Best of Central and Northern Thailand

7 Days / 6 Nights

  Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Phitsanulok - Sukhothai - Phrae - Chiang Rai - Akha Village - Golden Triangle - Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep - Elephant Camp

7 Days / 6 Nights

Best of Central and Northern Thailand

  Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Phitsanulok - Sukhothai - Phrae - Chiang Rai - Akha Village - Golden Triangle - Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep - Elephant Camp

Explore the best of Central and Northern Thailand with a whirlwind trip through ancient capitals, beautiful landscapes and quaint mountain towns. Discover the age-old capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai before heading to lesser-known Phrae. Head north to Chiang Rai province to experience diverse border towns and their unique hilltribe communities. In charming Chiang Mai spend time bonding with elephants then pay homage at highly-revered Doi Suthep temple overlooking the alluring northern city.

JOURNEY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Exploring Ayutthaya’s historic town and Summer Palace along with another ancient gem, Sukhotai’s UNESCO World Heritage site
  • Travelling to lesser-visited Phrae and admiring an impressive network of rock formations at Phae Muang Phi
  • Visiting hilltribe villages, home to people belonging to Yao and Akha ethnic groups
  • Standing where Thailand, Myanmar and Laos converge, and admiring the beautiful scenery of a place which was once a major hub of the opium trade
  • Climbing to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep temple perched on a mountain overlooking Chiang Mai city

TOUR INCLUSIONS

  • English-speaking guide
  • Transportation
  • Admission fee to all places indicated in the program
  • Insurance
  • 6 nights accommodation
  • 13 meals
  • Service charges and government VAT tax

ITINERARY

DAY 1

Bangkok Arrival

DAY 1 - Bangkok Arrival

Upon arrival at Bangkok airport, meet your guide and private to a hotel for check-in. Spend the day at leisure, soaking in the atmosphere of metropolitan Bangkok.

DAY 2

DAY 2 - Bangkok City Temples and Canal Boat Ride

Today, take on no less than four of Bangkok’s finest temples and a tour around the city’s fascinating canals. Start out at Wat Traimit - home to the world’s largest solid golden Buddha - before crossing the old city streets to see an even larger Buddha reclining at Wat Pho. Hop across the road to the magnificent Grand Palace, another sprawling temple complex boasting some of the finest Thai-Buddhist architecture in the entire country. Explore the vast grounds and numerous dazzling buildings, including the highly-revered Wat Phra Kaew, home to the prized Emerald Buddha statue dating back to the 14th Century.

After grabbing lunch, spend the better part of the afternoon on the water meandering through the quaint canals and taking in the quieter side of life from the seat of a traditional ‘long tail’ boat. A tour of Bangkok’s Thonburi side isn’t complete without the spectacular Wat Arun - take time to explore the iconic temple towering 79 metres over the Chao Phraya River.

DAY 3

DAY 3 - Bangkok - Ayutthaya - Phitsanulok

Discover the grandeur of Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Hear the tales of palaces filled with gold, lavish ceremonies and decorative monasteries that were the envy of old world Europe. Leisurely walk the grounds of the Summer Palace then head northwards to Phitsanulok for an overnight stay.

DAY 4

DAY 4 - Phitsanulok - Sukhothai - Phrae

Leave behind the sleepy town of Phitsanulok, heading to the nearby temple ruins at Sukhothai. Explore the ancient Thai capital, venturing inside the main historical park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - for a closer look around. Here find almost two-hundred separate sites, all left in ruins after the city was abandoned some 700 years ago. The collection of chedis, shrines and Buddha statues offer one of the north’s most photogenic spots.

Heading out of the historical park, end up at the nearby Wat Chom Sawan, a Burmese-style temple home to an eclectic array of statues made from marble, lacquer and ivory. Next up is Wat Phrathat Chor Hae in the quaint Phrae province, featuring a towering stupa shining bright gold in the sunlight. After a full day of temple hopping, hit the road to reach Phrae township in time for dinner.

DAY 5

DAY 5 - Phrae - Chiang Rai

First stop on this morning's itinerary is Baan Pratabjai, a house consisting of hundreds of intricately carved teak pillars following the prominent ‘Lanna’ style of the region. Take a quick look around before heading to Ban Tung Hong Village to witness local fabric making.

Back on the road, pass by Phae Muang Phi – an impressive network of towering sandstone formations with sheer cliff edges dropping into deep, narrow valleys. Stretch your legs here then continue along the road towards Chiang Rai to check into a hotel for the night.

DAY 6

DAY 6 - Chiang Rai - Akha Village - Golden Triangle - Chiang Mai

Embark on an eight-hour journey leading to small towns and diverse border cities in Thailand’s northernmost region. Set off from Chiang Rai and head onward to nearby Akha and Yao hill tribe villages. The Akha people are famous for their exotic and beautiful costumes, the Yao people for their peaceful and aristocratic demeanor; both tribes are welcoming to visitors, eager to show people their day-to-day life. Continue to Chiang Saen, a small town on the Mekong River. Known for its numerous ancient temples and ruins, this historical city is located at the convergence of Thailand, Myanmar (Burma) and Laos and overflowing with both beautiful scenery and incredible architecture. Finally, head to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand and an important trading city on the border of Thailand and Myanmar. Spend some time exploring the local market, which provides glorious insight into the trading heritage of Mae Sai. Pick up some great, cheap jewels imported from Myanmar, a Chinese item or two or some delicious local food to enjoy on your ride back to Chiang Rai.

An afternoon drive through the jungles and over the mountains of Northern Thailand awaits in the afternoon. Arrive in Chiang Mai in the evening; take time to relax in the city hotel or explore the northern capital at own leisure.

DAY 7

DAY 7 - Elephant Camp – Doi Suthep Temple

Drive northwards to Mae Rim district to visit an elephant camp. Surrounded by the lush tropical jungles of Chiang Mai's Mae Sa Valley, this landscape offers elephants their natural surroundings, and for much of the day the animals are free to roam around the camp. The mahouts’, or trainers, philosophy is to create a natural and healthy environment for the elephants while working to conserve and breed them. After a morning of interacting with Thailand’s beloved national animal, head back to the city with an en route stop at an orchid farm housing a large selection of exotic and colorful blooms.

After lunch at a local restaurant head half-way up Doi Suthep - the mountain that towers over the city of Chiang Mai - to find the highly-revered Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. A visit here is an absolute must for first-time visitors, and part of the allure is in the journey getting here. Make the exciting drive up along the long and winding road to enjoy cooling of the surrounding air. Arrive at the temple grounds to start the walk up to the top. Opt to conquer the 300 steps or swap two feet for a cable car instead. At the top, explore the central chedi adorned in golden flakes, renowned for its glittering façade under the mid-day sun. The architecture, statues, murals and shrines seen here are nothing short of breathtaking and promise commanding views over the surrounding wilderness. Admire the views before the trip comes to with a vehicle transfer to the airport in time to fly back to Bangkok.

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