In this tour of central Thailand, we follow in the footsteps of Buddha and the history of the Khmers. Among others, we visit the ancient Khmer temple complex Phanom Rung, which was built by the same builder as the world famous Angkor Wat. We also visit the Khao Yai National Park with its impressive waterfalls. However, the highlight of this trip is the Elephant Festival in Surin. Experience from the VIP box how 200 elephants re-enact historical battles and events of Thai history.
Date: 17 – 20 Nov 2016
Duration: 4 days / 3 nights
Overview: Khao Yai National Park, Surin Elephant Festival, Phanom Rung, Muang Tham, Phimai, Saraburi, Lopburi, Bangkok
Your itinerary in detail
Day 1: Drive to the Khao Yai National Park
At around 7:30 am our driver will pick you up at your hotel in Bangkok. We will drive towards Rangsit and via Nakon Nayok to Khao Yai National Park. The first stop on route will be the village Prachinburi, where you can stroll through a seasonal fruit market and enjoy the delicious fruits of the region. After this stop for refreshment, we continue to Khao Yai National Park.
Arriving at Khao Yai National Park, we will visit the waterfalls Heio Nayok and Heio Suwat, the Park Museum and various impressive viewpoints. Then we take a short trek in the jungle to a secluded bathing spot, which is in the middle of the national park. At this picturesque place we will have lunch and enjoy traditional Thai food in a unique setting.
In the afternoon we will leave the Khao Yai National Park through the western exit. From here it is just a few minutes’ drive to your accommodation for the night – the Nature Life Resort.
Day 2: Khmer Temple Phanom Rung
After breakfast the journey continues first to Pakchong and later via Buriram to Nangrong. Once in Pakchong we stop at a local fresh market, where you can see the variety of exotic regional dishes. Immerse yourself in the bustling life of the market and get the opportunity to try some local specialties. From here we drive to the province of Buriram and the town of Nangrong. Here we will stop at the ancient 12th century Khmer temple complex Phanom Rung. The temple is still quite well preserved and has much in common with the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. This is not without reason as the temples were both built by the same builder.
After completing the tour of the temple complex, we will go to our hotel. However, before we reach the Phanomrungburi hotel, we will stop at a typical Thai restaurant where you will enjoy a delicious dinner.
Day 3: Elephant Festival in Surin
This is the highlight of the tour, the famous Surin Elephant Festival. Since the performance begins at 8:30 am, our driver will pick you up relatively early from the hotel. We drive direct to Surin, where you can watch this annual spectacle from the VIP box. You will be able to admire between 150 and 200 elephants and their mahouts. On this Thai festival not only the skills of elephants are demonstrated, but also a part of the turbulent history of Thailand will be re-enacted. Elephants have played an important role in Thailand’s past and figured in various wars. Those historical events are re-enacted during the parade of armoured war elephants.
The spectacle ends at noon. After this we drive to lunch in a restaurant in Surin. Afterwards we will drive towards Korat and visit another ancient Khmer temple, the Prasat Phimai. The fortified complex of Phimai has become the spiritual centre of the Khmer Empire. Having seen it, it will be no surprise to learn that Phimai was all that time ago connected by a 225 km road with the capital city of Angkor.Having visited the temple extensively, we go in the direction of Nakorn Rachissima (Korat), where we will have dinner and stay overnight.
Day 4: Return to Bangkok via Saraburi and Lopburi
After breakfast check out from the hotel and drive to Saraburi where we will visit the Wat Phra Phutthabat. This very popular local temple complex. It is one of the royal temples and owes its fame the discovery of Buddha’s footprint. Another highlight of this temple is the staircase leading to a Mondop (a Thai pavilion) which is located on a small hill. This symbolic staircase is said to have been used by Buddha to return from paradise.
The next stop on our route is the city of Lopburi, just 10 km away. Lopburi is known as the monkey city. Hundreds of wild monkeys dominate the centre of this provincial capital. But Lopburi has to offer more than just monkeys. It is one of the oldest cities in Thailand dating from the 7th century. Additional attractions include the Phra Narai Ratcha Niwet (the Palace of King Narai, the Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat, the Phra Prang Sam Yot and Ban Wichayen. The ruins of Ban Wichayen were the residence of Constantine Phaulkon, the Greek-born minister under King Narai.
At the end of this tour, we head to Bangkok and take you to your hotel.
The Khao Yai Nature Life Resort. Here you stay in a Superior Room incl. breakfast.
In Nangrong you stay at Phanomrugburi Hotel in a Superior Room. Of course, here the breakfast is included.
In Korat you will stay at Sima Thai Hotel in a Superior Room, also the breakfast is here included.
The dates are fixed. However, you can extend this tour at will. How about a subsequent island hopping tour or a beach holiday to relax?
- Accommodation with breakfast at the hotels listed above
- 4 x lunch, 3 x dinner
- Air-conditioned vehicles
- English speaking guide
- All entrance fees and activities as mentioned above
Services not included:
- Meals not mentioned above
- Personal expenses
Our prices in Thai Baht
Per person in a double room: 28,600 THB 815 USD
Single surcharge: 3,100 THB 88 USD
Extra bed: on request
Child below the age of 12: on request