Map of Highlights of Thailand including Thailand

An immersive adventure that ties together Thailand’s greatest hits

Journey through the Land of Smiles, where spicy delicacies, majestic elephants, golden Buddhas, colourful hilltribe villages, and fantastic markets all come together. Thailand's stunning beauty and charming culture are always present on this 10-day small group adventure. Witness traditional hilltribe life in a Hmong village, support the rehabilitation of the endangered Asian elephant in Chiang Mai, cruise down Bangkok’s famous khlongs, step back in time in the ancient kingdom of Sukhothai and try your hand at creating some delectable Thai dishes. This is your chance to capture the adventure and timeless essence of Thailand.


Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Destination
Thailand
Style
Comfort
Theme
Explorer
Code
TTKK
Physical rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1, Max 12

Why you'll love this trip

  • Experience an unforgettable day in the company of the giants of the jungle, Asian elephants, at a reserve that will teach you about conservation and animal protection in this region.

  • Take in some of Thailand’s most iconic sights, including the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Hellfire Pass in Kanchanaburi, and the Doi Suthep temple in Chiang Mai.

  • Whip up a culinary storm in Sukhothai, creating and tasting delicious traditional dishes at a cooking class with a local host.

  • Immerse yourself in an ancient culture with a night in the Hmong lodge, where you’ll be treated to a barbecue dinner and Hmong cultural show.

  • Uncover the ancient charms of Sukhothai on a leisurely bike tour through the ruin-filled Historical Park, followed by a delicious picnic lunch.

Is this trip right for you?

  • There is an included bicycle ride around Sukhothai Heritage Park on this trip. It’s a leisurely cycle along quiet and flat roads, and one of the best ways to see the park.

  • Less time spent in a vehicle; more time to explore each destination. This trip has been carefully designed to give you the best experience of a region by reducing the number of one-night-only stops, giving you extra time in the places that matter. As a shorter trip that covers quite a lot of ground, there will be travelling every other day to the next destination. Please note travel times on the itinerary days carefully for travel estimates.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 Jan 2023 to 31 Dec 2023.
View the 2020 itinerary
Sa-wat dee, welcome to Thailand! Your adventure begins in the country’s bustling capital, Bangkok, famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. A welcome meeting will take place at 6pm tonight where you’ll meet your local leader and fellow travellers. If you arrive in Bangkok with time to spare, you may like to take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in some Thai massage. After the meeting tonight, perhaps get to know your group over dinner at one of the many restaurants surrounding your hotel.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
It’s very important that you attend the welcome meeting as we will be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this time. If you are going to be late please let your travel agent or hotel reception know. Ask reception or look for a note in the lobby for more information on where the meeting will take place.

The arrival transfer is only valid if arriving on Day 1 or if you have booked pre-trip accommodation through Intrepid. Please provide your flight details at the time of booking, or at a minimum 14 days prior to travel, as we may not be able confirm a request made within 14 days of travel.
Begin the day with a river cruise down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous ‘khlongs’ (canals). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Pay a visit to the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The sprawling royal complex houses numerous ornate structures that highlight the grand architectural traditions of Thailand. Later in the day, travel south by private minibus to Kanchanaburi (approximately 2.5 hours). Located where the confluence of the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Khlong boat canal tour
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 2.5 hours.
This morning, make tracks for the Erawan Falls. These terraced waterfalls, named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology, cascade into a series of emerald green pools – a beautiful place to swim, walk or sit back and relax. After your visit drive to the Hellfire Pass Memorial, built to honour the allied prisoners of war (POWs) and Asian conscripts who died while constructing some of the most difficult stretches of the Thai-Burma Death Railway. You can head out to a teak observation deck and look across to Myanmar just kilometres away. You’ll also see the eponymous pass, cut through rock 18 metres deep, that got its name from the hellish fires used to light the work at night. Boarding at Nam Tok station, the main terminal of the Death Railway, take a ride along the historic tracks along the Kwai Noi River and travel over the original wooden viaduct (the Bridge on the River Kwai) constructed by the allied POWs. Pass through magnificent scenery and spend a moment reflecting on those who were forced to give their lives in the process of bending this environment to man’s will. Tonight, you can explore the rows of street vendors in town and perhaps grab a drink overlooking the River Kwai.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Kanchanaburi - Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
  • Kanchanaburi - Historical train ride
  • Kanchanaburi - Erawan National Park & Falls
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 2.5 hours.

If you are travelling on our 8 September 2023 departure, you will visit Sai Yok National Park and Falls instead of Erawan National Park and Falls. Erawan will be closed for restoration during this time.
Head away from Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya in a private minivan this morning. Once the capital in the Kingdom of Siam, the ruins of palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues can be found in Ayutthaya’s Historical Park, which you’ll explore this afternoon. See Wat Panan Choeng (adorned with a huge 19 metre Buddha image), Wat Yai Chai Mong Kol (with its 62 metre Victory Pagoda), and the famous Wat Maha That (the Buddhist temple with a figure head swallowed by tree roots). 
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Ayutthaya - Historical Park
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 4 hours.
Buckle up for a bit of travelling today. Take a traditional songthaew from your accommodation to the train station, then board a day train to Phitsanuloke. From there, take a minivan to Sukhothai, the historic capital of Siam, stopping off at the Wat Yai Phitsanuloke temple along the way. Be sure to have your music, podcasts or movies downloaded or a good book handy, as you’ll be sweeping through the countryside on a relaxing travel day. Once arrived at your resort, spend some time in the open air and perhaps have a swim in the onsite pool!
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sukhothai - Wat Yai Phitsanuloke
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s train journey is approximately 5 hours, followed by a 1.5-hour drive.
Located on a fertile plain, Sukhothai was established in the 13th century as one of the first ancient capitals of Siam, and the name means the 'Dawn of Happiness'. It’s now famous for its World Heritage-listed Historic Park that celebrates the Golden Age of Thai civilisation. Head out to the historical ruins of Old Sukhothai, set amid beautiful lakes and gardens. The religious art and architecture of the Sukhothai era are considered to be the most classic of Thai styles, and the Sukhothai Historical Park contains the remains of 21 historic sites, with striking Buddha images and four large ponds often filled with stunning lotus flowers in full bloom. Upon arrival at the park, hop on bicycles and enjoy a few leisurely hours learning about the history of this fascinating place, tucking into a tasty picnic lunch at the end of your ride. Have some free time this afternoon before heading to a local house for a Thai-style cooking class. You’ll learn some traditional recipes from the Sukhothai region like chilli pastes, fragrant curries, spicy soups, steamed fish cakes and Thai custard. Your host will help you prepare these dishes and will assist you in making a delicious spread to share at the end.
Accommodation
  • Resort (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Sukhothai - Historical Park bike tour
  • Sukhothai - Thai cooking class
  • Sukhothai - Bike Tour Lunch
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
If you prefer not to cycle for today's activity, an electric tuk tuk can be arranged at an additional cost.
Take a minivan on a drive north to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge in picturesque hilly countryside. Set in a peaceful valley of a scenic mountain range and surrounded by stunning natural landscapes of jungle and mountains, the Hmong lodge offers a unique and tranquil experience. It's a great escape from the hustle and bustle of busy tourist spots. The rooms are simple and rustic, fitting perfectly with the natural environment. Be sure to pack a warm jumper as the weather will be mild and cool year-round due to the lofty mountain location. The Hmong are an ethnic minority in Thailand who originated in central China, and today they make up the second largest hilltribe group in Thailand. After a barbecue dinner in the lodge's open-air dining area, the day concludes with a cultural performance by the Hmong people. You'll gain an insight into the traditional lifestyle of the tribe, with a wedding ceremony enactment, shamanic ritual and makong (cotton ball) throwing.
Accommodation
  • Hmong Lodge (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Hmong Hilltribe Lodge - Traditional meal & cultural performance
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 4.5 hours.
Transfer by private vehicle to Chiang Mai, the most vibrant city in northern Thailand and home to many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the ‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound. Chances are, you won’t want to leave. In the late afternoon, embark on a scenic, winding drive up a mountain to one of the country's most stunning temple complexes, Doi Suthep. A 300-step naga-guarded stairway leads you to the temples, and the climb is well worth the effort. The hypnotic atmosphere of chanting Buddhist monks and sweeping views of the city make this a memorable experience. Your leader can help you to arrange optional activities for your free time today – you can get active with a bicycle tour to discover the city and surrounding countryside from a different perspective, indulge in a Thai massage or a spa treatment, or just relax with a book by the pool.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple complex
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 2.5 hours.
Today is set to be one to remember as you visit the ChangChill elephant reserve – a truly special experience. Drive out to the reserve and learn how this organisation supports the protection, conservation and lifestyle of free roaming elephants in the region. You’ll observe the daily patterns of these jungle giants from a safe distance, seeing how they graze and socialise with their other friends. The expert local guides will give you a live lecture on the elephants as well as the reserve’s sustainable tourism practices and conservation efforts in the area. Enjoy some refreshments near the elephant’s mud pit, then be treated to lunch in a riverside sala (pavilion) alongside your giant friends, who will be enjoying a meal too. On your way back to Chiang Mai, stop by Kaomai Estate 1955 cafe for a coffee – this eclectic tobacco factory-turned-cafe holds a Cultural Heritage Conservation for New Design accreditation from UNESCO. This evening, get together for a final group dinner in town and celebrate today’s unforgettable experience.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Chiang Mai - ChangChill elephant sanctuary
  • Chiang Mai - Coffee at Kaomai Estate 1955
  • Chiang Mai - ChangChill Elephant
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • Dinner
Special Information
Today’s total travel time is approximately 3 hours.
With no activities planned for today, you are free to leave the accommodation at any time.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

9 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Transport

Train, Private mini van, Longtail boat, songtheaw, Bicycle

Accommodation

Hotel (3 nights), Lodge (1 night), Resort (5 nights)

Included activities

  • Complimentary Airport Arrival Transfer
  • Bangkok - Khlong boat canal tour
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace
  • Kanchanaburi - Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum
  • Kanchanaburi - Historical train ride
  • Kanchanaburi - Erawan National Park & Falls
  • Ayutthaya - Historical Park
  • Sukhothai - Wat Yai Phitsanuloke
  • Sukhothai - Historical Park bike tour
  • Sukhothai - Thai cooking class
  • Sukhothai - Bike Tour Lunch
  • Hmong Hilltribe Lodge - Traditional meal & cultural performance
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple complex
  • Chiang Mai - ChangChill elephant sanctuary
  • Chiang Mai - Coffee at Kaomai Estate 1955
  • Chiang Mai - ChangChill Elephant

Dates & availability

Trip departures are unavailable.

There are currently no scheduled departures on our Highlights of Thailand trip. If you are interested in other trips in the region visit one of the links below.

Prices may go up, so secure your trip today!
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Important notes

Travellers on Intrepid trips that start on or before 31 December 2022 are required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19. Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy.

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement applies to all nights of your trip and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

2. A complimentary airport arrival transfer is included but we won't be able to provide this service when the 'Test & Go' scheme is valid. This will be switched to a complimentary departure transfer when the government still enforce this scheme. Please let your booking agent know your flight details no later than 14 days before the trip.

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

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