Fly to Chiang Mai on the Sunday the program starts or, if you want, you can fly a day or two before. You can fly directly into Chiang Mai or you can fly into Bangkok and then hop a quick one hour local connecting flight to Chiang Mai.
We have a 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.
For a detailed look at the 2015 trip, check out the 2015 Thailand Adventure blog Please note that currently, Thailand adventures will be based in Chiang Mai and do not include an excursion to Bangkok.
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.
Chiang Mai Gate Market – Make Offerings – Spend Day with Pichest and His Class
This first week is all about getting the lay of the land in Chiang Mai, meeting a bunch of teachers and traditional doctors, and getting massages. On Monday morning we will pick up and make offerings at Pichest’s studio altar. We will meet Pichest and spend much of the day hanging out at his studio, listening to his dharma talk, getting to know some of his students, and just basically getting a feel for his place. We will come back the following Monday to begin our two week study with him. In the evening, we might see some music or go to the night bazaar or whatever anyone is up for.
Temple Tour – Food Tour – Music
This day we will get to know the old city of Chiang Mai. We will visit a few amazing temples, sample some great street food, if people are up for it, head over to the jazz bar in the evening for some great music.
Doi Sutep Sunrise – Herbal Compress Class – Thai Cooking Class
We will wake before sunrise and take a bus ride up the mountain to Doi Sutep, the most famous temple in northern Thailand where we will watch the sunrise over the city. Then, later that morning we will do an herbal compress class and in the evening, we will do a cooking class.
Meet Traditional Doctors: Doctor Ta for massage and herbal steam – Doctor Noi for dinner
On this fun day we will head out of town to the country homes of Doctor Ta (Mor Ta) and Doctor Noi (Mor Noi). At Mor Ta’s, we will take herbal steams, get massages, eat lunch and learn about his style of practice. We might even share in some Ya Dong (Thai medicinal whiskey!) After that, we’ll head over to Mor Noi’s country house and she will cook us a wonderful dinner based on Thai medicinal principles.
Chinese Market Shopping – Sen Lines with Felicity Joy
In the morning, we will head over to Warorot market, the local Chinese market. There is a flower market, fruit market, home goods market and much more. It is a pretty amazing place. After that, we’ll head over to Felicity Joy’s home to hang with her for the afternoon and learn about sen lines. Felicity is a long time friend of Blue Lotus and has been living in Chiang Mai for over 20 years. She has much wisdom to share through her many years of experience.
You can rest, explore the city, go shopping in some local markets for clothes, herbs, wood products, or get a luxurious spa treatment. You can visit the Elephant Nature Park, go to the hot springs or the sticky waterfalls.
Chiang Dao Cave Tour – Local Herbal Market – Jungle Walk to Temple on a Hill – Hot Springs
Chiang Dao is a town north of Chiang Mai in the hills of northern Thailand. It is special pilgrimmage site for many Thai people who believe the area has a powerful spiritual energy. In the morning we’ll visit a cave temple (don’t worry, it doesn’t flood!). Then we’ll wander through a country herbal market. After that we’ll take a silent walk up over 500 steps throught the jungle to the most gorgeous temple ever on the hill overlooking the rolling hills. Finally, we’ll rest in a hot spring as we watch a lazy river go by.
Monday – Thursday
Study at Pichest’s – Evenings are free
First week of study at Pichest’s during the day. We are usually home by 5:30 and you will have evenings free. By this time, you will have a good sense of the city and what you might want to experience in the evenings. We have a number of restaurants that we love and will share with you including a Burmese restaurant and a fish restaurant. You may want to get some massages or hang out in an herbal sauna in the evenings as well. As they say in Thailand, “up to you!”.
One Day Meditation Retreat – Travel to Earth Home
On this day, we take a day off Pichest’s and go to Wat (Temple) Suan Dok and learn about Thai Buddhism and meditation. Then we go to Earth Home, a lovely nature-based retreat center a few hours north of Chiang Mai where we will spend two nights, eat food from their organic garden and practice some of what we learned so far in an outdoor space overlooking the hills of northern Thailand. We will meet the owner, Pee Tone Bai, an amazing person, and hang out with her horses, sheep and various other animals.
We continue resting, eating, and playing at Earth Home.
Earth Home – Free Day in Chiang Mai
After a leisurely morning at Earth Home, we will pack up and head back to Chiang Mai for a free day in the city. Don’t forget about the Sunday night walking market where you can buy many of your gifts to bring home if you wish.
Monday – Friday
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.
Free Day – Farewell Dinner Celebration
You can spend the day getting massages, wandering around the city, checking out things that you haven’t seen yet, going to markets, eating food or just resting. Then, in the evening, we will go to the Cultural Center to experience a Khantoke where we will watch traditional Thai dancing and eat northern Thai food. We will round out the trip in this lovely setting, sitting outside and hanging out together as a group on last time.
Hugs, goodbyes, putting your luggage on the taxi to the airport. If you wish to stay on Sunday evening or beyond, let us know so that we can reserve the room for you.
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 Ta 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.