Thailand: Land of Smiles
January 23 – February 6/2026

Cost: price available November 2024

Leadership Doris Kizinna, Ray McGinnis, Angela Kizinna

Spend 15 days exploring northern Thailand, around Chiang Mai, Lampang, Pai and Sukhothai. We’ll visit humanitarian organizations in Thailand like the Thai Freedom House working with Burmese Refugees.  We’ll visit an Elephant Refuge, our friends in the Hmong Village of Mae Sa Mai where we’ll spend a day with families there learning about their art and craft, traditional practices, food and culture. We’ll learn about a weaving centre reclaiming ancient tye-dying and weaving practices, and see many beautiful temples.  We’ll learn the culinary delights of Thai food and attend a cooking school on a farm. We’ll encounter several ethnic peoples in scenic Pai, and explore hot springs and waterfalls. We’ll visit the ancient Thai capital of Sukhothai, gaze at lotus flower ponds and marvel at ancient buddha sculptures and temples. We’ll also set aside some free time throughout the tour for massage each day if you wish.

The price for the tour includes accommodation, meals (14 Breakfasts, 12 Lunches, 12 Dinners), guides, courses, in country shuttles, taxi’s, one flight between Sukhothai and Bangkok. Tips, pickup at the airport in Chiang Mai and donations to all the organizations we will visit.  Not included: 2 lunches and 2 dinners, alcohol and water other than at meals. The flight costs to Thailand are your own responsibility; however, we will let you know which flight we recommend.  You will fly into Chiang Mai, and we have some options on how you may best do that. You will need to make arrangements for your return home from the Bangkok airport. The tour requires a minimum of 12 participants to run and is open to all ages, if children under 16 are accompanied by their parents or guardians. Our tour deadline is 3 months before the tour. 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. We can arrange a trip to Phuket for you, staying at this hotel close to the airport, in a less touristy area. Then you can on your own arrange day trips or hang at the beach. https://www.naiyangparkresort.com/. Let us know if you would like more info about this option.

This will be World Pilgrims sixth guided trip to Thailand. Doris is the founder of World Pilgrim Travels and has been leading Pilgrimages like this one since 1997 to countries like Cuba, Guatemala, Bali, Mexico 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, and Thailand where they work to create meaningful travel that makes a difference to the communities visited, and for the travelers themselves.   Please be in touch as you ponder whether this journey is for you.

For questions about the tour and to assess whether this trip is for you please contact Thailand tour guides:
Doris: worldpilgrims@gmail.com 604.341.2724
Ray: rmcgin@shaw.ca  604.408.4457

 Thailand 2026:  Jan 23-Feb 6/2026
Travel Days depending on departure location, arrival anytime on Jan. 23 or earlier with your own arrangements
Fri, Jan 23  Day 1CHIANG MAI: Group arrival in Chiang Mai, Airport pickups. Settle in, lunch, walk and rest 5:00 pm Orientation Walk around Chiang Mai 6:15 pm gather for Evening orientation and dinner in Old City Accommodation in Chiang Mai: http://www.baanhuenphen.com/ Meals included dinner.
Sat, Jan 24  Day 2CHIANG MAI: Doi Suthep, Almsgiving, Hmong Village and Temple Visits.  7 am departure.  Join the daily almsgiving to Buddhist monks at the base of Doi Suthep mountain.  Monks and nuns are not allowed to receive money; therefore, people donate food and everyday items. The daily alms round is an essential part of Buddhism.  Monks leave their temples on this daily alms round and walk Chiang Mai streets to collect donations. You will participate in this solemn ceremony. After that, we will visit the shrine of Kruba Srivichai and pay our respect to this most revered monk, who is regarded as the patron saint of North Thailand. His followers constructed the road leading to the temple in 1935.  Then we drive up to Wat Pra That Doi Suthep, the most famous temple of Chiang Mai. We will have breakfast in a local restaurant.  The Hmong Village Doi Pui is our next destination. It has become a popular place for tourists. Doi Suthep has a fascinating history in which opium and the Hmong people play a role. His highness Bhumibol Adulyadej started his Royal Project on Doi Suthep in 1969 to help the Hmong people and save the national park as a watershed area. Your guide will tell you this story. Doi Pui village is located very beautifully.  We continue to a coffee brewery with a friendly coffee shop that offers fantastic views over the surrounding countryside. The Royal Project introduced coffee in the Hmong community as a substitute for opium cultivation.  On the way down, we will stop at Wat Pha Lat, aka the “jungle temple” of Chiang Mai. This pretty temple complex receives fewer visitors than Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. You can hike the short Monk’s Trail down the mountain if you want.  Lunch and back to the hotel for freetime and dinner together later.  Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Sun, Jan 25  Day 3CHIANG MAI: 7:30 am Breakfast at Hotel and day at the Thai Farm Cooking School  www.thaifarmcooking.net with a visit to the local market to understand all the products and purchase some things for our cooking day. Lunch at school 4:00 pm Back to hotel.  Evening free and dinner on your own. Many people don’t feel like dinner after eating your way through all the dishes you will make at the cooking school! Meals included: breakfast, lunch.
Mon, Jan 26 Day 4CHIANG MAI:  Breakfast Morning:  Visit the Chiang Mai Women’s Prison Massage Centre. https://dignitynetwork.org/womens-massage-center/ Wat visits: Wat Chai Phra Kiat & Wat Thung Yu Lunch together and walk back to Hotel. Free afternoon or trip Pottery Village and Umbrella Factory. Starting at 4 pm until 9 pm Sunday Walking Street in Chiang Mai.  Snacks at Walking Street for Dinner (on your own).  Meals included: breakfast, lunch.
Tues, Jan 27 Day 5CHIANG MAI 8:00 am Breakfast 9:00 am Depart by shuttle to visit Studio Naenna for weaving demonstration and tie-dye/indigo workshop  https://studio-naenna.com/ 1:00 pm Lunch visit to:  Thai Freedom House   http://thaifreedomhouse.org/ After lunch optional visit to the San Khamphaeng Hot Springs.  https://www.skphotsprings.com/ Drive back to Chiang Mai.  Dinner together. 
Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Wed, Jan 28 Day 6MAE SA MAI:  8:00 am Breakfast 9:00 am departure for Home-stay in Mae Sa for the day.  Spend the day in simplicity with indigenous hill tribe of Hmong people. Our friend Win and Sow-me will host us with their families. We will go on a hike through the community and countryside, learn the technique of batik and applique stitching, and share a simple lunch with the family Hmong style.  Enjoy this time with our friends, learn about their culture and hear about their projects.  Watch the sunset and head back to Chiang Mai for dinner and rest.  Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Thurs, Jan 29  Day 7CHIANG MAI: 7:00 am Breakfast 8:00 am pickup to Visit Elephant Nature Park, lunch included.  https://www.elephantnaturepark.org/  return to Chiang Mai by 5:30 p.m. One of the most beautiful projects in Thailand, rescuing elephants from labour camps, tourist riding and giving them a natural life in peace.   Dinner. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Fri, Jan 30 Day 8CHIANG MAI:  Free day to enjoy the city on your own before we begin the next stage of the journey.  Breakfast at Hotel, Lunch on your own, dinner together.  Massage/spa, museums, wandering, shopping, etc. Meals included: breakfast, dinner.
Sat, Jan 31  Day 9PAI/LAMPANG Depart after breakfast from Chiang Mai. Stop at Mom Fa Waterfall on road to Pai, short walk in to enjoy the Falls. Visit Pai Taradon Hot Spring and stay for a few hours, boiling eggs in the hot water and swimming in the pools. Picnic lunch there.  Continue driving to Pai and check in at accommodation.  Freetime.  Dinner in Pai and explore night scene in town. Accommodation: Pai Village Boutique Resort https://www.paivillage.com/ Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Sun, Feb 1 Day 10PAI Breakfast. Morning visit to the Seedlings Foundation to learn about their work.  https://seedlings-foundation.org/  Lunch at Seedlings Foundation and afternoon visit to Long Neck Karen Village and the Big White Buddha. Evening Pai Walking Street, shopping etc.  Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Mon, Feb 2 Day 11PAI Breakfast, free morning, lunch together and after lunch visit The Bamboo Bridge and the Tha Pai Hot Springs, stop for sunset at Pai Canyon.  Dinner together back in Pai. Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Tues, Feb 3   Day 12PAI/LAMPANG:  Leave Pai after breakfast and stop at The Pai Memorial Bridge for a quick walk across. Stop in Chiang Mai or nearby for lunch and drive on to Lampang. (5.5 hour drive) Check-in accommodation and swim in the pool, dinner and freetime. Overnight:  Lampang River Lodge. https://www.lampangriverlodge.com/ Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Wed, Feb 4  Day 13LAMPANG/SUKOTHAI Breakfast at hotel. Horse carriage ride through town (this town is famous for their horses and carriages) Morning visit to Sang Arun Handmade Pottery: https://sang-arun.com/ Drive to Sukhothai, lunch enroute and arrive at accommodation in Sukhothai. (4 hour drive) Freetime and dinner and swim at Hotel. Overnight:  Le Charme Sukothai Hotel www.lecharmesukhothai.com Meals included: breakfast, lunch, dinner.
Thurs, Feb 5 Day 14SUKOTHAI Breakfast Day in ancient Siamese capitol of Sukhothai Cycling Tour (optional) to ancient sites & museum with guide. Lunch on your own.  Afternoon freetime to relax by the pool.  Dinner together for closing celebration for the trip. *Cost for optional cycling tour is extra $30 CAD or B800. Meals inlcuded: breakfast, dinner.
Fri, Feb 6 Day 15Morning flight together to Bangkok with your own plans to stay in Bangkok or continue the journey home or in SE Asia.  No meals included.