Historical Thailand Essentials | Yampu Tours

Custom Travel Experiences Since 1998


Historical Thailand Essentials



FROM £$ 4965

Private Tour Highlights

  • Be guided through Thailand’s glamorous streets and temples
  • Experience the monks' morning chanting ritual
  • Visit one of the oldest and most extensive temples in Bangkok, Wat Pho
  • The Royal Palace of Thailand, an architectural wonder of golden stupas, and colorful mosaics
  • Visit to Vimanmek Mansion, the largest teakwood mansion in the world!
  • Vibrant Floating Market, with small boats laden with colorful fruits and vegetables
  • Board a rowing boat and journey through the small canals to buy fresh produce from vendors
  • Visit the Nakorn Pathom; the site of the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia
  • Buffet lunch at the picturesque Samphran Riverside followed by Thai cultural performances
  • Enjoy an evening cruise along the Chao Phrya River, a truly magnificent waterway
  • Mae Kok River boat ride with stunning scenery of high mountains, green fields, and local villages
  • Visit traditional villages and mingle with the locals of the area
  • Learn the history of opium in the Golden Triangle area, once the largest producers of opium
  • Enjoy a Khantoke dinner, seated on cushions at a low table, with delicious traditional foods
  • Witness beautiful dancers perform traditional dances with delicious Thai Food
Interested in this tour?   Let us build you a customized quote based on your budget.

Tour Overview

This popular tour of historical Thailand will guide you through the glamorous palaces and temples of Bangkok, along its intricate waterways and to one of Thailand’s famous floating markets. Leave Bangkok and travel to the far northern regions of the country to visit Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai. In these rural areas you will take a trip to the mighty Mekong River and the Laos-Thailand-Myanmar border. Here enjoy visits with the mythical hill tribes, trek through the jungles and rivers on the back of an elephant and discover the cultural gems hidden in the surrounding villages.

Chiang Rai is often referred to as the gateway to the Golden Triangle, the point at which the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet along the Mekong River. Once home to the famed Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok, Wat Pra Keow remains the city’s most esteemed Buddhist temple. The city itself is situated in a valley surrounded by mountains that are home to many villages of varying ethnic minorities, called the “hill tribes.” An excursion to one of these villages introduces visitors to their rural lifestyles.

Popularly known as the “Rose of the North,” Chang Mai is blessed with stunning natural beauty and a unique indigenous culture. While here, you will find yourself exploring old temples, colorful markets and mountain top temples, such as the elegant Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. As you will see for yourself on an exhilarating elephant trek, the area is situated in a scenic valley, surrounded by orchards, green mountains and jungles which remain verdant with plentiful flora and fauna.

Price Includes:
One way domestic flights from Bangkok to Chiang Rai and from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, Accommodations with daily breakfast, All private transfers and activities by air-conditioned car, An English speaking guide to escort all transfers and tours, All entrance fees and activities as mentioned, Meals where specified (food only), Government tax and services charge

* For Day 3, it is recommended that for religious reasons, ladies have their shoulders covered and do not wear shorts or very short skirts. No sleeveless top and the sleeves have to be part of the top. Gentlemen should wear trousers and short sleeved shirts. Shoes must be removed before entering the Emerald Buddha Temple. Full length trousers and pants are required.

* Additional supplements may apply between 19 December – 7 January with a set minimum of consecutive nights required for bookings between 23 – 5 January. Special conditions apply between 30 December – 2 January.

* Additional supplements may apply during the weeks immediately preceding and following the Lunar (Chinese) New Year. The dates vary each year, but fall sometime between January 21st and February 20th:
2016 – Monday, February 8th
2017 – Saturday, January 28th
2018 – Friday, February 16th

* Guests staying over the night of 31 December are subject to a compulsory Gala Danner at an additional cost.
Best Time to Travel

Best Good Consult

Package Price: From £$ 4965

Prices shown above are per person. Hotel categories do not adhere strictly to international ratings; Yampu has evaluated the hotels according to destination and availability. Prices include local airfare (where applicable), hotel accommodation including daily breakfast; all transfers with baggage handling, all guided tours in English and all entrance fees.

Please note that prices are subject to change based on availability and seasonality, especially during the holiday season from December 20th through January 5th each year. Please contact a Yampu Travel Specialist for more information on best times to travel.

Trip Type:

All our trips are operated on a private basis unless specified otherwise. This is only a sample itinerary; your Yampu Tour Consultant will personalize this trip for you according to your available dates, interests and type of hotels. This is your trip and we will work on making it perfect!

Tour Itinerary


International flight to Bangkok

Overnight international flight to Bangkok.

Overnight international flight to Bangkok.


Arrival in Bangkok

Upon arrival in Bangkok, airport reception and transfer to the hotel. Depending on arrival time, spend the remainder of the day at leisure.

Upon arrival in Bangkok, airport reception and transfer to the hotel. Depending on arrival time, spend the remainder of the day at leisure.


Exploring Wat Pho

After breakfast, drive to Wat Pho in time to experience the monks' morning chanting ritual. One of the oldest and most extensive temples in Bangkok, Wat Pho is home to the famous 45m Reclining Buddha. It is also the original school of traditional Thai massage. Next, visit the Grand Palace, the most important and spectacular royal palace in Thailand. The palace is an architectural wonder of golden stupas, walls and pillars encrusted in shining and colorful mosaics. Previously the residence of the Kings of Thailand, there are multiple palaces within the complex which were used for different occasions; including the beautiful Wat Phra Kaew, which houses the most revered Buddha image in Thailand: the Emerald Buddha. Continue with a walk to the public ferry pier for a short boat ride to Wat Arun, once the grand royal temple to King Rama II. After exploring, eat lunch (not included).

Then proceed with a visit to Vimanmek Mansion, the largest teakwood mansion in the world. Also referred to as Teakwood Palace, it was built in 1900 by King Rama V as part of the Dusit Palace Complex. In 1982, Queen Sirikit was granted permission from King Rama IX to renovate the building for use as a museum. Today, the museum holds an impressive collection of photographs, personal art, and handicrafts that were all personally collected by King Rama V.

Continue with a visit to the Thai-style house of Jim Thompson, the legendary American businessman who came to Thailand at the end of World War II and rediscovered the Thai silk industry. His house is now a museum filled with fascinating Asian antiques and historical memorabilia. It consists of six separate Thai teakwood houses from the Ayutthaya period put together as one. Jim Thompson's mysterious disappearance in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia remains a mystery to this day. After the tour, return to the hotel for the evening.

Note: Wat Arun Temple in under renovation so guests will be able to walk around the temple, but please refrain from climbing up the stupa. Ladies should wear a short-sleeved shirt with pants or a knee-length skirt and gentlemen should wear pants and a short-sleeved shirt for religious reasons. Sandals and flip flops are not allowed. If the trip starts on a Saturday, the Vimanmek Mansion part of the tour will be replaced with a tour of Suan Pakkad Palace Museum.
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Journey to Damnoen Saduak Floating Market

Depart early morning for the 2-hour drive to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market. This vibrant market features numerous small boats laden with colorful fruits and vegetables, paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats. For the best experience of the market atmosphere, board a rowing boat and journey through the small canals to buy fresh produce from the vendors. This is the only place to see the traditional way of selling and buying goods in Thailand.

Afterwards, visit the Nakorn Pathom; the site of the highest Chedi in Thailand called "Phra Pathom Chedi", which is the largest pagoda in Southeast Asia. Enjoy an excellent buffet lunch at the picturesque Samphran Riverside. After lunch, there will be Thai cultural performances, including the colorful Buddhist ordination procession, an elegant fingernail dance, a Thai boxing demonstration, Hill Tribe dance performances, sword fighting, elephants, charming folk dances, a traditional Thai wedding ceremony and more.

This evening, transfer from the hotel to Manohra Pier (or Saphan Taksin Pier), to board a boat for an evening cruise. Learn more about Bangkok and the Chao Phrya River, a truly magnificent waterway and one of the great rivers in Asia. The river has been a principal factor in the development of Thai heritage, culture, and economy, and is considered the nation's life and soul.

While cruising down the Chao Phrya River, enjoy a delicious Thai dinner and watch the panorama change to reveal fantastic treasures from the country's rich past, as well as fascinating modern architectural creations. The Manohra Luxury Cruise will take guests to the King Rama VIII Bridge, where the boat will turn around and head back to the pier. Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel.
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Bangkok – Chiang Rai

Transfer

Transfer to the airport for a flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival, airport reception and transfer to the hotel. After check-in, enjoy an afternoon tour of the city. Founded in 1262 AD, Thailand's most northern city boasts a fascinating architectural history with a mix of Thai and Burmese styles. Begin the tour at the ancient temple of Wat Phra Kaew, original home of the Emerald Buddha which is now housed in Bangkok.

Continue to Wat Phra That Doi Chom Thong and observe its large gold stupa. Next, visit Wat Rong Khun, which is different from any other temple in Thailand. In contrast to the ancient temples, this temple was built in 1997 and was designed using white glass. Return to the hotel after the tour.

Note: Wat Rong Khun is under construction, so guests can view the outside only. Ladies should wear a short-sleeved shirt with pants or a knee-length skirt and gentlemen should wear pants and a short-sleeved shirt for religious reasons. Sandals and flip flops are not allowed.
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Floating down the Mae Kok River

Take a 3-hour boat ride over the Mae Kok River and enjoy stunning scenery with high mountains, green fields, traditional local villages, and occasional hill tribe villages along the way. Journey through sometimes dense jungle in the real backwoods of northern Thailand before stopping at a Karen village. The Karen originated in Burma and moved to northern Thailand during the mid-late 1900's. Experience their unique lifestyle and enjoy lunch.

Afterwards, board a boat again for a short trip to the local hot springs, which is near the Lahu hill tribe. There are about 25,000 Lahu people in Thailand and their main source of income is farming. The Lahu are well known for their beautiful traditional woven costumes. After exploring the village, take a boat back to Chiang Rai.
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Visit to Akha Villages

Start the day by visiting traditional Akha and Yao hill tribe villages. The Akha originated in Tibet, while the Yao originated in China. The Yao are heavily influenced by Chinese traditions and still use Chinese characters to write their language. Although different in many ways, they have managed to live peacefully alongside each other for decades.

Continue to Chiang Saen, a small crossroads town on the banks of the Mekong. Scattered throughout the town are the ruins of the Chiang Saen Kingdom, founded in 1325 AD, including chedis, images of Buddha, and earthen city ramparts. From there, go to Mae Sai, the northernmost point of Thailand, and one of the very few official land crossing points between Thailand and Burma. Many Burmese come over during the day from Thakhilek to work or do business and return home before sunset. Lacquer ware, gems, jade and other goods from Laos and Burma are sold in shops along the main street. Enjoy lunch here and then return to Chiang Rai in the late afternoon.
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History of Opium

Venture

Venture to the Hall of Opium to learn about the history of opium use in the Golden Triangle area. The Golden Triangle used to be infamous as one of the largest producers of opium in the world, and various Thai organizations led by the Royal Project and Doi Tung Development Project have spent decades battling this trade. As part of this campaign, the Hall of Opium was built to educate people about the dangers of the drug through an entertaining exhibition which traces the first use of opium 5,000 years ago to current issues of drug abuse and addiction. Many publications regard this as one of the best museums in Thailand. After the tour, enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure. ...read less


Chiang Rai – Chiang Mai

This morning, take a long tailed boat for an approximately 3 hour ride to Phatai. On the way, pass bamboo huts and jungle scenery, and stop to visit a Karen hill tribe village built along the banks of the Maekok River. Upon arrival in Phatai, drive through Thaton to Chiang Mai and check in to the hotel. Lunch at a local restaurant is included.

This evening, enjoy a Khantoke dinner. The first Khantoke dinner was held in 1953, when local politician Kraisi Nimanhemin invited honored guests to sit with him and enjoy this special dinner.

Dinner is served in small bowls ("Khan") and guests are seated on cushions at a low table ("Thoke"). Northern Thai cuisine is served and during dinner, entertainment is provided by beautiful dancers who perform the Forn Leb, known as the finger dance; Forn Thien, known as the candle dance; Ramwong, referred to as the circle dance; and the Ram Dab, known as the sword dance. After finishing dinner, there will be an option to see an additional hill tribe show from various members of Yao, Lahu, Meo, Lisu, and Karen tribes.
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City Tour of Chiang Mai

Start this morning with a visit to a food and flower market and then continue to Wat Suan Dok, where the ashes of former kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family are kept. From there, proceed with a visit to Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, which was founded in 1383 AD. In 1935, a road was built to the top, but today people climb the 309 steps from the car park to the top or take a tram for a small surcharge. From the top, enjoy a superb panoramic view of the city. After exploring, return to the car park for a transfer back to Chiang Mai, where guests will take a 20-minute rickshaw ride through the quiet streets of the old town.

Enjoy lunch (not included), and then visit the historic, laidback town of Lamphun, an important site for arts in Thailand. Continue to Wieng Kum Kam, an ancient city that was built by King Mengrai in the 14th century and rediscovered by archaeologists in 1984. The ancient capital was frequently flooded and eventually abandoned and forgotten. Explore the royal temple of Wat Kanthom (Wat Changkam), the shrine of King Mengrai, and Wat Hao Nong, a temple which is still home to the remains of the old-style temple entrance. Then head to Wat Pu Pia and Wat E-Kang, which were also recently discovered during archaeological excavations. Finally, visit Wat Chedee Liam, an important landmark in the architectural heritage of Chiang Mai.

Note: Ladies should wear a short-sleeved shirt with pants or a knee-length skirt and gentlemen should wear pants and a short-sleeved shirt for religious reasons. Sandals and flip flops are not allowed.
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Elephant Jungle Sanctuary

This morning, transfer approximately 1.5 hours through scenic agricultural areas, hills, and forest to the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary. On arrival, receive an introduction on the elephants and then change into traditional Karen clothing. After being allocated bananas and sugar cane to feed to the elephants, walk through the Sanctuary, where one will find free-roaming elephants and hear their individual stories. Visitors can touch, feed, photograph, and interact with the elephants at leisure while learning about their lifestyle and behaviors. After meeting all of the elephants, accompany them to a nearby mud spa. Get muddy with the elephants while applying a healthy cosmetic mud treatment to their skin. Next, walk them to a nearby river and join them in the water for a refreshing bath. Take a swim and help bathe and brush the elephants while they wade through and play in the water. Once the elephants are clean, take some final photos with them, and then it will be time to part ways and change into some dry clothes. Eat some snacks and seasonal fresh fruit, before leaving. ...read less


Lisu Lodge – Doi Suthep

Rise very early and drive to Doi Suthep to see dozens of monks head down the mountain to the city of Chiang Mai to receive alms from the locals. This is their daily routine, and guests will be able to participate. Stop at a local market to purchase goods, and offer them when the monks pass by.

Afterwards, transfer to the airport for a flight to Bangkok, where guests will connect with the flight home or continue with the Yampu Tours add-on of choice.

Rise very early and drive to Doi Suthep to see dozens of monks head down the mountain to the city of Chiang Mai to receive alms from the locals. This is their daily routine, and guests will be able to participate. Stop at a local market to purchase goods, and offer them when the monks pass by.

Afterwards, transfer to the airport for a flight to Bangkok, where guests will connect with the flight home or continue with the Yampu Tours add-on of choice.

Bangkok Thailand

Chiang Rai Thailand

Chiang Mai Thailand

Places You'll See

  • Bangkok_Temple


    Dubbed the “World’s Best City” by Travel + Leisure, Bangkok is home to a plethora of attractions, and activities. Enjoy a variety of shopping and dining experiences, or the city’s bustling night life. Or immerse yourself in the city’s rich culture by visiting the Grand Palace, any of the several Buddhist temples, or the Bangkok National Museum.

  • Chiang_Rai_Temple

    Chiang Rai

    Established during the reign of King Mangrai, Chiang Rai is a beautifully historic city in northern Thailand. Visit the many temples, churches and museums, such as the Baan dam Museum, or the Presbyterian Chiang Rai First Church. Take a hike in Lion Hill, a natural cavern and site of a Buddha Cave. Or watch local performers, and buy merchandise at the night bazaar.

  • Chiang_Mai_Bangkok

    Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai, meaning “New City”, is overflowing with sites to see and activities to partake in. Visit the Chiang Mai Zoo, the oldest Zoo in Northern Thailand, or spend time shopping and haggling in the city’s night bazaar. For those feeling more ambitious, climb the 300 plus stairs up the slopes of Doi Suthep, to Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep Buddhist temple. There is also a cable car offered.

Hotel Options

3 Star Properties

Bangkok : Adelphi Suites

Bangkok : Chatrium Residence Sathon Bangkok

Bangkok : Shanghai Mansion Bangkok

Bangkok : U Sathorn Bangkok

Chiang Rai : Wangcome Hotel

Chiang Rai : Imperial Golden Triangle

Chiang Rai : Chiangkhong Teak Garden Hotel

Chiang Mai : Dusit Princess Chiang Mai

Chiang Mai : Imperial Chiang Mai Resort & Sports Club

Chiang Mai : Maekok River Village Resort

Chiang Mai : The Rim Resort

4 Star Properties

Bangkok : Anantara Bangkok Riverside Resort & Spa

Bangkok : Ariyasomvilla

Bangkok : Hotel Muse Bangkok Langsuan

Bangkok : Pullman Bangkok Hotel G

Chiang Rai : Katiliya Mountain Resort & Spa

Chiang Rai : The Legend Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai : Le Patta Chiang Rai

Chiang Rai : The Imperial River House Resort

Chiang Mai : Ratilanna Riverside Spa Resort

Chiang Mai : Panviman Hotel

Chiang Mai : Tamarind Village Hotel

Chiang Mai : U Chiang Mai Hotel

5 Star Properties

Bangkok : The Okura Prestige

Bangkok : Shangri-La Hotel

Bangkok : Siam Kempinski Hotel Bangkok

Bangkok : Sofitel So Bangkok

Chiang Rai : Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort (Grand deluxe)

Chiang Mai : Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa

Chiang Mai : Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel & Spa

Chiang Mai : Puripunn Baby Grand Boutique Hotel

Luxury Properties

Bangkok : Mandarin Oriental

Bangkok : The Peninsula Bangkok Hotel

Bangkok : The Siam Hotel

Chiang Rai : Le Meridien Chiang Rai Resort (Grand Suite)

Chiang Mai : 137 Pillars House

Chiang Mai : Four Seasons Resort (Garden Pavilion)

Chiang Mai : The Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai


Emily K.

Traveled January, 2015

I had such a great time with Yampu

I had such a great time with Yampu, and I would love to travel with them again. My boyfriend and I booked a customized private tour to Thailand (Bangkok and Chiang Mai), Laos (Luang Prabang), Cambodia (Siem Reap and Phnom Penh), and Vietnam (Saigon, Hanoi, and Halong Bay.) We both enjoyed every minute of the trip. The guides were all friendly and knowledgeable, the drivers were always punctual, the accommodations were lovely, and the food was delicious. I would highly recommend Yampu to anyone who wants to have a good time on their vacation.

Lillian B

Traveled November, 2012

The vacation was wonderful.

The vacation was wonderful. My husband and I had a great time. We really enjoyed the services you had arranged. A few things really stood out to us. 1. The Tour Guide at Bangkok Tanat, I believe his name is, was the superman of accommodation. He not only fitted our wishes or demands in helpful ways, but put in extra effort in many small aspects of the trip. We were completely satisfied with his service and would recommend him to any customers. Pass on the compliment if you can. 2. The Adelphi Suites in Bangkok- Fantastic hotel. Great location, friendly staffs, clean rooms, in room internet, affordable rate. I can’t ask for better. 3. Service and Hotel in Chiang Mai. Although in comparison to what we received in Bangkok, the accommodation lacked magic sparks. But everything was to our satisfactory. The tour guide there was able to arrange for a last minute cooking class when we asked. That turned out to be an outstanding experience. 4. Phi Phi Island Spa and Resort – I cannot describe how scenic Phi Phi island is. And the resort did a wonderful job presenting it to their guests. The beach is small, but private. The view off to the ocean calms one’s soul. The staffs are friendly and helpful. The Spa service lives up to its name. The only two problems are super expensive mediocre food and mosquito breeding ground. But we were able to overlook them. It was a nice get away from the cities’ hustle and bustle. Thanks for making our trip memorable. I definitely would like to work with you again on my next adventure.

Traveled To


Traveled March, 2014

The outstanding service that we received during our trip to Thailand is the reason I chose you

It is the professionalism and understanding of Yampu that keeps me coming to your company for all my Southeast Asia travel. The outstanding service that we received during our trip to Thailand is the reason I chose you and your company for my daughters’ memorable trip.

Traveled To

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