November 14 - 23, 2020
Thailand is a beautiful country filled with gorgeous temples, exotic markets, mystical Buddhist sanctuaries, pristine white sand beaches and delicious Thai food. A country rich in history and traditional culture from the impressive temples of Bangkok, tranquil rivers and lush jungles to the ancient beauty of Chiang Mai, the colorful hill tribes' villages in the North and the world-class island beaches in the South.
You will experience Bangkok and the imperial Ayutthaya, the former capital of the Siam Kingdom, once considered the grandest city on Earth, Volunteer at Thailand's beloved elephant park, learn to cook Thai cuisine, visit the exotic hill tribes, snorkel in the clear tropical waters, enjoy spa treatments Thai style.
Join us for this amazing destination experience in Thailand as we travel to some of the most beautiful locations and experience true Thai culture, food and sites.
Day 1: November 12, 2020 Arrive into Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) You will be met with a flower garland, the traditional welcome greeting in Thailand and transfered to your hotel. Enjoy your day or evening at leisure at the hotel and take in the surrounding area of the city. The hotel is very close to the MBK (Most popular shopping center) and it is right in between the chatuchak market and the temples. Many flight arrive early evening. Siam Design Hotel for 3 nights.
Day 2: November 13 Bangkok - City and Temples Tour: Today we visit the Grand Palace, Wat Phra Keo & Wat Pho. During this first day in Bangkok, your guide will introduce you to the magic of this city! During the city tour, combining some of Bangkok’s most important temples, you will drive to the historical part of Bangkok for a first visit to “Wat Pho”, or Reclining Buddha Temple, the oldest and largest temple complex of the city and home to its most reputable massage schools. The temple houses the largest Reclining Buddha to be found in Thailand, a statue 46 m long and 15 m high with mother-of-pearl inlaid feet. After a stroll across the colorful Flower market we see the highlight of the tour: The impressive Emerald Buddha Temple, or “Wat Phra Keo”, renowned as being the most beautiful Buddhist temple of Thailand. The temple courtyard contains a dazzling sight of golden pagodas, exquisite mural paintings, mythical figures and monstrous demons and the highly revered Buddha image. You will visit as well the adjacent Grand Palace, built in the 18th and 19th century as the former residence for the former kings.
Klongs and Wat Arun -Will continue by boat through the canals of Thonburi, offering colorful views of the typical riverine life that once characterized all of Bangkok as the “Venice of the East”. You will start with cruising up the Chao Phraya River before branching off into several narrow canals, called “klongs”, flanked by coconut plantations, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, old temples and rural houses on stilts. You will stop at “Wat Arun”, also known as the Temple of Dawn. Its 80 m high Khmer-style tower is embedded with broken pieces of Chinese porcelain and has become one of the most famous landmarks of Bangkok. Welcome dinner tonight. (B,L,D)
Day 3: November 14 Bangkok - Thai Cooking by the river: This cooking class starts with a tour. After being picked up from your hotel you will be transferred to the Chao Phraya River where you will board a boat to reach your class room. Hidden within the landscape of the canals that run through this part of town is the location of the Thai Cooking House. It is a tranquil place, where you will get some insight into Thai culture and lifestyle while having fun gaining knowledge of the local cuisine. You will learn how to prepare and cook a number of favorite Thai dishes from an extensive list of recipes. Your instructors will introduce you to Thai ingredients and cuisine and explain what you will be cooking. Classes are hands-on and at personal cooking stations that allow you to participate and practice techniques. At the end of the class, a delicious four-course meal prepared by you and the other participants will be set up for lunch at a veranda that overlooks the canal. The place is well shaded by many mango, star fruit and rose apple trees. Free evening at leisure to enjoy Bangkok. (B,L)
Day 4: November 15 Bangkok – Chiang Mai: After breakfast check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. Depart from Bangkok, by flight to Chiang Mai (approx. 1 hour)
Enjoy a guided tour of the area - Chiang Mai is a treasure trove of ancient temples Visit Wat Phra Singh, one of Chiang Mai’s most important sanctuaries, construction began in 1345 and was completed in 1400. This temple contains exquisite examples of traditional Lanna art.
Nearby, the small Phra Wiharn Lai Kham, made from 700-year-old teak-wood, is considered to be the most spectacular building in Chiang Mai. It contains the venerated image of the Phra Singh Buddha. Wat Suan Dok., also known as the “Flower Garden Temple”, sits amidst wide, open gardens. Built in the 14th century during the reign of the Lanna Thai monarchy, attractions include an ubosot with a very impressive Chiang Saen Buddha and beautiful murals, a chedi holding a relic of the Buddha and the royal cemetery along with some splendid shrines.
Wat Chedi Luang, this temple is noted for its over-sized chedi. Originally built in 1401, it was enlarged and built higher in the mid-1400s, and subsequently destroyed by an earthquake in 1545. Remnants of beautiful stucco figures flanking the steps and a seated Buddha in each niche are all that remains.
Lunch at a local restaurant. Travel by rickshaw to visit Waroros Market, a very popular market among local people.
Then you drive up to Wat Doi Suthep, one of the most revered temples of Northern Thailand. Its golden stupa, adorned with a 7-tier golden umbrella, is a popular pilgrimage site, its location at the end of a winding road, 1056 meters above sea level, offering splendid views over the city of Chiang Mai and its surroundings.
Check into the hotel and enjoy the evening at your leisure. The hotel offers a wonderful Spa. Rati Lanaa Riverside Spa resort for 3 nights. (B,L)
Day 5: November 16 Chiang Mai: Elephant rescue park and volunteer day: Pick up from your hotel and transfer to the elephant park.
This is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center in Thailand where you can volunteer and visit. They have been involved in dozens of rescues which have created the thriving elephant herd. The park provides a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals under their care.
After a safety talk, learn the basic concept and language to use through out the day with the elephants and prepare food items to take across the river to meet the elephants. Feed the elephants and learn to communicate and motivate with care and love. After lunch continue with the elephant communication and experience walking with them to the river and even swimming nearby. Return to the Elephant Kitchen and prepare more food for the following days feeding. Depart the Elephant Nature Park and return to Chiang Mai. Evening at your leisure. (B,L)
Day 6: November 17 Chiang Mai Tour - Today we visit such sites as the Mae Khachan Hot Springs
The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) perhaps better known to foreigners as the White Temple, is a contemporary, unconventional, privately-owned art exhibit in the style of a Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai Province.
The Golden Triangle + boat ride - It is the famous location where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar meet in the middle of the Mekong River.
Back at our hotel enjoy a Spa treatment and your evening at leisure. (B, L)
Day 7: November 18 Chiang Mai - Koh Samui: After breakfast check out of the hotel and transfer to the airport. Depart from Chiang Mai to Koh Samui (approx. 1.45 hr)
Arrive at the Koh Samui airport and transfer to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day at leisure to take in all the beauty of this island and the beaches. The hotel offers a spa, pool and gorgeous location on the beach. Sea Dance Hotel for 3 nights (B, D)
Day 8: November 19 Koh Samui: Angthong Marine National Park Island tour:
Transfer from your hotel to the pier at Bangrak Beach. Enjoy a light breakfast then we depart from the pier by Speedboat towards Angthong Marine Park. Arrive at Koh Wao in the northern part of the Marine park. Enjoy snorkeling in the most beautiful bay for coral reef and colorful fish. Enjoy sightseeing and visit to the green lagoon (Emerald Lake). Visit the view point for a breathtaking scenic view across the Angthong Marie Park and its islands. Enjoy a Thai buffet lunch at the fisherman village restaurant on Koh Paluay. You will have some time for kayaking after lunch, relaxing, sunbathing or swimming at the pristine white sand beach. Arrive back at Koh Samui and transfer back to your hotel. Enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at leisure and take in an optional Spa treatment. (B,L)
Day 9: November 20 Eco tour – Namuang Safari Park Koh Samui
Pick up from your hotel and visit the Plai Leam Temple, Grandfather and Grandmother Rocks. The Coconut House Plantation and Rubber Plantation. Next we enjoy some Elephant Trekking. Well have a Buffet Lunch and then Visit the Elephant Village. Our next stop is the Namuang Waterfall II. We will enjoy some Kayaking through the mangrove forest.
You will return to your hotel and freshen up since tonight we will have a farewell dinner to say Good Bye to Thailand and our new friends. (B, L, D).
Day 10: November 21 - Departure Day - Transfer to the Koh Samui airport to Bangkok and connect for your return flight home. Your departing flight time from Koh Samui will be based on your departing flight time from Bangkok. (B)
Cost: $1985.00 based on Double Occupancy. (Roommates can be provided)
Single Supplement: $845.00
Booking/final payment deadline is 60 days prior to departure.
SAVE 3% OFF Tour cost if paying by check or ACH transfer
- 9 nights hotel with taxes
- Daily breakfast
- 7 lunches Including 1 cooking class
- 2 dinners
- Entrance fees to all sites visited as per itinerary
- Local Tour Guides and driver as needed
- Transfers to all included sites and cities visited
- R/T airport arrival/departure transfers if traveling on scheduled days
- Inter Island airport transfers for all inter island flights
- Bottled water during transfers and tours
- Welcome Gift
- Tour Leader with 6 or more clients
- Boat excursions
- All service charges and government tax
- International Airfare into Thailand
- Meals not listed in itinerary
- Alcoholic beverages and soft drinks with meals
- Room charges such as calls, mini bar, laundry, room service
- All personal expenses
- Pre nights in Bangkok $85.00 pp double, $170.00 Single
- Travel insurance
- Gratuities for driver, guide, tour leader
- Additional tours or activities not included in program
- Passport, Visa fees, departure tax if any
- Inter country flights. Bangkok - Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai - Samui, Samui - Bangkok. Approx cost for all 3 flights $504.00
Entry Requirements: Visitors from the US, Canada and Australia need a valid passport, Visas are not required for Americans, Canadians or Australians visiting for less than 3 months. If you are a citizen of another E.U. country, you do not need a passport, only an identity card. Your passport must be valid for at least 6 months after the date you intend to leave the European Union. Make sure you check your passport expiry date at least 2 months prior to travel. Before traveling abroad it's a good idea to make two photocopies of your passport, driver's license and credit cards. Leave one copy at home with a friend or family member and another bring with you.
Time Zone: Thailand is 7 hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time. There's no daylight saving time in Thailand, so in the summer months, it's 12 hours ahead of New York. During the time we'll be visiting, when it's noon in Bangkok, it's midnight in New York and 9 p.m. in California.
Weather: Thailand has two seasons: the hot dry season and the hot wet season. If you're not living in the tropics, you'll find Thailand to be very hot and humid. The coolest months (though still hot by temperate climate standards) are December and January, while the hottest are March and April. The rainy months, from May to November, are very humid, though often-overcast skies provide relief from the sun during this time. In northern Thailand the seasons are clearly defined. Temperatures for June range from the mid 80's to the low 90's for day. Evenings are average high 70's with 6 hours of daylight.
Currency: The Thai currency is the baht (written B, Bt, Bht, or THB) and it is divided into 100 satang. 33.20 Thai Baht is around $1.00 Bank notes come in denominations of 20B, 50B, 100B, 500B, and 1,000B. Keep in mind that throughout Thailand, the baht will be the only acceptable currency, and foreign currency is not accepted for everyday transactions. ATM cash machines dispense cash in 100-, 500-, and 1,000-baht bills. Hotels and larger businesses in Thailand accept major credit cards. Many establishments add a 3% to 5% surcharge for payment by credit card. The best way to get cash in the local currency is from an ATM. Keep in mind that most banks impose a fee every time a card is used at another bank's ATM, and that fee can be higher for international transactions ($5 or more) so try and withdraw as few times as possible. Credit cards are accepted by most shops and restaurants however check with your credit card company regarding foreign exchange fees. You will also have a better chance making deals at local shops if paying with cash.
Electricity: All outlets, except in some luxury hotels, are 220 volts AC. Outlets have two flat-pronged or round-pronged holes, so you may need an adapter. If you use a 110-volt hair dryer, battery charger for a computer, bring a transformer and an adapter.
Taxes/VAT: Hotel restaurants add 8.25% government tax. Smaller hotels quote the price inclusive of these charges.
Health: Like many tropical destinations, Thailand poses some risks to travelers. Major tourist areas, such as Bangkok, Phuket, Ko Samui, and Chiang Mai, are malaria free, but you should check with your personal doctor as the situation may change in some regions. It is recommended that travelers have current immunizations for hepatitis A, polio, and tetanus. Thailand does not offer free medical treatment to visitors. Travelers from Canada and the United States must pay for medical services but will be reimbursed by their travel insurance if your purchased one. Occasionally, the change in diet can cause some minor diarrhea, so you might want to take along some anti-diarrhea medicine. The public drinking water in Thailand is not safe to drink, even in the major hotels. Bottled water will be provided throughout the trip, and most hotels also provide bottled water to use for brushing your teeth and drinking. Most restaurants serve bottled or boiled water and ice made from boiled water, but always ask to be sure.
Activity Level: During the tour, we will travel by private bus and air. At each stop we will be walking quite a bit. To be able to fully enjoy the tour and participate in scheduled activities, you need to be able to walk, at a leisurely pace, up to 3 or so miles on some days. You should be able to stand unassisted for up to 30 minutes at times during the tours. You will need be able to climb stairs, without any assistance. At times you will need manage your own luggage. This trip is pretty easy for the average person however if you can't or choose not to participate in certain activities this is at your own discretion. However it cannot affect the groups participation nor can any tours or activities or refunds be offered or changed due to an individual not being able or not wanting to participate.