You’ve decided to come to Thailand. Excellent choice. Covering over 513,000 square kilometers of tropical real estate, there is a whole world waiting to be explored in the world’s 50th biggest country (in terms of land mass). Add in the country’s colorful and proud history and you have the makings of a memorable time in Thailand. Get ready to Experience Thailand.
What is Thailand’s capital before Bangkok? If you said Ayutthaya, then kudos to you, that’s where we’re headed! And we are going there by boat on the Chao Phraya River. Translated as River of Kings, the view from the boat is certainly majestic. Once at Ayutthaya, marvel at the numerous temples ruins.
Ayutthaya only serves as a precursor of what’s to come. On your way to Sukhothai, make a stopover at Utai Thani in the lower north of Thailand. Visit the market place and experience the local lifestyle. Wat Chantharam, with its spectacular Crystal and Golden Halls calls this provincial capital home.
From one former Thai capital to the next, see the ruins over in Sukhothai. Many of the stupas and structures are in remarkably good shape. If you want, you can also see what’s around on a bike. Old Sukhothai is also a quaint little town with a village-like atmosphere and almost no hotels to speak of so feel free to bask in authentic Thai life.
Continue the northward path. Phrae is one of Thailand’s oldest towns, founded in 828. With that kind of history behind it there’s sure to be interesting things to see. The town has a large teak reserve, so you can bet the traditional Thai structures and colonial architecture are made of, that’s right teak. Now see the interior of one of these teak structures. Step into Vongburi House, built in 1897 and full of family heirlooms, relics and other fascinating items from the past. Continue to Lampang, a large trading centre during the 19th century. Take a horse cart ride along Taladkao Road where you can see old Thai, Chinese, British and Burmese merchant houses.
On your way to Chiang Rai, visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, one of the most spectacular temples in Thailand, built in 1486 and quite possibly one of the oldest wooden structures in the country. Then continue north to Phayao situated on the scenic Lake Phayao. Visit the interesting local museum and the quirky Wat Analyo with its eclectic mix of religious architecture and iconography perched on a hilltop with views of the Lake.
Breathe in the northern air! Reach Chiang Rai and visit the main market as well as the town’s temples. That’s right, Chiang Rai is your gateway to the Golden Triangle. Get a taste of the border atmosphere at Mae Sai and see the gathering of Thai and Burmese merchants here. On your way to Chiang Mai, make a stop at Wat Rong Khun, otherwise known as the White Temple. Scratch your eyes and believe it, true to its name, the temple is really white.
Over at Chiang Mai, visit Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the most famous landmark of Chiang Mai. Climb the Naga staircase to visit the exquisite golden pagoda. The sound of temple bells fills the air and the view overlooking the city makes an irresistible photo opportunity. See a lifestyle that hasn’t changed for over 500 years! Let the White Hmongs at Chang Chine amaze you with their tradition.
For travel and tour ideas in the country, see our Thailand tours page.
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