Thailand: Nature, Culture & Foods



Tour code



Bangkok - Kanchanaburi - Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Phuket

Explore Thailand through the lenses of culture, nature, and food. This 12-day tour will take you to the highlight destinations of Thailand. Start in the bustling capital of Bangkok, which gives you the best overview of local food and Buddhist beliefs. Next, you move north to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, where you can immerse yourself in the green nature and learn about the daily life of the ethnic minorities there. End the trip with a dip in the crystal waters, enjoying the tropical climate and many exciting water activities in Krabi.

Trip highlights:
  • Visit Bangkok to discover the magnificent architecture of ancient pagodas & street food in Chinatown.
  • Experience the bridge over the River Kwai and the Dead Railway in Kanchanaburi.
  • A day of experiencing Buddhist culture in Chiang Mai
  • Come to Mae Tang District to visit a green tea plantation and friendly elephants.
  • Learn the customs and culture of the ethnic groups living in Chiang Rai.
  • Come to Phuket not only for the beaches, but also for photography, the beauty of architecture, and local life.

Use this itinerary to inspire your bespoke journey

Upon arrival in Bangkok, meet up with the Viland Travel representative and transfer to the hotel. Overnight in Bangkok.

After breakfast at the hotel, you start to discover Bangkok with your private tour guide and driver. Your first stop is at Wat Traimit to visit the largest Golden Buddha statue in the world (3m high, weighs 5.5 tons, and is carved in solid gold). Your next visit is to Wat Pho to admire the massive reclining Buddha statue, which represents the entry of Buddha into Nirvana and the end of all reincarnations. Just 800m from Wat Pho, you will visit the Grand Palace. The dazzling, spectacular Grand Palace is undoubtedly the most famous landmark in Bangkok and a must-see. Continues with a long-tail boat ride along the canal to see Thai houses and typical rural life as well as a visit to the Temple of Dawn before ending your day. Overnight in Bangkok.

Today, you will visit the 100-year-old Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, 110 kilometers from Bangkok. In 2 hours of driving, you will pass leisurely by rice paddies and salt fields, visit a farmhouse, and watch locals produce sugar from coconut. You continue to ride a 30-minute speedboat along fruit plantations, seeing Thai houses and the river life of locals. Upon arrival, you are fascinated by the various shapes and sizes of boats that local merchants use to ferry their goods. You hire a small boat to navigate your way along with the market to shop for local products. After touring the market, you return to Bangkok.

In the early evening, meet your guide again and head to the Chinatown area for a chance to become a Thai food insider. Walking along the street, you will see many Chinese-style shops. Everything from clothes to food has both antique and modern appearances. Stopping at a jewelry store, you will encounter many items commonly seen in Chinese martial arts movies. For food lovers, visiting Bangkok's Chinatown at night is a memorable food tour. From 7 pm, Chinatown was bustling with colorful lights; food stalls with delicious Chinese dishes such as wonton noodles, dumplings, fried shrimp with cashew nuts, and candied gourds. Stop to visit a restaurant with a tasty Peking Duck dish. It is a very interesting experience, for sure.

You meet your private tour guide in the hotel lobby and transfer 128 kilometers to the west of Bangkok for a full-day exploration of Kanchanaburi Province.

  • Visit the Thailand–Burma Railway Centre, an interactive museum, informative center, and research facility dedicated to presenting the history of the Thailand– Burma Railway. The fully air-conditioned center provides an educational and moving experience for visitors.
  • Visit the Allied War Cemetery, a memorial to some 6,000 allied prisoners of war (POWs) who perished along the death railway line and were moved post-war to this eternal resting place.
  • Visit the world-famous Bridge over the River Kwai, a part of the Death Railway constructed by Allied POWs. You take a historic Death Railway Train, passing over the original wooden viaduct constructed by Allied POWs.

After the train ride, you will visit a beautiful seven-tiered waterfall located in Erawan National Park. The best time to visit the waterfall is during the rainy season, from May until September. Walk up to the tier of the picturesque falls to cool off in the falls’ natural pools.

Note: Be sure to bring good walking shoes and a swimsuit.

We’ll transfer you to the airport for a short flight to Chiang Mai. Upon your arrival, you will be met by your local guide and transferred to the hotel for the evening at leisure.

Meet your private tour guide and driver at 6:00 for an early departure for Doi Suthep Mountain. You can expect to be there in time and participate in the local almsgiving ceremony, a custom in Theravada Buddhist countries that helps to sustain the monastic community. In Thailand, this ritual morning food donation to the monks, or almsgiving, is called DAK BAT, and the image of barefooted monks carrying their alms bowls in the dawn becomes a beauty that attracts many photographers.

After the ceremony, you take the gondola to the Gold Temple on top of the Mountain. You can admire a golden spire that decorates the center of the complex inside the main temple; the walls around it are decorated with historical murals, shrines & statues. There is also a replica of the Emerald Buddha statue on display. Outside, you can see the Shine of the White Elephant, a viewing terrace, some of the world's largest gongs, a wall of bells, and so much more. Then, you walk the 309 steps down the Naga Serpent (the body of a dragon) staircase to meet your private driver.

Note: Please remember to dress respectfully, or you are not allowed to enter. You are required to remove your shoes while walking around inside the main temple. There are shoe racks to store your shoes, or you could put them in your backpack.

Next, proceed to Wat Umong, built in the 14th century, a heavily forested temple covered by moss and small plants, offering a unique yet charming sense of natural decay; You walk through mysterious tunnels to reach the Viharn of the temple, where you will experience your own private blessing ceremony. Enjoy your lovely day with a tasty bowl of Khao Soy. This famous Northern Thai dish is truly a combination of coconut cream, crispy noodles, and plenty of spice that is sure to delight!

In the afternoon, you return to downtown Chiang Mai to visit the Three Kings Monuments and the Chiang Mai City Arts and Culture Center. Note: The Chiang Mai Arts & Culture Center is closed on Monday and during the Songkran Festival. Opening hours from Tuesday-Sunday are 8:30-17:00. Overnight in Chiang Mai.

This morning, discover Araksa Tea Garden in Mae Tang District – a verdant plantation; specializing in producing high-quality Assam tea. Upon arrival at the tea plantation, you will be greeted by the staff, who will explain the different processes and methods used to cultivate young tea plants. Afterward, follow the resident plucker to the tea bushes and learn how to gather tea leaves. Feel free to join them in plucking tea leaves. Next, continue to the roasting station to observe the art of making tea entirely by hand, from kneading to roasting. After the roasting, enjoy a cup of tea with a delicious Thai snack! 
After lunch, you’ll drive to the Patara Elephant Sanctuary. The program teaches you how to approach the elephant, discern the elephant’s temperament, feed it, and check its health. You can learn how to take care of the elephant, bathe and brush it in the river. Visitors will have a once-in-a-lifetime experience participating in giving daily healthcare to pregnant elephants and their babies. You can also have a chance to observe elephants interacting with their families in their natural environment. Drive back to your hotel in the early evening. Stay overnight in Chiang Mai.

After a leisurely breakfast, embark on a scenic ride to Chiang Rai, near the famous Golden Triangle. Arrive at your hotel in time for lunch and have a quiet afternoon in these beautiful surroundings.

This morning we’ll take you on a trip along the Upper Mekong at the Lao PDR border. Start at Chiang Saen, one of the oldest archaeological sites in northern Thailand; make a stop at Wat Phrathat Chomkiti. 
Visit Ban Had Bai, a Thai Lue weaving village. Lunch is at Rai Saeng Aroon, a farm specializing in organically grown produce. Continue down the river to Chiang Khong. This major commercial crossing at the Thai-Laos border marks the beginning of the road to China. See how local people live and observe the trade between the two counties. Return to the hotel in the late afternoon.

Chiang Rai is among Thailand’s most ethnically diverse provinces and is home to many hill tribes. 
Start the day with visits to traditional Akha and Yao hill tribe villages. The Akha originated in Tibet and are among the poorest of Thailand’s ethnic minorities. The Yao originated in China and is strongly influenced by Chinese traditions. Although different in many ways, they have managed to live peacefully for decades. 
Arrive in Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand and one of the very few official land crossing points between Thailand and Myanmar. Many people from Myanmar come over during the day from Thakhilek to work or do business, hurriedly returning home before sunset. Lacquerware, gems, jade, and other goods from Laos and Myanmar are sold in shops along the main street. After lunch, return to Chiang Rai, arriving in the late afternoon.

Breakfast at the hotel, check out, and transfer back to Chiang Mai airport for a short flight bound for Phuket. Arrive in Phuket, located in Thailand’s southwest region, and set amidst the sparkling Andaman Sea. Enjoy the remainder of the day free at leisure. Phuket is the nation’s largest island and a hugely popular holiday destination, ringed by limestone karst islands and countless white-sand beaches. This "Pearl of the South" presents the perfect playground of natural beauty, lively resort towns, and fishing villages, providing an endless supply of sporting and leisure activities as well as a rich cultural heritage. Overnight in Phuket.

See your guide and driver at the hotel lobby and drive to the white sand landscape of Mai Khao Beach, the longest white sand beach in Phuket. You visit some popular spots for shooting photos, seeing a variety of sea turtles, and watching a plane landing. Late morning, you will have a local Thai set lunch at Baan A-Jor, a local restaurant, decorated according to the belief in Chinese Hokkien style. You will taste delicious food that has received a Michelin Guide at Red Table Restaurant.

Enter the world of magic at Hog's Head, a cafe inspired by the novel Harry Potter, feeling like you have slipped into the novel's world, similar to Diagon Alley. Visit the pig's head pub located in the wizarding village of Hogsmeade. The owner of the shop is Aberforth Dumbledore or Dumbledore's brother. In the shop, the front hangs a picture of a pig's head that has been cut and placed on a chopping board.

The next attractions are the Great Buddha of Phuket and Wat Chalong Pagoda. End the day by visiting Laem Promthep, a famous sunset viewpoint in Phuket. Sit down on a cement edge and admire a glorious sunset. Or you can walk to the tip of the cape, where you can see the jade-colored sea along with waves crashing against the shore. Return to the hotel in the early evening. Overnight in Phuket.

Enjoy a wonderfully relaxing day together in Phuket. Laze on the beautiful beaches, or spend time snorkeling or diving in the azure waters teeming with colorful coral reefs and tropical marine creatures. Charter a boat or catamaran for a memorable day cruising around the islands in the Andaman Sea. Or maybe explore the historic capital, Phuket Town, and its cultural treasures. The choices and distractions are endless! Overnight in Phuket.

Optional tour: Phi Phi Sunrise tour

Get started on a new day with an early pick-up around 5:00–5:15. You move to the Royal Phuket Marina, do a check-in, and enjoy a complimentary breakfast. From the Marina, depart for Maya Bay in the movie "The Beach" with a premium speedboat. The early departure helps you avoid the crowds at the beach, which often happens after 9 a.m. Maya beach is a paradise on earth, where you can enjoy soft white sand, crystal clear water, rustic green mountains, and a calm and serene ambiance. Do not forget to take beautiful photos at Loh Samah Bay – the viewpoint behind Maya Bay. Continue to Pileh Lagoon, the emerald lagoon surrounded by limestone mountains, and do sightseeing at Viking Cave and Monkey Cliff. In the late morning, enjoy snorkeling and admire the beautiful coral reef with fish around you. Lunch is at the Private Beach Restaurant with choices of Thai and Western foods. After lunch, you move on to Bamboo Island, another beautiful place to relax and snorkel. The tour ends at the Royal Phuket Marina at 15:00. You are driven back to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day strolling around Phuket in the way you love. Overnight in Phuket.

Another relaxing day in Phuket.

Optional tour: Kayaking in Phang Nga Bay.

11.45: Hotel Pick-up

~13.00: Arrive in Ao Po, Board our modern Twin-engine escort boat, Thai-style light lunch, trip, and nature Game briefing

14.30: Arrive on the first island and explore 1-2 caves and hongs

15.30: Return to the escort boat and move to the second island

16.00: Explore two more caves and hongs

18.00: Thai seafood buffet dinner during Phang Nga Bay Sunset

19.00: Return to your kayak after dark to float your Loi Kratong

20.00: Depart for Ao Po.

21.00: Arrive at Ao Po and transfer to your mini-van.

21.30: Drop off at your hotel. Free at your own leisure for the rest of the day.

Free at leisure until the transfer to Phuket International Airport for your onward flight.

Tour info

This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on Inquire Now (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!

Our Service Include:
  • Accommodation in a shared twin or shared double room
  • Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
  • English or French speaking guide (for other languages and a national guide supplements apply)
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicle
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits
  • Boat trip as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Drinking water while touring
  • All flights within Thailand
  • Tax & service charge
Our Service exclude:
  • Other non-mentioned meals
  • Other non-mentioned services
  • International Flights to Bangkok, from Phuket
  • Laundry, telephone calls, and personal expenditures
  • Tips, Travel insurance
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