Thailand for Foodies
Cooking in Thailand has a unique style. Chefs mix and balance salty, hot, sweet, sour and sometimes bitter flavours—often in a single dish. It is therefore important to know what and where to eat. Small restaurants and especially street stalls in Thailand, generally specialise in a particular dish and are known around the town for it. As people are becoming increasingly interested in regional gourmet cooking, cooking schools are becoming a must-do item to learn about Thailand food.
Blue Elephant, a restaurant-turned-cooking-school is housed in a century-old French colonial house. There are daily morning and afternoon sessions but for serious learners, there is a 5-day professional course. Students have a personal cooking station, and helpful aids are nearby to assist when needed. Classes are the perfect mix for advanced cooks and kitchen newbies. Students shop ingredients and cook four authentic dishes, then enjoy the meal in the decked-out dining room.
TRAVEL UNTAMED ON THIS 8-DAY THAILAND’S GASTRONOMIC EXPERIENCE…
And, learn to balance the different flavours and presentation techniques.
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka’s second largest national park is located in the southeast region of the country. The park is best known for the conservation of Sri Lankan elephants, leopards and aquatic birds. Yala hosts a variety of ecosystems ranging from moist monsoon forests to freshwater and marine wetlands. Yala National Park has one of the highest leopard densities in the world and home to varied animals and over 215 bird species.
Tangalle, Sri Lanka’s city on the southeastern coast, was an anchorage site for the Dutch and the British. Their influence can be seen in a few remaining examples of architecture, such as the Rest House, Court House and the Dutch Fort. Beyond the town are the larger bays, Medilla and Medaketiya, the latter with fine white sand and excellent swimming conditions. Locals provide day excursions to nearby Mulkirigala rock temple with numerous wall paintings and Buddha statues.
On our first visit to Thailand, one of the first things our Hotel Manager asked was "Have you eaten yet?" In first instance you might consider it as polite culture but it also indicates their passion for food. When you go to Thai restaurant, it is best not to look at the décor or menu. The quality indicator is the number of people eating inside.
In celebration of Bangkok’s fantastic cuisine and the restaurants that have perfected it, we have searched for the best restaurants that serve the Thai dishes we couldn’t imagine living without. Some are world famous, others are more obscure, but they're all worth trying, at least once.
Thai cuisine is all about balancing sweet, sour, salty and spicy flavours. Blending elements of several Southeast Asian traditions, Thai cooking places emphasis on lightly prepared dishes with strong aromatic components. It is this profusion of exotic flavours and fragrances that has made it among the most coveted of international cuisines. On this culinary and eating tour of Thailand, learn how to balance these flavours and presentation techniques. With the help of some of the best chefs in Thai cuisine, prepare a variety of Thai dishes, including appetizers, entrees and desserts.
Also learn how to use the many of the fresh herbs and spices in Thai cooking, such as turmeric, galangal, coriander, lemongrass, and fresh chillies that have immune-boosting and disease-fighting power making Thai cuisine one of the healthiest foods you can eat.
This tour includes several cooking classes at Thailand’s leading cooking schools. It also features private sightseeing of the main cultural attractions in Bangkok and Chiang Mai, with a strong emphasis on local food markets and experiencing authentic cuisine in noted local restaurants. Note: cooking classes can be arranged at a variety of venues—including hotels, independent cooking schools, and private homes in urban and rural settings. Please let us know what cooking environment you prefer so we can tailor this tour accordingly.
Stay at some of Thailand’s best luxury hotels and resorts, and visit the most interesting cultural attractions in each location.
Thailand for Foodies On this culinary tour of Thailand, learn how to balance the different flavours and presentation techniques.
Bangkok, Chiang Mai
(08 Days – Travel Any Day)
Day 1 – Arrive
Bangkok Meet and greet on arrival at Bangkok International Airport. After a warm reception, our representative will escort you to your hotel for 3 nights stay.
Mandarin Oriental hotel (Nil)
Day 2 – Cooking School
Bangkok The cooking school is centrally located and easily accessible. A typical day begins with a visit to the local market, accompanied by your instructor, where you will learn to select the perfect ingredients for your Thai cooking lessons. Back at the school watch a cookery demonstration, then with the help of your instructor, learn and experience the culinary technique of Thai cuisine. Later enjoy your own dishes at the school restaurant.
The Blue Elephant is Europe's most famous Thai restaurant. Their Bangkok branch however is primarily a cooking school where they train chefs for their gastronomic empire. The school caters to a variety of people with different skill sets; from a novice to a professional chef. A five-day course is recommended. Private cooking classes can also be organised.
Mandarin Oriental hotel (B)
Day 3 – Market Tour
Bangkok We make an early start to visit the unique fresh market along the railway tracks in Mae Klong. The unique feature of this market is that it is set-up literally on the railway tracks. As the train approaches the station, the vendors quickly dismantle their stalls, so that the train can pass through which offers unique photo opportunities.
Later, take a comprehensive tour of Bangkok. With your private guide explore Bangkok’s most unusual Buddhist temples to include Wat Trimitr with its priceless Golden Buddha (5 ½ tonnes of solid gold), Wat Po, the most extensive temple in Bangkok, with its colossal Reclining Buddha and the Chedis of the Kings.
Mandarin Oriental hotel (B)
Day 4 – Transfer
Chiang Mai Fly to Chiang Mai and transfer to your hotel. In the evening eat at the famous ‘Just Khao Soy’ restaurant. Khao Soy is a delicious Northern Thai curry noodle dish served with various condiments. Once a street food, Just Khao Soy has turned this into a fine dining experience and elevated the meal to its rightful place as the ‘signature dish of northern Thai cuisine’.
The restaurant, aptly named ‘Just Khao Soy’ serves only Khao Soy, but in bigger portions, and using a higher quality of ingredients that is used in the street food version. It is constructed with the use of local materials (wood, large diameter bamboo poles, traditional clay brick flooring), and located only 200 meters from the famous night bazaar that you can explore after dinner.
Four Seasons Resort (B)
Day 5 – Transfer
Chiang Mai Today we transfer by an air-conditioned minivan to Phrao, situated about 90km north of the city. After a warm welcome at the Khum Lanna, we will take a tour of the kitchen garden to collect different seasonal herbs, vegetables and fruits for cooking. The course includes an introduction to Thai ingredients and a demonstration of how to prepare 5 different dishes.
Khum Lanna is a large beautiful teak wood house in the rural heart of Northern Thailand, surrounded by emerald green rice fields and tropical orchards with an exotic and charming ambience. The local chefs here will share their years of experience to prepare some of the most loved and best-known Thai dishes. Learn how to cook authentic tasting Thai food and deserts. Later take a short cycling tour.
Four Seasons Resort (B)
Day 6 – Experience
Chiang Mai Today you have a choice of either taking an elephant safari through the rain forest and enjoy a thrilling rafting adventure for about an hour (on bamboo rafts during the dry season between February to August) or explore Doi Inthanon National Park.
Option 1: Eco Soft Adventure. Depart Chiang Mai by 4-WD Land Rover to the hill tribe museum at Mae Rim. Then continue to Mae Taeng for an elephant safari through the rain forest. After lunch at the elephant village, embark on an inflatable raft to enjoy a thrilling rafting adventure on the unspoiled Mae Taeng River for about an hour (on bamboo rafts during the dry season between February to August). The tour ends with a visit to the Orchid Farm.
Option 2: Doi Inthanon National Park. Doi Inthanon is Thailand's highest mountain and towers over 2,500 metres. Complex mountain ranges and a mild climate characterize an area with moist and dense forest, which is the source of important tributaries of the Mae Ping River, one of northern Thailand's major waterways. Various streams descend, forming beautiful waterfalls throughout the park. Hmong and Karen hill tribes inhabit the park.
Visiting the Doi Inthanon National Park is possible throughout the year. The best period for viewing waterfalls is May to November, while the wild flowers are at their best from December to February, and the best months for ornithologists are from November to March. The drive to the summit offers some fine views, especially during November and December, before the dry season haze has become well established.
Four Seasons Resort (B)
Day 7 – Cooking Class
Chiang Mai In response to popular demand for more advanced courses, "Master Classes" are now available upon request in Chiang Mai. They are designed to give a deeper insight and understanding to Thai Food. You will learn how to prepare and cook some of the most delicious Thai dishes ever created. The classes are for people who are passionate about Thai food and want to learn more than what is usually on offer. The menus have been specially designed to cater for professional chefs whilst still being accessible for food lovers who already have some knowledge of Thai cooking.
There are 5 courses to choose from, each with its own exciting selection of dishes. By the end of the week, you would have learned to prepare and cook some of the most delicious Thai dishes ever created.
Four Seasons Resort (B)
Day 8 – Depart
Chiang Mai Transfer to the airport for your onward journey.
Make this your holiday
When to go The best time to visit most of Thailand is between November and February as it is the coolest time of year and it rains the least. These months also form the tourist high season. March-Jun brings the hot season when sightseeing is best scheduled for morning or late afternoon. The best way of cooling off during hot season is to join the Thai Water Festival generally held in mid-April. Rains start in July through October. The temperature during these months tends to be cooler, tourists are fewer and the landscape is lush and green. The rain isn't permanent though - it comes in bursts and cools things down after it has gone!
Getting There Thailand has four international airports; in Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Phuket and Hat Yai, but Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi airport is the country's major gateway. Practically every airline carrier that flies to Asia also flies into Bangkok. This means there are plenty of services and the competition on the routes helps to keep the ticket prices down.
There are now a throng of low-cost-carriers serving Southeast Asia, led by KL-based AirAsia. It can be cost effective to fly from your home country to Bangkok, Singapore or KL with a traditional carrier, then pick up a LCC flight to your final destination. If you are travelling with AwimAway, transfers from an airport are arranged by our representatives who will meet you at the arrival lounge and transfer you to the hotel.
Passport/Visa British national do not require a visa for stay up to 30 days when entering by air but a valid passport is required for all tourists travelling to Thailand.