TEMPLES OF THAILAND & CAMBODIA

A Spiritual Journey

15 Days/14 Nights.  Depart Spring or Fall

The Land of Smiles is perhaps the correct name for the Kingdom of Thailand, a country consisting of 60 million people, most of whom are Buddhists.  Charming smiles are so contagious, that the visitor begins to become at ease by just being in this beautiful country.   The Thais are renowned for their friendliness and hospitality to strangers, and their delicious national cuisine needs no introduction.   A country which has never been subservient to any foreign power, the Thai people are proud and yest humble.

Buddhism has been practiced there throughout her recent history, with all her Kings and Queens as practicing Buddhists, we will see the most beautiful of temples and the most stunning statues of the Lord Buddha whether made from simple materials or semi-precious stones and precious metals. We will also be able to reflect on modern history and the futility of war as we visit the River Kwai area where the infamous Death Railway was built, connecting Thailand to what was Burma.

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Day 1. Leave the Americas or Europe.

Day 2. BANGKOK. Arrive Bangkok late at night. Spiritual Journeys representative will welcome you at the airport when you arrive late night, and escort you to your hotel. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 3. CHIANG MAI. In the morning we will fly to Chiang Mai. Leave the afternoon at leisure for you to stroll around the market of this walled city. In the evening we will have a very typical Thai Kantoke dinner, and while sitting on the floor, see ancient dances from northern Thailand, followed by a performance of dances and songs by various hill tribes. Overnight: Chiang Mai.

Day 4. CHIANG MAI. Drive to the north of Chiang Mai to visit an elephants working site. Watch the elephants taking their daily bath in the stream before beginning to haul timber in the forest. Be amazed by their strength and intelligent team work. On the way back, we will visit the Rukachati National Park and its picturesque waterfalls, and lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon, we will visit the most beautiful temples in Chiang Mai which include Wat Phra Singh with its famous Buddha image, Wat Chedi Luang, Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai built by King Mangrai, Wat Suan Dok which houses the remains of many generations of the old Chiang Mai Royal Family and Wat Jet Yot. And the most beautiful of all, Wat Doi Suthep, tucked away in the mountains at 3,520 feet (1,056 meters). The temple is reached by a staircase with 290 steps, flanked by a NAGA balustrade on either side. The Monastery was built by King Gue-Na in 1383. The center is a big Chedi (spired pagoda) which contains partial relics of Lord Buddha. Overnight: Chiang Mai.

Day 5. CHIANG RAI. We depart Chiang Mai for Chiang Dao and Fang, a 5 hour boat journey up to Chiang Rai, stopping en-route at hill tribe villages in the jungle, with lunch at a local restaurant. Overnight: Chiang Rai.

Day 6. CHIANG SAEN. Drive to Chiang Saen and visit the temples there. Returning to Chiang Rai, we will fly to Bangkok and then fly to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. Arriving in the evening, we will go straight to our hotel. Overnight: Phnom Pen.

Day 7. PHNOM PENH. We will see the city of Phnom Penh, Cambodia including the Victoria Monument, Wat Phnom, National Museum, Wat Ounalom, Silver Pagoda and the Royal Palace. Continue in the afternoon to visit Tuol Sleng & the Killing Fields. We will then fly to Siem Reap in the evening. Overnight: Siem Reap.

Day 8. SIEM REAP. We will spend the days at this amazing city, visiting the South Gate of Angkor Thom, Bayon, Royal Enclosure, Phimeanakas, Elephant Terrace, terrace of the Leper king, Angkor Wat and view the sunset from Phnom Bakheng hill. Overnight: Siem Reap.

Day 9. SIEM REAP/BANGKOK. Continue our sightseeing of this extraordinary city by visiting the Banteay Srey and Banteay Samre temples. Later visit Ta Proohm, Takeo and Preah Khan temples, and then visit "Les Artisans D'Angkor-Chantiers Ecoles" and, time permitting, a local market. In the evening, we will fly back to Bangkok, and go to our hotel. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 10. RIVER KWAI. An early morning departure will take us to Kanchanaburi. At Kanchanaburi, visit to The JEATH museum, a realistic depiction of a prisoner of war's living quarters and contains photographic, pictorial and physical memorabilia from the Second World War. Onto the allied War Cemetery, the resting place for over 6,000 allied prisoners of war. Visit the world famous bridge over the River Kwai, a part of the Death Railway constructed by allied POWs. We will ride on the "Death Railway" train through magnificent scenery and passing over the original wood viaduct constructed by allied POWs to Nam Tok Station, the terminal of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway. After lunch at the Pakseng Pier restaurant, we will depart by long-tailed boat to the River Kwai Resotel, passing through the unspoiled mountainous jungle scenery. Overnight: Kanchanaburi.

Day 11. RIVER KWAI. In the morning, we will depart by boat and climb up to the Kang Lava Cave and see these fantastic stone formations of one of the most beautiful caves in Thailand. Returning, we will lunch at the River Kwai Resotel, and depart for Bangkok, again, first by boat and then by road. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 12. AYUTHAYA. A full day visit to Ayuthaya by a road and water. Driving to Ayuthaya, the former capital of Thailand, we will visit Wat Mongkol Borpith, Wat Srisanpetch and Wat Panangchern, and continue to Bang-Pa-In, the pleasure palace of Thailand's Kings. Then board the luxurious Oriental Queen for lunch at a leisurely cruise along the fabled Chao Phya River back to Bangkok. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 13. BANGKOK. Thonburi is the western part of Bangkok, situated on the right side of the Chao Phya River. Its many canals had originally given Bangkok the name "Venice of the East." Passing by boat along the canals gives you a firsthand impression of the scenic life along Bangkok's water ways. After lunch we will tour the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is one of the most beautiful samples of an ancient Siamese court. It used to be the residence of the Kings of Bangkok. Here you will see palaces which were used for different occasions: the Funeral Palace, the Reception Palace, the Throne Hall, the Coronation Hall, the Royal Guest House, and the beautiful Emerald Buddha Temple. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 14. BANGKOK. Our morning will start with a visit to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This interesting full day tour takes you to the rural floating market of Damnoen Saduak situated 110 kms west of Bangkok. The tour includes a visit to Nakorn Pathom, site of the highest Chedi in Thailand called "Phra Pathom Chedi" which is the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia. Lunch will be served at the picturesque Rose Garden country resort. Afterwards we will attend the Thai village show which gives you an introduction into Thai life. We will witness ordination into monkshood, fingernail dance, Thai boxing, hill tribe dance, sword- fighting, elephants at work and folk dancing. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 15. BANGKOK. Spend this day at leisure, all on your own. Be daring and creative, and have lunch and dinner on your own. Overnight: Bangkok.

Day 16. BANGKOK. Early morning transfer to the International airport for your flight home.

REGISTRATION:  Please use our registration form to register.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:  Please e-mail, or Deepak Singh, Spiritual Journeys, Inc., 262 Upland Road, Cambridge, MA 02140. USA. Ph: 508-358-4267.