Delve into the wonders of northern Thailand on a trip packed with unforgettable experiences. Explore the elegant stone stupas and sprawling palaces of Ayutthaya Historical Park; then venture to Chiang Mai, where we’ll craft local dishes with ingredients gathered from a town market and visit a countryside village for a traditional meal. While discovering Buddhist temples and lush mountain landscapes, gain a new perspective on Thailand’s rich history and cultural heritage.

Trip highlights

Meet with Monks, Visit the 14th-century Wat Suan Dok Buddhist temple in Chiang Mai’s Suthep district. Sit down with young monks to discuss daily life and Buddhism, and leave feeling spiritually refreshed.

Wat Po Visit, This temple is known for its reclining Buddha, its feet covered with mother-of-pearl engravings of Buddhist symbols. Explore the large grounds and other compounds to see other Buddha figures, murals and the chedis that contain the ashes of Buddha. This is also the birthplace of traditional Thai massage.

Itinerary - 8 Days

Day 1 Bangkok

Arrive at any time; your arrival transfer is included.

Day 2 Bangkok/Kanchanaburi

After breakfast, travel to the city of Kanchanaburi, situated at the convergence of the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers. Board a train for a winding journey into World War II history as you cross the bridge made famous by the 1957 film The Bridge on the River Kwai. At the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, learn about the Burma Railway, constructed by imperial Japanese forces to connect Bangkok and Burma; then visit the nearby Kanchanaburi War Cemetery to see where the prisoners of war who worked on the railway were laid to rest.

Day 3 Kanchanaburi/Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya

This morning, hike into the lush landscapes of Erawan National Park, located high in the mist-shrouded Tenasserim Hills. Take a dip in the turquoise pools of the Erawan Falls—so called because its top tier of cascades resemble the three-headed, mythological elephant known as the Erawan. This afternoon, transfer to the historic city of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya—better known simply as Ayutthaya—a former capital of the medieval kingdom of Ayutthaya, also known as Siam. Sample traditional Thai dishes during dinner on a converted rice barge from the 1930s.

Day 4 Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya/Chiang Mai

Set out to explore the UNESCO World Heritage–listed Ayutthaya Historical Park, centered on the old city which served as the Siamese capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it was one of the largest and most cosmopolitan regions in the world. Stroll down well-planned city streets to view magnificent palaces and Buddhist monasteries that set the standard for Thai architecture for generations to come. Later, return to Bangkok and transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai. Visit a traditional village in the countryside and enjoy a khantok-style dinner.

Day 5 Chiang Mai

Delve into the bustle of Chiang Mai’s morning markets with a local chef, and learn about colorful fruits and fragrant herbs as you select ingredients for a Thai cooking class. Enjoy your creation for lunch, then set out to visit a historic temple. Sit down with one of the resident monks to discuss daily life and the tenets of Buddhism. Later, clear your mind to the chanting of monks at Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of the most spectacular gilded temples in Thailand.

Day 6 Chiang Mai

Spend a full day exploring Chiang Mai’s temples and forested hills on your own, or choose between a variety of optional activities. Traverse the rural lanes of Chiang Mai in a tuk-tuk, or opt to take a cycling tour through verdant rice paddies and the elegant historic district. In the evening, choose to visit Chiang Mai’s vibrant night market.

Day 7 Chiang Mai/Bangkok

This morning, fly to Bangkok and board a traditional klong boat for a ride along the winding canals that have earned the city the nickname the “Venice of the East.” Glide past colorful temples, modern skyscrapers, and houses perched above the water. Visit Wat Pho, Bangkok’s largest and oldest temple complex, and often considered Thailand’s first public university—its many inscriptions were intended to instruct visitors. Marvel at the magnificent statue of the Reclining Buddha, glittering with gold leaf and mother-of-pearl.

Day 8 Bangkok

Depart at any time.

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