8-Day Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and Sukhothai Lantern Festival Tour
Among the traditional festivals in Thailand, the most beautiful one is Loi Krathong. The theme of this trip is Loi Krathong, which includes three main destinations in Thailand – Bangkok, Sukhothai, and Chiang Mai – to have an in-depth experience of this traditional Thai festival.
We have just returned from an amazing trip to Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Our travel adviser Albee Ning prepared a wonderful itinerary taking us to great locations with creative activities highlighting local culture.
We traveled with Asia Highlights (Lissie was our agent) several years ago when we went to Saigon, and the experience was so positive, we automatically went to Asia Highlights again for an extensive trip to Southeast Asia.
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.
After arriving at the airport, your guide will be waiting for you, holding a sign with your name on it, and will then transfer you to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day and adjust to the jet lag or wander around your hotel.
A Palace, Temples, and Ancient Canals
You will start your trip after breakfast and will visit some landmark sites in Bangkok, which include Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of Dawn. Experience Bangkok's local transportation – the long-tail boat and Thai tuk tuk – to feel what it's like to be a local.
Have lunch at a local Thai restaurant.
Maeklong Railway Market and Damnoen Saduak Floating Market
Before you fly to Sukhothai, you will visit two unique markets in Thailand.
After breakfast in your hotel, you will be driven for about 2 hours from downtown Bangkok to Maeklong Railway Market where the market vendors are all on the railway, making it a special market. A few times a day, the train runs directly through the market.
Then, you will be driven to the next site, Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. It is the most popular floating market in Thailand. The market vendors there are all on the river and it will change your perception of a traditional market.
Have lunch in a local Thai restaurant.
In the late afternoon, when you've returned from Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Sukhothai. Upon arrival, meet your guide and driver who will transfer you to your hotel.
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 being taken over by Ayutthaya.
The historical park in Sukhothai, along with historic parks in Kamphaeng Phet and Si Satchanalai, is on UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites. It is one of the major tourist attractions in Thailand.
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 is where 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 is right next to the Royal Palace. Probably the best way to explore the park is by bicycle. You can also walk or drive around 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 lights and there is a daily fireworks show. Many other events occur around the city 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. Krathongs (floating water lights) are placed into the rivers and moats. Khom loi (floating sky lanterns) float up into the night sky. You will see traditional Thai dancing and a theatrical light show, which are theatrical accounts of Loi Krathong's history.
Next, you will have a special experience when you make a krathong (water lantern) with some local people. In the process of learning how to make the water lantern, you will have a deeper understanding of Loi Krathong. When you have finished your water lantern, you will put it into the river and make some wishes.
Enjoy the Loi Krathong Light and Sound Show
During the festival, the lighting and fireworks performances in Sukhothai Historical Park are very important activities, and these are also important highlights of your trip. Listen to traditional Thai music, watch Thai dancing, taste local food, and feel the happy atmosphere of the festival. Looking at such happy people, this may be the biggest significance of the festival.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang
You will be transferred to Chiang Mai by a private car. On your way, stop in Lampang and visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang.
Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a teak building that was built in the 15th century. It attracts a lot of tourists. It's said that walking around the pagoda clockwise three times can realize people's wishes.
Buddhism is the most important religion in Thailand so, when you visit the temple, you will see many people going there with food and incense to pray.
Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, the rest of this day will be free for you to spend at your leisure — a Thai foot massage is recommended so take the opportunity to experience this if you are interested.
A Memorable Caring Experience at Elephant Rescue Park
You will visit Elephant Rescue Park in Chiang Mai after your breakfast. It will take about an hour to get there.
Elephant Rescue Park's primary objective is to provide a safe, loving, and secure environment for all the elephants that go there and live with them. This can only be achieved with your help and support.
You'll get to feed them, walk with them, hug them, play with them, bathe them, and so much more.
The Sacred Wat Phra That Doi Suthep
In the late afternoon, you will be driven back to Chiang Mai to visit Doi Suthep where you will have the chance to see a panoramic view of Chiang Mai. The main attraction for many tourists at Doi Suthep is Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which was built in 1382 and is one of the holiest Buddhist temples in Thailand. Buddhism is the most important religion in Thailand so many locals go there for pilgrimages.
The Glorious Temples and Local Market
Chiang Mai was the ancient capital during the Lanna period. There are many majestic temples and buildings there. We will show you three of them: Wat Chiang Man, Wat Phra Singh, and Wat Chedi Luang.
After visiting the temples, be like a local people and visit the largest market in Chiang Mai: Worarot Market. You can buy all kinds of things there, such as fresh fruits, local delicacies, clothes, flowers, and handicrafts.
The Yi Peng Festival Celebrations — Enjoy the Sky Lantern Release
In the afternoon, drive to the festival venue in Chiang Mai. We will reserve VIP seat tickets for you. The activities include enjoying local cultural performances, chanting sutras and praying, releasing sky lanterns, and tasting delicious food. Thousands of brightly lit lanterns rising into the night's sky over Chiang Mai is an iconic image during Loi Krathong.
After the celebration, you will be transferred back to your hotel by a private car.
Asia Highlights Exclusive VIP Experiences
A VIP ticket to the Yi Peng Festival at Chiang Mai includes:
- One sky lantern for each traveler
- A VIP souvenir
- A buffet dinner in a special VIP area (all kinds of Thai cuisine and soft drinks, water, and juice)
After breakfast, say goodbye to Chiang Mai and you will be transferred to the airport. Catch your departure flight and end your beautiful journey.
Price from: $2,510 (Tour code: gh-ah-58)
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.
Information Regarding the Travel Date
To experience both of the festival celebrations in Sukhothai and Chiang Mai, we suggest you start your trip around Oct 25th or Oct 26th (2019) because the Yi Peng Festival in Chiang Mai takes place on Oct 31 2020 and the Loy Krathong Festival in Sukhothai is from 25 Oct to 31 Oct 2020. (In Sukhothai the same celebration will occur every night during the festival so we recommend only staying for two days). We will also tailor-make the itinerary to suit your schedule and requirements. We care about your interests and needs, so if you want to spend more time in a certain place and less in another we will arrange it.
About the Light & Sound Show in Sukhothai
As of now, the Sukhothai officials have announced the date and price of the show, but they will not announce the detailed content of light & sound show until one month before it occurs.
Extend the Tour - Phuket or Koh Samui /or other islands:
add 3-5 days – relax by the white sand beaches along pristine blue water