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Immerse yourself in Thailand's rich culture and savor its exotic cuisine through hands-on cooking classes and cycling trips. It is a perfect chance to tantalize your palate with cooking styles and dishes that will be recreated and presented to you by Thai culinary experts. Discover the land of smiles and the world-renowned, charming Thai hospitality through amazing excursions guided by local experts, where you will blend in with Thailand's exotic life and culture right away!
Set in a small valley surrounded by mountains, Khum Lanna is located in the serene village of Phrao, an hour and a half drive from Chiang Mai. Amidst emerald-green rice fields and lush orchards, Khum Lanna gives you a luxurious home-stay experience combined with a cooking school specializing in traditional Northern Thai cuisine. In sum, it is a celebration of heritage, food and lifestyle. You will stay in comfortable king-size or twin bedded rooms with en-suite bathrooms and electric fans.
You will be picked up in Chiang Mai at 08:30 and transferred to Khum Lanna. Upon arrival, you will have a welcome drink with the hosts and receive a briefing on the planned activities for the day. You will also have the option to choose one of four different ways to spend your afternoon. At 10:00 you will receive an orientation on the history of rice cultivation, the types of rice, the equipment used in the past and the future needs, after which you will have the chance to try out your cooking skills by steaming Thai sticky rice.
Later on, you will be invited to take a casual walk through the organic garden, where there will be a variety of produce to sample from, including the opportunity to see the different rice harvesting stages as well as to collect herbs and vegetables from the garden for use in your cooking class. At 11:00 you will receive a Khum Lanna Thai Recipe Book that includes many delicious recipes, plus the herbs used and the health benefits of each. You will also be provided with Thai words that will be helpful for your market visit the following day.
Lunch will include a country-style barbeque with rice that you will have prepared earlier plus a variety of complimenting dishes. After lunch you will be able to choose between 4 different activities, starting at 14:00 and lasting about one hour each. The activities include:
A guided biking tour around Khum Lanna country side
Creative fruit or vegetable carving
A local herbal steam bath to relax and rejuvenate your body
A therapeutic hot-pressed herbal massage
Afterwards you will have the option of either booking an additional one hour activity at a nominal charge or spend your free time as you wish. You also have the option of going for a cycling trip by yourself, as you will be provided with a road book of recommended itineraries. At 16:30 you will participate in a cooking class focusing on authentic Thai dishes, before getting the chance to enjoy the fruits of your labors with a full 4-course sit-down Thai dinner together with your host and friends, as you watch the stars beside a campfire in the garden.
The day will start with an early coffee or tea brought to your room at 05:30 for your wake-up call before starting on your sunrise biking trip along the rural country road via San Kwang village to Phrao to visit an early morning local market, where you can buy local cookies and flower garlands for the temple offering on the way back.
Afterwards, you will walk to visit a farmers rice and traditional tools shop, where you may chat with the owner and learn more about the rice legends and properties of different varieties of rice. You will then cycle back to Khum Lanna with a stop to visit the monastery of Wat Pa to pay respect to the Buddha image under the sacred tree.
The biking trip will then continue on towards Khum Lanna along the local canal with a stop at the rice fields to get more information about the rice growing process and learn more about the importance of rice in Thai culture. Upon return, you will find refreshments waiting for you as you prepare to attend the local Lanna-style breakfast set on the riverside.
After having a local-style breakfast set on the riverside, you will have some free time to refresh, take a shower and prepare for the transfer to Chiang Rai which lasts about 3 hours. Upon arrival there, you will have the rest of the evening free to enjoy your hotel and explore the nearby grounds.
The day will start off with a cycling tour in which you will explore the local countryside and its culture. After a short safety briefing and personalized bicycle fitting, you will begin cycling through small villages and rice fields while following the Lao River downstream. Cycling will take you past various fruit orchards, rice fields, rubber plantations, and many teak trees. You will visit the white temple of Wat Rong Khun and then have lunch at a local restaurant near the temple.
After lunch, you will be transferred back to Chiang Rai hotel or Chiang Rai airport (CEI). Afternoon will be free to spend at your own leisure. You may decide to participate in an optional street food tour at 15:00 where you can experience the real Chiang Rai taste as you walk your way through its food districts while your guide unveils the stories behind each restaurant and their locally famous dish. Along the way, your guide will also share stories about Chiang Rai's exciting history, exceptional culture and distinctive architecture. This food tour includes 5 tastings and 2 visits to the most famous temples in Chiang Rai.
On day 4 you have the possibility of participating in the optional tour of the Golden Triangle. If you sign up for the tour, in the morning you will depart from the hotel for a full day tour of Chiang Saen, Golden Triangle and the Opium Museum. During this tour you will take a boat journey and briefly explore a Laos market. In Chiang Saen, you will explore the magnificent ruins of ancient temples before transferring back to Chiang Rai for the transfer to Chiang Rai Airport (CEI).
Cycling trip along Phrao
Cycling trip along the Lao river
Trip to Chiang Rai
Trip to San Kwang
Trip to Wat Pa monastery
Visit to the Wat Rong Khun temple
This holiday takes place in Thailand. Also known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand is one of the worlds greatest holiday destinations, thanks to its amazing beaches, rich culture and diversity, delicious cuisine, and, of course, the world-renowned, charming Thai hospitality.
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There is a good reason why the people of South East Asia spend a large portion of their time and money on eating and that is because the food tastes incredible! The street food culture is something that makes Thailand very special and travelling there is a joy, where even innocuous cheap-looking stalls serve soups that pack a flavor so big you will remember them for the rest of your life.
Continue the trip with a cruise on the Mekong to Luang Prabang in Laos
Cycle through the countryside
Enjoy a massage
Street Food Tour in Chiang Rai
Take a beach break in Southern Thailand
Tour to the Golden Triangle
Visit local shops and food merchants
Visit the Opium Museum
Arrive at Chiang Mai Airport (CNX). Essential Travel Thailand will pick you up from the airport. The pick-up is included in the price.
"I was very glad that I signed up with this tour especially since I didn't have any time to plan anything on my own because I had a big exam to study for. About 2 / 3 of your days are planned so don't worry about having too much or too little luggage.They plan just enough of the day so you can rest if you're tired, or you can do something else at night if you have enough energy left. The real advantage of signing up with these guys is that you hang out with a local tour guide.He will tell you which foods to try out , interesting things about the country, and tidbits you wouldn't get by traveling without a tour guide. You will really get a sense of how people live in Thailand. This is something hard to understand without someone else to lead you around the place.All in all, I'm really glad I did it with these guys. The tour guides (one in Bangkok, one in Chiang Mai) were extremely friendly, informative, and humorous.Here's a video if you want to see my trip!"
BookCulinaryVacations.com website, edited
"We made arrangement for a group of 75 travellers for a trip of Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, which included many complex aspects and exursions, cooking classes, remote island and jungle excursions. This was a school group from South Africa, and I accompanied the group as a tour leader. I found Essential Travel to be extremely helpful and professional, and the actual arrangements worked flawlessly, which is always a huge relief when dealing remotly with complex travel arrangements for a group. I would highly recommend their services, and Im sure that youll feel comfortable that your arrangements will translate into well-arranged and executed travel."
Essential Travel Thailand website, edited