11 days from £ 2750 per person
Places Visited: Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima, Chiang Mai
This itinerary focuses on the delicate flavours and diversity of Thai cuisine. Begin in the vibrant city of Bangkok and explore the diverse range of food on offer in the bustling city - Thai food from various regions, and street-food from other nations from China to India. Next, continue the food trail to the remote Isaan region to explore its unique fiery cuisine; famed dishes such as the hotter than hot papaya salad, and other specialities you will not find in Thai restaurants back home.
Take an exciting overnight railway journey north to Chiang Mai, famous for mouth-watering northern Thai curries, with influences from neighbouring Burma. Along the way learn about the influences Thai culture has on its cuisine, and try your hand in some Thai cookery classes. Although the itinerary is largely food-orientated, you will also learn much about the fascinating Thai culture, visiting temples, palaces, and countless vibrant markets, and most importantly, meeting the people that make up this wonderful nation.
Fly from the UK to Bangkok.
Arrive in Bangkok. Transfer to your hotel. In the evening, have dinner and watch a classical Thai dance performance; a welcome introduction to the delicate flavours of Thai cuisine with the backdrop of ancient Thai culture.
Have a morning tour of Bangkok, taking in some of the temples of old Bangkok’s Rattanakosin Island; the Royal Quarter. Visit Wat Pho with the famous reclining Buddha, and inside the Grand Palace complex is the magnificent and highly revered Wat Pra Keow ( Temple of the Emerald Buddha ). For lunch, travel to nearby Pratu Pii. Here you will find a very simple roadside restaurant serving reputedly one of the best versions of Pad Thai in the city. This internationally renowned dish is recreated world-over, but it is here where you will sample it as it should be.
Today you head to the classroom with a Thai cookery course. Starting with a visit to a local market to browse and buy your ingredients, before heading to the kitchen with an experienced Thai chef. For lunch, enjoy your culinary creations. Afternoon is at leisure.
Morning is at leisure. In the afternoon, embark on a tour of the city, taking a variety of forms of public transport including the river ferry, the Skytrain, the noisy but fun tuk-tuk, and if feeling adventurous, local bus or even canal-boat. Your guide will invite you to try various types of food from roadside food stalls in different parts of the city. As well as eating Thai food, you will be given a sample of the diversity of the street-food in Bangkok, by visiting parts of the city as Chinatown, and Prahurat, the Indian district.
Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Nakhon Ratchasima
Travel by road to the former Siamese capital of Ayutthaya to view the spectacular temples, remnants of its fascinating past. Stop along the way at the impressive Royal Palace in Bang Pa-In. After lunch in a local restaurant, continue about three hours by road into the Isan region, spending the night in the small city of Nakhon Ratchasima. The Isan region has a slightly different language and culture and is known for its distinctive cuisine, very similar to that found in neighbouring Laos. Food is often rather spicy, and traditionally eaten with the hand. Specialities are ‘som-tam’ (a spicy papaya salad), grilled meats, and crucially, sticky-rice.
Spend the day exploring the city and surrounding area with your guide, sampling various Isaan dishes unique to the region. Additionally, visit the great ancient Angkorian temple ruins at Phanom Rung. The Angkorian empire stretched from Angkor Wat covering what is now a large part of Thailand, and there are a number of magnificent temples in the region that receive few foreign visitors. Sitting on top of an extinct volcano Phanom Rung is one of the most impressive, commanding superb views that stretch into Cambodia.
Have the day at leisure, before travelling by road to Ayutthaya to board the night train to Chiang Mai; a fascinating way to experience the country.
Arrive in Chiang Mai in the early morning. Your guide will meet you and take you for a typical Thai breakfast. Have the morning at leisure to relax. In the afternoon, your guide will give you a tour around the old walled-city. Finish the tour sampling one of northern Thailand’s most delicious dishes - ‘khao soi’ - a delicately spiced curry broth with both soft and crunchy noodles, only found in this region, and with influences from neighbouring Burma. You will also be able to sample various street-food snacks unique to northern Thailand.
Embark on a cookery course focussing on the distinct and delectable flavours of northern Thai cuisine. Start the day in the food markets of the city before retreating to the kitchen. You will be an expert in Thai cuisine by now, so the lunch you create should be most delicious. The afternoon is at leisure, to relax and enjoy the delights of the city.
Chiang Mai, Bangkok, UK
After checking out of your hotel, you are driven to Chiang Mai airport. Fly south to Bangkok and onwards to the UK.
11 days from £ 2750 per person
✓ International flights from London
✓ 9 nights accommodation
✓ All internal transportation and transfers
✓ English-speaking guides
✓ Breakfast daily, all meals mentioned in itinerary
✓ Entrance fees to sites and monuments listed in tour itinerary
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