Bangkok & Northern Thailand

Bangkok & Northern Thailand
See the Emerald Buddha, sheathed in gold shawls for the winter and monastic robes for the rainy season. Tour Thailand’s holiest temple in Nakhon Pathom. Learn about Thailand's mountain people at the Tribal Museum in Chiang Mai, which presents the clothing, customs, and culture of the many groups that inhabit the northern mountains.
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Day 1 Start tour
Day 2 Sawat dii Bangkok
Arrive late on day 2 or early on day 3
Day 3 Bangkok landmarks
Meet your tour director and check into hotel
Bangkok guided sightseeing tour
Grand Palace visitEmerald BuddhaTemple of DawnWat Pho
Details: Bangkok guided sightseeing tour
Bangkok grew up from rather watery beginnings -- while the original temples and royal palaces were on dry ground, ordinary residences were on bamboo rafts on the river -- into a modern sprawling city. Old secrets and traditions still run deep within the city, however. The sacred Emerald Buddha, for instance, a tiny figure carved from glowing jade and considered to have miraculous powers, is a bit of a clothes horse. Thailand's kings have amassed a full wardrobe for the figure, including gold shawls for the winter and monastic robes for the rainy season. You can peek into his closet in the Grand Palace complex, which is a bit of a dandy itself -- one of the buildings is called "the foreigner with the Thai hat" because of its classical Western design topped by three-tiered Thai tower. A heartier Buddha resides at Wat Po, whose sacred image is 150 feet long (the Buddha's smile alone is 15 feet long). The picturesque spire of the Temple of the Dawn rises across the river. The colorful flower mosaics on the temple were created using bits of pottery donated by local residents.
Details: Chao Phraya River cruise
Thailand's kings used to make annual processions down the Chao Phraya River, surrounded by an elaborate 51-boat entourage. The king's own boat was 150 feet long, carved from a single tree into the shape of a swan and covered with gold and glass mosaics, and required 54 men to row. We can't promise you such luxurious accommodations, but we can guarantee a beautiful ride down Bangkok's main river.
Details: Traditional Thai-style buffet dinner
Thailand's celebrated cooking combines fresh vegetables, spicy chilies, sweet coconut milk, and splashes of lemon and lime to create outstanding noodle and rice dishes. Sample some of the best at this buffet.
Day 4 Bangkok--Kanchanaburi
Travel to Kanchanaburi via Nakhon Pathom
Kanchanaburi guided sightseeing tour
War Cemetery visitThailand-Burma Railway Centerthe River Kwai bridge
Details: Phra Pathom Chedi visit
Buddhism entered Thailand at Nakhon Pathom, Thailand's oldest town. The Phra Phathom Chedi (a stupa, or type of temple) commemorates the Buddha's stay here, and is therefore one of the most holy temples in the country. Shaped like an inverted bowl, the temple's spire reaches 400 feet into the air.
Details: Kanchanaburi guided sightseeing tour
During World War II, the Japanese invaders forced Allied prisoners of war to build a railway bridge connecting Thailand to Burma. The conditions and treatment of the prisoners were so harsh that thousands died during the project. Allied bombs destroyed the bridge, but a new bridge is still in operation. The history of the project is chronicled at the Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, and the seven-thousand dead are honored at the War Cemetery.
Day 5 Kanchanaburi--Phitsanulok
Details: Don Chedi battlefield monument visit
At this battlefield, national hero King Naresuan freed his kingdom from Burmese invaders. He won the war here through a duel -- on elephants. The Don Chedi monument commemorates this victory with a pagoda and a statue of the young king mounting his elephant.
Details: Travel to Phitsanulok via Uthai Thani and Nakhon Sawan
Travel through the wild beauty of Uthai Thani, where much of the river plains, dense jungle, and mountains are protected wildlife sanctuaries and world natural heritage sites. Nakhon Sawan is the heartland of the country, with rice fields stretching out along the rivers.
Day 6 Phitsanulok--Lampang
Historical Park visit
King Ramkhamhaeng Monument visit
Thuriang Kilns visit
Details: Sukhothai guided sightseeing tour
Once the capital of a newly united Thailand, Sukhothai had its heyday during the reign of Ramkhamhaeng (c.1278-1317). "Rama the Bold" made the capital city a spiritual and commercial center, establishing Theravada Buddhism throughout his kingdom and introducing the first Thai alphabet. He is generally considered the model for Thailand's system of benevolent rulers. See his city with a local licensed guide, the thick city walls protecting the ruins of the royal palace and 26 temple complexes.
Details: Si Satchanalai guided sightseeing tour
Thai ceramics dating back to the 1300s have been found throughout Southeast Asia, indicating that Thailand was a major producer and exporter of pottery during this time. The Thuriang Kilns in the Si Satchanalai National Park are some of the earliest and most extensive evidence of the high rate of production here. About fifty kilns have been unearthed at this site.
Day 7 Lampang--Chiang Rai
Travel to Chiang Rai
Details: Mae Sai visit
The northernmost point in Thailand, Mae Sai marks the border-crossing into Burma. Tourists from Thailand can obtain day-long visas to cross, but many residents use the crossing daily, living in one country and working in another.
Details: Sop Ruak & the Golden Triangle visit
At the meeting point of Burma, Laos, and Thailand, the Golden Triangle earned its glowing nickname from a shady activity -- it was once the center of opium production in the region. Now tourism is the only thing refined here; souvenir vendors and bright signs announcing the confluence of the three nations and Ruak and Mekong Rivers create a lively, friendly atmosphere. Ascend the nearby hill to the temple of Wat Phrathat Phu Khao, which provides an unparalleled view of the spot.
Day 8 Chiang Rai--Chiang Mai
Travel to Chiang Mai via Doi Tong Mountain
Details: Doi Tong & Mae Fah Luang Garden visit
An Asian Stonehenge? On the top of Doi Tong, the hill rising from Chiang Rai, stands a large stone structure laying out the Buddhist view of the universe. Other views abound on the hill, including a beautiful vista up the Kok River and the magnificent Mae Fah Luang Garden. Established by the Princess Mother (the king's mother, also known affectionately as The Royal Grandmother), the gardens showcase some of Thailand's most beautiful flowers. The Princess Mother restored much of the surrounding area as well, helping promote sustainable agriculture throughout the region.
Day 9 Maesa
Bamboo raft trip
Cable car ride to Wat Phra That Doi
Details: Khantoke dinner & dance show
Like breakfast in bed, without the bed. Khantoke meals are served on a small platter, and diners sit on the floor around the tray to enjoy traditional northern Thai specialties like fried bananas, soups, and curries. You'll also see traditional Thai dancing, once performed in Thailand's royal courts. Unlike much Western dancing, here the dancers' hand movements are very important, and props like lighted candles and scarves help highlight those movements.
Day 10 Chiang Mai--Bangkok
Wat Suan Dok Temple visit
Wat Phra Singh Temple visit
Tribal Museum visit
Fly to Bangkok
Farewell dinner
Details: Chiang Mai guided sightseeing tour
Is a sigh really just a sigh? The Wat Phra Singh's main image of the Sighing Buddha has become Chiang Mai's city symbol, and every year the Buddha is bathed in jasmine-scented water. (Legend claims that the image is 1500 years old, but scholars are unconvinced.) An unusual and elaborately carved repository in the temple keeps sacred texts safe from water -- jasmine-scented or otherwise -- and other damage. The 14th-century Wat Suan Dok houses the ashes of many of Chiang Mai's rulers, and its intricate spires jut imposingly into the sky. Step away from the ruling class and learn about Thailand's mountain people at the Tribal Museum, which presents the clothing, customs, and culture of the ten or so groups that inhabit Thailand's northern mountains.
Day 11 End tour

  • Or
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    Day 11 Start extension to Hua Hin
    Check into hotel in Hua Hin and start enjoying the beach
    Details: Travel to Khao Luang Cave in Phetchaburi
    Attain true enlightenment. Amid the dramatic stalagmites and stalactites of the Khao Luang Caves sit five golden Buddhas. A hole in the stone above lets sunlight stream in, illuminating the statues and creating an eerie, beautiful sight.
    Details: Khao Wang Palace visit
    Rising almost 300 feet over the surrounding towns, the "hill of temples" offers up temples, palaces, and. The Khao Wang Palace was the summer residence of King Rama IV, and its mix of European and Thai architecture reflects his wide travels and international outlook. He made sure to pass this cosmopolitanism on to his children by bringing in an English governess, a story immortalized by the musical "The King and I."
    Day 12 Hua Hin
    Transfer to Bangkok
    Details: Beach day
    Spend time relaxing in Hua Hin, Thailand's oldest beach resort.
    Day 13 End tour
    Map of Bangkok & Northern Thailand Educational Tour
    Tour Includes:
    • Round-trip airfare
    • 9 overnight stays (11 on extension) in hotels with private bathrooms
    • Breakfast daily
    • Dinner daily
    • Full-time services of a professional Tour Director
    • Guided sightseeing tours and city walks as per itinerary
    • Visits to select attractions as per itinerary
    • Tour Diary™
    • Note: On arrival day only dinner is provided; on departure day, only breakfast is provided
    • Note: Tour cost does not include airline-imposed baggage fees, or fees for any required passport or visa. Please visit our Fees FAQ page for a full list of items that may not be included in the cost of your tour.
    We are better able to assist you with a quote for your selected departure date and city over the phone. Please call 1.888.310.7120 to price this tour with your requested options.
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    2921.00 total fee
    Basic Options

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