They don’t call Thailand the “Land of Smiles” for no reason. Thanks to the welcoming hospitality to the mouth-watering food to the beautiful landscapes and architecture, you’d have a hard time having a bad time on a journey there. The dry season from November to early April is the best time to visit, and you are invited to join a custom-designed Temples and Treasures tour led by a pair of Largay-affiliated advisors from Nov. 3-14 of this year.
The journey begins in Bangkok, and a long-tail boat tour through the canals that make the capital city the “Venice of the East'' will showcase the glittering pagodas and towering skyscrapers that link the ancient and the modern. Featured stops along the Chao Phraya river are Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) and the Grand Palace, built in the 1780s when King Rama I moved the capital to what is now known as Bangkok, and the adjacent Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which houses a 15th-century statue of the Buddha (actually made of jasper) that has long been a symbol of the nation. The first evening concludes with a stroll through the streets of Bangkok and a sunset dinner.
On a day trip to the rural province of Samut Songkhram, you’ll visit the Tha Kha floating market, where vendors sell local fruits and produce from narrow wooden boats. After a refreshing coconut drink with a local family, the tour continues to a Buddhist temple and King Rama II Memorial Park’s ornate pavilions.
Back in Bangkok, you’ll travel by tuk tuk to sample the city’s famed street food and a favorite local restaurant that has two Michelin stars. Walk off dinner in the Pak Klong Talad, a 24-hour flower market, before capping the evening with a drink at a secluded outdoor bar along the river.
Moving from the city to the forest, the tour heads to Chiang Rai in the north to enjoy wellness experiences and the region’s famed cuisine. You’ll pick fresh organic ingredients at the resort’s farm then cook them up with help from a local chef.
On the way from Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, the group will visit Wat Rong Khung (The White Temple, privately owned and featuring works from local artist Chalermchai Kositpipat who had the temple rebuilt as a tribute to Buddha) and Wat Ron Sua Ten (The Blue Temple, adorned with statues and designed by a student of Kositpipat).
Four thousand feet above Chiang Mai, you can take in the views and enjoy the beautiful golden pagoda of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the country’s most sacred temples. From there, the tour embarks on a 6-mile nature hike past coffee plantations. Your reward is a delicious lunch and visit to a White Hmong Hill Tribe village (plus a ride back to the resort).
Before departing Chiang Mai, you’ll learn to feed and care for rescue elephants, bathing and brushing them in the very own natural pool. After the mahout experience and lunch, you’ll get to float downriver on a bamboo raft, taking your own refreshing dip if you so desire.
For the last few days of the journey, you have a choice to make. One group will head to Cambodia, staying in Siem Reap with the option of taking in sunrise at Angkor Wat, the famed 12th-century temple that’s now an archaeological park. The Cambodia extension will conclude with a tour of rural Siem Reap by boat and a blessing at Banteay Srei, a 10th-century pink sandstone temple. The other group will jet off to Phuket then get a boat transfer to Koh Yao Noi to relax on the beach on one of Thailand’s world-renowned island resorts. Either way, you’re sure to head home with a smile on your face.
To secure your spot or start planning your own journey to Southeast Asia, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 609-933-1763.