Cultural Thailand

Vibrant and rich, the culture of Thailand is unlike no other. It’s not surprising since Thailand is the only country in its proximity which has never been colonized. The Thai people are devout Buddhists and there are reminders at every turn in the city of Bangkok adorned with its many golden temples or “wats”. City waterways or “klongs” are still an active part of daily life lending Bangkok the tile of the Venice of Asia. Visit a mountain famous for its coffee, Doi Mae Salong’s hill tribes, an elephant preserve at the Golden Triangle and take a speedboat to Ko Samet. Cultural Thailand takes you on a journey of Thai life at its best!

Day 1 – Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok where you will be met and driven to your hotel. Your accommodations while staying in Bangkok are at a luxury boutique hotel which is a refuge from the fast pace of city life. Relax your first day in Bangkok with a traditional Thai massage and herbal steam. Have a meditation class with an English speaking monk arranged prior to your arrival.

Day 2 – Bangkok
Multi-transport Adventure: Using multitudinous modes of transport: Skytrain, inner-city canal boat, three-wheeled tuk-tuk, motorcycle taxi and longtail river boat, you’ll experience more in a single day than most do in three. Step in stride with locals and hit the capital in style. Visit Erewan Shrine, Pratunam Market, Wat Saket, Wat Phra Kaew (Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha Temple), Wat Po (reclining buddha) and Little Bangkok, the canals. Enjoy an evening dinner at one of the tastiest Thai restaurants while co-founders of the land operations company for your trip give a brief orientation on Thai history, customs and culture.

Day 3 – Bangkok
Explore the inner workings of Wat Pho with a recognized guide book writer. During your visit you’ll receive a private blessing from the monks. Then head to the nearby Flower Market where you’ll not only see the bright flowers for sale but stroll back along walkways through the massive fresh food market. Next it’s across the Chao Phraya River to Bang Krachao, a green lung for Bangkok where no building can be taller than a coconut tree. Walk on elevated walkways above canals and see traditional life of yesteryear. A boat trip takes you through small canals then head back to your hotel for a Meditation Class with an English-speaking monk.

Day 4 – Bangkok/Chiang Rai
Transfer to the airport and fly to Chiang Rai, the kingdom’s northernmost province. Embark on a Northern Arts day taking in the white temple, Wat Rong Khun, Black House Temple/Museum, Baan Dum, a pottery village and end with dinner accompanied by a Thai painter who will talk about his work and take you to a local gallery.

Day 5 – Chiang Rai/Doi Chaang/Chiang Rai
Day trip out to Doi Chaang, a charming mountain where coffee has become a big crop that’s gaining international attention. We’ll stroll along coffee fields and have a full tour of the mountain and processing facilities from one of the company’s senior people. Back to Chiang Rai for the night

Day 6 – Chiang Rai/Doi Mae Salong
Today we head north by to the charming town of Doi Mae Salong. Home to Yunanese who fled southern China, the area is home to terraced tea fields and small hill tribe communities. We’ll hike through fields, visit villages and gain an appreciation for these wonderful people. Overnight at a nearby resort.

Day 7 – Doi Mae Salong
Take a short walk to a temple where monks raise horses and learn about their program for educating/caring for orphaned youth. From here you can hike up to Doi Tung (or ride by van), a Royal reforestation project recognized by the UN for their incredible success reforesting the mountains, weaning the people off opium, introducing other crops and improving their livelihood.

Day 8 – Doi Mae Salong/Golden Triangle
We travel north to the Golden Triangle where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar converge on the Mekong River. Visit the Hall of Opium, which tells the fascinating story which traces the drug’s global roots and its role in the region. In the late afternoon we learn about the plight of the elephants in Northern Thailand and see them bathe the elephants at the Anantara Resort and enjoy dinner with baby elephants.

Day 9 – Golden Triangle
In the morning participate in the ‘mahout program’ at the Anantara and afternoon boating on the Mekong. Explore the ruins at nearby Chiang Saen, then picnic on a sand island on the Mekong River under a marquee tent, feasting on northern Thai specialties.

Day 10 – Golden Triangle/Bangkok/Ko Samet
Morning mahout program, then transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok, transfer to a van and take a speedboat 3 hours south to Ko Samet, Thailand’s driest island – great for lazing the days away.

Day 11 – Ko Samet
The day is at leisure to explore as you wish.

Day 12 – Depart Ko Samet/Bangkok
Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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