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8-Day Bangkok, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, and Sukhothai Tour

This itinerary includes vibrant Bangkok, northernmost Chiang Rai, cultural Chiang Mai, and historical Sukhothai. You will have an in-depth cultural discovery experience and have real encounters with local people in this private tour.

The tour will take you from the palace and ancient canals in Bangkok to the Golden Triangle and hill tribe villages in Chiang Rai, from the holy temples and a home cooking experience in Chiang Mai to Thailand’s first elephant hospital in Lampang, and from the impressive historical ruins in Sukhothai to a local experience where you will make a krathong (floating lantern) in the birthplace of Thailand’s lantern festival (Loi Krathong).

Journey route

thailand map


  • Admire the splendor of the magnificent Grand Palace and Wat Pho in Bangkok.
  • Learn about the border culture and northern rural life in the Golden Triangle.
  • Enjoy a panoramic view of Chiang Mai at the famous Doi Suthep Mountain
  • Take a local home cooking class and taste some delicious Thai food.
  • Explore the capital of Siam's golden age — Sukhothai, which means ‘Rising of Happiness’.
  • Learn how to make a traditional krathong (floating lantern) from local people.

Itinerary in detail

This sample itinerary provides inspiration yet your preferences design the real journey. Following our Tailor-made Guidelines to create a wonderful Thailand holiday in your own way.

Day 1 Bangkok Arrival

Your private guide will be waiting for you in the airport arrivals area. A comfortable vehicle (non-smoking) with an experienced driver will transfer you directly to your hotel. Your guide will help you to check in.
The rest of your day is free to spend at your leisure.

Hotel suggestions:
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok ****
Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel *****

Day 2 City Exploration and Visit Bangkok’s Top Attractions

A Palace and Temples

Explore Bangkok’s famous highlights in the morning when it is cooler. The landmarks of Bangkok include Wat Pho, the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and the Temple of Dawn.

Try out Bangkok's different forms of public transport — the public taxi boat, a long-tail boat, and the infamous Thai tuk tuk. This is a fun excursion that gives you a fantastic insight into the capital as well as the local people.

The Grand PalaceThe Grand Palace

Have Lunch in a Local Thai Restaurant.


Bangkok’s Chinatown is a popular tourist attraction and a food haven for gourmands who flock there to explore the vibrant streetside cuisine, especially after sunset.

Hall of Opium and the Akha & Yao villages

After breakfast, take a private transfer to the airport and fly for about an hour to reach Chiang Rai. Upon your arrival, your private tour guide and driver will welcome you at the airport, then take you straight to the Golden Triangle.

Have lunch in a local Thai restaurant.

Overlooking the Golden Triangle from an archway on a hillside, get some nice photos while you learn about the history of this area from your guide. Then stop at the Hall of Opium, which is a museum that showcases how opium is made, used, and distributed, and how this evil trade ruined the lives of thousands of families living around this area. Discover the lifestyle of northern rural Thai people by visiting two villages: the Akha and Yao villages.

A glimpse of the Golden TriangleA glimpse of the Golden Triangle

On the way back to Chiang Rai, visit Baan Dam Museum. Informally known as the Black House, Baan Dam Museum is one of the most popular Chiang Rai temples. It is actually more of a museum than a temple although it does contain some shrines. The building and its contents are a masterpiece and collection by the Thai painter and architect Thawan Duchanee.

The Black HouseThe Black House

Hotel suggestions:
The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa ****
The Riverie by Katathani *****

Wat Rong Khun

After breakfast, visit Wat Rong Khun, better known as the White Temple, it is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. It attracts a large number of visitors, both Thai and foreign, making it one of Chiang Rai’s most visited attractions. Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist. It is an unconventional and contemporary art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple.

The White TempleThe White Temple

Transfer to Chiang Mai and have lunch in a local Thai restaurant. Enjoy your free time in the afternoon.

Hotel suggestions:
Bodhi Serene ****
Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort *****

Unique Temples in Chiang Mai

In the morning, head out from Chiang Mai city for about 20 minutes to reach the famous Doi Suthep. Despite the stunning natural beauty, the main reason many visitors go to Doi Suthep Mountain is to visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Built in 1382, Wat Phra That Doi Suthep is one of the most holy Buddhist sites in Thailand. Many Thai people go on a pilgrimage there, especially during the Buddhist holidays. Later, return to downtown Chiang Mai and visit Wat Chedi Luang. It is one of the six most important temples in Chiang Mai and it attracts a lot of Thai people who go there to worship each year as it was once the home of the Emerald Buddha.

Doi SuthepThe Holy Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

Have lunch in a local Thai restaurant.

Learn How to Make Thai Dishes with a Local Family.

In the afternoon, visit a local family. The host will welcome you and walk you through her organic vegetable garden to collect different kinds of herbs and vegetables that will be used in the various Thai dishes you will be preparing. You will learn how to make some of the best home-cooked dishes that you can easily cook for your family when you return home. During the class, in addition to the cooking aspect, you also will sample dishes from the north, northeast, and central regions of Thailand.

cooking classThe materials preparing for a cooking class

A Lanna-Style Temple and the First Elephant Hospital in Thailand

After breakfast, you will leave Chiang Mai for Sukhothai and will stop in Lampang on the way to visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang and Friends of the Asian Elephant, which is an elephant hospital.

Founded in the 13th century, Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is one of the most highly revered temples and one of the best examples of Lanna-style architecture in Thailand. It has been preserved in its original state.

Wat Phra That Lampang LuangThe Lanna-style Wat Phra That Lampang Luang

Friends of the Asian Elephant was established to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants in Thailand. It provides free medical care for sick and injured elephants, as well as education for keepers. Its Mobile Vets Project sends teams to Northern Thailand to diagnose and treat elephants. It also works collaboratively with other organizations to advocate for elephant welfare. We encourage our customers to avoid taking elephant rides after learning about the abuse involved with this.

Have lunch in a local Thai restaurant.

Upon your arrival in Sukhothai in the late afternoon, enjoy some free time and relax. You may consider walking around the hotel and cycling through the historical park.

Sukhothai Old CityThe old city of Sukhothai

Hotel suggestions:
Legendha Sukhothai Resort ****

Walk in Sukhothai Historical Park

Located in a beautiful setting of lawns, lakes, and trees in north-central Thailand, Sukhothai Historical Park was the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom. Founded in 1238, Sukhothai was the first unified kingdom of Siam. The kingdom flourished for 200 years, during which time its capital at Old Sukhothai was a highly influential political and religious center. Sukhothai began to decline in the 14th century as Ayutthaya's power was on the rise. The most important sights in the historical park are Wat Si Chum, Wat Si Sawai, Wat Mahathat, and Wat Sa Si.

Sukhothai Historical ParkSukhothai Historical Park

Have lunch in a local Thai restaurant

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

Thailand’s most famous Loy Krathong (Lantern Festival) began in Sukhothai. So during your stay in Sukhothai, there is no better way to appreciate the local culture than to make a Krathong floating lantern yourself.

Spend time with local Thai people learning how to make a traditional Thai and Sukhothai style Krathong. During the lantern-making process, you will learn how locals use natural materials such as banana leaves and stems to make a beautiful lantern in many different shapes. You will also learn about the history of the lantern festival and how the local Sukhothai people celebrate it. Once it is dark, release your floating lantern on a pond or river and don’t forget to make a wish.

Making a Thai KrathongMake Traditional Thai Krathong (Floating Lantern)

After breakfast, you will have a private transfer to Sukhothai Airport, fly to Bangkok, and connect with your international flight to your home country.

Asia Highlights handpicked hotels

Thailand never goes short of hotel choices. Only one category of hotels is used in this itinerary yet it can also be tailor-made to your own preferences.

superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Bangkok Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok
  • #9 and granted Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor.
  • Centrally located in Sathorn, subway stations and malls nearby.
  • Superior Sky Room, 32sqm, higher floors and better city views.

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 TourThis 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 TransportationAs 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 TourPhuket or Koh Samui /or other islands: add 3-5 days – relax by the white sand beaches along pristine blue water

Our Service Includes

  • One-to-one consultancy with our travel expert
  • English speaking local guide and comfortable vehicle
  • Activities, hotels, and meals listed in the itinerary
  • The booking of internal transportation
  • A 24/7 helpline while you are traveling
8 Days from $2295p/p (Based on 2 persons & 4-star hotels for reference )

Local guide

Most of our guides in Thailand have at least 5 years of experience and their are extremely passionate for introducing you their motherland. We assign different guides in all destinations so as to better your chance blending with the locals.

Mini van

All of vehicles are in good maintenance and with A/C. Experienced, polite and professional drivers take the wheel, they will ensure you have a safe and smooth ride. We have bottled water, wet tissues, first-aid kit and baby car seat equipped with our vehicles.

What our clients say about us

My wife and I booked a private tour with Asian Highlights and they arranged a phenomenal vacation for us. Albee Ning was our Travel Agent and she took care of everything for us and did a phenomenal job... It was the perfect vacation and they handled every detail for us from meet and greet services at each airport, baggage handling, private tour guides and drivers at each location, good restaurants, and fantastic hotels throughout... Read more

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