Ancient Kingdoms of Thailand

Duration: 5 nights escorted tour

Price from: £999pp

Day 1 Bangkok/Bang Pa-In/Lopburi/Phitsanulok: Head north to Bang Pa-In, a former Summer Palace set in beautiful gardens, and then on to the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya. Continue to Lopburi to see artefacts from the Neolithic and Bronze Ages. Also see a former Buddhist sanctuary dating back to the 13th century, now home to hundreds of monkeys. Arrive at Phitsanulok, "the City of Boathouses" to see the shrine of Wat Mahathat (approx 270 miles/9 hours drive).

Day 2 Phitsanulok/Chiang Rai: Visit the first capital of Siam, Sukhothai before travelling via Sri Satchanalai and the small town of Playa, which dates back to the 11th century, to Chiang Rai (approx 295 miles/6 hours drive).

Day 3 Chiang Rai/Golden Triangle: Drive by 'pick-up' to the mountains of Doi Mae Salong to a remote hill tribe settlement stopping on the way at Akha and Yao hill tribe villages. Proceed to Mae Sai, a fascinating trading post before continuing to the heart of the Golden Triangle for views over Laos, Thailand and the mighty Mekong River. Visit Chiang Saen to see ruins of numerous temples, stupas and carved Buddha images. Return to Chiang Rai.

Day 4 Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai: Visit Mae Ka Chan, a locally renowned hot spring and a favourite local bathing place. In the afternoon, drive through splendid mountain scenery towards Chiang Mai and visit the sacred Wat Prathat Temple at Doi Suthep. This evening, enjoy a traditional North Thailand Khantoke dinner and folk dancing (approx 116 miles/5 hours drive).

Day 5 Chiang Mai: Today's sightseeing begins at an Elephant sanctuary, which specialises in elephant rehabilitation. Here, you will learn about the work and help feed the elephants. After lunch at a local restaurant, visit some of Chiang Mai's famous cottage industries. See silk spinning and marvel at the hand-painted umbrellas as well as the skilled potters creating distinctive Thai celadon.

Day 6 Chiang Mai/Bangkok: Return flight to Bangkok.

Departures: Every Tuesday. Minimum 2 passengers required.

Accommodation: 3* Amarin Lagoon Phitsanulok; Teak Garden Spa & Resort Chiang Rai; Empress Chiang Mai.

Meals: Full board.

Tour price: The price shown is based on the best value travel dates in low season and includes domestic flights, transfers, accommodation as detailed, sightseeing as shown, services of a guide and entrance fees. Tours are by air-conditioned car, mini bus or coach and may include participants from different nationalities, necessitating the use, occasionally, of bi or multi-lingual commentary.



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