Before there was Thailand, there were Ayutthaya and Siam. These two kingdoms have left a wealth of ancient cities and palaces. And this excursion takes you to two of the most impressive – Bang Pa-In Royal Palace and Ayutthaya Historical Park.
First up is Bang Pa-In Royal Palace, a four-century old summer retreat for Thai kings. It's an eclectic mix of influences with Thai, Khmer, Chinese and 19th century European-style palaces and temples laid out on islets and the edges of an artificial lake.
Next, head to Ayutthaya Historical Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hemmed in by the Chao Phraya River, it was the capital until invaders destroyed it. Get the lowdown on ruins such as the triumphal Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Wat Lokayasutharam – which has the largest reclining Buddha in the world – and Wat Mahathat, with its iconic Buddha's head devoured by fig tree roots. After a break for lunch, you'll visit Wat Phra Si Sanphet, which was the holiest temple in the royal compound.