Pick up from the hotel and drive to Ayutthaya Province, the former capital of Thailand. Visit ♦ Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon. The name was given granted to the temple by King Naresuan to commemorate a battle fought against the Crown Prince of Burma or Myanmar nowadays. His momentous victory, a single-handed combat on the elephant back brought independence to Ayutthaya after 15 years as a Burmese dependent. Within the complex is a huge image of a reclining Buddha in brick and stucco. Also situated in the compound is King Naresuan statue, which is highly revered by Thais.
Then visit ♦ Wat Chai Wattanaram, 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 temple’s unique feature is a huge Prang which is surrounded by smaller prangs. This symbolizes Mount Meru, the abode of the heavenly gods.
After lunch at a local restaurant, continue to Phitsanuloke Province, the birthplace of King Naresuan the Great, the legendary King who declared Ayutthaya’s independence from Burma in 1584. On the way, visit ♦ Wat Prasri Rattana Mahatat which houses Thailand’s most beautiful Buddha Image, Phra Phuttha Chinnarat. The large Sukhothai-style bronze statue was cast in 1357 by the order of King Maha Thamma Racha I of Sukhothai and is now highly respected by Thais countrywide.
Check in and overnight at the hotel in Phitsanuloke.
Drive to Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, after being picked up from the hotel. See the remains of the Royal Palace and the Royal Temple ♦ Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which were demolished by the Burmese Army following the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, in the Historical Park of Ayutthaya. Visit ♦ Wat Chaiwatthanaram next. King Prasat Thong constructed it in 1630 as a tribute to his mother. A copy of the Angkor Temple was intended when Wat Chai Wattanaram was built. A massive prang encircled by smaller prangs is the temple s distinguishing feature. Enjoy local favorite sweet of Ayutthaya, the ♦ Roti Saimai, a cotton candy crepes. Lunch at a local restaurant.
Continue to Phitsanuloke Province. This is where King Naresuan the Great, the fabled monarch who proclaimed Ayutthaya s independence from Burma in 1584, was born. Visit ♦ Wat Prasri Rattana Mahatat along the journey to see Phra Phuttha Chinnarat, Thailand’s most exquisite Buddha image. The enormous bronze figure, which was created in the Sukhothai style by King Maha Thamma Racha I of Sukhothai in 1357, is now greatly revered throughout all of Thailand.
Check in and spend the night at the Phitsanuloke
Drive to Sukhothai Province at 08:00 to visit the Historical Park of Sukhothai, which was established in the 13th century. Sukhothai, roughly translating to ‘Dawn of Happiness,’ was the first completely autonomous Thai kingdom that enjoyed a golden age during the reign of King Ramkhamhaeng, who is credited with establishing the Thai alphabet.
In Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city’s magnificent temples and monuments have been restored. Explore major Royal Palace ruins and Buddhist temples, including ♦ Wat Mahathat and ♦ Wat Si Chum, within the historical park.
Afterward, continue north to Lampang Province, renowned for its horse-drawn carriages, with the provincial emblem being a rooster. The city boasts a long history of human settlements in the Wang River valley, some dating back more than a thousand years, and is rich in archaeological evidence of the ancient Hariphunchai, Lanna, and Burmese civilizations. Visit ♦ Wat Phratat Lampang Luang, featuring a golden Chedi in Lanna-style architecture that houses a Holy Relic. The entry arches, known as Pratu Khong, are adorned with excellent plaster designs, and the oldest murals in the North are painted on timber walls.
Proceed to Chiang Mai and overnight.
Breakfast at the hotel.
08:00 Visit ♦ Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the most famous and revered temple in Chiang Mai. After ascending its 306 steps to the golden Chedi (you may alternatively take a lift), you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Chiang Mai and the enchanting aura of the temple and its shrines. Many Thais visit this hilltop temple to pay their respects and earn merit.
Next, explore Chiang Mai’s old town, home to the 1345-built temple ♦ Wat Phra Sing. The temple houses the most venerated Buddha statue in the North, Phra Phuttha Sihing, which is enshrined in Vihan Lai Kham, a chapel adorned with superb woodcarvings and murals in the northern style.
Afterward, drive to the ♦ Sankampaeng area, renowned for its Northern handicrafts and home industries that produce Thai silk, woodcarving products, traditional Northern lacquerware, and paper umbrellas.
Check out at 8:00 AM and proceed to Chiang Rai. En route, make a stop at a hot spring. After lunch, explore the city and its temples in Chiang Rai, starting with the White Temple, known as ♦ Wat Rong Khun. This temple was designed and constructed by the renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat, who skillfully blended the traditions of Lanna with unique and exquisite works of art. The temple features stucco patterns adorned with mirrors and massive wall murals.
Next, continue to ♦ Wat Rong Sua Ten, a newer temple known for its exquisite and distinctive artwork. It employs a unique form of applied art characterized by blue and blue tones.
In the late afternoon, visit Chiang Rai’s bustling local market to experience the local way of life. Enjoy tasting Chiang Rai’s Street food at the market.
Overnight in Chiang Rai