A favourite of travel purists looking to avoid the crowds of Thailand’s bigger-hitting highlights, the central and northeast or Isaan regions offer the perfect balance to appeal to nature lovers and culture vultures alike.
Just north of Bangkok, the town of Ayutthaya was the capital of a once-mighty Thai kingdom and its majestic ruins reward exploration by bike. Similar historic manna can be found further north at Sukothai, which is also an evocative place to linger.
Further west, the provinces of Kanchanaburi and Sangkhlaburi offer the stunning backdrop of mountain ranges climbing towards the Myanmar border, cradling roaring waterfalls, deep valleys and giant placid lakes where guests can embark on unique experiences such as overnighting in a floating hotel.
Thailand’s vast northeast is perhaps the most neglected part of the country. While the lack of tourist infrastructure makes travel and communication more of a challenge than in established favorites, there is plenty here to savor. Blurring the lines between Thai, Khmer and Lao cultures, the Isaan region offers visitors a compellingly different take on things. Banner sights are in shorter supply than in the rest of the country, but scenic Mekong villages, underrated national parks and distinct culinary traditions reward intrepid explorers.
WHEN TO GO & WEATHER
Drier than other regions of Thailand, regular afternoon
showers can be expected between May and October. The
rest of the year, temperatures remain hot and skies are
DISCOVER OLD SIAM (7 DAYS / 6 NIGHTS)
Step back in time and discover a Thailand steeped in history and oozing with charm. Leave the frantic energy of Bangkok behind and travel through national parks, former capitals and rural villages. Experience the slower pace of life in the countryside and embrace the rich traditions of Thailand.
- See Khao Yai’s scenic beauty. Explore the National Park on foot, seeing exotic wildlife, unspoiled wilderness and lush mountains.
- Stay in Amphawa. Stay the night in Amphawa, enjoying the solitude of the charming delta town long after the day-tourists have disappeared.
- Visit lesser-known Uthai Thani. Get a true taste of local life in Uthai Thani, visiting markets and cruising past villages along the Sakaekrang River.
LUXURIOUS THAILAND (14 DAYS / 13 NIGHTS)
Explore the wonderful land of smiles in style with a variety of marvelous cultural experiences. Start off with a visit to the floating market in the countryside followed by a cruise on the River of Kings to witness the ancient ruins of this former Siamese capital. Then get a unique opportunity to get up close and personal with elephants, visit hill tribe villages and take in the beautiful scenic views of the three-country border in the Golden Triangle. Watch a fine display of Southeast Asian textile arts and pay respects to one of the most sacred stupas in Chiang Mai. End the holiday with beach break at the legendary Pearl of Andaman.
- A look at Buddhist culture. Witness the daily life of monks and partake in the daily alms-giving in exchange for a private blessing.
- See Thailand’s most revered temples. View the most beautiful temples in Thailand including Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, Wat Mahathat and Wat Rong Khun.
- Cruise down majestic rivers. Take in the breathtaking sights of Chao Praya River, Mekong River and Mae Ping River.
THAILAND FAMILY FUN (13 DAYS / 12 NIGHTS)
The Land of Smiles truly lives up to its promise on this Thailand family holiday. Travel from top to tail enjoying informative and fun activities. Stay in hilltribe lodges, trek lush jungles, be blessed by monks and dozen of other immersive experiences that will bring a smile to everyone’s face.
- Be immersed in Thai culture. Partake in Buddhist traditions, join farmers in the fields and travel by local transport for taste of Thai life.
- Adventure through Khao Sok. Hike the ruggedly beautiful landscapes of Khao Sok, spot exotic wildlife and go for refreshing swims.
- Learn about Thai history. Visit Thailand’s important heritage sites, educational visits that are fun and interesting for both kids and adults.
HIDDEN CHARM OF KANCHANABURI (4 DAYS / 3 NIGHTS)
With a rich history and exotic cultures nestled amongst jungle-clad hills, the Thai province Kanchanaburi has a wide range of offerings for travelers. This four-day adventure travels west from Bangkok, via the famous floating markets, to arrive at the notorious ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’. A journey along the ‘Death Railway’ then takes guests further west towards the bustling border town of Sangkhlaburi, where large lakes, golden temples and many ethnic groups await.
- Explore Sangkhlaburi district. Step off the tourist trail and explore the pagodas, lakes and charming villages of Sangkhlaburi.
- Learn about Kanchanaburi’s dark past. Visit Hellfire Pass, the River Kwai and ride the ‘Death Railway’, poignant reminders of the calamities of World War II.
- Understand rural Thai lifestyles. Move away from Bangkok, traveling to villages, visiting markets and meeting friendly locals to better understand rural lifestyles.
ISAAN FOOD TRAILS (4 DAYS /3 NIGHTS)
Get a taste of Thailand’s famous – and fiery – Isaan cuisine. Spend four days in the north-eastern province exploring historic sites and sampling mouth-watering regional dishes. Dine at the top tables, join a local family for a hands-on cooking class and sip delicious wine at Thailand’s first vineyard.
- Sample the best Isaan cuisine. Visit local markets and stalls to taste the best Isaan delights including spicy sausage, green papaya salad and grilled chicken.
- Stay with an Isaan family. Get a closer look at Isaan culture and cuisine with a night in a family house, cooking and eating together.
- See Isaan’s historic sites. Between meals, visit Hin Phimai, an Angkorian-era temple and the UNESCO-certified Baan Chiang excavation site.
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