The Itinerary




Los Angeles, June 17: On Friday evening we'll meet at LAX where we'll board our seventeen-hour flight to Bangkok.



Bangkok, June 19–21: Once known as the Venice of the East, Thailand's steamy capital is now the vibrant hub of Southeast Asian communications and commerce. Traveling by river taxi, we'll visit the opulent Grand Palace, the Temple of the Dawn, the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Po. On our second day, we'll leave the tourists and visit an AIDS hospice at the Human Development Centre in Klong Toey slum. In between, we'll chat in riverside restaurants, tune our ears to the music of spoken Thai, and generally practice the gentle art of sanook — the Thai word for fun. After two nights in Bangkok we'll board a sleeping car on the night train to Chiangmai.



Chiangmai, June 22–24: Surrounded by mountains and blessed with cool breezes, fine universities, and scores of ancient temples, 700 year-old Chiangmai still reigns as the seat of Northern Thai culture. Even the Royal Family maintains a summer palace here. Chiangmai natives are especially gracious and friendly and speak Thai with particularly clear diction. This provides the ideal setting for our group to begin speaking Thai. You will be encouraged to help each other order meals and to trade with the friendly shopkeepers.

We'll tour the countryside, ride elephants, and visit centuries-old temples where we'll discuss Buddhism with Thai monks. Over a long lunch with a renowned Thai historian, we'll discover the pleasures of Northern Thai cuisine as we explore some of the environmental and social issues confronting the kingdom today.

In the evenings we'll bargain at Chiangmai's famous night bazaar and take in some shows of traditional Thai music and dance. After two days in Chiangmai we'll travel six hours south to Uttaradit.



Uttaradit, June 25 –July 11: Fresh with the monsoon rains, the mighty Nan River glides through a lush valley of rice paddies and tropical fruit groves. Thirty miles upstream from the provincial capital of Uttaradit, a rambling brick and teakwood home overlooks the wide, sparkling river. Bougainvillea climb the verandah; longan, mango and banana trees shade the yard. This is Boosaba's family home, a favorite hangout for local kids, and now our home in Pah Leurat, where we'll unwind after busy days teaching in the village school, and enjoy the genial rhythms of Thai country life. We'll ride bicycles and water buffalo, play soccer and ta kraw, paddle canoes and swim in the river, and help our new friends plant rice.

During our stay in Pah Leurat we'll visit the nearby Lup Lae—a valley of legends, rare fruits and exquisite handmade fabrics. One memorable Saturday we'll join our Thai students on an excursion to the kingdom's original capital in Sukhothai where we'll picnic together among ancient ruins, towering Buddhas, and lotus-covered moats. On our final weekend in Pah Leurat we'll bid our friends a fond farewell with a sumptuous feast, karaoke and dancing.



Islands, July 12–15: From Uttaradit we'll travel south—by train and by wooden boat—to a pristine, uncharted island in the Gulf of Siam. We'll relax in our beachside bungalows, explore and snorkel and swim, while savoring this quiet time to assimilate all we have seen.



Bangkok, July 16 –17: From the islands we'll return to Bangkok. After a grand farewell dinner, and a final morning in the bustling capital city, we'll board an evening flight for the long trip home.


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