This itinerary was specifically designed to encapsulate the best of what Thailand has to offer Thai history, culture and heritage. It is a great option for the adventurous, curious traveler who is looking for an authentic Thai experience. From the temples of Sukothai and Ayuthya to the hill tribes of the northern hills, to getting up close with the Thai elephant. Our professional, knowledgeable guide will be with you to provide an insight into the history, culture and the people who make up this amazing country.
Day 1 - Bangkok
Transfer to your hotel in Bangkok,meeting with your local leader for tour briefing.
Overnight: Ariyasom Villa(Breakfast included)
Day 2 - Bangkok - City Tour
We will leave in the morning after breakfast for our city tour of Bangkok. Bangkok is gaining recognition for its art, culture, food, shopping, hospitality and affordability. The city combines some of Asiaâ€™s oldest and most elaborately adorned temples with modern shopping malls and skyscrapers â€“ a city that packs in so many sights and attractions you wonâ€™t know where to begin. However, your friendly and knowledgeable local guide will give you a helping hand and introduce you to some of Bangkokâ€™s most famous sights - including the impressive Grand Palace (former residence of the Thai monarchy), Wat Phra Kaew (home of the Emerald Buddha) and Wat Po (housing Thailandâ€™s largest reclining Buddha. Rather than sitting on a tour bus, we will travel like a local using a number of varied transport options. See life from the river aboard a klong (or canal) boat or the city from above on the elevated BTS or Skytrain.
After the temple tour we head into China town for lunch along Thanong Yaowarat and Thanong Charoen Krung, the main China town arteries. Many of the buildings in this district are designated historical landmarks as Chinatown is home to many fine examples of the architecture of Bangkok's early years. The area will leave you feeling like you have been transported back in time.
The rest of the day can be spent exploring the many first class shopping malls, heading to a gallery or museum, treating yourself to a foot massage or chilling by the pool.
Overnight: Ariyasom Villa (Breakfast included)
Day 3 - Ayuthya
Today we head to the historical city of Ayuthya. It is the former capital of old Siam. Now a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site, Ayuthaya was once the thriving capital of the Kingdom of Siam. In 1765 the Burmese invaded Siam and laid siege to the city for 2 years before eventual victory. Following this the Siamese established a new capital in 1769 in Thonburi on the banks of the Chao Praya River. A few years later the capital was shifted to the other side of the river where a small village called Bangkok was situated.
We will board our private rice barge for a 2 hour lunch cruise around the ancient city of Ayuthya and its major temples. We will take in some magnificent sites along the river bank - Phet Fortress, Wat Phananchoeng, Wat Putthaisawan, St. Joseph Catholic Church, Wat Chai Watthanaram, and the Memorial Stupa of Queen Suriyothai. The cruise also provides an amazing opportunity to see the river banks teeming with life as people go about their daily business. The delicious onboard Thai set menu is carefully selected so you can experience authentic Thai cuisine and all its diverse flavors.
After our cruise, the afternoon is yours to wander the historic sites of Aythuya on foot or bicycle, explore the village, meeting the locals and sampling the street food or head back to the hotel for a rest and relaxation.
Overnight: Baan Thai (Breakfast and Lunch included)
Day 4 - Sukhothai
After an early morning wake-up call to offer alms to the monks, we drive through the central plains of Thailand (approximately 5-6 hours) to Sukhothaii. Sukhothai was Thailandâ€™s first capital and up until the early 13th century it was an outpost on the edge of a Khmer empire that stretched across much of the region. After the decline of Sukhothai, the historical site remained deserted for centuries before major restoration began in 1979. This afternoon we will visit the Sukhothai Historical Park at the Ramkhamaeng National Museum, to see its impressive collection of artefacts. We then hop on our bicycles for a ride around the temples and other archaeological relics. Weâ€™ll also visit Wat Si Chum to see the much photographed 15m brick and stucco seated Buddha.
Overnight: Sukothai Heritage Hotel (Breakfast included)
Day 5 - Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre
This morning we travel approximately 4 hours to Lampang, the former centre of the Thai teak wood trade. We visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Built in the Lanna style, it is arguably one of the most beautiful temples found in northern Thailand.
We then transfer to the Lampang Elephant Conservation Centre which was created in 1991 with the main goal being maintaining the wellbeing of these magnificent beasts. The Centre cares for ill or injured animals, but it also has programs aimed at re-introducing elephants to the wild. Their latest initiative to raise money for the centre is â€˜dung paperâ€™ â€“ eco friendly paper made from elephant dung! We take a guided tour to learn about the elephantsâ€™ history in Thailand and have a chance to get up close to these majestic creatures, so much a part of Thailandâ€™s heritage.
Overnight: Bungalow at the Center (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Day 6 - Lisu Lodge
We have an early start as we head into the forest and watch the elephants being gathered from their overnight grazing grounds. After watching them take their morning baths, we see a demonstration of the skills that have made elephants such an integral part of the Thai logging trade. After lunch, we head to Lisu Lodge to experience rural Thai life.
We will go for a guided tour through the village visiting local families sampling their hospitality and a meeting with a local shaman.
A trip to the cultural center and museum, which has been created by the villagers, will give you an insight into the Lisu and Akha mountain tribes lifestyle. In the evening we will be treated to a delicious Thai dinner with a traditional Lisu dance show
Overnight: Lisu Lodge (Breakfast and Dinner included)
Day 7 - Lisu Lodge to Bangkok
After breakfast you have a choice of activities ranging from a guided bike tour to trying your hand at ox cart riding. For those looking for a more relaxed, laid back morning there is always the steam bath or a traditional Thai massage.
After our farewell lunch at the lodge, we drive to Chiang Mai for our flight back to Bangkok
Overnight: Ariyasom Villa (Breakfast included)
Day 8 - Bangkok
Your tour finishes today after breakfast
Ariyasom Villa is an elegant boutique hotel in the heart of Bangkok. It is family owned, and has all the rich charm of another more genteel era. It is relaxed, quiet and peaceful with excellent service, stylish dÃ©cor and yet remains traditionally Thai in character and atmosphere
This charming guest house in Ayuthya is a collection of traditional Thai style villas/rooms with modern amenities, comfort and Thai hospitality. It set in large beautiful gardens around a small lake, a peaceful place to relax and unwind after a dayâ€™s sight seeing.
Sukothai Heritage Resort
Sukothai Heritage Resort sits amid organic rice fields outside the hustle and bustle of the main city. It is built in the style of ancient Sukhothai architecture but modern and chic. The inspiration for the hotel is genuinely Thai in feeling and ambience.
The traditionally designed and built Lisu lodge is in the heart of a beautiful valley and combines local atmosphere with comfort. Their commitment to the environment and social responsibility is apparent in their policies, to not exceed the number of rooms they have, the use of local materials, solar-heated water, employing local guides and staff. It is a perfect place to experience the hospitality, culture and life of these northern people whilst creating minimal impact.