January 27 – February 12/2023
Exotic Thailand and Laos
Leadership: Ray McGinnis and Doris Kizinna
Spend 17 days exploring northern Thailand, around Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai, and in northwestern Laos. We’ll visit humanitarian organizations in Thailand like the Thai Freedom House working with Burmese Refugees. We’ll visit an Elephant Refuge, Hill Tribes of indigenous people where we’ll spend one night with families there. We’ll learn about a weaving centre reclaiming ancient tye-dying and weaving practices, and see many beautiful temples. We’ll stay in the Laotian city of Luang Prabang (Royal Buddha Image city), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We’ll see monks walk in a procession through the streets of Luang Prabang accepting alms offered by local residents and tourists. We’ll discover some of the handicrafts made by Laotian artisans, and learn Laotian cooking in an all day course. We’ll learn about the local culture through a visit to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre. We’ll learn about life on a rice farm and see some beautiful waterfalls. We’ll learn about the impact on Laotians during the Secret War, and also the history of French Indochina. We’ll learn about the practice of meditation at a Buddhist temple in Luang Prabang. We’ll also enjoy a two day cruise up the Mekong River, stopping to visit caves, and stay in a small Laotian village on the way. Back in northern Thailand we will learn about the history of the opium trade as we visit the Golden Triangle, and subsequently the Black House, the Blue Temple, the White Temple and a hot spring. We’ll visit a night market in Chiang Rai and see their famous clock tower. We’ll also set aside some free time throughout the tour. We’ll have time for a massage everyday if you wish, and spend some time reflecting on the experience with some reflecting writing sessions with co-leader and poet, Ray McGinnis. Our tour will end back in Chiang Mai as we relax and unwind.
The price for the tour includes accommodation, meals, guides, courses, in country shuttles, taxi’s, train trips, one flight between Chiang Mai, Thailand and Luang Prabang, Laos, tips, pickup at the airport in Chiang Mai and donations to all the organizations we will visit. Not included: spending money, alcohol and water other than at meals, passports and immunizations. The flight costs to Thailand are your own responsibility; however, we will let you know which flight we recommend. You will fly into and out of Chiang Mai, and we have some options on how you may best do that. The tour requires a minimum of 10 participants to run and is designed for those aged 18 and up. You are welcome to stay longer or arrive earlier and travel on your own as you wish. We can give you advice on the best places to go.
This will be Ray and Doris’ fourth guided trip to Thailand, and first to Laos, with World Pilgrim. Doris is the founder of World Pilgrim Global Eduation and has been leading Pilgrimages like this one since 1997 to countries like Cuba, Guatemala and India. Ray has travelled to Thailand on ten occasions, and to Laos once. He is eager to share this love of this special region in Southeast Asia with others. He is a poet, a published author and a teacher of writing and poetry worldwide. World Pilgrim has been building up networks of friends in countries like India, Guatemala, Cuba, Bali, Thailand and now Laos where they work to create meaningful travel that makes a difference to the communities visited, and for the travelers themselves. Check out our itinerary on the back of this page. Please be in touch as you ponder whether this journey is for you.
“World Pilgrim offers a passage to worlds within worlds, where one’s travels gets beyond a tourist event, but is an invitation to experience a culture in ways not otherwise be possible on your own. My trip to Thailand was unforgettable and the Hill tribes of Northern Thailand of the Hmong and Shan people are forever in my heart. Our warm and skillful guides; Doris and Ray provided not only pathways and openings, but also ease, hospitality, laughter and opportunity to traverse the depths. Our entire group flourished in their presence and in the wonder of Thailand. Utterly amazing experience!”
Celeste Snowber, PhD