap (Cambodia), Dinner with Apsara Dance Performance Siem Reap
Day 8 Explore Angkor Wat & Nearby Temples Siem Reap
Day 9 Day Trip to Kampong Phluck Floating Village Siem Reap
Day 10 Depart Siem Reap  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Chiang Mai (Thailand), Khantoke Dinner with Live Performances 

Khantoke derives from the words meaning "tray" (khan) and "bowls" (toke)

Welcome to Thailand! Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, meet your guide and transfer from the airport to the hotel. The former capital of the Lanna Kingdom in the 13th century, Chiang Mai continues to serve as a cultural and administrative center of northern Thailand. Though the metropolitan area of Chiang Mai has a population of more than a million, the historic center has a laid-back atmosphere more akin to a provincial town than a capital city. A large number of ethnic minority groups live in the northern region, making the city culturally rich and colorful.

From the words meaning "tray" (khan) and "bowls" (toke), tonight's khantoke dinner show is an excellent way to learn about the ancient Lanna culture of northern Thailand while enjoying a feast of delicious dishes. Take your place on cushions at a low table as dancers perform the Forn Leb (Finger Dance, usually reserved for greeting honorable guests or state visitors), Forn Thien (Candle Dance), Ramwong (Circle Dance, a typical Thai folk dance), and the Ram Dab, a sword dance developed from an ancient martial art. 

Day 2: Visit Wat Suan Dok & Doi Suthep, Go on a Rickshaw Ride

Half Day City Lifestyle, Doi Suthep & Rickshaw Ride
The beautiful Buddhist temple of Wa Phra That is accessible by climbing 309 steps

This morning, meet your driver and guide and start with a visit to a vibrant food and flower market where local Thais do their shopping. Continue to Wat Suan Dok, the final resting place for the ashes of former kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family. Then you'll drive 30 minutes to Doi Suthep Mountain, enjoying spectacular views of mountains and forests, to reach Wat Phra That, one of northern Thailand's most sacred temples.

Founded in 1383 CE, the temple is reached by climbing 309 steps (or for the less fitness-minded, a tram is available for a small surcharge). The climb up is rewarded with a superb panoramic view of the city. Return to Chiang Mai and enjoy a 20-minute rickshaw ride through the quiet streets of the old town before returning to your hotel.

Day 3: Interact With Elephants at a Local Sanctuary

Full Day Elephant Owner At Patara Camp (Private Transfer & Join-in Activities)
Spend the day at a local elephant refuge and educational center 

Depart on a drive to a local elephant sanctuary today and join the "Elephant Owner for a Morning Session" program. The camp has adopted/rescued elephants from unsuitable living conditions (circuses, illegal logging camps, etc.), nursed them back to health, and has so far released eight back into their natural habitat. Specially designed for those who want to learn about and interact with elephants as an elephant owner would, the program teaches you how to approach an elephant, discern the elephant's temperament, feed it, and check its health.

You'll also learn how to care for an elephant, bathe and brush it in the river, and communicate through different spoken commands. You'll also visit a local temple to learn about elephants' relation to Buddhist beliefs and how they're regarded by Thai people. Continue on to a waterfall, where you'll enjoy a picnic lunch and a refreshing moment near the water with the elephants.

Day 4: Fly to Bangkok, Leisure Time

Bangkok's Wat Arun Temple takes its name from the Hindu god Aruṇa

After checking out of the hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer you to the airport for your 1.5-hour flight to Bangkok. Another guide will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy and explore.

One of Asia's most popular cities, Bangkok offers a diverse range of sights and experiences. Busy with boats, the Chao Phraya River feeds the city's network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to the opulent Grand Palace and its sacred temple of Wat Phra Kaew. Nearby is Wat Pho, with an enormous reclining Buddha, and, on the opposite shore, Wat Arun with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire. Explore some of the city sights before getting some rest.

Day 5: Tour the Grand Palace & City Temples, Progressive Dinner Experience

Sample a range of Thai delicacies on a progressive dinner tour

Today, you'll explore Wat Pho, one of Bangkok's oldest temples. It's home to the famous Reclining Buddha and the original school of traditional Thai massage. From here, continue to the spectacular Grand Palace. The vast grounds encompass more than 100 buildings, including the Royal Residence and Throne Halls, government offices, and the renowned Wat Phra Kaew, home to the most revered Buddha image in Thailand, the Emerald Buddha.

Next, walk to the local pier and take a local ferry to Wat Arun, once the grand royal temple to King Rama II. Notice its impressive Khmer-style tower and the many detailed floral mosaics made from broken Chinese porcelain. In the evening, you'll enjoy a unique dining experience and walking tour. Follow your guide to a series of eateries and bars to sample traditional delicacies and drinks before returning to your hotel for the night.

Day 6: Discover Mae Klong Railway Market & Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Discover Maeklong Railway Market & Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Watch an oncoming train cutting through Mae Klong Railway Market 
Plan your trip to Thailand
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Depart in the early morning for the two-hour drive to the Damnoen Saduak floating market. Stop at Mae Klong Railway Market, which has a train running through the middle of it multiple times a day. Every time the train is about to come through, the vendors recognize the warning bell, and they jump out of their chairs to pull back their awnings. Right after the train has passed the stands, the vendors immediately place their belongings back at the railway and it looks like nothing has happened.

Continue to the 100-year-old Damnoen Saduak floating market, which features numerous small boats laden with colorful fruits and vegetables, paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats, and is one of the only places to see this traditional way of buying and selling goods in Thailand. Almost always crowded with hundreds of buyers, sellers, and tourists, the best way to experience the bustling atmosphere of the market up close is to board a boat and float through the small canal,s purchasing fresh local produce from the vendors. Return to Bangkok in the late afternoon.

Day 7: Fly to Siem Reap (Cambodia), Dinner with Apsara Dance Performance

A traditional Apsara dance performance brings together elements of Animism, Hinduism, and Buddhism

This morning, you'll trade Thailand for Cambodia as you fly from Bangkok to Siem Reap; the flight takes about an hour. You'll be transferred from the airport to your hotel with a guide. After settling in, you'll be picked up for your evening activity: a dinner with a traditional Apsara dance performance at the Angkor Village Apsara Theatre.

Traditional Apsara dancing has a long history in Cambodia, dating back to the seventh century CE, according to some stone temple carvings. In Hindu mythology, Apsaras were beautiful female creatures who descended from heaven to entertain gods and kings with their dancing. This traditional dance is meaningful in many ways, as it constitutes a link between the different religions prominent in Cambodia, including Animism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Notice the dancers' symbolic, elegant finger gestures and their ornate silk costumes inspired by the wall carvings of the Angkor temples.

Day 8: Explore Angkor Wat & Nearby Temples

Go for a ride in a three-wheeled tuk-tuk, a Thai icon

Wake up early and transfer by private vehicle to the west gate of Angkor Wat to experience a memorable sunrise view before entering the temple complex to explore one of the largest religious buildings in the world. The temple, which took 30 years to construct, used the labor of up to 300,000 workers. Angkor Wat was built as the earthly representation of the universe, with its central tower symbolizing Mount Meru, which Hindus believe is at the center of the universe.

As crowds gather, your guide will lead you to the less-visited temples of Srah Srang and Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm is overgrown with fig trees, giving it a haunting and exotic look; the trees' roots have merged over time with the temple's huge stone blocks. The temple was built by King Jayavarman VII to commemorate his mother.

Next, travel by tuk-tuk to the former capital of the Khmer Empire, Angkor Thom, which consists of several temples. Continue to the Terrace of the Elephants and the Terrace of the Leper King, with detailed carvings winding along a narrow passageway that leads to the Baphuon. Slow down the pace midafternoon and enter the cool Wat Tang Tock to receive a traditional blessing from a monk. You'll head back to your hotel afterward.

Day 9: Day Trip to Kampong Phluck Floating Village

Siem Reap Full Day to Kampong Phluck Floating Village
The floating village of Kampong Phluck is located on the lake of Tonlé Sap

Today will begin with a short drive to the Roulous temples, which are among the oldest Khmer monuments in the area, dating back to the ninth-century reign of Indravarman I. Explore these peaceful temples and soak up the local atmosphere away from the crowds before you continue to Kampong Phluck, located a short drive away.

Kampong Phluck is a permanent settlement on Tonlé Sap with a small land-based village attached to it. Its remarkable mangrove forest is unique in the Siem Reap area. You'll board a local boat and cruise the waterways observing the authentic and diverse lifestyle of the local floating community. Disembark at a local house on stilts where a picnic lunch is served. Return to town by private car and enjoy one last evening in Siem Reap.

Day 10: Depart Siem Reap

At one with nature, Ta Prohm is one of the most famous temples in Angkor

After checking out of the hotel, your guide will meet you at the hotel lobby and transfer to the airport for your flight to your next destination. Safe travels!

More Great Thailand Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Thailand? Check out these other Thailand itineraries, explore different ways to spend 10 days in Thailand, or discover the best time to visit Thailand.


Map of Cultural Experiences in Thailand & Cambodia - 10 Days
Map of Cultural Experiences in Thailand & Cambodia - 10 Days
Written by Vy Pham, updated Jun 6, 2024