Beyond Ayutthaya, the country becomes increasingly sparsely populated. This part of the country bridges the gap between busy Bangkok and the fascinating mountain landscapes of the north. There are no big cities. It is an area of rice plantations and bordered by lushly wooded hills. The main attraction is the ancient city ruins of Sukhothai and its satellite cities Kamphaeng Phet and Si Satchanalai, which recall a glorious past when principalities and city-states competed for land and power. The hillier areas, in the west and northeast of the region, are the setting for a great number of national parks and wildlife sanctuaries that serve as safe havens for endangered plants and animals. East of the city of Phitsanulok, a long north-south mountain range forms the transition between the central region and the northeastern part of the country, the I-san. The ancient cities of Lampang and Lamphun south of Chiang Mai are full of ancient monuments and the colorful markets sell local and handicraft products.

Destinations - Sights - Hotels

Lop Buri & Phra Phutthabat

About 20 km north of Ayutthaya is the old Khmer city of Lop Buri, with ruins of 3 Khmer temples from the 11th and 12th centuries. East of Lopburi on a hill is the beautiful temple complex Phra Phutthabat and houses a sacred footprint of the Buddha

Uthai Thani

The capitol of Uthai Thani province is located about 200 km north of Bangkok on the banks of the Sakae Krang River, a tributary of the Chao Phraya River. The province has many remarkable natural locations such as Pa Tat Forest and Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary, that has been registered as a UNESCO World Natural Heritage Site. In addition to the many natural attractions in the province, the main attraction is Wat Thasung, the famous 'Crystal Temple'.

Nakhon Sawan

At Nakhon Sawan, 250 km north of Bangkok, the two great rivers of the north, the Ping and Nan, flow together with the Wang and Yom, thus forming the Chao Phraya River, Thailand’s most important waterway. During the monsoon period, the rivers overflow their banks in some places and form the largest freshwater swamp in Thailand, Bung Boraphet Lake.


Located in a strategic location, 120 km north of Nakhon Sawan and 380 km from Bangkok, the city of Phitsanulok connects parts of Thailand's central and northern regions with the Northeast region (known as the I-san). The city has many historically interesting sights. In Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat you can admire Phra Phuttha Chinarat, one of the most beautiful and revered Buddha images in the country. On the Nan River you will find the lively Night Market (bazaar). Phitsanulok is also the gateway to explore beautiful national parks, including Thung Salaeng Luang and Phu Hin Rongkhla

Hotel: The Imperial Hotel & Convention Centre Phitsanulok - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5)

Sukhothai Historical Park

Sukhothai ("Dawn of Happiness"), 430 km north of Bangkok, was the first capital of the Kingdom of Siam (1238-1350). The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Old Sukhothai, Sukhothai Historical Park, located 12 km west of the modern city, is a powerful reminder of the ancient Sukhothai Kingdom. The abandoned city we see today is the best-preserved and most popular destination in Central Thailand. The ruins, monuments and immense Buddha statues are spread over an approximately 70 km2 nature reserve, with attractively landscaped parks and ancient trees and ponds with lilies and lotus flowers. In the center is the Royal City with the ruins of Wat Mahathat, the main temple complex of Sukhothai. the Wat Si Sawai, built in Khmer style, the Wat Sa Si with its copper Buddha statue and the statue of King Ramkhamhaeng. East of the royal city is the remarkable Wat Chang Lom, surrounded by 36 brick elephants around the chedi. North of the royal city you can visit the Wat Phra Phai Luang, a temple complex built in Khmer style and the Wat Si Chum, with its huge, seated Buddha looking out through a narrow opening. On the south side of the park is the interesting National Museum Ramkhamhaeng with a large collection of artifacts and a collection of early-century photographs showing the ruins before their restoration. The ruins in the park are best explored by bicycle.

Hotels: Le Charme Sukhothai Resort - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5) : The Legendha Resort - 3.5 Stars (3.5/5)

Si Satchanalai-Chaliang Historical Park.

50 km northeast of Sukhothai Historical Park. The ruins of the ancient city are located on the bank of the Yom River. Within the old city walls are the Wat Chang Lom with a huge bell-shaped Sri Lankan chedi, the Wat Chedi Chet Taew with lotus-shaped chedis and various Buddha statues, and the Wat Nang Phaya. The tranquility around you has something enchanting. Outside the city walls are the ruins of Chaliang including the Wat Phra Si Rattanana Mahathat, the most important monument. This former satellite city of Sukhothai is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here too we can recommend exploring the ruins by bicycle.

Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park.

70 km southwest of Sukhothai Historical Park. The park is located on the banks of the Ping River. Within the old city walls is the Kamphang Phet National Museum with a fine collection of 16th century Hindu statues, the Wat Phra Kaew with partially restored laterite Buddha statues and stone elephants, and the Wat Phra That. Northwest are the Aranyik ruins. The most impressive are Wat Phra Non, Wat Phra Si Iriyabot and Wat Chang Rob surrounded by laterite elephants. This former satellite city of Sukhothai is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here too we can recommend exploring the ruins by bicycle.


The provincial capital Tak, 80 km east of Sukhothai and 280 km south of Chiang Mai, is the gateway to Mae Sot and Myanmar. The mountainous province is home to beautiful forests such as in Taksin Maharat National Park and beautiful waterfalls such as in Lang San National Park and colorful hill tribes including Karen, Lahu and Hmong. North of the town of Tak you will find the Bhumipol dam, the largest dam in the country with a beautiful view of the reservoir. Myanmar's influence is noticeable in the border town of Mae Sot, located 60 km from Tak.

Hotel: Viangtak Riverside Hotel - 3 Stars (3/5)

Mae Sot

*See below - Side trip from Mae Sot to Umphang (route 1090 - about 150 km)


Lampang, 100 km southeast of Chiang Mai on the banks of the Wang River, is the second-largest town in northern Thailand. In the 19th century, British traders came here from Myanmar (then Burma) and turned the town into a teak production center. The result was the many teak-houses and Burmese-style temples seen throughout the town. Teak furniture is just one of the traditional crafts still produced in Lampang; others are cotton ware and ceramics. Modern Lampang is known for its brightly colored horse-drawn carriages, introduced in the 19th century. One of the most important temples in northern Thailand is Wat Phra That Lampang Luang just southwest of town. Lampang is also a perfect base to explore nearby national parks, such as Chae Son National Park, with its hotsprings and waterfalls, and the beautiful Kew Lom Dam. The province is also home to the first Elephant Hospital in the world. (FAE’s - Friends of Asian Elephants)

Hotels: Lampang River Lodge - 3 Stars (3/5)


Lamphun, 30 km south of Chiang Mai, is the former capital of the Kingdom of Haripunchai (750-1281), also known as Dvaravati. The ancient temples are one of the best-preserved examples of Dvaravati architecture. Its most important temple is Wat Phra That Haripunchai. The nearby Lamphun National Museum has carvings and artifacts from many periods, especially the Lanna, Dvaravati and Haripunchai kingdoms. Wat Chama Thewi, just west of Lamphun, is noted for its two chedis and are the last surviving examples of Dvaravati architecture

Chiang Mai

Located 700 km north of Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the biggest city of the North and Thailand’s second most important city.

(See our Destinations)

Uthai Thani - Ricefield

Phitsanulok - Phra Phuttha Chinarat

Si Satchanalai - Wat Chang Lom

Tak - Lan Sang National Park

Tak - Bhumipol Dam

Lampang - horse carriage

See our range of tours

Side trip

From Mae Sot to Umphang (Route 1090 - about 150 km)

The journey from Mae Sot to Umphang is one of the most beautiful routes in Thailand. The mountain ranges in the south of Tak Province are home to some of Thailand's largest and most intact forests. Route 1090 crosses high ridges parallel to the border with Myanmar to Umphang district, 150 km from Mae Sot. Umphang is located in the Umphang Nature Reserve which is home to many species of birds and small mammals. The Umphang Wildlife Sanctuary is part of a continuous tract of virgin monsoon forest that is protected by two sanctuaries (Thung Yai Naresuan and Huay Kha Kaeng) and two national parks (Khlong Lan and Mae Wong). The resulting wildlife corridor has been on UNESCO's World Heritage List since 1999. Umphang is a popular place for trekking and white-water rafting trips on the Mae Klong River. There are many rapids and waterfalls, including the beautiful Thi Lo Su, perhaps the most beautiful waterfall in Thailand. You will also find caves and Karen settlements.

Thi Lo Su Waterfall

Rafting on Mae Klong River

Scenic Mae Klong River