Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi, Phuket, Koh Phi Phi
Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.
Jade statues shimmer in the bright lights, golden temples offer lustrous history, and immaculate beaches glow three shades of blue. Witness ornate boats ridden by kings on this custom tailored tour in and around Bangkok and Phuket. From the Chao Phraya River to the famed Buddha within the tree, the Big Buddha overlooking the ocean to the remarkable school of fish swimming beneath the sea, explore the luxurious diversity of Thailand set within its history, along its cityscape, and beside its shores.
Arrive in the capital of Thailand, Bangkok, where the cityscape reaches both upward and outward, creating the country’s largest metropolis. The charm of the city is hidden beneath the shade of trees and around the gilded spires of temples that continue to grace the city in the best of ways. The bustle of the city is part of its elegance. The speed works with the people, almost as if every person has a part to play, knowing where they are supposed to be at any moment, giving a sense of choreography to the mayhem. The streets are filled with the scent of fresh noodles and decadent fried chicken, where sweet, sour, and spicy come together for an unforgettable combination. Your time in the grandeur of Bangkok has just begun, but you can already see its splendor underneath the banyan trees, within the smiles of shop owners, and definitely within the alluring aromas of the unparalleled cuisine.
When Palaces and Temples Combine
Set along the waterway of the Chao Phraya River, the Grand Palace is a spectacle to experience. Where once the river was the main source of transport, the palace has an opulent posture set against the lapping water on the riverbanks. Built in the latter half of the 18th century, the palace continues to be a symbol of the king, though it is now used largely for ceremonial purposes. Within the palace complex are sensational temples that house some of the most well-preserved and coveted Buddhist artifacts, including Wat Phra Kaew, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
The structure is raised on a series of platforms, giving height and grandeur to the golden building. The balcony walls are decorated with sensational murals telling the story of the Ramayana, epic in its entirety. The statues that guard the temple are over 15 feet tall, each an ornately carved and. The spicy aroma of incense surrounds the interior. The Buddha is spotlighted, giving him green glow beneath golden robes. His cloaks are changed seasonally by the king in a ritual that brings good fortune to Thailand. There is peacefulness within the temple, filled with the quiet of visitors and the awe of pilgrims that makes a visit worthwhile.
Tree Roots and Temples
After breakfast you will venture outside of the metropolis to the fabulous city of Ayutthaya, the once storied capital of Siam. The history of the city spans over four-centuries, all writ in the remains of the fabulous temples that continue to tower over bits of the city and the jungle commanding respect and reverence amongst all visitors. Wat Mahathat is over 600 years old and was once the home to the Supreme Patriarch leader of the Thai Buddhist monks. The manicured grass gives a manufactured structure to the sandstone, where the colors of the ruins shift from white to deep brown stone and back again. The Temple of the Great Relics, as it is called in English, continues to inspire with the elegance of its remains.
A Buddha sculpture proudly sits on a platform, legs crossed, and hands placed by his knees. A large swath of yellow cloth is draped across his body as he is forever poised in the moment of enlightenment. A large tree has its roots dangling and tangling out of the ground; it looks as though the tree’s trunk is made of a collection of vines. Look deeper within the tangle and you can see the famed Buddha Head hidden within the niches of the tree. No one is certain how the head became wrapped up in the vines but, as Buddha’s slight smile peers at you from within the dangling roots, there is an ease to the moment, where the sun dimmer, the shade feels cooler, and the world offers you a moment to take a deep breath. You will return to Bangkok in the late afternoon with the calm and wonder of Ayutthaya echoing in your thoughts.
Explore Kanchanaburi and Famous Bridge of River Kwai
The early morning brings with it the lusciousness of creamy coconut and fresh squeezed orange juice. After breakfast you will once again venture outside of Bangkok to the riverside town of Kanchanaburi, known as the filming location for the movie, The Bridge on the River Kwai. The bridge was built by prisoners of war during World War II, overseen by the Japanese, and meant to stretch 250 miles from Ban Pong, Thailand to Thanbyuzayat, Burma. The Thailand-Burma Railway Museum is an interactive museum filled with photos and first hand accounts from actual POWs during the war. The interior of the museum is immaculate, with black and white photos documenting the tracks, the officers in charge, and the conditions of the camp. Follow your guide out of the museum and onto a stretch of tracks that hug the mountainside. The air is warm and scented with granite and steel. You can walk along a short stretch of the railway, where the tracks are clear, and the experience of walking through the modern history sends tingles down your spine. Back in town you will be able to step onto the actual bridge depicted in the movie, overlooking the Mekong River, where the gentle trickle of the water settles the history.
City Bustle to Island Splendor
Today you will venture away from the metropolis of Bangkok and transfer to the stunning island of Phuket. Off of the western shores of the mainland are the sensationally clear waters of Phuket, where history adds elegance to the island paradise. Old Phuket Town stands like a beacon of a colonial past where cultures and beauty decorate the shores, from Portuguese mansions to Chinese tradition. There is an essence of classic architecture beneath the rise of palm trees and within the calm rush of waves on the immaculate beach. No matter where you are on Phuket you are never far from majesty, whether next to the cool, clear ocean, within the hills by the Big Buddha, or strolling through Old Town between the tailors and candy shops, art galleries and Chinese noodle shops.
The grandeur of the island is yours to explore today at your whim and pleasure. The morning sun bounces off of the water with the glint of crystal. For a fantastic view of the entire island you can visit Big Buddha in Chalong, whose white frame towers over Phuket on the island’s highest summit. The large image rises over Nakkerd Hill, standing over 135 feet tall, and is considered a welcome sign for those out to sea. The sweeping vistas of Phuket offer an overwhelming panorama of Phuket Town, where the Portuguese mansions shine beneath the trees, the ocean waves are vibrant and lively throughout the island, and the distinctive reach of jungle mixes with the sapphire horizon.
In the afternoon you can venture to Wat Chalong, where Poh Than Jao Wat, one of the most important Buddhist statues in Phuket, is housed. In the most westerly hall of the temple you can find two statues of old men, representations of an old local who continued to win lotteries after being blessed by the Poh Than Jao Wat statue. The Grand Pagoda dominates the temple, decorated with wall paintings that depict the Buddha’s life story. The air is breezy and cool and the temple is famed for housing a splinter of Buddha’s bone. There is an ease and softness to the temple giving you a pleasant urge to continue to the water and watch the quiet reaches of the sunset.
Famed Waters and Illustrious Landscapes
Today you will embark on a journey away from the luster of Phuket that will take you to the diverse and alluring waters of the Phi Phi Islands. Climb aboard a speedboat to begin your exceptional day where six islands comprise the archipelago only 45 minutes away. The wind whips through your hair as the mist sprays against your cheeks. The water is three shades of blue, ranging from nearly clear to sapphire, sitting beneath the rising green of the jungle island. With many shores to visit, you first step along the sands of Monkey Beach where the primates hide within the trees and lurk within the branches. Over the years they have become less shy and coarser, scouring for food within the visitors. The long-tailed macaque monkeys are dark gray with faces like sour men, and they reach for bananas or chocolate, taking their treasures and jumping nimbly onto the rocks, scared of the surf.
Along the shores of Koh Phi Phi Leh you can see the familiar beach that was home to Leonardo Dicaprio in the film The Beach. Enter into Maya Bay where the limestone karsts are bright and majestic, capturing your imagination and making you wonder if you may be dreaming. The natural beauty is unparalleled, from the clear water that allows you to see to the ocean floor to the rising precipices that are capped with stellar greenery, and powdery white sands that make the beach nothing but inviting. The beach faces the entrance of the bay where you can dive into the water and watch the colorful fish swim in huddled schools. The vibrant hues beneath the sea rival the effervescence above the surface. Eventually you will carry on to the outlying shores of other islands before returning to Bangkok, but within the pristine waters of Maya Bay, with the karsts above and wondrous life below, you know that the moment is perfect.
Feeling at Home
The opulent beauty of the island continues to glisten in the morning sun giving you one last look at the magnificent beauty of Phuket and Thailand before arriving at the airport. Your flight will have you home in almost no time, filled with the majestic memories of your time within the fabulous cities and grand waters of Southeast Asia. Home is filled with comfort and familiarity, but you have trouble remembering a time before Thailand that has ever been more luxurious.
You may want to read the Thailand tours reviews for ideas on how to further customize this trip.
- Discover the majesty of the Grand Palace and stunning Jade Buddha at the heart of Bangkok
- Witness the wonderful history marked in the temples in Ayutthaya, the capital city of the empire of Siam
- Walk along the path of a historic railway as you learn about the Second World War’s effect on Thailand in Kanchanaburi
- Experience the luscious beaches of Phuket
- Visit the powder sands of Maya Bay where Leonardo Dicaprio’s The Beach was filmed
The wonder is never ending on this 8-day exploration through Thailand that will take you through the diverse cultures of Thailand’s largest city to the immaculate shores of Phuket. From the fabulous landscapes in and around Bangkok to holy temples and celebrated palaces, and set along historic train tracks and marvelous vistas, you will have the opportunity to experience the tremendous traditions carved within stone, and the modern lives shaped by time. There is no end to the majesty you will explore in Southeast Asia, and you know that this is just the beginning.
Arrive in Bangkok and begin your sensational journey through Thailand. The metropolis spreads along a vast expanse giving rise to skyscrapers and highways, where the traditional charm of the city is hidden for those who know where to find it, like along the street of Rambuttri where the trees overtake the walkway giving a serenity to the bustle that surrounds the city. Travel along the waterway to find the Grand Palace, its ornate structure filled with shrines and towering spires, each laden with the sparkle of gold. The remarkable Jade Buddha stands proud in a position of reverence and awe. In Ayutthaya you will venture into the heart of what was once the capital of Siam.
Temples fill the center of the city where you can see the prominent towers that rose over the city itself, and now you can find the famed Buddha smiling from within the tree vines. In Kanchanaburi you will tour the grounds of the World War II Memorial Museum which pays tribute to the prisoners of war, forced to build the railway system for the Japanese.
Continue your exploration of Thailand with your arrival in Phuket. The island is ripe with beauty, from its lush jungle to its sapphire waters. Whether lounging on the shores or visiting the Big Buddha that stands at the summit of Nakkerd Hill, the colors of the island are enough to keep you hypnotized in merriment. Board a speedboat where you will visit the collection of islands around Koh Phi Phi, including the famous Maya Bay, known as the setting of Leonardo Dicaprio’s The Beach. The next day you will board your flight home but there will always be more remarkable Thailand to explore.
$1,755 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
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Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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