Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya, Thailand. Image courtesy of Diethelm Travel.
This 7-day 6-night tour takes you down river currents and train tracks to Thailand and Cambodia's most authentic destinations both on and off the beaten path.
Rivers nourish Thailand's most vibrant settlements, and this is most apparent in Mahachai, located 45 km southwest of Bangkok. Your trip starts here, where Klong Mahachai canal and the Ta Chine River converge; watch tons of seafood change hands in a scene that has gone unchanged for generations.
A different market vibe awaits at the Mae Klong Railway Market – wait for the train to pass right through, with vendors clearing the tracks at just the right time!
The nearby riverside town of Amphawa offers a glimpse of the Benjarong House and Museum, home to skilled chinaware artisans, before you embark on a boat trip through the town's scenic waterways. You'll pass orchards and farmhouses before sailing up Mae Klong River to Wat Bang Kung, a 200-year-old temple almost surrounded by the roots of a huge banyan tree.
After passing by the Damnoen Saduak floating market, you'll continue to Kanchanaburi, gateway to World War II memorial sites like the War Cemetery, the Death Railway that passes over the famous Bridge over the River Kwai, and Hellfire Pass Memorial Museum.
It's a long drive from here to Ayutthaya, a ruined former Siamese capital. Temple ruins like Wat Panangchern (which still contains the oldest bronze Buddha image in Ayutthaya), Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and Wat Chai Wattanaram contrast with the well-preserved Royal Summer Palace downstream of the Chao Phraya River.
Across the border, you'll take on a day tour of Cambodia's present-day capital Phnom Penh and its attractions: the Independence Monument, the National Museum, the Royal Palace and the Silver Pagoda within it, notable for its floor composed of 5,000 silver tiles. The day's tour ends with a visit to the city’s namesake, Wat Phnom.
You'll wind up your tour at Siem Reap, where the massive complex of Angkor-era temples recall a massive empire that once ruled from here. Over the tour's last few days, you'll explore the Angkor ruins in minute detail: from the overgrown walls of Ta Prohm to the brickwork of Prasat Kravan to the magnificence that is Angkor Wat.
Ta Prohm, Angkor temples, Cambodia. Image courtesy of Diethelm Travel.
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