ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Arrival Bangkok
On arrival into Bangkok you will be met at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The rest of the day will be free to relax or explore the city at your leisure.
Day 2: Bangkok
Heading out in the morning, unlock the secrets of Thai history and culture at the Bangkok National Museum. Situated on the grounds of the 18th century Wang Na Palace, the museum houses the largest collection of Thai art and artefacts in the country. Other exhibits of interest include a funeral chariot hall, featuring carriages used for royal cremations, and many fine examples of Thai architecture. This is the perfect opportunity to gain valuable insight into the traditions, culture and historical monuments you will see throughout the rest of your trip.
After an educational day learning about Thai history and culture, head back to your hotel and spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Head out to explore Bangkok's famously vibrant atmosphere or simply relax at your hotel.
Day 3: Bangkok – Lop Buri – Korat
Start your discovery of Isaan’s heritage with a visit to the ancient temple ruins at Lop Buri, a collection of Khmer and Hindu shrines dotting an area dating back to the 12th century. Prang Khaek is the oldest monument of Lop Buri, and the oldest Khmer-style Hindu Shrine to be found in Thailand’s central region. See Phra Prang Sam Yot, a three towered Hindu shrine and the four-armed Vishnu figure of San Phra Kan.
Afterwards, continue on to Nakorn Ratchasima, also known as Korat, arriving mid afternoon. Upon arrival, check into your hotel and enjoy the rest of your evening lounging around or doing a bit of independent exploration.
Day 4: Korat
Explore the mysterious ruins at Phimai Historical Park. Within the park is Phimai Sanctuary is one of the grandest and most important Khmer historical sites in Thailand. Little is known about the temple's origins. It's stone inscriptions and the Baphuon architectural style suggest the sanctuary was built at the end of the 11th century. However, some characteristics are similar to those of Angkor Wat. After having a wander around the temple grounds, pop into the museum where collection of artefacts date back many centuries, and include the stone statue of King Jayavarman VII of Angkor Thom, which was found in Prang Bhramadhatta.
Day 5: Korat
Watch local artisans at Dan Kwian Pottery Village produce pottery and ceramic pieces. For generations, the local people have made different types of bowls and jars for preserved fish, and mortar and pestles for grinding spices. The rust-coloured clay is considered highly durable and is used for reproductions of classic designs.
Next, head to Pak Thong Chai a village entirely dedicated to the production of fine silks and silk products. It is a little known fact that the bulk of silk produced in Thailand is spun by hand in silk villages using traditional techniques. Here you'll have an up-close look at how it's done, and learn about the history of the practice as well.
Afterwards, head back to your hotel and enjoy a final night in Korat, perhaps heading to the night market for a glimpse at local life in the area.
Day 6: Korat – Surin
In the morning, head to an extinct volcano and the site of Phanom Rung, a grand and majestic Khmer temple complex over a thousand years old. The complex is built from laterite and sandstone, with elaborate designs depicting stories of Hindu deities. Learn about the temple's fascinating history before heading to your next destination.
Next is Prasat Meuang Tam, another Khmer temple similar to Phanom Rung, but on a more quaint scale. The highlight of the temple is four large pools with serpent designs. Snap some photos of this unique historical site before heading to Surin Province.
Upon arrival, check into your hotel and get some rest, or check the area out on your your own in the evening.
Day 7: Surin
The symbol of Surin Province is Prasat Sikhoraphum, a five tower temple similar to Angkor Wat. Influences of Hinduism can be seen in the carved lintel of the central tower, depicting Shiva performing a cosmic dance. Around the 15th century the temple was renovated and became a Buddhist stupa. Then head to Sawai, a village known for the incredible artistry of its silk weaving. Here, ancient Khmer influences can still be seen in the patterns used and in the style of producing colours used, which are made from natural spices and flowers.
Day 8: Surin - Ubon Ratchathani
Today visit Prasat Wat Sa Kamphaeng Yai, an 11th century Khmer temple built in honour of the Hindu god Shiva, and converted to Theravada Buddhism in the 13th century. The temple is comprised of three stupas. The main stupa is made from sandstone and brick, and houses an intricately carved lintel depicting the Hindu deity Indra and Erawan, the elephant god.
After a fascinating day of temple-wandering, head back to your hotel.
Day 9: Ubon Ratchathani
After breakfast in the morning, head to Ubon Ratchathani National Museum and take a gander at its vast collection of artefacts from the area. See a 2,500 year old Dong Son bronze drum and historical Ubon textiles. The museum's most prized possession is a 9th-century Ardhanarisvara, a half-man, half-woman statue of Shiva and his consort Uma.
Next up is Wat Thung Si Muang. Constructed in 19th century to house a replica of Buddha’s footprint. One of its most beautiful features is the wooden library that contains palm scrolls of Buddhist canons, sitting on stilts in a pond.
Then head back to your hotel and enjoy a last evening in Ubon Ratchathani by exploring a night market or sampling some local street food.
Day 10: Ubon Ratchathani - Khong Jiam
Explore the natural beauty of Pha Taem National Park, where plateaus and hills dominate the landscape and sheer cliffs have formed due to earthquakes. See numerous cave paintings dating back more than 3,000 years that reflect the life and times of the people who once lived in the area. Descend to the tribal village of Bru for a look at the unique culture of the area. Then, board a traditional boat for a cruise down the mighty Mekong River and Moon River.
Arrive at the beautiful hillside town of Khong Jiam, with its quaint atmosphere, old-style houses and spectacular views over the river, it's one of Thailand's most charming and least well-known towns. Check into your hotel here and then head out for some independent exploration of this unique area.
Day 11: Khong Jiam
After breakfast, spend the rest of your time in this charming town exploring local markets or mingling with locals. Then, transfer to Ubon Ratchathani Airport for your onward flight.