January 12 - 14: BANGKOK
Accommodation: Shanti Lodge
Quaint and funky guesthouse located on the Chao Phraya River - just a short water-taxi ride away from Bangkok's famous Khaosan Road - simple, decorative double and triple occupancy rooms - hot showers - A/C - wonderful restaurant with a welcoming "Buddha Lounge" vibe, serving a variety of Thai and western fare - laundry service available - local souvenirs and clothing for sale in the store - internet cafe - WiFi available - 7/11, pharmacy, local food and flower market and banks within a two minute walk.
Activities: Orientation, visit the night market, the Grand Palace, get a massage at the famous Wat Pho, take the overnight train to Chiang Mai
January 14-18: BAAN MAI, MAE RIM
Accommodation: International Women's Partnership for Peace and Justice A lovingly built adobe home in a small rural Thai village - simple, but comfortable double and triple occupancy rooms - hot showers - delicious, healthy vegetarian meals - picturesque views from the classroom - laundry service available - local handicrafts and items for sale in the store.
Activities: "Engaged Buddhism" 4-day silent meditation and yoga retreat. We will discuss foundational Buddhist teachings and practice sitting and walking meditation, and yoga, in an effort to cultivate a personal understanding and connection to the ancient origins of Thai Yoga Massage, and find ways to engage this wisdom "off the mat.
January 18-20: MAE TAENG
Accommodation: Pun Pun Organic Farm, Sustainable Living Learning Center Primitive but cozy adobe and bamboo structures with stunning views of the peaceful valley below- single and double occupancy rooms and huts - composting toilets - fabulous organic Thai-fusion meals - Thai-style outdoor showers - community cafe with specialty drinks and local handicrafts for sale.
Activities: Learn about organic farming, seed saving, alternative healing, and earthen building in an effort to understand and appreciate the ways in which the traditional Thai life-style can positively influence individual, community and global health. Daily yoga and meditation practice will continue.
January 20-30: CHIANG MAI
Accommodation: Manee House
Friendly guesthouse located in the heart of the Old City - simple double occupancy rooms - hot showers - laundry service available - pool - WiFi available.
Activities: Orientation, a 30-hour Thai Yoga Massage course (details below), a day of volunteering with rescued elephants at the Elephant nature Park, an optional excursion to the world renowned craft centers.
This journey will officially begin at 12:00 noon on January 12th at the Shanti Lodge in Bangkok, and will end at 9:00 AM on January 30th at the Manee House in Chiang Mai. Participants are encouraged to arrive in Bangkok on or before January 11th.
Getting to Bangkok, Thailand: Please make your own travel arrangements to Bangkok's Suvarnabumi Airport (BKK). It is wise to plan on arriving a day before our journey together begins so that you have time to adjust to the time difference. This is the best time, and therefore, most popular time to visit Thailand, so please reserve your flight early. We suggest looking for deals on the following websites:
Getting to the Shanti Lodge: From the Suvarnabumi Airport in Bangkok (BKK), we suggest that you follow the signs to the Public Taxi stand (downstairs) and give them a copy of a map which can be printed from the Shanti Lodge website: http://www.shantilodge.com/ A taxi ride from Suvarnabumi Airport to the Shanti Lodge should take between 45-60 minutes, and with tolls, should cost under 500 Baht ($15). Transfers to/from the airport are NOT included in the package price.
Shanti Lodge Reservations: Because participant travel plans very greatly (people will be arriving from different countries of origin on different dates and at all hours of the night), we ask that you make you own room reservations at the Shanti Lodge from the night that you arrive until check out on the 13th. Integral Travel will pick up the tab for night of the 12th, but participants will be required to cover any additional nights.
Returning to Bangkok: Experience has shown that by the end of our journey together, participants have come to LOVE Thailand and feel quite comfortable navigating it on their own; so not surprisingly, they don't want to leave. We recommend that if you have the opportunity to build a few extra days or weeks into your itinerary, DO IT! But if you must return to Bangkok right away, you have many options:
Train: Trains run very regularly between Chiang Mai and Bangkok and the trip takes around 12-14 hours. To see the schedule click the link below. http://www.seat61.com/Thailand.htm
Plane: Flights from Chiang Mai to Bangkok run very regularly and one-way fares are reasonably priced. The flight takes about one hour.
Thai Air Asia:http://www.airasia.com/
Bangkok Airways: http://www.bangkokair.com/
What should I pack?
Please bring: yoga mat, meditation shall, journal, pens, head-lamp, thin sleeping-bag liner, pack-towel, alarm clock, watch, conservative clothing (covered shoulders and legs) to wear during the meditation retreat and to visit the Wats (temples), comfortable clothing to practice yoga and Thai Yoga Massage, a warm layer (wool hat, socks, fleece) for cool nights and mornings in the mountains, sun-hat, sunglasses, day-pack or shoulder bag, bathing suit, sleepwear, sandals or flip-flops, walking shoes, toiletries, medications, camera.
Don't bring: anything fancy or valuable - you won't need it!
Will I have Internet and cell phone access?
Internet connection: Internet cafes are plentiful in Thailand so you won't have any trouble communicating with loved ones at home while we are in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, however; we will not have internet access during the meditation retreat or during our stay at Pun Pun.
Mobile Phones: If you have an unlocked mobile phone, we suggest that you bring it with you. It is very easy and inexpensive to buy a Thai SIM card and pay-as-you-go minutes at any 7/11. The public phones in Thailand are not very reliable or easy to use, so if you expect to call home during your time in Thailand, bringing your own unlocked phone is the easier and cheaper option.
Should I exchange money?
Money: The exchange rate is approximately 30 baht to 1 US dollar. ATM's are conveniently located everywhere in Bangkok and Chiang Mai and tend to offer a very good exchange rate. Most small shops, local markets and restaurants only take cash, but occasionally Visa and MasterCard are accepted at higher-end hotels and boutiques. PLEASE tell your bank and credit card companies the dates that you will be in Thailand to avoid having your accounts frozen due to "unexpected activity".
How much money should I bring?
Budget: This journey includes all of your accommodation, transportation, course fees and entrance fees from your arrival at the Shanti Lodge on January 14th through 9:00 AM on January 30th. Also included are meals during the meditation retreat and our stay at Pun Pun. We suggest that you budget about $500 to pay for laundry, internet, gifts, massage treatments, tips and non-program meals while we are in Bangkok and Chiang Mai.
Do I need a visa?
You must have a passport valid for at least 90 days following your departure from Thailand to enter the country. If you are an EU, Australian or American citizen you will receive a visa on arrival good for 30 days. If you are from another country or plan on staying in Thailand longer than 30-days please read about visa requirements and other important details at http://thailand.visahq.com/
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Trip Cost: $2985
Price includes: all of your accommodation, transportation, course fees, entrance fees and most meals from 12:00 noon on January 14th through 9:00 AM on January 30th.
Price does not include: transportation to/from Thailand, travel insurance (required), meals in Bangkok or Chiang Mai, tips, optional activities.
Go for IT!
If you still have questions or would like to speak to us more about this journey, ask here
. If you would like to register, pay a trip deposit, and secure your place on this amazing journey, click here.
Registration is limited to 12 travelers.