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How do I get there?
Fly into Chiang Mai International Airport airport (CNX) and out of Suvarnabhumi Bangkok (BKK) airport. All flights from the east coast of the US take approximately 20 hours of travel time, including layovers. One-stop round-trip airfare averages $1500 for an economy-class ticket. While each traveler is responsible for booking their own flights, we keep you up-to-date on flight prices and forward our suggested booking paths.
*DO NOT book your flight prior to contacting Pravassa to confirm the tour departure.
Check-in begins at 3pm on the start date of our tour. A designated arrival transfer is included in your package if you arrive within a set time window. Our program will begin on arrival day with a welcome introduction and movement session followed by dinner.
Group departure will be arranged with a flight from Krabi to Bangkok's BKK airport. Please book your return flight to depart after 3pm on our final day. We will confirm the departure transfers once travel plans have been submitted from the attendees. If you choose to arrive/depart outside of the set transfer times, we will be happy to help arrange your transportation for an additional fee.
*For those traveling from Atlanta to Thailand, international flight patterns give you the best route if you depart November 9th for arrival November 10th. If you choose this option, you can purchase an extra hotel night in Chiang Mai via Pravassa.
- Thai is the national language of Thailand and very hard to pronounce for Westerners. Many people will have a grasp of a little English so you can get by with this and lots of sign language. As a conscious traveler we suggest you download a translation app such as Google Translate and learn hello, good morning, please and thank you.
- The currency is the Thai Baht and at the current exchange rate is $1 US = 35.20 Baht. This number fluctuates, so download a currency app to your smartphone for on-the-go conversions. Cash is King for small purchases such as market finds, taxis, tips and dining in neighborhood restaurants, so be prepared. There is NO NEED to get Baht before you arrive in Thailand. At the airport and on every major street in Chiang Mai you'll find ATMs.
- Visa or Mastercard is accepted for larger purchases. Call your credit card companies before you leave home and inform them of your trip. There's nothing worse than being stuck overseas with no access to money!
- Here's a sample of what you expect to spend:
- Local Thai Massage - $15USD
- Local Lunch - $6USD
- Mango Lassi - $2USD
- Tipping is not common in Thailand. Taxis will round up fares and a few baht for extra, exceptional service is appreciated.
- Electricity in Thailand is 220V and outlets have either US plugs or the 2-Pin European outlets.
- Drinking bottled water is your best bet to stay healthy. It's cheap, available everywhere and you'll have some available in your room to use to brush your teeth.
- Chiang Mai is 12 hours ahead of EST and 15 hours ahead of PST.
- Taxes & Services charges are included in your Pravassa package for included activities.
All traveler's passports MUST be valid for 6 months after date of entry into Thailand. Please make sure to check your passport at least three months before your departure so you have time to update it if necessary. There are no Visas required for US Citizens staying less than 30-days.
For our trip we suggest packing a 12kg/25lb carry-on (we'll offer tips & tricks on how to do this!) as its less opportunity for lost luggage. You should pack an extra duffle for things you might buy as artwork, handicrafts and clothing are all available, and make for great gifts, in Chiang Mai. A full packing list will be sent in our exclusive Thailand Wellness Travel Guide, but to get started you'll need: Light weight clothing - some with sleeves for the temple, a yoga mat, yoga clothes, a bathing suit, ear plugs and a good pair of walking shoes!
Please keep in mind that this is your vacation and you have the freedom to skip any wellness activity that does not resonate with you.
Our #ChangedbyTravel hashtag is most appropriate when you find yourself far away from home in a foreign land. We feel this is when the most profound change happens within and changes how you to relate to the world. At times this can be equal parts frustrating and exhilarating. For our cultural tours (temple tours, Loy Krathong, elephant park) we ask that you wear good walking shoes and dress to respect the local culture - covering your shoulders and knees in the temples. All activities are for every fitness levels and will be adjusted to accommodate your needs.
YOGA & Wellness
All wellness workshops in Thailand will be held outdoors. Please note that Thailand is hot and humid so be prepared to practice in these conditions. Classes will be a mixture of yoga movement, meditation and discussion designed to stretch and stimulate your body and mind. Our guide, Lena Franklin will customize her instruction to every fitness level and with consideration to the day's activities. Not to worry, beginners are always welcome! Please note you will be required to travel with your own yoga mat as they will not be provided onsite. Contact us for our Manduka eKO superlite travel mat discount code.
Loy Krathong festival
On the full moon of the twelfth month in the Thai lunar calendar, Chiang Mai is illuminated. Loy Krathong is believed to be an ancient Brahmanic festival where people would make lanterns using candles and paper to honor the gods. Today, the festival has been modernized for Thai culture and pays respect to Lord Buddha. As you light your lantern to honor Buddha, you also send a wish for the coming year into the heavens or down the river to be carried by the gods into your future.
Pravassa has arranged some private celebrations such as creating our own Krathongs and hosting a private lantern release to celebrate. Additionally we will be happy to escort you through the city celebrations, which happen at various places throughout the three days. This is a once-in-a-lifetime invitation that promises a #ChangedbyTravel experience.
Health Concerns and Medical Emergencies
Pravassa will be purchasing medical/travel insurance on your behalf for this trip. Even if you're healthy, accidents can happen! The travel insurance covers things such trip delay, lost luggage, accidents and medical emergencies. There is no need for you to purchase additional insurance when booking your flight as if there were to be an issue you can only claim one policy.
Stomach problems can be common when traveling. Drinking bottled water is the best way to stay healthy. We suggest you pack activated charcoal and probiotics to keep your gut healthy and calm or as antidotes should it become upset. Pharmacies are readily available in Thailand should you need anything on the trip.
We will be visiting the tourist areas of Chiang Mai and Koh Lanta. While pickpocketing is prevalent in every city across the world, if you are aware of your surroundings you'll have nothing to worry about. We have never felt unsafe in these parts of Thailand, but we suggest using your intuition and walk in pairs if you feel uncomfortable.
Climate and Weather
Thailand is both hot and humid. Temperatures will be in the low 90's with high humidity during the day. It can feel even warmer when walking around in the hot sun. At night in the mountains of Chiang Mai it can cool down to the high 60's. It's best to pack loose cotton clothing, layers, lots of sunscreen and a hat so you stay comfortable throughout the tour.
What will I eat?
The food in Thailand is delicious! Think coconut, citrus, spices, fresh vegetables, rice noodles, and chilies. Bean sprouts, morning glory, eggplant, bamboo shoots and mushrooms combined with and spices, including lemongrass, mint, chili, garlic are all part of the mainstay diet - Yum! Fresh fruits and vegetables from the street are colorful, juicy, inexpensive and safe to eat.
For breakfast, we'll make sure you have a variety of healthy options and traditional foods to start your day. Fresh fruit, juices and coffee will be available every morning along with eggs and yogurt. Our dinners will be based on local cuisine and traditional recipes and will be mostly vegetarian with a few nights of chicken in the north and fish in the south. We can accommodate vegetarians, gluten-free allergies and other dietary concerns if we know about them in advance.
What is NOT included in the vacation price?
International airfare, alcohol, any additional activities such as day tours, car rental, spa treatments, and personal expenses, which are not included in the package price.
Cell Phone & Internet Service
Our hotels have complete Wifi access. We ask that you do not bring your phone to our group dinners so that we may enjoy a daily digital detox. To keep in contact with home, use social media or download phone calling apps such as Skype, Viber, or What's App.
What else can I do while in Thailand?
Temples and massage spas abound in Thailand - set off in any direction and you will not be disappointed. Market shopping in Chiang Mai is available daily both at the local market and the tourist night market, plus a special market held on Sunday nights. Each of our hotels has a pool you can cool off in should you want to remain on property.
How Shall I Prepare?
BOOKS TO READ
The Beach - Set in the Gulf of Thailand, this novel is one of our favorites as it weaves together a commentary on travel and discovery into a fast-paced adventure story.
Sightseeing - A collection of short stories set in contemporary Thailand that touch on romance, cultural norms and generational gaps.
A Chat to Soothe Wild Elephants - Part travel journal, part coming-of-age story, this memoir follow a Thai-American's journey through monkhood.
Movies TO WATCH
The Man with the Golden Gun - We won't visit all the islands glamorized in this 1974 Bond film, but it won't matter as the scenery is still spectacular.
The Impossible - This retelling of the 2004 Tsunami is heart-wrenching with an ultimately happy ending and worth the tears.