This leisurely journey mirrors the gentle pace of life in Thailand. We explore Bangkok’s Royal Palace and the backstreets of this fascinating and vibrant city. Next we visit Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai before learning about the unique hilltribe cultures of the north in Chiang Mai. Finally we enjoy the tropical serenity of the south for a couple of day’s relaxation on the beach. We also take time to enjoy Thailand’s culinary delights, including a cooking course in Chiang Mai. Above all we will take away a feeling for the warmth of the Thai people, for whom a smile is never far away.
13 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinners (increased inclusions on ‘Food’ departures)
All transport and listed activities
Tour leader throughout
Arrival & departure transfers
Single accommodation (available on request)
Visas or vaccinations
A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Thai embassy.
Vaccines and Health
There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.
Weather and Seasonality
Bangkok and the surrounding region are hot all year round. The rainy season is between May and October when rainfall is abundant but not excessive. This time of year is characterised by more cloudy days and slightly higher humidity. Downpours are usually short and sharp and can be dramatic to watch! November to April is the dry season with rainfall only on a few days per month. April and May tend to be the hottest months before the monsoon. Northern Thailand has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. The rainy season in the north is also between May and October. November to April sees cooler temperatures. At night in the hilltribe region during this period it can get very chilly and it is important to be prepared for cold nights at this time. Southern Thailand is always hot (but hotter in the summer months of May to October) and you should expect temperatures of between 30º and 35ºC. The rains come between May and July. Hua Hin is a real year round destination, and in the rainy season it experiences less rain than further north or south, if it does rain it is usually for only 10-20 minutes a day. In central and northern Thailand, pre-rainy season, in March to May the weather can get very hot and humid.
Eating and Drinking
11 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included.
In most towns you will find a wide variety of restaurants, both Thai and Western. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Thailand the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free, please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home.
The ‘Food’ departures of this trip contain the following extra inclusions to the standard itinerary. These trips will also be led by a food-obsessed leader who will make sure that you sample as many culinary delights as possible throughout your trip and will teach you all about the intricacies of Thai cuisine as you travel the country. There will also be visits to local markets where you will be able to touch and taste the fresh ingredients that make up the basis of this fantastic cuisine.
Day 2: Dinner in Chinatown, Bangkok This evening we jump in a tuk tuk and set off on a food crawl through one of the most dynamic dining destinations in the city, Yaowarat. With bright neon signs, a sea of red plastic chairs and precariously balanced street food stalls with smoking cauldrons of stock and sizzling barbeques, Bangkok’s Chinatown comes into its own in the evening. Hop from stall to stall, tasting your way through classics such as kha moo grob (crispy fried pork with rice), ba mee hong kong (Hong Kong fried noodles) – and, of course, pad thai, probably one of the most famous of all Thai/Chinese fusion dishes. Wash it all down with a refreshing glass of ginseng tea or an icy cold Singha beer.
Day 4: Visit to Kanchanaburi night market We’ll visit the local open-air food market that really does sell everything ranging from the popular snack of fried crickets to fresh mango shakes and a huge variety of satays. Day 5: Roti Sai Mai demonstration, Ayutthaya We will go to the local market see the demonstration of how to make roti sai mai (Thai cotton candy and pancake dessert made from pandan), a famous dessert in Ayutthaya.
Day 7: Traditional Khan Toke Dinner, Chiang Mai Tonight we’ll sit down to a traditional Khan Toke dinner. ‘Khantok’ is a circular tray that is used to serve a variety or Northern Thai (Lanna) dishes and guests will usually sit on the floor on bolsters. It is a chance to learn about the ancient traditions and customs of Lanna heritage – a favourite is often the aeng hanglay, a slowly simmered pork and ginger curry served with a variety of dishes.
Day 8: Alms giving, Chiang Mai For those up at dawn there is chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms. Those who wish can also partake in the giving of alms. After we will join the locals for some Thai breakfast of congee, a rice based porridge with pork.
Day 10: Street Food Dinner at Hua Hin Night Bazaar Dinner will be enjoyed at the Chat Chai night market of Hua Hin. Every type of street food you can imagine is served here ranging from softshell crab, punchy papaya salads and coconut pancakes served with sticky mango rice. The leader will talk you through each dish and you can watch it being cooked in front of you. Pull up one of the small plastic chairs and join the locals for a real street feast adventure!