Our trip begins by flying into Thailand’s most populous city, Bangkok. Upon arrival, we will be welcomed by a local tour guide and driver and taken to the Hotel Mercure Bangkok Siam.
On our first full day in Thailand, we will be exploring some of the great temple complexes in Bangkok. We’ll start our day with a tuk tuk (three-wheeled taxi) ride to the Grand Palace, home of the Emerald Buddha Royal Temple. After lunch, we’ll head to Wat Pho, where you’ll find the most beautiful reclining Buddha image in the country. After our visit, you’ll have the option of going back to the Hotel Mercure, or stopping at the MBK shopping center.
Today, we’ll be starting a little bit earlier and head for Wat Thasung, Uthai Thani. This trip will involve a ride on a river ferry. Eventually, we will arrive at the temple and witness faithful Thai Buddhists paying respect to the remains of Luang Por Lue Sri Ling Dam, a pass away abbot whose body is kept in a glass coffin.
For lunch, we’ll be dining on a Sakrakrang river cruise, featuring lunch on wooden rice barge which reflects the lifestyle of the Uthai Thani people, who have always been linked with water. Water is used here to grow pandanus and for raising fish, particularly gourami, in floating baskets. This has become the main occupation of the province and has made it famous. After lunch, we will depart for the Sukhothai province.
Our final stop for the day is Sukhothai Historical park, a world heritage site titled by UNESCO in 1991. Sukhothai means the dawn of happiness, inspiring a unique reflection in Buddhist arts, creating intricate and graceful motif designs, exquisite sculptures and architectures. We’ll be staying the night at the Legendha Sukhothai Hotel.
Our day begins with a visit to Wat Phra That Lampang Luang (Unseen Thailand), where we will witness the stunning reflection of a holy and resplendent stupa passing through a small hole in a wooden wall of a centuries-old vihara. It falls on a white piece of cloth placed within this building that houses a Buddha image for people to visit to pay respect and give offerings.
After lunch, we will depart for Lampang, where we will take a horse carriage tour around the city, eat dinner at Riverside Restaurant and stay overnight at Wienglakor, Lampang.
Today we head for Baan Mae Kam Pong, where we will enjoy tea and Arabica farm visits together with a village walk and visit some nice coffee shops. After lunch with the villagers, we will depart for Chiang Mai where we will be staying at the Empress Chiang Mai Hotel.
After breakfast, we will visit the Elephant Nature Park, a natural home and sanctuary for elephants, buffalos, dogs, cats, birds and other rescued animals. You’ll have the opportunity to watch the elephants bathe in the river and even feed them! For dinner, we will enjoy a nice meal at Rak Tha Nam restaurant, and then stay once again in the Empress Chiang Mai.
We will begin our day by transferring from the hotel to the Hongnual Cooking Home and School, and head to a local market to pick up fresh ingredients. After we eat the lunch that we make for ourselves, we will begin heading to Chiang Rai, where we will stay overnight at the Wiang Inn Hotel.
Today, we will visit Mae Fah Luang University. MFU was established as an autonomous public university, under the Royal Charter, in 1998, with generous support from the Royal Thai Government. The University was established to meet the needs of people in the north of Thailand, and to commemorate the gracious contributions of the King’s Mother, Her Royal Highness Princess Srinagarindra, lovingly known to her subjects as “Mae Fah Luang.”
In the afternoon, you’ll choose between visiting a Doi Tung coffee and macadamia plantation or the Doi Tung Cottage Industry Center. Later, we’ll visit the Doi Tung Royal Villa, the Hall of Inspiration, and finish the day with some shopping at the Doi Tung Lifestyle Shop and local market before turning in at the Doi Tung Lodge.
Note: Today we will also be doing an optional Doi Tung Tree Top Walk for 150 baht per person.
We will begin our day by visiting the Doi Chang Moob Military Base, followed by a visit to the Mae Fah Luang Arboretum at Doi Chang Moob. Situated on the peak of Nang Nawn Range, the Chang Moob area is 1,500 meters above sea level. It has a cool climate year-round which makes it suitable for opium cultivation. It was once the largest opium growing area and a major drug trafficking route in the region.
After lunch, we will depart for the Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park, the first flagship project of the Mae Fah Luang Foundation. Our day ends with dinner and checking into the Wiang Inn Hotel.
After a morning flight from Chiang Rai back to Bangkok, we will travel by van to the Koh Talu Island Resort, where we will surround ourselves the sun, the sand, and the sea.
We will spend the day relaxing and enjoying more time with the sun, sand, snorkeling, Hwaksbill sea turtles nursery, and coral planting.
Today we say goodbye to Thailand and fly out of Suvarnabhumi airport.
→ Experience the Wat Pho Buddhist temple and the reclining Buddha
→ Cruise around Bangkok like a local in a Tuk Tuk (three-wheeled taxi)
→ Enjoy exquisite sculptures and architectures at Sukhothai Historial Park
→ Feed the elephants at Elephant Nature Park
→ Beaches, beaches, and more beaches!
→ Save the sea turtles and conserve coral reefs
→ Snorkel in the Hwaksbill Sea
$350 of every trip will be donated to the Brighter Thailand project to provide a partial scholarship to MU students participating in the International Service Learning/Civic Leaders Internship course.
The purpose of The Thaiger Fund is to provide partial scholarship for MU students who will enroll in International Service Learning/Civic Leaders Internship course.
As part of their service learning project, each year students will travel to Thailand for three weeks to help facilitate the Brighter Thailand’s Global Youth Leadership Camps. In partnership with Brighter Thailand, the program operates camps exclusively in Thailand.
The MU students will be assisting with and facilitating activities in global youth leadership camps – focused on global and civic engagement for Thai youth. We expect that the students would gain extensive experience in facilitating youth leadership activities; inter-cultural competencies; cooperation with diverse populations – ranging from professional Peace Corps volunteers to Thai university students to Thai elementary school students; and increased confidence and professional development.
The founder and team has started the Brighter Thailand project since 2009, and have had organizational volunteers at the proposed locations at varying times from 2009-2012. We currently partner with Peace Corps volunteers to manage our locations, as well as our local program coordinator one of whom is present at each camp Brighter Thailand runs. By working in more rural areas in Thailand, the students will gain a deeper understanding of Thai culture outside of a tourist context. They will understand more about the educational structure in Thailand and the people’s value system. And, by working with volunteers from both American and Thai backgrounds, they will be able to identify educational and management strategies that can work across cultures.
Our program should appeal to students in several different majors of study – international business, public administration, education and youth development. The type of student that would benefit from this and be an asset to the program will be a student who likes working with youth and is highly motivated, compassionate, open-minded, and who enjoys cross-cultural exchanges.