Discover Thailand's treasures as you travel to the bustling capital city of Bangkok and explore Chiang Mai's old city by rickshaw. 

Starting at: $4,692 * Includes airfare, taxes & all fees Ask Us A Question or Call 855-330-1542
 Detail from the Emerald Buddha Temple, Bangkok  Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Bangkok, Thailand  Thailand's River Kwai  Angkor Wat, Cambodia

Vibrant Thailand

With an Optional Extension to Angkor Wat

15 days from $4,692 | includes airfare, taxes and all fees

Discover Thailand's treasures as you travel to the bustling capital city of Bangkok and explore Chiang Mai's old city by rickshaw. 

or Call 855-330-1542


This tour is specially designed for a small group of no more than 22 Smithsonian travelers and offers outstanding travel value. Prices include airfare, airline taxes, fuel surcharges, and departure fees.


In Thailand art and beauty reign, Lord Buddha is revered, and gentleness prevails. Join us to encounter its ancient religious traditions in art and philosophy and learn more about its modern history.

Highlights Include

  • Bangkok: Discover the colorful flower market and tour “hidden” Bangkok aboard long-tail boats. View the massive Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho Temple and the elaborate Temple of the Emerald Buddha at the immense Grand Palace.
  • Ancient and Modern: Explore the palaces and pagodas of Ayutthaya, once the capital of Siam and now a World Heritage site. Experience traditional Thai farming life, visit a village of ethnic Mon people, and enjoy time in Sai Yok National Park. Plus, you’ll tour World War II sites associated with the construction of the Burma Railway.
  • The North: Near Chiang Rai, see the infamous Golden Triangle, boat along the Mekong River, and visit the “White Temple” celebrating Buddha’s purity. Stay in a country retreat, where you’ll take a sunrise biking trip, engage in gardening and cooking activities, and learn about endangered wildlife at an elephant nature park. Near Chiang Mai, visit important temples and the San Kamphaeng district, home to the region’s renowned cottage crafts. 

To see itinerary, please click on an option below.


Day 1 — Depart the U.S. for Bangkok, Thailand

Day 2 — Bangkok

Arrive in the Thai capital late this evening and transfer directly to your hotel.

Day 3 — Bangkok

After a morning briefing about the journey ahead, set out to explore, beginning at the colorful Bangkok Flower Market. Then ride tuk tuks, traditional three-wheel open-air taxis, to Wat Pho Temple, home of the Reclining Buddha. Covered in gold leaf, the icon measures some 49 feet tall by 151 feet long. Next visit the immense Grand Palace complex to see the elaborate Temple of the Emerald Buddha, with its venerated 31-inch high statue carved from a single piece of jade. A tour of “hidden” Bangkok aboard long-tail boats concludes the day. Tonight enjoy a welcome dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 4 — Bangkok and Ayutthaya

Today’s first stop is Bang Pa-in, the historic summer palace of Thai royalty. Then continue to Ayutthaya, once the capital of the Kingdom of Siam and the largest city in the world in 1700. But by 1767, it all lay in ruins. Spend the afternoon exploring this World Heritage site, specifically the remains of the city’s palaces, pagodas, and monasteries. Dinner tonight is on your own. (B,L)

Day 5 — Bangkok and Kanchanaburi

Enjoy the colorful activity of the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, where vendors aboard hundreds of sampans laden with fresh flowers, fruits, and vegetables traverse the canals selling their wares. The rest of the day focuses on World War II. Traveling to Kanchanaburi, stop at the Cemetery of the Allied Prisoners of War, burial site of World War II prisoners who perished as forced laborers during the construction of the noto­rious Burma Railway. Plus, visit the infamous bridge that spans the River Kwai, itself part of the “Death Railway” project and whose story is immortalized in the book and film Bridge Over the River Kwai. End the day’s touring with a long-tail boat ride along the River Kwai to your floating hotel. (B,L,D)

Day 6 — Kanchanaburi

A look at Thai farming life is on tap as you visit the village of Nong Khao for a tour by local truck. Pay your respects at the village shrine then head out to the fan-palm orchard to see how locals collect the palm products for market. Sample some of the local goods and tropical fruits, and learn about the important role rice plays in Thai life. This afternoon is at leisure. (B,L,D)

Day 7 — Kanchanaburi

Board long-tail boats for the ride upstream to Sai Yok National Park & Waterfall, where you can swim in the cool water or just relax amid the beautiful scenery. Later visit a village of the ethnic Mon people to see how they maintain their traditional way of life even as the modern world encroaches. (B,L,D)

Day 8 — Kanchanaburi and Chiang Rai

Travel downstream this morning to witness another poignant scene from the Death Railway: Hellfire Pass. Here, prisoners had only hand tools to cut through the largest rocks found on the entire Burma Railway. Named for the look of the prisoners (as if they came from Hell), the pass today features a museum and memorial. From here transfer to the airport for a late afternoon flight to Chiang Rai. (B,L)

Day 9 — Chiang Rai

Tour the infamous Golden Triangle, where the Ruak and Mekong Rivers meet, and where from a hilltop you can see views of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma), and Laos. Later enjoy a leisurely boat ride along the Mekong, then take a scenic drive along narrow mountain roads to visit the Doi Tung Hill Tribe Project, a non-commercial ethnic village under royal patronage. En route to your hotel, visit the border town of Mae Sai. (B,L)

Day 10 —Chiang Rai and Khum Lanna

Enjoy a morning visit to the contemporary Wat Rong Khun, the unusual “White Temple” celebrating Lord Buddha’s purity. Continue to your country retreat and nature reserve, set amid emerald-green rice fields and lush orchards. After lunch learn about Thai herbs, along with a few Thai phrases that you can use on your visit to the local market to purchase fare for this afternoon’s cooking class. Tonight enjoy the fruits of your labors at your four-course Thai dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 11 — Khum Lanna

Rise early for a sunrise biking trip to see the colorful rice fields and explore the morning markets. Back at your lodge, enjoy a late breakfast by the river then engage in gardening and cooking activities and learn about the “Rice for Life” ethos practiced here. This afternoon visit a beekeeping village, then stop at the ancient city of Wiang Phrao Wung Hin to see a renowned Buddha image. (B,L,D)

Day 12 — Khum Lanna and Chiang Mai

Learn about endangered animals at the Elephant Nature Park, a rescue and rehabilitation sanctuary where elephants heal from abuse and then resume life in a herd. Reach the hotel early this evening. (B,L)

Day 13 — Chiang Mai

Travel back in time as you discover the old city of Chiang Mai by rickshaw. Visit 14th-century Wat Pra Singh, Chiang Mai’s most famous temple complex, and see lovely Viharn Lai Kham, the gilded hall decorated with murals of everyday life. Then drive up a winding mountain road to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai’s most important landmark, which also offers incomparable views of the city below. This afternoon visit the San Kamphaeng district, home of Chiang Mai’s renowned cottage crafts. Tonight celebrate at a farewell dinner. (B,L,D)

Day 14 — Chiang Mai and Depart for the U.S.

This morning enjoy the opportunity to explore more of Chiang Mai’s handcraft trail at Baan Tawai village, known for its wood carvings and other crafts. Return to the hotel for an afternoon at leisure (your rooms are reserved for late check-out). After dinner at the hotel transfer to the airport for your return flight to the U.S. (B,D)

Day 15 — Arrive in the U.S.

Arrive in the U.S. and connect with your flights home.

Included meals are denoted as follows: Breakfast (B), Lunch (L), Reception (R), Dinner (D)