Temples, Islands & Elephants
Bangkok, Chiang Mai & Beyond
Experience the best of Thailand's northern and southern regions while connecting with local teens on an adventure you will never forget! You'll also journey to a Thai island during this trip.
PLEASE NOTE: THIS PROGRAM IS PLANNED FOR SUMMER 2024. IT IS NOT RUNNING DURING SUMMER 2023.
- Explore the bustling city of Bangkok and its famous markets
- Spend a day feeding and bathing Asian elephants, an experience you will talk about for ages after
- Learn about Buddhism from a local monk
- Bike and kayak at the Mae Ngat Reservoir
- Connect with local teens and see what it’s like to be a high school student in Thailand
- Discover the tropical island of Phuket
Temples, Islands & Elephants
On this Teen Travel Network program in Thailand, you’ll have what we call a “best of” experience, sampling the most pivotal aspects of Thai life, land and culture during your time in this sprawling, beautiful country.
Experience the hustle and bustle of vibrant Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city and its economic and political hub. See how a globalized world has shaped modern Thai culture, and discover how remnants of historical Bangkok manage to survive in this urban landscape.
Head to Chiang Mai in the north, a city tucked away in the Thai Highlands. The second most populous city in Thailand, Chiang Mai also boasts of a sprawling spiritual heritage. It is home to the famous Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, which sits at over a thousand feet of elevation. UNESCO has also granted the Chiang Mai the status of “Creative City” as of 2015 in honor of its rich artistic and cultural influences.
During your time in Thailand, you’ll encounter magnificent Thai temples that shine with unique architecture and age-old spiritual practices. You’ll also get up close to Thai elephants and learn the ways mahouts are helping to preserve habitat for these threatened mammals. And finally, journey to an island for a Thai getaway that’s away from urban life, for an off-the-beaten-path adventure you’ll never forget!
Temples, Islands & Elephants
AT TEEN TRAVEL NETWORK, YOU'RE NOT ONLY TAKING A JOURNEY IN MILES, BUT A JOURNEY OF SHARED EXPERIENCES AND SELF-DISCOVERY.
THIS ITINERARY IS AN APPROXIMATION OF THE OVERALL PROGRAM EXPERIENCE. THE ORDER OF ACTIVITIES ON YOUR TRIP MAY CHANGE.
IF A PARTICULAR SCHEDULED EXPERIENCE IS CANCELED, WE MAY REPLACE IT WITH AN ALTERNATIVE ACTIVITY.
Day 1: Arrival
Welcome to Thailand!
Arrive in Chiang Mai, Thailand’s northern hub. Staff will greet you at the airport.
Settle in to your lodgings, a small, quiet hotel nestled on the bank of the Ping River.
Staff will lead an orientation to go over our program itinerary, expectations and tips for acclimating to Thai culture.
Get to know your fellow students with icebreakers and hit the hay early: we’ve got a big day ahead!
Day 2: Chiang Mai (City Tour)
This morning we’ll spend some time learning more about do’s and don’ts in Thai culture, as well as have a crash course in the local language.
In the afternoon, see the city on foot, stopping at some of northern Thailand’s most well-known temples and monuments. Take in all the jaw-dropping scenery and become immersed in the local culture as you explore every nook and cranny of both ancient Thai architecture and modern civilization.
Learn more about Chiang Mai’s long history and how it functions as one of Thailand’s major cities today.
Day 3: Biking & Kayaking
Today is Adventure Day!
We will be hopping on bikes for some fun and discovery on two wheels. Then, we’ll be getting in some kayaks for a lakeside adventure as we pass by impressive scenery at every turn.
Get close to nature on land and water at the stunning Mae Ngat Reservoir.
Bike through the reserve’s lush jungle and explore the lake via kayak. This area was dammed only 30 years ago, and was transformed into a place of recreation.
Day 4: Chiang Mai (Cultural Exchange & Muay Thai)
Today we’ll have the unique opportunity to connect with local teens at a private high school. Get a feel for what it’s like to be a high school student in Thailand!
After an exchange activity, we’ll spend the day together out and about.
After our exchange activity at the school, eat lunch with our new friends and head to a local gym for an introduction to Muay Thai, Thai kickboxing.
Learn the basics of this ancient art from real Muy Thai fighters and practice your new moves.
Day 5: Elephant Sanctuary
Head out of the city to spend a day with Asian elephants!
Enjoy the winding drive through picturesque rural scenery before arriving at the sustainably-run, education-based elephant sanctuary where we’ll spend our day.
Feed and bathe these majestic creatures while learning more about the complex history of elephants in Thailand.
After joining the elephants for a “mud spa,” we’ll bid our new animal friends farewell and head upstream to a swimming hole of our own before heading back to Chiang Mai for dinner.
Day 6: Chiang Mai (Monk Chat & Hill Tribes)
Chiang Mai is known for its important and ornate temples — to take full advantage of this fact, we’ll meet with a (bilingual) local Buddhist monk for an introduction to Buddhism and how it is practiced in Thailand specifically.
As Buddhism is such a strong part of the culture and local traditions, this will be an important part of our group’s time here in Thailand. Feel free to ask questions about Buddhism, meditation and life in general.
Explore Doi Suthep temple, perched high above the clouds with panoramic views. This temple is located on a mountain top, and the breathtaking vistas are unforgettable.
After, we’ll visit a hill tribe village, where people adhere to a traditional lifestyle. See gorgeous botanical gardens and a bustling local market.
Day 7: Chiang Mai → Phuket
We’ll rise with the sun and hop a flight to Phuket, the largest island in southern Thailand.
Check in to our hotel and take some time to rest and relax before our afternoon activities.
Phuket is known for its phenomenal surfing, and we’ll take to the waves with practiced instructors. What better place to learn the basics of surfing than the beaches of this tropical island?
Take a walking tour of downtown to help get our bearings before starting our exploration in earnest tomorrow.
Day 8: Phuket (Cultural Exchange & Catamaran)
Phuket is not only beaches and hotels: A bustling city center with historical buildings can be found in the middle of the island.
With large numbers of international expats calling Phuket home, some very well-run international schools have been established. These schools cater to both locals and international families and provide curriculum in English.
Our group will connect with students from these schools and will learn what it’s like to be an international school student living on the island.
Take an evening catamaran ride, docking at Coral Island before enjoying a sunset dinner onboard as the catamaran makes its way back to Phuket.
What a way to end such a lovely day!
Day 9: Phuket (Hiking & Snorkeling)
Today we’ll get our blood pumping!
Start the day with a hike to an enormous Buddha statue made of white marble for beautiful views of Phuket and the beaches and sea beyond.
A visit to Phuket is not complete without some snorkeling, so we’ll check that off our bucket lists this afternoon.
Swim and snorkel off of Koh Khai island, a small island with a white sand beach the size of a football field. In the crystal clear water you’ll spot colorful fish and other marine life.
Take in a final island sunset before heading back to mainland Thailand in the morning.
Day 10: Phuket → Bangkok
Say goodbye to Phuket and take a short flight north to Bangkok.
Thailand’s massive and busy capital, Bangkok is a high energy city with so much to see and do.
Our hotel is a quiet spot, just far enough away from the hustle and bustle, yet still close enough to see the sights. Visit a local market or take a walking tour of the surrounding area.
Bangkok is home to over 14 million people, and spans over 600 square miles. We’ll cover what we can over the next few days, as there is so much to see!
Day 11: Bangkok (Sightseeing & Museums)
Before properly seeing the sights of the tourist track of Bangkok, we will first experience it as a local.
We’ll make our way to the local pier, or “The Wet.” This small local market is a favorite among locals.
Board a long-tailed river taxi, a popular mode of transportation for Bangkokians, where we’ll take in Bangkok from the river. Take the Skytrain to the heart of Bangkok — it’s fast, safe, clean and gives a bird’s eye view of city as you fly by.
Visit Central World, one of Thailand’s major shopping center and the site of some important political history. Learn more about Thai politics and do some final shopping.
After lunch we’ll see the Jim Thompson House and Museum. Jim Thompson was an American who helped to revive the Thai silk industry and connected the beautiful traditional designs with the western world.
This museum is a tropical paradise decorated in bright silks and makes for great photo ops!
Day 12: Bangkok (Temples & Farewell Dinner)
Take a morning visit to Khao San Road. Known as an evening spot for backpackers, this place will just be waking up.
Made popular with the iconic movie “The Beach,”we will check out the different and interesting things that make Khaosan Road unique.
Meet with a retired US Peace Corps volunteer and former Buddhist monk. Hear his unique perspective as an American man living in Bangkok in the 1960s.
The theme of our final afternoon in Thailand is “temples”: we’ll visit the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, southeast Asia’s most visited spot; the Grand Palace; and Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Here, we’ll meet with novice monks ages 13-18 and do an exchange program to learn from each other about our very different lives.
The monks will then show us around the temple to see one of Thailand’s most well-known temples through the eyes of Thai students our age.
Back at our hotel, we’ll pack and say our final goodbyes at a special farewell dinner.
Day 13: Departure
Sadly, our Thailand adventure has come to an end.
Staff will accompany students to the airport and help them check in for their flights home.
As you settle into your seat, reflect on all the places you experienced and people you met here. We hope you are already daydreaming of your next overseas adventure to Asia and beyond!
Temples, Islands & Elephants
Dates & Tuition
13-Day Travel Program
|Planned for 2024…|
Tuition Includes All Major Program Expenses, Such As:
- 24/7 parent support hotline during the program
- Secondary medical and evacuation insurance
- Cultural activities, tours and excursions
- Pre-departure materials and support
- Educational materials
- Airport pick-up/drop-off
- Local transportation to each destination
- Secure overnight lodging at each location
- 3 meals per day
- Professional full-time staff and experts