A Customized Cultural Field Experience
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 overview of the country and an authentic understanding of the people, history and religion that make Thailand what it is today.
BANGKOK – History and Royalty
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. Then visit a small floating market for snacks/light lunch. Later in the day start exploring some of the ins and outs of Bangkok with a focus on Chinese markets and Chinese influence in Thailand.
Monday, March 13 – Cruise the klongs, Bangkok’s canals, on your way to discovering Thailand’s history. You’ll visit Wat Aroon and also learn about the importance of royalty in the country.
3 nights Bangkok
Mercure Siam Bangkok & Ibis Siam Bangkok
927 Rama I Rd, Wang Mai, Khet Pathum Wan, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
KRABI – Flora, Fauna and Natural Beauty
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, with over seventy square miles of forest. Discover three natural pools and go for a swim at Emerald Pool, a highlight for local Thai families. Then it’s on to your home for the next two nights on one of Thailand’s well-known beaches.
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
Sand Sea Resort
Railay Beach, 192 Moo 5, Saitai, Muang, Krabi 81000, Thailand
WIANG PA PAO – Village Life and Serving Others
Thursday, March 16 – Today you’ll make your way from far south in Thailand to the mountainous area of Wiang Pa Pao in the north. It’ll be a day for traveling, discussion and journaling before arriving at Jasper Kids, your home for the next three nights.
Friday, March 17 – Meet local teens from Jasper Kids, a well-respected Christian nonprofit benefitting local youth, and get a very hands-on look at village life.
Saturday, March 18 – Serve with other teens from Jasper Kids in an outreach to village children from surrounding areas. Serve others and learn from others as you serve alongside them as well.
3 nights in Wiang Pa Pao
Jasper Kids home
12 Mu 11 T, Tambon Wiang, Amphoe Wiang Pa Pao, Chang Wat Chiang Rai 57170, Thailand
CHIANG MAI – Culture and Religion
Sunday, March 19 – Experience a morning of worship with those from the village church. After lunch together, you’ll say one last goodbye to Jasper Kids before leaving for Chiang Mai. In the evening, visit Sunday Night Walking Street.
Monday, March 20 – 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. Then explore one of the local markets to learn about some of the different foods and flavors of Thailand.
Tuesday, March 21 – Elephants are a key symbol in Thai culture and today you’ll learn why. During this experience you’ll get a taste of what it is to care for elephants at a nearby sanctuary.
3 nights in Wiang Pa Pao
Marigold Lanna Hotel
15/29 Bumrung Buri Rd., Phra Singh Sub-district, Muang Chiang Mai, Thailand
Wednesday, March 22 – Experience how a local family might enjoy time together with friends at Sticky Waterfalls. After an early dinner, you’ll make the short flight to Bangkok for a full night’s sleep before leaving for home.
1 night Bangkok
At Residence Suvarnabhumi Hotel
458/4-8 Soi Lat Krabang 24/1, Lat Krabang, Bangkok 10520, Thailand
Thursday, March 23 – Morning flight home. Thanks to the time difference you’ll get back the same day you leave.
March 10-23, 2023
Cultural Field Experience
Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Wiang Pa Pao, southern beaches
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.
- 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). And take care not to step over anyone.
- The top of the head is considered to be sacred. So don’t pat/touch anyone on the head, including children.
- It’s very common for people to ask your age or weight. If you’re uncomfortable answering, just make light of it. One middle-aged woman was asked her age and she said with a smile, “Twenty-seven.”
Thai people hold Thai royalty in high esteem. So much so that it’s against the law to show disrespect by speaking ill of them in any way. It’s best not to ask specific personal questions about royalty. Just watch and learn. Respect for royalty carries over even to how money is handled. Many of the coins, for example, are imprinted with a picture of the former king. If one of the coins falls to the ground, show respect by picking it up promptly.
Health: 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 –krup or khrap 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.
The group will also be visiting the beach in Krabi.
Luggage allowance: Make sure your suitcase weighs no more than 20 kilos (44 pounds). While Delta may allow for more than that, air carriers within Thailand will not.
Masks: Masks aren’t required anywhere in Thailand. You’ll need to use a mask though when in transit from Seoul-Bangkok or Bangkok-Seoul and while in the Seoul (ICN) airport.
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. They’ll also need closed toe shoes. Shorts should be mid-thigh or longer. Guys, sorry no basketball shorts are allowed.
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)
☐ 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)
☐ Shoes, sandals, and one pair of walking or hiking/walking shoes.
☐ Small umbrella
☐ Travel size hand sanitizer, sunscreen, shampoo, soap
☐ Camera and/or phone and power cord
☐ Travel comfort items (ear plugs, eye mask, small neck support pillow)
☐ Mosquito repellant (we recommend picardin which you can get at REI, repellant wipes or small 3 oz aerosol)
☐ Any medication
☐ Bible, books, kindle
☐ TSA lock for your suitcase and key (you can get this at Target or any travel store)
☐ Some people bring familiar snacks from home: granola bars, nuts, etc.
☐ Small backpack or daypack for going out during the day
☐ Small travel towel, often made from microfiber these can be found on Amazon or at REI
Please note if any container with liquids is larger than 3 oz, you’ll need to check your bag. Liquids in 3 oz containers that are in a carry on should be stored in a ziplock bag.
Accommodations may or may 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.
Since everyone will want cash at the beginning of the trip, you can exchange dollars with the Niteo guide that first day in Bangkok. As mentioned above, please bring clean, crisp bills, no bent corners, and in denominations of $50 or above.
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.
As tempting as it might be, if you’re visiting a place with pets or livestock, please admire without touching. Animals will likely not have any vaccinations.
Time Zone: Time zone in Thailand (ICT) is currently 13 hours ahead of Minnesota’s CST.
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 guideline for this trip consider $6 per student per day for the guide. This can be given directly to the main guide, Noot, 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, email@example.com
Joel Johnson, Minnehaha Academy, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jing Li, email@example.com