The Signature Experience
TEMPLES, ISLANDS & ELEPHANTS
TRAVEL LIKE A LOCAL AS YOU EXPLORE THAILAND FROM LUSH MOUNTAINS AND BUSTLING CITIES TO ITS INCREDIBLE ISLANDS. CONNECT WITH THAI CULTURE, INTERACT WITH ELEPHANTS & WAKE UP IN YOUR BEACHFRONT CABANA.
- Explore the bustling city of Bangkok and its famous markets
- Spend a day feeding and bathing Asian elephants–a truly unforgettable experience!
- 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
The Signature Experience
Experience one of the jewels of Southeast Asia. Find out why Thailand is known by some as “the Land of Smiles”: we will sample the most pivotal aspects of Thai life, land and culture during our time in this sprawling, beautiful country. Step into 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.
Journey to Chiang Mai in the north, a city tucked away in the Thai Highlands and the second most populous city in Thailand. Chiang Mai also boasts a diverse and complex 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.
Encounter magnificent Thai temples that shine with unique architecture and age-old spiritual practices. Get up close to Asian elephants, the national animal of Thailand, and learn the ways mahouts are helping to preserve habitat for these threatened mammals. And finally, journey to an island for a Thai getaway far from urban life, for an off-the-beaten-path adventure you’ll never forget.
The Signature Experience
"MY TTN EXPERIENCE MADE A HUGE IMPACT ON ME. IT SHOWED ME HOW TO CONNECT WITH DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I HAVE TRULY BENEFITTED FROM THIS EXPERIENCE."
AVA M., SCARSDALE, NY
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 Day
Welcome to Thailand!
Our TTN Trip Leaders will meet you in the Chiang Mai airport arrivals ternimal wearing their TTN t-shirts. We will head to our first accommodation, a small, quiet hotel nestled on the bank of the Ping River for the night!
We will spend this first day settling in and building connections with fellow travelers.
Before we sleep off our jetlag, we will enjoy a welcome dinner and learn a bit about our interests and what we’re looking forward to on our trip!
Days 2 - 4: Chiang Mai
Time to start our adventure with a crash course in the local language and the do’s and don’ts in Thai culture! In the afternoon, see the city on foot on a city tour with a local, 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 life. Learn more about Chiang Mai’s long history and how it functions as one of Thailand’s major cities today.
Time for adventure! Hop on bikes for some fun on two wheels. Then, kayak 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. This area was dammed only 30 years ago, and was transformed into a place of recreation. Head to a local gym for a introduction to Muay Thai, Thailand’s national sport, also known as “The Art of Eight Limbs”. Learn the basics of this ancient art from professionals and practice your new moves!
Next, take the opportunity to connect with local high school teens to get a feel for what it’s like to be a student in Thailand with immersion activities and touring the city with true locals.
Day 5: Elephant Sanctuary
Head out of the city to spend a day with Asian elephants, the national animal of Thailand! 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 their complex history in the region and where they fit in today. 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
Back to Chiang Mai to explore what Thailand is perhaps best known for — its important and ornate temples. Ask questions about Buddhism, meditation and life in general when we meet with a (bilingual) local Buddhist monk for an introduction to Buddhism and how it is practiced in Thailand specifically.
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. Visit a hill tribe village, where people adhere to a traditional lifestyle amongst gorgeous botanical gardens and a bustling local market.
Day 7: Chiang Mai → Phuket
Rise with the sun and hop on a flight to Phuket, the largest island in southern Thailand. Take some time to rest and relax at the hotel before afternoon activities.
What better place to learn the basics of surfing than the beaches of this tropical island? Phuket is known for its phenomenal surfing, so time tol take to the waves with practiced instructors. Take a walking tour of downtown to help get our bearings before starting our exploration in earnest tomorrow.
Days 8 - 10: Phuket
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 that cater to both locals and international families and provide curriculum in English.
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.
Days 11 - 12: Bangkok
Step in to the hustle and bustle of the city of Bangkok! Before properly seeing the sights of the tourist track, experience the city as a local. Time to make our way to the pier, or “the Wet ,” to do some shopping at a small market that 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. Ride the Skytrain to the urban center — 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. See the Jim Thompson House and Museum, a tropical paradise decorated in bright silks and makes for great photo ops! Jim Thompson was an American who helped to revive the Thai silk industry and connected the beautiful traditional designs with the western world.
Day 13: Departure Day
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!
The Signature Experience
Dates & Tuition
13-Day Travel Program
|JUL 8 – JUL 20, 2024|
|JUL 26 – AUG 7, 2024
- Secure accommodations at each destination
- 3 meals each day
- Expert full-time trip leaders & photography instructors
- All transportation from arrival to departure
- All immersive experiences and trip activities
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- 24/7 parent support hotline all summer
- Personalized pre-departure support
- Collection of photo memories
- Authentic group travel experience