Essential Thailand

Essential Thailand

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12 Days
From

$2025

$1755

Essential Thailand

12 Days Starting in Bangkok and ending in Chiang Mai

Visiting: Bangkok, Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai, Phayao Lake, Mueang Chiang Rai, The Golden Triangle, Chiang Mai

Tour operator:

Costsaver

Tour code:

CSETAZN19

Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

15 - 45

Physical rating:

Low

Age range:

5-99

Special diets catered:

Vegetarians

Tour operated in:
English
Trip Styles:

Budget

From:
$2025
$1755 (USD) Operator discount: -$221 The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$50 -13%
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Tour Overview

12-Day Thailand Tour from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Diving into Thailand's rich history and fascinating culture, experience the contrasts between the bright lights, glittering skyscrapers and vibrant street markets of Bangkok and the lush green landscapes and peaceful rural life of northern Thailand as you journey by boat into the Golden Triangle.

Highlights

  • Visit the Hall of Opium and take a boat trip along the Mekong River

  • Explore the Night Market and the temples of Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang in Chiang Mai

  • Discover the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, the War Cemetery, and the Bridge on the River Kwai

  • Experience Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, and a khlong tour in Bangkok

  • Visit the UNESCO listed Sukhothai Historical Park to explore ancient temples and palace ruins

  • Explore the unique White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai

  • Enjoy the Mae Kajan Hot Springs on the way to Chiang Mai

Itinerary

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Day 1 : Arrive Bangkok (3 Nights)
Location: Bangkok
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Galleria 10
Meals Included: Dinner

‘Sawadee ka' and welcome to Thailand! Your trip will kick off in buzzy Bangkok, an urban wonder boasting all the soaring skyscrapers and glistening malls of any capital city, but with a distinctly Thai touch. Here you can see it all; orange robe-clad monks strolling the streets with smartphones in hand, while glowing temples and neon-lit bars co-exist peacefully side by side. After transferring to your hotel you'll meet up with your Travel Director to get a glimpse of what's to come on your Thailand value tour, then dinner tonight will have you sampling some of Thailand's tasty cuisine while you get to know your fellow travellers.

Day 2 : Bangkok Sightseeing
Location: Bangkok
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Galleria 10
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Get ready for a full day of sightseeing in Bangkok. We'll show off Bangkok's best cultural and spiritual delights, starting at Wat Pho, Bangkok's most ancient temple. Set eyes on the hugely impressive Reclining Buddha, the largest in Thailand, before moving on to the Grand Palace, a former royal residence. The intricate architecture of this massive complex never ceases to amaze and be sure to see the jewel in its crown, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. We'll make a pit stop for lunch at a local restaurant then board a private boat and take to the maze of canals (klongs) that snake through the city. Kick back and enjoy the ride as you pass by traditional stilted family homes and soak up the quiet river lifestyle of those who work and live on the water. Still keen for more?

Day 3 : Bangkok Free Day
Location: Bangkok
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Galleria 10
Meals Included: Breakfast

Today is all yours to explore Bangkok your way and the adventures are limitless. Want to check out the markets? You can find flower species of every shape, color and origin at the lively Pak Klong Talad (Bangkok flower market), while the charming streets of Chinatown are the perfect place to munch on street food and shop for jade. If you love architecture, you'll likely choose to join our trip to the ancient city of Ayutthaya, the former capital city of Thailand. We'll make a stop along the way at the stunning Bang Pa Summer Palace, then continue on to Ayutthaya, an archaeological hotbed of temples, monasteries and statues that offer a glimpse into the glory days of this ancient land. We'll head back to Bangkok on a cruise and enjoy a buffet lunch as you watch the local life go by along the banks of the Chao Phraya River. This afternoon, you can join our optional visit to Jim Thompson's House, an exquisite example of traditional Thai residential architecture, where you'll find an incredible collection of Asian art.

Day 4 : Bangkok - Kanchanaburi (2 Nights)
Location: Bangkok, Kanchanaburi
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Felix River Kwai Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

It’s goodbye Bangkok and hello Kanchanaburi town today, where we’ll jump straight into the action with a visit to the Thailand-Burma Railway Museum, and the War Cemetery where over 6000 prisoners of war were laid to rest. Next up, we'll pause for lunch then see the infamously named Death Railway, before boarding a local train for a ride with a difference. Gorgeous views over the river and a journey across wooden viaducts will keep your camera busy, as will the next and final stop for today – the famous Bridge over the River Kwai. Our hotel is just a short distance from here, where we’ll dine as a group this evening.

Day 5 : Kanchanaburi Free Day
Location: Kanchanaburi
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Felix River Kwai Hotel
Meals Included: Breakfast

With a completely free day today on your Thailand tour package, Kanchanaburi town is yours to explore your way. Those keen to take it easy can rest up at the hotel and take advantage of the spa facilities, or perhaps you’ll take the opportunity to explore the town and its surroundings. Hoping to get out on the river? Our optional River Kwai Longtail Boat Cruise could be just what you’re looking for. This adventure will begin with a visit to Hellfire Pass, a 500 metre long and 26 metre deep section of rock that was dug by Prisoners of War with nothing more than picks, rocks and their bare hands, to allow for the construction of Death Railway. From here you’ll then travel on to the River Kwai and travel 30 minutes downstream by longtail boat to the River Kwai Jungle Rafts. Fuelling up on a yummy lunch, you’ll then visit the Mon Tribal Village before continuing on downstream, where the coach will meet you and carry you back to the hotel.

Day 6 : Kanchanaburi - Sukhothai (2 Nights)
Location: Kanchanaburi, Sukhothai
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Le Charme Sukhothai Historical Park Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

We’ll be up bright and early this morning to travel north to Sukhothai. The Thailand essentials just keep on coming and along the way we have a treat in store, with a visit to Bhutsaya Khiri Suvarnabhumi, or Rock Buddha. This impressive carving of a seated buddha, masterfully etched out of the hillside, was only finished in 2019 and is a true sight to behold. Stopping for a local lunch en route, we’ll arrive into Sukhothai later this afternoon, then dinner tonight will be a group affair.

Day 7 : Sukhothai Sightseeing And Free Time
Location: Sukhothai
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Le Charme Sukhothai Historical Park Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast

Being famed as the birthplace of Thai civilisation is a pretty big reputation to uphold, but Sukhothai does it with ease. Still historically significant to this day, we’ll start our adventures today with a visit to the UNESCO listed Sukhothai Historical Park, where we’ll get to explore the centuries old temples and palace ruins. History itch scratched, this afternoon will then be yours to explore as you wish. Hungry to learn more about Thai cuisine? Our optional cooking class is there for all the budding chefs amongst you. You’ll start this foodie adventure by learning about the unique herbs and spices of Thailand courtesy of your host, then put the farm to table craze into action by using these ingredients to make a signature Thai dish, such as “Pad Pak Bung Fai Daeng”. And the best part? You get to eat your tasty creation for dinner.

Day 8 : Sukhothai - Chiang Rai (2 Nights)
Location: Sukhothai, Phayao Lake, Mueang Chiang Rai
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Wiang Inn Chiang Rai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

The dramatic mountain beauty of Chiang Rai awaits us today, so we’ll be up early to travel further north. Along the way, we’ll make a stop at Khaw Phayao Lake, the largest freshwater lake in the North, before heading on to Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as the White Temple. Unlike many Thai temples that are centuries old, Wat Rong Khun is unique in the fact that it was only built in 1977. The brainchild of artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, it’s also one of the most recognisable temples in Thailand – you'll know it when you see it. Finally, we’ll complete today’s journey with a short drive to Chiang Rai, where we’ll check in to our hotel and eat dinner tonight as a group.

Day 9 : Chiang Rai Free Time
Location: The Golden Triangle
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Wiang Inn Chiang Rai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Today is free for you to explore Chiang Rai as you choose. You may wish to journey to the heart of the Golden Triangle. This morning hop on board a boat that will take you cruising along the mighty Mekong River to the exact spot where the borders of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos collide. You'll have time to step out onto dry land in Laos and head into the Don Sao Island Markets where you can browse all the handicrafts and local snacks on offer. It's the only part of Laos that can be visited without a visa, so make the most of it! Next, we'll stop for lunch at a local restaurant, before heading to the self-proclaimed ‘edutainment' Hall of Opium, a fascinating museum that reveals an incredible 5000 years of history. The state of the art exhibitions, harrowing recounts and even a tiny opium plantation all tell a vivid story of the conflicts, rituals and abuse that have all stemmed from opium, a trade that once ruled the Golden Triangle over the past century.

Day 10 : Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai (2 Nights)
Location: Mueang Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: The Empress Chiang Mai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Who’s ready to dip their toes in some bubbling hot springs? We hope all of you, as our first stop today en route to Chiang Mai, are the lovely Mae Kajan Hot Springs. Feeling refreshed, we’ll grab lunch in a local restaurant before travelling on to the laidback city of Chiang Mai. Sprawling in size but with a historic centre that has managed to retain the charm and pace of a low-key country town, Chiang Mai is also THE place for temple exploring. So, guess what we’ll be doing this afternoon? You got it! We’ll be exploring both Wat Phra Singh temple, which was built in 1345, and Wat Chedi Luang temple, a charming wooden creation famous for its huge Lanna style chedi. This evening, prepare to discover the charm of Chiang Mai by night as we head out to visit the city’s iconic night markets.

Day 11 : Chiang Mai Free Day
Location: Chiang Mai
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: The Empress Chiang Mai
Meals Included: Breakfast

Your day your way is what today is all about, and with it being your last day, be sure to make the most of it.

Day 12 : Depart Chiang Mai
Location: Chiang Mai
Meals Included: Breakfast

Your incredible journey through Thailand's cities, rivers, mountains, temples and markets has come to an end. You've encountered diverse cultures, tasted all kinds of Thai foods and experienced the warmth of Thai hospitality and we're sure you'll be leaving with the iconic Thai smile on your face! Transferring to Chiang Mai International Airport, you'll catch your onward flight.

What's Included

  • Travel Director and Driver

    An expert Travel Director and professional Driver.

  • Accommodation

    Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted.

  • Meals

    Many meals and daily breakfasts included.

  • City Tours

    City orientation tours.

  • Audio Headsets

    Audio Headsets provided throughout your holiday to enhance your included sightseeing experiences.

  • Transport

    Luxury air-conditioned coach.

  • Optional Experiences

    Variety of Optional Experiences.

  • Detailed Meals

    Meals as detailed in the itinerary.

What's Not Included

Mode of Transport

Luxury air-conditioned coach

Accommodation

Cherry-picked hotels, all tried and trusted

Check out our Q&As

  • What is the tipping policy?

    Hotel and restaurant tips are included. All taxes and porterage charges at hotels are also included.

  • What is the maximum group size?

    40 people

  • Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

  • Are all the relevant entry visa’s included in the price of the tour?

    No

  • Are flights included in this tour?

    No

  • What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    Low - These tours generally have up to 1-3 miles of walking per day and may involve some uneven surfaces, such as cobblestones and stairs.

  • Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

    Yes, 5 years or above

  • Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Complimentary arrival and departure transfer by shuttle coach is included on the arrival and departure day of your guided holiday. If your flight times do not coincide with the shuttle coach transfer timings you may choose to book and purchase a transfer.

  • Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

  • Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    The beauty and joy of taking a guided vacation with Costsaver is that you get to meet, travel and make friends with people from all over the world.

  • How long has the tour company been trading?

    Costsaver is part of The Travel Corporation, which has been in business for over 100 years.

  • What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Costsaver is proud to be a founding partner of the TreadRight Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation started in 2008. To date the charity has donated over US$2 million to assist underprivileged communities and support sustainable tourism initiatives around the globe.

Reviews of this Operator

Trusted Customer  

ONE OF MY BEST TRAVEL EXPERIENCES IN MY LIFE!

12-Jan-2023

Travel Director Alberto and Driver Victor were providing excellent services and amazing travel experiences. Since I came back I strongly recommended to all my contacts how impressed I am with your Professional Team.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

Definitely recommend

14-Dec-2022

Trip was planned well and the experience was great. Would definitely recommend and do another

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

Best trip ever!

20-Jan-2023

Our trip was absolutely outstanding, organized and just plain fun. Agnes is a wonderful tour-guide, knowledgeable and we never had to worry about anything. And Frank, our bus driver, always had a smile and gave us the smoothest bus ride ever! And I've been on buses around the world... If we ever go again (hopefully), Costsaver would be my first and only choice and hopefully we will get "team" Agnes and Frank again.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

Best Travel Experience

05-Jan-2023

We have traveled to Europe many times but this time Spain was different. It was fantastic trip, our tour director was professional and informative.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

No hesitation recommending Costsaver

17-Jan-2023

I had the time of my life. It was an incredible experience.

Feefo Trusted Reviews
Trusted Customer  

Why I chose Costsaver

15-Jan-2023

1. The visited places were interesting. 2. A real value for money. 3. Super knowledgeable and friendly tour director 4. Secure and safe. 5. Comfortable bus. 6. Efficient hotel check-in experience. 7. Highly experienced driver. 8. Excellent coordination with hotels.

Feefo Trusted Reviews

Dates & Availability

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Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Jun 28, 2024 - Jul 09, 2024
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Jul 26, 2024 - Aug 06, 2024
$2025 $1755 (USD)

Operator discount: -$221 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$50 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Aug 23, 2024 - Sep 03, 2024
$2025 $1755 (USD)

Operator discount: -$221 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$50 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Sep 27, 2024 - Oct 08, 2024
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Oct 25, 2024 - Nov 05, 2024
$2025 $1755 (USD)

Operator discount: -$221 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$50 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Dec 20, 2024 - Dec 31, 2024
$2295 $1991 (USD)

Operator discount: -$248 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$56 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Dec 27, 2024 - Jan 07, 2025
$2295 $2212 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Jan 10, 2025 - Jan 21, 2025
$2195 $2115 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$60 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Mar 14, 2025 - Mar 25, 2025
$2195 $2115 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$60 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Apr 18, 2025 - Apr 29, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

May 16, 2025 - May 27, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

May 30, 2025 - Jun 10, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Jun 27, 2025 - Jul 08, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Jul 25, 2025 - Aug 05, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Aug 22, 2025 - Sep 02, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Sep 26, 2025 - Oct 07, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Oct 24, 2025 - Nov 04, 2025
$2025 $1950 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$55 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Dec 19, 2025 - Dec 30, 2025
$2325 $2242 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$63 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Dec 26, 2025 - Jan 06, 2026
$2350 $2266 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$64 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Jan 09, 2026 - Jan 20, 2026
$2225 $2144 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$61 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Feb 13, 2026 - Feb 24, 2026
$2225 $2144 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$61 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Friday - Tuesday

Mar 13, 2026 - Mar 24, 2026
$2225 $2144 (USD)

Operator discount: -$20 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$61 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Low Deposit

    Costsaver requires a minimum deposit of 350 USD per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 90 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of costsaver charges.

    Up to 91 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of deposit.

    At 90 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 29 days before tour starts: Forfeit 80% of booking price.

    At 1 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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