Join Chef Heidi Fink in a Culinary and Culture Tour of Amazing Thailand! This tour is designed for you to experience the national cuisine of Thailand and the cultural traditions and history of this fascinating country. One of the most distinctive cuisines in the global gastronomy map, Thai cooking demonstrates intricacy and attention to texture, colour, and balance in its presentation, and embraces the use of ingredients which have medicinal value as well as good flavour. Traditional Thai cuisine has been heavily influenced by the neighbouring countries with whom it shares an ethnic history as well as the lingering imprint of Western missions, resulting in strong regional variations. You will start your exploration in Bangkok, which is equally famous for its cultural monuments as its vivid street life. You will sample both with a cooking class, market visits and tours of two of the most famous temples. Next, you head north to Ayutthaya, the former capital of Thailand and now home to some of the most magnificent ruins in SE Asia. Ayutthaya is steeped in centuries of art and culture of which cuisine plays a large part, so you will also enjoy a cooking class with a local chef on board a traditional teak barge while taking in the majestic views of this region. Moving north to Chiang Mai, you will experience the influences of Laos, Burma, Cambodia and Vietnam on northern Thai dishes. Chiang Mai is also home to over 300 different and distinctive Buddhist temples or Wats, including the iconic Doi Suthep which reigns above the city on a mountaintop. While food is the heart of Thai culture, you will also enjoy visits to many of these temples, as well as traditional villages and markets which will provide insight into the deep and fascinating history of this beautiful country. Few people visit Thailand without a desire to return often to the Land of Smiles.
November 12 - 22, 2020
Price per person land only $3,999 based on two sharing. Single supplement $799.00 Hold your space with a $600 non-refundable deposit. Not included: International airfare, travel insurance, personal expenses, and meals not mentioned in the itinerary.
Your Package Includes:
- Accommodation and meals as per the itinerary
- Tours mentioned in the program
- Multilingual tour guides
- Group arrival and departure transfers
- Domestic flights
To book contact:
Departures Travel 1889 Oak Bay Ave. Victoria BC V8R 1C6
105 – 2506 Beacon Ave. Sidney BC V8L 1Y2
Day 1: Thursday 12 November – Bangkok
Arrival and Day of Leisure. Explore the capital and most populous city in Thailand, renowned for its ornate shrines and vibrant street life. Visit the National Museum, which houses the largest collection of artifacts and Thai art in the country. There are many interesting things to see in the museum such as Chinese weapons, precious stones, puppets, clothing and textiles, and Khon masks. Wherever you go, stop to sample the unforgettable street food.
Day 2: Friday 13 November – Bangkok
Your first cooking class will be at Amita Thai Cooking, located on the Chao Praya River, whose arteries run through the old town. Chef Tam Piyawadi Jantrupon is the owner and instructor and will guide you through the preparation of many traditional dishes in her ancestral home, where she learned to cook from her Grandmother and Aunts (the original teachers of the cooking school). Many of the herbs, vegetables and fruit you will use are grown in her own garden.
After a rest at your hotel, you will embark on a 3-hour walking food tour exploring Bangkok’s famous street stalls in Bangkok’s Chinatown (called Yaowarat locally), a district full of traditional, culturally diverse food. (B,L,D)
Day 3: Saturday 14 November – Bangkok
You will enjoy a day of cooking at Blue Elephant Thai Cooking School. The day starts with a trip to Bang Rak morning market where the Chef will guide you in discovering a wide variety of fruits, vegetables and spices that will be used in your dishes. After a demonstration class, you will prepare your own culinary creations. You will cook 4 dishes which you will enjoy for your lunch after class.
The remainder of the day is free. Saturday is the perfect day to explore the world-famous Chatuchak Weekend Market. The biggest market in a country famous for them, it offers more than 15,000 stalls and 11,000 vendors whose goods you can peruse for every manner of item: food and drink, furniture, clothes, electronics, antiques, and even pets. It’s the perfect place to buy souvenirs and experience Thailand’s famous market culture. (B,L)
Day 4: Sunday 15 November – Bangkok
Your day will start with a half-day tour to the rural yet world-famous floating market of Damnoen Sadoak, situated around 100 kilometres west of Bangkok. The market consists of a maze of narrow canals (or khlongs) filled with food stalls and souvenir shops, both on land and mounted in sampans. Don’t forget your camera!
In the afternoon, you will visit Wat Phra Kaew and neighbouring Grand Palace. Also called the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Phra Kaew is regarded as the most sacred Buddhist temple in Thailand. The Grand Palace was the former residence of the Chakri Kings, consisting of over 100 brightly coloured buildings, golden spires and glittering mosaics that all date back to the foundation of Bangkok in 1782. Your day ends with a visit to Wat Pho and the famous Reclining Buddha. (B)
Day 5: Monday 16 November – Bangkok-Ayutthaya
After breakfast at your hotel, you will board a coach for the journey north to Ayutthaya, once the largest city in the world and the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam. Today, it’s a UNESCO Heritage Site world-famous for its magnificent ruins dating back to 1350. The tour will start at the Summer Palace of the late King Rama V, commonly known as “Bang Pa-In” and then continue through Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues. You will enjoy lunch within the Historical Park, which is located on an island between 3 scenic rivers. You will spend the night in a local hotel. (B,L)
Day 6: Tuesday 17 November – Ayutthaya
Today you will experience true Thai culture with the local people through the art of creating the delicious tastes and fragrances of their native cuisine. An experienced local chef will demonstrate the secrets behind 4-5 authentic Thai recipes so you can create your own Thai meals at home using ingredients easily found there.
After taking your freshly prepared meal onboard our exquisite converted traditional teak rice barge, you will enjoy a 1½-hour cruise along rural waterways from the village to Ayutthaya, taking in the incredible scenic views and the majestic city while you dine. (B,L)
Day 7: Wednesday 18 November – Ayutthaya-Bangkok-Chiang Mai
After returning to Bangkok, you will board a flight for Chiang Mai. Your afternoon is free to enjoy this vibrant city, one of the most popular destinations for seasoned travellers. Explore the old city, with its maze of streets teeming with exciting eateries, handicraft vendors and centuries-old temples. Don’t miss the stunningly reconstructed pagoda at Wat Chedi Luang or the intricate silver metalwork of Wat Sri Suphan. You can still see vestiges of the walls and moats around the periphery of the city.
In the evening, you will meet your guide for a tour of some of the city’s famous markets. You will start with a Foodie Tour at Chang Puak Market, where you will find delicious traditional Thai market dishes including soups, noodles, pork, seafood, and Thai desserts. Afterwards, you will continue to the Night Bazaar where your tour guide will navigate through the labyrinth of stalls peddling everything from fine antiques to souvenirs. (B,D)
Day 8: Thursday 19 November – Chiang Mai
Today you will experience a full day of cooking at a Lanna style school located in a countryside village just 15 minutes from the city of Chiang Mai. Your lessons will focus on Lanna style (Northern) dishes, Thai sweets, fruit-carving, and presentation. This school places a focus on using traditional ingredients that enhance your health and physical well-being. You will prepare 6 dishes: 4 mains, 1 dessert, and 1 snack. Your evening is free to enjoy Chiang Mai as you wish. (B,L)
Day 9: Friday 20 November – Chiang Mai
This morning’s tour is a great opportunity to go around some of the famous home industries of Sankampaeng, where a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts are made, including the production of the famous Thai silk, the colourful paper umbrellas, or the well-known celadon ceramics. You will be amazed when seeing some other craftsmen transforming teakwood into elegant furniture and delicate carvings using only very simple tools. Also fascinating to watch is the production of lacquerware, when even eggshells are used to achieve unusual designs. It’s easy to see why Chiang Mai is the main center for high-quality handicrafts in Thailand.
After lunch, you will travel to Mae Rim district to visit a hill-tribe village at Baan Tong Luang. Here you will pay a visit to the Karen, Lahu Shibala and Palong hill-tribes originating from Tibet, as well as the Long Neck people who migrated from Myanmar (Burma). The people of this village have kept their cultural traditions and customs alive, including the brass rings women wear around their necks as a tribal sign of their individual identity. These villages subsist from farming and sales of their handicrafts, in particular, beautiful handwoven textiles. (B,L)
Day 10: Saturday 21 November – Chiang Mai
Today you will enjoy a morning of temple visits! First, the iconic mountain temple Wat Doi Suthep, situated on a hill 1050m above the city and offering an incredible view of both the city and surrounding countryside. Then, Wat Chedi Luang, which contains an enormous pagoda, originally 280 feet high that was partially destroyed by an earthquake in 1545, and Wat Phrasingh, which contains the beautiful Lai Kham Chapel with exquisite wood carving and northern style murals. Finally, a trishaw (cycle rickshaw) will take you to the Muang Mai Market. Much of the food here has come straight from the farm and is sold directly by local farmers.
On your last evening in Thailand, you will head south out of Chiang Mai to Bandoo to visit the home of the Raunkaew-Yanon family, who arrived in the area possibly by elephant-back almost 150 years ago. They are a Lanna family, continuing the traditions of many generations in building their homes of teak wood and maintaining the natural surroundings in a manner now rarely seen in Chiang Mai. You will visit the family orchard, filled with many types of fruit such as banana, mango, and coconut, as well as the organic garden of herbs for cooking. You will have the opportunity to join in on the cooking of your meal with the family. (B,L)
Day 11: Sunday 22 November – Chiang Mai-Bangkok-Taipei-Canada
Following breakfast at your hotel, you will board your flights for home. (B)
Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.