For a detailed look at the 2015 trip, check out the 2015 Thailand Adventure blog
Fly to Chiang Mai Sunday the 14th or before. You can fly directly into Chiang Mai on Korean Airlines or you can fly into Bangkok and then hop a quick one hour local connecting flight to Chiang Mai.
We have a travel agent whom we work with named Christopher Wiengsukphaiboon. He is Thai but lives and works here in Chicago. He’s worked with people from our last three trips and he’s been very helpful. His number is 773-396-7046. You do not have to book with Christopher. It is just a suggestion as we have a good relationship with him and he takes care of our people. Blue Lotus does not financially benefit if you book with Christopher, he’s just a friend of the school.
We have a Thailand Adventure Facebook page for those who are have applied for the trip (we will accept you into the group once you submit your application) and you can communicate with each other about your travel plans. You can also reach out to those who have been with us on the trip before and ask questions, get advice and more.
Sunday, January 14
5:00 pm We will all gather at the guest house and go to dinner as a group. At dinner, we will have an orientation and get you all ready for the week ahead. After dinner, you will have the evening free to relax, go to the Sunday walking market (a huge market in Chiang Mai) and explore the city.
Monday – Friday, January 15-19
First week of study at Pichest’s during the day. You will have evenings free. We will be staying in the old city, filled with markets, temples, massage studios and many things to do and see. Some people may just want to rest in the evenings while others may want to explore. It’s up to you. We will help you navigate your way around the city which is pretty easy once you get the hang of it. We might also have an opportunity or two in the evenings such as going to a food market for dinner with our Thai friend Ji who will explain about the food in the market.
Saturday – Sunday, January 20-21
After an intense first week, we will give you the first Saturday off. You will be free to rest, visit temples, go to the hot springs, get some bodywork, lounge by a pool or do whatever you like. The second day we will take a trip to Chiang Dao. This is a sublime little village in the hills outside Chiang Mai located around the site of a powerful and ancient cave temple. We will explore the hills, the sacred monuments in the hills and the cave temple, accompanied by stories that give an historical context. One highlight is our silent walk up hundreds of steps in the jungle, to a stunning cave temple on hill overlooking the entire region.
Monday – Friday, January 22-January 26
Second week of study at Pichest’s place. For ideas on what study with Pichest is like, talk to Paul or any of the students who have gone on the Facebook page and they will give you the low down on what you can expect.
Saturday – Sunday, January 27-January 28
On Saturday we visit Felicity Joy to learn about sen meridians. Felicity is an Australian woman who has lived in Chiang Mai on and off for over 20 years. Not only is she an expert on Sen Meridians and Thai Abdominal Massage, she is also a font of knowledge about local people and places in Chiang Mai. On Sunday we take a hot herbal compress class as we learn all about Thai herbs and how to use them for therapeutic effect. Then we take a Thai cooking class in the evening.
This is when we take you even further off the beaten track. Together, we journey to places that we only know about from our own explorations and our friends who have spent a lot of time traveling and seeking out the hidden gems of northern Thailand. This week is subject to change as we make arrangements with our local healer friends and schedule around their availability.
Monday, January 29
We visit a local healer and Traditional Thai Doctor, Mor Noi, – Mor means doctor in Thai and Noi means little. Over the course of many years, she has developed the Traditional Thai Massage practice she learned into a deep and powerful form of energy work. She has much to teach us about expanding the practice. We will learn about her approach, her technique, and her philosophy on life and healing. She will show us how to do what she does.
Tuesday, January 30
We head to a temple outside of town to begin our two day silent meditation or vipassana.
Wednesday, January 31
We arrive back to Chiang Mai in the early evening after our two day Thai temple experience.
Thursday, February 1
We visit another local healer, Mor Ta, who lives in the countryside outside of Chiang Mai. His lineage comes all the way from Burma. His practice is quite vigorous, using thumbing to work energy lines of the body. This set of techniques is often called “jap sen.” He also grows and processes his own herbal formulas, and we will take a hot herbal steam and learn about how he approaches the practice.
Friday, February 2
Free day in the morning and afternoon. You can rest, explore the city, go shopping in some local markets for clothes, herbs, wood products, or get a luxurious spa treatment. Then, at around 6pm, we will get on the night train and head to Bangkok arriving around 6am.
Saturday February 3 and Sunday February 4
On Saturday and Sunday we will be in Bangkok, going to Wat Po, the first Thai massage school in Thailand. There, we will get a treatment at the school and explore the largest lying Buddha in the country, the places where the first four kings are buried and much more. We will go to the Royal Palace and get a greater sense of the history of this great nation. We will go to an amulet market where sacred images are bought and sold. And we will tour Wat Arun, a beautiful temple on the other side of the Chao Praya river.
Finally, on Sunday we will have our farewell dinner.
Note: The evening of the 4th (Sunday night) is the last evening that your room is covered as part of the trip. If you decide to stay longer, you will need to arrange and pay for additional nights. Most people will probably leave Bangkok on Monday the 13th (though if there are planes leaving BKK around 11pm or midnight, you may be able to do that)
Post Trip Thoughts
We suggest that if you can stay longer, do so. You will feel safe and comfortable traveling around the country by now and you will know enough Thai language to at least find a bathroom and not starve!
Perhaps you will still stay to study with a teacher. Or perhaps you will decide not to come back to the USA at all. If so, you would certainly not be the first!
Important note on potential itinerary changes
Thai people are fluid and roll with the changes. Often, as those who have traveled beyond the West may know, things do change, buses can be late, things don’t always run on time. We will do our best but we need you to be patient and understanding with changes that will inevitably take place. We also may find that the meditation retreat happens best on Monday and Tuesday and the visit to Mor Noi is better on Wednesday. It is essential that those who come on the trip recognize that things flow better when you try not to impose too much of your agenda on it. What we have provided for you is a general outline. But know this. . . This itinerary is subject to change.
The nice thing about Thailand is that if something that we were expecting to happen, doesn’t happen, usually something even better takes its place! Plus, we are leaving our itinerary somewhat loose so that we can be flexible and work with the universe as it presents itself at the time. We ask that you be flexible too.