Northern Thailand Discovery

Northern Thailand Discovery

By Ruby Zhao | Updated May. 6, 2023

8-Day Northern Thailand Tour to Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Sukhothai

If you are interested in Thai culture, this trip is highly recommended. It takes you on an in-depth cultural trip in Thailand. Visit palaces and temples in Bangkok, discover the Golden Triangle and hill tribe villages in Chiang Rai, interact with the local people and take a cooking class in Chiang Mai, and immerse yourself in the historical ruins and learn more about Loi Krathong (a floating lantern festival) in Sukhothai. In this private tour, learn about the culture and history of Thailand and explore the locals' real lives. You will fall in love with this amazing country.




US$2,295 p/p

Best For

History Fans

Best Time

Nov. to May

Tour Highlights

Explore the culture and border trade of the Thai tribe villages.
Explore the culture and border trade of the Thai tribe villages.
Learn how to make Thai food with a local family.
Learn how to make Thai food with a local family.
Review Thailand's glorious past at the ruins of Sukhothai.
Review Thailand's glorious past at the ruins of Sukhothai.
Understand the harmonious relationship between humans and animals in an elephant hospital.
Understand the harmonious relationship between humans and animals in an elephant hospital.
Study more about Loi Krathong and make a traditional krathong (floating lantern) in Sukhothai.
Study more about Loi Krathong and make a traditional krathong (floating lantern) in Sukhothai.

Itinerary Details

Below is the detailed tour itinerary, which is designed to provide inspiration for your Thailand tour. We will follow your requests and assist you to customize your dream journey to Thailand.

Day 1
Bangkok Arrival

After arriving at the airport, your guide will wait for you, holding a sign with your name on it, and then transfer you to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day to yourself, adjusting to the jet lag or wandering around your hotel.

Day 2
City Exploration and Visit Bangkok's Top Attractions

A Palace and Temples

After breakfast, begin your Bangkok highlights tour, which includes Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of Dawn. You will also experience Bangkok's local modes of transportation — the long-tail boat and Thai tuk tuk. This will get you closer to the lifestyle of the local people.

Have lunch at a local Thai restaurant.

Chinatown Culture Walk

In the afternoon, discover Bangkok's 200-year-old district of Chinatown with your private guide. It is a popular tourist attraction and food paradise.

Day 3
Bangkok to Chiang Rai, the Golden Triangle, and Hill Tribe Villages

The Hall of Opium and the Akha and Yao villages

Say goodbye to Bangkok and fly to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival, meet your guide and driver at the airport, then they will transfer you to the Golden Triangle. Enjoy lunch in a local restaurant.

Learn about the border trade between Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos in the Golden Triangle. Your guide will tell you about this history in detail. Next, you will visit the Hall of Opium where you will learn how opium is made and used. You will understand how opium destroyed the lives of thousands of local families. Then you will visit two local villages: the Akha and Yao villages. Explore the real lifestyle of the primitive tribes in Thailand.

Finally, you will visit Baan Dam Museum, which is informally known as the Black House. This is a private museum and completely made of wood. The buildings have a black background and there are some animal specimens on display. On the doors, corridors, and columns, there are reliefs of Buddha and ghosts. The main theme is hell and death.

Day 4
Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, the Surreal White Temple

Wat Rong Khun

You will meet your guide and driver at your hotel after breakfast. You will be driven to Wat Rong Khun, which is better known as the White Temple. Built in 1997, it was designed and built by the famous Thai designer, Chalermchai Kositpipat. The white temple symbolizes Buddha's purity and the silver mirror surround symbolizes Buddha's wisdom shining on the whole universe. In addition to the traditional Buddhist themes, many modern elements have been added.

After visiting the White Temple, you will be transferred to Chiang Mai and can enjoy a free afternoon.

Day 5
Holy Doi Suthep and a Thai Cooking Class

Majestic Temples of Chiang Mai

You will meet your guide and driver in the hotel lobby and then be driven for about 20 minutes from Chiang Mai to the famous Doi Suthep for a panoramic view of Chiang Mai. Another highlight there is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which was built in 1382 and is one of the most holy Buddhist temples in Thailand. Buddhism is the most important religion in Thailand so many locals go there for pilgrimages.

Afterward, you will return to downtown Chiang Mai and visit Wat Chedi Luang. This is the home of the Emerald Buddha and attracts many visitors every year.

Have lunch at a local Thai restaurant.

Learn How to Make Thai Food from a Local Family

Learning how to make local food is more interesting than simply tasting food. Now, you will have the chance to make some local dishes with a local family. These dishes are common for Thai families and you can also cook them for your family when you return home. You will collect the vegetables from the host's garden and then the host will show you how to make some homemade dishes. Then try to make some dishes on your own — please take it seriously because this is your dinner.

Day 6
Chiang Mai to Sukhothai via Lampang

You will be transferred to Sukhothai by private car. On your way to Sukhothai, you will stop in Lampang and visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang and Friends of the Asian Elephant.

Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a teak building that was built in the 15th century and attracts a lot of tourists. It's said that walking around the pagoda clockwise three times can help people realize their wishes.

Friends of the Asian Elephant is an elephant hospital, which provides free medical services for elephants and trains elephant keepers. Friends of the Asian Elephant advocates that humans should live in harmony with elephants and avoid riding or abusing them in any way.

Enjoy your lunch at a local Thai restaurant.

After lunch, continue to Sukhothai and the rest of the time will be free for you to spend as you please.

Day 7
A Fabulous Day in Sukhothai (Rising of Happiness)

Walk in Sukhothai Historical Park

In beautiful settings with lawns, lotus ponds, and majestic trees, the old Sukhothai Historical Park was the capital of the Kingdom of Sukhothai.

Founded in 1238, Sukhothai was the first unified kingdom of Thailand. The kingdom flourished for 200 years until it was taken over by Ayutthaya.

The historical park covers an area of 70 square kilometers and contains 193 ruins. It is divided into five zones. The central zone is the most popular with tourists and it was there that the most important temples and the royal seat were located.

The greatest temple ruin is undoubtedly Wat Mahathat. It was the spiritual center of the city and right next to the Royal Palace. Probably the best way to explore the park is by bicycle. You can also walk or drive around inside the park.

Sukhothai Historical Park is also said to be the best place in Thailand to celebrate Loi Krathong. The historical park is filled with lanterns and there is a daily fireworks show. Many other activities occur around the city of Sukhothai during Loi Krathong.

A Local Experience of Making a Thai Krathong (Water Lantern)

The difference between Sukhothai's celebrations and the rest of Thailand is that Loi Krathong originated in Sukhothai and the historic park makes a spectacular setting when it is lit up. In Sukhothai, the Loi Krathong tradition of placing floating lanterns in water is also carried out. Krathong (floating lanterns) are placed into the rivers and moats. Khom loi (floating sky lanterns) glide into the night sky. Watch traditional Thai dancing and a theatrical light show, which is a theatrical telling of Loi Krathong's history.

You will have a special experience of making a krathong (water lantern) with the local people. In the process of learning how to make a water lantern, you will have a deeper understanding of Loi Krathong. After you've made a lantern, you will put it into the river and make some wishes.

Day 8
Sukhothai to Bangkok for Your Departure

This is your departure day. You will be transferred to Sukhothai Airport and fly to Bangkok to catch your flight back home.

Price Includes

Price from: $2,295 (Tour code: gh-ah-52)

One-to-one consultancy
One-to-one consultancy
Knowledgeable local guides
Knowledgeable local guides
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Private drivers/driver guides and vehicles as listed
Hand-picked hotels
Hand-picked hotels
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Breakfasts and meals as listed
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Entry to all attractions on the itinerary
Transportation as listed
Transportation as listed
A 24/7 helpline while traveling
A 24/7 helpline while traveling

Start planning your tailor-made tour now. Your 1:1 travel consultant will reply within 1 working day.

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Trip Notes

Every element of the tour above can be tailored. Feel free to tell us your ideas and we will be happy to make adjustment for you.

Tailoring Your Tour

This tour is very flexible. You can alter the itinerary, and extend or shorten it to suit your price, interest, and schedule. Feel free to tell us your requirements, and we will be happy to help you arrange a tour using our professional knowledge and experience.

About the Transportation

As a shorter trip that covers quite a lot of ground, there will be traveling every other day to the next destination, but the longest travel time is around 4 hours.

Extend the Tour - Phuket or Koh Samui /or other islands:

add 3-5 days – relax by the white sand beaches along pristine blue water

Why Travel with Global Highlights (98.8% positive customer reviews among 10,000+)

  • Unique experiences tailored to your interests: Enjoy a premium trip that goes beyond the typical tourist attractions.
  • Hassle-free travel and peace of mind: Every aspect of your trip will be carefully planned and organized by your 1:1 travel consultant.
  • Experienced and knowledgeable guides: Your guides will be local and love to work for travelers' smiles.

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