Thailand: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai and Phuket
Fly in/out: Bangkok (BKK) / Phuket (HKT)
Recommended ages: 6 and up
Ball Park Price: High end
Best Season: November-February
Time Zone: EST +12 hours
Currency Thai Baht
DAY ONE & TWO: Fly on Cathay Pacific Airlines to Hong Kong with a connecting to Bangkok, Airport. (BKK) Take a cab and drive 30 minutes to St. Regis Hotel, Bangkok.
DAY THREE: Walk to the Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha on the same grounds (Wat Phrat Kaeo). Then, take a small walk over to Temple of the Reclining Buddha (Wat Pho).
DAY FOUR: Explore parks (Lumphini Park) and streets in Bangkok and see Tai Chi, dancing, weight training, yoga and the Thai culture. Stop at Chatuchuk weekend market to shop. Take an Anantara dinner dining cruise on the Chao Phraya River.
DAY FIVE & SIX: Take a 75 minute flight on Thai Airways from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Check in at Four Seasons, Chiang Mai. Enjoy a cooking class, the spa and resort of Four Seasons. Take the on-site bikes to explore the area, enjoy the lavish outdoor balconies, join in the farmer’s parade every evening before dinner.
DAY SEVEN: Rent a car arranged via concierge and have it delivered to your hotel. Drive three hours from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, Thailand. It is a single lane road with minimal traffic. Check in at Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp. Enjoy the villa and pool.
DAY EIGHT: Enjoy a 3 hour Mahout Training experience offered by Anantara Resorts. Learn to drive an elephant, trek on beautiful nature trails and take part in the river bathing ritual. Return to Anantara resort and soak in some spa.
DAY NINE: Drive back to Chiang Mai and take the direct flight to Phuket, 2 hours nonstop on Bangkok Airways. From Phuket airport, take a cab to the marina and get on a private yacht to go to Naka Island (A small village island in Andaman Sea). Check in to Naka Island Resort a luxury resort and enjoy the Thai style villa with private pool.
DAY TEN to TWELVE: Enjoy all the water activities of the resort including kayaking, sailing and biking.
DAY THIRTEEN & FOURTEEN: Depart Phuket and fly Thai Airways to Hong Kong International Airport (HKG) Check in at W Hotels Worldwide. Depart next day from Hong Kong via Cathay Airlines.
- Thailand does have a majestic feel with many cultural treasures and ornate temples to explore. The city of Bangkok immediately immerses you in Thailand culture with a sensory overload of monks, religious temples, food stands, street markets and tai chi. Children with a sense of adventure will be mesmerized.
- The four regions of Thailand in this itinerary offered a wonderful balance of sightseeing, adventure and relaxation. Each spot offered something unique and breathtakingly beautiful.
- Chiang Mai served as the base point for heading to Northern Thailand for our Elephant Camp Adventure and it was also an enchanting location along the banks of Ping River with lush countryside, rice fields and temple sightseeing with very few tourists.
- Chiang Rai we travelled to for the best Elephant Camp experience.
- Phuket offered the luxury the whole family needed to end the vacation in blissful style. With white sandy beaches, the last portion of this trip was a tropical oasis.
- Our experience at the Mahout Elephant Camp riding and bathing with the “gentle giants” is something our family will never forget. We researched the safest and most well-run elephant camp and found the camp fully funded by the Anantara Hotels as the best including best treatment and care for the elephants.
- The Manohra Dinner Cruise offered the most relaxing and scenic way to see Bangkok. We loved the views from the river and watching the changing colors at dusk.
- We loved to just take our bikes off the Four Season Resorts and explore Chiang Mai. Biking Chiang Mai tours offers a 4-5 hour guided tour exploring areas along the Ping River.
Places to stay
- St. Regis Hotel, Bangkok-centrally located in Bangkok within walking distance of most attractions.
- Among the lush countryside and tribal villages of Chiang Mai, the Four Seasons luxurious hotel offered modern luxuries with full resort amenities.
- Anantara Golden Triangle Elephant Camp and Resort with the renowned onsite Elephant Camp offers unforgettable adventures. The resort is beautiful, well maintained and situated along the Mekong River with stunning views. Our suite rooms were spacious and lovely, with a view of Laos, Burma and Thailand.
- The Naka Island Resort & Spa is a haven of white sandy beaches, natural mangroves and a tropical oasis only 25 minutes from the Phuket International Airport.
- First, a word about Thai Food – delicious. Try Pad Thai, Pad See Ew or Curry for the kids before heading abroad. Once in Thailand, the Thai cuisine is very similar to that found in the states.
- We enjoyed the wonderful cuisine at all of the resorts including St. Regis, Four Seasons, Anaconda and Naka Island Resort.
- In Chiang Mai at the Four Seasons, sign up for one of the cooking schools and enjoy a fabulous meal.
- For a great list of eateries, try Lonely Planets complete list.
- Bring your own water bottles with you. Drinking tap water is discouraged. Many can be purchased at convenient stores that are located throughout Bangkok.
- Getting around Bangkok with children is best by taxi as they are reasonable and negotiable. The tuk-tuks are open air and without seatbelts making it a little too adventurous for most families.
- Jet lag is a factor with the significant time change in Thailand. Allow an extra day on the front end to adjust before any major tourist event.
- Be careful of scam artists at the major tourist stops. They are very crafty to pull you into areas to buy their merchandise.
- Wear skirts and long skirts when visiting temples in Thailand. Remind kids that they’re visiting sacred grounds and that the spectacular visits are worth it even though they may feel as though they are in a crowded church.
- In the remote areas of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, you’ll primarily stay near the resort and with few restaurant options, it’s well worth purchasing the all-inclusive packages.
- Utilize your concierge services at the hotels to confirm your bookings for things like boat or dining excursions. Advanced online reservations can be problematic so just confirm upon your arrival.
- The people of Thailand are known as the “People with Infinite Smiles” for a reason. They are very welcoming of tourists and families. Keep in mind, along with the smiles, comes an aversion to conflict, so sometimes you might not get a direct answer.
- Check with your physicians who may recommend vaccines as well as anti-malarial medications.
- A valid passport, with at least six months remaining before expiration, is required to enter Thailand. U.S. citizens carrying a tourist passport and in possession of an onward or return airline ticket do not require a visa to enter, however, double check at time of travel with the US Embassy in Bangkok.