ThailandBangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Phuket, and the islands
Thailand’s historic sites, welcoming locals, lush jungles, famed beaches and amazing food make it one of our favorite destinations, oh and the elephants! Despite being Asia’s primary travel destination, Thailand’s cultural integrity remains largely undamaged. The people of Thailand are proud of the fact that they have managed to avoid colonization and maintain their rich cultural heritage. In stark contrast to the high rises of Bangkok, quaint fishing villages, rubber plantations, Buddhist temples and hill tribe villages with colorful locals wearing what they have for centuries, remain intact throughout the country. Thailand, The Land of Smiles, is a unique and fascinating destination for any family.
Some Of Our Favorite Places
As the capital and largest city in Thailand, Bangkok has some of the most amazing sites. Although it might be difficult to navigate via car during rush hour, it’s worth the effort. Remember tuk tuk is the name of the game in Bangkok! And given the time, here’s what you need to see: Wat Pho (The Temple of the Reclining Buddha), Wat Phra Kaew (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha), The Grand Palace, Wat Arun (The Temple of Dawn), Jim Thompson House, Wat Traimit (The Temple of the Golden Buddha), The Chao Phraya River and definitely take a trip out to Ayutthaya!
The largest and most culturally significant city in northern Thailand, was number 24 in Trip Advisor’s 2014 “25 Best Destinations in the World”. With easy access to the hill tribe villages in the north, rainforest hikes, several elephant camps, beautiful bike rides, and a growing emphasis on sustainability and eco-travel, Chiang Mai is an adventure seekers dream. More than that however, the cultural diversity of Chiang Mai is awe inspiring. There are 300 Buddhist temples, 16 mosques (identified from Chinese, Bengali, Pathan and Malay descent), two Sikh Temples and a Hindu temple, all within the city limits. Two of the most famous Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai are Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep (which dates from 1383 and is the city’s most famous landmark) and Wat Chiang Man (the oldest temple in Chiang Mai that dates from the 13th century). A must see is the famous Night Bazaar where vendors form a gauntlet selling handicrafts, antiques, clothing, ceramics, food and more — for miles! Chiang Mai is truly a cultural and adventure mecca!
Thailand has over 5,000 miles of coastline just waiting to be explored! Travel by long tailed boat, sea kayak, ferry or swim but let us help you discover these magical islands! The spectacular limestone karsts of Phang Nga Bay; beautiful, albeit bustling, Phuket; the white sand beaches of Krabi; snorkeling off the coast of Ko Phi Phi – all of this magic in one place! How could it be?
Some Of Our Favorite Things to Do and See
The Reclining Buddha:
Wat Po, or the Temple of the Reclining Buddha, is a lively and lavish temple complex in the Phra Nakhom Disrict of Bangkok. This temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand, including the 46 meter long reclining Buddha. It is definitely a site to behold!
About an hour away from Bangkok sits the grand complex of Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand, founded in 1350. Once one of the wealthiest cities in the region, Ayutthaya’s gilded temples and treasure-laden palaces sparkled from miles away! Dozens of ruins, many of which have been at least partially restored, offer a tantalizing glimpse into Ayutthaya’s rich past.
Enjoy the day at a local Elephant camp in the Chiang Mai area. Visit and interact with elephants, help prepare their food and feed even learn to your elephant. Later in the day, you will practice using commands to ride and control your elephant. By the end of the day you will be able to take your elephant for a ride around the forest to visit a natural black mud spa where you can play in the mud with the elephants – it’s good for your skin and the elephants enjoy it immensely! After the mud bath you and your elephant will need a bath in the river! Clean your elephant and have fun swimming before returning to the elephant care center for a proper shower. This is an experience for the record books – do not miss out on this amazing opportunity!
Hiking in the Hill Tribe Villages:
Akha, Lisu, Hmong and Karen tribes are found throughout northern Thailand. You can spend one day or several, walking through the beautiful rainforests of northern Thailand to immerse yourself in the fascinating culture of numerous hill tribe villages. Experiencing their way of life will be a transformative adventure for everyone in your family!
Cooking class with a local family:
Visit the home of a local Lanna family and learn about their culture, their long held traditions and the architecture of their traditional Thai house and rice barn. Cook traditional recipes with authentic northern Thai flavors made with ingredients right from their garden. You will have the opportunity to spend the day with the family and be their guest for a fabulous meal – that you help cook!
A distinct feature of Phang Nga Bay in southern Thailand is the sheer limestone cliffs that jut vertically out of the emerald green water. Leave Phuket by boat then grab your sea kayak and paddle around and through the dramatic karst formations. The birds and wildlife are almost as stunning as the cliffs themselves. A spectacular way to spend your day!
Khao Sok National Park in southern Thailand is a place of wonder. It is covered by the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, with huge limestone mountains, deep valleys, breathtaking lakes, exciting caves, wildlife and birds galore! Situated between Phuket and Krabi, it is easily accessible and the perfect place for jungle trekking, canoeing or truck safaris. The accommodations are moderate but the experience is first rate!