Northern Thailand Culture & history

Our most recommended Northern Thailand Culture & history

Doi Suthep, Wat Umong & Wat Pha Lat Sunrise Small-Group Tour

1. Doi Suthep, Wat Umong & Wat Pha Lat Sunrise Small-Group Tour

Begin your morning tour by climbing the 306 steps up to Doi Suthep Temple with your local guide. Bask in the golden rays of sunrise after conquering the staircase and take photos of the unrivaled view of the city of Chiang Mai.  Then, stand in the shadow of the golden Kruba Srivichai Monument, named after the Thai Buddhist monk and engineer of many temples and roads. Gain an insight into how the monks live and choose to make a merit (offering) with them.  Head to Wat Pha Lat, a hidden temple in the lush jungle. Admire the serene statues, shrines, and surrounding nature.  Wrap up your half-day tour with a stop at Wat Umong, a 700-year old temple built back in 1297. Explore the forest and underground tunnels. Marvel at the architecture of the chedi.

From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai Famous Temples Small Group Tour

2. From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai Famous Temples Small Group Tour

Experience Chiang Rai on a full-day trip from Chiang Mai to White Temple, Wat Rong Seua Teb, and Baan Dam Museum. Travel in a comfortable car and choose from a group or private tour. Enjoy the convenience of being picked up from your accommodation in Chiang Mai. Sit back and relax on the air conditioned drive. Stop at the Mae Khachan Hot Springs to relax, dip your feet into steaming mineral water, have a snack, or walk around the gardens. Continue to the modern architectural masterpiece known as the White Temple. Explore this fantastical space that was designed and built by a local artist, Chaloemchai Khositphiphat. Head to the Wat Rong Seua Ten (temple of the dancing tiger) to uncover the secrets of this religious site that was built where tigers were said to have leapt over the river. Admire the stunning blue and gold colors of this temple. Make your way to the Baan Dam Museum (Black House Museum). Explore a cluster of nearly 40 shadowy structures exhibiting art dating back to the Ayutthaya period. See preserved animals and a collection of bones. Travel by car back to your accommodation in Chiang Mai.

From Chiang Mai: White Temple & Golden Triangle Day Trip

3. From Chiang Mai: White Temple & Golden Triangle Day Trip

Uncover the secrets of Thailand's famed Golden Triangle on this day trip from Chiang Mai. Travel aboard an air conditioned van from a centrally-located meeting point. Visit the Mae Kachan hot springs and the White Temple.  Explore the Mekong river on a longtail boat and enjoy a tasty lunch. Enjoy a pickup in central Chiang Mai, depart for Chiang Rai, stopping for a short break at Mae Kachan hot springs. Visit Wat Rong Khun, the White Temple, before continuing to the Golden Triangle area. Go to Wat Phra That Chedi Luang (limited access). See the Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar borders from the Golden Triangle viewpoint. Stop for lunch before spending time at House of Opium. Enjoy a long-tail boat trip on the mighty Mekong River. On the way back to Chiang Mai, take a break to stretch your legs in Mae Suay or Wiang Pa Pao district and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. The estimated arrival time in Chiang Mai city is 8:30 PM. 

Chiang Mai: 4-Hour Wat Umong and Doi Suthep Evening Tour

4. Chiang Mai: 4-Hour Wat Umong and Doi Suthep Evening Tour

Be picked up from your hotel in Chiang Mai city center and go on a short drive to Wat Umong temple in the late afternoon. At this time of day, the crowds are few and views are prime. Upon arrival, explore the underground tunnels, bask in the beauty of the temple, and enjoy the forest surroundings. It is said that the trees in this forest have words of wisdom for those who pass by. After Wat Umong, the next stop is Doi Suthep temple. At this ornate structure, which is reached by a 306-step staircase, enjoy a beautiful sunset that lights up the golden temple. Also, take in the spectacular views of Chiang Mai at night from the summit of the mountain. Join a traditional ceremony performed by the temple's monks at the Golden Pagoda. After an afternoon spent exploring Chiang Mai’s temples and enjoying the sunset over the city, be returned to your hotel.

Sukhothai: Historical Park & Countryside Cycling Tour

5. Sukhothai: Historical Park & Countryside Cycling Tour

Witness many aspects of rural life in Thailand and explore the famous ruins of Sukhothai Historical Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, on this full-day guided bike tour. Benefit from included pickup and drop-off within 15 kilometers (9.3 miles) of Sukhothai, and savor an included lunch at a local restaurant. Your experienced English-speaking guide will pick you up from your hotel at around 8:15 AM. The cycling tour itself starts from a small village on Sukhothai's outskirts known as Ban Khuai. From there, pedal through a quiet village to enjoy the scenery of the beautiful area, then take a dirt road passing through endless rice paddies with beautiful views of the Kao Laung Mountain. As you go, interact with local people, where possible. You may even have the chance to participate in planting next season's crops. Make a stop at the wood furniture factory to see how the local carpenter produces great works before continuing your journey along small irrigation canals (Klong Mae Lampan) that pass through rural villages. Arriving at Sukhothai's Eastern Gate, marvel at the beautiful Buddhist and Hindu architecture, and be exposed to some of the country's most stunning craftsmanship from a period known as Thailand's Golden Era. With your guide, learn about Sukhothai's history and complex architecture, as well as the story of Buddhism in Thailand. Stop for lunch at a local Thai restaurant, then continue your cycling tour to visit the south area before heading back to your hotel.

4-Hour Doi Suthep & Hmong Hill Tribe Village from Chiang Mai

6. 4-Hour Doi Suthep & Hmong Hill Tribe Village from Chiang Mai

Depart Chiang Mai and travel to the temple of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep on Doi Suthep mountain. Follow in the footsteps of the pilgrims who climb up 309 steps to the stupa on the hilltop. Get spectacular views of Chiang Mai city and its surroundings. Then, visit a village and museum of the ethnic Hmong hill tribe, located inside the boundaries of the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park. Learn more about the life of the tribe, known for their colorful costumes and handicraft traditions. Return to Chiang Mai and get dropped off at your hotel.

From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Trip

7. From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai and Golden Triangle Day Trip

Soak in the waters of the Mae Kajan hot springs and visit the White Temple on this day trip from Chiang Mai. Ride in an air-conditioned coach or van. Savor and authentic Thai lunch, tasty snacks, and fresh fruits. Go to a market on Don Sao Island, the Opium House Museum, and the Long Neck tribe. Depart Chiang Mai and journey towards Chiang Rai, stopping at the hot springs of Mae Kajan to soak your feet in the healing waters. Then, visit the temple of Wat Rong Khun and marvel at is white exterior inlaid with mirrored glass. Enter the "Golden Triangle" to see the city of Chiang Saen. Enjoy lunch at a famous restaurant before climbing aboard a boat for a ride along the Mekong River (optional). Cross into Laos and go to the market at Don Sao Island. Visit the Opium House Museum to learn more about opium and why it was once as expensive as gold.  Get the chance to stop at a hill tribe village en route back to Chiang Mai and meet the people of the Long Neck tribes.

Chiang Mai: 6-Hour Doi Pui National Park Summit Hike

8. Chiang Mai: 6-Hour Doi Pui National Park Summit Hike

After being picked up in the morning from your hotel in Chiang Mai city, you will head towards your local hiking adventure. 2 hours after beginning your ascent, you will reach Wat Doi Suthep at the 1,100 meter mark. Here you will start to traverse through highland jungle and the old Hmong Hill Tribe Village near the summit of Doi Pui which you will reach after your 3rd hour. After a hearty lunch at the village and an approximate 1-hour climb, you will tackle the summit of Doi Pui peak. Here we get to enjoy 180 degrees views of the Mae Ping Valley. The trip will be completed by a climb with a 30-minute downhill stroll to the Doi Pui Camp grounds ,where your ride back awaits you. Refreshed with cold drinks and snacks, you will then head back to the comfort of Chiang Mai, but not before making a stop at Wat Suthep to marvel at this rich temple which was built centuries ago in 1383.

Private Doi Suthep Temple and Sticky Waterfall Tour

9. Private Doi Suthep Temple and Sticky Waterfall Tour

Get picked up from your hotel or accommodation in Chiang Mai and drive up the curvy mountain roads to Doi Suthep - Pui National Park. You will visit the most important temple here. Walk up 306 steps (or, if you prefer an easier method, take a funicular ride) to the temple, which sits at 1,100 meters above sea level. The famous golden pagoda is stunning and the temple contains the relic of the Lord Buddha. Here, you'll also have the chance to get a holy blessing from a Buddhist monk and participate in a wrist tiding ceremony. From the balcony, enjoy a panoramic view of Chiang Mai. Next, you'll continue to Bua Tong waterfalls. Swim around the clear water or climb the "sticky" limestone and enjoy the gorgeous natural scenery.

From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai Guided Day Trip

10. From Chiang Mai: Chiang Rai Guided Day Trip

Meet at the  Wat Phra Singh Temple in Chang Mai. Drive countryside on a long but comfortable drive. Stop at the hot springs halfway between Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai. The water is warm enough that you will witness locals boiling their breakfast eggs in the geothermal water.  Then, visit the iconic White Temple, an impressive temple known worldwide for its unique sculptures and carvings. Capture the beauty of this photogenic point designed by Thailand's famous artist, Chaloemchai. Next, head off to the Big Buddha, an impressive statue and temple at the top of a small hill. If there is no special celebration that day, you can go up inside the Buddha's head and take in the views. Have a lunch break and enjoy a delicious Thai meal. Move on to the next highlight, a visit to the Black House Museum. Learn about the history behind this Lanna-style house designed by artist Thawan Duchanee. See his masterpieces in a contemporary artwork museum. Discover sculptures, wooden carvings, and furniture created by him. In the afternoon, see another of Chiang Rai’s gems, The Blue Temple, with its impressive murals. Listen to the history of the city and temple from your informative Spanish guide. You will have the option to visit the Karen Village if you would like to learn more about the culture and lifestyle of the northern hill tribes. Wear traditional outfits, learn how to craft handmade goods, and see the famous neck rings worn by Karen women. After a full day of sightseeing and exploring, make the journey back to Chiang Mai. You will be dropped off at your hotel around 7:00 PM.

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What people are saying about Northern Thailand

Overall rating

4.7 / 5

based on 690 reviews

Since we went really early, before the sunrise, there were just few people around, amazing view from the temple! All the temples were speechless, speacial thanks to the guide Tim which was a good driver with an amazing sense of humour and gave us many tips about Thai culture and temples history!

An early start, but a wonderful way to explore and learn about three beautiful temples. Tik was extremely knowledgeable and really helped provide context for everything we were seeing and give more background on the Buddhist religion.

Vasit was a very friendly guide, everything was always perfectly on time and the driver drove responsibly and reliable. The white temple is stunning!

This was a lovely day out and a great way to meet new people while seeing all three temples/houses.

Amazing tour. The temples are so beautiful and our Guide Amy was full of energy and knowledge.