Bangkok, Chiang Rai & Khao Lak
Travel 14 Jan 2019 - 30 Nov 2019
Book by 31 Jan 2019
Saving £275 per person
- 4 nts Rembrandt, Bangkok - Room only
- 3 nts The Riverie by Kata Thani , Northern Thailand - Breakfast
- 7 nts Moracea by Khao Lak Resort, Khao Lak - Breakfast
- FREE room upgrade in Bangkok
- Flights to Bangkok and onwards to Chiang Rai and Phuket from Heathrow, accommodation throughout, return private transfers and prepayable taxes.
- This holiday is ATOL protected 2713
Rembrandt offers superb value and is within strolling distance of the skytrain, street markets and the shops, bars and restaurants of Sukhumvit Road.
This newly refurbished hotel sits within landscaped gardens on its own island in the Mae Kok River, yet is also just 15 minutes walk from central Chiang Rai.
Moracea by Khao Lak Resort is a picturesque, unassuming resort set on the side of a tree-covered slope with steps leading to a glorious beach.
Flights to Bangkok and onwards to Chiang Rai and Phuket from Heathrow, accommodation throughout, return private transfers and prepayable taxes.
Regional Departures: Regional supplements are available from Manchester from £165, Belfast from £165, Newcastle from £165, Edinburgh from £165, Glasgow from £165. Other regional airports may be available, please ask for details.
Experience a few days in Bangkok to explore this vibrant, sometimes chaotic, metropolis. Wherever you look in this diverse city, you'll see the old and cultured mingling with the bright and the new. Whether it's the stunning opulence of the palaces, the chaos of the streetlife or the extremes of the nightlife, Bangkok offers an experience not to be missed at amazing value for money.
Bangkok is most people's first introduction to this fascinating country and there is really nowhere else quite like it. Love it or hate it, you really must see it! There are fabulous hotels, which offer real value for money. Whether you choose one located on the banks of the Chao Phraya River or one located in the Sukhumvit/city, you will never be far from the shops and culture.
Bangkok's chaotic streets are notoriously crowded with traffic so travelling by road can be painfully slow, but taxis are plentiful and cheap while a journey by tuk tuk is a hair-raising experience not to forget. Alternatively, the clean, cheap and very efficient skytrain (BTS) and underground (MRT) rail systems connect the main shopping, entertainment and business areas of the city making it easy to navigate your way around.
The city's most famous landmark is the spectacularly elaborate Grand Palace complex, which was the former residence of the Thai royal family but is now used for ceremonial purposes. Incredibly well preserved the complex is home to several impressive buildings including the highly revered Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha). Other notable temples within the city include the exquisitely decorated Wat Arun (the Temple of Dawn) and Wat Pho which houses the 150 foot long Reclining Buddha.
The Chao Phraya River, with its backdrop of temples and hotels, is a constant hive of activity with longtailed speedboats and water taxis whizzing to different points along the river, or heavily laden barges chugging sedately upstream. Join a tour of the river and explore the ramshackle world of criss-crossing canals (klongs) which are lined with precariously perched wooden houses.
Boasting over 50,000 places to eat Bangkok has just about everything on the menu, so whether you choose to sample appetising delights from roadside food sellers or dine out in style you're sure to find something to tantalise your taste buds. Another notable feature of the city is the nightlife, which in recent years has evolved to offer everything from sophisticated rooftop cocktail bars and jazz lounges to chic clubs, microbreweries and so much more.
Delve deeper into Thai culture by heading north and it will feel like you're in a different country: the landscape, the language, the architecture, the food and the people of this region are quite distinct. The "Rose of the North" and Thailand's second largest city, Chiang Mai is the gateway to the region and the most culturally significant; Chiang Rai is gateway to the infamous Golden Triangle, where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar (Burma) come together; and the sleepy market town of Mae Hong Son nestles high up in a picturesque valley surrounded by mist-shrouded hills.
Famous for its beautiful women, historic temples, distinctive festivals and handicrafts, Chiang Mai is also a great location for those seeking soft adventure such as elephant trekking, mountain biking and rafting. Its moat-encircled Old City dates back to the 13th century and it's within these narrow streets that you'll find many remarkable temples including Wat Phra Sing, which houses the highly revered Phra Singh Buddha. Not too far away is one of the most holy Buddhist sites in Thailand, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which overlooks the city from its spectacular setting atop Mount Suthep. Dating back to the 14th century this awe-inspiring temple is crowned by a gold-plated Chedi (monument) and on a clear day has towering views over the city and valley. Adding to the prestige of Doi Suthep is Phu Phing Palace, the winter residence of the Thai royal family, whose landscaped gardens are open to the public.
Surrounded by majestic mountain scenery Chiang Rai has more than its share of natural attractions and antiquities. Thailand's most northern city, it's a peaceful and laid-back place, which is easy to explore on foot, whether you explore by the Kok River where there's even a 'beach', or head out to the nearby hills and forest parks. Alternatively bicycles are readily available to hire and the river itself is great for rafting or longtail boat rides.
Mae Hong Son is home to a number of attractive temples, the most striking being Phra That Doi Kong Mu, set high up on a hill overlooking the city. Visit at dawn to see Mae Hong Son bathed in the mist or later in the afternoon for panoramic views of the surrounding area. Other notable temples include Wat Jong Klang and Wat Jong Kham which sit beside the serene waters of Jong Kham Lake in the heart of the town. Many hilltribes can be found in the area – Shans, Lanna, Thais and Karens, each with their own unique style, language, customs, traditions and cuisine. The most popular villages to visit are those inhabited by the long neck (Padong) Karen tribeswomen, who originated from Myanmar and are so called because of the layers of brass rings worn around their necks.
Trekking is a major attraction in Mae Hong Son and can be done as part of a day tour for a few hours or even longer to fully appreciate the stunning mountain scenery. Alternatively a more leisurely option is to combine an elephant trek through the jungle with a gentle raft trip along the picturesque Pai River. As you glide along, you'll hopefully catch glimpses of the local women washing clothes in the river while children splash and play about nearby.
Chiang Mai is an area rich with cottage industries and it's possible to visit workshops to watch the artisans at work and learn about the production of umbrellas, silk, silverware, lacquerware, furniture and ceramics. At the bustling Night Market, which sprawls along the main thoroughfare, there are countless pavement stalls selling the handicrafts as well as local wares, clothing, authentic Thai cuisine and much more. It's a great place to practice your bartering skills and pick up some bargains. Chiang Rai has its own Night Bazaar, which while a fraction of the size of that in Chiang Mai, you'll still find stalls brimming with hilltribe handicrafts, clothing and souvenirs.
Located an hour's drive north of Phuket in mainland Phang Nga province, Khao Lak has long, long expanses of sandy beach bordered by the mountains of the surrounding national parks. It's not difficult to understand Khao Lak's appeal when you are greeted by unspoilt landscape of beaches, jungle-clad mountains, forested valleys, mangroves and estuaries. It's a place to take it easy, read a book and get back to nature, albeit with a few comforts!
Khao Lak's pristine beach area spans for some 18 miles from the Thap Lamu pier area in the south towards Bang Sak in the north. Nang Thong is considered the true centre of the Khao Lak area and is where the largest number of resorts and restaurants are found. Bang Niang beach, lying to the north of Nang Thong, is also popular but has a quieter feel, while further north Khuk Khak, Pakarang and Bang Sak areas have some excellent resorts and less crowded beaches.
Resplendent with rich natural attractions Khao Lak borders five spectacular national parks including Lam Ru National Park, a medley of sea cliffs, beaches, forested valleys and mangroves as well as the natural habitat of wildlife such as gibbons, tapirs and Asiatic black bears. Within the parks too there are many waterfalls to explore, including Lampi, Pakweep and Ton Prai, all of which offer refreshing pools for swimming.
Khao Lak is also a convenient departure point for a trip to the Similan Islands, a group of rocks and islands, which can be reached in about an hour by speedboat. The area was declared a national marine park in 1982 and the turquoise waters teem with colourful coral, exotic fish and sea mammals, making it a popular haunt for divers and snorkelers.
Restaurants and nightlife tend to centre around Bang Niang and Nang Thong Beach, and while Khao Lak is definitely not the place to come for those seeking a glitzy party scene, the selection of bars and restaurants give the opportunity to go out and meet fellow holidaymakers. La On is the main shopping, dining and nightlife hub of Nang Thong Beach and the strip of restaurants, bars and shops begin to come alive as the sun begins to set.