Eastern Thailand & Isan HIGHLIGHTS
Unleash your inner explorer and venture into parts of Isaan and the eastern parts of the country, Thailand’s best-kept secret! Prepare for an adventure as we dive into bustling markets, hop on scenic train rides, and relish delightful picnics amidst Isaan’s picturesque countryside. Get ready to immerse yourself in the vibrant village life, where paddy fields stretch as far as the eye can see. Pedal through scenic landscapes, uncover local craftsmanship, and marvel at the awe-inspiring Khmer ruins of the early Angkor period, yet without the crowds. But that’s not all—enjoy the lush beauty of the jungle, savour a farm-to-table lunch, and embark on a tantalizing journey of exotic fruit tasting, water front heritage and mangrove forests in Chanthaburi.
The must-do’s in this region
Market, Scenic Train Ride, Picnic and Village Life
It’s time to venture into the often-forgotten parts of Thailand, with a first breakfast stop at a local market. With busy locals going after their morning routine and selling all kinds of fresh produce, for the yummy food prepared all around town. Jump on the local train for a scenic ride through the countryside, the ideal way to arrive in the Northeastern region of Isaan. Continue driving to a small village, surrounded by paddy fields and get to know the daily life, before riding a super cool vehicle to the picnic spot for today’s lunch, home-cooked by a woman of the village.
The must-do’s in this region
The Magic of Khmer Civilization
Most of our journey today, through scenic country roads, passing villages and agricultural farming, was once part of the ‘Royal Way’, in ancient times connecting the Khmer temples of nowadays Thailand, with the famous neighbour of Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Just as the golden hour starts to hit, we arrive at Phnom Rung, an ancient Khmer temple that fascinates with a very calm and relaxing atmosphere, and surprises with its magnificent architecture. You will have the opportunity to explore the ruins almost by yourself, wander around and get a historical insight from your guide, before enjoying a cold refreshment.
Pedal Through Rural Isaan: Uncover Crafts, Village Life and Ruins
It’s time to get active – explore the rural side of Isaan by bicycle and a local ride that surely is an eye-catcher and a fun experience! Explore local craftmanship, village life and the stunning ruins of Prasat Muang Tam, all while leisurely biking around and stopping for coffee at a ‘very Thai’ café, enjoying a local lunch and soaking in the countryside vibes.
Flavours if Isaan: Cook, Taste and Sip
Ask anyone in Bangkok what their favorite Thai dish is, and the origin will very likely be in Isaan, famous for its papaya salad, a variety of spicy dishes (including a few bizarre ones!), grilled chicken, soups, other dips and different fresh vegetables – to die for! You will be cooking up an Isaan meal with a local creative, who loves to share his passion for this part of Thailand. Not only will you be cooking in a kitchen designed and built for a fantastic cooking experience, but you will also get to taste a cocktail that is infused with local herbs. ‘Zaeb Lai’ – which translates to ‘very tasty’ in the local slang.
Breakfast Amidst Ancient Serenity
Imagine, enjoying a private picnic breakfast, casually set up under a large Banyon tree with a view of an ancient Khmer temple. Yes, this will be your very special breakfast spot this morning, with local delicacies being served. While this might not be the biggest of all temples, it certainly is one that won’t see any other tourists hunting for selfies, but is integrated within the local village, making it a very special place to start your day.
The Nature’s Bounty: Jungle, Home-Cooked Lunch, and Exotic Fruit Tasting
Today we will leave Isaan behind us and travel towards the South East and reach a local orchard – just the right place to enjoy a home-cooked, farm-to-table, lunch. After your tasty meal, go for a stroll around the orchard with one of the family members, who will happily explain all about the farming techniques and variety of produce in the region. After your orchard discovery, it’s time for some fruit tasting. While most of us only know a couple of exotic fruits, it will get a bit wild here. Try some fruits that you have never heard of, some with vibrant colours, distinct tastes, unusual shapes, eaten with chili or other condiments, raw, ripe or pickled – It’s a spectacle for your taste buds!
Historic Chanthaburi walk and dinner
Enjoy your evening in the charming town of Chanthaburi and explore the historic centre by strolling around and have a traditional meal at a local institution with character that has been serving meals for decades. We have made a pre-selection for you, so you won’t miss out on the local’s favourites.
Walk through the Mangrove forest – CHA-LSP 003
Visit a well set-up mangrove learning centre, which is an excellent place to learn more about the importance of mangroves, marine life and aquatic animals. We go for a brief walk of about 1,5 kilometers along the nature trail, including several pavilions with informative insights on the local flora and fauna and a nice view on the gulf of Thailand. Continue to Laem Sok Pier for ferry transfer to Ko Chang, Ko Mak or Ko Kood.