central-thailand-feature

Taylor Takes on Thailand

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Thailand is an amazing country filled with historical wonders, gorgeous temples, amazing food, friendly people and so much culture! Back in July 2017, I traveled to Thailand where I was immersed in some of the most unforgettable adventures I’ve participated in and visited the most beautiful sites that are authentic and sacred to Thai culture.

During my two weeks in Thailand, I traveled with a group where we visited the cities of Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak, Phitsanulok, Chiang Mai and the island of Koh Samet. In this blog post, discover the most beautiful places to visit during a road trip through Central Thailand, between the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.

Getting to and around Thailand:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Since I did a group tour to Thailand, all of my flights and hotels were taken care of beforehand. What I highly recommend you do is set your desired travel dates into Skyscanner ahead of time and wait to see when the prices are low enough to purchase. I flew from Newark Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok with a 3-hour layover in Hong Kong. It took us 16 hours to get from Newark to Hong Kong and then another 2.5 – 3 hour flight to Bangkok.

It is fairly easy to get around Thailand. Since I was with a group, we traveled around via private coach, but the country is filled with railroads. Most locals recommend you travel via train as it offers a safer and more comforting experience. Other ways to get around is by taking the bus, ferry, local transportation or renting a car. Click here to discover the best ways to travel around Thailand.

Where to stay when you are doing a road trip through Central Thailand:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

During our road trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, we stayed in one of the most important cities in Thai culture called Phitsanulok. This authentic city is one of the oldest in Thailand as it was founded over 600 years ago. It is the capital of the Phitsanulok Province, which expands all the way to the Laotian border. Throughout the city, you will find beautiful temples, thriving street markets and locals traveling around via the classical rickshaw.

We spent our night at Ayara Grand Palace Hotel located right in the heart of Phitsanulok. What is great about this hotel is that it is a short walk from all of the main attractions in the city and all of the hotel rooms are colorful and give off a tropical vibe. Just like our hotel in Bangkok, Ayara Grand Palace Hotel also had a great buffet breakfast offering the best tropical fruits, rice and noodle dishes, plus vegetables and eggs.

You could find other great hotels along the way on Hotels.com. There are also a wide range of Airbnb options and with a growing number of nomads living in Thailand, there is a wide range of hostels as well.

Where to Stop on a Road Trip in Central Thailand:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Stop at Café Amazon:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Japan isn’t the only country with super cool convenient stores and cafés off their highways; Thailand also has amazing places to grab some road trip goodies. One place you MUST stop at is Café Amazon where you can get delicious and refreshing Thai iced tea. Thai tea is made from strongly brewed Ceylon tea. Other ingredients include orange blossom water, star anise, crush tamarind seed and a few other spices. The tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and is served chilled for a hot day in Thailand’s sun. You can also get a delicious Thai iced matcha green tea as well! (Both are amazing.)

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

From Bangkok, it took us two hours to get to our first stop at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet (Temple of the Holy, Splendid Omniscient) in the province of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Used as a residential palace, this historical site became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I during the 12th century AD. When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded that new living quarters be built during the 13th century, this holy palace was then assigned to be a temple area. The current site does not have any monks or novice inhabitants, but is served as a historical center and tourist attraction.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

When we first arrived at Wat Phra Si Sanphet, I was amazed at how beautiful the ruins were. The cool thing about this site is that you can walk up to the top of each temple (also known as Chedis) and take awesome pictures! You can even walk around the ruins and pretend you are living in ancient Thailand.

A Local Thai Lunch in the Countryside:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After our time exploring Wat Phra Sanphet, we got back on the bus and headed to our second stop, a local lunch in the Thai countryside. I traveled to Thailand during the country’s rainy season, which is summer, so most of our days were overcast (luckily not too much rain). When we reached the home where we were having lunch, it was nice to see the sun out even though it was HOT!

When we arrived at the home, we entered through the kitchen where the owners were busy cooking up our food. Since there was a big group of us, they made enough food to have a buffet. The lunch buffet consisted of typical pad Thai, a sweet and sour soup, white rice along with a fried chicken dish. After enjoying our delicious lunch and comforting tea afterwards, we went outside and enjoyed the tranquility of the lake and beautiful meadow-like surroundings.

The City of Phitsanulok:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After a few more hours on the road, we finally reached the city of Phitsanulok! Our first stop was to Wat Phra Sa Rattana Mahathat (Temple of Great Jeweled Reliquary). The temple grounds featured beautiful Asian architecture to admire for days. Before we entered the temple, we took off our shoes and made sure our shoulders were covered like the temples we visited in Bangkok. When we finally made our way in, we were surrounded by beautiful and intricate crystal architecture and mother-of-pearl inserts. Straight ahead of us was the famous, gold-covered statue of the Buddha – known as Phra Buddha Chinnarat (King of Victory). It is considered one of the most beautiful Buddha figures in Thailand.

Inside of the temple, we were asked to sit right away. If you wanted to get closer to the Buddha, it was asked of us that we crawl to it as standing and walking would have been a distraction for those meditating. It was a great experience being able to meditate on my own in front of this stunning Buddha!

Thai Rickshaw Ride:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Later in the evening that night, we participated in an authentic rickshaw ride around Phitsanulok. A rickshaw is a two-cycle vehicle used in various Thai cities to transport around. What is different from a classic rickshaw to a tuk tuk is that it isn’t automatic. I was so happy to have experienced an authentic Thai rickshaw ride because Thailand will soon be doing away with them due to the increase in taxis and Uber rides.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The night we did our rickshaw ride was beautiful and it was awesome relaxing on the back of the rickshaw and feeling like a true Thai local. It took us 20 minutes to reach a street-side café where we enjoyed a local dinner made in front of us. I have to admit that when we got to the café, I wasn’t too thrilled about all of the bugs and lizards around, but accepted that I was in Southeast Asia and adapted to it. (Always make sure to bring bug spray if you travel to Southeast Asia or anywhere tropical.) That is one thing about being an avid traveler; sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone and deal with situations you dislike or aren’t used to. It helps you grow as a person.

Even though the bug situation wasn’t ideal, our tour guides Mr. Perez and Tony as well as the café owners made sure we had a great time by hosting a fun show while we ate our dinner. Each one of us had to pick out of a hat. Whoever was chosen as the “lucky one”, had to get dressed up in a Thai costume and catch the freshly made sautéed veggies. Of course, I was chosen and had to wear the funny outfit. I wasn’t sure if I was going to catch the veggies, but my childhood softball skills came in handy when I actually caught them with the pan! Everyone was happy and cheering me on. I was then able to enjoy the delicious veggies afterwards.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After our fun dinner, we hopped back on the rickshaw that took us to Phitsanulok’s night bazaar (market).

Phitsanulok Night Bazaar:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The famous Phitsanulok night bazaar was another eye-opener as we saw a lot of bloody fish, raw meats and fried insects you can purchase as a snack. Since we were with a group, the fried insect vendor offered us a platter of insects we could try. I hate bugs, so I obviously was grossed out, but thought I had to experience it since I was in Thailand. I opted for the worm (since I thought it would taste like escargot) and maggot and they actually weren’t that bad, believe it or not! Both were fried so it wasn’t slimy like I expected it to be. They were salty and tasted like I was eating a chip. The other insects offered on the plate were cockroaches and grasshoppers. If you liked one insect over the other, you could’ve had the opportunity to purchase a whole bag of it.

Sukhothai:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The last part of our road trip before reaching the mountains of Chiang Mai was to Sukhothai. The provence of Sukhothai can be translated to the Dawn of Happiness. This ancient city is located in the valley of the Yom River and features the Khao Luang Mountain Range.

We stopped at Sukhothai Historical Park that is maintained by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand with help from UNESCO, which has declared it as a World Heritage Site. At this magical park, you can marvel around to see the ancient Buddha statues, palace buildings, ruined temples and beautiful lakes featuring lily pads. One of the cool things about this park is that you can rent bikes and wander around while getting your exercise in.

After our fun and relaxing time in Sukhothai, we enjoying a delicious Thai lunch just as we reached the mountains.


Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my road trip through Central Thailand and discovering the best places to visit between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. If you have any questions about my time at these wonderful sites or my trip to Thailand in general, please feel free to email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com, contact me via social media or leave a comment below.

Basic Facts of Thailand:

Currency: Thai Baht, Capital: Bangkok

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

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2 Comments

  1. Lauren Harding on January 21, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Hi Taylor, really enjoyed this post hun, so informative and felt like I was on the journey with you! Thanks so much for sharing ✌

    • Taylor Deer on January 21, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Thank you so much Lauren! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Leave a Comment





central-thailand-feature

Taylor Takes on Thailand

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Thailand is an amazing country filled with historical wonders, gorgeous temples, amazing food, friendly people and so much culture! Back in July 2017, I traveled to Thailand where I was immersed in some of the most unforgettable adventures I’ve participated in and visited the most beautiful sites that are authentic and sacred to Thai culture.

During my two weeks in Thailand, I traveled with a group where we visited the cities of Bangkok, Damnoen Saduak, Phitsanulok, Chiang Mai and the island of Koh Samet. In this blog post, discover the most beautiful places to visit during a road trip through Central Thailand, between the cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

**Please note that this blog post uses affiliate links meaning that if you make a purchase via my affiliate link, I receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. I only promote and talk about products and services that I have used and like.

Getting to and around Thailand:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Since I did a group tour to Thailand, all of my flights and hotels were taken care of beforehand. What I highly recommend you do is set your desired travel dates into Skyscanner ahead of time and wait to see when the prices are low enough to purchase. I flew from Newark Airport to Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok with a 3-hour layover in Hong Kong. It took us 16 hours to get from Newark to Hong Kong and then another 2.5 – 3 hour flight to Bangkok.

It is fairly easy to get around Thailand. Since I was with a group, we traveled around via private coach, but the country is filled with railroads. Most locals recommend you travel via train as it offers a safer and more comforting experience. Other ways to get around is by taking the bus, ferry, local transportation or renting a car. Click here to discover the best ways to travel around Thailand.

Where to stay when you are doing a road trip through Central Thailand:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

During our road trip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, we stayed in one of the most important cities in Thai culture called Phitsanulok. This authentic city is one of the oldest in Thailand as it was founded over 600 years ago. It is the capital of the Phitsanulok Province, which expands all the way to the Laotian border. Throughout the city, you will find beautiful temples, thriving street markets and locals traveling around via the classical rickshaw.

We spent our night at Ayara Grand Palace Hotel located right in the heart of Phitsanulok. What is great about this hotel is that it is a short walk from all of the main attractions in the city and all of the hotel rooms are colorful and give off a tropical vibe. Just like our hotel in Bangkok, Ayara Grand Palace Hotel also had a great buffet breakfast offering the best tropical fruits, rice and noodle dishes, plus vegetables and eggs.

You could find other great hotels along the way on Hotels.com. There are also a wide range of Airbnb options and with a growing number of nomads living in Thailand, there is a wide range of hostels as well.

Where to Stop on a Road Trip in Central Thailand:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Stop at Café Amazon:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Japan isn’t the only country with super cool convenient stores and cafés off their highways; Thailand also has amazing places to grab some road trip goodies. One place you MUST stop at is Café Amazon where you can get delicious and refreshing Thai iced tea. Thai tea is made from strongly brewed Ceylon tea. Other ingredients include orange blossom water, star anise, crush tamarind seed and a few other spices. The tea is sweetened with sugar and condensed milk and is served chilled for a hot day in Thailand’s sun. You can also get a delicious Thai iced matcha green tea as well! (Both are amazing.)

Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

From Bangkok, it took us two hours to get to our first stop at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet (Temple of the Holy, Splendid Omniscient) in the province of Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. Used as a residential palace, this historical site became a monastery in the reign of King Ramathibodi I during the 12th century AD. When King Borom Trai Lokanat commanded that new living quarters be built during the 13th century, this holy palace was then assigned to be a temple area. The current site does not have any monks or novice inhabitants, but is served as a historical center and tourist attraction.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

When we first arrived at Wat Phra Si Sanphet, I was amazed at how beautiful the ruins were. The cool thing about this site is that you can walk up to the top of each temple (also known as Chedis) and take awesome pictures! You can even walk around the ruins and pretend you are living in ancient Thailand.

A Local Thai Lunch in the Countryside:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After our time exploring Wat Phra Sanphet, we got back on the bus and headed to our second stop, a local lunch in the Thai countryside. I traveled to Thailand during the country’s rainy season, which is summer, so most of our days were overcast (luckily not too much rain). When we reached the home where we were having lunch, it was nice to see the sun out even though it was HOT!

When we arrived at the home, we entered through the kitchen where the owners were busy cooking up our food. Since there was a big group of us, they made enough food to have a buffet. The lunch buffet consisted of typical pad Thai, a sweet and sour soup, white rice along with a fried chicken dish. After enjoying our delicious lunch and comforting tea afterwards, we went outside and enjoyed the tranquility of the lake and beautiful meadow-like surroundings.

The City of Phitsanulok:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After a few more hours on the road, we finally reached the city of Phitsanulok! Our first stop was to Wat Phra Sa Rattana Mahathat (Temple of Great Jeweled Reliquary). The temple grounds featured beautiful Asian architecture to admire for days. Before we entered the temple, we took off our shoes and made sure our shoulders were covered like the temples we visited in Bangkok. When we finally made our way in, we were surrounded by beautiful and intricate crystal architecture and mother-of-pearl inserts. Straight ahead of us was the famous, gold-covered statue of the Buddha – known as Phra Buddha Chinnarat (King of Victory). It is considered one of the most beautiful Buddha figures in Thailand.

Inside of the temple, we were asked to sit right away. If you wanted to get closer to the Buddha, it was asked of us that we crawl to it as standing and walking would have been a distraction for those meditating. It was a great experience being able to meditate on my own in front of this stunning Buddha!

Thai Rickshaw Ride:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Later in the evening that night, we participated in an authentic rickshaw ride around Phitsanulok. A rickshaw is a two-cycle vehicle used in various Thai cities to transport around. What is different from a classic rickshaw to a tuk tuk is that it isn’t automatic. I was so happy to have experienced an authentic Thai rickshaw ride because Thailand will soon be doing away with them due to the increase in taxis and Uber rides.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The night we did our rickshaw ride was beautiful and it was awesome relaxing on the back of the rickshaw and feeling like a true Thai local. It took us 20 minutes to reach a street-side café where we enjoyed a local dinner made in front of us. I have to admit that when we got to the café, I wasn’t too thrilled about all of the bugs and lizards around, but accepted that I was in Southeast Asia and adapted to it. (Always make sure to bring bug spray if you travel to Southeast Asia or anywhere tropical.) That is one thing about being an avid traveler; sometimes you have to go out of your comfort zone and deal with situations you dislike or aren’t used to. It helps you grow as a person.

Even though the bug situation wasn’t ideal, our tour guides Mr. Perez and Tony as well as the café owners made sure we had a great time by hosting a fun show while we ate our dinner. Each one of us had to pick out of a hat. Whoever was chosen as the “lucky one”, had to get dressed up in a Thai costume and catch the freshly made sautéed veggies. Of course, I was chosen and had to wear the funny outfit. I wasn’t sure if I was going to catch the veggies, but my childhood softball skills came in handy when I actually caught them with the pan! Everyone was happy and cheering me on. I was then able to enjoy the delicious veggies afterwards.

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After our fun dinner, we hopped back on the rickshaw that took us to Phitsanulok’s night bazaar (market).

Phitsanulok Night Bazaar:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The famous Phitsanulok night bazaar was another eye-opener as we saw a lot of bloody fish, raw meats and fried insects you can purchase as a snack. Since we were with a group, the fried insect vendor offered us a platter of insects we could try. I hate bugs, so I obviously was grossed out, but thought I had to experience it since I was in Thailand. I opted for the worm (since I thought it would taste like escargot) and maggot and they actually weren’t that bad, believe it or not! Both were fried so it wasn’t slimy like I expected it to be. They were salty and tasted like I was eating a chip. The other insects offered on the plate were cockroaches and grasshoppers. If you liked one insect over the other, you could’ve had the opportunity to purchase a whole bag of it.

Sukhothai:

Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

The last part of our road trip before reaching the mountains of Chiang Mai was to Sukhothai. The provence of Sukhothai can be translated to the Dawn of Happiness. This ancient city is located in the valley of the Yom River and features the Khao Luang Mountain Range.

We stopped at Sukhothai Historical Park that is maintained by the Fine Arts Department of Thailand with help from UNESCO, which has declared it as a World Heritage Site. At this magical park, you can marvel around to see the ancient Buddha statues, palace buildings, ruined temples and beautiful lakes featuring lily pads. One of the cool things about this park is that you can rent bikes and wander around while getting your exercise in.

After our fun and relaxing time in Sukhothai, we enjoying a delicious Thai lunch just as we reached the mountains.


Central Thailand Roadtrip from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

I hope you all enjoyed reading about my road trip through Central Thailand and discovering the best places to visit between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. If you have any questions about my time at these wonderful sites or my trip to Thailand in general, please feel free to email me at info@browneyedflowerchild.com, contact me via social media or leave a comment below.

Basic Facts of Thailand:

Currency: Thai Baht, Capital: Bangkok

Click here to join my private blog sharing Facebook group.

*Anything could happen during your travels. Always make sure you are insured in case there are unforeseen circumstances such as lost luggage/theft, natural disasters, personal liabilities and more. Click here to get insured for your next trip.

2 Comments

  1. Lauren Harding on January 21, 2019 at 6:49 am

    Hi Taylor, really enjoyed this post hun, so informative and felt like I was on the journey with you! Thanks so much for sharing ✌

    • Taylor Deer on January 21, 2019 at 8:58 am

      Thank you so much Lauren! I’m glad you enjoyed it.

Leave a Comment





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