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13-Day Essence of Thailand Tour

13-Day Essence of Thailand Tour

By Candice SongUpdated Jan. 4, 2024
Essence of Thailand: Far More beyond Temples

Thailand is known for an excellent beach destination and profound Buddhism cultures yet there is so much more worthy exploring. Set up your camping tent at Khao Yai National Park and trek through the jungles, you will encounter wildlife roaming freely; take a boat on the river where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet together and learn about the dark history ruled over by opium industry; attend a home-cooking class in Chiang Mai before you relax on the beach of Phuket. This tour is ideal for families and travelers with a heart for real exploration.

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  • Hop on a tuk tuk to whizz around the city of Bangkok with a massage at Wat Pho
  • Trekking, night safari and camping at Khao Yai National Park
  • Get on the hilltop to view the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet
  • Offering alms in the early morning and talk to a monk in Chiang Mai
  • Beach free days in Phuket

Journey Route

map of essence of thailand tour

Itinerary in Detail

Day 1
Bangkok Arrival
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok (4-star)/Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel (5-star)

Your journey begins when your flight lands in Bangkok. Transfer to hotel and time to adjust from jetlag.

Day 2
Bangkok City Exploration with Local Transport
breakfast and lunch

Begin today with a visit to the Grand Palace and Temple of the Emerald Buhdda, followed by an adventure around the city in a tuk tuk. Besides the temples and shrines, you take a longtail boat ride on the Chao Phraya River. Feeling a bit wore out? Enjoy a foot massage at Wat Pho!

Highlights of Today: Bangkok from a Different Angle Bangkok can get clogged very easily especially during the rush hours. Thus, local transportation becomes more of an ideal way of travel. Today you will take the Skytrain to visit Bangkok's landmark, the Grand Palace and Temple of Emerald Buddha. Take a longtail boat along the Chao Phraya River before you reach Wat Pho, where a foot massage is in order as this is the birthplace for Thai massage. Ride on a tuk tuk to view the city from a different angle.

ride a tuk tuk in bangkok
Day 3
Bangkok - Khao Yai National Park
1 night in camping tent
breakfast and lunch

Make your way to Khao Yai National Park, where you will spend two days trekking through jungles, going on night safari, searching for wildlife and camping under the stars. Itinerary is pretty flexible and you will not miss out the major attractions inside the park, including Haew Suwat Waterfall, Haew Narok Waterfall, Bat Cave, night safari and jungle trekking.

Highlights of Today: Camping and Night Safari After some easy trekking during the day, you will be taken to the camping site and set up your camp. Afterwards, get to the Bat Cave to watch thousands of bats flying out of the dark chasm in hunt for food. Get out your flashlight and hiking gear when darkness wraps up the park, time for a night safari for nocturnal animals.

trekking through jungles of khao yai national park
Trekking through dense woods
Day 4
Khao Yai National Park - Bangkok
breakfast and lunch

Rise up early in the morning and have some simple breakfast. Continue your exploration to search for wildlife including deers, Asian elephants, gibbons and various birds. Visit another waterfall before lunch and you will hit the road back to Bangkok.

asian elephants roaming freely in khao yai national park
Don't scream or yell when you find elephants roaming or you will startle them
Day 5
Discover the Local Markets
breakfast and lunch

Enjoy a lazy morning in Bangkok. After your breakfast (or maybe a brunch?), your tour guide will take you to a seafood market where you can see how the locals haggle with the vendors. (Note: If seafood market is not your thing, we can change to another local market, for example Train Market or Chatuchak Weekend Market). Travel to the famous Dannomsaduak Floating Market, 2 hours away from Bangkok and feel up the vibe. Spend the rest of today free at leisure.

Damnoen Saduak floating market
Vendor boats along the canal of Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Day 6
Bangkok to Chiang Rai, a Half-Day Temple Tour
The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa (4-star) / The Riverie by Katathani (5-star)
breakfast & lunch

Take a morning flight to Chiang Rai up in the northern part of Thailand. Short break upon arrival before a 3-hour city discovery. you will head to Wat Phra Kaew, which was the original home of the Emerald Buddha before it was moved to Bangkok. Visit Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong to see its large gold stupa. Wat Rong Khun (also called the White Temple) is built with white glass. This delicate architectural structure with its quirky artwork is stunning at every level. Take your time to admire this breathtaking temple complex.

The Wat Rong Khun
The Wat Rong Khun
Day 7
The Golden Triangle and a Hill Tribe Village
breakfast and lunch

Chiang Rai has a notorious history regarding the opium trade and plants back in the old days. Today you will pay a visit the Hall of Opium Museum and the Golden Triangle. Get up to the hilltop for a good view of the point where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos meet together. Get down to the riverbank and take a boat trip to get on one of the islands belonging to Laos. Afterwards, you will have the chance to connect with locals from the Meo hill tribe by chatting with them and observing their lifestyle.

boat trip in the golden triangle
Take a boat trip along the river of the Golden Triangle
Day 8
Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, Mountain Doi Suthep Discovery
Bodhi Serene (4-star) / Rati Lanna Riverside Spa Resort (5-star)
breakfast and lunch

Today you will be transferred to Chiang Mai. Upon your arrival in Chiang Mai, head to Doi Suthep where you will start a pleasant walk. Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most sacred temples in Northern Thailand and you need to climb 309 steps to reach it. As you reach the summit, an amazing bird's-eye view of Chiang Mai will be presented. Return to Chiang Mai and take a rickshaw ride for an overview of this city.

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
Day 9
Chiang Mai Local Experience
breakfast and lunch

Home to many ethnic minority groups, Chiang Mai treats its travelers with variety of landscapes, cultures, lifestyles and cuisine. Today you will be taken to a village in Mae Sa Valley. A friendly host will teach you how to make traditional Tom Yam Soup or Pad Thai. Get back to your hotel and spend the rest of today free at leisure.

cook pad thai in chiang mai
Learn to cook Pad Thai in Chiang Mai
Day 10 - 12
Chiang Mai - Phuket, Phuket Free Days
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa (4-star)/ Novotel Phuket Kata Avista Resort and Spa (5-star)

Fly to Phuket and enjoy your free days on Kata Beach.

free days in phuket
Day 13
Phuket - Bangkok, Bangkok Departure

There are many flights between Phuket and Bangkok every other 30 minutes. Make your way back to Bangkok and connect with the departure flight.

Hand-picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok
camping tent at khao yai national park
Khao Yai National Park
Camping Tent
camping tent at khao yai national park
Chiang Rai
The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique Resort
hotel in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai
Bodhi Serene, Chiang Mai

Our Service Includes:

13 days from
USD 2,529
per person (based on 2 persons and 4-star hotels)
  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Flights between cities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
  • Governmental taxes

Tour code: ah-20

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