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Thailand Private Expedition
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11 days

from $8,007 AUD trip_detail hint icon

($5,495 USD)

Prices are per person, based on twin share occupancy. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange. The expedition price will be finalised at time of booking.

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Travelers should be in good health and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods of time. Daily activities may include walking tours, visits to sites, safari drives, and easy hikes; and some days will have more physical activities such as longer hikes, kayaking, snorkeling, or biking.

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Premium expeditions are led by a National Geographic expert, an expedition team, or top guides, and tap into National Geographic's worldwide resources to allow for in-depth exploration and special access to sites and experts in the field. Itineraries are fully planned, with some free time. Accommodations are high-end or best available. Ground transportation and most meals and activities are included in the trip price.

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Expedition Overview

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EXPEDITION OVERVIEW
  • Board a traditional long boat and glide through the floating markets of Don Wai with a Thai chef, then visit her restaurant for a cooking lesson.
  • Ride a horse cart through the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam and enjoy a picnic lunch beneath the site’s 13th-century ruins.
  • Track wild elephants through Kui Buri National Park, then visit a wildlife rescue center to interact with these majestic creatures.
  • Visit the home of a family living in the mountains outside Chiang Mai for a firsthand look at daily life in the northern hill tribe communities.
Itinerary

The lush jungles and misty mountains of Thailand lend an enchanting backdrop to cities where colonial architecture, serene temples, and chaotic open-air markets exist side by side. Delve into the colorful chaos of Bangkok while exploring jumbled streets and canals brimming with market vendors and tempting Thai concoctions, and duck into gilded temples with private guides for an insider’s take on Theravada Buddhism. In the province of Pran Buri, settle into a beachfront retreat, and head inland to discover forests where wild elephants roam. Then fly to Chiang Mai to celebrate centuries-old traditions in the heart of the country’s cultural epicenter.

Day 1: Arrive Bangkok, Thailand

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Arrive in Bangkok and transfer to your boutique hotel, set along the banks of the Chao Phraya River in the city’s elegant Dusit neighborhood. Settle in and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure to soak in the splendor of your art deco accommodations. Indulge in a spa treatment or take advantage of the hotel’s complimentary private boat service and glide into the heart of downtown for your first glimpse at Bangkok’s more frenetic side.

Day 2: Bangkok

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Journey to Wat Arun, known for its soaring pagoda decorated with brightly colored ceramics, and then see the golden Buddha statues at Wat Champa. Meet a local matriarch and learn to make banana cakes using ingredients picked from her garden. Later, climb into a long boat for a private tour of the canals, or khlongs, that thread the city. Float along waterways lined with traditional teak houses and bobbing produce vendors en route to Baan Silapin. Once the home of a wealthy merchant family, this canal-side compound is now an artist residence, as well as a gallery and performance space for traditional Thai culture and arts.

Day 3: Ayutthaya/Bangkok

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Travel north of Bangkok for a private tour of the 17th-century Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, a summer residence once used by Thai kings. Examine the eclectic architecture in the palace complex, influenced by European and Western design, then board a long boat and cruise the Chao Phraya to ancient Ayutthaya—a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city was the royal capital of Siam for 400 years before being destroyed by ransacking Burmese in 1767. Explore the temple ruins and giant Buddha statues on a private tour, and step into stupas that are still being used today. Then return to Bangkok for an evening at leisure.

Day 4: Bangkok

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Take a private walking tour of Bangkok’s Rattanakosin neighborhood, exploring a mix of iconic sites and hidden treasures. Your first stop is Sao Chingcha—or the Giant Swing—a soaring gate once used for acrobatic Brahmanic rituals. Stroll Romaneenart Park to see locals engaged in morning exercises, step into Wat Suthat Thepwararam, and wander narrow alleyways harboring colorful artisan quarters and ornate spirit houses. Gaze up at the City Pillar Shrine, believed by locals to hold Bangkok’s guardian spirit, then visit the 17th-century Wat Pho, one of the city’s oldest temples. Later, discover the iconic Grand Palace, including Wat Phra Kaew, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. End your tour with a restorative foot massage.

Day 5: Nakhon Pathom/Pran Buri

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Leave Bangkok for the nearby city of Nakhon Pathom, and meet a local chef for her daily boat trip to the floating markets of Don Wai. Glide between vendor stalls to purchase ingredients, and continue to her waterfront restaurant to learn how to prepare some of her favorite Thai dishes. After enjoying your meal in her garden oasis, continue south to the coastal district of Pran Buri. Settle into your beachfront villa and enjoy the rest of the day at leisure in this tropical paradise.

Day 6: Pran Buri

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Visit Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park, a dramatic landscape of soaring limestone peaks bordered by white-sand beaches. Opt to explore the park’s tropical coastlines or inland caves with a private guide. Travel by long-tail boat to a beach below Phraya Nakhon cave and hike up a forested hill to the cavern’s mouth to see a picturesque pavilion built by King Rama IV. Or walk along a boardwalk that winds through coastal mangroves to spot sea crabs, lizards, and colorful tropical birds. Continue inland to Kui Buri National Park, one of the best places in Thailand to spot elephants in the wild. Join a ranger to track these majestic pachyderms, as well as golden jackals, bantengs, and langur monkeys.

Day 7: Pran Buri

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Spend a day at Wildlife Friends Foundation Thailand (WFFT), an organization working to rescue and rehabilitate wild animals that had been captured and placed in captivity, with the ultimate goal of reintroducing them into the wild. Take a private tour of the Wildlife Rescue Center to see each of its more than 350 animals, then lunch with the center’s staff and volunteers. This afternoon, visit WFFT’s Elephant Refuge and Education Center, where you’ll get a chance to meet and feed these majestic creatures. Then join volunteers in feeding other rescued animals like gibbons and Malayan sun bears. Enjoy an evening at leisure.

Day 8: Chiang Mai

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Return to Bangkok and fly to Chiang Mai, the cultural heart of Thailand. Settle into your colonial-style boutique hotel in the city’s leafy Wat Gate neighborhood. This afternoon, venture to a mountain village on the outskirts of town to visit with a hill tribe family that still practices centuries-old Thai traditions. Get a glimpse into daily life, watch a bamboo basket-weaving demonstration, and help cook a northern Thai meal in their teak home. Enjoy your culinary creations with the family before returning to the city center for an afternoon at leisure.

Day 9: Chiang Mai

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Enjoy a full-day private excursion to Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, named for two sacred peaks that punctuate the reserve’s forested landscapes. Walk to the golden Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of Thailand’s most sacred temples. Reached by a staircase flanked by an ornate balustrade, the monastery was founded in 1383 to house a relic of Buddha. Visit a tree nursery tended by the Forest Restoration Research Unit (FORRU) from Chiang Mai University. Hear from a representative of the organization about forest restoration projects before going on a guided interpretive walk to the Monthathan waterfall.

Day 10: Chiang Mai

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Rise early for a visit to Chiang Mai’s bustling Gate Market. Peruse colorful produce stalls and procure a donation for the monks who take their alms in the marketplace. Return to your hotel for breakfast, then climb into a songthaew truck for the ride to the riverfront Warorot Market. Browse the handicrafts here, and see Tha Pae Gate, one of the four original gates of the city. Climb aboard a rickshaw for a private tour of Chiang Mai’s old city, including Wat Chiang Man, Wat Chedi Luang, and Wat Phra Singh; and meet with an English-speaking monk. Later, travel to the ancient city of Wiang Kum Kam, considered the earliest settlement in the region. Explore by horse cart, and break for a picnic among the ruins. Return to Chiang Mai and enjoy an afternoon to explore the city on your own.

Day 11: Chiang Mai/Depart

After breakfast, transfer to the airport and catch your flight home.

What to Expect

This trip has an activity rating of light; travelers should be physically fit and comfortable walking or standing for extended periods, navigating uneven or slippery terrain, and climbing stairs without handrails. Excursions include city walking tours, visits to temples and monuments, boat tours, and nature walks, with options for a more strenuous hike in Phraya Nakhon cave on Day 6. Plan to dress modestly while in Thailand, with loose-fitting clothing that cover your knees and shoulders.

Accommodations
Throughout the expedition, you’ll stay in some of Thailand’s top accommodations selected for their exceptional quality, location, and character.

Expedition Team
Top private guides will accompany you throughout the trip, and local experts will meet with you along the way as described in the itinerary.

PRICES & DATES

  • date Nov 1-Dec 31, 2019
  • 2 People $9,464 AUD ($6,495 USD)
  • 4 People $8,735 AUD ($5,995 USD)
  • 6 People $8,007 AUD ($5,495 USD)

  • date Jan 1-Apr 30, 2020
  • 2 People $9,464 AUD ($6,495 USD)
  • 4 People $8,735 AUD ($5,995 USD)
  • 6 People $8,007 AUD ($5,495 USD)

  • date Nov 1-Dec 21, 2020
  • 2 People $9,464 AUD ($6,495 USD)
  • 4 People $8,735 AUD ($5,995 USD)
  • 6 People $8,007 AUD ($5,495 USD)

  • date Dec 21, 2020 - Jan 10, 2021
  • 2 People $11,650 AUD ($7,995 USD)
  • 4 People $10,921 AUD ($7,495 USD)
  • 6 People $10,192 AUD ($6,995 USD)

  • date Jan 11-Apr 30, 2021
  • 2 People $9,464 AUD ($6,495 USD)
  • 4 People $8,735 AUD ($5,995 USD)
  • 6 People $8,007 AUD ($5,495 USD)

Prices are per person based on double occupancy and do not include international airfare to/from your destination or internal flights during the expedition. Single traveler prices are available upon request. Internal flights are $195 per person. Surcharges may apply to certain travel dates based upon international or local holidays, as well as local events and festivals. The AUD prices are based on USD and calculated at today’s rate of exchange and subject to change. See the terms and conditions for this trip for more information.

  • Transfers upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation as indicated in the itinerary
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary
  • Daily activities and excursions as indicated in the itinerary

What's Not Included

  • Airfare to and from destination, as well as internal airfare where applicable
  • Trip cancellation insurance or any other travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Gratuities