Sacred Sites and Mystical Places
Thailand is described by many travelers as the most exotic country on the planet. Nowhere else does an age old culture of tradition and rich heritage blend so well with the developments of the modern world, and where you find a people at peace with themselves.
This Voluntourism tour will experience every texture of the Thai culture with a Community-giving program. From ancient Buddhist Temples and monuments preserved from the past to riding elephants and river cruising in the Northern Hill Tribe country to strolling through local shops and markets.
Your Volunteer program will include working with Volunteers Without Borders, (a non-profit organization dedicated to the development of responsible SME based tourism), who invites us to join them on a 3-day introductory program in Chiang Mai that covers two great service learning experiences as well as a special volunteer program in Bangkok.
- Airfare to Thailand
- Inter-Thailand flights
- Other tour-related transportation in Thailand
- Round trip airport/hotel transfers, including luggage handling
- Accommodations in First Class hotels in Bangkok and
- Accommodations in Chiang Mai are in an eco-resort, a private home and a forest lodge
- Hotel service charges and taxes
- Daily breakfast
- Other meals as per itinerary
- All site entrance fees
- Pre-paid gratuities
- Fully escorted and guided by local Thai guides and escorts
Special Added Features
- A traditional village welcome ceremony in Chiang Mai
- Thai cooking lesson.
- Optional rural bicycle ride
- Stunning nature trail walk
- Overnight in a rustic lodge
- Get creative in a bamboo workshop
- Optional traditional Thai massage
- Farewell dinner
Volunteer Nurses/Doctor Program to provide
- Assessment of vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, respiration, temperature)
- Assessment heart and lung sounds
- Teaching healthy diets, diabetic &, hypertension prevention & dental health
- Vision and hearing assessments handouts
Day 1: Depart USA
Depart USA today for our connecting flights to Bangkok.
Day 2: En Route
We lose one day crossing the International dateline (which we gain back on our return).
Day 3: To Bangkok & Chiang Rai (D)
Upon arrival in Bangkok we will connect via a domestic flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival we will be met and transferred to our hotel. Welcome dinner this evening.
Day 4: In Chaing Rai (B/L)
An ancient town located on the bank of Mekong River, Chiang Saen once served as the main town before Chiang Rai was established as the capital in 1262. Visit Wat Phra That Chedi Luang, a temple built in early 13th Century. Stop at the House of Opium, a small museum exhibiting various tools used in the planting, harvesting and trade of the infamous plant. Also on display are ancient smoking pipes from the region. Continue to the Golden Triangle, the area is locally referred to as “Sop Ruak”, where the Mekong meets the Ruak River. This is where the borders of three countries, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand, come together. Continue to Mae Sai, the northernmost Thai town and on the border with Myanmar. Stroll through the shops and local markets. Return to Chiang Rai in the late afternoon, check-in in at our hotel and dinner on our own.
DAY 5: To Chiang Mai (B/L/D)
We start our tour with a visit to Doi Mae Salong Mae. This is home for remnants of the former Nationalist (Kuomintang) Chinese Army 93rd Division who moved from Burma to Thai territory in 1961, after the Communist Party under Mao Zedong consolidated its hold on China. Originally a military base biding its time for an attack back, funding its arms purchases with opium production — notorious warlord Khun Sa lived a few kilometers away in Ban Hin Taek. We also visit Ban Lorcha, where this program will give you a variety of experiences. We will visit an Akha village where the PDA and the Akha villagers have established a community-based tourism project. Before this project was implemented, the Akha villagers were like beggars within their own village because tour companies did not share the benefits from tourism with the villagers. PDA, in cooperation with the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA), changed this to allow the Akha villagers to become owners of tourism activities within their village. We then move to Thaton village some 18 miles away. This town which is in Chiang Mai province and is very close to the Burmese border. The Thaton temple on top of a hill overlooking the town sits almost at the border between Thailand and the Union of Myanmar. On a clear day, you could spot the Thai and Myanmar flag displayed prominently at border camps on the hills along the border. We will have lunch here at Thaton before driving overland to Chiang Mai and transfer to our Eco Resort for our overnight. In the evening depart by minibus for dinner at ‘Just Khao Soy’ where we experience the signature dish of northern Thai cuisine. Visit the nearby night bazaar before taking our minibus back to the Eco Resort.
DAY 6: In Chiang Mai (B/L/D)
After breakfast, we travel in a comfortable, air-conditioned minivan to the Sanpatong Home Stay located about 20 miles west of Chiang Mai city. Along the way, our guide will explain in detail the program for the day.
Arrive at Sanpatong Home Stay. Upon arrival, we will be warmly welcomed into the community by participating in the Baisee Su Kwuan ceremony. It is conducted by village elders and this ceremony represents the building of a relationship between the village community and guest, thus creating harmony between the individuals. After the ceremony, we will be escorted to our room at the Home. Later, we may want to explore the village on bicycle. Our guide will take us to places within the village to observe the daily lives of the local villagers. See the locals’ favorite café and enjoy the slower pace of life. Or simply relax.
Return to the Home for lunch and an afternoon siesta. Then meet local villagers with whom we will work with on their farms or rice fields. While we are working, we may have the chance to teach them simple English as well. Then pick up ingredients from the local farms for tonight’s dinner…and assist in preparing dinner which will be at the Home (Farm) Stay.
*Optional: Relax and have a traditional Thai massage after a long day working in the farms/fields.
Day 7: In Chiang Mai (B/L/D)
Breakfast at the Home. After breakfast, depart for Pao Sam Kha school in Mae On sub-district, located 3about 20 miles west of the city. Arrive at Pao Sam Kha School. This is the school volunteers teach English at and where will participate in volunteer programs organized by Volunteers Without Borders. Teach a class of students English in an interactive manner using songs and games. We will work to provide various medical assistance as needed in a pre-set program with local school administrators. Proceed to the Teen Tok Royal Project. Have a cup of freshly brewed coffee. The coffee beans are grown, harvested and grounded at the Royal Project. Our guide will explain in detail the purpose and aims of Teen Tok Royal Project, and how it has contributed to the development of the neighboring villages and communities. We then proceed to Pang Soong Lodge for lunch. After lunch, there will be an introductory talk about Pang Soong Lodge, its aim/purpose and how it contributes to the local community. Depart on the nature trail with a local guide. The nature trail is a hike through the stunning and lush Mae Lai forest to a high natural waterfall. We will assist the guide with biodiversity monitoring tasks – an important research component that contributes to the development of responsible tourism. Return to the Lodge for some rest before enjoying a special Thai dinner at the Lodge, followed by a campfire and conversation on today’s events.
*Optional: Enjoy a traditional Thai massage. Local women from the nearby villages well versed in the art of Thai massage will be at the Lodge, upon request.
Day 8:, To Mae Hong Son (B/L/D)
Early breakfast. we participate in the Ban Mae Lai Bamboo Workshop, or on a community forest project (trail repairs, etc.). Return to the Lodge for lunch and to freshen up before we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Mae Hong Song, the tiniest and most charming small hill town that has not disturbed an enduring sense of a lost world with its breathtaking mountain scenery. After checking into our hotel we will have a sightseeing tour that will visit 3 of the best known temples of Burmese origin, and where we will have an opportunity of making an offering to “wish fulfilling Buddha”. Dinner on your own.
Day 9:, In Mae Hong Son (B)
A day of leisurely touring this Shargri-La-like valley as we take a long-boat cruise along the Pai River. Then change to Elephant and vehicle transportation to reach the Padong Hilltribe. The Padongs are an ancient tribe and typify the very essence of the North. Time to explore before returning to our hotel and an afternoon to relax. Dinner on your own.
Day 10:, To Bangkok (B)
After a leisurely morning breakfast, we will depart for the airport and our connecting flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival, we are escorted to our reserved accommodations before participating in a special Volunteer program. For dinner, try one of the local charming restaurants followed by a visit to the night market for some great bargains.
Day 11: In Bangkok (B)
Our morning tour will be to the spectacular Grand Palace and the adjoining Wat Phra Keo Temple, home if the Kings of Siam. It is regarded as the most important temple in Thailand. Return to our hotel for a free afternoon of independent activities and SHOPPING. Dinner on our own at some of the great Bangkok restaurants.
Day 12: In Bangkok (B/D)
After breakfast, we board our coach for a ride to the floating market of Damnern Saduak where the boat people sell their wares from boat to boat. Return to Bangkok with a stop at Phra Pathorn Chedi, which is the tallest Buddhist monument in the world. Lunch at the Rose Garden before coming to your hotel to relax. This evening, we will have a farewell dinner on a floating rice barge.
Day 13: Depart for USA: (B)
Departure to the airport for our connecting flights back to the States. Same day arrival.
NOTE: This is a sample itinerary for group tour leaders.
It is a suggestion to assist teachers, religious leaders, organization heads, authors, speakers and other leaders who are planning a travel program for their group.