I had to read this package offered by SmarTours (tel. 800/337-7773; www.smartours.com) a few times before I could believe that you could fly to Bangkok and have your 11 nights' hotel covered -- all for a starting price of $1,299. It's true, but only if you pay cash and book by Oct. 29.
Travelers will spend the most time in Bangkok and Chiang Mai at upscale, well-positioned hotels. Tours of Buddhist temples and statues are included, with leisure time built in for exploring on your own.
Other stops on the 14-day Thailand trip include Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle -- where Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand converge in the northern part of the country. Here, some of the activities include viewing the making of paper and ceramics in a local village and taking a short boat trip on the Mekong River.
You'll spend four days in Chiang Mai, with visits to an elephant camp, old Buddhist temples, and a night market filled with handcrafted items, portrait paintings, jewelry, and electronics.
Considering the base price of this package (with the early-booking discount) starts at $1,299, it's like getting a good portion of the trip for free.
If you booked this on your own, a round-trip ticket from New York-JFK would start from $1,033 for a flight with one connection (a cheaper one, from $977, offers two connections) and goes all the way up to -- inexplicably -- $4,874.
Trip Type:Air-inclusive, escorted
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare from Los Angeles via Korean Air; domestic flight and ground transportation, 11 nights' hotel, a full American buffet breakfast daily, a welcome dinner in Bangkok, some sightseeing tours, the services of a professional English-speaking tour director throughout the trip, and airline fuel surcharges.
What Else You'll Have to Pay: Government taxes and fees of up to $250.
Book By: Oct. 29 to qualify for the early-booking cash discount, which reflects a savings of about $500 per person ($1,000 per couple).
When: April 5, 19. Other departure dates in 2011 -- Jan. 11, 18, 25; Feb. 8, 15; and March 8, 22 -- start at $1,399 with the discount.
Other Details: Three-day add-on excursions to either the beachside Phuket or a jaunt into Cambodia to see Angkor Wat are available from $1,899 for 17 days, a price that also reflects the cash discount. To qualify for the cash discount, you must pay for the entire trip by check or money order. Departures from New York are also available for an additional $100.
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways and any single supplements, which is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.
Talk with fellow Frommer's travelers on our Thailand Forum.