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8-Day Northern Thailand Discovery

8-Day Northern Thailand Discovery

By Nora OuUpdated Jan. 4, 2024
A Modern to Ancient Thailand

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).

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  • 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.

Journey Route

thailand map

Itinerary in Detail

Day 1
Bangkok Arrival
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok (4-star) / Avani+ Riverside Bangkok Hotel (5-star)

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.

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 Palace
The Grand Palace


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.

Day 3
Bangkok to Chiang Rai,The Golden Triangle and Hill Tribe Villages
The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort & Spa (4-star) / The Riverie by Katathani (5-star)

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 Triangle
A 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 House
The Black House
Day 4
Chiang Rai to Chiang Mai, The Surreal White Temple
Bodhi Serene (4-star) / Na Nirand Romantic Boutique Resort (5-star)

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 Temple
The White Temple

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

Day 5
Holy Doi Suthep and a Thai Cooking Class

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.

Doi Suthep
The Holy Wat Phra That Doi Suthep

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 class
The materials preparing for a cooking class
Day 6
Chiang Mai to Sukhothai via Lampang
Legendha Sukhothai Resort (4-star)

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

Leave Chiang Mai for Sukhothai and 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 Luang
The 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.

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 City
The old city of Sukhothai
Day 7
A Fabulous Day in Sukhothai (Rising of Happiness)

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 Park
Sukhothai Historical Park

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 Krathong
Make Traditional Thai Krathong (Floating Lantern)
Day 8
Sukhothai to Bangkok for Your Departure

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

Hand-picked Hotels

We have selected hotels with different styles and for different budgets. Let us know your preferences and we will help you find the right one.

superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Eastin Grand Hotel Sathorn Bangkok
superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Chiang Mai
Bodhi Serene
superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Chiang Rai
The Legend Chiang Rai Boutique River Resort
superior sky room at eastin grand sathorn bangkok hotel
Legendha Sukhothai Resort

Our Service Includes:

8 days from
per person (based on 2 persons and 4-star hotels)
  • Private transfers and English-speaking tour guide
  • All guided sightseeing as detailed in the itinerary
  • Hotel accommodation mentioned in the itinerary
  • Flights between cities mentioned in the itinerary
  • Breakfasts at hotels and lunches for every guided day
  • Governmental taxes

Tour code: ah-52

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