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Overview

Step back in time with an insightful tour of Thailand’s past. After exploring a more traditional side of the modern capital travel north, visiting spectacular ancient monuments, experiencing hilltribe culture and partaking in timeless rituals. Whether culturally curious or a history buff, this is the ultimate Thailand holiday.

Trip Highlights

Ancient Capitals

See Bangkok’s contrast of old and new

Look beyond the city’s gleaming skyscrapers and discover the traditional neighbourhoods and ancient wonders of Bangkok.

Explore ancient Thai cities

Visit Ayutthaya, Sukhothai and Phitsanalouk, three historic cities that contain incredible relics of the past.

Get a taste of traditional culture

Spend time with the Hmong people, join in traditional Buddhist ceremonies and explore local neighbourhoods where time has stood still. 

Itinerary

1

Bangkok

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – Siam Heritage Hotel (34.6 km): 49 min Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – Ariyasom Villa (28.4 km): 39 min Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – The Peninsula (47.1 km): 55 min

Arrive in Bangkok, meet with the EXO Travel guide and transfer to the hotel for check in.

Overnight in Bangkok.

2

Bangkok

Breakfast at the hotel.

Drive through the old town of Bangkok to the Bangkok City Hall, the starting point of the street food walking experience. The first visit is Wat Suthat, one of the oldest and largest Buddhist temples in Bangkok, followed by a quick photo stop at the Giang Swing, located in front of the temple. After that, walk through the area’s small streets to experience the local culture, with various opportunities to taste the local food and sweets. Try ‘kafae boran’, the old-style Thai coffee, at a small old coffee shop, and then stroll through the area to taste a popular Thai dessert, “khanom thua paep” (mung bean rice crepe). Then just a few steps away, we continue to another local stall to sample “gui chaii”, a sort of dumpling stuffed with various vegetables like bean sprouts and spinach.

Next, walk further towards the Chinese Chao Phor Suea Shrine to visit a tiger god image. Continue to stroll through the alley of “Phraeng Phuthon”, one of the best preserved heritage neighborhoods in Bangkok. Here, guests will be able to try some homemade coconut ice cream from a family that has followed the same recipe for generations.

After this tasty experience, the guide will take guests through a small local market in the next neighborhood, which sells fresh seafood, fruits, clothes etc., before arriving at a large Buddha manufacturer at a small street of Nava Alley. Here, guests will find various Buddha images and statues in all sizes and be able to witness the process of making the statues in the workshops.

Take a short walk to exit to the Giant Swing where the transfer is waiting to take guests back to continue for an afternoon tour.

The afternoon program starts with the exploration of this impressive complex of temples, palaces, pavilions and museums. One must-see attraction is the enchanting Emerald Buddha, which, according to legend, is almost 2000 years old.

After the Grand Palace, the tour continues to nearby Wat Pho - Bangkok’s oldest temple and arguably it’s most impressive. Home to the magnificent 45-meter-long reclining Buddha, Wat Pho is also a place of learning, having served as Thailand's first school of traditional medicine and Thai massage.

(Note: Appropriate dress is required for a visit to palaces and temples. Shorts, mini-skirts, tight fitting trousers, sleeveless shirts or vests, and sandals are NOT allowed.)

Overnight in Bangkok.

3

Bangkok - Ayutthaya

Bangkok – Ayutthaya Historical Park (80.9 km): 1.06 hr Ayutthaya Historical Park – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace (21.9 km): 28 min

After breakfast, meet with the guide and driver and head north of Bangkok to Ayutthaya (80 km -taking about an hour), 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 discover the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park. Briefly stop near the Muslim Quarter and sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – candy floss roti. If time permits, visit local houses to see how handicrafts such as palm leaf fish mobiles are produced. Then enjoy a Thai lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, enjoy a leisurely longtail boat ride to Bang Pa-In Summer Palace and explore the majestic royal mansions which are usually quiet in the afternoon. Continue to Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples with its remarkable Gothic style architecture and stained glass windows.

In the evening, cruise around Ayutthaya on a converted rice barge taking in the incredible sites of the city at night while enjoying a sumptuous Thai set dinner.

Overnight in Ayutthaya.

4

Ayutthaya - Sukhothai

Ayutthaya – Phitsanulok (303 km): 3.49 hr Phitsanulok – Sukhothai Historical Park (71.4 km): 57 min

Breakfast at the hotel and continue driving further north. After arriving in Phitsanulok, take a brief visit to Wat Mahathat, which features, according to Thais, Thailand’s most beautiful Buddha image – Phra Puttha Chinnarat.  Afterwards, enjoy lunch at a local restaurant

In the afternoon, head to Sukhothai whose name means dawn of happiness. Founded in the 13th century, it was Thailand’s first capital, and is considered by most to be the cradle of Thai culture and ‘Thainess’. Visit Sukhothai Historical Park, which was once a walled city surrounded by a moat. The park contains almost 200 ruined chedis in remarkable condition. See the main sites of Wat Mahathat, Wat Sri Chum, Wat Sri Sawai, War Sra Sri, Wat Trapang Ngoen and Ramkamhaeng Museum before checking into the hotel. Bike riding around the historical grounds is possible as a supplement, a nice and easy way to stroll around the ruins!  

Overnight in Sukhothai. 

5

Sukhothai - Chiang Mai

Sukhothai – Si Satchanalai Historical Park (69.5 km): 1 hr Si Satchanalai Historical Park – Chiang Mai (257 km): 3.27 hr

OPTIONAL ACTIVITY: Morning Alms Giving

Early wake-up to experience alms offering to Buddhist monks.

Supplement Charge:  THB 210 per person

After breakfast, drive north to Si Satchanalai Historical Park on the bank of the Yom River north of Sukhothai. The ancient town, formerly called ''Muang Chaliang,'' was named ''Si Satchanalai'' during the reign of Phra Ruang. In total, 134 ruined monuments have been discovered within the park. Visit the main sites including several temples, as well as the Celadon Kiln Site Study and Conservation Center at Ban Ko Noi, some 4 kilometres to the north of Si Satchanalai. Lunch at a local restaurant.

In the afternoon, drive to the northern capital, Chiang Mai, arriving early in the evening, and then check in at the hotel. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore the charming city of Chiang Mai at independently or with the guide (optional) –we recommend having a local dinner at a riverside restaurant, followed by a stroll at the night market for handicrafts or souvenir shopping.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

6

Chiang Mai

After breakfast at the hotel, drive up to the mountain temple of Wat Phra That 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. Afterwards, drive up the mountain by “songtaew” onto a rough dirt road to the Chang Khien Coffee Research Project. There, enjoy a cup of local ‘arabica’ surrounded by fabulous gardens of flowers and gorgeous mountain views. Continue to the white Hmong village of Chang Khien where the 800 inhabitants still wear their traditional hilltribe clothes and practice a culture that dates back 500 years.

Lunch will be taken at a local restaurant serving “khao soy” curry noodles a signature dish of northern Thai cuisine.

In the afternoon, explore the main ancient temple ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, the Lost City, by bicycle: Wat Chedi Liam, Wat Phraya Meng Rai, Wat Kan Thom, and Wat Koo Paa Dom. After seeing Wiang Kum Kam, visit Wat Chiang Mun, the oldest temple built in the ‘new’ city of Chiang Mai, containing numerous old artefacts. Continue by car to the Three Kings Monument then to Chiang Mai Arts & Culture Hall, which offers a wonderful collection of the chronicled history of Chiang Mai.

Overnight in Chiang Mai.

7

Chiang Mai - Golden Triangle

Chiang Mai town – Wat Phra That Doi Suthep (17.2 km): 39 min Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai / Golden Triangle (about 188 km): 2.38 hr km): 2.38 hr

Breakfast at the hotel, check out and head towards Chiang Rai, approximately 3 hours drive.

Arrive Chiang Rai for lunch at Cabbage and Condoms operated by the Population and Community Development Association, followed by a visit to PDA Hilltribe Museum and Education Centre. Later, a stop will also be made at Wat Rong Khun, the “White Temple” before proceeding to Chiang Sean - a former Lanna principality dating back to 1328.

Overnight in Golden Triangle.

8

Golden Triangle

After breakfast at the hotel, visit 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

 to explore town and its Shan style temple, and ride through lanes and small side streets. End your morning at the local market, famous for its products from Southern China, Burma, and Laos. Take a stroll through the bustling market, observe the local language and activities as people buy and sell their wares. Tantalise the tastebuds with mouth-watering snacks for sale then refuel with lunch at a local restaurant. Picnic lunch is served at Tea Oil Research Center near Mae Sai (or similar). After lunch, proceed to the viewpoint of the Golden Triangle to see the borders of Thailand, Burma and Laos convene. Then take a long-tail boat to view the splendid sight where the mighty Mekong River joins the Ruak River to form the famous

‘Golden Triangle’ with Laos, Burma, and Thailand.

Transfer back to the hotel.

Overnight in Chiang Rai / Golden Triangle.

9

Chiang Rai / Golden Triangle - Departure

Chiang Rai – Chiang Rai Airport (8.1 km): 14 min Golden Triangle – Chiang Rai Airport (67 km): 1.05 hr

After breakfast at the hotel, check out and transfer out to Chiang Rai Airport for an onwards flight. 

Important Information

Our services include:

  • 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.
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits.

Our services do not include:

  • Other meals than mentioned.
  • Other services than mentioned.
  • International and domestic flights.
  • Laundry, telephone calls and expenditure of a personal nature.
  • Tips, travel insurance.

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