Day 1: Depart U.S. for Bangkok, Thailand
Day 2: Arrive Bangkok We arrive in the Thai capital late this evening and transfer directly to our hotel.
Day 3: Bangkok After meeting our fellow travelers and Odysseys Unlimited Tour Director at this morning’s briefing about the journey ahead, we set out to explore, beginning at the colorful Bangkok Flower Market. Then we ride “tuk tuks,” traditional three-wheel open-air taxis, to Wat Pho Temple, home of the Reclining Buddha. Covered in gold leaf, the icon measures some 49 feet tall by 151 feet long. Next we visit the immense Grand Palace complex where we see the elaborate Temple of the Emerald Buddha, with its venerated 31-inch high statue carved from a single piece of jade. Then we board boats for a tour of “hidden” Bangkok. Tonight we enjoy a welcome dinner. B,L,D
Day 4: Bangkok/Ayutthaya Today’s first stop is Bang Pa-in, the historic summer palace of Thai royalty. Then we continue on to Ayutthaya, Thailand’s ancient capital that in 1700 was the largest city in the world – and that by 1767 lay in ruins. It’s the evocative remains of the palaces, pagodas, and monasteries that once stood here that we encounter today as we explore the historical park, now a UNESCO site. B,L
Day 5: Bangkok/Kanchanaburi This morning we visit the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, where vendors aboard hundreds of sampans laden with fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables traverse the canals selling their wares. Then we travel on to Kanchanaburi, where we stop at the Cemetery of the Allied Prisoners of War, burial site of World War II prisoners who perished as forced laborers on the construction of the notorious Burma Railway. Next we visit the infamous bridge that spans the River Kwai, itself part of the “Death Railway” project and whose story is immortalized in book and film as The Bridge on the River Kwai. We end the day’s touring with a long-tail boat ride along the River Kwai to our floating hotel. B,L,D
Day 6: Kanchanaburi A look at Thai farming life is on tap as we visit the village of Nong Khao for a tour by local truck. We pay our respects at the village shrine then head out to the fan-palm orchard to see how locals collect the palm products for market. We sample some of the local goods and tropical fruits, and learn about the important role rice plays in Thai life. This afternoon is at leisure. B,L,D
Day 7: Kanchanaburi This morning we travel downstream to witness another poignant scene from the Death Railway: Hellfire Pass, where prisoners had only hand tools to cut through the largest rocks on the entire route of the Burma Railway. Named for the look of the prisoners (as if they had come from Hell), the pass today features a museum and memorial. Following our tour here we visit a tribal village of the ethnic Mon people. B,L,D
Day 8: Kanchanaburi/Chiang Rai We board longtail boats today for the ride upstream to the Sai Yok Noi Waterfall, part of a national park, where we can relax amid the beautiful scenery. From here we continue on to the Bangkok airport for our late afternoon flight to Chiang Rai. B,L
Day 9: Chiang Rai Today we tour the infamous Golden Triangle, where the Ruak and Mekong rivers meet, and where from a hilltop we can see views of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Laos. Later we enjoy a leisurely boat ride along the Mekong. We take a scenic drive along narrow mountain roads to visit the Doi Tung Hill Tribe Project, a non- commercial ethnic village under royal patronage. En route to our hotel, we visit the border town of Mae Sai. B,L
Day 10: Chiang Rai/Phrao This morning we visit the contemporary Wat Rong Khun, the unusual “White Temple” celebrating Lord Buddha’s purity. Then we continue on to Khum Lanna, our country retreat set amidst emerald-green rice fields and lush orchards. This afternoon we have the opportunity to learn about and participate in Khum Lanna’s sustainable permaculture projects. The hotel grows fruits, vegetables, and herbs on the grounds, many of which will be used in tonight’s dinner. B,L,D
Day 11: Phrao We rise early for a sunrise biking trip to see the colorful rice fields. Then we visit the morning markets, where we offer alms to the Buddhist monks. Back at our lodge we enjoy a late breakfast by the river then engage in gardening and cooking activities, and learn about the “Rice for Life” ethos practiced here. This afternoon we visit a beekeeping village and also the ancient city of Wiang Phrao Wung Hin to see a renowned Buddha image. B,L,D
Day 12: Phrao/Chiang Mai En route to Chiang Mai today, we stop to visit an elephant sanctuary where we can bathe and feed the magnificent creatures. We then continue on to our hotel, arriving late this afternoon. B,L
Day 13: Chiang Mai Today we discover the old city of Chiang Mai by rickshaw, traveling back in time past medieval temples and monasteries. We visit 14th-century Wat Pra Singh, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple complex; and see lovely Viharn Lai Kham, the gilded hall decorated with murals of everyday life. Then we drive up a winding mountain road to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most important landmark with incomparable views of the city below. This afternoon we visit the San Kamphaeng district, home of Chiang Mai’s renowned cottage crafts. Tonight we celebrate at a farewell dinner. B,L,D
Day 14: Chiang Mai/Depart for U.S. This morning we have the opportunity to explore more of Chiang Mai’s handcraft trail at Baan Tawai village, known for its wood carvings and other crafts. We return to our hotel for an afternoon at leisure (our rooms are reserved for late check-out). After dinner at our hotel we transfer to the airport for our return flight to the U.S. B,D
Day 15: Arrive U.S. We arrive in the U.S. and connect with our flights home.
B = Breakfast included L = Lunch included D = Dinner included