Thailand Explorer (Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Phuket)

  • 13 Days 11 Nights
  • TOUR CODE: ATMK
  • FROM: $1499
Semi Independent
Moderate

Discover three different sides of Thailand in one wide-ranging 11-night vacation: the glitz of Bangkok, the mist-swathed hills of Chiang Mai, and the beaches of Phuket. Discover Thailand’s capital over four days, visiting gold-tipped palaces, Buddhist temples and floating markets. Next, head for Chiang Mai, the country’s northern capital, renowned for its rich Lanna heritage, hill temples and deep jungles.  Finally, delight in the palm-fringed sands of Phuket, one of Thailand’s most alluring islands. For the ultimate experience, customize your trip by adding on one or more of our optional tours and excursions, so creating your perfect, personalized itinerary.

  • Bangkok (4 nights)
  • Chiang Mai (3 nights)
  • Phuket (4 nights)

Customer Reviews

THAILAND EXPLORER (BANGKOK - CHIANG MAI - PHUKET)

My lady and I just did the 13 Day Thailand Explorer (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket)...from Feb. 22nd to March 5th 2017. I'm usually a natural skeptic about things...but typically hold a very positive outlook and state of mind. There were amazing things about this trip...and there were some frustrating, or, not so good things. The super duper really short review is, it was absolutely amazing, and we had the time of our lives...and it also left us hungry for more. Our Guide, Nop (pronounced "Nope") was just wonderful, and we loved him. Knowledgable, fun, funny, relaxed...easy to talk to....and he really cared that people enjoyed themselves. He took great care of us. He is a great guy, and deserves a great deal of notoriety. The buffet food included with the package, wasn't really all that great. A few places had some decent things...but MOST places were clearly dumbed down food for tourists. If you're looking for some good, authentic thai food...you won't really find that with the meals included with this package. It was disappointing. The breakfasts had some pretty decent spreads...but the rest...85% lackluster. The excursions all had REALLY amazing things about them, as well as some "not so good" things. Overall, we're really satisfied, and I wouldn't have any issue going with this company again. Might not book all those excursions next time though. It was kind of exhausting doing so much. We kept saying we needed a vacation from the vacation, we kept so busy. For those who are interested in a more "in-depth" review of this entire trip, here we go. Initially, we were nervous about the size of the groups. We can have our fair share of "people" rather quickly sometimes, so we were nervous, but hopeful, that the group size and people would be reasonable. Upon arriving in Bangkok...in the wee hours of the morning (around 1am I think) we are one of the first of our group to find our guides. We ask how many people are we waiting for. I believe it was around 45. Whew! 1am...waiting for 45 people to get bags, clear customs...FIND where everyone is gathered...then a 45 min drive to the hotel...ouch. Problem #1....Affordable World needs to do better giving people itineraries. We didn't find out until that moment arriving in the airport, that our first tour will start at 7:30am. Do the math of waiting for a herd of people...then going and checking in...and being ready for a 7:30am lobby call. We, along with a few others from the group, decided pay for our own taxis to the hotel, rather than wait for a massive group. SO glad we did. Some people didn't get into their room until after 4am. (after a 25+ hour trip, the last thing on your mind is to get ready for a tour 3 1/2 hours after you get there). The Hotel was great! We had The Pullman G Hotel. We really enjoyed it. Close to a lot of stuff. Great rooms. Great breakfast buffet. We really enjoyed that place. The excursions were pretty cool. One downfall is, how crowded it was. Our group was pretty big, and there were tons of other groups seeing the same things. But we enjoyed it none-the-less. Maybe we got lucky, but our group started becoming buddies pretty quickly and really enjoying each other. We're even keeping in touch and hoping to plan other vacations with each other. That was a very unexpected surprise with this overall experience. The friendships made. Everyone was kind of blown away at how cool and fun everyone was. So...that was awesome. Back to Bangkok...we did almost every excursion (except for the traditional dinner and dance in Bangkok)...the river kwai excursion was both good and bad. The good is, it was beautiful. Floating on a bamboo raft, down the river, was absolutely amazing. Also, getting from where the bus drops the group off, to the floating market, was amazing. Zipping along little canals, in long tail boats was certainly a highlight. So much fun and energizing...being in that culture. The downfalls of this trip (for us), was, its a 4 hour trip from the hotel. Early start in the morning...then a loooong bus ride. Then, after the long tail boat ride, you reach the Floating Market. its exciting!! Until...you realize how pushy some of the merchants can be. If you look at something for longer than .06 seconds...you'll have someone who will NOT leave you alone until you buy something or just walk away from them (as they STILL try and reel you in). It quickly got to the point that we couldn't even look at anything or enjoy it, because the whole time, someone was pushing you to buy. It was relentless. We seriously couldn't get out of there fast enough. Another downfall, depending on how you see it, was the elephant trekking. Being amongst those beautiful animals was amazing. But seeing them in chains...not so amazing. Seeing the babies, with chains around their ankles no more than 3' long...I literally had to turn away from that. I love animals so much...that was hard for us to see. The riding harnesses didn't look good. Especially because, we shouldn't be riding them in the first place. It sounded cool at first...but once there, my lady and I both agree that we wouldn't do that again. There are elephant SANCTUARIES that can be visited instead...no riding...no harsh treatment...no chains. That's how it should be. If you want elephants...go with a "no ride" sanctuary. You can still totally interact with them. Even moreso than on this excursion. Then...the 4 hour ride back to the hotel. Whew. Again...you don't find out how far away some of these things are, until the night before you do it. Also, something we started to get annoyed with, was when we'd basically be taken to these places where jewelry was made...or silk, or jade...because every time you went, there was a presentation you had to sit through, then they tried to sell you whatever it was that they made. Not fun. Waste of our time. we felt as though we were just numbers pushed through a factory with dollar signs attached to us. We would have enjoyed doing our own thing, had we known thats what was going to happen. And that was a reoccurring theme....to the point that we, as a whole group, told the guide to take us to the hotel because we didn't want to do that anymore. Which brings me to Chiang Mai. We land in Chiang Mai in the early afternoon, and before we even go to the hotel, we are on our excursions, straight from the airport. The temples were cool to see...but after that, we went to where they made rugs. Sat through yet another presentation...then was brought into the store, so we could shop their extremely expensive merchandise. We were over it. Hadn't even been to the hotel yet, and we were at stop number 2 of 3. Next stop was where they get silk from the silk worm. Well, we knew this game now...and we, as a group, told the guide that we did not want to do that and that we wanted to go to the hotel, check in, and relax a bit. Thankfully, we did just that. The Holiday in. The nicest one we've ever seen. It was gorgeous. The bed was terrible though. Next day, Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle tour. Another tour that is 4 hours away from the hotel. The White Palace was beautiful to see in person..but the experience was pretty marred by the sheer number of people there. You couldn't really stop to admire anything about the palace because the security there are on bullhorns telling you to keep moving, and don't stop walking. Very cool stuff there...very pretty...but be prepared for crazy crowds. Then, the Golden Triangle tour....To us...take it or leave it. To go so far away, for that tour, wasn't worth it to me. Ok, we went to Laos...where it was tent after tent of the same merchandise, and they all just practically begged you to buy from them. We were over that. Opium Museum....??? Huh? haha That was totally pointless to us. This day almost felt like a waste. Cool to see things we'd never seen before...but very far away to travel, for not enough pay off, in our eyes. Maybe would have rather done something around Chiang Mai. Did the Tiger Kingdom...that was amazing. The tigers didn't seem drugged to us, whatsoever. Not one bit. I was in with 3 big tigers, for almost a half hour, and they were jumping in the water and playing the whole time. Drugged tigers aren't going to be doing that. After that, we did a Monkey Show. Please don't support this. Every one of us had a terrible feeling there. Monkeys in tiny cages, AND their legs chained INSIDE the tiny cages. I mean...nothing about this place felt good. To any of us. Deleting our pictures from this place. I'm sorry we went there. The local food in Chiang Mai was really great! It was a beautiful place to be. The coconut Sticky rice. So GOOD. Our guide, Uncle Sam, was a good guy too. He took care of renting a van for us, and coming with us, when we went on a trip to the tiger kingdom and to see the hill tribes. Awesome of him to come along and be so informative. And awesome of him being so willing to accommodate us when we, as a group, didn't want to participate in a planned activity. After Chiang Mai, we flew to Phuket. VERY happy to see our Guide Nop again! We just loved that guy. We were happy to be in a beach environment now. And although we were becoming more and more exhausted from the crazy schedule, we had 2 more to do. James Bond Island and Phi Phi Island. The trip to James Bond island was awesome. On the way, we stopped at the Monkey Cave...where there's a leaning Buddha and a buddhist monk. Monkeys all over the place. So easy to feed, and get close to. They ARE wild, so you've gotta watch your personal belongings...but it was amazing. They were adorable. Then we went to the boat to get to James Bond Island. The scenery was amazing. Upon arriving at James Bond Island, it was a zoo. Soon many people. You get to enjoy the scene from the few main spots, but then you need to quickly move on because tons of people are waiting their turn to do the same. Was awesome to see...but man, so many people just make the experience not as awesome as it should be. After that, Nop suggested a place that isn't normally an excursion, but if the whole group wanted to, we could do it. SO glad we did!!! Someone paddling your 2 person kayak, on an adventure through a cave and mangroves. MAGNIFICENT! We LOVED that. Unexpected highlight. The next day was snorkeling at the Phi Phi islands. That was amazing. That whole day, just beautiful. Perfect weather. Great guides. Since our group was getting smaller, we had to partner up with another tour group. The boat ride to the islands was jam packed. that wasn't fun. But the snorkeling and seeing all the islands was just unbelievable. After that, our last 2 days were at our own leisure, and we were absolutely thankful for that. We were so tired of waking up to an alarm every single day, and running around like crazy...we just wanted to relaxation. And thats exactly what we got. Pool bar...beach...jetskis....it was perfect. The hotel (The Novotel Kamala Beach) was pretty nice...but unless you purchase the upgrade, your view will most likely be of a construction site. But we weren't in the room long enough to care about that. Would have been nice to have a view, and we tried to upgrade once at the hotel, but there were none available. One thing that was AWESOME about the hotel, was that it had a private beach. It was never ever packed. It was relaxing. We ended up booking a taxi through the hotel, and went to a Muay Thai boxing match in Patong...that was awesome. Overall...we really enjoyed the whole trip. It is exhausting if you book most of the optional tours....so be prepared for long days and a pretty steady schedule of "go go go". Knowing what we know now, I don't think we'd book as many optional tours...and we wouldn't want to be part of any "see how this is made...now walk around the store for an hour while we try and sell you stuff"...that was annoying. But overall...amazing life experience. We made wonderful friends, whom we will stay in touch with. I would certainly recommend this tour group, even though there are def. some drawbacks...the good, certainly outweighed the bad. We would totally go with them again on another adventure.

More

By JEREMY HINSKTON

Close menu

DATES & PRICES

Thailand Explorer (Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Phuket) (ATMK)

choose your tour