Chiang Mai – Capital of the Lanna kingdom
Day 1 – Wat Prathat Doi Suthep – temple on the mountain
Welcome to Chiang Mai. Arrival at Chiang Mai airport should be before noon. Your guide and driver will greet you at the airport.
We will start touring immediately. First you will lunch at a typical Northern-style restaurant. We will start our tour with a visit to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, the temple on Suthep mountain. We will drive to the temple. At the base of the mountain is a shrine dedicated to Kruba Srivichai, a much-revered monk. In 1935 followers of Kruba Srivichai constructed the road leading to the temple. We will walk the 300 steps up to the temple.
Wat Doi Suthep is the most highly revered temple in North Thailand. Your guide will introduce you to Buddhism. From the temple, you have a fantastic view of Chiang Mai. After this, we will drive down the mountain. On the way, we will stop at the small forest temple Wat Palan that sees few visitors. We will drop you off at your hotel.
Overnight booked on own
Day 2 – The Ping river and the Old City
Your guide will meet you at the hotel for another day of your exploration of the capital of the Lanna Kingdom. We will drive to Wat Loi Kroh where are our samlors are waiting. The samlor is the traditional bicycle taxi that was introduced to Chiang Mai in the 1930s. Each person will have his/ her samlor. We ride past the former outer city wall to our first stop: the Lanna Ancient House. After this, we cross the famous Iron Bridge to the east side of the Ping River. We will visit the First Christian Church, founded in 1867 by American reverend Daniel McGilvary. Next stop is the Sri Prakad Hotel, the oldest hotel of Chiang Mai.
Next stop will be the Sanpakoy Market, where we will stop for a while. Here we will have a drink and a snack. We will then continue our ride through backstreets to Wat Kate, a temple that houses a fascinating museum. Say goodbye to your samlor driver. After this visit we will cross the Chansom Anusorn Memorial foot Bridge to the Kad Luang Market, consisting of the Warorot and Ton Lam Yai markets. You will hear the story of the devasting 1968 fire that destroyed these markets. We will have lunch at the market with khao soi, a typical Northern Thai dish before we meet our driver.
The Old City of the Lanna Kingdom
After lunch, we will focus on the old walled city of Chiang Mai. We will drive around the old city within the moat and stop at the Sri Phum corner. Next stop will be Wat Chiang Man, one of the oldest temples within the moat. We head for Wat Phra Singh. This is probably Chiang Mai’s most revered temple. Wat Phra Singh currently houses Phra Chao Thong Tip, the most venerated Buddha statue in northern Thailand. Wat Phra Singh is beautiful after dark. We spend some time here.
From Wat Phra Sing we make our way to Wat Chedi Luang. It is probably Chiang Mai’s most visited temple with its imposing characteristic chedi. An earthquake in 1545 damaged the chedi. Next door to Wat Chedi Luang is Wat Phantao where we stop briefly. By now it will be the late afternoon. We will bring you back to the hotel.
Overnight booked on own
Day 3 – Wiang Kum Kam and Lamphun
Your guide and driver will meet you at the hotel. We will drive to Lamphun along the old road which is lined with giant yang trees. First stop will be the Gymkhana Club which was founded in 1898 by members of the international community.
Next stop will be at the Wiang Kum Kam, the “Atlantis of Chiang Mai”. Wiang Kum Kam was the first settlement in this area and pre-dates Chiang Mai. By traditional horse cart, we will tour this ruined city and visit some of the ruins. We end our trip at Wat Chedi Liam, a beautiful and characteristic temple with Mon influences.
Lamphun – capital of the Hariphunchai Kingdom
Along the beautiful tree-lined road we will drive to Lamphun, the old capital of the Hariphunchai Kingdom. This kingdom preceded the Lanna Kingdom. Wat Haripunchai is the main temple in Lamphun. After an extensive visit of this temple, we will cross the bridge over Mae Nam Kuang to Wiang Yong, the first settlement of the Tai Yong people in Lamphun. On the bridge is an exciting market for local products. We will visit Wat Ton Kaew and its interesting museum that exhibits Tai Yong textiles.
It’s time for a simple Thai lunch at our favourite restaurant in Lamphun. After lunch, we continue to Wat Kukut. Please the small Buddha statues in the chedi of this ancient temple, a design similar to Wat Chedi Liam, a temple we visited this morning. We continue to the Ping River. We will stop briefly at the statue of Kruba Srivichai, the “patron saint” of North Thailand. After this, we will follow the Ping River to McKean Rehabilitation Center. American missionary Dr.James W. McKean founded this centre in 1908 as a leper colony. The ruler of Chiang Mai donated the land. McKean has many historical sites and an interesting museum. McKean is now a rehabilitation centre for elderly and physically disabled people after leprosy became a curable disease. Return to the hotel.
Overnight booked on own
Day 4 – The end of the tour
Our driver will meet you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport. We hope you had a fantastic time exploring the capital of the Lanna Kingdom.