Vacation, the online travel planning resource, has begun featuring sample luxury itineraries to destinations around the globe and first up is the exotic Southeast Asian country of Thailand. The customizable program includes flights from multiple cities in the U.S. and features Bangkok, the Golden Triangle area, Chiang Mai, and the Phuket resort area, with each featuring stays in luxury hotels and a huge array of activities, dining and entertainment options.
“Thailand is a gorgeous feast of Asian culture, excitement and natural beauty,” said Ninan Chacko, CTC, CEO of Travel Leaders Group, which powers Vacation. “Our destination specialists have pooled their talents and their own first-hand knowledge to create a rich, truly memorable array of experiences to inspire consumers as they consider that long-desired journey.”
The first destination is Bangkok, where travelers can stay at the luxurious Peninsula Bangkok and explore the city’s beautiful riverfront temples and palaces. This journey includes the royal residence Grand Palace and the most revered shrine in the country – the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Close by is Wat Pho Temple, home of the gigantic gold-plated Reclining Buddha and also the headquarters for the traditional medicine practitioners of Bangkok.
Here, travelers can also embark on a boat tour of the city’s maze of waterways, passing towering skyscrapers, bustling markets, and the elegant Temple of Dawn. They can visit a local monastery to learn about Thai Buddhism. Another day, travelers can enjoy a privately chartered long-tail motorboat to journey up the Chao Phraya River to Koh Kret island, known for its stunning handmade pottery and lanterns.
The Golden Triangle & Luxury Camps
Deep in the Thai countryside is the Golden Triangle, situated at the confluence of the Thai, Lao and Myanmar borders. Here travelers can enjoy a pampered stay at the luxe Four Seasons Tented Camp in private, safari-style tents. High-end amenities include a 90-minute spa treatment and a nightcap of wine and canapes at the property’s thatched-roof restaurant, the Wine Cellar.
There’s also a day of exploring the Mekong River, with visits to local temples and markets, a jungle trek, cocktails at the Four Seasons Burma Bar, and dinner at Nong Yao Restaurant. Travelers can also commune with elephants, even helping them bathe.
Historic Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai was founded in the 13th century and its culture, cuisine and architecture have been influenced by many different peoples – Thai, Burmese, Lao and hill tribes. From their base at the luxurious Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai hotel, travelers can enjoy:
- A samlor or trishaw (three-wheeled cab) ride exploring Pae Gate, one of four original city gates
- A stroll through Chang Mai Gate Market, a traditional fresh-foods market, and then the riverfront Warorot Market, with its colorful flowers, spices, and nearby markets filled with textiles, hill tribe clothes, silk, hats and beads
- A temple tour – including Wat Chiang Man, Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, with the opportunity to meet and speak with a local monk about Buddhism
- A visit to Chiang Mai’s most famous landmark – Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, located on the 5,498-foot high Doi Suthep, where travelers can climb the 300-step staircase or ascend via cable car
- A day-long visit with a Raunkawe-Yanon family in a rural suburb of Chiang Mai for a unique Lanna cultural and culinary experience, as they share their heritage and 150-year-old traditions
Phuket: The Beach and Much More
In stunning Phuket, travelers can stay at the beautiful COMO Point Yamu resort, overlooking Phang Nga Bay. Travel Leaders Group destination specialists have built an itinerary that enables travelers to enjoy the azure-blue waters and white-sand beaches of the island, as well as explore its unique history.
Here, visitors can boat or kayak around the smaller outlying limestone islands and relax on the nearby pristine beach. There’s also a memorable taste experience: lunch of roti, a dish brought to the island by Hokkien Muslim immigrants in the 1800s, or dinner at a renowned Phuket restaurant, such as Raya. Another day, travelers can enjoy an in-depth walking exploration of Old Phuket Town to discover cloth, spice and other shops that reflect the island’s rich diversity.
Thailand: From Bangkok to Phuket offers departures from New York (all airports), Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Travel is recommended during November to April, traditionally less-crowded times for the destination.
To learn more about and explore Vacation’s new Thai itineraries, as well as other destinations, travelers can visit the Destinations + Cultures section of Vacation. Travelers can also learn more about savings and discounts by becoming a member of The Travel Collection by Travel Leaders Group, a portfolio of select travel offers that allows travelers to receive discounts on international and domestic flights, value-added benefits at select lodging establishments, shipboard credits on cruises and discounts on escorted and vacation packages. Membership to The Travel Collection is offered at no additional cost to holders of select American Express® cards. For more information visit TheTravelCollection.com.
Vacation inspires, informs and guides travelers throughout their planning process, making every step—from researching a destination to connecting with the ideal travel expert—as rewarding as possible. The content-rich website is powered by Travel Leaders Group (www.travelleadersgroup.com), one of the industry’s largest travel agency companies. Check out Vacation at www.vacation.com or on social media at #LoveUrVacay.