Hit the highlights of Thailand on a 15-day adventure that strikes a balance between cultural landmarks and stunning beaches, activity and relaxation. Up north, ponder the River Kwai and eat your way through Chiang Mai. Then head to the southern shores for some downtime at Koh Samui and Krabi. Along the way, bask in the radiance of golden temples, enjoy long-tail boat rides, and learn to cook authentic Thai food.
Visit Wat Chedi Luang temple in the heart of Chiang Mai and discuss daily life with one of the monks.
Discover the former royal capital of Ayutthaya, cruise Bangkok’s canals, and enjoy a traditional meal in a village home.
Kayak and snorkel along the islands of Koh Madsum and Koh Tan.
Explore the Krabi River aboard a long-tail boat before hopping in a tricycle tuk-tuk to visit a batik workshop.
Itinerary - 15 Days
Day 1 — Bangkok
Arrive at any time. Arrival transfer included.
Day 2 — Kanchanaburi
Travel to Kanchanaburi, home to the infamous bridge that inspired the 1950s novel The Bridge Over the River Kwai, which was later made into a film. Take a train journey over the bridge, which serves as a poignant reminder of the thousands of World War II POWs who died during its construction and of the so-called “Death Railway” from Thailand to Burma. (1B)
Day 3 — Kanchanaburi/Ayutthaya
Explore Erawan National Park and visit one of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls, with seven tiers of cascades. Swim in the turquoise pools, snap photos from the top tier, and go for a jungle hike to spot monkeys. Next, visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre war museum and cemetery to learn more about Kanchanaburi’s role in a dark chapter of World War II history. This afternoon, travel to the exquisite city of Ayutthaya, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and enjoy dinner on a converted 1930s rice barge. (1B, 1D)
Day 4 — Ayuttaya/Chiang Mai
Explore the former royal capital of Ayutthaya, marveling at the ruins of spectacular temples, stupas, and statues of the Buddha. Later, return to Bangkok and catch a flight to Chiang Mai. (1B)
Days 5 & 6 — Chiang Mai
Take a Thai cooking class at a private culinary school, including a visit to a local market with the chef. Then sit down and enjoy the delicious meal you’ve helped prepare. Visit the historic Wat Chedi Luang temple and meet one of its young monks to discuss Buddhism and daily life. Later, listen to monks chant at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most stunning golden temples in Thailand. The next day, take advantage of free time to explore on your own before traveling to a local village to have an authentic Khantoke dinner in a family home. (2B, 1L, 1D)
Days 7 & 8 — Bangkok
Fly to Bangkok, and set off on a long-tail boat ride through the city’s canals. Glide along the waterways to see skyscrapers, temples, and shops in the distance, and view the densely populated waterfront settlements up close. Then visit Wat Pho, the famed Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Spend the following day exploring Bangkok with options to visit temples, museums, local shops, or a spa. (2B)
Day 9 — Bangkok/Koh Samui
Catch a flight to the tropical island of Ko Samui, which lies off Thailand’s east coast, fringed by coconut palms, white-sand beaches, and warm waters. Settle in at our resort hotel. This afternoon, opt to catch a tuk tuk to the beach or visit the
Days 10 & 11 — Ko Samui/Khao Sok
Embark on a boat tour to the islands of Koh Madsum and Koh Tan. Enjoy a local lunch on the beach and opt to kayak or snorkel. The next day catch the ferry back to the mainland and drive to Anurak Community lodge, located just outside Khao Sok National Park. Surrounded by lush rainforest, the lodge focuses on environmental sustainability and working with the local community. This evening, we take a rainforest walk with a community elder and enjoy a local campfire dinner under the canopy. (2B, 1L, 1D)
Day 12 — Khao Sok
Today is free to relax at the lodge or enjoy a walk along the trails. Opt to enjoy various jungle activities. (1B)
Days 13 & 14 — Khao Sok/Krabi
Cross the Krabi River with a
local guide by traditional long-tail boat, visiting
caves and mangroves. Then jump in tricycle
tuk-tuks to explore local communities and rural
industries, including a rubber plantation. See
tree tapping, rice fields, and a batik workshop. Learn about the culture and daily life of the rural
villagers of southern Thailand. The next day, opt
to visit spas and relax, rent kayaks, or snorkel.
Day 15 — Bangkok
Return to Bangkok, arriving at the airport in the late afternoon. (1B)
Offered in partnership with G Adventures, our National Geographic Journeys line blends fun, hands-on exploration, meaningful encounters with people and cultures, and more free time and choices—with the structure and security of traveling in a small group.
Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include city walking tours, visits to sites, game drives, or easy hikes, with options for more physical activities such as hiking, kayaking, snorkeling and biking.
Click here for a description of all activity levels.
Contact Us: 1-800-281-2354
Call to speak with a specialist about this trip.
All trip prices are per person based on double occupancy. If you're traveling on your own, we'll pair you up with a roommate of the same gender so that you can pay the same rate as other travelers. Prices are subject to change without notice and do not include airfare. All prices and fares are quoted in U.S. dollars.
My Own Room
During your trip, sometimes it's just more convenient and comfortable to have your own room. That's why we offer the "My Own Room" option - a single room all to yourself.
My Own Room Option: From $1,259
Arrival transfer, internal flights, transport between destinations and to/from included activities, and activities as listed in the itinerary. Optional activities such as snorkeling, the jeep tour, and spa visits are at an additional cost.
You can do whatever you wish during your free time on tour, but if you're in need of suggestions, we've got them. Details about any optional experiences for this trip will be available during the booking process. Please note, these are at an additional cost.