Unseen Highlights

Bua Mai Hai Chum, Nam Hai Hai Khun:  “Do not bruise the lotuses, or taint the water with stirred mud”

-- a well known Thai proverb based on the old Thai way of life along the riverbanks,

The above proverb, is a fitting introduction to exploration of Bangkok and rural Thailand as a contemporary international gateway and a treasury of traditional Thai splendor.  Recover from flights and jet lag with the renown Bangkok massages.  Be dazzled by the glitter or the mirrors and gilt on all the temples.  Join locals on river ferries and boats.  Stroll and watch locals at temples, markets, shops and restaurants.   The itinerary below is a suggestion and can easily be extended for a longer exploration of Thailand, or to Myanmar, Laos, or Cambodia.  For additional photos, see the Thailand photo album.  For more information, please contact Silk and Stones Travel customer service Check the list of Thailand Resources available. 


Unseen Thailand -- Private Trips available anytime

Bangkok--Gateway to Southeast Asia  -- Private Trips available anytime

Temples, Treasures, Tribes - October and December

Custom, private trips are available at any time.  Following is a sample, custom itinerary to start your planning.

Experiences - unique and irresistible - to be added to your itinerary as your interests dictate:

  1. Phi Ta Khon Festival June 24-26 - Masks, ghosts, dancing, music

  2. Chiang Mai Arts Festival - April - music, dance, art, food, handicraft exhibitions

  3. Songkran New Year Festival - April celebration of spring celebration

  4. Koh Samed Beach Extension - 3hrs from Bangkok relax on an undisturbed beach with turquoise water

  5. Tree Planting in Chiang Mai - travel to Mae Taeng Tree Reforestation Project

  6. Patricia Cheesman Neanna Textile Studio near Chiang Mai - near Doi Suthip and Phra Thad Doi Suthep Temple

  7. Tom Yum Goong day trip to to shop and prepare “tom yum goong” soup

  8. Bayed Eco Trek and Farmer for a day with a tree planting ceremony

Arrive in Bangkok on international flights

Day 1 Bangkok sightseeing

An early start will get you to Wat Po in time to experience the monks early morning chanting ritual (chanting starts at 09.00 Hrs). After this uplifting and often private experience visit the temple grounds and the famous 45-metre reclining Buddha. Continue to The Grand Palace, Thailand’s most important landmark, where you will be awed by the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls. Then, of course, marvel at the mysterious Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand.

Lunch at a local restaurant before boarding a private long tail boat onto the peaceful Klong Bang Luang. Pass by shop houses, local temples and vendors on this waterway which was once a major trading route and lined with impressive homes of aristocrats. The guide will point out local landmarks and cultural idiosyncrasies of the area. After observing this lively area, stop at Baan Silapin, a 100 year old renovated house now home to an art gallery. Enjoy the gallery, take part in an art workshop or explore the local community, before experiencing a unique puppet show performed by puppeteers trained under the Joe Louis School of puppetry.   Enroute back to the city, stop to visit the Temple of Dawn – Wat Arun. 

Cross the Chao Phraya River by local ferry and connect with public express boat to Rachawongse Pier. Heading to China Town by Tuk Tuk where you start an interesting walk. Along the way you walk through one of the oldest parts of Bangkok, passing many interesting local products with variety of fresh foods, fresh & dry fruits, Chinese herbs, and groceries.  Dinner at a loverly local restaurant and overnight at the hotel. 

Day 2 Tha Kha & Amphawa

Depart from Bangkok to Samut Songkram province. Start the day with a short stop for an amazing country market that has sprouted along the railway tracks. Then we will visit Tha Kha**, floating market where you can observe local trading in its authenticity. Continue with a fascinating paddleboat journey through the maze of klongs (canals), cruising past plantations and Buddhist temples before stopping to enjoy a glass of palm sugar syrup and chat with a friendly local family. 

Note: Tha Kha Market is held every Saturday and Sunday morning. During the weekdays, the market day is subject to lunar cycle calendar; however tour can be operated on daily basis. 

Lunch at a local restaurant then afternoon proceed to King Rama II then take a stroll through the orchards and Amphawa area. (Optional bike ride is available). 

Note: If the date falls on the weekend (Fri-Sun), opportunity to visit the famous Amphawa Evening Market will be included.  Return to Bangkok in the afternoon. Overnight in Bangkok. 

Day 3 Bangkok – Ayutthaya

Depart from Bangkok in the morning to Bangkok’s Hualampong Train Station. Board the local train heading to Ayutthaya and enjoy scenic views along the way. 

Upon arrival at Ayutthaya, hop onto a “Kermit” Tuk Tuk (a special type of motorized Tuk Tuk available only in Ayutthaya and Trang province in the South) to discover the magnificent ruins and ancient temples in the historical park. Briefly stop near the Muslim quarter and sample one of the most famous delights of Ayutthaya – candy floss roti. If time permits, visit local houses to see how handicrafts such as palm leaf Fish mobiles are produced. 

After lunch at a riverside restaurant, enjoy a leisurely long tail boat ride to Bang Pa In Summer Palace and explore the majestic royal mansions which are usually quiet in the afternoons. Continue to Wat Niwet Thammapravat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples with its remarkable Gothic style architecture and stained glass windows.  Dinner and overnight in Ayutthaya. 

Day 4 Ayutthaya – Uthai Thani – Sukhothai

Depart from Ayutthaya head north to Uthai Thani.  Visit the Crystal and Golden Halls of Wat Tha Sung. Continue to Koh Tepo, the famous community for their incense stick maker and their local lifestyle.  Lunch will be arranged onboard the rice barge cruise while slowly flat on the Sakraekrang River.  Continue to Sukhothai, a name of this meaning dawn of happiness. This city was founded in the 13th century and became the first kingdom's capital, overseeing a period kown as the golden age of Thai history. Proceeding to visit to Sukhothai Historical Park, see the mainsites and important ruins. (Optional bike ride in the park is available).  Dinner at the hotel.  Overnight in Sukhothai. 

Day 5 Dukhothai – Lampang

Dress up in the distinctive indigo colored cotton Thai Farmer uniform and get your hands dirty in the organic rice farm transplanting rice seedlings, harvesting, or milling rice, there is also an opportunity to plough the paddies with water buffalo.  The sumptuous local organic lunch is served in traditional Thai style at the open Sala overlooking the rice fields. Continue to Sukhothai Airport complex in the vicinity to visit the seasonal orchid greenhouse, see the live demonstration of the ceramic making and textile weaving. 

And then visit the weaving village at Baan Haad Siew, a nearby village near Sri Satchanalai. The original people of this community are Thai Puan, migrated from Lao for many years. See their wisdoms and shopping some textiles is possible. 

Continue to Lampang to visit Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang, a large trading centre during the 19th Century.  Take a horse cart ride along Taladkao Road where you can see old Thai, Chinese, British and Burmese merchant houses.  Dinner at the hotel and overnight in Lampang. 

Day 6 Lampang – Chiang Mai

Visit Wat Pong Sanook, a Lanna - Burmese style temple in Lampang. The temple had won the 2008 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Heritage Awards for Culture Heritage Conservation “the Award of Merit”.  Drive to Chiang Mai for lunch. En route, stop at Pratu Pha Shrine to view historical paintings on the cliff aged 3000 years old. 

In the afternoon, after visit Wat Suan Dok, where the ashes of Chiang Mai’s royal family are interred, continue higher up Doi Suthep Mountain by songtaew, onto a dirt road to the Chang Khien coffee research project, surrounded by fabulous flower gardens, where you can enjoy a cup of the local arabica. Continue to Chang Khien, a White Hmong, where some of the 800 inhabitants still wear their traditional hilltribe gown, and practice the traditional lifestyle of a culture that dates back more than 500 years. Visit to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep in the late afternoon, the tourist masses have already left the temple grounds and dusk will give a very special atmosphere. After your private blessing ceremony, witness the magical evening chanting of the monks. End with the spectacularly romantic evening view over Chiang Mai with its millions of glittering lights. 

Dinner will be provided at Huen Huay Kaew, a Thai teak restaurant overlooking a pretty waterfall.  Wrap up a memorable night with a short Trishaw ride around the old city and enjoy shopping at the famous Night Bazaar or one of the walking streets (if the day falls on the scheduled weekend night market).  Overnight in Chiang Mai at the hotel. 

Day 7 Chiang Mai

Gear up for a colorful ride through the surrounding countryside of Phrao. Transfer to Phrao(1hour) then start cycling at a leisurely pace, with plenty of time to stop and take photos of the vast green rice fields and their farmers, fruit farms, buffalos and distant mountain ranges that frame your view.  This ride is a wonderful introduction to rural Thai culture as you have the opportunity to stop at a variety of places such as a local school, rice wine distillery, local market, rice mill or tea in a local Lahu village.

Lunch will be served at the nearby eco-friendly “Nature Lodge” amidst the wonderful nature together with the cooking demonstration.

Continue to the Trees for Life project in Mae Taeng district. After refreshing herbal drinks and welcome background introduction, local villagers will lead you on a 45 minutes’ walk through the forest to the tree planting site. Interact with the villagers who are experts at identifying local tree varieties and their different uses, they will work alongside and provide guidance to you during the tree planting session.  Return to the lodge before head back to hotel in Chiang Mai. 

Tonight experience a VIP, Gourmet Thai dinner by celebrity Master Chef Somphon Nabnian. This exceptionally prepared meal will be served in the luxurious settings of his private home. A real treat!  Overnight in Chiang Mai at the hotel. 

Day 8 Chiang Mai (B)

Today we immerse ourselves in local Northern Thai culture with a morning spent amongst group of traditional Thai houses that have been kept for cultural conservation on the grounds of Chiangmai University. A lecturer from the university will lead you to understand about the Lanna arts & culture brought to life amongst the traditional Thai houses. This will be followed by interactive cultural activities by local students and a puppet troupe who are happy the share their stories and cultural activities i.e. folk dancing and live puppet show.

Transfer to Chiang Mai Airport for your flight back to Bangkok or onto the Laos trip.

Check Resources and Packing List, Application and Terms and Conditions for additional help planning your trip.

For more suggestions, please contact Silk and Stones Travel.

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Fierce, Sparkling Temple Guardian at Royal Palace Complex