When your 12-night tour kicks off, you’ll have a free day in Bangkok to explore under your own steam before getting stuck into the full itinerary. Tour gold-tinted temples, rummage around the night markets and sample sizzling street food as you get your bearings in the city. Day three brings a tour of Bangkok’s best sights. Start the day with a wander around Wat Traimit – a temple that’s home to a five-and-a-half-tonne golden Buddha – before moving on to Wat Pho and the Chedis of the Kings.
You’ll also get to visit the Grand Palace, which tends to top most visitors’ itineraries in Bangkok. This 53-acre palace was once the home of the Thai king. And, just like an ancient Siamese court, it’s landscaped with gold chapels, formal gardens and throne halls. Before you leave Bangkok, make sure you head to a rooftop cocktail bar for sundowners – we love the 59th floor Cru Champagne Bar at the Centara Grand.
Find out more about our Multi-Centre holidays and pair Bangkok with an island hopping beach break
UNESCO don’t go round handing out World Heritage Site status to just any temple, but the temples and ruins of the kingdom of Sukhothai made the cut. There’s over 700 years of history at this place and you’ll find no less than 193 ruins to explore when you visit on day four. Archaeologists have managed to preserve everything from temples and palaces to monasteries. After your tour of the park, you’ll get to take part in a cooking class and sample a traditional snack in the village of Khao Lam – it’s a coconut and sugar-flavoured sticky rice that’ll give your basic bounty bar a run for its money.
Get a taste of what the food’s like in Thailand
You can’t visit Northern Thailand without spending a few days in Chiang Mai, land of misty mountains and vibrant hill tribes. On day five, you’ll get to see the city centre from above with a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep – one of Thailand’s most revered temples. You’ve got the choice of climbing the 309-step staircase or hopping on the take-it-easy cable car. After you’ve filled your camera with panoramic shots, it’s on to a local orchid farm. Here, you’ll wander through greenhouses that are full to the brim with rainbow-tinted flowers. While you’re in Chiang Mai, don’t miss the famous night market, where you can pick up everything from silk scarves to street food.
Check out our list of the best markets in Thailand
On day six, you’ll get to stand in three countries at once at the Golden Triangle – the patch of land where Laos, Myanmar and Thailand meet. The area’s been one of the world’s biggest producers of opium since the 1950s, so it’s only fitting that you’ll get to visit the House of Opium museum to learn about the ancient cultivation methods. En route to the Golden Triangle, you’ll have the chance to mingle with the locals during a tour of a hill tribe village. They make their living through farming, which you’ll get to see up close.
Here’s why Thailand’s not just for backpackers
The Mekong River, which runs along the border between Thailand and Laos, is the 12th longest river in the world. On day seven, you’ll get to cruise along its waters into Laos. The trip will take you between Mekong and Pakbeng and along the way you’ll visit tiny villages that are still home to tribes. Sit back and relax as your boat navigates through the waterways – you might see birds like swallows and river terns nesting in the trees on the shores, too. To get an insight into life on the river, you can watch locals plant and harvest rice and try your hand at gold panning and traditional fishing.
Take a look at our handy list of things to pack for Thailand
Luang Prabang was the royal capital of Laos until 1975. On day 10, you’ll take a daytrip around the city. Wake up nice and early to watch monks receive their daily meals from Buddhist worshippers before setting off on a tuk tuk tour. You’ll stop off to ogle the golden Buddha statue in the National Museum, which is housed in a former royal palace. Don’t forget your camera, because you’ll want to get a few shots of Vat Sene Temple’s golden walls and crimson-red roof before moving on to Wat Xieng Thong. The outer walls are gilded in gold leaf, and inside you’ll find mosaics and glassworks.
Still searching for more Thailand inspo? These are the best places to visit
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Find out the best time to visit Thailand and check out our top pick of the country’s hotels. Like the idea of a tour but not sure Thailand’s your bag? Take a look at our best tour and sightseeing holidays – from six-night trips to a two-week itinerary.
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Author: Danielle Penny
The ROBINSON Club Khao Lak strikes the perfect active-unwind balance with plenty of pools, a busy sports schedule and a tranquil on-the-sand postcode.
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A beachfront setting, massages for two and a gourmet restaurant are all on offer at the TUI SENSIMAR Khao Lak Resort And Spa
Footsteps in the Far East 12-night tour takes you around Thailand and Laos’ most fascinating, lesser-known cultural gems.
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