Travel that Transforms Italy

A Customized Cultural Field Experience

 

Itinerary


Thailand is a beautiful country with so much to explore, encounter and embrace. You’ll travel to Bangkok, a busy metropolis, and Krabi with its sprawling beaches in the south. Then travel north to Chiang Mai, a well-known cultural city, and explore Wiang Pa Pao, a rural community. You’ll come away with an authentic understanding of the people, history and religion that make Thailand what it is today.

 

Southern Thailand
BANGKOK
Friday, March 10 – On your way to Thailand!

 

Saturday, March 11 – After transferring through Seoul, you’ll arrive late evening in Bangkok.

 

Sunday, March 12 – Worship with those from an international church. After a typical Thai lunch, start exploring some of the ins and outs of Bangkok, including the Chinese markets and more.

 

Monday, March 13 – Visit the floating markets. Cruise the klongs, Bangkok’s waterways, on your way to discovering more of Bangkok’s history.

 

3 nights Bangkok

 

KRABI
Tuesday, March 14 – Fly south to Krabi on Thailand’s southwest coast. Take a light hike through the trails of Khao Nor Chu Chi Nature Reserve, over seventy square miles of forest and the Emerald Pool, a freshwater pool with emerald green water, a highlight for local Thai families.

 

Wednesday, March 15 – Today you’ll visit several islands for swimming and snorkeling and experience the white sand beaches Thailand is so proud of.

 

2 nights in Krabi

 

Northern Thailand
CHIANG MAI
Thursday, March 16 – After the short flight to Chiang Mai, climb three hundred steps to Doi Suthep, an iconic temple that overlooks the city. Your guide will give you an introduction to the role that religion plays in everyday life.

 

Friday, March 17 – Travel outside the city to Doi Inthanon National Park. Take a forest walk to the highest point in all Thailand and also the home of two stupas that honor some of Thai royalty.

 

Saturday, March 18 – Elephants are a key symbol in Thai culture and today you’ll learn why. During this all-day experience you’ll spend the day taking care of elephants.

 

3 nights in Chiang Mai

 

WIANG PA PAO
Sunday, March 19 – Early morning drive north just outside Wiang Pa Pao and go to church with local villagers. Interact with local teens before settling in at Jasper Kids, a well-respected Christian nonprofit benefitting local youth.

 

Monday, March 20 – Service experience and learn about local village life

 

Tuesday, March 21 – Service experience

 

3 nights in Wiang Pa Pao

 

BANGKOK
Wednesday, March 22 – Discover some of the flavors of Thailand after you’re back in Chiang Mai. Sample a couple of local specialties and learn about the area’s cuisine. Later in the day you’ll make the short flight to Bangkok for a good night’s sleep before leaving for home.

 

1 night Bangkok

 

Thursday, March 23 – Morning flight home. Thanks to the time difference you’ll get back the same day you leave.

Tour Length:

14 Days
March 10-23, 2023

Tour Type:

Cultural Field Experience

Location:

Thailand
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Wiang Pa Pao, southern beaches

Important Dates

 

11/15/22 – 2nd payment due to Minnehaha

12/01/22 – Schedule international travel clinic visit

12/15/22 – 3rd payment due to Minnehaha

01/15/22 – 4th payment due to Minnehaha

01/23/23 – Parent meeting 

02/15/23 – Final payment to Minnehaha

Here are a few helpful things to know as you prepare for your trip

 

Cell service: Check with your carrier before traveling to Thailand to see what international services are covered.

 

 

Cultural considerations

  • Thai people are generally quiet and very private. Have a great time—you will!—but just know that loud laughing and loud talking are out of place. 
  • Saving face is extremely important in Thailand. A person’s reputation is very important. If you criticize, complain, confront or even show irritation toward someone, you cause that person to lose face. If you compliment them, you cause them to save face. Never raise your voice to anyone. Someone who’s Thai will not disagree with you even if you are wrong about something because they will not point out your error. They don’t want you to lose face. Please extend them the same courtesy.
  • Use your full hand to point to someone rather than pointing with a finger.
  • As representatives of Buddhism, monks hold a special place in Thai society. As a woman, you can’t touch a monk or even hand them anything. If you happen to speak to or be near a monk, allow space between you. 
  • In general, try to give and receive things with both hands e.g. credit card, a plate of food, etc.
  • Don’t put your hands on your hips, touch someone on the shoulder, or cross your arms over your chest.
  • The bottom of the foot is considered to be unclean. Be careful not to touch anything or even point to something with the bottom of your foot or your toe. And don’t show the bottom of your foot (like you would do if you crossed your legs and had your foot up).
  • The top of the head is considered to be sacred. So don’t pat/touch anyone on the head, including children.

 

Healthy Eating/Drinking: Tap water isn’t for drinking so please use filtered or bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. Don’t use ice since it may have been made with unfiltered water. Fresh fruits, salad items and fresh vegetables often have been washed in unfiltered water so avoid eating these unless your guide indicates otherwise. In general avoid eating street foods.

 

Helpful phrases: Because Thailand is part of ASEAN (The Association of Southeast Asian Nations) students are required to take English classes in school. However many Thai don’t speak the language. So arm yourselves with these two phrases. They’ll go a long way towards building a rapport with those you meet. 

Sawadee ka* – The traditional form of greeting pairs this phrase with a slight bow, all while placing your hands palm to palm. 

Kap khun ka – This is a polite way of saying “thank you” and that everything—whether the meal at a restaurant or the service at a store—was much appreciated!

*If you’re a female, add –ka to the ending. Males add –krap to the end. The same is true for some other words.

 

Immunizations & Medications: Please check with your physician ahead of time about vaccines and medications. Your best resource is to visit an international travel clinic. These are regular clinics trained to work with people who travel internationally.

 

IMPORTANT: Please do this three months ahead of your departure. Some vaccinations may require time in between doses. (When you’re asked which areas in Thailand you’ll visit, let them know that you’ll primarily be in cities Chiang Mai, Bangkok, and Wiang Pa Pao.

 

Packing and how to dress: In Thailand dress is casual but somewhat conservative. While not all Thai women dress modestly, it’s expected that foreigners do. Sundresses and sleeveless tops are fine but absolutely no spaghetti straps, short shorts, short skirts are allowed. On a couple of occasions you may visit sites considered sacred and girls will need to cover their arms. 

 

For tips on how to pack light and efficiently, check out this detailed blog: “Pack Light, Travel Happy: A guide to traveling light” (https://niteotours.com/pack-light-travel-happy/)

 

Each person can bring one standard bag, 27x21x14. If at all possible, we suggest packing in 1 roller carry-on bag that can be carried on the plane along with a small backpack for in-flight items and electronics, etc. Rooms in Thailand are small and you’ll be moving from place to place several times.

 

Suggested packing list

☐ Passport and color copy of passport (consider also putting a copy on your phone)

☐ Extra passport pictures (you can get these at participating Walgreens)

☐  Shirts/blouses

☐  Socks

☐  Light sweater

☐  Comfortable pair of pants for travel (we don’t recommend bringing jeans)

☐  Casual pants and/or shorts (nothing higher than mid-thigh for women)

☐  Undergarments

☐ Shoes, sandals, and one pair of walking or hiking/walking shoes.

☐  Swimsuit

☐  Hat

☐  Sunglasses

☐  Small umbrella

☐  Travel size hand sanitizer, sunscreen, shampoo, soap

☐  Camera and/or phone and power cord

☐  Earphones

☐  Travel comfort items (ear plugs, eye mask, small neck support pillow)

☐  Cosmetics

☐  Mosquito repellant (we recommend picardin which you can get at REI)

☐  Any medication

☐  Bible, books, kindle

☐  TSA lock for your suitcase and key (you can get this at Target or any travel store)

☐  Electronics

☐ Adapter

☐  Convertor

☐  Some people bring familiar snacks from home: granola bars, nuts, etc.

☐  Small backpack or daypack for going out during the day

 

Guesthouses and hotels will not have a blow dryer or washcloths.

 

There will be a chance to wash clothes for a minimal fee once or twice during the trip.

 

Passport & visa: Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months following your scheduled return to the United States. The passport must have at least one blank page for an immigration  stamp. Visit your county center to apply for a passport. You can visit this website for specific questions: https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/passports.html

 

No visa is needed to enter Thailand for those holding a tourist passport. 

 

Paying for things in Thailand: Cash is definitely the best way to pay for any souvenirs or extra snacks you might want to buy. Bartering is expected in the markets.

 

In Thailand ATM’s are located through some of the larger cities. Just check with your bank on any bank fees. Another option is bringing USD to exchange for Thai bhat. Specifically bring $50 and $100 bills. Smaller bills will get a lower exchange rate and sometimes banks will not accept bills lower than $20. Bring bills that are crisp, new and have no bent corners or tears.

 

We highly recommend downloading the XE app so you don’t have to make mental conversions. 

 

Safety: Follow the safety instruction of your local guide. Stay in approved areas. Students must stay in groups of three or more.  Take a colored copy of your passport with you wherever you go; however, keep your actual passport in the hotel safe. Having a copy on your phone is a good idea too.

 

Time Zone: Time zone in Thailand (ICT) is 12 hours ahead of Minnesota’s CST, depending on the time of year. 

 

Tipping: The cost of your tour doesn’t include gratuities for your tour guide. She does a lot of behind the scenes work to make sure everything runs smoothly and everyone stays safe. And everything the guide makes goes to help community work in the region, so we strongly encourage tipping. As a general guide for this trip consider $6 per student per day for the guide. This can be given directly to the guide in dollars or Thai baht on the last day of the trip.

 

Voltage: Electricity is 220 volts. Most accommodations will have power and plug connections similar to the United States, but bring an adaptor since that won’t always be the case. You can check this site to find which adaptors you might need.

 

Weather: In Bangkok, expect highs around 94ºF and lows around 78ºF. In Chiang Mai, highs around 95ºF and lows around 68ºF. In Wiang Pa Pao, 91ºF and 63ºF. 

 

Important Contact Information:

Carol Garborg at Niteo Tours, carol@niteotours.com.

Joel Johnson, Minnehaha Academy, johnsonjoel@minnehahaacademy.net

Jing Li, lijing@minnehahaacademy.net

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