DAY 1. On arrival at CHIANGMAI Airport you will be met and transferred to Your Chiangmai Hotel. En route to the Hotel, your Guide will give you an introduction to Thailand and your Program. The rest of the day is at your leisure in the Resort, or available for local sightseeing. (Specific aspects of your Sightseeing, etc. can be discussed with your Guide).
DAY 2. Today we can explore in and around Chiangmai City, we can first drive into the Old, Moated City of Chiangmai and visit the Chiang Mai City Arts and Cultural Centre. From here we continue to Wat Phra Singh, Chiangmai City’s most important Temple. Constructed in the 14th Century, of particular interests here is the Lai Kham Viharn which houses the most venerated Buddha Image in Northern Thailand (after which the Temple is named) and some well preserved murals, also the beautifully architechtured Hor Tham Scripture Hall.
We then visit nearby Wat Chedi Luang, once home to the Emerald Buddha (Now in the Grand Place in Bangkok). The Temple, originally built over 600 years ago, is dominated by it’s massive Chedi, which was partially destroyed by an earthquake in the mid 1500’s. Now, the restoration gives an impressive view of this magnificent Temple. Our Final visit this morning will be to Wat Chiang Man. The City’s oldest Temple built by Chiangmai’s Founder – King Mengrai in 1296, in the former Palace Grounds. Of note are the Elephant Buttress’s around Chedi, which are specific to this particular period.
After lunch, we have the opportunity to see some of Chiangmai’s Local Handicrafts. Chiangmai is Thailand’s center for various Local Handicrafts, Craft villages and Shopping. Specific interests can be discussed with your Guide but among some of the activities we could see are: Silk & Cotton Weaving; Silver working, Teak-wood carving; Laquerware production; Celadon Ceramics.
DAY 3. Special Early Morning Experience
This morning we arrive early at the foot of Doi Suthep we can make merit by giving Alms (some food & drink, etc.) to the local Monks from Wat Sri Soda. This is an amazing and moving site with usually hundreds of Saffron Robed Monks walking out of the Temple.
After this we continue with a drive up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep,the most venerated Temple in Chiangmai, situated on the hill-side some 3000 ft. above the City in the Doi Pui National Park. On the way up the mountain we stop for a short coffee break before visiting The Temple itself (before all the crowds arrive !!). Here we can climb the 306 stairs, to reach the Temple which encloses a large traditional, "Lanna" style Chedi covered with gold plates (A small mountain Tram is also available if the stairs are too much effort !!) From the Temple Grounds there are also panoramic views over Chiangmai and the surrounding area. On our descent, we can visit Wat U-mong, in the foothills of the mountain before continuing to the Wiang Khum Kham Ancient Ruins. Wiang Khum Kham was the original settlement built by King Mengrai around 1290, but due to excessive flooding he decided to build the Principal Lanna Capital of Chiangmai a few miles away on the present site of the City.
The original Site and Ruins are therefore of particular importance and was recently restored as a historical park. While in this area we can also see Wat Chedi Leam, with it’s unusual, square stepped Haripunchai - style Chedi. Then before returning to the resort we can visit a small village community at Muang Khung that still produces Earthenware pottery in the traditional manner.
DAY 4. This Morning we drive South to the Elephant Conservation Center near Lampang. This Center was originally set up by the Government to look after abandoned Elephants, here we see the Elephants in their natural surroundings giving various demonstrations of their working life and we have the opportunity for a short Elephant Ride around the center, while here we also visit the unique, dedicated Elephant Hospital, which is part of the Center. From the Elephant Center, we take a short drive to Lampang City where have look around the City, including Baan Sao Nak, also known as the House of Many Pillars, a traditional Northern Thai teakwood mansion filled with Thai and Burmese antiques and handicrafts.
We then continue to the ancient Wat Lampang Luang, the site of this Temple dates back over 2000 years making it the oldest and one of the most interesting Temples in Northern Thailand. Our last brief stop is at Wat Pong Yang Khok, and on completion we return through the Lampang Hillsback to Chiangmai.
DAY 5. Today is at your leisure in the Resort - Possibly Cooking School or Spa Treatments, etc. or available for local sightseeing in and around Chiangmai (Again specific details, etc.. can be discussed with your Guide).
DAY 6. After Breakfast and check out from the resort, we transfer you to Chiangmai Airport for your onward flight.