Duration : 5 days
Starting from : Kanchanaburi War Cemetery
Ending at : Chiang Mai Zoo
Duration : Adventure, Youth, Family
Visit WWII sites in Kanchanaburi, the ancient ruins of Ayutthaya, majestic Sukhothai historical park, and exotic animals and spectacular nature in Chiang Mai, including an elephant training center.
Day 1 : Bangkok - Kanchanaburi
The Bridge on the River Khwae (the Death Railway Bridge)
The Bridge on the River Khwae has become notoriously famous and attracted both Thais and foreigners to the site, through different films and books. If an ordinary black iron bridge can tell a story, you can be sure it's a dramatic one.
The bridge spans across Maenam Khwae Yai which is a branch of Maenam Mae Klong. During the Japanese occupation of Thailand in World War II, the Japanese Imperial Army brought the iron bridge from Java. It was then resembled by Allied Prisoners of War (POW) under Japanese supervision. The bridge was part of a strategic railway route to Myanmar in which the Japanese aimed to secure supplies with which to conquer other western Asian countries. It was 415 kilometers long (about 303 kilometers in Thailand and about 112 kilometers in Burma) and passed through the Three Pagoda Pass in Sangkhlaburi District, the northern most part of Kanchanaburi province.
The railway currently ends at Ban Tha Sao or Namtok Station, a distance of around 77 km. from Kanchanaburi Station. A special train running from Bangkok to Namtok Station is available on weekends and national holidays.
Day 2 : Ayutthaya - Bangkok
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.
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.
The temple is located on the bank of the Maenam Chao Phraya (River), to the west of the city island. It is built in 1630 by King Prasat Thong to honor his mother. Wat Chai Wattanaram was conceived as a replica of the Angkor temple.
A Royal monastery, the temples unique feature is a huge prang which is surrounded by smaller prangs. This symbolizes Mount Meru, the abode of the heavenly gods. The temple is also accessible by a long-tailed boat trip from Chankasem Palace Pier. This 1-hour round trip to the temple costs about THB300 - 400. Entry fee to the temple is only THB20.
Day 3 : Sukhothai
Sukhothai Historical Park
Sukhothai Historical Park is designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, but still is not the only spot in Sukhothai in terms of world history. The glory of Sukhothai is reflected in the abundant ancient temples and Buddha image stuccos, ruined brick pagodas as well as laterite viharn columns. There are more than a hundred sites in the whole complex many of which are worth visiting.
This is located 12 kilometers from town on the Sukhothai-Tak Highway. You can reach the destination by local bus or hired motored tricycle from town. The park also offers tram services as well as bicycles for rent for exploring around its large area.
The Tourist Service Centre in the park (Tel: 0 5569 7527, 0 5569 7310) provides information, as well as displays models of historical buildings and structures in old Sukhothai. The park is open daily from 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. The entrance fee is THB 40 each.
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.
Si Satchanalai Historical Park is located on the bank of the Yom River. This may be visited after Sukhothai Historical Park. It is open daily between 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m. The entrance fee required is THB 40 each.
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 4 : 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.
The visiting hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. from Monday to Sunday. The site is situated at the Continuation of Huay Keaw Road, Chiang Mai 50300 Thailand..
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.
It is opened from 6 p.m. until midnight from Monday to Sunday. It is located at 104-1 Chang Klan Road, Chiang Mai 50100 Thailand.
Day 5 : Chiang Mai
Mae Sa Elephant Training Center
The majestic elephants in one of Thailand's best elephant camps along the Mae Sa Valley. Over here, you can get the chance to watch these mammoth creatures play football, among other tricks everyday with the fees of THB80.
You can also get the opportunity to ride an elephant from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. through the local countryside, feed them with bananas and sugarcane, and take plenty of photographs. Also within the camp you will find an elephant nursery and a rafting center (open 8 a.m.to 4 p.m. daily).
The Show times are: 8 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. daily and additional show at 1:30 p.m. during peak season. Charges for Rides are THB80-THB800 per elephant, depending on duration.
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.