Thailand does not have an old tradition of making domestic gardens, though modern Thais appreciate gardens. Thailand does however have an ancient tradition of making Buddhist temple compounds. It also has an amazing natural fauna and flora. Thailand is rich in wild orchids, collected by connoisseurs and grown in hanging baskets by the poor. Thailand has a cultural connection with China and some influences can be seen (eg at Wat Po, known as the Temple of the Laughing Buddha). Influenced by Europe, the Thai royal family began to make pleasure gardens during the nineteenth century. In 1952 Princess Chumbhot began a garden at Suan Pakkad Palace in Bangkok and also the country park of Wang Takrai. There is a remarkable public Rose Garden (Suan Sampran) outside Bangkok.
The Bangkok Botanical Gardens are dedicated to the King of Thailand. The different sections of the gardens are separated by water. The Botanic Gardens in Chaing Mai are dedicated to Queen Sirikit. The Queen Sirikit Botanic Gardens are in a spectacular location in the mountains just outside Chaing Mai and have a colourful display of Thai flora.
Day 1: Arrival in Bangkok
You will be met at the airport and transferred to hotel and the remainder of the day is free.
Day 2: Bangkok (B, L, D)
This morning, you will experience an exhilarating boat ride along the bustling Chao Phraya River and the quiet Klongs (canals) in a long-tail boat. Next, we’ll walk through a private garden of a local family where you will see many of Thailand’s exotic flowers including many species of orchids. Buffet lunch at Venice Vanich Restaurant located right on the bank of Chao Phraya River. Continue to Wat Arun, the magnificent temple of Dawn with its 79-meter pagoda built in Khmer style. Stroll the flower market on walking distance from the museum before returning to the hotel. Dinner at “Once Upon A Time” restaurant- an old Thai wooden housed in a luxurious garden.
Day 3: Bangkok (B, L)
This morning we explore Suan Luang Rama IX Park with six sections which are separated by water, beautifully landscaped and richly planted. This new and sizeable park is a popular metropolitan public area in Bangkok. This afternoon we visit the Royal Grand Palace, the mysterious Emerald Buddha- the most revered Buddha image in Thailand.
Day 4: Bangkok – Chiang Mai (B, L)
Transfer to the airport for a morning flight to Chiang Mai. The second largest city of Thailand is often called “The Rose of the North” for the abundance of flowers that thrive in its cooler mountain climate. We start the tour of Chiang Mai with a visit to Dokmai Garden. This is a private botanical garden that has invaluable advices from Associate Professor Eric Danell. The visit is an excellent gateway to the understanding of the nature and culture of northern Thailand. With the knowledge and experience you share with the Thai family, Seehamongkol, who live in this private 4-hectare garden, you will have confidence to go to other Thai gardens, local food markets and nearby national parks in the area. Dokmai also has birds, fish, butterflies and mushrooms to show you.
Day 5: Chiang Mai (B, L)
Today we visit an elephant camp for a first-hand look at the important role elephants have played in every aspect of Thai life, from ceremonial purposes to warfare, transportation and farming. See a fascinating demonstration of elephants at work and play. "Maesa Elephant Camp" flanks a rushing river in a beautiful lush tropical valley a mere twenty-minute scenic drive from downtown Chiang Mai. Lunch at the Mae Sa Valley Resort then continue to Queen Sirikit Botanical Garden. Being the first botanical garden of the country of international standards, the garden serve as a center of Thai flora for botanical study and research, render services concerning biodiversity and environmental conservation. We’ll tour the information centre firstly to gain an overview of the garden, and then enjoy a walk along the trails in this 2 square kilometer garden to see a vast collection of native orchids and splendid greenhouses. We also visit Khamthieng Plant Market before returning to hotel.
Day 6: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle (B, L, D)
This morning we depart Chiang Mai and drive through mountains, valleys and the lush landscape of northern Thailand to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand, separated from the Burmese border town of Tachilek by a small river. Break for lunch at Cabbage and Condoms Restaurant. A brief visit to the colorful Mae Sai market then continue to Chiang Saen, a small town on the border with Laos. The town’s many ruins offer a fascinating glimpse of an ancient civilization. Refresh with a boat trip along the mighty Mekong to the Golden Triangle on the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos, and then drive to the charming city of Chiang Rai.
Day 8: Chiang Rai (B, L, D)
This morning we transfer to the King Meng Rai Monument to take a rickshaw ride to the main market area to get a feel for local life. Continue by rickshaw to Wat Phra Kaew with its beautiful brass and copper Buddha image, and further still by rickshaw to the Hill Tribe Museum. Proceed to the Doi Tung region, 2000 meters ASL. En route visit some hill tribe villages. In 1987, the Doi Tung Development Project was established in order to recover the land destroyed by shifting cultivation, eradicate the cultivation of opium, and encourage farmers to practice sustainable agriculture. Visit Mae Fah Luang – a garden located on land that was originally the Akha village of Pa Kluay, a major route for opium and weapon trafficking in old days. The decorative flowers in Mae Fah Luang Garden are grown and nurtured by local villagers. Afterwards we drive to Wat Phrathad Doi Tung, a sacred hilltop shrine, regarded as the holiest sanctuary by local people. The Wat is believed to house the left collarbone of Lord Buddha in the twin pagodas. At the farewell dinner under the canopy of towering ancient trees along the riverside terrace of Tha Nam Riverside restaurant, enjoy fine northern and central Thai cuisine and folk music. After dinner launch a khum loy (fire balloon) or a kratong (floating candle) for good luck.
Day 9: Chiang Rai - Bangkok - Departure (B)
Transfer to Chiang Rai airport for your flight to Bangkok and connect to your flight home.
- Accommodation of the class quoted
- Land transfer by AC vehicle
- Local English-speaking guide
- Admission fee to indicated sights
- Meals as mentioned in the program
- Government tax and service charge
- Supply of bottled water & tissues on car on touring days
- Visa arrangement
- Any flight does not mentioned and international tax
- Travel insurance
- Early check-in and late check-out
- Hotel/Room upgrade
- Festivity surcharge & festivity compulsory service by hotel(s) if any
- Tip, drinks, personal expenses and others