Explore the north on this charming Thailand itinerary. Visit the ancient temples of Ayutthaya, Sukothai & Chiang Mai before relaxing on the sands of Koh Samet. Start in Bangkok, where you’ll learn to rustle up a dish of pad thai and wander around the golden temples at Wat Pho. Explore north to admire the ancient architecture in Ayutthaya and Sukhothai before glimpsing the real Thailand in the agricultural villages around Lampang. Head north to visit the hilltribes that live in the forests and mountains around Chiang Mai before feasting on northern streetfood in the night bazaar. Finish your holiday on beaches of Koh Samet, where white-sands, spectacular fire shows and fresh seafood awaits.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Bangkok, you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel where you will check-in for three nights.
After an early start, you’ll head to Bangkok’s most famous temple, Wat Pho, for a half-day tour. In the mornings the monks begin their ritual of chanting, an uplifting and private experience within the temple grounds before marvelling at the 45-metre-long Reclining Buddha, with intricate mother of pearl feet and stunning golden skin.
Next, you’ll explore the Grand Palace, where the majestic buildings are encrusted with golden tiles and ruby mosaics, with spiky roofs pointing into the sky. Here you’ll enter the holy sanctuary of the Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in the country, where many local people come every day to worship.
The afternoon is yours to explore the city at your leisure. Why not take a stroll through Chinatown, where you can visit interesting fabric and homewares shops, or take the boat along the river and soak up the pace of local life? In the evening, why not head into Silom to explore the night market and enjoy a traditional Thai meal of garlic rice, som tam and the famous green curry.
Make sure you start today with a lighter than normal breakfast – today you’ll need to bring an appetite for this culinary adventure. First, you’ll meet with a chef from the Blue Elephant Cooking School, one of the most reputable cooking institutes in the city. Head out to one of the morning markets for an introduction to Thai food culture – browsing stalls, learning about different ingredients and choosing fresh items to use in your class.
Returning to the cooking school, you’ll receive a recipe book with the types of Thai cuisine they specialise in, before learning to cook several dishes. The menus change frequently but you can expect a delicious mix of noodle dishes, spicy curries, and sweet, fruity desserts. Enjoy your sensational meal for lunch, departing with a full belly and a better understanding of Thai cuisine. It will serve you will during the rest of your trip!
The rest of the day is yours to explore the city or relax at your hotel. If you are visiting on a weekend, we always recommend heading to Chatuchak Weekend Market where you can taste delicious Thai street food and shop for everything from flowers to furniture.
After breakfast, you’ll check out and head off towards Ayutthaya. Enroute, you’ll make a stop at Phra Pathom Cedi, the tallest stupa in the world, at a height of 127 metres. You’ll also visit the Woodland Muangmai Museum, full of rare wood carvings, created by the passion and dedication of 4 generations of the Thewphaingarm family. Next, you’ll stop in at Wa Bang Phra, a very old tattoo temple. It is a pilgrimage site for Thai people seeking strength, luck and protection from a holy magic tattoo given by the monks who live here.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you’ll continue towards Ayutthaya, stopping at Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, a neo-Gothic style temple whose stained-glass windows make it look much more like a church. On arrival in Ayutthaya, you’ll check in for one night.
After an early breakfast, you’ll be check out and head off to explore the temples of Ayutthaya. Take a tuk-tuk around the crumbling structures, seeing Wat Mahathat, where a Buddha face is entombed in a tree root and stroll around the local market. You’ll also try some local candy floss roti in the town’s Muslim Quarter.
Leaving Ayutthaya behind you’ll stop in a Phra Prang Sam Yod, a temple that is famous for the many monkeys that roam around the grounds. Continuing on towards Sukhothai, you’ll spend the late afternoon exploring the pretty temples that are dotted around the landscape. Sukhothai Historical Park contains almost 200 ruins chedis is magnificent condition – it’s a lovely place to wander around imagining what the area would have been like at the height of its glory. This evening you’ll enjoy dinner at your hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, this morning you’ll be visiting a local organic farm. Don your distinctive indigo uniform and get your hands dirty in the organic rice fields, transplanting seedlings, harvesting the plants and even ploughing the paddies with water buffalo. After this unique experience, you’ll head even further off the beaten track with a visit to the Baan Na Thon Chan community. It’s not somewhere you’ll find in a guidebook but is such a wonderful place to see how locals live and what an average day is like in this region.
Enjoy a delicious bowl of Sukhothai style noodles before picking some fruit in the orchard and observing some of the traditional practices of weaving silk and making wooden toys. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share the intimacy of these local’s home lives – they will welcome you in with warm smiles and open arms. Arriving in Lampang later today, you’ll check into your hotel for one night.
This morning you’ll leave Sukhothai behind and continue on your journey north. Today you’ll be visiting the town of Lampang, including the famous Buddhist temple Wat Phra That Lampang Luang. Spend the morning exploring in a traditional horse-cart taxi and wandering along Talad Kao Road, where you’ll see old Thai, Chinese, British and Burmese Merchant Houses. Make sure you grab a coffee in one of the local coffee shops – there is quite an up and coming café scene here.
You’ll arrive in Chiang Mai in the early afternoon and check into your hotel for three nights. Spend the rest of your day at leisure, enjoying your hotel or exploring the city.
Enjoy an early breakfast before leaving Chiang Mai behind and heading north into the hills, where all the best hiking trails are found. On the way you’ll stop at a local market, bartering with the friendly shop keepers to buy a picnic lunch for your trek.
Once you arrive, you’ll set off on your trek with an expert Chiang Dao trekking guide. The trek is quite steep in the first hour, perfect for getting your limbs moving and soaking in the beauty of the landscape. Soon you’ll reach a Lahu village, where you can take a short rest and enjoy a glimpse into traditional village lifestyle. Carrying on with your walk, you’ll hike past chilli plantations and cassava fields, before arriving in a Karen village for lunch with the local residents.
In the afternoon, the trail continues to wind through the lush mountains and forests, looping back around to your starting point. You’ll pass through more villages, including those of the Lisu, Akha and Palong people, giving you a glimpse into the incredible ethnic diversity of this region.
It’s another early morning today, you’ll get up at 6am and get a takeaway breakfast box, before heading up to the foothills of Doi Suthep Mountain, in time to buy offerings and join the locals and the daily alms giving ceremony. This is a serene Buddhist procession where dozens of monks walk barefoot through the street collecting food and other items. Continuing up the mountain, you’ll visit the Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, climbing the 309 steps to reach its golden pagodas. Nearby, you’ll also see Wat Umong, a temple deep in the forest, covered by moss and small plants, where you’ll experience your own private blessing ceremony.
After this morning visit, you’ll take a trishaw over the bridge to the lively Waroros market. This market is the hub of local life and bursts with fresh flowers and delicious street food stalls. Your guide will explore the market with you and recommend some local Thai sweets to try. You’ll enjoy lunch here in a local restaurant.
The afternoon is yours to explore Chiang Mai further – there are lots of temples around the city, as well as lovely cafes and shops to discover. Why not head to the night market for dinner? You’ll spot so many different foods and ingredients, especially northern specialities. Some of the most delicious dishes include pancakes, deep fried taro, rice noodles in curry soup, kanom krok (a coconut pudding) and the summer favourite of sweet mango with sticky rice.
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport in Chiang Mai for the flight back to Bangkok. On arrival, you will be met and transferred to the coast before catching a speedboat over to the tiny island of Koh Samet.
And relax! After all that exploration of the culture of northern Thailand, a beach break is just what the doctor ordered. Koh Samet is a beautiful little island just off the coast south of Bangkok. Famous as a weekend getaway for the residents of the capital, Koh Samet is full of white-sand beaches, turquoise water and delicious local seafood. Spend your time strolling along the peaceful sands, snorkelling with colourful fish in the warm waters and watching fire shows that grace the beaches each evening.
After breakfast, you will be taken by speedboat back to the mainland and be driven back to Bangkok Airport in time for your flight home.
Monsoon season in Bangkok goes from May to July and lasts into November. This is then followed by a dry period from November to May which provides lower temperatures until mid-Feb followed by much higher temperatures until May. August and September are the rainiest months with chances of flooding.
The weather in Chiang Mai is most enjoyable from November to mid-February as this is when temperatures are at their most mild and the weather at its driest. During the cooler season (Dec-Mar) the temperatures can become cold at night. March until May is the hot season in Chiang Mai and can be quite extreme.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.