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Thailand in Depth
16 Days 15 Nights

Introduction

Discover Thailand's most progressive hill-tribe cultures and diverse regions and the rural charms of traditional Northern Thai life. Stay at eco lodges and luxury home-stay experience. Explore the region by trekking, bike riding, elephant riding and handicrafts along with first-hand experience of how tourism can play a positive role in the preservation of ancient cultures. Celebrate heritage, food and lifestyle. Gain an experiential understanding of Thai 'country' cuisine, through a special cooking class, beginning in the market, followed by a class on the essentials of 'iconic' Thai dishes and the art of fruit and vegetable carving. And so much more! Come and explore it yourself.

Brief Itinerary

Day 1:  Arrive in Bangkok

Day 2: Thai architecture, art and history in Bangkok (L)

Day 3: Bangkok - Mekhala on Mekhala Cruise (B/D)
Day 4: Mekhala – Ayuthaya on Mekhala Cruise – Kanchaburi - Tiger Temple(B/L)
Day 5: Kanchanaburi Bangkok – Chiang Mai (B/L/-)

Day 6: Chiang Mai – Lisu Lodge – Lahu Outpost (L/D)

Day 7: Lahu Outpost -  Lisu Lodge (B/L/D)

Day 8: Lisu Lodge – Akha Outpost (B/L/D)

Day 9: Akha Outpost – Khum Lanna(B/L/D)

Day 10: Khum Lanna – Chiang Khong – Lanja Lodge (B/L/D)

Day 11: Lanjia Lodge – Chiang Khong – Chiang Rai – Phuket (B/L)

Day 12: Phuket - Phang Nga (D)

Day 13: Phang Nga - Krabi (B, L, D)

Day 14: Krabi - Phi Phi Island (B, L, D)

Day 15: Phi Phi - Phuket (B, L)

Day 16: Phuket departure (B)


Day to Day Itinerary

 

Day 1: Bangkok Arrival

On arrval in Bangkok, meet your guide and driver. Hotel transfer follows. After check in, the rest of the day is free for relaxation.

 

Day 2: Thai architecture, art and history in Bangkok (L)

Today you will learn about Thai architecture, art and history, you'll explore three primary sites of cultural interest Bangkok is home to many museums, historical sites and a vanishing number of beautiful traditional wooden Thai homes. Enjoy a delicious Thai lunch along the way, and be escorted back to your hotel full of knowledge.

 

Home of M.R. Kukrit Pramoj

Considered a cultural magnate of Thailand, M.R. Kukrit, a former Thai Prime Minister, almost single-handedly revived traditional Khon' (masked dance) art and culture. A renaissance man who brought art back into mainstream Thai life, he died in 1995. His home is a treasure trove for students of Thai art, history and a gorgeous testament to traditional aristocratic Thai lifestyle.

Jim Thompson's House
A must for any enthusiast of regional art and classical Thai home design, Jim Thompson's House is a vestibule of artistic treasures and mystery. A pioneer who revolutionized the Thai silk trade, Thompson disappeared mysteriously in Malaysia's Cameron Highlands in the 1960's and has been a source of legend and controversy ever since. His home remains a spectacular artistic tribute to his empire.

National Museum
Thailand's National Museum contains one of the best documented chronologies of prehistoric, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya, and Bangkok-era events and figures. Showcasing the kingdom's finest treasures, including the first known stone inscriptions of Thai writing, art and architecture enthusiasts often make the journey for the Buddhaisawan Chapel alone, which houses one of Thailand's most revered Buddha images, Phra Buddhasihing. An Art History Gallery displays sculptures and exhibits from the Dvaravati, Srivijaya and Lopburi and Bangkok periods.

Day 3: Bangkok - Mekhala on Mekhala Cruise (B/D)
After breakfast at the hotel, the morning is free until you have a transfer to the boat pier. Start cruising up the Chao Phraya River with spectacular views of the Grand Palace and the Temple of Dawn. Just after the sunset, the MEKHALA docks at Wat Kai Tia, a Thai temple set in a tranquil rural village. An exquisite candlelit dinner of mouth-watering Thai cuisine is served on the deck. Overnight on board in your air-conditioned cabin.

REMARKS: Check - in time is requested around 14h00.


Day 4: Mekhala – Ayuthaya on Mekhala Cruise –
Kanchaburi - Tiger Temple (B/L)
An option for alms offering to monk can be made prior to a delicious breakfast served on board. Then depart for Bang-Pa-In Summer Palace where you will disembark nearby at approx. 10h00.

You then continue to drive to Kanchaburi. Now over ten years old, this beautiful Buddhist temple keeps and cares for numerous animals, most notably the tigers, who can be stroked by visitors. The first tiger cub didn't arrive until 1999 and sadly it died after being taken to the temple by local villagers. As adult tigers fell victim to poachers, several cubs were given to the temple and so far a further several cubs have been born. There are currently more than a dozen tigers who call the temple home! Once a day, the tigers are led on leashes to their own quarry where they can roam around, with visitors able to watch from around 10m away. More often than not, one of the monks will bring one of the tamest tiger to be stroked by visitors*. Donations can be made at the temple and the Monks continue to collect funds in order to build a larger sanctuary which would allow the tigers to live in a more natural habitat.

*Although the tigers appear tame, let's not forget these are still naturally wild animals. Sudden movements and too many camera flashes at one time can spook them. However in ten years there has only been one serious attack on a visitor, who survived! Young children are not allowed near the animals and will not be allowed into the quarry where the tigers roam free!

Take your time with the tigers! You spend the night in Kanchaburi


Day 5: Kanchanaburi Bangkok – Chiang Mai (B/L/-)
After breakfast, you may return to the temple this morning for one more visit and possible fur therapy moment. You then travel back to Bangkok for a flight to Chiang Mai.

Day 6: Chiang Mai – Lisu Lodge – Lahu Outpost (L/D)

After breakfast, you have a transfer to Lisu Lodge. A traditional welcome drink will be served. Then, drive by local open-air truck to the area near Pha Mieng. Start walking along the jungle trails to the remote village of Hmong Pha Mieng (1h30). Meet the inhabitants of this small hill tribe village in the jungle. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the forest. After lunch, walk to the top of the mountain (1h30) where the Red Lahu Village of Pha Daeng is located, Continue walking along a mountain ridge to the Lahu village of Kup Kap (1h00), from where you have a spectacular view overlooking the Mae Taeng district and Chiang Mai town glittering at night in the distance. Beyond the mountain peaks to the west lies Myanmar (Burma). Dinner and overnight at Lahu Outpost, modeled on a typical Lahu house. Basic amenities are provided: mattress, pillow, bed linen, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, etc. Two Western-style toilets and a communal shower are provided.

Total walking time: about 4 - 5 hours
Difficulty: medium grade walking, mainly uphill
Distance: about 12 - 15 km


Lahu Outpost is adapted from traditional Lahu style, with the addition of some features to improve the level of comfort such as hot showers and Western-style toilets. The house is on short stilts and has a thatched roof with an open veranda. There are eight rooms with mats and standard mattresses on the bamboo floors. It is clean and simple, with no electricity, nor any power sources and no signs of modernization; but there are gas hot water showers that are comfortable for guests in the jungle-style bathroom. The kitchen is in a separate house as is the traditional Lahu style.


Day 7: Lahu Outpost -  Lisu Lodge (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, we go on a one and a half hour walk down a steep jungle path passing by the Huay Sadharn Waterfall. This brings us to the spot where we will mount the elephants and continue on a one hour ride down to the river. In a remarkable setting on the bank of the river we first enjoy a delicious picnic lunch. Afterwards we go rafting down the river for about 45 minutes. From there you return to Lisu Lodge. Upon arrival, a welcome drink will be served before you check into your room. Afterwards you will receive a briefing so you can select your activity for the following morning. Guided by a Lisu villager, walk from Ton Lung temple to visit the herbal garden. Then continue through the village with a stop for a cup of tea at the village shaman's house. Chat with the Lisu shaman and learn about his life, beliefs, curing rites and Lisu traditions. Visit the cultural center and 'museum' created by the villagers. Inside you will find a collection of typical household items and tools from the Lisu as well as well as the Akha mountain peoples. Time at leisure until Thai dinner with a traditional Lisu dance show. Overnight at Lisu Lodge.

Total walking time: about 1.30 - 2 hours
Difficulty: hard grade walking, mainly down hill
Distance: about 3 - 4 km


Lisu Lodge features traditional hilltribe pavilions with thatched roofs, bamboo walls and floor mats with the following modern comfortsSeveral spacious wood and bamboo huts are set in lush wooded gardens next to a Lisu village, whose inhabitants made and now staff the lodge. The 4 guesthouses are based on local Lisu design, but with a few tourist concessions such as windows and bathrooms!

The heart of each building is its raised central veranda and dining area, spotlessly furnished with low tables, couches and monkwan (triangular) cushions. Off this lie 6 bedrooms, with either two single mattress (stuffed with dried local fibres for authentic firmness) on a bamboo sleeping platform, or a western double bed (all mozzie netted). 24-hour mains electricity powers a weak light and a wall-mounted fan. The small ensuite bathroom has a sit-down loo, basin and a solar-heated, tiled shower. Each hut has a bar and staff available to do your laundry (for a small fee).


Day 8: Lisu Lodge – Akha Outpost (B/L/D)

Breakfast at the Lodge. In the morning you have a choice of activities: 

·         Guided bike tour around the Lisu Lodge area

·         Steam bath

·         Massage

Ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the Thai village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng – about an hour ending up back at Lisu Lodge

Notes: A second additional 1-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but as a free activity you are welcome to go cycling by yourself and we will give you a road book of recommended itineraries.

Leave Lisu Lodge and head to a Palong village in Chiang Dao. A tasty picnic lunch will be provided en route. Walk uphill about 3 hours to Akha Outpost. Check-in at Akha Outpost, set in an isolated area with spectacular views: looking north down into the valley far below or to the west, the mountain peaks stretching into Burma; and finally in the east: the Lao PDR. For dinner, help your guide whip up a tasty, wholesome mountain meal. Dinner and overnight at Akha Outpost, modeled on a typical Akha house. Basic amenities are provided: mattress, pillow, bed linen, blankets, towels, mosquito nets, etc. Two Western-style toilets and a communal shower are provided.

Total walking time: about 3 - 4 hours
Difficulty: medium grade walking, mainly up hill
Distance: about 10 - 12 km


Akha Outpost sits on a hill at 1,000 meters above sea level at Ban Jom Hod, Phrao district. Akha Outpost is adapted from a traditional Akha house, with the addition of some features to improve the level of comfort for guests such as hot showers and Western-style toilets. The house is on short stilts and has a thatched roof with an open veranda. There are six rooms with mats and standard mattresses on the bamboo floors. It is simple and neat, with no electricity, nor any power sources and no signs of modernization; but there are gas hot water showers that are comfortable for clients in the jungle-style bathroom. The kitchen is in a separate house as is the traditional Akha style.

Day 9: Akha Outpost – Khum Lanna (B/L/D)
Breakfast at Akha Outpost. Start walking downhill passing by the waterfall to another Akha village. Then take the short drive to Khum Lanna.

Arrive at Khum Lanna and be greeted by local Lanna people. A tasty welcome drink (herbal tea or fruit juice from the garden) will be served prior to the briefing and orientation when you will choose your afternoon activity. Khum Lanna will provide Thai farmer shirts for guest use during their stay .

10h00 Enjoy preparation for Lanna country-style BBQ lunch with a garden tour around the compound; collect different seasonal herbs, vegetables, and fruits for cooking.

11h00: Get your free sample of our "Khum Lanna Thai Recipe Book" before the first Thai cooking class begins. Share an informal Lanna country-style BBQ lunch that you have prepared with your host. Get an introduction to Thai language (which will prepare you for your market shopping the next day).

Enjoy a satisfying Thai Lunch at Khum Lanna.

In the afternoon, we provide you with a choice of one-hour activities:

·         Guided biking tour around Khum Lanna

·         Fruit (or vegetable) carving

·         Local style personal herbal steam bath

Hot-pressed herbal massage (consisting of 8 kinds of herbs: ginger, zingiber, lemongrass, plantain, tamarind leaves, soap pod, camphor and Aom Kiew)

Notes: A second additional 1-hour activity can be booked at a nominal charge but as a free activity you are welcome to go cycling by yourself. We will give you a road book of recommended itineraries.

Late afternoon at leisure until the Thai cooking class begins 16h30. Enjoy the fruits of your labors with a full 4-course sit-down Thai dinner with your host and friends. Watch a million stars beside a campfire in the garden. At leisure until the scrumptious dinner which you prepared already in the afternoon. Overnight at Khum Lanna.

Total walking time: about 2 - 2.30 hours
Difficulty: easy grade walking, mainly down hill
Distance: about 7 - 8 km


Khum Lanna or Lanna Farm is a beautiful, secluded teak house set amidst rice fields near the town of Phrao. It's idyllic countryside, with hills ringing the horizon, and lanes winding through villages untouched by tourism. Gentle cycle rides into the Thai hinterland and to local markets are a highlight.

The farm, in typical Lanna style, sits on stilts to avoid flooding, and has an eating area downstairs as well as a spacious sheltered veranda and dining area upstairs. There are 4 double bedrooms, all faced in the smooth, dark teak of the rest of the building. The careful furnishings and lighting give the lodge a very relaxed and restful ambience.

Each bedroom has a modern bathroom, with toilet and hot shower. The beds are spacious doubles and the feel of the room is that of a high-end hotel. There is one larger honeymoon suite from which a sliding partition opens onto the dining area.

Day 10: Khum Lanna – Chiang Khong – Lanja Lodge (B/L/D)
05h30: Coffee/tea will be brought to your room for your wake-up call before the sunrise biking trip along the rural country road via San Kwang village to Phrao to visit an early morning local market where local coffee is available. With the help of your guide you may buy local cookies and flower garlands for the temple offering on the way back.

Then you visit a farmer's rice and traditional tools shop, chat with the owner, and learn more about the rice legends and differences & properties of the varieties of rice. Your local escort will translate. Bike back to Khum Lanna with a stop to visit Wat Pa Gee. Pay respect to the Buddha image under the sacred tree. Continue biking to Khum Lanna along the local canal through the rice fields and get more information about the rice-growing process and the important place that rice occupies in Thai life. Upon return, refreshment or shower before a local Lanna-style breakfast at 09h00 set up on the riverside. Then, enjoy some light biking to the rural village down the road. See the incredible accumulation of beehives on the sacred tree at Ban Nam Phrae and get information about the need for bees and the reasons for local conservation.Continue biking to Wiang Phrao Wung Hin (the ancient city 30 years older than Chiang Mai) to visit a temple and Phra Chao Lan Tong, the most significant Buddha Image in the Phrao district. Here, King Mengrai (1259-1317) assembled the villagers and trained them as soldiers to defend the city. Continue to Wat Tham Dork Kum and visit different Buddha stucco figures and the huge reclining Buddha. Picnic lunch will be provided on the orchard hill, which has a fantastic overview of the entire Phrao valley. Return to Khum Lanna. Refreshment and check-out.

In the afternoon, you travel to Chiang Khong (Chiang Rai Province), a small border town on the Mekong river. Laos is on the other side of the river! From Chiang Khong, you continue to Lanja Lodge. Arrive at Lanjia Lodge. Herbal local juice will be served during the check-in. Dinner and watch traditional Hmong performances
Overnight at Lanjia Lodge

Lanjia Lodge built in traditional Hmong style with Western comforts, meaning 'peaceful' in the Hmong language, is an eco-friendly, community-based lodge nestled on a hill overlooking the Mekong River and Laos. It is set in harmony with a lush green environment inside a Hmong and Lahu village in northern Thailand's Chiang Rai province.

Day 11: Lanjia Lodge – Chiang Rai – Phuket (B/L)
09h40: After breakfast, watch a presentation about the Hmong and Lahu tribes, the Golden triangle area and the giant catfish (locally known as Pla Buek) - the world's biggest fresh water fish found in the Mekong River. Learn about activities that affect the Mekong River and people whose lives depend on the river.

10h10: Tour the Hmong and Lahu hill tribe village, including a visit at the shaman house of the Hmong. Drink tea with the shaman and discover why the fireplace is important to the Hmongs and why they bury the placenta and umbilical cord of their newborn babies.

Lunch will be provided on the charming terrace that looks to the Mekong River and Laos.

14h10: Get firsthand experience on how to make Hmong batik handkerchief with Hmong ladies (about 45 minutes). Alternatively, you can learn how to make and set animal traps. Then you will help villagers to plant trees at the Herbal Plant Nursery Project. The project is dedicated to His Majesty the King to commemorate his 84th birthday on December 5, 2011. The main objective of the project is to improve the quality of life of local people by educating them on how to grow vegetables and the importance of the eco-system in their village.

You then have a transfer to Chiang Rai for a flight to Phuket.

On arrival in Phuket, hotel transfer follow, check in and refresh.

Day 12: Saturday (Friday): Phuket - Phang Nga (D)

- From November 2009 - April 2010, departs every Saturday
- From May, June & September 2010, only one departure a week on program (A) every Tuesday only.

Transfer from hotel around noon to the embarkation pier, Suwan Macha departs from Yacht Haven pier at 14h00 Pm. Set a course between the towering islands of Phang Nga Bay and visit to the ever-popular James Bond Island. Back onboard, you'll anchor in time for a postcard sunset. Dinner and overnight on board Suwan Macha at anchor.

Day 13: Sunday (Thursday): Phang Nga - Krabi (B, L, D)
Enjoy breakfast on deck, then tour the unique Sea Gypsy Village and a spectacular ride amongst the mangroves and hidden lagoons. Spend the afternoon in the clear green waters of Krabi or take to a deserted white sand beach to enjoy your own private sun-bathing. Sunset is yours to enjoy on deck with a succulent feast of Thai cuisine. Night on board.

Day 14: Monday (Wednesday): Krabi - Phi Phi Island (B, L, D)
After breakfast, cruise the islands between Krabi and Phi Phi with more snorkeling, swimming and sunbathing before going ashore to explore Phi Phi Island. After dinner on board, sit back and enjoy the peacefulness of the night in a secluded bay.

Day 15: Tuesday (Tuesday): Phi Phi - Phuket (B, L)
After breakfast onboard, travel to Phi Phi Lay and explore the Maya Bay Cave (made famous by the film The Beach). Then ashore Phi Phi Island for lunch. After lunch return to Phuket by ferry from Ton Sai pier and arrive at Rasada pier, and transfer to hotel with arrival around 18h00.

Day 16: Phuket departure (B)
After breakfast, the day is free at your leisure before you have a transport back to the airport for a departure flight.

Our trip includes

  • Accommodation on join-in basis in twin or double
  • Meal plan as mentioned in the tour program.
  • Drinking water when touring
  • Private tours as indicated in private transportation
  • English speaking guide service
  • Admission fee at visiting points as mentioned in the program.
  • 4 days sharing cruise on Suwan Macha Phuket including stops and visits as mentioned in the program without guide, 3 nights accommodation on join-in basis in twin or double sharing cabin, meal plan as mentioned in the tour program, coffee, tea & drinking water on board and during meals, services of qualified crew during the cruise, group insurance.
  • 2 days sharing cruise on Mekhala including stops and visits,1 night accommodation on board in double berth air-conditioned cabin, 1 dinner + 1 breakfast), Coffee, Tea & Water on board and during breakfast and dinner, services of qualified crew during the cruise, group insurance.

Our trip excludes

  • Other services not mentioned in package.
  • Other drinks and meals not mentioned in package.
  • Other personal expenses.

Remarks on the cruise:

For safety reasons and according to weather conditions, the program may be amended without prior notice.

Departure is on Saturday or Tuesday

Maximum number of passengers 10 persons (5 cabins).

Note: we reserve the right to revise the tariffs depending on the evolution of the fuel price.

Prices contact info@remoteasia.com