Dive into Krung Thep Maha Nakhon (Sacred City of Angels), the Thai name used for the kingdom's New York City-sized swirl of life, art, history, boats, tuk-tuks, markets, malls and more than enough sizzling woks to make you sneeze. Rise for an early northbound train to wander the 14th to 18th-century ruins at Ayutthaya. On day three, journey west into Kanchanaburi for travertine waterfalls followed by various sites related to the brutal forced construction of the Thai-Burma Railway during World War II. If you have any time left, finish with a float down the River Kwai, which is pronounced kway, by the way.

Key information

Destinations Destinations Bangkok, Ayutthaya, Kanchanaburi
Activity Activity Family, Culture
Physical Level Physical Level Easy
Season Season January - December

Suggested itinerary

Explore colourful Bangkok

Explore colourful Bangkok

Day 1–3 in Bangkok

Known by the locals as Krung Thep, Thailand’s capital city is a sprawling, sweaty fusion of old and new, where towering skyscrapers emerge from crumbling pavements, and historic temples are circled by colourful tuk tuk cabs and monks clad in vibrant orange robes.

Once a small trading post for the 15th century Ayutthaya Kingdom, this thriving metropolis is now home to over 10 million souls, and is considered one of Asia’s premier tourist destinations. Whether you explore the capital’s historic district, hone your haggling skills at one of the many markets, brave the red light district or fill up on world-famous street food, there is something for everyone in this ever-evolving city.

Don't miss

Enter the belly of an elephant near Bangkok

Enter the belly of an elephant near Bangkok

The main event at the late Thai visionary Lek Viriyabhun's Erawan Museum, off Bangkok's southeast fringe, is a 44m tall copper elephant depicting the vehicle of Hindu god Indra. Look for scenes from every world religion beneath a tremendous stained glass ceiling crafted by the late German artist, Jakob Schwarzkopf.

Step back in time in Autthaya

Step back in time in Autthaya

Day 4–5 in Ayutthaya

Founded in 1350 and destroyed by invading Burmese in 1767, the once-glorious city of Ayutthaya was a former Siamese kingdom, preceding Bangkok as the capital of Siam. In the past a prosperous trading port, Ayutthaya remains a popular day trip from Bangkok, with the extensive ruins of the old city preserved in Ayutthaya Historical Park.

Float down the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi

Float down the River Kwai in Kanchanaburi

Day 6–7 in Kanchanaburi

Although best known for its sobering role in WW2 history — with sites including the Death Railway, Bridge over the River Kwae (Kwai) and Allied War Cemetery — Western Thailand's Kanchanaburi has plenty to offer tourists wanting to stay a little longer.
The nearby Erawan National Park is home to a number of caves and one of the most popular waterfalls in the country — a 7-tiered series of falls with emerald green ponds and a head which allegedly resembles the Erewan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology. In the city, visitors can enjoy a Khmer temple ruins tours or explore the scenic River Kwae area, with peaceful bamboo raft journeys down the river available.

Don't miss

Ride into World War II history on the "Death Railway"

Ride into World War II history on the "Death Railway"

Thailand's most famous train ride starts at the steel-trellis bridge rebuilt after the original was bombed in an episode dramatised in the film, Bridge Over the River Kwai. Separately, the memorial and remains of an abandoned length of track at Hellfire Pass encourages visitors to appreciate the roughly 105,000 souls who died toiling from 1942-45.

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