TYW - Thailand Discovery Student Tour

TYW - Thailand Discovery Student Tour

Trip Highlights

  • Discover the vibrant markets and warm hospitality of Thailand
  • Learn to cook a traditional Thai meal
  • Learn about the history of Thailand by exploring ancient temples and monuments
  • Visit the rescued Elephants at Nature Park
  • Meet and provide a community service for residents of Northern Thailand
  • Relax and Enjoy the beach of Koh Samed

Trip Summary

Thailand is often referred to as the 'Land of Smiles' which encapsulates the warm hospitality of the Thai people. It is a land of contrasts from the modern and vibrant city of Bangkok, to the tranquil and cultural splendour of the Golden Triangle gateway citiy of Chiang Mai. This magnificent itinerary takes in the highlights of this fascinating country with its colourful local markets and culinary delicacies, devout Buddhism and beautiful temples, rich history and ancient ruins, natural treasures and traditional handicrafts, smaller laid-back towns with quiet lanes and striking Thai teak architecture, old style wooden shop fronts and colonial period merchant houses. There is also time to do some exploration on your own, be it joining the bustle of the Thai locals as they go about their daily life or tantalizing your palate with the gastronomic delights of the wonderful Thai cuisine.

Suitability

These adventure tours will often involve long journeys and rough roads. To enjoy these adventures we suggest reasonable fitness and health, a moderately active lifestyle and have a positive attitude.

Suggested preparation: Two or three times a week, we recommend you walk on undulating terrain for an hour or more, for at least 3 months prior to departure.

Itinerary

Today you begin your journey to Thailand.

Meals:  Nil

Upon your arrival, you will be met by your guide and escorted to your hotel by private bus. A debriefing on the days to follow will occur at the hotel. ***Depending on the flight arrival time, an activity or dinner will be planned. Overnight in Chiang Mai

Meals:  Nil

Today you will be introduced to the culture, history of the city on this insightful and spiritual Chiang Mai temple tour. Head to the centre of town with a local guide and visit Tapae Gate. Then hop on a pedal-powered trishaw to explore the old town. Visit the Three Kings Monument on the way to Wat Phra Singh, one of the city’s most revered temples, admire its ancient Buddha image and hear about its 700-year history. Then continue foot to Wat Chedi Luang, an impressive monument that once housed the country’s famed Emerald Buddha. Continue onwards to Chiang Mai’s silver making district and take a short drive to Wat Sri Suphan, a unique temple made from ornate silver. After having lunch we will seek out its most sacred Buddhist monuments. Then continue away from town and take a winding, uphill drive to Doi Suthep Mountain. Climb up the staircase of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, admiring the intricate Naga carvings along the way. Upon reaching the top, explore the 14th-century pagoda where local devotees come to pay homage and pray. Wander around the towering gilded stupa and take a moment to enjoy the views of Chiang Mai in the distance. Return down the mountain and continue along the spiritual trail to Wat Jed Yod. See how the architectural styles of Laos, India, China, and Lanna are blended together in this 14th- century temple. The final visit of the day is Wat Suan Dok. A 48-metre golden chedi marks this holy site which was built in the Sri Lankan style. Learn why Wat Suan Dok is popular with local Buddhists, discover its unique Buddha relic, and wander around the mausoleum where the ashes of Chiang Mai’s royal family are interred. Dinner is scheduled at Rak Tha Nam Riverside. Overnight in Chiang Mai

Meals:  B,L,D

Today is all about living a day in the life of a Thai. Firstly, it’s important to dress like a local, so don a pair of ‘fisherman’s pants’, the comfortable cotton trousers worn in rural villages in the north. Then venture out of the city centre to the local district of Hang Dong to meet Mr. Prapat and his family. The hosts will provide a warm welcome into their home. After meet and greets, explore the property of Mr. Prapat to encounter local architectural styles and uniquely traditional ways of life. There may be an opportunity to witness basket weaving, a handmade process that has remained unchanged for centuries. Next up is a visit to Mr. Prapat’s gardens to browse his vibrant array of vegetation. Select some fresh ingredients, grab an apron and head inside to begin the interactive cooking experience! The family will share their recipes and demonstrate the traditional techniques needed to prepare delicious northern Thai dishes. Share stories of food and family while cooking today’s lunch. Afterwards sit down with the family and dine on the tasty meal. The afternoon is free to explore the neighbourhood. Capture scenes of daily life and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere of this local area. Towards the end of the day, say farewell to Mr. Prapat and his family and return to Chiang Mai and enjoy a dinner at a local restaurant. Overnight in Chiang Mai

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning you will be transferred by private vehicle about one hour from Chiang Mai to the Sanpatong Farm. Over the next two days, you’ll work on your volunteering project. With an overnight stay at Sanpatong Farm stay you will be working on a series of projects that span over several local schools. One major focus for 2017 is 1) Installing small scale agricultural projects in local schools (vegetable gardens, greenhouses, plant nurseries, mushroom houses.) 2) Installing intelligent playgrounds (or component parts of them). We work closely with the community to identify what is most needed at the time of your visit, so the project could be something you will start and finish, or perhaps help work on. Overnight Sanpatong Farm

Meals:  B,L,D

We will finish the project today with a handover ceremony, certificates and thank you from the principle of the school. Celebratory dinner at Sanpatong before a transfer back to Chiang Mai (about one hour) for the night. Overnight Chiang Mai

Meals:  B,L,D

This morning depart from the hotel for a day at the Elephant Nature Park. Established in 1995, Elephant Nature Park aims to provide a sanctuary and rescue center for the Asian pachyderms. In the scenic Mae Taeng valley, Elephant Nature Park is one of the rare places in Thailand where elephants no longer work for humans. Throughout the day, learn about the problems elephants face in South East Asia, as well as the changes advocated by the park regarding their care, treatment, and training. Join the park’s volunteers to feed and bathe the elephants, an unforgettable day and a unique experience for any visitors to Thailand. (Visit park from 10 to 2). Enjoy a few hours of relaxation before we head out to explore Chiang Mai’s famous night bazaar. Sample a variety of local dishes before settling down somewhere for dinner while having a look at the local merchants selling their wares. Overnight Chiang Mai

Meals:  B,L,D

Enjoy the last free day in Chiang Mai to re-visit the beautiful temples or relax by the pool. Tonight, we head to Ayutthaya by night train at about 8:30pm. Overnight train from Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya: 631 km (9 hrs)

Meals:  B

Early morning today when we arrive Ayutthaya and see the sunrise while exploring the majestic royal mansions of Bang Pa In Summer Palace. Continue to Wat Nivet Thammmpravat, one of the most distinctive Buddhist temples with its remarkable Gothic style architecture and stained glass windows. Then relax on a leisurely long-tailed boat ride to Ayutthaya town. Before check in we will visit the beautiful, peaceful temple, Wat Chai Wattanaram among other highlights. For dinner, we take a private evening cruise around Ayutthaya on a converted rice barge taking in the incredible sites of the city at night while enjoying a sumptuous Thai dinner. Overnight in Ayutthaya. Transfer from hotel to Bang Pa In Summer Palace: 19.3 km (25 mins)

Meals:  L,D

After breakfast, we leave the historic Ayutthaya behind and head to the beautiful scenery of Kanchanaburi. The journey starts with the drive, where you will enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. The restaurant is situated near the famous bridge on the River Kwai, built by Allied prisoners of war during World War II. We'll visit all the sites here including the WWII Museum and the Thailand Burma Railway Centre. At this point choose to transfer directly to your accommodation for the evening or depart for Erawan Waterfall, a beautiful 7-tiered waterfall, located in Erawan National Park. To walk up to see each of the picturesque falls, it is best to bring good walking shoes. Also do remember to bring your swimming suit if you wish to swim in the fall’s natural pools. Overnight in Kanchanaburi Distance and journey time: Transfer from Ayutthaya to Kanchanaburi approximately 165km 2hours, 10 minutes Kanchanaburi to Erawan Waterfalls approx 1 hour Erawan Waterfall to Accommodation approx 1.5 hours

Meals:  B,L,D

After delicious breakfast you will be transported to Rayong in the comfort of a private, air conditioned minivan. Once at the coast, your guide will accompany you on the ferry to Koh Samed. After a successful check in, the guide will leave you to enjoy Koh Samed. The rest of the day is yours to relax at the beautiful beachfront location. Overnight at Koh Samed. Distance and journey time: Transfer from Kanchanburi to Koh Samed: 350 km (5 hrs )

Meals:  B

Day at Leisure. Your beachfront accommodation has everything you need to relax. Use this time to swim in the pool or snorkel the bay in the clear water to reveal a colorful underwater world of tropical marine life and hard coral just few hundred meters from the beach. The option is yours! Overnight Koh Samed

Meals:  B

Enjoy your last day on the island as we will return to Bangkok in the afternoon. We'll take the ferry back to the mainland and transfer by vehicle back to Bangkok. Overnight in Bangkok Distance and journey time: Transfer from Koh Samed to Bangkok: 171 km (2 hrs 55 mins)

Meals:  B

After breakfast at the hotel, head out for a full day of sightseeing in the City of Angels using exclusively public means of transportation. Take a boat transfer to the terminal station of Saphan Taksin on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. Continue by public boat to Tha Thien pier where we disembark to visit Wat Pho, the home of Thai massage and the reclining Buddha, in time to witness the morning chanting of the monks. Continue a short walk to the Grand Palace or jump on a Tuk Tuk. The Royal Grand Palace is the nation’s landmark and the most revered royal monument and host of the mysterious Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand. Appropriate dress is required (or can be rented on site). Stroll through the markets to try a taste of the local Thai Cuisine on the way to your lunch spot for the day at a local Thai Restaurant. After lunch experience an exhilarating boat ride along the bustling Chao Phraya River and the quiet Klong (canal) in a long-tail boat. Be taken back in time to a more traditional way of life, far removed from Bangkok’s modern skyscrapers. Visit the Royal Barge Museum to witness the beautiful barges used by the King on state occasions. And Wat Arun, the magnificent temple of Dawn with its 79-meter pagoda or ‘prang’, built in the Khmer style. Overnight in Bangkok.

Meals:  B,L

At the appropriate time, you will meet the guide and the driver at the hotel lobby for your transfer to the airport to catch your international flight back home. Have a great flight!

Meals:  B

What's Included

  • 12 breakfasts, 8 lunches and 7 dinners
  • comfortable hotels on a twin share or triple basis
  • farmstay accommodation
  • all transportation and transfers by private air conditioned vehicle as per itinerary
  • sightseeing and entry fees as listed in itinerary
  • Expert English speaking tour guide throughout
  • medical kit
  • Overnight second class sleeper train from Chiang Mar to Ayutthaya
  • Drinking water
  • Tips for drivers and porters

What's Not Included

  • international airfares and departure taxes
  • visa costs
  • travel Insurance (compulsory)
  • food, beverages and other sightseeing not mentioned in the itinerary
  • expenditure of a personal nature such as telephone calls, laundry and souvenirs
  • tips and gratuities for guides

Upcoming Travel Dates

 

AT A GLANCE

Duration:15 Days
Countries:Thailand
Starting Point:Bangkok
Grade:Introductory  Click for more information
Trip Code:SOG4610