EXOTIC CENTRAL – NORTH – SOUTH

Tours of Far East, Thailand

Exotic Central – North – South

 

Mumbai-Bangkok – Phuket – Chiang Mai-Bangkok-Mumbai

14 Nights / 15 Days

 

Day 1
: Meet and Greet at Bangkok airport.
: Transfer from airport to hotel.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 2
: Breakfast at hotel.
: Morning with Bangkok City Tour (This tour brings you to the most distinguished temples in Bangkok. Wat Trimitr, the Temple of the Golden Buddha the statue of Buddha is made from solid gold weighting 5.5 tons). Continue to Grand Palace Tour (This is a “must” for every visitor to Bangkok, for the Grand Place Complex, which includes the Temple of The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keow) is unquestionably one of the wonders of the world today. Within its enormous grounds is the most exotic Buddhist temple and at the heart of the temple itself is a fabulous Buddha image, carved from one piece jade, which is the holiest and most revered of religious objects in Thailand today).
: Lunch at Thai Restaurant.
: Evening with Thai Dinner and Thai Traditional Dance, Experience a variety of typical Thai foods and the warm hospitality of waitresses dressed in national costumes. After dinner sit back, relax and enjoy a spectacular performance of Thai classical dances.
: After dinner, return to hotel.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 3
: Breakfast at hotel.
: Visit Floating Market (Only in Thailand you can see the floating Market .An exhilarating narrow long tailed speed boat ride through the small canal pass, Thai Houses and their- Vegetable’s Farm Flower’s Farm, Fruit’s Farm. At Floating Market with the Thai style canoes laden with colorful, succulent fruits, vegetable sweet and meats, gently play their way through the canal. Water has always been a major part of Thai Life).
: International Buffet Lunch.
: Rose Garden and Thai Cultural Show (the Rose Garden is the Tropical Garden full up with all the beautiful tropical flowers and specially Thai Orchid and Roses. A major attraction of the Rose garden is the Thai Cultural Dance Show).
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 4
: Breakfast at hotel. Transfer from hotel to Bangkok Airport. Fly to Phuket island. Arrive at Phuket airport then transfer you to hotel.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 5
: Breakfast at hotel. Visit Phang Nga Bay, this tour takes you across Phuket Island to the mainland where we board the boat to the unique sheer sided limestone islands in the famous Phang Nga Bay. Enroute we visit the James Bond Island, Nail Island, Grotto Caves and a Sea Gypsy Village before continuing on to Phang Nga Valley for lunch.
: Enjoy lunch on the island.
: Evening return to hotel. Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 6
: Breakfast at hotel. Free and easy day on the beach.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 7
: Breakfast at hotel. Visit Koh Khai Island by Speed Boat, Koh Khai Island is located close to eastern coast of Phuket Island, between Phuket and Phi Phi Island.The white sand beach, blue crystal clear water, full of coral reefs and marine lives which occasionally a group of dolphins would appear. A beautiful place suitable for swimming and snorkeling.
: Lunch is provided on the island.
: Evening return to hotel.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 8
: Breakfast at hotel. Free and easy day on the beach.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 9
: Breakfast at hotel. Free and easy day on the beach.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 10
: Breakfast at hotel. Transfer from hotel to Phuket airport. Fly to Bangkok and connecting flight to Chiang Mai. Arrive Chiang Mai and transfer to hotel.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 11
: Breakfast at hotel. Visit Doi Suthep and Hill Tribe Village, Visit the most sacred Wat Phathat Doi Suthep, 15 kms. from the city, 3,500 ft. above sea level and built in 1383. See the marvelous golden pagoda which is contain the relics of the Lord Buddha. Enjoy the panoramic view of Chiang Mai City and then continue to hill tribe villages, see the scenic route pass the beautiful Northern Mountain and the forest.
: Lunch at Thai Restaurant.
: Evening return to hotel. Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 12
: Breakfast at hotel.
: Free and easy day and in the evening we will take you to a Thai traditional northern style dinner called ” Khan-Toke dinner” Relaxation and pleasure with a typical dinner.
See Northern Thai Dances, Hill Tribe Dances & listen to traditional Thai Music.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 13
: Breakfast at hotel. Take the morning excursion to the famous Mae-Sa elephant camp, 30 kms. from the city. See nice show of elephant bathing, mahouts teach elephants to drag logs, response to commands and work in the jungle. Excursion will continue to visit the beautiful Orchid Nursery, containing more than 50 different types of colorful orchids which are exotic year round blooms and the Butterfly farm.
: Lunch at Thai Restaurant.
: Evening, transfer back to the hotel.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 14
: Breakfast at hotel. Free and easy day.
: Relax and overnight at hotel.
Day 15
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer from hotel to Chiang Mai airport. Fly back to Bangkok for next departure.
Package includes
1. Accommodation
2. Daily breakfast
3. Air ticket from Bangkok – Phuket – Bangkok
4. Air ticket from Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Bangkok
5. Transportation from airport – hotel – airport
6. Six lunches and two dinners
7. Tour programs as indicated in the itinerary
8. Entrance fees
9. Boat fees
10. English speaking tour guide
ABOUT THAILAND
There is more visible historical evidence of past eras in Thailand than in any other South-East Asian country, so if you’re interested in ruins, temples and deserted cities, this is the place to go. For pure holiday-making magic, Thailand’s islands and beaches are working definitions of heaven (once you get out of the shadows of the evil multinational hotels). And as for urban delights, the huge metropolis of Bangkok, although it can alarm with its chaos and its scale, tends to so charm visitors with its energy and cultural treasures that the steamy soupy diesel mixture that passes for air in this city is more than forgiven.
Warning
The Cambodian and Myanmar border areas contain a volatile mixture of land mines, bandits, smugglers and rebels, and are the scene of occasional low-level military stoushes. Travellers should steer well clear of the borders or contact their embassy to receive the latest reports on the security situation.
An incident in March 2000 in which one Australian tourist was murdered and his partner attacked in the Doi Ang Khan National Park in Chiang Mai has prompted embassy warnings not to camp in undesignated areas in national parks.
Anyone foolish enough to accept free air-tickets and a new set of luggage from sudden friends in Bangkok deserves to be called a mule.
Full country name: Kingdom of Thailand
Area: 517,000sq km
Population: 62 million
Capital city: Bangkok (pop 6 million)
People: 75% Thai, 11% Chinese, 3.5% Malay, also Mon, Khmer, Phuan and Karen minorities
Language: Thai
Religion: 95% Buddhism, 4% Muslim
Government: Democratic constitutional monarchy
Prime Minister: Thaksin Shinawatra
Head ofstate: King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)
GDP: US$166 billion
GDP per head: US$2168
Annual growth: 3.5%
Inflation: 2%
Major products: Computers, garments, integrated circuits, gems, jewellery
Major trading partners: ASEAN, USA, European Union

Facts for the Traveler
Visas: Most visitors can stay for 30 days without a visa
Health risks: AIDS, cholera, dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis, malaria, rabies
Time: UTC plus seven hours
Electricity: 220V, 50 Hz
Weights & measures: Metric with local variations
Tourism: average 8.5 million visitors annually

When to Go :
The best overall time for visiting most of Thailand vis a vis climate is between November and February – during these months it rains least and is not too hot. The south is best visited when the rest of Thailand is miserably hot (March to May), and the north is best from mid-November to early December or when it starts warming up again in February. If you’re spending time in Bangkok, be prepared to roast in April and do some wading in October – probably the worst two months, weather-wise, in the capital. The peak tourist months are December and August, and the least crowded months are May, June and September.
Events :
Many festivals are linked to Buddhist or Brahman rituals and follow a lunar calendar. New Year, Songkran, is celebrated in mid-April by ‘bathing’ Buddha images, paying respects to monks and elders by sprinkling water over their hands, and generally tossing a lot of the H2O in the air for fun. Expect to be soaked unless you want to party-poop in your room. The sowing and harvesting of rice has given rise to a cycle of festivals. To kick off the official rice-planting season in early May, the king participates in an ancient Brahman ritual in a large field in central Bangkok. A Rocket Festival is held in May in the country’s north-east, using a volatile mixture of bamboo and gunpowder to convince the sky to send rain for the new rice season. The rice harvest from September through to May leads to joyous local celebrations throughout Thailand. The Vegetarian Festival in Phuket and Trang, during which devout Chinese Buddhists eat only vegetarian food, runs for nine days from late-September to early-October. Merit-making processions are the most visible expression of this festival, but there are also ceremonies at Chinese temples. The Elephant Roundup in Surin in November is an elephantine festival popular with the kind of people who enjoy watching pachyderms play soccer. During the Loi Krathong Festival, held after the rainy season (usually in November), candle-lit floats are cast into waterways to bring good fortune for the coming year.

PLACES OF ATTRACTION
Bangkok
It’s worth putting up with the coronary-inducing traffic jams, pollution, annual floods and sticky weather to experience one of Asia’s most exciting cities. Bangkok has dominated Thailand’s urban hierarchy, as well as its political, commercial and cultural life, since the late 18th century.
Bangkok proper seethes on the east side of the Chao Phraya River and can be divided into two by the main north-south train line. Old Bangkok glitters in the portion between the river and the railway and it is here that most of the older temples and the original palace are located. The new Bangkok is east of the railway, covering many times more area than the old city. It incorporates the main commercial and tourist districts, which give way to a vast residential sprawl.
For a city of this size, Bangkok is surprisingly full of quiet escapes. Just step out of the street noise and into the calm of one of the city’s 400 wats (temple-monasteries) or take a river taxi on the Chao Phraya River. Must sees include Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, Wat Pho and Wat Traimit. This latter is the Temple of the Golden Buddha, home to the impressive 3m tall, 5 1/2-tonne solid-gold Buddha image. Silk entrepreneur Jim Thompson’s House manages to avoid being a touristy nightmare by virtue of the singular vision which created this haven of traditional Thai art and architecture. An expat American, Thompson was a tireless curator and promoter of Thai culture until his mysterious disappearance in 1967.
Other sights include the touristy Wat Sai floating market in Thonburi, a boat trip through the city’s extensive and pongy network of canals (klongs), the Saovabha Institute Snake Farm and the renowned Oriental Hotel.
Entertainment ranges from classical dance and Thai boxing to the unfortunate go-go bars of Patpong. For alternative night entertainment, check out the night markets behind Ratchaprarop Rd in Pratunam. Bangkok is a great place to shop if you don’t overdose on T-shirts and fake designer clothing. It’s worth stocking up on cheap clothes for your trip or getting smarter clothes for your wardrobe at home.
Khao San Rd in Banglamphu is the traditional budget-traveller centre, but the Sukhumvit Rd area has a better selection of mid-range hotels. Banglamphu and neighbouring Thewet are the best spots for budget eating. If you want to go for a city stroll and experience day-to-day Bangkok, head for Chinatown and Pahurat, the busy Chinese and Indian market districts.
As might be expected from one of Asia’s major transport hubs, getting to and from Bangkok is harder to avoid than to engineer. All Thailand’s major train and bus routes terminate here and this is a good spot to shop around for local and international travel bargains. Getting around Bangkok is a lead-lined lung and sooty-booger affair, with none of the desperately needed schemes to alleviate traffic congestion breaking out of air-conditioned boardrooms. River or canal journeys are infinitely preferable to road transport but increasingly, tarmac is the only option.
Bangkok’s bus system is fairly easy to navigate, but its efficiency is hampered by the snail’s pace of traffic (a zippy 13km/h average during commuter hours). Taxis are mostly metered and not too expensive, tuk-tuks (three-wheeled power saws gone beserk) are not much cheaper but have the perilous advantage of being able to weave in and out of choked traffic. Train is the best city-airport connection, taking only half an hour as against up to three hours by bus or taxi.
Nakhon Pathom
Nakhon Pathom, 60km west of Bangkok, is regarded as the oldest city in Thailand and is host to the 127m, orange-tiled Phra Pathom Chedi, the tallest Buddhist monument in the world. The original monument, now buried within the massive orange-glazed dome, was erected in the 6th century by Theravada Buddhists. The chedi has endured various incarnations at the hands of Khmer, Burmese and Chinese refurbishers. There is a floating market nearby at Khlong Damnoen Saduak.
Ayuthaya
The 16th-18th century temple ruins at Ayuthaya, 86km north of Bangkok, date from the most flourishing period of Thai history. Ayuthaya was the Thai capital from 1350, and 33 kings of various Siamese dynasties reigned here until the city was conquered by the Burmese in 1767. The old capital was, by all accounts, a splendid city which was courted by Dutch, Portuguese, French, English, Chinese and Japanese merchants. By the end of the 17th century, Ayuthaya’s population had reached one million and virtually all visiting foreigners claimed it to be the most illustrious city they had ever seen.
Ayuthaya’s scattered temples and ruins have been declared a World Heritage Site. The forbidding list includes the 14th century Wat Phra Si Sanphet, the largest in Ayuthaya in its time, which once contained a 16m standing Buddha that was covered in 250 kg of gold. Unfortunately the Burmese conquerors felt obliged to melt it down. The 16th-century, fortress-like Wat Phra Meru escaped destruction in 1767 and boasts an impressive carved wooden ceiling, a splendid Ayuthaya-era 6m high crowned sitting Buddha, and a 1300-year-old green-stone Buddha from Ceylon, posed European-style in a chair. Wat Phra Chao Phanan Choeng was built in the early 14th century, possibly by Khmers, before Ayuthaya became the Siamese capital. It contains a highly revered 19m Buddha image from which the wat derives its name. A restored Elephant Kraal brings relief for those tired of temple-trudging. The huge wooden stockade, built from teak logs planted in the ground at 45 degree angles, was once used during the annual round-up of wild elephants. The king had a special raised pavilion built so that he could watch the thrilling event.
There are frequent buses to Ayuthaya from Bangkok’s northern terminal during the day. They take around two hours. Trains are slightly faster and leave frequently from Bangkok’s Hualamphong railway station.
Chiang Mai
Thailand’s second-largest city and the gateway to the country’s north was founded in 1296. You can still see the moat that encircled the original city, and there are 300 wats, including Wat Chiang Man (home of the 1800-year-old 10-cm-high Crystal Buddha), Wat Phra Singh (built in the classic northern-Thai style) and Wat Chedi Luang (partially ruined by earthquake, cannon fire and recent restoration efforts). Doi Suthep, topped by one of Thailand’s holiest wats, rises 1676m to the west of the city providing a dramatic backdrop and, should you venture up, fine views of the city.
Modern Chiang Mai is easily managed and very traveller-friendly. It’s well known for its restaurants and also has heaps of good guesthouses (although the hotel ‘safes’ are notoriously not). Compared to Bangkok, Chiang Mai’s evenings are cool and conducive to moseying around the central Night Bazaar. To get value for money, bargain patiently but mercilessly; no less is expected of you. When you’re sick of honing your free-market warrior attitude, Chiang Mai is a good base for mountain treks. Just about every guesthouse advertises treks to visit the hill tribes who live in the surrounding area. You may want to think twice about joining such an excursion if you have qualms about interrupting the traditional patterns of life in hill-tribe areas. This part of Thailand is considerably overtrekked and some hill-tribe villages have been turned into little more than human zoos.
There are air links to Chiang Mai from eight Thai cities plus a handful of Asian cities. Heaps of buses negotiate the 10 to 12-hour trip from Bangkok. Express trains to Chiang Mai from Bangkok take between 12 and 13 hours.
Ko Samui
This beautiful island off south-eastern Thailand is covered with coconut plantations and circled by (call us clichéd but it’s true) palm-fringed beaches. It was once an ‘untouched’ backpackers’ mecca, but is now well on its way to becoming a fully-fledged tourist resort. Coconuts are still the mainstay of the local economy, however, and up to two million of them are shipped to Bangkok each month.
This beautiful island off south-eastern Thailand is covered with coconut plantations and circled by (call us clichéd but it’s true) palm-fringed beaches. It was once an ‘untouched’ backpackers’ mecca, but is now well on its way to becoming a fully-fledged tourist resort. Coconuts are still the mainstay of the local economy, however, and up to two million of them are shipped to Bangkok each month.
Most of the beaches have plenty of rustic, thatched-roofed bungalows but accommodation can still be hard to secure in the high seasons between December and February and July and August. The best time to visit is during the hot and dry season between February and June. There are flights from Bangkok to the island’s Don Sak Airport. Several ferry and jetboat companies operate from Surat Thani: express boats take two and a half hours and jet boats take one and a half hours. Local transport comprises songthaews (trucks with two rows of seats in the back), though several places hire motorcycles.
Ko Samui’s northern neighbour, Ko Pha-Ngan, is more tranquil, and has equally good beaches and fine snorkelling. Its renowned beach parties at Hat Rin are popular with backpackers, though not with the local police. The island is a half-hour boat ride from Ko Samui.
Phuket
Dubbed the ‘Pearl of the South’ by the tourist industry, Phuket is Thailand’s largest island and lies in the Andaman Sea off the country’s south-western coast. The island is connected to the Thai mainland by a bridge, but has retained a distinct culture fused from Chinese and Portuguese influences combining with the culture of the chao naam, the indigenous sea-faring people. About 35% of the island’s population are Thai Muslims.
The island’s terrain varies from rocky beaches and long, broad sweeps of sand to limestone cliffs and forested hills. It has good beaches, tropical vegetation and a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, but its ambience and ecology are under pressure from extensive and irresponsible development. The main resorts include Patong, Karon and Kata, but better beaches are scattered all around the island. Roads radiate from Phuket Town, in the south-east of the island, making it a good base for exploring. Don’t ignore the island’s interior which has rice paddies, plantations of rubber and cashew nut, cacao, pineapple and coconut, as well as Phuket’s last slice of rainforest.
There are plenty of flights to Phuket from Bangkok. First-class air-con buses take about 14 hours to reach the island from the capital. Local transport includes songthaews, which run to many of the island’s beaches, and motorcycle taxis. Motorcycles and jeeps can also be hired by the day. (A law passed in 1996 makes it compulsory to wear helmets, so be sure to get one from the company that rented you the motorcycle – the fine can be up to 500 baht if you fail to comply.