White Temple in Chiang Rai
Day 1 -2: Chiang Mai
Arrive in Chiang Mai on Day 1. Begin your journey by visiting the Buddhist temples, exploring the night markets, or climbing to the top of Doi Inthanon (taking a bus tour of the mountain is also an option—no judgments!). You can also visit the Mae Sa Waterfall, get a Thai massage, or take a cooking class.
Day 3-4: Chiang Rai
Travel to Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle. On your way north, stop by the White Temple, a modern art exhibit and cultural icon styled after a Buddhist temple. When you reach the Golden Triangle—the place where Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet—take a short boat ride across the Mekong River to a Laotian market and gain another stamp in your passport. When you return to Thailand, learn about the infamous opium trade at the Hall of Opium Museum. On the second day, you can also visit Mae Sai, Thailand’s northernmost town, which shares a border with Myanmar. If time permits, visit the Tham Pla caves or climb the hill to Wat Phra That Doi Wao for a gorgeous panoramic view.
Day 5: Lampang
Travel further south to Lampang and visit traditional villages of Thailand’s hill tribes. Alternatively, you can marvel at the murals of Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, see the emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao, or observe the elephants at the National Elephant Institute, a conversation center for Thailand’s most famous animal.
Day 6: Sukhothai
Early in the morning, set off for Sukhothai Historical Park, the capital of the Sukhothai Kingdom from the thirteenth century to the fifteenth century. Ruins of Buddhist temples and a royal palace comprise this UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is one of the most popular tourist destinations outside of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Tour the site by bicycle, on foot, or by tram. Spend the night in Sukhothai.
Day 7: Chiang Mai
Return to Chiang Mai for your last day. Pick up any final souvenirs and fly home.