The Ultimate Northern Thailand Explorer
Perfectly described by Lonely Planet as ‘friendly and food-obsessed, hedonistic and historic, cultured and curious’ Thailand welcomes visitors with a smile ‘as golden as the country’s glittering temples.
This Buddhist nation holds their celestial world close, and religious dedication is colourful and omnipresent. Guilded temples and golden Buddhas frame this incredible landscape – this is a place where ancient banyan trees are wrapped in sacred cloth and mysticism is intertwined with superstition and intricate spirit houses are found everywhere from the humblest of homes, offices and malls to the stretches of winding roads.
Starting in in the city of angels, or Krung Thep as Bangkok is known to its inhabitants, we discover a city where the exotic and familiar collide. We get lost in the tiny lanes of Chinatown, dine after dark on the Chao Phraya and explore a nightlife scene that reveals a cosmopolitan and vibrant city.
Gliding along the Chao Phraya we will discover picturesque scenes of Thai river life, the uninterrupted lines of buildings, markets, warehouses, shops and magnificent temples as well as the continuous flow of boats going about their daily routines as we head to a place once replete with gilded temples and treasure-laden palaces. Here we discover the enigmatic temple ruins that are strewn across the city of Ayutthaya. Dozens of ruins remain from this period of thriving trade and art and offer a tantalising glimpse into its glorious past.
Continuing north we head to a sprawling modern city that has grown up around its ancient town. This dichotomy is best appreciated within the moat-encircled old city, which retains much of the fortified wall that once protected the city centre as well as the four main gates that provided access to the former Lanna capital city.
It is from the ‘Rose of the North’ that we venture far off the hard beaten tourist trail and where our real adventure begins. Rice paddies, forests and villages and in the north, fields set against the mountains, Thailand’s rural heartland is a place where life is dominated by the rhythms of the seasons. Using our trusty tuk tuk’s we explore this incredible landscape – pristine forests dotted with churning waterfalls, serene wáts and peaceful country villages and discover an innate pleasure from disconnecting from the outside world and taking a moment to slow down and reconnect with ourselves and the world the around us.