Thai devotion and religious exuberance have given many gems. From Emerald Buddha to Golden Pagodas. The celestial world is always within reach in this Buddhist nation. From Almsgiving ceremonies to quiet meditation to age-old ruins of fantastic temples and sights, Thailand’s ancient cities were something else altogether. Ancient banyan trees are ceremoniously wrapped in sacred cloth to honor the resident spirits, fortune-bringing shrines decorate humble homes as well as monumental malls, garland-festooned dashboards ward off traffic accidents. They have gone great heights for their devotion, like the 304 steps in Naga Staircase or 1200 odd steps in Tiger Cave Temple. The traditions and culture of the Golden Kingdom are truly beautiful.
Arrive at Bangkok, after meet and greet with the guide, check in at your hotel.
Today is about exploring Bangkok. Drive through the old town to Bangkok City Hall, the starting point of the street food walking experience. The first stop is at Wat Suthat, one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Bangkok. Later walk through the area’s small streets to experience the local culture, be sure to taste the local food and sweets. We recommend ‘kafae boran’, the old-style Thai coffee available at any small old coffee shop, then the popular Thai dessert, “khanom thua paep” (mung bean rice crepe), and the “gui chaii”, a dumpling-like delicacy stuffed with various vegetables like bean sprouts and spinach. After all these food stops, next is the Chinese Chao Phor Suea Shrine to visit a tiger god image. The stroll through the alley of “Phraeng Phuthon”, one of the best preserved heritage neighborhoods in Bangkok. Next stop is at local market that sells fresh seafood, fruits, clothes etc, before arriving at a large Buddha manufacturer at a small street of Nava Alley.
It's time for some good luck in the form of the Emerald Buddha, which, according to legend, is almost 2000 years old. It's said to bring good luck to all. Then stop at the Grand Palace, true to its name, it's an impressive structure. And close the day with Wat Pho - Bangkok’s oldest temple and arguably it’s most impressive.
The exploration of the ancient magnificent Thailand starts today with Ayutthaya. After driving for about 80km, upon arrival, hop onto a “Kermit” Tuk Tuk (a special type of motorized Tuk Tuk available only in Ayutthaya and Trang provinces in the South) to explore the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park.
Stop near the Muslim quarter to sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – candy floss roti. After a short break for lunch, board a long-tailed boat ride to Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and explore the majestic royal mansions which are usually quiet in the afternoon. Next stop is the Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples with its remarkable Gothic style architecture and stained glass windows.
Continue the cruise around Ayutthaya on a converted rice barge enjoying the incredible sites of the city at night while enjoying a sumptuous Thai dinner.
Today, drive north to arrive at Phitsanulok. Visit the Wat Mahathat which has Thailand’s most beautiful Buddha image – Phra Puttha Chinnarat. After lunch, drive to Sukhothai, interestingly, the name means dawn of happiness. This city was founded in the 13th century to become the kingdom's first capital. This period was known as the golden age of Thai history. The reflection of the glorious past is in Wat Mahathat, Wat Sri Chum, Wat Sri Sawai, War Sra Sri, Wat Trapang Ngoen and Ramkamhaeng Museum. Check in to your hotel for stay overnight.
Northern Thailand has very few tourists giving you the opportunity to see the true beauty beyond the glitter and bustle of Bangkok. Continue the drive north to Si Satchanalai Historical Park on the bank of the Yom River north of Sukhothai. The ancient town was initially called Muang Chaliang, There are 134 ruined monuments to explore within the park. The main sites include several temples and Celadon Kiln Site Study and Conservation Center at Ban Ko Noi. Lunch at a local restaurant. Drive through the afternoon brings you to the charming northern capital - Chiang Mai. After check in, explore the city at your leisure and use the time to do some souvenir shopping.
Chiang Mai is an interesting place, and the exploration starts with a drive up to the mountain temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the most famous landmark of Chiang Mai. Climb the 304 steps Naga staircase to visit the exquisite golden pagoda. As the sound of bells fills the air, it's a peaceful memory as you overlook the city. Later, drive up the mountain by “songtaew” onto a rough dirt road to the Chang Khien Coffee Research Project where you can enjoy a cup of the local ‘arabica’ surrounded by fabulous gardens of flowers. Next stop is the White Hmong village of Chang Khien where the 800 inhabitants still wear their traditional hill tribe clothes and practice a culture that dates back 500 years.
After lunch of “Khao Soy” curry noodles - the signature dish of northern Thai cuisine, explore the main ancient temple ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, the Lost City, by bicycle. The temple ruins consist of Wat Chedi Liam, Wat Phraya Meng Rai, Wat Kan Thom, and Wat Koo Paa Dom. Next stop is the Wat Chiang Mun, the oldest temple built in the ‘new’ city of Chiang Mai, containing numerous old artifacts. last stop is at the Three Kings Monument and Chiang Mai Arts Culture Hall, which offers a wonderful collection of the chronicled history of Chiang Mai.
After the historical Chiang Mai, it's time for Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai is about 3 hours away. After a short lunch, head to PDA Hilltribe Museum and Education Centre and Wat Rong Khun, the “White Temple” before proceeding to Chiang Sean - a former Lanna principality dating back to 1328.
Chiang Rai has an interesting alternate experience of 4WD Adventure Tracing of the Opium Trail. Here, you can drive in a 4WD vehicle to Baan Taak on Doi Mae Salong Mountain. The village that was the former stronghold of Khun Sa, the infamous drug lord and leader of the State Liberal Army. Then continues on the dirt road to Baan Hua Mae Kham, a village shared by the Yao, Akha, and Lisu hill tribe people.
Other than discovering the Opium trail, from mid-November to early December, Doi Hua Mae Kham’s valley is usually covered in yellow with blooming Bua Tong, a native flower. This is the hidden charm of Doi Hua Mae Kham. It is the best spot in Thailand to watch the sunrise amidst the mist of dawn.
The day starts with a visit to the area of the ancient Chiang Saen before continuing on to Mae Sai, the bustling trading town at the northernmost border between Thailand and Myanmar. Cross the Sai River into Thachilek, on the Burmese side, and witness the local life in a nearby village. Take a rickshaw ride through lanes and small side streets to explore the town and its Shan style temple.
End your morning at the local market, famous for its products from Southern China, Burma, and Laos. After lunch, arrive at the viewpoint of the Golden Triangle. This is where the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos convene. After that lifetime memory, take a long-tail boat to view the splendour of the mighty Mekong River joining the Ruak River and forming the “triangle” with Laos, Burma, and Thailand.
After what is sure to be a wonderful adventure in Thailand, it's time to bid good bye!
- Accommodation in selected hotels.
- Meals as mentioned (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).
- English speaking guide.
- Tours and transfers as mentioned by private air conditioned vehicle.
- Join Phi Phi Island tour by speedboat
- Entrance fees for mentioned visits.
- Tips for driver and hotel porters
- Drinking water and cold towel
- Other meals than mentioned.
- Other services than mentioned.
- International and domestic flights.
- Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature.
- Tips for guide, travel insurance.