WRITTEN BY
Tyler Roney

PUBLISHED ON
September 18, 2017

LOCATION
Thailand

In north Thailand, otherworldly temples dot forgotten terrains; in the south, elephants stomp through tropical jungle; in the Gulf of Thailand, waiters on ziplines bring world-class cocktails to diners in the canopy at a luxury resort. Thailand has a destination for every desire.

The Land of Smiles is diverse, and Remote Lands has recently added to their bevy of itineraries with voyages that span the historical, cultural, religious, and luxurious. From the elephants of Khao Sok and the rich mythology of Sukhothai to the luxury resorts and bustling night markets, these Remote Lands plans cater to exclusive clientele looking for the best of Thailand.

Nature, Culture, and History in Isaan

Rainforests, wildlife, history – Isaan is Thailand’s heartland, a large, diverse landscape for the curious Thailand explorer. Jungle roads wind through the nation’s fascinating northern sites, away from the tourist throngs of the south. Here, the forests are darker and the experiences are unique. The famous Khao Yai is filled with gibbons, deer, and all manner of wildlife, Buriram boasts volcanoes, Angkor-era temples, and rainforests; Ubon hosts elephants and Khongjiam has the Mekong and cave paintings from the dawn of time. Isaan may not be the most popular Thailand destination, but it’s definitely the most authentic.

Cambodia & Soneva Kiri: Connecting Ancient Culture with Island Charm

ABOVE: The beach at Soneva Kiri, a luxury resort on Thailand’s secluded Koh Kood.

This ultra-luxe Thailand itinerary begins, strangely enough, in Cambodia’s Siem Reap, known for the world wonder of Angkorwat. The experiences here are immersive; from authentic Cambodian dances to VIP seats at the Phare circus. Then the trip takes a decidedly decadent turn to Soneva Kiri. There’s little to be said about the luxury and service of Soneva Kiri that hasn’t already been said. This barefoot luxury resort on one of the most gorgeous islands in the Gulf of Thailand has everything a traveler could want: world class service, fine dining, and even a Cinema Paradiso that looks over a lagoon.

Temple Hopping and Elephant Excursions in Northern Thailand

ABOVE: Cruelty-free elephant experiences are one of Thailand’s most popular attractions.

This seven-day adventure takes off from Bangkok for a scenic 85-kilometer drive from Bangkok to Ayutthaya, Thailand’s ancient capital, where guests will explore the stupas of Wat Mahathat and Wat Phra Sri Sanphet via tuk-tuk. After a cruise up the Sakae Krang River, travelers make their way to the history and mythology of Sukhothai, which comes with a stay at the luxurious Sukhothai Heritage Resort. Then it’s onto the jewel of North Thailand: Chiang Mai. One might spend a lifetime exploring the history, wildlife, and tribes of Chiang Mai, but with just three days to do so, it’s smart to head for the big, lovable pachyderms. The Elephant Conservation Center, Elephant Life Experience, and the Patara Farm are some of the best, cruelty-free ways to experience the Asian elephant and mahout training.

An Exploration of Temples and Ancient Relics in Northern Thailand

ABOVE: White Naga statues at Phayao Lake.

Delving once again into the deep, spiritual aesthetics of the Land of Smiles, this plan leads once again from the history of Uthai Thani and Sukhothai; travelers depart from from Bangkok for a trip that will take them from hill tribes to elephants. After the wonders of Kamphaeng Phet National Park in Sukhothai, visitors will head for Nan for a look into Thailand’s authentic northern night markets and an unforgettable sunset at Wat Phra That Khao Noi. At Phayao are the hill tribes of Ban Rong Hi – including the fascinating culture of the Akha people. From peaceful Phayao to the hustle and bustle of Chiang Mai, this trip trades temples for busy markets, Muay Thai, and elephants.

Floating Elephant Camp and Island Paradise in Thailand

Collage Images From Elephant Hills: http://www.elephanthills.com/photo-gallery/Collage Images From Elephant Hills: http://www.elephanthills.com/photo-gallery/
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ABOVE: The Elephant Hills Tented Camp is one of the best ways to see the Asian elephant in the tropical paradise of Southwest Thailand.

After a night in Bangkok, travelers head out for the famed Phuket for the Elephant Hills Tented Camp in Khao Sok, where visitors will enjoy an afternoon with elephants and end the day with a canoe safari down the Sok River. After two more days exploring the jungles, rivers, and wildlife of Khao Sok, the journey moves to saltwater at Koh Lipe, one of Thailand’s most famous island retreats. After all the snorkeling, massages, kayaking, and island paradise, it’s off to one more night in Bangkok before checking out Thailand’s east. In the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Kood and the “TreePod Dining” experience await. The barefoot luxury at Soneva Kiri on Koh Kood is filled with relaxing, romantic experiences – the perfect end to an ultra-luxe, 13-day adventure to Thailand’s most decadent pleasures.

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