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We had a great time.

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Everything was perfect and I can thoroughly recommend the Layana Resort and the island of Koh Lanta to any one who wants a laid back, peaceful, non commercialised holiday."

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Everything went without a problem. Great time, great pics, etc.

Thanks for all of your help with this trip"

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ThailandEssential Thailand - 12 Days


For first time visitors, our Essential Thailand tour is the ultimate itinerary for discovering the diverse culture and scenery of the country.

Visiting Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Phuket, this 12 day tour program is full of in-depth excursions.

Enjoy trips to the main sites of Thailand as well as discovering unique, often hidden, locations.


Day 1 - Bangkok - Arrival (D)


Upon arrival in Bangkok, meet with Exo Travel guide and transfer to the hotel.
After a short interval at the hotel, your orientation relaxing evening begins with a drive through Bangkok’s old quarters that delivers sights of an illuminated Grand Palace, the Royal Ground, temples and the lit-up Ratchadamnoen Avenue. A lavish Thai dinner and cocktails against the stunning backdrop of the Rattanakosin skyline at “The Deck” riverside restaurant will keep your night pleasurable. Then stroll along the Flower Market to see the myriad varieties of exotic orchids and sweet smelling flowers. The buzz in this market is best experienced at night during which busy vendors load their wares up and down their mopeds. A potential shopping opportunity awaits you at an adjacent local night market along the Memorial Bridge that overlooks the Chao Phraya River, where you can rummage for handicrafts or souvenirs to bring back home for your family and friends.
Overnight in Bangkok.

Distance and journey time:

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport - Bangkok city (approx. 40 km): 40 min


Day 2 - Bangkok - Sightseeing (B,L)


An early start will get you to Wat Pho in time to experience the monks early morning chanting ritual (chanting starts at 09.00 Hrs). After this uplifting and often private experience, visit the temple grounds and the famous 45-metre reclining Buddha. Continue to The Grand Palace, Thailand’s most important landmark, where you will be awed by the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls.

Then, of course, marvel at the mysterious Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand. Delicious lunch is served at the delightful Supatra River House overlooking the Chao Phraya RiverAfter lunch, board on boat for the trip along Bangkok NoiKlongs (Thonburi Klong Tour) sampling Thai houses and Thai life along the way with stop for a visit to Wat Arun. Following this, continue driving to Chinatown square where you start an interesting walk through one of the oldest parts of Bangkok. Walk along Yaowarat Road where you visit interesting shop selling bird’s nests and shark fins, continue to a very old tea shop to enjoy a cup of Chinese tea with the locals before heading down Talad Kao for an interesting local market with variety of fresh foods, fresh & dry fruits, Chinese herbs, groceries. Return to the hotel afterwards.

Overnight in Bangkok.


Day 3 - Bangkok - Countryside Tour (B,L)


After breakfast at the hotel, take just a short drive from the bustling streets of Bangkok, the high-rise urban landscape dissolves into a lush green rural idyll. This full-day trip to Samut Songkhram Province, only an hour outside the capital, allows guests to experience the traditional charms of the Thai countryside.

*The day starts with a trip to a local railway station where a bustling country market has sprouted up along the tracks. When a train pulls in or out of the station, the vendors quickly clear their stalls, only to set them up again moments later when the train has passed! From here, the journey continues to the Tha Kha Floating Market, where narrow wooden boats line the canals, filled with fresh fruit and other local produce.

A relaxing boat ride through the labyrinth of canals offers the chance to stop and visit a friendly local family who produce palm sugar syrup. Lunch at a local restaurant before the tour continues to a local Buddhist temple and the King Rama II Memorial Park, with its ornate collection of Thai-style pavilions. This rural excursion is rounded off with a visit uncovering the exquisite hand-painted Benjarong porcelain of a nearby pottery village, and for visits falling on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, the tour’s end will be spiced up with an exploration of the weekend evening floating market.

(Please note:) **Tha Kha Market is held every Saturday and Sunday morning. During the weekdays, the market day is subject to lunar cycle calendar; however tour operates on daily basis. On days when Tha Kha is not open, we will head to Ladplee Floating Market.

We do experience delays with trains in Thailand, should this occur, it may require changes to the program.

Overnight at Bangkok.

Distance and journey time:

Bangkok – Samut Songkhram (approx. 80 km): 1 hr

Mae Klong Market – Tha Kha Floating Market (9.3 km): 21 min

Tha Kha Floating Market – Amphawa District (9.3 km): 17 min


Day 4 - Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Bangkok (B)


Meet your tour guide in the morning and take the taxi or public transportation to Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Train Station. Board the local train heading to Ayutthaya and enjoy scenic views along the way. (Note: We do experience delays with trains in Thailand, should this occur, it may require changes to the program). Upon arrival at Ayutthaya, hop onto a “Kermit” Tuk Tuk (a special type of motorized Tuk Tuk available only in Ayutthaya and Trang Province in the South) to discover the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park. Briefly stop near the Muslim quarter and sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – candy floss roti. If time permits, visit local houses to see how handicrafts such as famous Palm leave fish mobile are made. You will then be taken to the local market for a free style lunch and our guide can give you recommendations on which local delicacies to try.

After lunch, enjoy a leisurely long-tailed boat ride to Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and explore the majestic royal mansions which are usually quiet in the afternoon. Continue to Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples with its remarkable Gothic style architecture and stained glass windows.

Return to Bangkok by private van transportation.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Distance and journey time:

Bangkok – Ayutthaya (83.3 km): 1.03 hr

Ayutthaya Historical Park – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace (21.9 km): 28 min


Day 5 - Bangkok - Chiang Mai (B)


Transfer to airport with your guide (time to be confirmed the day before) for your flight to the northern capital of Thailand “Chiang Mai”.

Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, you will be met and greeted by our Exo Travel guide for your transfer to your hotel.

After checking in at the hotel, travel thirty minutes by vehicle north of Chiang Mai city to a long-tail boat dock, where you will take a leisurely stroll around the grounds with a herbal garden. Then board a long-tail boat and enjoy a 30-minute cruise along the rural Mae Ping River. Along the river banks, you will see traditional wooden houses and modern residences. Arrive at a boat landing and walk for about 10 minutes from the landing to Waroros fresh food market for a visit, experiencing the Northern Thai way of life.

After the tour, transfer back to your hotel or to one of the restaurants for our own dinner.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Distance and journey time:

Chiang Mai Airport – Chiang Mai Town (4.7 km): 10 min


Day 6 - Chiang Mai - Chiang Dao - Chiang Mai (B,L)


After Breakfast, drive north through the hilly, wooden area on the outskirts of Chiang Mai to the Chiang Dao Elephant Camp, visit the camp and enjoy a gentle bamboo raft journey down the Ping River. At the camp, you can also do the elephant riding as an optional activity (at your own expense). After lunch at a scenic local restaurant, drive further North to Chiang Dao area where you visit Palaung, Akha and Lisu tribal villages. Living separately from lowland Thai’s the tribal mountain people retain a different culture and way of life unique to every ethnic group.
Return to the hotel in the late afternoon, and the rest of the day is free at your leisure.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Distance and journey time:

Chiang Mai City – Chiang Dao (70.9 km): 1.04 hr


Day 7 - Chiang Mai (B,L)


Depart your hotel at 06.00 am (Note: Take away breakfast from the hotel) and arrive at the foot hill of Doi Suthep mountain, in time to buy offerings and join the locals during the daily alms giving ceremony. This is a serene Buddhist procession where dozens of monks walk barefoot through the street collecting food and everyday items. Continue up the mountain to Wat Doi Suthep and climb the 309 steps of the Golden Naga staircase to reach its golden pagodas. After a visit to Doi Suthep, continue to discover one of the best-kept secret temples of Chiang Mai, Wat Palad, known as the Temple below the Temple. This temple is a significant element of the Chiang Mai area’s history with its temple grounds aged beyond 650 years old. 

Next, proceed to Wat Umong, built in the 14th century, a heavily forested temple covered by moss and small plants offering a unique yet charming sense of natural decay. After a walk through its mysterious tunnels you reach the Viharn of the temple to experience your own private blessing ceremony.

After that, enjoy this lovely day with a delicious bowl of Khao Soy. This famous Northern Thai dish is a combination of coconut cream, crispy noodles and plenty of spice that is sure to delight!

In the afternoon, continue to visit the Three Kings Monument, followed by Chiang Mai City Arts and Culture Center, located in an old building of elegant architectural design built in 1927. Standing on the location of a former royal hall, the building was used as the central administrative office of Phayap administrative unit of Siam, and later as the Provincial Hall of Chiang Mai. (Note:Chiang Mai City Arts and Culture Center is closed on Mondays and during Songkran festival. Open from Tuesdays – Sundays: 08:30 – 17:00)

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Distance and journey time:

Chiang Mai City – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (17.2 km): 39 min

Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – Wat Umong (14.9 km): 33 min


Day 8 - Chiang Mai - Mae Kampong (B,L)


Depart for Mae Kampong village in the Mae On district and drive through the picturesque countryside of Chiang Mai. En route a stop is made at a local market to select ingredients for your lunch. Continue to Mae Kampong village where you are met upon arrival by villagers before beginning a stroll through the community forest, passing tea and coffee fields. Return to the village in time to watch lunch being prepared by your host family to see how Thai food is prepared in the countryside. After lunch, relax with Thai traditional massage and take a walk around the village to see the processing of fermented tea leaves, and various products which are handmade in the village. In the late afternoon, drive back through the mountains to Chiang Mai.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

Distance and journey time:

Chiang Mai City – Mae On District (31.8 km): 44 min


Day 9 - Chiang Mai - Phuket (B)


Free at leisure in Chiang Mai city until the guide picks you up from the hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Phuket. Upon arrival, meet up with Exo Travel guide and transfer to your hotel.
Free afternoon at leisure to relax on the beach.

Overnight in Phuket.

Distance and journey time:

Phuket Airport – Phuket Town (32.5 km): 30 min


Day 10 - Phuket - Sightseeing (B)


On this Phuket day trip, you will discover the diverse communities inhabiting the south of Thailand. Your Multicultural Phuket tour will begin on Siray Island, home to the Moken people, also known as the sea gypsies, and animist community whom live solely off fishing. Around 25% of Phuket’s residents are Muslim and based around the east coast of the island. Before visiting one of its most representative villages and mosques of the island, you will stop to try the famous Roti and Copi (a local coffee and a sweet). In the Kathu district, home to the oldest Chinese shrine on Phuket Island, you will discover the remnants of the tin mining industry that brought the Chinese migrants to Phuket in the 18th century.

Finally, the day ends with some local cuisine, a favourite of the local people: Hokkien Noodle soup.

Free afternoon at leisure to relax on the beach.

Overnight in Phuket.


Day 11 - Phuket (B)


Day free at leisure to relax on the beach or you may wish to book optional excursions with Exo Travel.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Phuket Old Town E-Bike Tour. Uncover the rich and colorful cultural heritage of Phuket as you ride through the historic quarters of this quaint provincial island on an e-bike. On this day tour you will visit Baan Silaprachan, home to the family of a former Phuket Governor, before exploring the pictorial museum of Thai Hua housed in a former Chinese school. Learn more about the islands architecture when you visit Phukets oldest Chinese shrine. Soak up the unique Sino-Portuguese buildings that act like standing testimonies to the influence of the migrants that came to Phuket during the tin mining days of the 19th century. Make a short stop at this antique Thavorn Museum in Thavorn Hotel, where you can browse through a collection of local lifestyle displays from the old times, such as calculators, typewriters, tin toys, and etc. (opening daily from 08:00 – 17:00) After the ride, the array of exotic tropical fruits available at the downtown fruit market will tantalize your palate, promising the perfect way to culminate your day of e-bike exploration.

Time: 09.00 – 12.00 / 14.00 – 17.00

Departure: Daily

Note: Max. 4 persons

Overnight at Phuket.


Day 12 - Phuket - Departure (B)


Our guide will meet up with you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departure flight to your onwards destination.

Distance and journey time:

Phuket Hotel – Phuket Town (between 20 and 50 km): 20 - 50 min

 


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