This includes, costume, dance, music, social graces such as the famous 'wai' greeting, architecture, religious art, wood carving and sculpture. Even in the modern era the Thais, who have a knack for creativity and aesthetics, have stamped their own identity with some commendable contemporary design, and Chiang Mai is an ideal place to delve into Thai culture. The city has a very attractive art and craft trade, often involving traditional methods that have been passed down through generations.
Day 1: Arrival – Bangkok. On arrival at Don Muang Airport, you are met and transferred to hotel. The glorious history of Thai Capital, Bangkok is much interwoven with the Chakri dynasty which still reigns but no longer rules Thailand. In the midst of dynamic modern growth, this bustling metropolis still preserves plenty of cultural heritages making it the national treasure house. No activities planned for this afternoon; however our guide is on hand to advise some available options. Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 2: Bangkok. Today we commence our tour of Bangkok with a longtail boat for along the Chao Phraya River and the many lively inner canals which offer some fantastic views of the local life close up. Along the way we make stopover at Wat Arum, the temple of Dawn, before continuing to the Grand Palace, dedicated to the Thai Royal Family’s ceremony. Nearby is the magnificent Wat Phra Kaew, which is famous for the Emerald Buddha Image. After seeing this complex we drive through the many vibrant streets of China Town to some of the most significant temples in Bangkok. The landmark of Wat Traimit is well known as the Golden Buddha Temple while Wat Po houses a gigantic Reclining Buddha. We visit these sights as well as the magnificent Marble Temple. Overnight in Bangkok. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Bangkok – Ayuthaya – Phitsanulok. Heading out of the town we drive to Bang Pa In which was served as the summer palace for many Thai monarchs from the 17th century. This structure has a captivating collection of marvelous pavilions in a variety of Thai, Chinese, Italian and Victorian architectural styles. We then board a boat for a leisurely trip to Ayuthaya, one of the world heritage listed sites. On arrival we visit the largest temple of Wat Phra Sisanphet, which was used as the Royal Temple Palace by several kings. The following sight is Wat Chai Wattanaram built by King Prasathong in 1630 with a huge prang surrounded by smaller ones to symbolize mount Meru, the abode of the heavenly gods. We make our way to Phisanulok and pass the spectacular countryside. Overnight in Phisanulok. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Phitsanulok – Sukhothai – Lanpang. The major landmarks of Phitsanulok are Wat Maha That and Phra Budda Jinaraj. We visit these sights before we board our vehicle for a short drive to Sukhothai. This famous cultural town was once the royal capital of the Thailand Kingdom however has left its legacies in the forms of many ruined temples and palaces. We include these in a half day tour which will give us a deep insight into the glorious past of Sukhothai. The next stop of our trip is Si Satchanalai where various ancient monuments are still standing. After seeing this complex we drive to Lampang. On arrival we have time to enjoy a short tour of the old city on horse carriage and also visit Ban Sao Nak as well as Wat Chedi Sao. Overnight in Lampang. Includes: (B)
Day 5: Lampang – Phayao – Chiang Rai. An early morning departure towards Chiang Rai. Along the way we stop in the rural town of Phayao to visit Wat Si Kom Kam. Upon arrival in Chiang Rai we enjoy a short sightseeing tour taking us in the impressive Ethnological Museum which is dedicated to the region’s ethnic minorities, some of which we will see on our forthcoming excursion. Afterwards we embark on a longtail boat for a thrilling trip upstream on the Mae Kok River, passing through many breathtaking mountain landscape to a Karen hill tribe village. This ethnic group originated from Burma, but had settled there long time ago, forming the largest tribal population in this northern land. Overnight at Chiang Rai. Includes: (B)
Day 6: Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle – Chiang Mai. The royal capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom, Chiang Saen is nestled on the Mekong riverbank which is now the border between Thailand and Laos. Today we travel by roads to Chiang Saen with a stopover at the large Akha and Yao hill tribe settlements near Mae Chan. Arriving in Chiang Saen we visit the town’s major sights, including Wat Phrathat Jom Kitti, Wat Chedi Luang and a nearby museum. Heading out of the town we drive through some verdant and rugged mountain scenery to the famous Golden Triangle in which powerful warlords have fought for control the opium trade. After exploring the border town of Mae Sai we continue our overland trip to Chiang Mai. The drive is long, but views are fantastic. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 7: Chiang Mai. The second largest city of Thailand is Chiang Mai. Today we explore this charming town with a walk to the famous Doi Suthep Mountain, leading us to Wat Prathat Temple near the summit. At an elevation of over 1,000 meters, this temple grounds afford a panoramic view over the surrounding countryside. We follow this with a visit to the old and new parts of the town featuring the great diversity. The “Rose of the North”, Chiang Mai has been always noted for exquisite handicrafts whose the combination with the traditional wares of the hill tribe people offers fantastic shopping opportunities. Heading out of town we drive to the neighboring villages of Sankampaeng and Borsarng to see the various cottages industries including silk weaving, wood carving, silver ware and umbrellas making. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 8: Chiang Mai – Chiang Dao – Chiang Mai. Upon leaving the town we set off on an hour and half drive to the northern hill region around Chiang Dao, which is home to a wide array of hill tribe groups. The roads conditions are very poor; however the breathtaking mountain scenery makes for an interesting journey. Along the way we stop at an elephant camp to see these huge animals handling timber before we enjoy an exciting elephant ride past the forest to the hill tribe villages. We get well off the beaten track as we walk around the area, visiting the Red Lahu, Lisu, Karen and Akha people. These ethnic minorities still retain their age old cultural traditions, and are recognizably distinct from each other by their dress. Overnight in Chiang Mai. Includes: (B)
Day 9: Chiang Mai – Departure. There is a free time for your own exploration of the town and catching up on some shopping areas. The trip ends after transfer to airport for departure. Includes: (B)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Thailand History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey