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Escorted Genereal-Interest Tours

Escorted tours are structured group tours with a group leader. The price usually includes everything from airfare to hotels, meals, tours, admission costs, and local transportation. Here are some of the best operators for Thailand.

  • Absolute Asia (www.absoluteasiajourneys.com; tel. 800/736-8187): Founded in 1989, Absolute Asia offers an array of innovative itineraries, specializing in individual or small group tours customized to your interests, with experienced local guides and excellent accommodations. Talk to them about tours that feature art, cuisine, religion, antiques, photography, wildlife study, archaeology, and soft adventure -- they can plan a specialized trip to see just about anything you can dream up for any length of time.
  • Asia Transpacific Journeys (www.asiatranspacific.com; tel. 800/642-2742 or 303/443-6789): Coordinating tours to every corner of South and Southeast Asia and the Pacific, Asia Transpacific Journeys deals with small groups and custom programs that include luxury hotel accommodations. They have specific tours for Thailand, such as the Best of Thailand, a 14-day trip that takes in Bangkok, the north, and the southern beaches. Asia Transpacific tours are fun, promote cultural understanding and sustainable tourism, and are highly recommended.
  • Diethelm (www.diethelmtravel.com; tel. 02660-7000): The folks at this Swiss-based tour company, with offices throughout the region, are friendly and helpful, and a popular choice for European tour groups. Diethelm has full tour programs and can provide details for travelers in-country, arrange car rental or vans for small groups, and offer discount options to all destinations.
  • Intrepid (www.intrepidtravel.com; tel. 1300/364-512, or 800/970-7299 in the U.S.): This popular Australian operator is a reliable choice to get off the beaten path on a tour of Asia. Intrepid caters tours for the culturally discerning, those with humanitarian goals, and adventure travelers on a budget looking for a group-oriented tour of off-the-map locations. They live up to their name, and with some of the best guides in Asia, these folks will take you to the back of beyond safely and in style.
  • World Spree (www.worldspree.com; tel. 866/652-5656) is usually the price leader to Asia, and Thailand is no exception. It offers great value trips throughout the year, some just to Thailand, others that mix a visit here with Cambodia or Laos. And unlike many other Asia specialists, World Spree never includes bogus "shopping experiences" (where travelers are steered into stores where the tour company gets a kickback). Expect top quality guides and accommodations for a lower-than-usual price.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.