Arriving in Bangkok, greeting and private transfer to our hotel in town. The remainder of day is at your own pace – relaxing, enjoy the hotel’s facilities or venture out into the city.
Overnight in Bangkok.
We set off for the city tour that covers most of the important sites in Bangkok.
Wat Pho, also known as the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, houses a giant lying Buddha, 46 meters long and covered in gold leaf. Located on the bank of the Chao Phraya River is the dazzling Grand Palace, a ‘must see’ for every visitor to Bangkok and a perfect example of an ancient Siamese court. Within the compound is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Inside this sacred and incredibly ornate temple is the Emerald Buddha itself, a highly revered image of the Lord Buddha.
After lunch in a Thai restaurant, we’ll hop aboard a boat for a cruise along the Chao Phraya River - the River of Kings. Our boat will veer off through the network of klongs (canals) of Thonburi. Along the way we can capture life along the banks of the canals – rickety wooden houses on stilts and serene waterside temples – giving us an insight into a slower, older way of life and the reason why the city was nicknamed the ‘Venice of the East’.
A stop at Wat Arun, one of the most photographed sights in Bangkok, will give us a chance to stretch our legs and admire the glittering pagoda. It rises 76 meters into the sky and is covered with glazed ceramic pieces that reflect the rising sun, hence the reason for its name: Temple of Dawn.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Let’s discover the Bangkok of old, when life took place on the rivers and waterways.
We travel approximately 100km outside Bangkok to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. An exhilarating and scenic ride on a long-tail speedboat will take us past riverside villages and fruit plantations, before entering the vibrant market. There are many photo opportunities along the way and at the colorful market. Vendors sell tropical fruits, exotic vegetables and aromatic snacks from small wooden sampans on the water, while stalls on the dockside are laden with local handicrafts, wood carvings, assorted silks and other trinkets. It’s a great place to buy souvenirs and get an insight into Thailand’s rural culture. Heading back to the town and leisure.
Around 17:30, we transfer to Ratchadapisek Road for a buffet dinner with the Siam Niramit histories show. The 80-minute show takes us on a journey into the mystical past of Thailand and gives an insight into the cultural and historical heritage of the country. With a total of 150 cast the show with one of the world's largest stage productions. The show is performed in three acts. The first part will address the theme "Journey Back to History" and tells the history of Siam, the Kingdom of Thailand. In the second part is the theme of "Journey Beyond Imagination" on the program. Here, we would learn more about the relationships between the three world’s spiritual paradise, hell and the world in between Himapaan. The last act is entitled "Journey Through Joyous Festivals" and gives an overview of the festivals and celebrations that take place during the year.
Overnight in Bangkok.
This morning, we check out the hotel and setting off for a pleasant drive northwards to Bang Pa-In, a former royal palace, which is still regarded as a summer residence of the king. With a motor boat then continue upstream to the River Chaophaya to Ayuthaya, former capital of Bangkok. Visit here, the most important temples that were destroyed in 1767 by the Burmans. Among other things, we see the Wat Phanan Choen, Wat Yai Mongkol and Wat Rachaburana.
After lunch at a riverside restaurant with local Thai food, we continue through the Central Plains and Nakhon Sawan via Singaburi up to Sukothai.
Arrive in Sukhothai in the late afternoon. Leisure and overnight in Sukhothai.
Sukhothai was the first capital city of the former Kingdom of Siam, at 13-14th century. Visit the most ancient plants, such as Wat Mahatat, Wat Sra Sri and Wat Si Sawai. As this is a huge park, we can either let the car drive through or rent bicycles.
We then drive to Phitsanoloke. Visiting Mahatat Wat, one of the most beautiful temples in central Thailand. From Phitsanoloke it goes north of Uttaradit, through the mountains up to Lampang. Lunch is taken en route at a local restaurant.
Overnight at Lampang.
Near the city of Lampang is a very typical for the north of Thailand's temples, Wat Lampang Luang Phratat, which was mainly built of teakwood. Driving a bit further, we reach the market Tungvien, the inhabitants of the surrounding mountain villages and sell all kinds of exotic animals. We also visit the Lampuhn Haripunchai Wat, one of the oldest temples in northern Thailand.
Arriving in Chiang Mai at around noon, we check-in our hotel and rest.
Later, we drive to the top of Doi Suthep Mountain at 1050 meters to visit Wat Doi Suthep. This serene and sacred temple features an elaborate gold-plated chedi with commanding views over the city and surrounding countryside.
Back in the old part of Chiang Mai we’ll explore the streets Thai-style – in a trishaw. We’ll pass through some of the most historic areas and visit two important temples: Wat Phra Singh, which houses the beautiful Lai Kham Chapel with its exquisite wood carvings and northern-style murals; and Wat Chedi Luang whose enormous pagoda was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545. For an insight into local life, we’ll visit Muang Mai Market which specializes in vegetables and fruits fresh from the nearby farms. Many of the local farmers come to this market to sell their produce direct.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Early morning at dawn, we have the unique opportunity to observe alms giving - a Buddhist tradition that dates back many centuries. At a local temple we’ll watch as the saffron-robed monks accept alms and give blessings to the devotees. The small offerings of rice, fruit and other food placed in the monks’ black alms bowls provide the monks with their only source of food, and offers lay people the chance to gain merit to ensure a better incarnation in the next life. Almsgiving is an act of generosity which frees the mind of greed and selfishness and is practiced by all Thais. From early childhood, children are trained by their parents to give alms to the monks, especially to celebrate birthdays or on the first day of a new school year. Back to the hotel for breakfast and rest.
Later, we drive a bit out of town to Hang Hong to visit a local family then embarking on a fun, hands-on culinary journey with them. Their traditional home is a living museum with a fascinating history. Our hosts will show us their family tree and old photos of their forefathers arriving in Chiang Mai on the backs of elephants over 150 years ago. We’ll learn all about their traditional way of life as well as explore the house and rice barn. Together with the homeowner we’ll walk through the gardens and orchards to collect fresh herbs, mango, coconut and other ingredients for the cooking class. We then whip up some traditional northern Thai food full of flavor, freshness and plenty of spice! Finally, we sit together with the family to find out more about Thai family life while sharing our delicious home-cooked meal. This experience absolutely differs from any other commercial cooking classes as it offers an insight into a traditional Lanna home and family.
Heading back to our hotel. Leisure and overnight.
Transfer from the hotel to the airport for the departure flight to your onwards destination.----------- End of service ----------