"We wander for distraction, but we travel for fulfillment.”
Venture south along the Andaman Sea to the island of Phuket, once a port between India and China, where European influence can be discovered in streets lined with colonial Sino-Portuguese architecture. Explore sparkling white-sand beaches and dramatic emerald green waters on remote islands and sail through a timeless paradise.
7 Day Itinerary: Thailand: Bangkok, Phuket
Day 01: BangkokMonk’
Be welcomed to Thailand with a visit to the Monk's Bowl Village, the last remaining village founded by Rama. Witness artisans weld and lacquer the eight-pieced steel alms bowls used by Thailand’s monks on their daily food collections.
Glistening golden peaks shimmer in the sky from the regal complex known as the Grand Palace on Rattanakosin Island. Once the residence of the King of Siam and home of the government, the elaborate walled city still serves as a setting for traditional Thai ceremonies. Walk amidst rows of gilded guard statues and endless ornamented buildings, possessing glazed tiled emerald and ruby roofs. Architectural highlights include the 1790 Dusit Maha Prasat Throne Hall, with its mother-of-pearl busabok throne and the Amarinthra Winitchai Audience Hall, where the king would receive foreign dignitaries from his nine-tiered umbrella throne.
Then encounter the most sacred Buddha statue in Thailand at the resplendent Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Carved from a single piece of green jasper, this meditating Buddha, with a history dating back to 43 B.C. is revered by all citizens as a symbol of national independence.
Day 02: BangkokArts of the Kingdom, Chao Phraya River
A majestic Renaissance-
Then travel along the splendid Chao Praya River, the artery between the old and new kingdoms, and observe your phenomenal surroundings by water. On a long-tail boat, cruise to the Royal Barge Museum, where eight of the King’s stunningly carved teak boats, each with gilded prows and depicting mythic creatures, are housed.
Continue down the Chao Praya and witness the monumental seven-pronged trident atop the central prang or tower of Wat Arun, the Buddhist Temple of the Dawn. Visit the nearby Wat Pho, a revered landmark with 95 pagodas and over a thousand Buddhas. Its beloved centerpiece is its fifty-foot-high gold-plated Reclining Buddha, with historical scenes depicted on its mother-of-pearl soles.
Day 03: Exotic Markets of ThailandSamut Songkhram, Damnoen Saduak
By private car, be transported outside the city for a day trip exploring Thailand’s emblematic outdoor markets. A kaleidoscopic site of scents and sounds, the Makelong Railway Market in Samut Songkhram, sits perched on an ancient, but working railway line and its merchants miraculously operate their wheeled stalls around the train’s arrival and departure. Then, be captivated by the colorful floating market at Damnoen Saduak in the Ratchaburi Province. Board a canal boat and witness a century-old Thai tradition as merchants clamor over heaping stalls of fruits, vegetables and traditional Thai foods atop long boats.
Day 04: KanchanaburiRiver Kwai, Temple Excursion
Amidst an evergreen forest, encounter the scenic beauty of Kanchanaburi. Named after a mythological three-headed white elephant, the seven-tiered Erawan waterfall juts out of sheer limestone cliffs into the clear emerald waters below in this leafy jungle.
Along the Maeklong River, board a long-tail boat and traverse to the famous Bridge of the River Khai. Enjoy lunch in Pakseng, before a thrilling train ride across wooden viaducts with spectacular views of the scenery along the river.
Later, visit Wat Pha Luang Ta Bua, known as Tiger Temple. This wild animal rescue center is a sanctuary for tigers, wild pigs, deers, and antelopes, and each afternoon tigers are brought out of their cages for visitors to touch.
Day 05: PhuketOld Town, Wat Chalong, Kata Noi, Phromtep Cape
Along the Andaman Sea sits the palm-fringed island of Phuket, renowned for its crystalline waters, sandy white beaches and world-class scuba diving. Once a trading route between India and China, a booming tin mining industry brought prosperity to the island. Phuket’s Old Town is a delightful pedestrian neighborhood, filled with rows of ornate pink and blue Sino-Portuguese architecture. Venture to the top of Kao Rang Hill on the city’s northwest and visit Wat Chalong, Phuket’s most important Buddhist monastery. Inside, stands a cast statue of the monk, Luang Phor Cam, who led the resistance against the Chinese Coolie Rebellion in 1875.
After a traditional Thai lunch, browse Phuket’s renowned shops. A haven for sumptuous hand-made silks along with exquisite lustrous pearls, Phuket is home to a number of pearl farms, where visitors can watch oysters cultivate these precious gems. Revel in the spectacular bays of Kata Noi, Kata, Karon and Kho Poo Islands at Phuket View Point, located along the scenic coastline, then travel to Phromtep Cape on the southern tip of the island and witness a spectacular sunset.
Day 06: PhuketPhi Phi Island
Encounter paradise while being surrounded by white sand beaches and azure waters on a full day charter to the Phi Phi Islands. This tropical getaway, just 45 minutes by private speedboat from Phuket, is filled with stunning limestone formations that jut out of the sea, teeming with vibrant marine life. Surrounded by high cliffs, snorkel amongst the coral reefs in Maya Bay, relax along the silk-soft beaches lining the shores and swim in the warm waters of Phi Phi Ley, Loh Sama Bay and Pileh Bay. Enjoy a private lunch in Phi Phi Don, before transferring back to the mainland in the late afternoon.
Day 07: PhuketJames Bond Island
Spectacular sheer limestone cliffs rise from the depths of the sea, surrounded by verdant mangroves in this picturesque haven. By private speed boat, transfer from Phuket to James Bond Island, known originally and locally as Ko Tapu or Nail Island. The island found fame through the 1974 Bond film "The Man with the Golden Gun,” where its scenic topography brought international recognition to the previously unknown Phang Nga Bay. Swim in the emerald waters and relax before boarding sea kayaks to paddle around Panak and Hong Islands. Visit and discover the other islands of Phang Nga Bay as you wish before returning back to the main island in the late afternoon. A gourmet lunch will be served on-board.