Thailand

Thailand and Cambodia Adventure Tour – Locals’ Special

Countries: CambodiaThailand

16 Days | $4,880

Our U.S. office is based in California, near beautiful Lake Tahoe, and one thing that we love about our hometown is that the locals here are adventurous, outdoors-oriented and compassionate. We wanted to share the wonders of Southeast Asia with our friends and neighbors because we feel that the Tahoe crowd will truly appreciate both the natural beauty and the incredible people of this region, and of course, a great adventure.

This tour will get you up and moving as you tour Bangkok, cycle through northern Thailand, and connect with elephants, before heading to Siem Reap, Cambodia where you will not only see the amazing temples at Angkor Wat, but will also kayak the Tonle Sap Lake, find a personal connection with the locals in their villages, and give back to the community by spending an afternoon at Journeys Within Our Community. Finish off your adventure by trekking in the rainforest of Cardamom Mountains and relaxing by the river.


Day 1 Bangkok: Arrival

Arrive on your flight in Bangkok where you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Meals Included: None

Overnight at Ariyasom Villa Hotel – Double Deluxe Room

Day 2 Bangkok: Public Transport Tour

You will be met by your guide at your hotel at 9:00am before transferring to the exciting Skytrain. Enjoy an elevated view of central Bangkok before joining a river express boat along the river to the flower market. Enjoy the sights and smells before taking a lively tuk-tuk ride to Wat Pho to see the famous Reclining Buddha. Follow this with a relaxing 60 minute traditional Thai massage before stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. After your delicious meal, head to the pride of Thailand – the Grand Palace, also visiting Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the famous Emerald Buddha. Take a stroll down the street to a local Buddhist amulet market before boarding a river express boat back to the Skytrain station and return to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Ariyasom Villa Hotel – Double Deluxe Room

Day 3 Bangkok: Floating Market Bike Ride

Seventy kilometers Southwest of Bangkok, the Mae Klong River spreads into a sprawling delta before reaching the Gulf of Thailand. This low-lying land is extremely fertile and over hundreds of years the Thai people have constructed an extensive network of canals to aid irrigation and navigation. The local way of life has remained traditionally agricultural, and revolves around the colorful floating markets where the fruits of the surrounding orchards are traded. Starting in Bangkok, drive south to start your bicycle exploration of the Mae Klong Delta area, beginning at Damnoen Nam Saduak Floating Market, the biggest and most colorful in Thailand, and a must-see for any visitor. You can purchase just about anything from the vast array of “shops” on the river.

After discovering the sights and sounds of the floating market, you will embark on a longtail boat and cruise through a maze of canals cutting through local villages and various plantations. This eye-opening boat ride offers a glimpse of the Thailand of old, where local people go about their daily life with the canal as the focal point. You will start your ride from the Mae Klong River and explore the surrounding temples and Wats, passing through coconut plantations and fruit orchards along the quiet back roads. After lunch at a riverside restaurant, continue cycling along picturesque trails towards the floating market. After some refreshments, start your journey back to Bangkok to beat the rush hour. This 32km trip is suitable for all levels of riders and is an excellent trip for families.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Ariyasom Villa Hotel – Double Deluxe Room

Day 4 Chiang Mai: Arrival and Doi Suthep Temple with Wat Suan Dok Sunset

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight – Bangkok Airways PG270 departing Bangkok at 10:00 & arriving in Chiang Mai at 11:15. You will be met by your guide at Chiang Mai Airport and transferred to your hotel.

In the afternoon, you will drive up to visit Doi Suthep, the most important Wat in Chiang Mai. Perched high above the city, it offers wonderful views of the city and countryside below.

From here head west of the city walls on to one of the most beautiful viewpoints for sunset – Wat Suan Dok. Literally translated as ‘’field of flowers’’, this temple was built by King Keu Na of Lanna, and is a prime example of Lanna architecture. Here at this fourteenth century temple you will witness evening prayer as the monks and local people come together at the end of the day.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Yaang Come Village – Double Superior Room

Day 5 Chiang Mai: Elephant Owner for a Day at Patara Elephant Farm

You will be met in the lobby of your hotel at 7:30am and transferred to the Patara Elephant Farm, located not far from Chiang Mai. At the farm you will be given your training outfit and a brief talk on working with elephants before heading into the bush to find them. You will learn about the management of the elephant farm and the how the breeding program has been developed and maintained. You will of course be introduced to the stars of the show, and slowly will learn how to work with them on the ground. After you’ve made friends, you can then lead them down to the river for their morning bath, followed by a short ride to a local temple where you can learn about elephants in Buddhism and the Thai’s ancient relationship with these traditional beasts of burden

Around midday you will set off on a ride through the jungle to visit some lovely waterfalls where you can enjoy a picnic lunch as well as a swim in the falls with your elephant. Return to the camp in the afternoon and say goodbye to your new friends before being transferred back to your hotel.

Please note: Today you will get wet when you help with the elephants’ bath. Please bring appropriate clothing for this, as well as a towel and change of clothes.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Yaang Come Village – Double Superior Room

Day 6 Chiang Mai: Villages and Bamboo Forest Trek with Caves and Transfer to the Lisu Lodge and Village Walk

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 07:30. This early start allows you to get on the trail before it gets too hot. Drive two hours to Chiang Dao where you will start your walk. We highly recommend a stop at a roadside coffee shop…an iced coffee or Chai Yen helps get you moving! Once in Ban Pang Tong you’ll be dropped at the end of a dirt road. Hike up the road as your guide tells you about different flowers and birds you see along the way. At the end of the road is a lovely village belonging Lao Ho people. Here Animism is still practiced and the local people are more wary of visitors and can be shy. Your guide will show you the different style of homes and you might get some shy waves from the kids.

Leaving the village you’ll climb a steep hill for some amazing views of the rice fields and the village from above…don’t worry, this is the steepest hill of the day. Walk for a while in the sun seeing the fields and how the hill tribes survive through agriculture. You’ll stop for a break in a farmer’s hut overlooking the valley before continuing on until you enter the bamboo forest. Listen to the peaceful sounds of the bamboo rustling and groaning and the bird calls echoing through this calm area. Feel free to ask the guide questions or just soak up the beauty of your surroundings. Along the way, you may see villages collecting wood, cutting down bamboo or hunting. After a couple of hours you’ll emerge into a valley with huge limestone cliffs towering around you and fields of rice and corn on either side of the trail.

Follow the path into a Karen village and meet some of the locals to see their home. In this village there are often hill tribe women selling souvenirs, but they aren’t the Karen, who are a more shy and reserved group, but rather the Akha from a nearby village, who much more are outgoing and interested in the tourist market. Afterwards you will meet your driver who will take you to lunch at Kru Chang Dao, one of the most famous restaurants in the area, known for their famous stewed pork and rice, as well as many other traditional Thai dishes.

After lunch, if you are adventurous and willing to do some light spelunking, head off to nearby sacred caves for some exploration with a local guide by lamplight. Explore the nearby temple and garden before meeting back with your van to continue on to the Lisu Lodge.

This afternoon you will arrive at Lisu Lodge and will be welcomed with a traditional drink and briefing of the lodge and your activities. After you have had a moment to settle in, your Lisu guide will take you on a walk through the village to visit One Lung Temple and local homes for tea and learn about traditional medicine at the village shaman’s house. In the evening you will feast on Thai cuisine as you enjoy a traditional Lisu dance show.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at The Lisu Lodge – Standard Room

Day 7 Lisu Lodge: Cycling and Whitewater Rafting

After breakfast, you will head out for your light 13 kilometer bike ride into the surrounding area to Muang Guert. Along the way you will stop off to relax and enjoy a magnificent landscape at our tea plantation where you will be led by an experienced guide who will introduce you to the process of growing and harvesting tea as well as vegetation propagation to produce tea seedlings at the nursery, whilst teaching you how to pluck tea leaves and enjoy a cup of fresh-roasted tea. Continue cycling until you reach a spot along the river to enjoy a healthy picnic lunch before hitting the rapids. You will white water raft for approximately 45 minutes until you reach a riverside village. You will be transferred back to the lodge for some leisure time before your traditional Thai dinner and dance show.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight at The Lisu Lodge – Standard Room

Day 8 Lisu Lodge: Transfer to Chang Mai and Flight to Siem Reap

After breakfast, at approximately 10am you will take the hour and half private transfer back to the city of Chang Mai and the airport for your departure flight – Bangkok Airways PG907 departing Chiang Mai at 14:10 & arriving in Bangkok at 15:30. Catch your connecting flight – Bangkok Airways PG907 departing Bangkok at 17:40 & arriving in Siem Reap at 18:40 – where you will be met by a Journeys Within representative and will be transferred to your hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Double Pool View Room

Day 9 Siem Reap: Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom: Sunrise to Sunset

Wake up early and head out to watch the sun rise over Angkor Wat, followed by a traditional breakfast of noodle soup with the locals at a local stall. After breakfast head to Angkor Wat in an air-conditioned car with your guide. Explore this majestic temple throughout the morning while it is still cool and has fewer tourists. Return to your hotel for an early lunch or have your guide drop you off in town where they can help you find a good lunch spot. Remember to take a look at our Cheat Sheet which lists a number of our favorite restaurant recommendations!

In the afternoon head to Angkor Thom, the famous walled city, and see the many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon temple with its many magnificent faces smiling out. There are several beautiful spots from which to watch the sunset. Discuss with your guide where you would like to be and then relax and enjoy a memorable end to your day at the temples.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Double Pool View Room

Day 10 Siem Reap: Kayaking Tour

Experience a unique Journeys Within day kayaking on the Tonle Sap Lake. You will set out around 8am and drive for about an hour before boarding a boat for a 40 minute ride to one of the lake villages. Here the homes are built on stilts because, while in the dry season the surrounding area is dry, in the rainy season it is flooded and so they rise above the water level. You will arrive at the local home that stores the canoes and after a short safety briefing head off with your guide who will lead you through waterways, flooded forests and out into the Tonle Sap Lake where you can take a dip if you wish. After you’ve had a good explore, wind your way back through the village, taking in local life in this watery environment before returning to a local home for some lunch and a leisurely boat and car ride back to town.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Double Pool View Room

Day 11 Siem Reap: Tour to the Lingas, Banteay Srei and Other Temples and JWOC Art in the Community

After breakfast you will head out of town towards Kbal Spean, driving along a dirt track before stopping to hike the remainder of the route. You will hike for about two hours until you reach the “River of a Thousand Lingas.” In ancient times if water ran over the lingas it was said to be holy water. The ancient Khmers therefore made thousands of lingas along this riverbed so the water that flowed to their rice fields was blessed. The lingas and other stone carvings remain today. Have fun exploring the surrounding jungle, followed by lunch at a local restaurant. After lunch, continue on to visit the beautiful Banteay Srei, an intricately carved temple known as the Lady Temple. Finish the afternoon by visiting two of the prettiest temples in the complex – Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm. Late afternoon you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Every third Sunday of the month JWOC gathers all of the art supplies we can find and we head over to the local pagoda (Wat or Temple) to get creative! We hold an art class for all children in the local community where they can sing songs, read a book, practice their English, play games and experiment with arts and crafts! You can join a group of children and help them to glue projects, fold origami, draw and learn! This is an excellent opportunity for the whole family to express their inner creativity while engaging with local children and JWOC scholarship students!

Please note: You should arrive at 2:30pm so you can get an overview of JWOC before taking a ride to the local pagoda!

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Double Pool View Room

Day 12 Siem Reap: Flight of the Gibbon and Phare Ponleu Selpak Circus

This morning you will be met at your hotel at 08:00am by a representative of Flight of the Gibbon as you head out to enjoy Angkor Park from a new prospective with their unique zip lining experience. After a safety briefing, you will be personally outfitted in the proper gear by one of their highly trained Sky Rangers. Next you will head up into the canopy to climb and zip your way across the course and through the jungle. Cross sky bridges while taking in the forest views from up high before returning safely back to the ground. Finish your morning with a traditional Khmer meal before being transferred back to your hotel.

This evening you will be treated to a unique performance by the Cambodian Circus, also known as the hugely talented Phare Ponleu Selpak from your VIP seats. Literally translated as ‘’the brightness of the arts’’, this Artistic and Social Center has been running as a non-profit association since 1994, and was founded by a group of young ex-refugees from Battambang Province. With your reserved VIP seats, there is no need to wait in line your seat is reserved for you! Sitting in the centre of the big top tent, you will witness some remarkable acrobatics and visual arts while supporting one of Cambodia’s most inspiring projects. Performances start at 8:00pm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at Shinta Mani Resort – Double Pool View Room

Day 13 Siem Reap to Phnom Penh: City Tour and Transfer to Koh Kong

Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight – Cambodia Angkor Air K6100 departing Siem Reap at 09:20 & arriving in Phnom Penh at 10:00 – where you will be met by an air conditioned van and driver. Transfer to take a tour of the Royal Palace, which to this day is still the royal residence. See the amazing royal collection and the beautiful architecture before heading to the National Museum, where you will be taken around by a trained museum guide who will show you some wonderful pre-Angkorean pieces as well as a number of special pieces from the temples.

After your cultural morning, enjoy lunch at Friends, a restaurant benefiting at-risk street children.

Your driver will then transfer you the three hour drive to Koh Kong. Here you will be met by the 4 Rivers speedboat and transferred to the hotel where you will spend the evening at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight at 4 Rivers Floating Eco-Lodge – Double Floating Tent

Day 14 Koh Kong: Day at Leisure

You have the day free to relax or explore on your own. The Four Rivers Floating Eco Lodge is situated in the lush forested slopes of the Cardamom Mountains which are a perfect hiding place for the rare Javan rhinoceros, Indochinese tiger and Asian elephant. If you like, you can join one of the tours offered by the Lodge. Their tours include trekking tours into the jungle which offer the chance to discover the customs, beliefs, and natural cures of the inhabitants of the Cardamom Mountains and its forests. Alternatively, you can kayak downriver with an experienced local guide who will lead you through the mangrove waterways that reach back into the jungle. Visit the majestic Tatai Waterfalls, team up with some locals and try your hand at fishing for your supper, or snuggle up with that special someone during the Sunset Cruise.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at 4 Rivers Floating Eco-Lodge – Double Floating Tent

Day 15 Koh Kong: Day at Leisure

You have the day free to relax or explore on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast

Overnight at 4 Rivers Floating Eco-Lodge – Double Floating Tent

Day 16 Koh Kong to Phnom Penh: Departure

Your driver will meet you at your hotel and drive you the three hours back to Phnom Penh, where you

will be taken to the airport in time to catch your onward flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Tour Rate:

$4,880.00 per person for two people sharing a double room with a single supplement of $2,610.00

 

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Bangkok – Siem Reap – Phnom Penh
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Airport tax
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips
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