Thailand’s Best

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Thailand’s Best

Destination

Thailand

Current Grades

9th-12th

length

18 Days

view dates and prices
Airports

Arrive: Chiang Mai, Thailand (CNX)
Depart: Chiang Mai, Thailand (CNX)

Explore the bustling markets, sample local cuisine, swim in warm, clear waters, and marvel at ancient temples in Thailand! We’ll take a walking tour of Chiang Mai the first few days, including visiting the Grand Palace and local Buddhist temples. We’ll dive into local culture by partaking in a cooking class on a local farm and soaking in hot springs. We’ll scale limestone cliffs at Crazy Horse Buttress, visit gibbon and elephant sanctuaries, and scour the forest for secret jungle temples. We’ll snorkel in the emerald-green waters of the Andaman sea and give back by helping restore mangrove beaches. We’ll wrap up our trip with a tour of Thailand’s most famous islands and sights, including the Big Buddha!

 

Overview Image

Itinerary

Day 1-4: Cooking class and cultural immersion in Chiang Mai

Once Thailand’s capital and home to the Lan Na kingdom, adventurers flock to Chiang Mai for its colorful markets, hill tribe villages, and delicious food. Our first day, we’ll embark on an Amazing Race–style activity in Chiang Mai Old City, a famous square once enclosed by walls and moats for protection from enemies. We’ll sample khao soi (thick northern Thai noodles) and green curry, a local delight. Next is a cooking class on a farm, run by a local family who’s been teaching organic farming to the community for many decades. We’ll quite literally eat farm-to-table: We’ll gather our ingredients from the land in the morning and then make a delicious Thai meal that afternoon. A hike in the Mae On district will lead us to breathtaking views overlooking Chiang Mai; we’ll celebrate afterward with a soak in natural hot springs. A day with some hill tribe villagers will teach us basket-weaving, and we’ll explore the area’s famous rice fields!

Accommodation: Eco-resort

Day 5: Rock climb at Crazy Horse

Crazy Horse Buttress is known the world over for its soaring, black-streaked limestone cliffs, and so named for a large, equine-shaped feature. Our climbing instructors will teach us the ins and outs of knot-tying, belaying, and even the Tyrolean traverse, which will help us escape the heat as we explore the surrounding caves.

Accommodation: Hostel

Day 6-8: Visit Sticky Falls, an elephant sanctuary, and a hidden temple

Sticky Falls, or Bua Tong, is an incredibly unique waterfall. Though one normally thinks of sliding down cascades, a grippy mineral deposit allows us to climb up these falls! The cartoonish, surreal shape of the rock and the clear, mineral-spring waters are surrounded by lush forest. We’ll cool off in the pools at the base of the falls and keep our eyes peeled for colorful butterflies. The next day will be spent at the Elephant Nature Park, a rehabilitation center that’s home to elephants, dogs, cats, and even buffalo. We’ll get to feed and bathe elephants, and even help care for their habitats. This is one of the most exciting days of the trip! On our last day in Chiang Mai, we’ll take a morning hike to Wat Palad, a beautiful temple tucked away (i.e., hidden) in the forest. Stone carvings, small bridges, natural waterfalls, and statued monks can all be found around this peaceful, uncrowded Buddhist temple.

Accommodation: Homestay

 

Day 9-11: Snorkeling and community service around Koh Kood

It’s off to Thailand’s eastern island paradise on the Andaman Sea! We’ll spend a day traveling in a longtail boat and snorkeling in the clear, gentle waters of Koh Kood. You may see schools of batfish, turtles, stonefish, moray eels, stingrays, and more! We’ll relax on the soft, white-sand beaches under abundant palm tree shade. Next up is helping clean up the mangrove forests near Koh Kood. We’ll participate in beach conservation, weeding out invasive species, and planting new mangroves. We’ll also spend time learning about the dugong, a relative of the manatee, and keep our fingers crossed that we’ll spot one in the bay!

Accommodation: Homestay

Day 12-13: Floating Huts on Koh Sok

After getting our feet wet on some southern beaches, we travel north to the lake of Khao Sok. Like the southern beaches of Phuket, this lake is famous for its majestic karst mountains that jut out of the water as you travel past by boat. Making our way across the lake, we stop at our floating huts on the water to get settled for the evening. We will spend the rest of our time swimming in the lake, jumping off our bedroom decks straight into the water, and exploring the vast fingers of the lake in kayaks.

Day 14-16: Visit Phuket and Gibbon Monkey Sanctuary

After sampling authentic, fresh street food and watching entertaining street performers in Phuket’s night markets, we’ll visit the Gibbon Rehabilitation Project. We’ll spend the morning with one of the center’s animal caretakers to learn about the rescue and rehabilitation of these smaller tree-dwelling apes and give back by volunteering. We’d be remiss not to visit the 112-foot-tall Big Buddha (locally known as Phra Puttamingmongkol Akenakkiri Buddha), a revered landmark that offers sweeping 360-degree views of Phuket. We’ll spend several afternoons visiting Phuket’s most beautiful beaches!

Accommodation: Hotel

Day 17: Island hop in Phang Nga Bay

When one thinks of Thailand, white limestone karst cliffs rising sharply out of the water often come to mind. We’ll spend time cruising around famous landmarks in Phang Nga Bay like James Bond Island (so named for its appearance in The Man with the Golden Gun). Nearby is Koh Panyee, an entire village built over the water on stilts. We’ll visit quieter beaches as well, taking time to swim and snorkel in the emerald-green water.

Accommodation: Hotel

 

*Listed above is Bold Earth’s intended itinerary for this trip. All itineraries are subject to change in order to provide the best possible program quality.

Dates and Prices

Departure 1
  • Departure Day
    06/30/20
  • Return Day
    07/17/20
  • Grade
    9–12
  • Price
    $5,688
  • Availability
    Open
Departure 2
  • Departure Day
    07/20/20
  • Return Day
    08/06/20
  • Grade
    9–12
  • Price
    $5,688
  • Availability
    Open
Departure Day Return Day Grade Price Availability
06/30/20
07/17/20
9–12
$5,688
open
07/20/20
08/06/20
9–12
$5,688
open

Accommodations & Service

Community Service: Approximately 10-15 Hours
  • Local School: Work on humanitarian projects and teaching English to students.
  • Environmental Service: Working with animal rehabilitation sanctuaries.
Accommodations:
  • 10 nights staying at an eco-resort.
  • 3 nights in the hill tribe village.
  • 4 nights of private beach hostels.

Community service: 10-15 hours

Cooking class

Hiking

Rock climbing

Sightseeing

Wildlife sanctuaries

Reviews

Clare, student from Trumbull, CT

The best part of my Thailand trip was that I made such good friends… I’m talking lifelong friends. We had the best food ever with our family homestay. I saw a lot of really neat things and went to a lot of places I really enjoyed. I can’t wait to go back!

Barbara Molnar, parent from Fort Myers, FL

The Thailand trip was an unqualified success! The communication from the trip leader was excellent. He kept us up to date and informed. He seemed to really enjoy the kids and their adventures. Alison had a wonderful time and made friends she still keeps in touch with. I know that the bonds and memories made will last a long time. Your organization is top-notch. We are thankful we found Bold Earth.

Ryley, student from Weston, MA

This was the most unbelievable experience ever. I met friends that I’ll keep in touch with forever, including the trip leaders. Every minute of the trip was fun, even downtime. I miss every second of it. I’m definitely going to do another Bold Earth trip. I want to thank my trip leader Dan, who made me a better person in just two weeks.

Robin Fox, parent from Aspen, CO

I met both trip leaders in Bangkok when I dropped off Lauren off. I couldn’t have been happier with them; they seemed great. When my daughter came home, she talked nonstop about how amazing they both were.