Often bypassed by travellers rushing either to the mountains of the north or the beaches of the south, the central and northeastern reached of Thailand have plenty of attributes to woo visitors. 

Central Thailand is the country’s cultural heartland. Fed by the Chao Phraya River, the fertile plain north of Bangkok births much of the nation’s rice crop while towns such as Ayutthaya and Sukhothai were formerly capitals of once-mighty Thai kingdoms. Steeped in colourful history, the majestic ruins at both towns reward exploration by bike or by foot.

To the northwest of Bangkok, mountain ranges climb towards the Myanmar border, the lush peaks hiding spectacular foaming waterfalls. The base for exploration of this wilderness is Kanchanaburi, a friendly riverside town famous for its role during WWII when occupying Japanese troops enlisted POWs and conscripted Southeast Asians to build the infamous ‘Death Railway’ to what was then known as Burma.

Northeastern Thailand, otherwise known as Isaan, is, to tourists at least, the country’s great unknown. The giant drought-prone area is the poorest part of Thailand and banner attractions are fewer here than in other regions. Nevertheless, it is a fascinating cultural makeup – it has more in common with Laos than other parts of Thailand – its fiery cuisine, superb national parks and entrancing Mekong River scenery make it worth investigating.

FEATURED TRIP

FOOD TRAILS OF THAILAND (11 DAYS / 10 NIGHTS)

Discover the regional flavours of Thailand as you travel around Bangkok, Central Thailand, the North, and Northeast, learning the subtleties of what makes each regions food so incredibly unique.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Explore Thailand’s wine culture. Tour Grand Monte vineyard with a wine expert, learn about Thailand’s budding wine industry and sample different varieties
  • Join hands-on cooking classes. Learn the secrets of Isaan food with a village cooking class and prepare a traditional meal with a celebrity chef
  • Sample the best Thai food. From exotic fried bugs to freshly prepared street food to east-meets-west fusion, get a taste of the Kingdom’s best

EVENING TOUR: THAI BOXING AT RAJDAMNOEN

Join the locals at a lively Muay Thai fight. Head to Bangkok’s famous Rajdamnoen Stadium for an evening of sport and culture. Listen to live traditional music and cheer with the crowds as several rounds of traditional kickboxing take place in the ring.

FULL DAY TOUR: RIVER KWAI VIA DAMNOEN SADUAK FLOATING MARKET

Venture away from Bangkok and discover the history and traditions of the countryside. Browse the colourful stalls of Damnoen Saduak, a decades-old floating market beloved by local residents. Continue to Kanchanaburi where Thailand’s tragic World War II history is revealed through a series of insightful, somber visits. 

FULL DAY TOUR: AYUTTHAYA INSIGHT BY TRAIN

Follow in the footsteps of the kings with a visit to Ayutthaya. Take a scenic train ride from the modern capital of Bangkok to Ayutthaya, the former royal capital. Explore the UNESCO Heritage site, marveling at the breathtaking temples and learning the stories of capital’s glory days.

ISAAN INSIGHT (10 DAYS / 9 NIGHTS)

Get off the tourist trail with an overland adventure through Thailand’s Isaan province. Travel from Bangkok to Sukhothai, and all places in between. Marvel at prehistoric wall paintings, come face-to-face with Asian elephants, see awe-inspiring temples and be enchanted by the rich culture of the Isaan people.