Journey Highlights at a Glance

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.
  • 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

What's included

  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide in every destination
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels, lunches for every guided day and simple dinner at the camping site of Khao Yai National Park
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Internal flights including taxes and fuel as specified in the itinerary
  • Governmental taxes

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.

- Entry flight and visa:
Bangkok is connected directly with major cities in the Europe, Australia and New Zealand; if you are flying from the United States, Canada or South America, we suggest you make transit via Hong Kong, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur or other Asian international hubs.
All nationalities are granted Visa-on-Arrival at different costs ranging from USD30 to USD50 for single entry.
For more information regarding this trip, please go to our Tour Information at the bottom of this page.

Day 2Bangkok 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.

What makes it special for me?
- All essence in a good time: Most travel companies offer one-day trip to Khao Yai National Park, which makes your visit rather hectic considering one-way driving from Bangkok takes 3 hours alone. We suggest an early start in the morning from Bangkok and spend the rest of today trekking at an easy pace.
- Quality time together: This trip is especially good for families with kids as you can set up camping tents together, go on night safari for kirk animals and insects that your kids have only seen in books or TV. Also a good chance to get closer to nature and admire the art of the creator.

trekking through jungles of khao yai national park Long pants and long-sleeve tops are must for 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 6Bangkok 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 an afternoon 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 KhunThe 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 SuthepWat Phra That Doi Suthep

Day 9Chiang 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 maiLearn to cook Pad Thai in Chiang Mai

Day 10 to Day 12Chiang 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 13Phuket - 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.

Asia Highlights handpicked hotels

Asia Highlights chooses hotels with a balanced mixture of traditional style and modern comfort, easy access to everything yet quiet enough for a good night's sleep. Room type in bold letters are what we choose especially for you.

superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Bangkok Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn
  • #9 and granted Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
  • Centrally located in Sathorn, subway stations and malls nearby.
  • Superior Sky Room, 32sqm, higher floors and better city views.
camping tent at khao yai national park
Khao Yai National Park Camping Tent
  • New and clean tent rented on the site.
  • Accommodate 2 adults and 1 child under 6.
  • Public toilet buildings, tapping water faucets and a restaurant on site.
deluxe room at le patta hotel chiang rai
Chiang Rai The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, ranked 10/143.
  • Located by the Mae Kok River, secluded from the city
  • Deluxe Room is 52sqm with private balcony, garden view.
hotel in Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai Bodhi Serene, Chiang Mai
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence of TripAdvisor, ranked 35/386.
  • Traditional Lanna style, garden setting and rooftop pool.
  • 32sqm Grand Deluxe Room is on higher floor, terrace with pool view.
Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa
Phuket Island Horizon Karon Beach Resort & Spa
  • Winner of Certificate of Excellence by TripAdvisor.
  • Centrally located in Karon area, within walking distance to shops and restaurants.
  • Deluxe Room, 55sqm, with gardern and pool views.

Journey information

  • Seasonal information: This tour is designed for all-time, especially good for families with kids on school vacation.
    During the peak season, namely late September to next March, great weather brings out the best colors of Thailand. Although it can be a bit hotter and rainier during summer time, namely April to September, trekking in Khao Yai National Park gets you better chances to see wildlife.
    Typhoon hits the coast during July to October, which sometimes might compromise your experience in Phuket.
    However, everything can be tailor-made, remeber? If your plan doesn't fall in the "best time to Thailand", our travel advisors can still make it possible by adjusting activities, destinations and etc. Specify your travel time and let us work the magic.
  • Thailand Visa: Most nationalities are required to obtain tourist visa for Thailand and Visa-on-Arrival is both possible and easy. The cost ranges from USD30 to USD50 per person for single entry up to 30 days.
  • Special dietary requirements: Daily breakfast at hotels and a lunch for days with sightseeing are included, so are some dinners as mentioned in the itinerary. For meals that are not included, your tour guides will suggest where and what to eat.
    As you will spend one night at Khao Yai National Park, the food will be simple such as instant noodles, bread, fruit jacks and milk. But for special dietary requirements, it is subject to the availability of food ingredients on the date you travel.
  • Transportation:You will have a private car in each destination; our cars are within 5 years of usage and your private drivers will be polite and drive with strong regard for safety. As for your Halong Bay cruise, a shuttle bus from the cruise company will take you to the certain port for boarding. Of course, private transfer between Hanoi and Halong Bay is also available upon request.
    Internal flights are operated by Thai Airways or Bangkok Airways. Safe, punctual and good service, make them our go-to choice for your trip, although airfares might look slightly higher compared to other airlines such as JetStar, Nok Air, Air Asia and Smile Airlines. All flights include 20kg of check-in luggage plus a 7kg carry-on for each adlut passenger.
  • Arrangements of the tour: Sightseeing, activities and accommodations that are mentioned in this tour you are looking at are just for your inspiration.
  • Responsible travel: Travel avails you with special experiences. Somehow its impact on the local community can be more beyond imagination and what Asia Highlights wishes to do is lead the impact onto a good path, a path that helps the local people (not only your tour guides) boarden their outlook and the local communities develop.
    During your trip, you will take Skytrain in Bangkok instead of private car, staying at camping tent (no A/C) at Khao Yai National Park and hiring a local rider for your rickshaw trip in Chiang Rai. All this is helping the locals with better environment and better working chances. (Of course, no pressure!) Taking baby steps one at a time, we highly appreciate you would like to be part of it.
    With that being said, detours to so-called factories or specialty workshops are strictly prohibited. We make sure your tour guides earn enough to support their families without squeezing commissions out of you.

Local guide

thailand tour guide
Most of our guides in Thailand have at least 5 years of experience and their are extremely passionate for introducing you their motherland. We asign different guides in all destinations so as to better your chance blending with the locals.

Mini van

car in thailand
All of vehicles are in good maintanence and with A/C. Experienced, polit and professional drivers take the wheel, they will ensure you have a safe and smooth ride. We have bottled water, wet tissues, first-aid kit and baby car seat equipped with our vehicles.

What our clients say about us

clients of asia highlights
My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job... It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout... Read more