Thailand and Cambodia Tour: Ruins of Angkor & Ayutthaya to Beauties of Chiang Mai & Wildlife

A 13 day trip to Cambodia & Thailand 
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The cultured landscape of Thailand and Cambodia are hidden within its jungles and urban streets and are yours to explore on this custom tailored tour through fabulous history and traditions. Discover the marvelous temples of Angkor Wat, where a variety of legends and stories collide along artistic reliefs and rampant stone towers. Journey through the jungle atop a swaying elephant as it traipses to the water. Witness serene early morning monks and quaint riverbank cafes all within the remarkable world of Southeast Asia on this trip made just for you. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Ayuttaya, Chiang Mai, Phnom Penh, Siem Reap, Tonle Sap

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Bangkok Fabulous

Welcome to the fabulous city of Bangkok, Thailand. You are met at the airport by your private transfer and taken to your fabulous hotel. The bustle of the metropolis displays the vibrancy of the city, always on the move with an urgency that, at first glance, seems to overtake the traditions of the country; but look closer. Within the luxurious comforts of The Peninsula Hotel Bangkok, you can peer down into the streets of the city and find the beating heart of culture hidden within the furious speed of the day. From the temples to the food and the hidden tranquil streets that you can find winding beneath the banyan trees; Bangkok is an amalgamation of many things, all of which are surprising, enticing, and captivating. 

What’s Included: transfer, accommodation

Day 2: Morning Monks and Buddha  

The early sun sits on the horizon bringing vibrancy to the morning air. The light has just had a chance to cover the city when you find yourself at Wat Po for the morning chanting ritual. The temple is one of the oldest in the Bangkok and is home to the Reclining Buddha which is over 135 feet long. The gold leaf Buddha glistens with the morning and the monk’s orange robes shine like the iridescent sunlight. The hall is scented with fresh incense wafting through the walls. The gentle hum of the monk’s chanting vibrates through your bones. They sit in rows before the marveled statue, bowing and chanting in movements that turn the prayer into a gentle dance of which you feel lucky to be a part of. 

Within the Grand Palace complex you will come to Wat Phrakaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The statue is the most revered image of Buddha in all of Thailand, now housed within the Grand Palace complex where the Thai royal family used to reside. The outer golden spire ascends into the sky in concentric circles that give the structure a luxurious bell shape. There is a jovial boisterousness outside of the gallery; however, silence overtakes the atmosphere once you enter the room. The Emerald Buddha sits front and center glowing in opulence and surrounded by lush décor. The statue’s dress changes once a season, dressed only by the king, to bring luck and prosperity to Thailand and its people. The glistening walls are adorned with traditional Garuda, a large mythical bird-like creature, lining the walls with outspread wings and protruding chest. The awe remains long after you have left the courtyard.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, accommodation, tour 

Day 3: Memories of a World War 

Enjoy the delicacies of breakfast, from sweet pineapple to ripe bananas, while surrounded by the perfume of freshly brewed coffee. After breakfast you will venture to Kanchanaburi, located just west of Bangkok. The city sits peacefully beside the Kwai Noi River, but was once at the center of Japanese control during World War II. Visit the JEATH Museum, which stands for Japan, England, Australia, Thailand, Holland, representing the disparate nationalities that were prisoners of war, The POWs were forced to construct the bridge over the river, which was commemorated in the film, Bridge on the River Kwai. The serenity of the city feels at odds with the tumultuous history that you find within the museum. Located on the riverbank inside Wat Chai Chumphon, the museum shows actual items connected to the construction of what has become known as the Death Railway. The bamboo hut is a replica that displays the conditions of the POW’s during the war and is filled with photographs of the prisoners, the guards, and the details of the years at war. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Capitals Present and Past

After breakfast you will make your way north through the rural outskirts of Bangkok arriving in the tremendous remains of Ayutthaya Historical Park. Ayutthaya was once the capital of Siam before being destroyed in 1767 by the Burmese Army. Even with the collapse of the kingdom, the ruins continue their exquisite architectural reign over the city and the countryside. There is a pleasant blend of eastern and western architecture at Bang-Pa-In, the Summer Palace. You can see the iconic neoclassical statues on the bridge in the foreground with draped clothing and stoic faces, while the Sage’s Lookout is a  joyously painted lighthouse structure that acted as a lookout tower to view the charming countryside. 

Once within the historic ruins of Ayutthaya you can see the diversity of the stone structures that continue to impress and impose themselves along the open squares of the past. The variety of temples contains various statues and adornments that have persevered through time and the elements, giving the shapely statues and towering wats a more coarse but unique exterior and history. One of the most famous images you can find is at Wat Phra Mahathat, where the famous tree planted roots and grew around a Buddha head, encompassing the stoic face within its trunk as it overtook the ground and the sky. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Northern Comfort

Delight in the sweet and savory breakfast treats before your private transfer to the airport arrives and soon delivers you just outside of the ancient walls of Chiang Mai, at Wat Suan Dok. The 14th century temple combines a gold leaf chedi with immaculate white pagodas, and viharn, the latter referring to secluded refuges for monks to stroll. Within the golden chedi you can find a relic said to have been a part of Buddha’s hand. Afterwards, you will tour through the varied and stellar landscapes, including a venture up the 309 dragon clad steps of Doi Suthep Mountain to Wat Prathat. Finally you will settle into the comfortable and luxurious Chiang Anantara Chiang Mai Hotel, hidden near the serene Mae Ping River and adorned with traditional Thai elements with western accents.  

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 6: An Elephant Never Forgets

Few, if any, animals are more celebrated in Thailand than the elephant. This morning you will journey outside of Chiang Mai into the depths of the jungle to find a troupe of elephants enjoying their morning bath in the mountain stream within one of the many elephant camps in the area. Once a revered part of many religions, the elephants roamed freely through the jungle. The camp has helped train and rehabilitates elephants that found themselves working in unfavorable conditions in exploitative industries. The elephants are playful and curious, with one another, the attendants, and with you. Journey through the jungle on the back of an elephant, traipsing over and beside the trees. Each lumbering step makes you sway from side to side. The girth and magnitude doesn’t seem to affect the elephant, somehow still graceful even with its awkward movement. There are certain moments in life that you can call indelible and riding through the jungle on a wondrously friendly elephant is one of them. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, tour, accommodation

Day 7: Riverbank Arrival

Enjoy your breakfast within the beautiful comforts of your hotel before your private transfer takes you to the airport to catch your flight to Phnom Penh, Cambodia. The capital of Cambodia is situated along the Mae Kong River and has held onto its illustrious French Colonial architecture that mixes with the cultural traditions of the area, even through a tumultuous contemporary history. The people smile and wave. The river glistens beneath the warm sunlight. You can see the cultural past and the colonial past rubbing elbows beside the river, from the traditional fishing boats to the grand façade of the Raffles Le Royal, the gorgeous hotel in which you will stay during your time in the city. The balcony shutters open to a lustered courtyard, canopied by overhanging trees and filled with the effervescent pool. The interior is decorated with polished tile and immaculate trimmings that harkens back to the shining décor of the colonial days.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, accommodation

Day 8: Diverse Open City

There is a charm to Phnom Penh that sits between the elegant colonial facades and the wide gentle trickle of the Mae Kong; trendy cafés and boulevards lined with shimmering frangipanis give a sensual light to the greenery.  The National Museum of Cambodia has a regal construct that stretches into receding pagodas, impressive and imposing at its apex which fans out as it works its way backwards. The calm interior houses much of the antiquity collection transferred from Angkor in the northwest, including intricate bronze moldings that date back to the 11th century. One such relic is the Standing Adorned Buddha, whose image is woven and etched into the hard stone with gazing detail, from the headdress to the earrings, and the beaded design down the front robe. As the tropical sun glides over the sky you will see the sparkle of the Royal Palace and the tremendous design of the Silver Pagoda. The streets continue to bustle with people and bicycles. Cafes begin to crowd and you can relax beside the river, watching the orange overtake the horizon as the sunset fades away.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 9: Capital Colonialism to Sensational Towers

The morning shine reflects off of the stunning river as you make your way by private transfer to the airport. A quick flight will have you nestled in the fantastic comforts of the Raffles Grand D’Angkor Hotel in the city of Siem Reap, situated next to wondrous Angkor Wat. Your accommodation is filled with the lushness of elegant gardens, a grand lobby, and luxurious rooms brimming with comfort. Upon settling in you will venture to Angkor Wat, where you can witness one of the magnificent religious monuments up close with a celebrated Khmer Scholar. Stroll through the intricately carved hallways as your guide tells you the history of the complex, from its people to its architecture, and religion to culture. The grandeur of the main building is all around you, living and tangible, with five ascending spires and a solid, wide berth of halls and rooms to explore. The dark stone comes to life. The vivid reliefs are animated and as vibrant as ever, displaying religious and ancient battles where warriors marched and fought with rigor. Climb through the various terraces to hear the splendid history that rings through the halls like secrets you are eager to know.  

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 10: A Deep Angkor

Today you will venture further into the history of Angkor with a visit to the ancient Royal City of Angkor Thom. From the distance you can look at the vast karsts that seem shaped but lifeless, filled with dark stone that fills the empty blue sky. As you come closer to the ruins you begin to notice the incredible faces that have been carved into the structures that overlook what was once a vibrant and affluent city. Angkor Thom was modeled after a square where, if you stand in the center of the walls, the openings guide you north, south, east, and west. The large towers have a single face that looks outward, keeping watch in every direction. The exquisite collection of bas-reliefs depict scenes of mythological proportions where legend and history intermingle with more than 11,000 carved figures lining a wall stretching almost three-fourths of a mile. No matter how regal your reception at Angkor Thom, you know that your discovery of these glorious ruins is only the beginning.   

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 11: Nature’s Return

Many people pass through the rugged and grand terrain of Angkor Wat to witness the stunning and unparalleled majesty of the complex ruins. Preah Khan is a temple on the Grand Circuit that is often overlooked by visitors, which makes your time spent in the 12th century temple serene and unparalleled. The ominous entry gate is half hidden by the trees, with the opening looming at the bridge’s fringe. The ever-present face looks down on you from above, guarding the entry for millennia. One of the most iconic sights within the temple is the massive tree that has risen over the stone walls, its roots dangling to the ground while the trunk splits and rises in an exciting display of nature.  

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 12: Different Lives and Waters 

Cambodia is filled with diverse worlds where culture has shaped and driven the landscapes and the people with time, from bustling cafes to jungle hidden ruins, making Tonle Sap Lake a majestic and exotic destination for you to experience. The floating villages hover along the reflective waters of the lake with ladders leading up to housing platforms. During the wet months the water can rise incredible amounts. The colorful boats and traditional hats of the fisherman bring the image of rural Southeast Asia to life. Over 300 species of freshwater fish swim beneath the surface of the lake. In the distance you can see the bumps of crocodile and turtles, possibly even a water snake. Off the lake’s banks you will find lush hills and high grass, where the paddy fields seem to stretch endlessly. The beauty is unmistakable, offering a sense of rural paradise against the fishing villages and crops outside of bustling urbanity.   

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 13: Watching the Wat

The morning light winds through the slowly dissipating mist. The aroma of fresh coffee and brioches drifts through the hotel lobby. Today you will have a private transfer that will take you along the streets of Siem Reap onward to the airport for your flight home. You have witnessed temples and history, monks and elephants. You have experienced sensational wildlife and lush jungles. As the flight begins to ascend you can look back on your trip and see the rising spires forever in your memories, standing tall and waiting for your return. 

What’s Included: breakfast, transfer

Price

Price 

Please inquire for a custom quote. The price is customized based on final accommodation choices, travel dates, and other custom preferences.