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3 Weeks Thailand Itinerary - Advice Sought

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Recently booked flights to Thailand (into and out of Bangkok). We have exactly 21 nights on the ground, and we're travelling end of December with most of the trip falling in January.

This will be our second trip to Thailand but on the first one we only went to Phuket, even though we're not really beach people, we were travelling with friends and it was their choice. It was fine, and we did love the canoe excursion inside one of the limestone karsts off the coast! As we're not into beaches, we're not planning to include any for this trip.

A little about us, we're mid-forties British couple, we love city breaks, cultural and historical sites, and wildlife / natural landscapes. I have a slight addiction to food markets! We are happy to travel via plane, train or self-drive but would prefer to avoid bus/ coach where possible, those make me travel sick. I have some mobility issues so we can't do activities which involve strenuous hiking, and while we will walk to explore, we can't do as much per day as many travellers. I'm not great at handling the heat, so we've chosen this as the coolest time of year but appreciate it will still be pretty hot, so we'll hope to sight see during earlier morning or late afternoon, and relax in the shade or aircon when the day is at its hottest. We know we won't be able to do that everywhere... We are mid to high budget, and given the prices in Thailand, we'll likely go for higher end rather here, since it's so affordable.

So far I have 3 nights in Bangkok at the start, and another 3 nights there at the end. (We've never been so there's a lot I want to see, not only within Bangkok but in the vicinity).

I also have a 2 night booking at Elephant Hills in Khao Sok National Park.

Day 1 Flight from UK, lands next day
Day 2 Bangkok
Day 3 Bangkok
Day 4 Bangkok
Day 5
Day 6
Day 7
Day 8
Day 9
Day 10
Day 11
Day 12 Khao Sok National Park Elephant Hills (transfer in is early morning)
Day 13 Khao Sok National Park Rainforest Camp
Day 14 (transfer out of park will be afternoon)
Day 15
Day 16
Day 17
Day 18
Day 19
Day 20 Bangkok
Day 21 Bangkok
Day 22 Bangkok
Day 23 Flight back to UK

That leaves me a 7 night and 6 night gap on either side of Khao Sok.

I want to go north for the 7 night block, Chang Mai, Chang Rai, maybe Doi An and Chang Khong?

For the other 6 night block I am looking at Khao Yai National Park and Ayutthaya.

Would welcome advice and thoughts on how best to organise these two blocks?

On day 12 we need to be at one of the Elephant Hills transfer points first thing in the morning - these are Phuket (airport or town), Surat Thani (airport or town), Khao Lak, Phang Nga, Krabi, Koh Samui. Likewise, the transfer back out is to our pick of these points.

Also looking for your recommendations for particular hotels, restaurants, cookery schools, activities and excursions, things we should ensure we visit, within these destinations.

Thank you so much,
Kavey

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