Day 1: Bangkok – Phitsanulok – Old Sukhothai
Total driving distance today appr. 72 km, driving time about 1,5 hours
Meet our guide at 0830 at the Hualamphong Railway Station for your journey to Chiang Mai by train. Please take enough time and take into account the traffic in Bangkok. Your guide will be waiting at …… at the station. He has bought your ticket. We will travel 2nd class. This is our preferred class as it is not airconditioned so the windows are open. This allows you to take pictures from the train. we will pass Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Siamese kingdom, which features in another of our tours.
We continue to Lopburi. From the train, you can see Prang Sam Yod, the best-known landmark of Lopburi. This monument probably dates back to the late 12th/early 13th century and was part of the Khmer empire. We continue through the lowlands of the Chao Phraya River basin to Nakhon Sawan, where the origin is the River of Kings is located. It is formed by three major tributaries: the Ping, Yom, and Nan Rivers.
First visit to Sukhothai Historical Park
The expected arrival at Phitsanulok is 1312. We disembark from the train and meet our driver. It’s time for lunch which we will enjoy at a local restaurant. Sukhothai Historical Park is our next destination. UNESCO inscribed Sukhothai on its list of World Heritage Sites under the name “Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns”. The historical parks of Kamphaeng Phet and Si Satchanalai are also part of this World Heritage Site. After arrival in Sukhothai, we will check into our hotel. We will start touring right away. This afternoon we will focus on the core zone of temple ruins, which includes Wat Mahathat, Wat Sri Sawai, Wat Sa Si, and other Wat Traphang Ngoen. We visit these temples either by bicycle or electric tuk-tuk.
We will spend the night at the Legendha Hotel which is very close to the historical park.
Day 2: Old Sukhothai
Total driving distance today appr. 10 km, driving time about 20 minutes
A countryside bicycle ride
After breakfast, we will meet our local guide for a half-day bicycle tour through the scenic countryside around Old Sukhothai. We start from Ban Khaey, a small village on the outskirts of Old Sukhothai. We follow a dirt road, that passes through lovely rice paddies with great views of the Kao Laung mountain range in the Ramkhamhaeng National Park. Arriving at the Southern Gate of the walled city we will visit some of the ancient temple ruins, that get few visitors.
Enjoy the tranquil atmosphere and bask in the craftmanship of many centuries ago. This morning we will cover between 35 and 40 km on mostly quiet roads, some of them unpaved. Then it is time for lunch which we will enjoy at a local restaurant. After lunch, we will continue our ride along the Klong Mae Lampan, an irrigation canal, and pass through rural villages before we finish the trip at the hotel.
In the afternoon you are free to relax at the pool of the hotel. Alternatively, you can join your guide on a visit to the Ramkamhaeng Museum and then have a swim. We will go out before dinner to take some nice shots at sunset at one of the temple ruins.
Overnight again is at the lovely Legendha Hotel.
Day 3: Sukhothai – Si Satchanalai
Total distance today appr. 55 km, driving time about 1,5 hours
Exploration of remote temple ruins
After breakfast, we will embark on another historical tour of mesmerizing temple ruins in the Sukhothai Historical Park. We will visit some of the more famous temple ruins such as Wat Si Chum, Wat Phra Phai Luang, Wat Sorasak, and Wat Chang Lom. We take our time today to also visit the Buddhist Votive Tablets Learning Center and the nearby Wat Chetuphon.
After our lunch, we will depart and drive to the Si Satchanalai Historical Park. Si Satchanalai was a northern border post of the Sukhothai Kingdom. The historical park is much smaller than that of Sukhothai. After a brief visit to the recently opened new visitor center, we will rent our bikes at a bike rental shop near the entrance and we are on our way. We will focus on the most important sites that are not far from the entrance: Wat Chang Lom, Wat Chedi Chet Thaeo, and Wat Nang Phaya. Wat Khao Phanom Phloeng and Wat Suwankiri are both little hills so a bit more difficult and strenuous to get to. We have the whole afternoon so it will depend on your stamina how far we go.
Dinner (on own costs) and overnight will be at the Si Satchanalai Heritage hotel
Day 4: Si Satchanalai – Uttaradit – Chiang Mai
Total driving distance today appr. 53 km, driving time about 1,5 hours
After breakfast, we will have the morning to explore more temple ruins in the historical park, which is located on the Yom River. We will have time to visit some of the more remote forest temples such as Wat Rahu, Wat Sa Khai Nam, and Wat Pathum. Some of them are remarkably different from the temples in the core zone. We will also have time to visit some of the kilns, where they produced earthenware and ceramics many centuries ago. After an early lunch, we will drive to Uttaradit to board the train to Chiang Mai. The expected time of departure from Uttaradit railway station is 1427. We board the train at the railway station.
A scenic train ride
This afternoon you are in for a treat. We will pass through four railway tunnels. It is a very scenic ride. Before Den Chai, we will pass the Kaeng Luang rapids. We continue to Lampang through beautiful scenery. The railway station of Lampang is one of the most beautiful in North Thailand. The train will only stop here briefly and unfortunately, we can’t get off. The Lampang Railway Station features in our Classic Lampang Railway Journey.
Then the train continues to the Khuntan Mountain Range. There are six protected areas in this mountain range. We pass through the lush forests of Doi Khuntan National Park, which is spectacular. The Khun Tan tunnel is, with a length of 1362m, the longest railway tunnel in Thailand. After the tunnel, we will descend into the valley and head for the famous White Bridge at Tha Chomphu. Before we arrive in Chiang Mai the train stops at Lamphun. From there it is another half hour to Chiang Mai where we will disembark at the Railway Station. The expected arrival in Chiang Mai is 1930. Your guide will arrange a typical Chiang Mai red taxi to your hotel.