Maximise your time in Thailand by flying overnight from the UK to Bangkok, the Thai capital.
When you arrive, we’ll meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel. If you’re feeling energetic, you can then freshen up and head out to explore. Visit the Grand Palace, with its vivid wall-paintings and famous Emerald Buddha. Then relax with a massage at nearby Wat Pho temple, home of the reclining Buddha. Alternatively, enjoy a boat ride on the river, admiring the city’s temples and skyscrapers.
To see a different side of Thailand, head south-west to Samut Songkhram province. On the way, pause at an amazing country market that pops up along the railway tracks. The riverside town of Amphawa, known for its floating markets, is a perfect place to experience small-town Thailand. You can stroll through the orchards at King Rama II Memorial Park and admire the work of artisans producing colourful hand-painted Benjarong porcelain.
Ubon Ratchathani is a major centre of the Isaan region. Board a local riverboat at Khong Jiam and cruise to where the mighty Mekong River meets the Mun to see the waters merge. Settle into your room at the serene Sedhapura by Tohsang. Watching the sun set over the Mekong from your balcony is the perfect way to end the day.
Explore the Pha Taem National Park with an expert guide. This beautifully forested reserve is renowned for its ancient rock art. You’ll see the fascinating figures, which date back to at least 1,000 BC, daubed on riverside cliffs. Spot people, elephant and giant Mekong catfish among the images. Hike to cascading waterfalls and one of Thailand's largest flower fields before returning to the resort for a relaxing afternoon.
Today you head west into the heart of Thailand, stopping at the Khmer temple of Prasat Sikhoraphum on the way. Built from red sandstone in the 12th century, it’s decorated with ornately carved figures from Hindu mythology. Next, you’ll visit the residents of Elephant Village at Ban Ta Klang. Meet the jumbos and their skilled mahouts, before settling into your hotel in Surin.
Discover the Khmer monuments of Phanom Rung Historical Park. The centrepiece is the 12th-century Prasat Hin Phanom Rung, an extravagantly carved and painstakingly restored temple built on the rim of an extinct volcano. Admire the stone reliefs graphically depicting the Hindu practices of the Shivaite sect. Compare its carvings with those at nearby Prasat Muang Tam, an even older Khmer temple built on the plains to the south east.
Explore more Khmer treasures at Prasat Hin Phimai, the largest sandstone Khmer complex in Thailand. Reminiscent of the spectacular temple of Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the temple is decorated with scenes from the Hindu epic Ramayana. You can spend the afternoon relaxing or explore the bustling Isan city of Korat.
Explore the lush forests of the Khao Yai National Park. While you’re in the park, keep your eyes peeled for tiger and elephant. Tropical birds are more common; spot colourful flycatchers and hefty-beaked hornbills and hear gibbons as they swing through the forest canopy. Cool off in the spray of the Haew Suwat waterfalls, before taking a short drive through the scenic countryside to the Gran Monte Winery.
No visit to Thailand is complete without a trip to one of its fabulous beaches. Today, you'll take the ferry to the little island of Koh Samet. Spend the next four nights in a luxurious villa nestled in the lush gardens of Paradee Resort Koh Samet, on the southern tip of the island.
Explore this tropical paradise at your own pace. From the hotel, there’s easy access to the soft white-sand beaches of both the east and west coasts. Relax on the beaches, swim in the azure sea and admire the colourful sunsets and sunrises from the privacy of your own balcony.
After breakfast, we’ll drive you back to Bangkok Airport for your flight home.