- Duration: 10 days, 9 nights
- Destination: Bangkok, Ayuthaya, Sukhothai, Lampang, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai
- Category: Culture, history
- Class: 4 stars
- Description: Walk back in time on this Thailand round-trip as we travel through Ancient Siam to discover past kingdoms gone by.
Day 1: Arrive Bangkok. After arrival at Bangkok international airport you will be met by your guide and transferred by private vehicle to your hotel for check-in.
Day 2: Bangkok. Breakfast followed by a tour of the home of the Kings of Siam of the Chakri Dynasty, originally built by King Rama I, it served as the royal residence until 1946. Today the palace is still used on certain occasions for visiting royalty or special guests of the Kingdom. Adjoining the Grand Palace you will find the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Keo), this is probably the best known of the royal temples.
It is regarded as the most important temple in all Thailand and it is the venue of many of the numerous religious ceremonies in which the King participates, especially at the beginning of each of the three seasons when His Majesty personally changes the elaborate robes of the Buddha image, carved out of a single piece of emerald-green jasper.
There is no better way to wrap up the evening after spending the day visiting the city and especially the Grand Palace. In the Thai-surroundings, the traditional Thai food, served in traditional Thai manner, is just a prelude to a presentation of some of the most colorful, classical and folk dances of the Kingdom - some of them dating back hundreds of years to the early days of Siam. This spectacular performance more than compensates for the small inconvenience of removing your shoes and sitting on the floor, Thai-style.
Day 3: Bangkok. With an early morning departure, you will travel 120 kilometres to Damnern Saduak where boat people sell their wares from boat to boat or boat to shore. You will be amazed at the variety of goods and products that are to be purchased - you may even try your bargaining skills.
En route to the Rose Garden for their cultural show, you will also stop at Nakorn Pathom to see the Phra Pathom Chedi which is said to be the tallest Buddhist monument in the world. A buffet lunch will be provided at the Rose Garden prior to enjoying a presentation of a Thai wedding ceremony, a monk's ordination, Thai boxing, sword-fighting, classical and folk dances from all parts of Thailand. Includes: (B, L).
Day 4: Bangkok - Ayuthaya - Lopburi - Phitsanuloke - Sukhothai. Depart your Bangkok hotel early in morning for the drive North. Built at the junction of the Lopburi, Nam Pasak and Chao Phraya rivers in 1350, Ayuthaya was the capital of old Siam - a city to rival the great European capitals of its day - and it was noted for its impressive palaces and temples.
Some of the sights we will see today include Wat Yai Chai Mongkol, Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch, Wat Phra Nan Choeng - which also happens to predate the rest of the city, and of course Bang Pa-In. Continue to Lopburi, following lunch visit to Phra Prang Sam Yot, this former Hindu shrine is Lop Buri's best known landmark. The laterite and sandstone structure was constructed in the Lop Buri style and decorated with stucco.
The three adjoining towers signify the Hindu Trinity of Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, and Shiva the destroyer. During the reign of King Narai, the shrine was converted to a Buddhist temple. Stop to visit Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat in Phitsanuloke, the temple built on the banks of the Nan River in mid-14th century is also called Wat Yai, the temple complex originally housed a Sukhothai lotus bud chedi that was later replaced by the tall Ayutthayan prang that is seen today. Continue to Sukhothai and check-in to your hotel for overnight accommodation. Includes: (B, L).
Day 5: Sukhothai - Sri Satchanalai - Lampang. Founded in the 13th century, Sukhothai was the first truly independent Thai Kingdom, which enjoyed a golden age under King Ramkhamhaeng, credited with creating the Thai alphabet. The superb temples and monuments of this great city have been lovingly restored in Sukhothai Historical Park, a World Heritage Site.
The tour includes a visit to Ramkhamhaeng National Museum, Wat Sa Sri and Wat Sri Choom. Continue to Sri Satchanalai-Chaliang Historical Park. During the 13th century, the Sukhothai Kingdom consolidated its power in the Central Plains by building a number of satellite cities, the most important of these was Sri Satchanalai. At the center of the city is Wat Chang Lom with a large Sri Lankan-style bell-shaped chedi.
To the south you find Wat Chedi Jet Thaeo whose central lotus-bud chedi are many smaller ones in different styles. Lastly stop at Wat Nang Phaya decorated with fine stucco reliefs from the Ayuthaya period. Arrive in Lampang in the afternoon, ride a horse drawn carriage from the local market to Baan Sao Nak – a 100 year old teakwood house, also stop to visit Wat Don Tao. Includes: (B, L).
Day 6: Lampang - Phayao - Chiang Rai. Morning visit to one of the most important temples in Northern Thailand, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, renowned for its impressive 16th century murals, graceful architecture, and richly colored interiors. En route to Chiang Rai we make a stop at Phayao to visit Wat Sri Khom Kham, the temple dates back to the 12th century and situated by the lake is Wat Sri Khom Kham. Arrive in Chiang Rai in time for lunch. Later this afternoon take a cruise on the Mae Kok river to visit hill tribal village residing along the river banks.
Day 7: Chiang Rai. An ancient town located on the bank of Mekong River, Chiang Saen once served as the main town before Chiang Rai was established as the capital in 1262. Visit Wat Phra That Chedi Luang a temple built in early 13th Century. Stop at the House of Opium a small museum exhibiting various tools used in the planting, harvesting and trade of the infamous plant, also on display are ancient smoking pipes from the region.
Continue to the Golden Triangle, the area is locally referred to as "Sop Ruak", where the Mekong meets the Ruak River. This is where the borders of three countries, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, come together. Continue to Mae Sai, the northernmost Thai town and on the border with Myanmar. Stroll through the shops and local markets. Arrive in Chiang Rai in the late afternoon, check-in and overnight.
Day 8: Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai. Drive overland along the winding mountain route to Chiang Mai, the ancient capital of the Lanna Kingdom. After lunch visit a handicraft village, this is an excellent opportunity to visit some artisans' workshops to observe the creation of Chiang Mai's most famous products. They can also be purchased of course.
Included are celadon, pottery, umbrellas, silver and wood carvings, paper-making and silk and cotton weaving. Tonight is something not to be missed is the Khantoke dinner presentation of classical, folk and hilltribe dances, songs and ceremonies. After removing your shoes, you will be seated, comfortably, on the floor with Thai-style cushions for the dinner of a special variety of northern-Thai food, served in Lanna Kingdom court style. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: Chiang Mai. You will visit an elephant training camp, which will provide you with an idea of how these huge animals are trained in the jungles of Thailand. Your soft adventure then begins with an elephant safari as you ride these through the jungle for approximately an hour, dismount and continue your journey on bamboo rafts down the Mae Tang River for another 45 minutes. Lunch will be provided at the Orchid Farm, where you will also have an opportunity to see and purchase some of our beautiful orchids prior to returning to your hotel. Includes: (B, L).
Day 10: Depart Chiang Mai. Visit a giant and picturesque Meo hill tribe Village set in an attractive hillside spot and see the Meo tribesmen dressed their colorful traditional costumes. The tour also take in Wat Phratat Doi Suthep is almost sacred temple containing a holy relic of the Lord Buddha. A panoramic view of the city can be seen from here at 3,500 feet above sea level. Return to the hotel to check-out and transfer to Chiang Mai’s Airport for your return flight to Bangkok. Includes: (B, L).
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