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You’ll board your overnight flight to Bangkok at Heathrow just before midday and arrive in Thailand early the next morning. You’ll be met at the airport and taken to your luxury hotel which will prove the ideal base for venturing into the exciting swirl that is Bangkok, with its eclectic markets, shopping malls with designer boutiques, picturesque canals, palaces, gleaming temples and hectic nightlife.
The following day a city tour with a private guide will show you the fragrant Flower Market, the brilliantly coloured Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, including the Funeral Palace, Throne and Coronation Halls. After seeing Wat Arun and the 46-metre-long reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, you’ll take a cruise along the Thonburi khlongs (canals) to watch the serene lifestyle of the people living on the river banks – a fine contrast to the busy city.
Stay: Two nights in a Siam Suite at The Siam – bed & breakfast
Leaving the bustle of Bangkok behind, you now fly to the ancient city of Chiang Mai. You’ll tour around an elaborate Buddhist temple dating back to 1296, as well as the historic area of this old moated city, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh. You’ll also visit the Chiang Mai National Museum and the Tribal Museum with its displays of weapons, musical instruments, jewellery and artefacts.
Private guided tours will take you past the city’s largest market and to Wat Doi Suthep – a 14th-century monastery reached by a stairway of 290 steps. Your final day in Chiang Mai includes a trip around the local produce market followed by a relaxing cruise aboard a bamboo raft through the serene countryside.
You’ll visit a Karen hill village and meet villagers wearing their national dress before moving on to the old opium-producing village of Lisu and Akha Village, set in the jungle.
Stay: Two nights in a Rajah Brook Suite at 137 Pillars House – bed & breakfast
On day six of your trip you fly off to Chiang Rai – a place of surreal scenery and amazingly photogenic mountains wreathed in seas of clouds and mist. Along the way you’ll visit the striking Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as the ‘White Temple’, a privately-owned art exhibit built in the style of a Buddhist temple.
Chiang Rai is a fairytale setting populated by colourful hill tribes, each with their own customs, distinct lifestyle and crafts that include jewellery making, silverware, textile production and embroidery. You can trek through this magical area – set in the heart of the Golden Triangle formed by Thailand, Laos and Myanmar – by bike, on foot or aboard an elephant. Cooking classes and spa treatments are also on the menu.
Stay: Three nights in a Deluxe Three Country View Room at the Anantara Golden Triangle – full board
A flight will land you in Phuket from where you’ll travel by car and boat to your luxury hotel on the picturesque island of Yao Noi, in Phang Nga Bay. Your holiday hideaway will help you unwind from the moment you arrive by offering you a world-class spa alongside a sumptuously appointed villa and private swimming pool. You’ll also be faced with a tempting choice of dining options including Mediterranean cuisine served in a glass-floored dining room with a stream running beneath.
Stay: Five nights in an Ocean Pool Villa at Six Senses Yao Noi – bed & breakfast
A boat and car will take you back to Phuket Airport where you’ll board a plane to Bangkok for your connecting flight to London. You’ll land at Heathrow in the early morning.
Alison was more than helpful and practical. Nice people traveled in Royal style.- MC, Seychelles