Embark on an 11-day journey that travels Thailand from top to bottom to its premiere destinations. From the exciting capital city of Bangkok, to the mountainous Chiang Mai and jungles of Chiang Rai in the north, down to palm-fringed paradise island of Phuket, all while staying at world-class resorts, experience the best this Southeast Asian country has to offer.This itinerary is an example. It’s designed to inspire you and provide you with thoughtfully curated ideas. You can choose to do this exact itinerary or completely personalize it. All trips are 100% bespoke.
Start your journey in Bangkok, the city of angels. The capital and most populous city in Thailand, Bangkok is a rapidly modernizing metropolis that offers glittering skyscrapers, mega malls, and efficient sky train lines alongside opulent gilded royal buildings, sidewalk-lined streetfood carts, and ubiquitous shrines and pictures of the monarchy. Upon arrival, you will be met at the airport and transferred via private vehicle into the city to your hotel. Check in and relax for the rest of the afternoon. Unwind with a coconut or lemongrass drink as you enjoy bucolic riverside scenes from your hotel. In the evening as the day starts to cool down, it is time to dive into the bustling action at Chinatown on a streetfood tour. Eat your way down the streets of this massive open air food market and try staple dishes such as sizzling oyster omelets, egg noodles with crab and wontons, grilled satay skewers, curry over rice, and fresh fruits and juices. Learn about the convergence of Thai and Chinese cultures in Bangkok through its food. It is estimated that as much as a third to a half of the Thai population have Chinese ancestry.
Today you will explore Bangkok's most famous and historically significant sites, most of which are situated on Rattanakosin Island. When Rama I founded the city as the capital of his new kingdom in 1782, he chose the bend of the riverbank and turned it into a royal island by digging canals to form moats. Begin with the Grand Palace, a sprawling royal complex of sparkling gilded structures. Nearby is Wat Pho, home of the Reclining Buddha and instruction center of Thai massage. Peruse the amulet market and flower market, and learn their cultural importance, before getting on a traditional long-tail boat for a cruise through the canals, known as klongs. When Bangkok was first founded, the land was mostly marshy swampland and thus canals instead of roads were the main mode of transportation. Today though most canals have been paved over, few still exist. See old and renovated wooden homes that fringe these waterways, a slice of life of yesteryear. End the day at Wat Arun, a striking temple on the west bank covered with over one million glazed ceramic tiles.
Arise early to visit one of Bangkok's morning wet markets. Feel the frenetic energy of the buzzing market and be sure to try a hot local breakfast while there. If it is a weekend, make your way to a floating market outside of town. Then, visit the teak home of Jim Thomson, a cultural icon who is reputed to have saved the Thai silk craft before mysteriously disappearing into the Malaysian jungles. If you wish, experience the megamall phenomenon that is Siam Paragon, which features a multiplex cinema, bowling alley, concert hall, and Southeast Asia's largest aquarium. Round out the day with a stroll along Bangkok's first road which parallels the river. This area is undergoing a renaissance thanks to young street artists and entrepreneurs refitting old shophouses with hip cafes, restaurants, and bars, and art galleries.
Today you'll fly up north to Chiang Mai, the capital of the former Lanna Kingdom. Once strong enough to rival the Ayutthaya Kingdom, Lanna was eventually dismantled and absorbed into the emerging Siam nation-state in the late 1800s. The distinct language, culture, foods, and traditions of the Lanna still exist today in Chiang Mai and other northern regions of Thailand. Learn about the fascinating history of this historic city and its double moat on an old city tour by rickshaw. Then survey the city and the surrounding land from above at the top of Doi Suthep, a mountain just outside of the city. At the peak is one of the country's most venerated temples, and where you will receive a blessing. Before heading to your hotel, make a final stop at Wat Umong, one of the most unique and least-visited temples of the city. The temples's underground tunnels were built to contain a mad monk.
Go beyond the basic red, green, and yellow curries and pad thai commonly associated with Thai food, and learn another side of this complex cuisine with a private cooking class focused on Lanna cuisine. Jungle vegetables and herbs, pork, and sticky rice are cornerstones of this regional cuisine, which inclines towards salty and spicy tastes. Create dishes using market and farm fresh ingredients over a traditional charcoal stove and enjoy lyour unch in a sala pavilion. Alternatively, the adventure-inclined can instead opt to take advantage of Chiang Mai's jungles and rivers and go white-water rafting or ziplining. In the afternoon, experience this old city's contemporary culture with a visit to the Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum and a stroll through the trendy Nimman district which is known for boutiques, cafes, and restaurants. This evening, visit a nighttime market which promises plenty of snacks and bargains. If it is the weekend, the famous Weekend Walking Street is a real treat.
Continue north by car to Chiang Rai, a town that sits on the border with Laos and Myanmar, a region known as the Golden Triangle. Enroute, break up your drive with stops to the White temple and Black House, two architectural statement pieces. Arrive at your jungle abode, whether the family-friendly Anantara resort or lavish tents of Four Seasons next door. Settle in and enjoy the rest of the day as you wish. Both resorts are all-inclusive and best known for their elephant-based activities.
Spend the day how you wish; the resort offers a number of included excursions and activities. The resort's most popular activity is spending time up-close with the elephants from the camp nearby. Learn how mahouts train their elephants and enjoy feeding them snacks and washing them in the river. Also nearby the resort is the Opium Museum which is well-worth a visit to learn about the area's history as an opium-producing region.
Another popular activity is the Three-Country excursion which takes you across the borders of Laos and Myanmar for a tour of the Golden Triangle. Visit the local markets and villages and see how these neighboring border towns overlap and differ.
After big cities and jungles, it's finally time to unwind at the beach. Fly south to Phuket, the country's most famous beach destination. This tropical paradise with pearly white sand, swaying palm trees, and warm turquoise waters is the real deal. Take your pick from a range of luxury accommodations, from white-glove resorts to barefoot boutiques, private-pool villas perched cliffside with stunning views or directly on the beach. The day is entirely yours to while away.
Take a morning cultural excursion to Phuket's Old Town, a quaint collection of Sino-Portuguese shophouses and historic mansions, Chinese shrines, temples, and Peranakan restaurants. Return to your resort and spend the rest of the day at leisure, whether on the beach of by the pool. To really take advantage of your last day in paradise, opt for a private yacht charter. Set course for the many small islands and lagoons that harbor a whole world of sealife just below the crystal clear surface. Strap on a mask and explore the underwater side of Phuket. Drink in the sunset with a glass of champagne and a fresh bbq seafood dinner back at your villa, a sublime end to your journey through Thailand, the Land of Smiles.
Enjoy your breakfast, and perhaps one last dip in the ocean and a coconut, before your private transfer to the airport for your flight onward.
Overlooking the Chao Phraya river, the iconic Peninsula’s commanding views of the city’s skyline make it one of the most elegant choices in Bangkok. Designed with a blend of modern and traditional Thai decor, the hotel provides all of the comforts of home with an exotic flair, all with the level of quality service and amenities that define the Peninsula. The hotel boasts three restaurants: Mei Jiang for Cantonese cuisine; Thiptara for Thai home-style cooking on an open-air pavilion; and the River Cafe and Bar, located on the banks of the river. The excellent spa, ESPA, offers state-of-the-art treatments, and an extensive fitness center includes a pool set in a garden complex. The Peninsula is located approximately 45 minutes by car from Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK).
The Siam Hotel is set on 3 acres of verdant lawn along the city side of Bangkok’s main river, the Chao Praya. The Siam is a private 39-room luxury retreat with its own unique historical background located in Bangkok’s royal Dusit district. Designed by internationally acclaimed architect Bill Bensley, the property is Art Deco inspired with infusions of Thai antiques and traditional architecture. Guests have an array of amenities at their fingertips: restaurants, a cooking school, bar, café, spa, gym, yoga terrace, Muay Thai boxing ring, beauty salon, library/cinema, infinity pool, gift/antiques gallery, conservatory and traditional Thai houses. The Siam’s 39 suites and pool villas are noticeably spacious and well equipped with modern conveniences. All rooms are outfitted with plush furnishings, super-sized king beds and lofty ceilings. Each suite is individually designed with original turn-of-the-century Oriental artwork and antiquities and is catered for by a personal butler. Complimentary WiFi is available property-wide. Onsite dining options include a Thai restaurant, international cuisine bistro, bar and coffee and cakes shop. The Siam Hotel is approximately 50 minutes from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK).
Drawing on its reputation for elegance and personalization, the Capella Bangkok is nestled along the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, providing panoramic views from all 101 rooms, suites, and villas. The hotel has also thrown a couple of hats into the capital city’s ring of culinary offerings with two gourmet restaurants and a waterfront patio area that’s perfect for al-fresco dining. Three-Michelin-starred Argentinian chef Mauro Colagreco is the mastermind behind much of Capella’s cuisine, and there is a specialty bar offering desserts and artisan cocktails. Among other amenities, there is an oriental tea lounge, open-air spa, outdoor pool, and even an in-house Capella Library. Finally, in trademark Capella fashion, personal assistants are made available to guests to ensure a luxury stay in Bangkok.
The Four Seasons Chiang Mai blends with its natural surroundings seamlessly, with trees growing between and around the resort, overlooking terraced rice fields and the mountains of the Mae Rim Valley. The resort has 64 boutique pavilions, each with a private veranda, as well as 16 private luxury residences. The Sala Mae Rim serves Thai cuisine and offers sweeping views of the valley below, and the Terraces have international dishes with a view of the Doi Suthep mountain range. The hotel has a health club with state of the art equipment, including a sauna, herbal steam room, whirlpool, cold plunge pool, 20-meter infinity edge swimming pool, a business center and wi-fi access. There are also mountain bikes available for use, along with maps of trails through the surrounding forest. The Spa at the Four Seasons Chiang Mai has seven treatment suites with rain shower massage tables and private herbal steam rooms. Professional spa therapists can help you choose the best treatment package for your needs. The hotel is 25 minutes from Chiang Mai International Airport.
Located in the heart of Wat Gate, an area in Chiang Mai that was formerly designated to foreigners by the government, 137 Pillars House sits idyllically along the Ping River, adjacent to Wat Gate Khar Rham Temple. Combining the regality of traditional Thai elegance with modern luxury, this boutique hotel offers amenities including high-speed wireless internet access, laundry service, a 24-hour on-call medical professional, babysitting services, a spa, outdoor swimming pool and a fitness facility. The Dining Room offers classic Thai cuisine, one of the many dining options offered at the hotel. 137 Pillars House is approximately 25 minutes by car from Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX).
The Anantara is a chic luxury retreat perched atop a high mountain ridge overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Ruak rivers, and close to Thailand's borders with Laos and Myanmar. It has 58 guest rooms and 19 suites decorated in a style that blends the best of the area's rich fabric and woodcarving traditions with contemporary design. The resort includes a sybaritic spa, an infinity pool that looks over the tree canopy to the Mekong River and up towards the hills of Myanmar and Laos, a fitness center with steam rooms, saunas, squash and tennis courts, a Thai cooking school, and an elephant camp, where you can learn about the importance of the elephant in Thai culture and arrange a ride through the surrounding jungle. The Anantara is also home to three food and beverage establishments: Sala Mae Nam (international buffet breakfast and Northern Thai specialties for dinner), Baan Dahlia (authentic Italian cuisine with a wine selection from vineyards around the globe), and The Elephant Bar and Opium Terrace, the perfect setting for a night cap.
An exotic getaway reached by riverboat, the Four Seasons Tented Camp is set in a bamboo jungle at the meeting point of three countries: Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. Fifteen freestanding, luxurious tents are spaced along a half-mile-long hillside trail over the Muak River, each with a large outdoor deck to take in the lush surroundings and the sounds of the forest. The rooms are outfitted with hand-hammered copper bathtubs, and custom-made furnishings that hearken back to the style of 19th-century explorers. The spa offers simple luxury with traditional Thai massages in open-air salas that seem to float in the air amid the trees. The treatments include mountain botanicals and warming spices for a unique and restorative experience. Private yoga classes are also available. A variety of dining experiences are offered and are shared by the small group of guests: breakfast is served at Nong Yao, the camp's restaurant; lunch might be a picnic in the jungle with folding tables, stools and linen napkins; dinner could be a barbecue, a five-course formal meal or a dinner by the campfire. There is a pool and attached whirlpool at the camp that has been integrated into the landscape, surrounded by granite boulders and lush plants. The camp is 90 minutes from Chiang Rai International Airport (CEI).
Amanpuri, which means “peaceful place,” is a magnificent resort created by the architect who designed the Winter Palace of the former Shah of Iran. The resort has 40 secluded pavilions, each with a private outdoor terrace overlooking the Andaman Sea, and come with a personal cook and butler. Dining options include The Restaurant, which serves Italian cuisine, and The Terrace, which offers Thai and European specialties. Amanpuri has a Beach Club, with windsurfing and hobie-cats available, a 20-meter lap pool and a starting point for diving, snorkeling or fishing. Other facilities include a business center, floodlit tennis courts, and a fitness center with state-of-the-art weight training and cardiovascular machines and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sea. Wifi is available in all rooms and public areas. The resort is 25 minutes from the airport in Phuket (HKT).
The beachside Andara resort rests atop a lush hillside on the west coast of Phuket, offering sweeping sea views from its rooms, restaurants and an infinity pool. Andara’s accommodations include a variety of Pool Villas and a mix of Pool Suites, Terrace Suites and Pool Suite Penthouses. The Silk Restaurant & Bar serves contemporary Thai cuisine focusing on locally sourced ingredients, as well as Western comfort foods and a children’s menu. Andara’s Spa has five individual treatment rooms, two couples’ rooms with jacuzzi baths, and a private steam room, with a diverse menu of therapies including Thai, Ayurvedic, Swiss, Javanese and Swedish massage, as well as a variety of scrubs, detox and body treatments. The resort’s state-of-the-art fitness center has the latest free weights and Precor machines and cardio equipment, and both group and individual yoga and aerobic classes are available as well. Andara is a 30-minute drive from Phuket International Airport.
Looking out over the sparkling Andaman Sea, this superb five-star resort is one of the most spectacular luxury retreats Phuket has to offer. Set within a peaceful bay on the island’s Western coast, an idyllic shoreline is greeted by crystal-clear waters directly in front of the resort, creating a secluded island sanctuary. It lies conveniently close to Phuket International Airport but far enough to transport guests to their own exotic haven. Anantara’s first-class hospitality is coupled with a collection of 30 opulent rooms and luxury suites as well as 47 indulgent pool villas. Guests can enjoy a balance of the serenity from the private stretch of beach and shoreline pool with the diversity of facilities within the resort, including exciting water activities, fitness center and spa. Days in Thai paradise are accompanied by some of the finest dining options in Phuket, with seductive settings and awe-inspiring island views to match. Professional and talented chefs create fresh and beautifully-presented dishes for exclusive dining experiences, where guests can sample the iconic flavors of Thailand.
The Rosewood Phuket, a secluded beach hideaway, sits on Emerald Bay’s sandy shores set amongst lush tropical landscape. The first Southeast Asia property in the brand’s portfolio, Rosewood’s luxe style blends signature polished contemporary fittings with rustic notes of Thai tradition. Each of the 71 pavilions and villas feature soft neutral tones, retractable floor-to-ceiling windows allowing for maximum natural light, and its own infinity-edge pool overlooking the Andaman Sea. Asaya, the wellness center, provides nutritional coaching, fitness activities, alternative therapies and specialized healing treatments, while the state-of-the-art Fitness Center allows guests to workout with a view of the beach. Families can take advantage of the Explorers Club which provides fun-filled activities and facilities for young guests. Guests can choose between Thai seafood, Italian, and a seafood grill for meals, and throughout the day and into the night, lounge at the poolside Bar enjoying music, drinks and snacks with sweeping views of the sea. The property is approximately 1 hour 20 minutes from Phuket International Airport.
Price is based on double or twin hotel room occupancy and includes accommodation, transfers, car/driver, English-speaking guide, activities and entrance fees, breakfasts and some casual lunches while touring. Flights and optional special activities will be quoted separately. Most personal expenses, including dinners, alcoholic beverages, spa treatments and gratuities can be paid on the spot while traveling.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
With Remote Lands you'll travel with people who have made Asia the solitary focus of their own lifelong adventure. As our guest, in the continent that our north American founders Catherine and Jay have adored and explored for decades, you'll discover Asia on a journey that is completely, authentically your own, adapted from our own remarkable experiences and adventures over the years.
An Asia-focused magazine brought to you by Remote Lands – a platform for adventure, luxury, and authenticity from experts and explorers around the continent.
The Remote Lands travel experts have put together a batch of new holiday itineraries for the Land of Smiles, from luxury and elephants to religion and kayaking.
Anthony Gill, General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai and Tented Camp Golden Triangle, speaks with Travelogues from Remote Lands on how travel will change in Thailand’s wild north.
Here is a small selection of the kind words our guests have said about us, as well as features by journalists and travel writers.