You’ll begin in pulsating Bangkok with its enthralling sights, vibrant markets, gleaming shopping malls, teeming streetlife and vivid nightlife. Then comes Chiang Rai – set in cloud cloaked mountains and surreal landscapes – and the magical temples of Chiang Mai.
Expect to visit Buddhist shrines, soaring monastery complexes and the tiny hill villages of the once-notorious Golden Triangle. Then it’s time to relax on one of Thailand’s most revered beaches, set on the tiny island of Yao Noi in Phang Ngha Bay – reached by boat from Phuket.
London – Bangkok
You’ll board your overnight flight to Bangkok at Heathrow just before midday and arrive in Thailand early the next morning. You’ll be met at the airport and taken to your luxury hotel which will prove the ideal base for venturing into the exciting swirl that is Bangkok, with its eclectic markets, shopping malls with designer boutiques, picturesque canals, palaces, gleaming temples and hectic nightlife.
The following day a city tour with a private guide will show you the brilliantly coloured Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, including the Funeral Palace, Throne and Coronation Halls. After seeing the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand you’ll take a cruise along the Chao Phraya River to watch the serene lifestyle of the people living on the river’s banks – a fine contrast to the busy city.
Stay: Two nights in a deluxe room at the Mandarin Oriental.
On day four of your trip you fly off to Chiang Rai – a place of surreal scenery and devastatingly photogenic mountains wreathed in seas of clouds and mist. It’s a fairytale setting populated by colourful hill tribes, each with their own customs, distinct lifestyle and crafts that include jewellery making, silverware, textile production and embroidery.
You can trek through this magical area – set in the heart of the Golden Triangle formed by Thailand, Laos and Myanmar – by bike, on foot or aboard an elephant.
Stay: Two nights in a deluxe three countries view room at Anantara Golden Triangle.
After Chiang Rai comes Chiang Mai, a three to four hour drive away. The names may be very similar but the places could not be more different. Chang Mai is Thailand’s second largest city and offers you a wealth of night markets and street stalls selling all manner of handicrafts, regional products, art and souvenirs.
You’ll tour around an ancient Buddhist temple dating back to 1296, as well as the historic area of this old moated city, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Phra Singh. You’ll also visit the Chiang Mai National Museum and the Tribal Museum with its displays of weapons, musical instruments, jewellery and artefacts.
Private guided tours will take you past the city’s largest market and to Wat Doi Suthep – a 14th century monastery reached by a stairway of 290 steps. Your final day in Chiang Mai includes a trip around the local produce market followed by a relaxed cruise aboard a bamboo raft through serene countryside.
You’ll visit a Karen hill village and meet villagers wearing their national dress before moving on to the old opium-producing village of Lisu and Akha Village, set in the jungle.
Stay: Three nights in a garden pavilion at the Four Seasons Resort.
Chiang Mai – Phuket – Yao Noi
A two hour flight will land you in Phuket from where you’ll travel by car and boat to your luxury hotel on the picturesque island of Yao Noi, in Phang Nga Bay. Your holiday hideaway will help you ‘redefine your experience’ from the moment you arrive, by offering you a world class spa, plus a sumptuously appointed villa with private swimming pool, and a tempting choice of dining options including Mediterranean cuisine served in a glass-floored dining room with a stream running beneath.
Stay: Five nights in an ocean pool villa at Six Senses Yao Noi.
Yao Noi – Phuket – Bangkok – London
A boat and car will take you back to Phuket Airport where you’ll board a plane to Bangkok for your connecting flight to London. You’ll land at Heathrow in the early morning.