For many, Thailand means golden beaches, idyllic islands and lively resorts. But there's a whole other face to this fascinating country...

Thailand has a rich and colourful culture and is often referred to as a golden land; not because there is precious metal buried underground but because the country gives off a certain lustre, be it from the fertile rice fields, stunning white sandy beaches or the friendly warm hospitality of its citizenry. 

Buddhism is paramount to the Thai people, so you'll see exotic temples and monuments dappled across the land and saffron-robed monks taking leave of their wats (temples) to receive alms from the people. 

Futuristic malls, quaint markets and the glittering Grand Palace grace dynamic Bangkok, while ramshackle villages and elephant trekking lie further north, with glorious idyllic islands providing the perfect escape.


Shop ’til you drop: Bangkok’s Chatuchak weekend market is one of the world’s largest and sells virtually everything, from vintage trainers to baby squirrels! Beat the crowds and heat by going early.

Sample Itinerary

8 nights from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai




Day 1/

Fly ​overnight from London Heathrow to Chiang Mai, via Bangkok

Day 2/

Arrive Chiang Mai, stay-4-nights at Four Seasons Resort Chiang Mai

Days 1 to 2

Chiang Mai

If you feel you know Thailand from visiting its coastal resorts or Bangkok, you couldn't be more mistaken. 

Northern Thailand feels like a different country again, a land of unspoilt mountains and lush forests. Where the first true Thai kingdoms arose, Northern Thailand is also steeped in ancient culture and art – both of which are plentiful in its natural capital, Chiang Mai (meaning 'new city’) – although it’s actually over 700 years old.

Today it’s a bustling metropolis mixing traditional wooden houses with boutique hotels, stylish restaurants and sleek lounge bars. Its backstreets lined with Buddhist temples (over 300 in all) and striking golden monuments still conjure up the great Thai dynasties though, especially the original square surrounded by a moat, sections of fortified wall and restored entrance gates. 

Based at the sublime Four Seasons Chiang Mai you’ll find plenty to do here, from shopping in the Night Market to learning to cook Thai cuisine in one of the many cookery schools. 

It’s also the perfect base to trek to remote mountain villages, experience life with elephants or enjoy adventures such as white-water rafting or rock-climbing, and the temple on Doi Suithep mountain and the 13th-century ruins of Wiang Kum Kham are also easy day trips.

Four Seasons Resort

Chiang Mai


This is as authentic a Thai experience as you'll find, while enjoying Western-style luxuries. The magical setting of working paddy fields (don't forget your insect repellent!) and the mountains of the beautiful Mae Rim Valley offers endless panoramas, while the gorgeous Lanna-style pavilions are spacious with traditional decoration typical of a luxurious Northern Thai home. It's perfect for learning the secrets of Thai cuisine at the cookery school, indulging in sublime spa treatments or simply chilling by the infinity pool.

Four Seasons Tented Camp

Chiang Rai


A real jungle experience where you arrive by traditional long-tail boat, learn to drive elephants, take river excursions on the Mekong or discover local cultures; and after dark the camp is lit by 100 torches, making it even more magical! It still has the usual Four Seasons luxuries though: 15 vast air-conditioned tents with king-sized beds, a spacious deck and a splendid hand-hammered copper bathtub. The spa offers wonderful Thai massages, while the Nong Yao restaurant offers Asian/American cuisine. 

​Eastern & Oriental Express



This is the perfect way to explore the peninsula with four different itineraries available, all based in Bangkok. The aim is to combine the Far East's natural beauty, tranquility and intrigue with colonial-style luxury – which it does in spades. Elegant wood panelling, lacquered Chinese decoration and lustrous silverware is matched only by the welcome from the Thai staff – incredibly gracious, warm and proud to show you their country. They're also proud of the dining car's innovative Eurasian fusion cooking.

​Days 6 to 10

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai 

From Chiang Mai, it’s easy to fly south to the high energy luxury of Phuket or board the Eastern & Oriental Express bound for Bangkok, on an adventure highlighting more of this fascinating country – exploring Lampang, Khao Yai National Park and the vineyards of Asoke Valley. 

But our personal preference is to head north to the area known as the Golden Triangle. 

Here you’ll find Chiang Rai, a charming city lined with quaint shops. An ancient centre for opium, the area once had a ‘lawless’ reputation; now, it’s a wonderful place to explore 1000-year-old temples, visit quiet little villages, and sample the abundant tea, coffee and fruits grown locally. Staying at the Four Seasons Tented Camp is an experience in itself – and a marked contrast to the version of Thailand further south!

Day 6/

Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai, stay 4 nights at Four Seasons Tented Camp Golden Triangle

Day 10/

Chiang Rai to London Heathrow, via Bangkok

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