Duration : 5 days
Starting from : Bangkok
Ending at : Ayutthaya Historical Park
Duration : First time travelers, Romance, Youth, Senior
Five days exploring National Parks, historical attractions, and cultural highlights in Thailand’s former capital cities: Chiang Mai, Sukhothai, and Ayutthaya.
Day 1 : Chiang Mai
Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep
This famous and important temple founded since 1383 enjoys a prominent position in Chiang Mai, overlooking the city from its mountainside perch. It sits about 3,520 feet above sea level and is accessible via a steep naga staircase comprising around 300 steps.
The temple has a huge golden chedi (spire), within which lie some holy Buddha relics that attract devotees from the world over. To reach the temple itself requires a climb up a naga staircase of 309 steps. For the faint of heart, there's also a funicular cable-car to the top which has just been re-built after several fatal crashes. The fare for the new improved funicular is 20 Baht per person.
The chedi is in a small courtyard at the very peak of the mountain. The courtyard building sits on a larger plaza containing several buildings as well as a lookout point from which you can see, weather permitting, all of Chiang Mai and the surrounding plain.
Though the main Night Bazaar is located in a rather drab three-storey building, this shoppers' paradise also sprawls along the entire Chang Klan Road. The street stalls sell a variety of items, including fine Thai silk, antiques, silver, clothing, handicrafts, CDs, videos, perfumes and watches. However, you should be careful of many imitation branded goods.
Day 2 : Chiang Mai
Doi Inthanon National Park
The park is 1,005 square kilometer located south of Chiang Mai City and is, in parts, mountainous and wild. Species which are not found anywhere else in Thailand can be found here. Doi Inthanon being the Thailand's tallest mountain standing at 2,565 meters, it offers one of the best places in Thailand for bird watching.
On higher ground, one can see wild orchids growing. Trekking tours can be arranged through many agencies in Chiang Mai. It is opened 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday to Sunday. The charge for foreigners is THB200 and Thai is THB20.
Chiang Mai Zoo
The Chiang Mai Zoo has more than 6,000 animals in an environment comprising two waterfalls, reservoirs, an open park, camping spots and animal breeding areas. Among its recent arrivals are 10 penguins, the first ever in Thailand; gibbons, which are bred successfully; and Chayo, the baby elephant, born at the time of the Leonid meteor shower, who became the symbol of the Bangkok Asian Games. The entrance fee for adult is THB40 and for child is THB20.
Day 3 : Chiang Mai
Bo Sang Umbrella Village
For more than 200 years, almost everyone in the small village of Bo Sang has been earning a living from the umbrella trade, silk and cotton umbrellas and paper parasols.
You can watch the umbrellas being made, then choose one from the variety of beautiful and colorful designs to take home as a souvenir.
There is also an annual fair, held each January on the main street, which features an umbrella procession, beauty contests, exhibitions and the selling of umbrellas and other handicrafts.
Day 4 : Chiang Mai - Sukhothai
Si Satchanalai Historical Park
The ancient town, formerly called Muang Chaliang, was named Si Satchanalai during the reign of Phra Ruang when a new administrative centre was established to replace Chaliang. Ruins of 134 monuments have been discovered within the park.
The Sukhothai night market, like the rest of Sukhothai, is not as foreign tourist-dominated as others in Thailand. The night market consists of food stalls and cheap clothing usually full of the local hangout for anyone between the ages of 12 and 18 apparently. Usually, people come here for browsing than shopping. You may also try some tasty Thai food.
Day 5 : Sukhothai - Ayutthaya
Ayutthaya Historical Park
A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ayutthaya's historic temples are scattered throughout this once magnificent city and along the encircling rivers. Several of the more central ruins Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Mongkhon Bophit, Wat Na Phra Meru, Wat Thammikarat, Wat Ratburana and Wat Phra Mahathat can be visited on foot.
It is possible to add more temples and ruins to travel itineraries by touring the city on a rented bicycle. An ideal combination of modes of transportation for visitors interested in seeing everything would be to hire a bicycle for the central temples and charter a long-tail boat to take a tour of the outlying ruins along the river.
Ayutthaya Historical Park is situated opposite the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum. The main attraction in the historical park is Viharn Phramongkol Bophit which houses one of the largest bronze Buddha images in Thailand.
Wat Phra Si Sanphet
Wat Pra Si Sanphet was built by King U-Thong upon the founding of the city in 1491 inside the compound of the Grand Palace. Its foundations are still visible-and served as the royal chapel, as Wat Phra Kaeo does in Bangkok. It used to be the royal palace as a residential palace. It became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I.
When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded the construction of new living quarters, this residential palace was transformed into a temple, and the establishment of Wat Phra Si Sanphet. In Ayutthaya's heyday, this was the largest temple in the city.
The three main chedis which have been restored contain the ashes of three Ayutthaya kings. The temple is situated at the northern end of Si Sanphet Road. The royal chapel does not have any monks and novice inhabitants.
Bang Pa-in Summer Palace
Bang Pa-in Summer Palace is situated a few miles down the Chao Phraya River from Ayutthaya. The site was first used by the royal court as a summer retreat in the 17th century. However, the Palace was destroyed with the fall of Kingdom of Ayutthaya and was restored by King Rama IV in the mid-19th century.
Most of the buildings that exist today date from the reign of King Rama V, who regularly spent his summers there. The structures represent a variety of architectural styles, set in a large park around ponds and waterways. The only royal residence open to the public is the Chiness-style Wehat Chamroon Palace, constructed entirely of materials imported from China. In addition, there is an Italian-style palace, a circular pavilion with steps leading down to a pool, the graceful Thai-style Aisawan Tippaya Asna Pavilion in the middle of a lake, and, across one of the waterways, a Buddhist chapel in the neo-Gothic style with stained-glass windows. Scattered around the extensive gardens are European statues as well as monuments ordered to be built by King Rama V in memory of members of his family, one of them a much-loved Queen who drowned in a boating accident.