The itinerary for our December
10, 2016 - December 19, 2016 trip is as follows. While this itinerary will
give you an idea of what future trips might be like, this is a new version
of this trip and as we always do, we will continue to make adjustments to
ensure that our trips are very best up close animal encounters we can create.
As with all of our trips we work hard to make sure we include everything
we would want to experience on a trip in a new country. We hope you will
consider joining us on this adventure to get up close with tigers and elephants
For more information, to
ask questions about the up coming or future trips, or to sign up, please
10, 2016: Arrival day in Bangkok. We'll meet you at the airport (or our driver
will) and transfer you to the Royal Menam River Hotel on the bank of
the Chao Phraya River. We love the view from the rooms and the splendiferous
breakfast buffet at this hotel. This hotel has an excellent location
close to the bustling downtown area of Bangkok, but not in the middle
of all the noise and confusion. A quick 5 or 10 minute ferry boat ride
easily places you at Khao San Road, backpacker Central in Thailand.
Bars, restaurants and loads of shops abound in this really busy section
of Bangkok. Tonight we plan to meet for dinner at a nearby outdoor seafood
restaurant that is a very nice introduction to authentic Thai seafood.
Owned by a famous Thai actress whose specialty is dubbing foreign films
into the Thai language, even royalty is said to frequent this restaurant.
Sometimes people arrive late. We will make certain your room is available
and leave instructions for the morning of December 11.
December 11 This morning you begin an all day tour of some interesting highlights
in Bangkok. First you will visit the Grand Palace, a truly amazing palace
that is still used for many official functions and is the official home
of the World's richest King. From there you'll visit Wat Pho, known
throughout the world as a teaching center for Thai massage and the home
of the reclining Buddha. Then on to Wat Arun an ancient temple. Sometime
along the way today we should enjoy a canal tour of some of the waterways
of Bangkok, which was once called the Venice of Asia. (B& L)
December 12: Today we leave Bangkok proper to visit the well known floating market.
This is not as much a local working market as in the past, but just
as many Thai people visit here as do foreign visitors, because it is
such an interesting venue. You will enjoy a slow and relaxing ride along
the canal that is lined with both floating and shore side vendors stalls.
A tiny Thai woman will most likely be your paddle boat driver as she
pulls you along the waterway. You can buy fruit, candy, scores of exotic
spices and a lot of street food from the floating vendors. Or just sit
and enjoy the sights. Next we travel a short distance to visit an elephant
camp where the elephants love to bathe and swim with us in the River
Kwai. The afternoon we return to the Royal Menam where we will meet
for dinner together. (B)
December 13: We leave Bangkok and fly to the city of Sukhothai, the ancient Thai
capital city to enjoy an afternoon bike tour of some of the ancient
ruins. Some of these have been restored, while others have been left
alone, just the jungle and forest cleared away. This town is another
Thai tourist destination with not so many foreign visitors. In Sukhothai
we stay the night at a Thai style hotel that was awarded special recognition
as the best Thai style hotel in the province. (B)
December 14: Today we drive from Sukhothai to Chiang Mai. We travel through rural
northern Thailand giving you an opportunity to see how the average non-city
dweller lives and plays. Once settled in Chiang Mai in the late afternoon,
the group members will be on their own until we meet for dinner. Dinner
tonight is at the night market in one of several open air restaurants.
We will stay at a nice 4 star hotel near to the night market. Most likely
the Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel. (B)
15, 16, 17 & 18: For the next four days we have a busy and varied itinerary. Leaving
each day from the hotel after breakfast and returning in the early to
late afternoon. Activities will include a visit to a Karen hill tribe
village where the long bronze neck rings give the women elongated necks
thought to make them more beautiful in their culture. We will also likely
see some very big ear piercings, the like of which has suddenly become
a worldwide craze. Also on the action list for today is a leisurely
float trip down a small placid river on a bamboo raft. For the next
hour the world slows down as we float along a jungle lined stream. Along
with bamboo rafting we intend to make our first elephant camp visit.
We might end the day at the Do Suthep village and the Temple on the
Hill. The village was once the center of Thailand's opium growing region.
Funding from the Royal Foundation helped convert this village to tourism
and various cash crops that replaced the opium flowers. You can shoot
a handmade crossbow, dress up in authentic native clothing for some
photos or just wander around this large village and sample some delicious
local food. Chiang Mai is in the center of Southeast Asia's gemstone
region. We have a long relationship with a local gem merchant whose
small shop in the night market has unique and interesting offerings
from throughout Southeast Asia. The husband is the buyer. He travels
to the mines and buys rough gemstones and rocks to bring back to his
shop. His wife is the gem cutter and we sometimes find her at work in
their small shop. Chiang Mai is the location of Tiger Kingdom, where
we'll have our up close tiger encounter. We plan to stop and visit the Borsan umbrella making Village. The skilled
artists who paint designs on handmade paper umbrellas and fans will
also paint almost any scene on your camera, phone, laptop or shirt for
just a very small sum. If you're interested check out Keith's laptop
art and the golden elephant painted on the pop up flash of his Nikon.
Another interesting stop is the woodworking village where all sorts
of carvings, furniture and other wood art are on display. Also nearby
our hotel is a small bar street that features Muay Thai kick boxing.
If you ask Onanong she will gladly lead you there and explain the action
both in and outside of the boxing ring. We will also venture out to
the interesting and ancient Chiang Dao Cave Temple site in the morning.
19: Today is our travel back to the Bangkok Airport day and this ends the
organized tour segment. We will catch a flight from Chiang Mai directly
to the BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport. We don't know the time yet on those
flights, but we will try to arrive at BKK around 1 PM or earlier. This
tour itinerary includes breakfast each day at the hotel we are staying
in. Lunch and dinner are planned as group events, but with each member
paying for their own meals and drinks. This is to simplify how things
happen during each day. You each can choose to eat with the group or
to go off on your for a more private meal. List of hotels we plan to use The hotels may change due to availability
or other situation, but this list is indicative of the various styles
of hotel we will use. At Baja Jones we are drawn to hotels because of
location or style or some other special feature. Sometimes a location
is just very convenient for our tour plan. Mostly we look for interesting
and local style first. Frequently our hotels will not be star rated
by any large hotel rating institution. On this trip the Ramada Royal
Menam Riverside is in a terrific location and has always had a really
good breakfast buffet. The Ruean Thai Hotel is a traditional Thai style
hotel that is not star rated, but it did achieve special distinction
with a Trip Advisor award of Excellence. This only comes after many
5 star reviews attract a personal visit by a Trip Advisor staff member.
The Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel is a 4 star slightly older hotel and again
is in a really good location for you to find interesting things near
to the hotel. The village homestay lodge is new to us and so we will
all experience this for the first time. I enjoy every one of these hotels
and have stayed at each of them on numerous occasions.
information about this trip
(B, L, D) indicates which meals are
included. Drinks are only included as provided by the hotel buffet
breakfasts. Any other drinks are not included. This trip includes the air tickets from BKK to Sukhothai and from
Chiang Mai to BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport on the last day, no other air
fare. We reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as might become
necessary due to changing conditions. This might be road conditions,
weather, politics or some other situation that we feel requires a
change to the itinerary. We will always do our best to replace any
sightseeing or encounters with something as similar as possible. Please
note that the Tiger Temple is not on the itinerary. We will do our
tiger encounter at Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai.
copyright 2016-2017, Keith Jones
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