Bangkok – Ayutthaya - Kanchanaburi
Day 1: Depart the United States.
You can ask us to include international flights - we offer discounted consolidator fares (First, Business & Economy) on the best airlines and we know the best routes and travel routings, including seasonal advantages.
Day 2: Arrive at Bangkok
(most flights arrive either in the evening or at night). Our services begin here. You are greeted at the airport by an Easy Tours Travel Facilitator and ushered to a chauffeur driven vehicle. You are then driven to your hotel where you are assisted with your check in. The next day’s plans are briefly reviewed and you are presented with your welcome package. Among other things, this package includes travel documents such as your air tickets and hotel vouchers, as well as copies of documents (such as our General Travel Guide) that were sent to you earlier.
Day 3: Bangkok.
You are at leisure in the morning to recuperate from your international flight.
Afternoon: Bicycle tour of the “real” Bangkok
– You are picked up from your
hotel and driven to the departure point, where you will join other guests for an up close and personal exploration of Bangkok. The route begins at the bustling Sukhumvit Road and quickly dives into the narrow streets of central Bangkok. After crossing the Chao Phraya River, you will enter a jungle right in the middle of the city! Enjoy a ride that snakes through the urban oasis and ends up in a residential area of Bangkok, where you will see up close, a side of the city that few tourists ever see. This easy ride is less than 20 km (12 miles) and is flat terrain. Water and snacks are provided.
If days 3 falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then this excursion is a full day excursion with lunch provided.
Take the hotel’s free water taxi for a short ride to Taksin Pier, where you will board the 7:45 departure of the Manhora Dinner Cruise.
(Guests in hotels not on the river will be picked up before and after the cruise.) Relax and enjoy delicious Thai cuisine, as you cruise up the Chao Phraya – “River of Kings”, past The Temple of Dawn and the Grand Palace Complex, which are spectacularly lighted in the evenings. Return to Taksin Pier after the cruise and board the hotel’s boat for the quick transfer home.
Day 4: Bangkok
. After breakfast, your guide will meet you in the lobby of your hotel and will escort you to the historical part of the city. If you are staying in one of the hotels on the Chao Praya River, you will take a public boat.
(10-15 minutes) Disembark and pay a visit to the beautiful flower market
, where all of the blooms brought in from the countryside early that morning are trimmed and arranged to be made ready for sale. Next, proceed on the short walk to the Temple of the Reclining Buddha
. The main chapel of this temple shelters an impressive reclining statue of Buddha, measuring almost 100 feet long and covered by golden leaves. You will then proceed to the icon of Bangkok: The Grand Palace
and the famous ‘Wat Phra Kaew’, the chapel sheltering the precious jade Buddha statue. (Temple of Emerald Buddha
) You will discover some masterpieces of the Rattanakosin period and admire many examples of Thai Art. This highly venerated site illustrates perfectly the high cultural level Siam had reached during the eighteen-century, and how skillful Siamese artists were in that time. The cluster of prestigious temples also shelters an impressive mural depicting the whole story of the Indian epic ‘RAMAYANA’.
There is a break for lunch
Board a private long-tailed boat, to discover the canals of Thonburi
. The people of Thailand and residents of Bangkok particularly, have always lived riparian lifestyles. You will explore the intricate network of canals, or “Khlongs” in your private boat, and get a great insight into just how this modern city is a fascinating blend of modern businesses and skyscrapers versus traditional Thai lifestyles. Also pay a visit to one of the iconic structures of Bangkok - the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun).
One of Bangkok’s oldest treasures, its placement creates a spectacle of visual effects when the suns first rays of the day are cast upon it.
Day 5: Flight of the Gibbon.
This full day adventure program is one of the most exciting outdoor eco-friendly activities you will ever experience. The Flight of the Gibbon Bangkok is located approximately 1 hour south of the city, in Chonburi Province adjacent to the Chumpoo Nature Reserve.
You will go where only scientists used to go; to the top of a big rainforest canopy. You will observe wildlife from the upper canopy, where birds will be flying beneath you. You will be surrounded by shrieks of wildlife and the smell of pure nature, with a strong feeling of freedom.
Safely harnessed and accompanied by professional staff, you will rapidly fly from tree to tree, with the agility of young gibbons !
The flight of the gibbon is a unique way to discover the jungle in an ecological way, and to release your adrenaline in a safe way.
Part of the profit of this eco-activity goes to Gibbon conservation and other conservation projects.
Note: This is a joining up tour. Transfers to and from the venue are provided by Flight of the Gibbon.
Day 6: Bangkok - Ayutthaya.
After breakfast, depart for your private tour of the last capital of the kingdom of Siam… Ayutthaya.
Before being sacked by the Burmese army in the late 18th century, Ayutthaya was a glorious city, and one of the most important in all
of South East Asia. During its golden age, Ayutthaya had strong diplomatic and commercial relationships with important world powers such as Japan, Portugal and France. It is located about 1.5 hours drive from Bangkok.
On the way to Ayutthaya, you will have the option to stop
at the ‘Summer Royal Residence’ in Bang Pa In.
Here, you will admire some of the original pavilions forming this rich architectural compound. You will also have a glimpse of an unusual ‘Neo Gothic’ Buddhist temple built under King Rama V and widely inspired by European style. Note: Depending upon your pace and interest in the sights at Bang Pa In, this visit could take anywhere between 1 hour and 2.5 hours.
Arrive in the ancient capital of Ayutthaya by early afternoon (mid-late morning if you do not stop at Bang Pa In) and start your exploration of the area with a visit to the site of the Royal Palace
, which served as home to 33 kings of Siam between 1350 and 1767 A.D. The three large bell shaped chedis of the Royal Chapel (Wat Phra Si Sanphet) ,
which were constructed in the 14th century, stand proud and tall even today, and are perfect examples of “Ayutthaya style” architecture.
is at a restaurant on the banks of the river.
Next, drive a short distance to the site of the royal monastery, known as Wat Mahathat.
This place is replete with Buddha statues, some broken, some complete, but all magical as they sit in serenity amongst the towering Khmer-style ruins. This site also boasts the stone carving of the head of Buddha, which has been wrapped in protection by the roots of an ancient banyan tree.
Another very short drive will take you to the beautiful ruins of Wat Ratchaburana
and its imposing tower. In 1424 A.D. when the king of Siam passed away, two of his sons met at this site in battle to settle who would succeed their father. After they were both killed in the ensuing combat, a third brother came to the capital from his kingdom and had the Wat constructed in honor of his father and two brothers. In 1958 a huge amount of gold artifacts were excavated from this site and are now housed in the Chao Sam Paraya National Museum.
The last stop and perhaps the most magical and photogenic of all them, is the 17th century Wat Chaiwatthanaram.
With its Khmer-style tower and surrounding lesser prangs, it bears a resemblance to Angkor Wat, and may have been built to commemorate the king’s victory over Cambodia.
There are many other impressive archaeological sites in Ayutthaya that can be visited if time allows. After you are finished with your exploration of Siam’s antiquities, you are driven to your hotel on the banks of Chao Praya, and looking across the river to and impressive set of ancient ruins on the other side.
Optional: Our guests have the option of exploring Ayutthaya’s treasures on bicycles. Your guide will procure the bicycles for you and (and him/her), and then accompany you as you ride from one ruin site to another. All or part of the day can be spent on bicycles, as your vehicle and chauffeur will remain in the area, and at your disposal. Please inform your Thailand Specialist if you are interested in this option.
Day 7: Ayutthaya – Kanchanaburi.
After an early breakfast, you embark on the 3 hour drive (approx.) to the region of Kanchanaburi.
This region was
once the theater of tragic episodes during WWII. It is here that prisoners of war built the famous bridge over the River Kwai. Arrive in Kanchanaburi and have lunch
at a restaurant on the banks of the River Kwai. After lunch, explore the famous bridge
, which was built in about 16 months by allied prisoners of war and Asian conscripts, then later destroyed during allied bombing raids. It was later rebuilt by the Japanese, as war reparations.
Next, proceed a short distance to the very interesting Thai-Burma Railway Museum
, and view the lovely adjacent cemetery where so many victims of these events are buried and honored. After your visit to the museum, it is time to head out through the countryside of Kanchanaburi Province toward your resting place for the afternoon and evening, the River Kwai Jungle Rafts
. Located on a scenic bend in the River Kwai, the jungle rafts feature a private bathroom and deck, as well as bamboo bedroom furniture and mosquito netting. Please note that there is no air conditioning, as the river under the rafts and jungle breezes blowing gently through the room suffice to make the temperature comfortable. The electricity here is used sparingly, and at night, the premises are lit by wick lamps, preserving the natural feel and create a peaceful ambience. Arrive at the pier and your baggage is transferred to a long-tailed boat. Relax and enjoy the 15 minute boat ride down the river, as the sounds of the jungle bounce off of the cliffs above you. Land at the hotel pier and check-in. A swim in the river may be in order if you arrive before twilight. Later, enjoy a performance of traditional Mon Tribal dancing
under the stars.
Day 8: Kanchanaburi.
You are at leisure in the early morning to sleep in, enjoy breakfast by the river, or do some swimming. A favorite activity at this “Floatel” is to don a life jacket and jump into the river at one end of the resort. The gentle current will guide you to the other end of the property, where you can get out and do it again! Canoes and bamboo rafts are also available to rent from the Jungle Rafts, at a nominal charge.
Your guide will meet you in the “lobby” at this time. Step off of the River Kwai Jungle Rafts and take a short walk through the jungle to a Mon Village.
The Mon people are one of Southeast Asia’s most ancient races. Originally from Burma, these people are integrated into Thai society, but deeply cherish and honor their heritage. Enjoy a walk around their village area, hidden in the jungle, and visit the village school
, as well as their temple & gold chedi. You will also have the opportunity to spend some time with the elephant
members of the tribe, both riding them through the jungle and giving them bananas for a snack. If you wish, you can take a 30 minute each-way hike to see an impressive jungle cave.
Walk back to the Jungle Rafts for lunch and check-out.
You are then driven with your guide to visit the famous “Hell Fire Pass”.
This man-made cut in the mountain was carved using mere hand-held chisels by mostly Australian soldiers, working in horrible conditions and under the whip of the Japanese soldiers, desperate to complete the Thai-Burma railway. Many lives were sacrificed thoughtlessly to complete this project. The name “Hell Fire Pass” comes from one soldier’s description of the site, as workers toiled through the night by firelight. You will walk along the tracks and admire the scenery from the path of the railway. There are memorials and a small museum at this site as well. You now begin the two mile trek
down toward the river and your home for tonight, Hintok River Camp.
Your luggage will have been dropped off already, and you will be assisted with check-in.
Located again, above a scenic bend of the river, Hintok offers accommodation in a canvas tent, complete with its own bed(s) and bathroom, and also air conditioning. The camp is a tribute to nature and wildlife is commonly sighted, including the camp’s resident sheep, who keep the lawns well maintained. The camp also features a natural spring fed swimming pool perched just above the river with a waterfall making its way from the pool down to the river. Enjoy dinner overlooking the River Kwai, followed by another glorious night in nature.
Day 9: Kanchanaburi.
Meet your guide after breakfast for your assisted check-out. Your luggage will be loaded into the vehicle and kept by your chauffeur this morning. Walk down to the river and board a
long-tailed boat, then sit back and enjoy the 1 hour (approx) trip up the River Kwai to Sai Yok National Park. After you float by the impressive Sai Yok Yai waterfall
, you will have an opportunity to explore this part of the park on foot with your guide. Next, proceed a short distance by boat and disembark for the short hike to Lawa Cave
. This impressive geological formation is the largest in Kanchanaburi at over 1400 feet long, and features several “chambers” with many large stalagmites and stalactites. Upon completion of your spelunking adventure, you are met by your vehicle and chauffeur, and then driven to the Tiger Temple.
The drive will afford you time to enjoy a packed lunch.
Arrive at the Tiger Temple
in the mid-afternoon. This unusual Buddhist temple shelters tigers living in ‘controlled freedom’ under the mystical monitoring of Buddhist monks. You have the opportunity to pet the tigers, if you wish, under the close supervision of the monks. This makes for a once in a lifetime photo opportunity as you literally “grab a tiger by the tail !” You will be visiting as a VIP, and will thus also have the opportunity to watch the handsome creatures as they frolic and play in the cool waters of the grotto.
Note on the Tiger Temple : There is some controversy surrounding some people’s belief that the animals are drugged into their lackadaisical disposition. If you do not wish to visit the Tiger Temple, then a visit to Erawan National Park and its stunning waterfalls can be substituted.
You are driven to the Resotel pier in the late afternoon, where a long-tailed boat will deliver you to your resort on the River Kwai, where you are assisted with check-in.
Day 10: Kanchanaburi – Bangkok – International Flight.
After waking up to the sounds of the jungle you will probably want to have a stroll around the gorgeous natural environment of the resort, or you can simply sleep in. You are at leisure to enjoy a traditional Thai massage that we have included this morning.
Breakfast and lunch are served at the hotel.
Early afternoon: Proceed on the short drive to Namtok and board the train for an amazing trip along the Death Railway
. Enjoy the scenery as the train snakes around hills alongside the River Kwai and passes through dense bamboo forests and jungles. After approx. 45 minutes, disembark from the train where your vehicle awaits to drive you back to Bangkok. You are at leisure with your vehicle, driver, and guide until your check in at the airport for your departure flight. (Usually late evening)
This is a good time to do any last minute shopping or sightseeing you may have left for the end. A hotel room can be booked either in Bangkok or near the airport, if you wish for this afternoon / evening.
Our services end at the Bangkok airport.
Day 11: Arrive in the U.S.
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