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Begin your tour in Bangkok, then head into northern Thailand via the ancient capitals of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai. Highlights in the north include the unspoilt beauty of Nan province and the laid-back atmosphere of cities such as Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai in the mountains.
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Arrive and transfer to the Ariyasom Villa in Bangkok for a 2-night stay. The remainder of the day is at leisure. Optional longtail boat trip along the city’s klongs (canals), passing traditional shophouses, temples and floating markets. End the day at Wat Arun temple in time for sunset, followed by dinner aboard a Chao Phraya river cruiser. (D)
Visit the Wat Pho temple grounds and see the celebrated 45-metre reclining Buddha. Continue to the Grand Palace, Thailand’s most important landmark. Make the short walk up to the Golden Mount (Wat Saket) to enjoy a panoramic view of Rattanakosin island while listening to the chimes of hundreds of temple bells. Spend the afternoon exploring Bangkok’s Chinatown district, where you can sample a range of dishes such as peppered pork noodles and khao muu daeng (red pork with rice). (B, L)
Drive north out of Bangkok to Ayutthaya, Thailand’s former capital. Stop en route at Phra Pathom Chedi, one of the world’s tallest stupas at 127-metres high, and the Woodland Muangmai Museum, a private collection of wood carvings from throughout south-east Asia. On arrival in Ayutthaya visit Bang Pa-In royal palace and Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, a gothic-inspired riverside temple. Stay at the Sala Ayutthaya for 1 night. (B, L)
Morning visit to some of the city’s most famous temples, including Wat Yai Chai Mongkon and Wat Mahathat, then visit a local market and the busy Muslim Quarter. After lunch, continue onward to the Sukhothai Historical Park, which contains more than 180 ruined chedis. In the early evening, enjoy a cocktail in the shade of a small temple, followed by dinner at the hotel. Stay at the Tharaburi Resort for 1 night. (B, L, D)
Just outside Sukhothai visit a local organic rice farm, where you can join the locals in farming activities such as transplanting rice seedlings, harvesting, milling rice or ploughing the paddies with water buffaloes, depending on the season. Afterwards, venture off the beaten track and visit the Baan Na Ton Chan Community Centre, which offers home-stay facilities and activities that allow visitors to learn about village life. Stay at the Lampang River Lodge for 1 night. (B, L)
This morning will be spent visiting the highlights of Lampang, including the Wat Phra That Lampang Luang Buddhist temple, then stroll along Talad Kao Road which is lined with old Thai, Chinese, British and Burmese merchant houses. Continue driving onward to Nan, stopping en route in Phrae, one of Thailand’s oldest cities which is packed with traditional Thai architecture in the form of beautiful teak houses, eclectic temples and quiet lanes as well as several large colonial period teak mansions. End the day at Wat Phra That Khao Noi, arriving in time for sunset from the viewpoint here. Spend 1 night at the Nan Boutique Hotel. (B, L)
Today will be spent discovering some of Nan’s historic buildings, including Hong Chao Fongkham, home of a former lord and dignitary that now serves as a museum, and Nan Christian School, home to the first missionaries in Nan. In the afternoon, drive up into the mountains of Boklua and stay at the Boklua View Hotel for 1 night. Dinner tonight is a barbecue under the stars. (B, L, D)
Leave the mountains and drive into Phayao province, where you will visit a local village of the Tai minority ethnic group and observe their weaving skills. Proceed to Wat Nantalam, a Burmese-style teakwood temple, then on to Phadaeng bat cave in time to watch the myriad bats leave the cave at sunset. Stay at the Rico Resort in Chiang Kham for 2 nights. (B, L, D)
Explore the surrounding countryside today, visiting Huai Sa reservoir, a grove of huge Bodhi trees and an area of community-managed jungle where you can take an easy 2km nature walk. (B, L, D)
Drive into a remote area of north-east Thailand known as the Golden Triangle, where the borders of Thailand, Burma (Myanmar) and Laos meet. Visit the ancient ruins and temples of the Kingdom of Chiang Saen, then take a brief long-tail boat trip on the Mekong river. End with a visit to the Hall of Opium museum, then continue to your accommodation. Stay at the Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa in Chiang Rai or the Katiliya Mountain Resort & Spa in the mountains near Mae Chan. (B, L, D)
Drive south to Chiang Mai, stopping en route at some small villages of the local hill tribes and the striking Wat Rong Khun, also known as the White Temple. Stay at the Tamarind Village Chiang Mai for 2 nights. (B, L)
Option to rise early and head into the foothills of Doi Suthep mountain and join the locals in the daily alms giving ceremony. Continue up the mountain to visit the Wat Doi Suthep pagoda, then on to Wat Umong temple where you will experience a private blessing ceremony. In the evening visit a local temple to join monks in their nightly chanting, then explore lively Waroros market, bursting with fresh flowers and local street food stalls. (B, L)
Transfer to Chiang Mai airport for a flight to Bangkok, and then back to the UK. (B)
As per itinerary – B: Breakfast, L: Lunch, D: Dinner, N: No meals.
Prices are based on the standard room category, unless indicated otherwise.
This tour is based in 3- and 4-star accommodation.
For a price quote based on alternative accommodation standards, to discuss flight options or to tailor this itinerary, please call to speak with a Cox & Kings consultant or enquire online.
This tour can be booked / reserved online by clicking on one of the coloured links below.
ENC2019: 12 Nights
Ayutthaya city is the capital of Ayutthaya province in Thailand. The city was founded in...
The city of Bangkok was formally founded in 1782 with the consecration of the city’s...
Chiang Rai is a laid back Northern Thai town, surrounded by green hills and located clos...
Chiang Mai is Thailand’s second city, and is considered one of the most beautiful, being...
Founded in the 13th century, Sukhothai literally means 'Dawn of Happiness'. It was the...