White temples shimmer along dusty lanes while ancient capitals lay in an evocative state of ruin, clearly from another time. Local Siam life unfolds around the river and monks will greet you serenely at sunrise. Welcome to Siam, an old kingdom of legend with a legacy that lives on today. Spend ten days experiencing the grand highlights as you travel north from Bangkok as you begin, and end in Chiang Rai. There will be dancing, hot air ballooning, elephants, chedi, traditions, Lanna temples and...
Bangkok – Dancing and Indulgent Dining on the Chao Phraya
Touching down in Bangkok can bring some culture shock. Bangkok is a sprawling, bustling city, where the old meets the new with a strange congruence. It does not feel very relaxed at first, even with an airport meet and greet and luxury transfer into the city. But check in to your five-star hotel along the river, and Bangkok slowly reveals its charms. There will be all of the contemporary comforts you could ask for as Thailand’s capital is far more developed than most people assume. You will enjoy the serenity of the river with its banks dotted with temples and colorful boats. You will dine at Bangkok’s most exclusive venue, watching a Thai dance performance on the banks of the Chao Phraya. When returning to the hotel, you will already have one foot in old Siam.
Bangkok – Spiritual Siam and an Afternoon on the River
Ayutthaya – Stepping Further Back Into Siam’s Past
Sukhothai – A Dreamy Journey to the Dawn of Happiness
Sukhothai – The Fairytale World of the First Capital
Chiang Mai – A Lanna Temple to a Hilltop Experience
Chiang Mai – Ballooning Over Chiang Mai and Exploring the Villages of Mae Taeng
Chiang Mai – Morning With the Monks; Elephants and Adventure in Doi Suthep National Park
Chiang Rai – The Dazzling White Temple and a Local Place to Finish
Bangkok – Departure
- Escape into the fairytale world of Sukhothai, a ruined capital from the 13th century
- Drift down the Chao Phraya River for a local insight into Bangkok
- Ride a hot air balloon above Chiang Mai at sunrise
- Spend your afternoon amid the rugged ruins of Ayutthaya, Siam’s long-time capital city
- Meet with monks at a hilltop temple, embracing the spirituality and secrets
- Marvel at Wat Rong Khun, the artistic White Temple that is unlike any other in Asia
- Go in search of elephants on a day of adventure in Doi Suthep National Park
- Spend your final day in Thailand’s most welcoming city, Chiang Rai for an authentic experience
- Connect with villagers and traditions on a day around Ma Taeng
Siam is a land of mystery and magic. Old capitals lay in partial ruin, the chedi, or Thai stupas, showing their cracks and signs of age. Temples rise proudly along the water, hiding images of Buddha and tales of a forgotten time. Elephants still roam the forests and gibbons find their place in the canopy. Villages are dotted around, clinging to their traditions as contemporary, surrealist art makes its way to newer temples. Exploring Siam is like stepping into a world of fairytales, where history writes the script and traditions carry you forward into today. From the ruins of Ayutthaya and Sukhothai to the spiritual musing of Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, this will be a 10-day journey through the best of Thailand as you hop through Siam’s legacies.
This handcrafted tour follows an easy overland route north from Bangkok. The capital is the country’s obvious entry point, and it is not just a busy capital, as an afternoon spent cruising the Chao Phraya River will illustrate how local, old-world life can juxtapose with skyscrapers and bustling streets. Dancing and dining will also begin to impress the impact of Siam on day one, showing how a kingdom of the past continues to hold sway in the 21st century. Ayutthaya is just 90 minutes away, and Siam’s long-time capital city is now a redolent collection of ruins and painstakingly restored temples. Spending the night here is advantageous so you can explore in the cooler late-afternoon hours and appreciate the city without the day-trip crowds.
Continue north by train with a comfortable 3 ½ hour journey that weaves past the villages and the hillside scenes. Sukhothai is grander and more glorious than Ayutthaya, a significant collection of ruins and from an even more distant time. This 13th-century capital can feel like a movie set as the state of preservation is quite exquisite, and you can feel what it would have been like here some 800 years ago. After an introduction the next day, you will have time to discover Sukhothai and its secrets. Lampang is a beautiful stop on route to Chiang Rai the following morning, a Lanna-style temple from the 15th century that is rich in detail and spirituality.
Chiang Mai is the capital of the north, and after three days of travel, you will settle into three nights at a spa retreat here. With ten days to explore Siam, you can move at a relaxed pace without needing to rush between the highlights. Thailand’s transport infrastructure has improved enormously over the last two decades, and you no longer need to bump along dusty roads. Plus, traveling overland always brings its surprises. There are some lovely little stops on the route, many of which are unplanned. This is the land of smiles, and such a reputation is best understood when you are not at major destinations or attractions.
Settle into Chiang Mai, and there are a host of iconic experiences to enjoy. Watch the sunset from a legendary hilltop temple, ride a hot air balloon at sunrise, and gaze down on the city that was cut off from the entire world until the early 20th century. Explore Doi Suthep National Park to find elephants and gibbons, and then on to small villages to see how traditions are being kept alive. The following day you will drive to Chiang Rai, stopping at the breathtaking White Temple on your route. Chiang Rai is local and authentic, an excellent place to feel the energy of old Siam for one final time.
A domestic flight will return you to Bangkok where you can meet your international departure. Ten days is a great amount of time to connect with Thailand’s history and culture while you travel at a pace that is conducive to experiences, rather than simply sightseeing. Note that it is possible to extend this 10-day tour with time on one of the beaches, connecting through Bangkok on a domestic flight to the islands. Consider looking at more ideas for traveling to Thailand available on our Thailand vacations page.
$2,855 per person (excluding international flights)
Your Zicasso trip is fully customizable, and this sample itinerary is a starting place for your travel plans. Actual costs are dynamic, and your selection of accommodations and activities, your season of travel, and other such variables will bring this budget guideline up or down. Throughout your planning experience with your Zicasso specialist, your itinerary is designed around your budget. You can book your trip when you are satisfied with every detail. Planning your trip with a Zicasso travel specialist is a free service.
- In-country transportation
- Some or all activities and tours
- Expert trip planning
- 24x7 support during your trip
Your final trip cost will vary based on your selected accommodations, activities, meals, and other trip elements that you opt to include.
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