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Thailand Panorama

Thailand

from £2,399 per person 14 2
Including optional travel insurance or a price reduction of £71 if not required
  • VIP travel service VIP door to door

Tour northern Thailand to discover it’s ancient history and culture and contrast it with the barbarity of events during World War Two…

Join our tour of Thailand, the ‘land of smiles’ – and more than a few surprises…

Including...

13 nights in hotels and 1 in flight

27 meals: 13 breakfasts, 10 lunches and 4 dinners

Excursions and visits
  • Visit to a tea plantation
  • Thailand’s Golden Triangle
  • Meet Yao hill tribes in Chiang Rai
  • Wat Rong Khun – The White Temple
  • City tour of Chiang Rai
  • Visit to a Handicraft Village
  • Ethical Elephant Sanctuary visit
  • Visit the forest temple of Wat Palad
  • Cable car to Wat Phra That temple
  • Kantake dinner and Lanna dance show
  • Thai market visit and cookery class
  • Tram tour of Sukhothai Historical Park
  • Visit to Ayutthaya temple complex
  • Bang Pa-In Palace visit
  • Visit to Thailand-Burma Railway Centre and Allied War Cemetery
  • Damnoen Saduak Floating Market visit
  • Thai dinner and traditional dance performance
  • Visit Bangkok's Grand Palace
  • Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho
  • Boat ride to Bangkok's Flower Market
Chiang Mai Elephants
The elephant is Thailand’s national symbol and has special place in Buddhism. In Chiang Mai you’ll visit the Ethical Elephant Sanctuary. This not-for-profit project is run by Karen hill tribe people who reinvest money they receive from entry fees into caring for, and rescuing more, of these noble and endangered creatures. Many were used as working elephants, now many of the ex-owners care for them in the sanctuary. There’s an elephant connection to another must-see site in Chiang Mai – the spectacular Wat Phra That or ‘Golden temple’ which sits on top of the Doi Suthep mountain. This massive structure, built in 1383 and still a working monastery, has a 24-metre-high, gold-plated Chedi and is one of the holiest Buddhist sites in Thailand. The White Elephant shrine here tells the story of how the temple was founded…

View Full Itinerary

Day 1 UK-Chiang Rai

After taking Saga’s included UK door-to-door travel service to your departure airport, fly overnight to Thailand, often referred to as 'The Land of Smiles'.


Day 2 Chiang Rai

Golden Triangle at Mekong River, Chiang Rai

Arrive and transfer to the locally rated 4-star The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa – a journey of around 20 kilometres that should take 20 minutes depending on traffic. The hotel's facilities include two restaurants, a bar, swimming pool, spa (charges apply) and gym. Each of the 78 air-conditioned rooms has a telephone, television, tea and coffee-making facilities, safe and hairdryer.

You’ll stay for two nights, with a welcome drink and dinner here tonight. D


Day 3 Chiang Rai

Akha tea pickers

Mountains, jungles, hill tribes, exotic wildlife and ancient ruins all combine to make this region a traveller's haven. To the north lies the famous 'Golden Triangle' which you’ll visit after breakfast. You’ll stop en route to visit a tea plantation at Doi Wawee, a long-established Chinese community for whom tea drinking is an important part of their culture.

Continue to to the Golden Triangle, the point where the Mekong and Ruak Rivers join, marking the borders of Thailand, Myanmar and Laos. You can stand at the viewpoint and overlook the three countries, an area which was once a notorious centre of opium production. Enjoy a long tail boat ride on the Mekong while here and also visit the local Yao People, before returning to your hotel in Chiang Rai. B, L


Day 4 Chiang Rai-Chiang Mai

The White Temple in Chiang Rai

Depart your hotel after breakfast and travel to Chang Mai. En route you’ll visit Wat Rong Khun – the White Temple. This incredibly elaborate temple is an art installation by a Chiang Rai artist who has interpreted Buddhist symbolism in his own surreal way, as you will discover… Continue to Sankampaeng where you’ll visit the Handicraft Village, an artists’ community, to see silk weaving and see beautifully painted paper umbrellas being made.

On arrival in Chiang Mai check in to the locally rated 4-star The Empress Chiang Mai Hotel for a three-night stay. This modern high-rise hotel, close to the city centre, has two restaurants, a coffee shop, bar and pool bar. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout. There is an outdoor pool and a fitness centre. All 375 rooms have air conditioning, a minibar and a television with international channels. The rest of the day is at leisure. B, L


Day 5 Chiang Mai

Thailand’s national symbol

Today you’ll visit the Ethical Elephant Sanctuary in Chiang Mai, a not-for-profit project run by Karen hill tribe people. Next you’ll visit the small and peaceful temple of Wat Palad, set in the forest on the mountain, Doi Suthep. The grand Wat Phra That temple sits on top of the same mountain and towers over the city. 

You’ll visit the temple at sunset. It’s possible to drive to the base of the temple and climb the 306 steps to the top, but you’ll ride the cable car instead.

This evening, head out for a Kantake dinner show, which showcases the northern Thailand Lanna culture, through traditional music and dance, with dinner and a complimentary drink to toast your holiday. B, L, D


Day 6 Chiang Mai

Learn to cook Thai food

Enjoy a cookery class this morning. First you’ll visit a colourful market to buy the ingredients you’ll need.

Then you’ll head to a Thai cookery school where you will learn to make a selection of Thai dishes, which you’ll then enjoy for lunch. B, L


Day 7 Chiang Mai-Phitsanulok

Temple of Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, Phitsanulok

Drive to the city of Phitsanulok, one of the largest in northern Thailand. Enjoy some free time to explore at your leisure.

Stay overnight at the locally rated 4-star Topland Hotel. This modern high-rise hotel is part of a shopping complex and offers great views over the city and the Nan River, one of two flowing through the city. The hotel has four restaurants, outdoor pool, spa (treatments at extra charge), a nightclub and a snooker room. All 252 air-conditioned guest rooms have a television, minibar, hairdryer, complimentary bottled water and toiletries. There is free Wi-Fi throughout.

Alternatively you’ll stay at the locally rated 4-star Pattara Resort and Spa. The hotel has a restaurant, lounge bar, rooftop terrace, outdoor pool, spa (treatments at extra charge) and a fitness centre. All 64 guest rooms have a television, minibar, fridge with complimentary mineral water, tea and coffee-making facilities, a safe, hairdryer and bathrobes. B, L


Day 8 Phitsanulok-Sukhothai

Sukhothai Historical Park

This morning, travel to Sukhothai. You’ll take a tram tour of Sukhothai Historical Park, the remains of Old Sukothai, the first capital of Thailand founded in 1238. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its historical significance. This huge site covers some 27 square miles and is divided into five zones. The central zone, set within a square moat, contains the remains of 21 temples, including the grandest, the Wat Mahathat.

After lunch at a local restaurant enjoy further free time in the park, before heading to the locally rated 3-star Legendha Sukhotai Resort close to the Park, for an overnight stay. The hotel is set on the banks of the Mae Rampen Canal and the accommodation is in traditional Thai-style bungalows in the attractive gardens. There is a restaurant, bar, spa (treatments at extra charge) and an outdoor swimming pool. All 60 rooms have a balcony television, tea and coffee-making facilities and a hairdryer. Free Wi-Fi is available throughout. B, L


Day 9 Sukhothai-Ayutthaya

Temple ruins, Ayutthaya

This morning, take a long but scenic drive to Ayutthaya, famous for the ruins of the historic temple complex. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it was founded in 1350, on an island surrounded by three rivers. The second capital of the Siamese Kingdom flourished between the 14th and 18th centuries, becoming one of the world’s largest and most cosmopolitan commercial and diplomatic centres, but was burned to the ground by the Burmese in 1767. But there is still much to admire here. You’ll visit the grandest temple of the site, Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, part of the Royal Palace complex. Admire the large chedi (dome-shaped Buddhist shrine) at Wat Yai Chai Mongkol.

Continue to the Buddhist temple of Wat Mahathat in the centre of the complex to see its iconic and much-photographed Buddha head in the tangled roots of a tree.

Stay overnight at the locally rated 3-star Classic Kameo Hotel. There is a Chinese restaurant, a bar, outdoor pool and fitness centre. All 195 air-conditioned rooms, arranged over eight floors, have cable television and a safe. Free Wi-Fi is available in public areas. B, L


Day 10 Ayutthaya-Kanchanaburi

Bang Pa-In temple

This morning visit Bang Pa-In Palace, the 17th-century former Royal Summer Residence. Abandoned at the same time as the city, the palace was partly rebuilt in the 1850s and so is an intriguing mix of classic Thai, Chinese and European architectural styles.

Afterwards, drive to Kanchanaburi – famous for the bridge over the River Kwai – for a two-night stay at the locally rated 3-star Royal River Kwai Resort & Spa. The hotel is set on the bank of the river, with rooms in two storey buildings with balconies. There’s a restaurant serving Thai and international food, a bar and an outdoor pool. You can enjoy treatments at the Spa for an extra charge. All 66 guest rooms have free Wi-Fi, air conditioning, a television and a minibar. B, L


Day 11 Kanchanaburi

Thai Train on River Kwai Bridge of Kanchanaburi

Today, an included tour explores the poignant interactive Thailand-Burma Railway Centre to learn the haunting story of the 'Death Railway', immortalised in the film Bridge on the River Kwai. From 1942 prisoners' of war (POWs) held by the Japanese were forced to work on the construction of the 415 kilometre Siam-Burma railway. Work began at each end simultaneously – the Japanese aimed to complete this feat of engineering in just 14 months – a deadline that cost the workers dearly. Figures vary, but it is estimated that in excess of 100,000 lives were lost in its construction; some 12,500 POWs and over 92,000 Asian labourers.

You’ll then visit two well-kept war cemeteries. These contain the graves of an estimated 9000 allied soldiers who lost their lives building the bridge and the notorious ‘Death Railway. Afterwards, enjoy lunch in a restaurant looking over the Bridge over the River Kwai. This afternoon is at leisure. B, L


Day 12 Kanchanaburi-Bangkok

Bangkok, Thailand

Depart your Kanchanaburi hotel and drive to Thailand’s capital, Bangkok. En route visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. Board a boat and set out among the vendors paddling the canals, selling a colourful array of fruit, vegetables, cooked dishes and fresh coconut milk directly from their boats.

Arrive in Bangkok for a three-night stay at the locally rated 5-star Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside, located in the heart of the city on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. It's only a five-minute walk from 'Asiatique The Riverfront', a large shopping and entertainment complex. The hotel has five restaurants with drinks, snacks and afternoon tea on the outdoor terrace of the lobby lounge, or three other bars. The outdoor swimming pool has a bar and a terrace and there’s a fitness centre and spa (treatments at extra charge. All 525 air-conditioned rooms have a satellite television, tea and coffee-making facilities, minibar, hairdryer, bathrobes and a safe.

This evening enjoy a Thai dinner with a performance of traditional Thai dance at a restaurant. B, D


Day 13 Bangkok

Wat Pho Temple, Bangkok

This morning join an included tour of the city,visiting the Grand Palace, a beautiful ancient Siamese court, formerly the residence of Bangkok kings, and probably the most prominent landmark in Bangkok. There are magnificent buildings to explore here, including the Buddhist temple Wat Arun and Emerald Buddha Temple (Wat Phra Kaew). You’ll also visit Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple complex – Wat Pho – where you’ll see the magnificent 46-metre-long Reclining Buddha.

Afterwards, board a long tail boat for a ride on the Chao Phraya River to the Pak Khlong Talad Flower Market. It’s the largest flower market in Bangkok and open 24 hours a day. The rest of day is at leisure to relax at the hotel or explore further independently. B, L


Day 14 Bangkok

Tuk Tuks in Bangkok

Enjoy the day at leisure to relax or do some more independent exploring or souvenir shopping. Round off your tour with a farewell dinner at the hotel tonight. B, D


Day 15 Bangkok

Bangkok city

Check out after breakfast and travel to the airport for your return flight to the UK and included door-to-door travel service home. B



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