Charming smiles are so contagious, that the visitor begins to become at ease by just being in this beautiful country. The Thais are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality to strangers, and their delicious national cuisine needs no introduction. A country which has never been subservient to any foreign power, the Thai people are proud and yet humble. Since Buddhism has been practiced there throughout her recent history, with all her Kings and Queens as practicing Buddhists, we will see the most beautiful of temples and the most stunning statues of the Lord Buddha whether made from simple materials or semi-precious stones and precious metals. We will also be able to reflect on modern history and the futility of war as we visit the River Kwai area where the infamous Death Railway was built, connecting Thailand to what was Burma.
Day 1, November 5: Leave the Americas.
Day 2, November 6: Bangkok. Leave Europe. Arrive Bangkok late at night. Spiritual Journeys representative will welcome you at the airport when you arrive late night, and escort you to your hotel. Overnight: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 3, November 7: Chiang Mai. In the morning we will fly to Chiang Mai. Leave the afternoon at leisure for you to stroll around the market of this walled city. In the evening we will have a very typical Thai Kantoke dinner, and while sitting on the floor, see ancient dances from northern Thailand, followed by a performance of dances and songs by various hill tribes. Accommodation: Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel.
Day 4, November 8: Chiang Mai. Drive to the north of Chiang Mai to visit an elephants working site. Watch the elephants taking their daily bath in the stream before beginning to haul timber in the forest. Be amazed by their strength and intelligent team work. On the way back, we will visit the Rukachati National Park and its picturesque waterfalls, and lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we will visit the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai which include Wat Phra Singh with its famous Buddha image, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai built by King Mangrai, Wat Suan Dok which houses the remains of many generations of the old Chiang Mai Royal Family and Wat Jet Yot. And the most beautiful of all, Wat Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains at 3,520 feet (1,056 meters). The temple is reached by a staircase with 290 steps, flanked by a NAGA balustrade on either side. The Monastery was built by King Gue-Na in 1383. The center is a big Chedi (spired pagoda) which contains partial relics of Lord Buddha. Accommodation: Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel.
Day 5, November 9: Chiang Rai. We depart Chiang Mai for Chiang Dao and Fang, a 5 hour boat journey up to Chiang Rai, stopping en-route at hill tribe villages in the jungle, with lunch at a local restaurant. Accommodation at Rimkok Resort.
Day 6, November 10: Chiang Saen. Drive to Chiang Saen and visit the temples there. Returning to Chiang Rai, we will fly to Bangkok and then fly to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Arriving in the evening, we will go straight to our hotel. Accommodation: Le Royal Hotel (State room).
Day 7, November 11: Phnom Penh. We will see the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia including the Victoria Monument, Wat Phnom, National Museum, Wat Ounalom, Silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace. Continue in the afternoon to visit Tuol Sleng & the Killing Fields. We will then fly to Siem Reap in the evening. Accommodation: Grand Hotel d’Angkor (State room).
Day 8, November 12: Siem Reap. We will spend the days at this amazing city, visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, terrace of the Leper king, Angkor Wat and view the sunset from Phnom Bakheng hill. Accommodation: Grand Hotel d’Angkor (State room).
Day 9, November 13: Siem Reap/Bangkok. Continue our sightseeing of this extraordinary city by visiting the Banteay Srey and Banteay Samre temples. Later visit Ta Proohm, Takeo and Preah Khan temples, and then visit "Les Artisans D'Angkor-Chantiers Ecoles" and, time permitting, a local market. In the evening, we will fly back to Bangkok, and go to our hotel. Accommodation: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 10, November 14: River Kwai. An early morning departure will take us to Kanchanaburi. At Kanchanaburi, visit to the Jeath museum, a realistic depiction of a prisoner of war's living quarters and contains photographic, pictorial and physical memorabilia from the Second World War. Onto the allied War Cemetery, the resting place for over 6,000 allied prisoners of war. Visit the world famous bridge over the River Kwai, a part of the Death Railway constructed by allied POWs. We will ride on the "Death Railway" train through magnificent scenery and passing over the original wood viaduct constructed by allied POWs to Nam Tok Station, the terminal of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway. After lunch at the Pakseng Pier restaurant, we will depart by long-tailed boat to the River Kwai Resotel, passing through the unspoiled mountainous jungle scenery. Dinner and accommodation at River Kwai Resotel.
Day 11, November 15: River Kwai. In the morning, we will depart by boat and climb up to the Kang Lava Cave and see these fantastic stone formations of one of the most beautiful caves in Thailand. Returning, we will lunch at the River Kwai Resotel, and depart for Bangkok, again, first by boat and then by road. Accommodation: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 12, November 16: Ayuthaya. A full November visit to Ayuthaya by a road and water. Driving to Ayuthaya, the former capital of Thailand, we will visit Wat Mongkol Borpith, Wat Srisanpetch and Wat Panangchern, and continue to Bang-Pa-In, the pleasure palace of Thailand's Kings. Then board the luxurious Oriental Queen for lunch at a leisurely cruise along the fabled Chao Phya River back to Bangkok. Accommodation: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 13, November 17: Bangkok. Thonburi is the western part of Bangkok, situated on the right side of the Chao Phya River. Its many canals had originally given Bangkok the name "Venice of the East." Passing by boat along the canals gives you a firsthand impression of the scenic life along Bangkok's water ways. After lunch we will tour the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is one of the most beautiful samples of an ancient Siamese court. It used to be the residence of the Kings of Bangkok. Here you will see palaces which were used for different occasions: the Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House, and the beautiful Emerald Buddha Temple. Accommodation: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 14, November 18: Bangkok. Our morning will start with a visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This interesting full November tour takes you to the rural floating market of Damnoen Saduak situated 110 kms west of Bangkok. The tour includes a visit to Nakorn Pathom, site of the highest Chedi in Thailand called "Phra Pathom Chedi" which is the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia. Lunch will be served at the picturesque Rose Garden country resort. Afterwards we will attend the Thai village show which gives you an introduction into Thai life. We will witness ordination into monkshood, fingernail dance, Thai boxing, hill tribe dance, sword- fighting, elephants at work and folk dancing. Accommodation: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 15, November 19: Bangkok. Spend this November at leisure, all on your own. Be daring and creative, and have lunch and dinner on your own. Accommodation: Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.
Day 16, November 20: Bangkok. Early morning transfer to the International airport for your flight home.
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