Siam Soul Trail

Singburi, Wang Nam Khiao, Buddhist Monastery, Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin - Thailand

Find yourself again on this personal, spiritual tour of Thailand’s best. Lean back while your own dedicated driver shows you around the highlights of central Thailand. Visit the flat lands, the mountains and the coast, meeting locals, other travellers and getting up-close with rescued Thai elephants.

All-In-One Two Week Program
Low Physical Stress
Flexible, Off-Trail Activities
Balance of Travel – Community – Spirituality

Culture
Learning
Leisure
Community Engagement
Physical Demand

Singburi
Wang Nam Khiao
Buddhist Monastery
Kanchanaburi
Hua Hin
All meals included Yes (1) Yes (1) Yes (2) Yes (1) No (3)
Free beverages Yes (4) Yes (4) Yes (5) Yes (4) Yes (4)
Persons per room 2 2 2 2 4
Wifi in public areas Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Laundry facilities Yes (6) Yes (6) No No (7) No (7)
Safety box Yes (8) No No Yes (9) Yes
Lockable rooms Yes Yes No Yes Yes (10)
Hot shower Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Private bathroom Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Bed linen Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Towels Yes Yes No No No
Mosquito protection Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Fan No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Air conditioning Yes Yes No No Yes (11)
(1)
On weekends brunch instead of breakfast and lunch
(2)
Only one big meal (breakfast). This is due to the fact that monks eat only once a day.
(3)
Only breakfast and dinner. Lunch is not included.
(4)
Water, coffee, tea at the accommodation
(5)
Coffee and tea during the mornings. Water available at all times.
(6)
At extra cost in local launderettes
(7)
Expect to wash by hand
(8)
Bring a padlock
(9)
In the office
(10)
Bring your own padlock (a slim one, so it fits through the zipper)
(11)
At extra cost

Program Description

The Siam Soul Trail is perfect for the older, open minded traveller looking for a more intimate experience with Thailand. Its tailor-made schedule boasts comfortable lodging along with a private car, allowing a more flexible journey and a homely touch compared to the typical large group approach.

Designed to balance cultural immersion, community contribution and leisure, this program combines some of our best activities and locations into a convenient two week program that’s easily marketed to those stretched for time.

Program Highlights

  • Overnight Buddhist Temple stay
  • Elephant Wildlife Reserve
  • Lopburi Monkey Town
  • Erawan Waterfalls
  • Flexible community work options
  • Beach leisure
  • Hua Hin night markets
  • …and more! (see itinerary)

Included

  • Arrival and Departure from/to Bangkok Airport
  • All accommodation
  • Dedicated Transportation on most days
  • Trained Coordinator support
  • Program as stated in itinerary
  • Entry to national parks, museums etc as per itinerary
  • Over 1100 KMs of road covered

Not Included

  • Flights
  • Medical Insurance
  • Extra personal expenses

Aims & Objectives

This program aims to show you around Thailand, allowing you to experience culture and life of the locals beyond normal tourism, while offering you all the comfort to make it a relaxing time.

Schedule

Week 1

Sunday (Singburi)

Bangkok arrival and transfer to your accommodation.

Monday (Singburi)

On your first day we visit the locals and dine at the local Fishing park restaurant near our Singburi centre. Then it’s an orientation afternoon where some basic Thai language and cultural protocol is covered.

Your first evening dinner will be a special welcome party with local children performing a Thai traditional dance for us – they will expect you to join in with the dancing at some point!

Tuesday (Wang Nam Khiao)

We leave Singburi for our Wang Nam Khiao centre, stopping on the way for a set of hidden waterfalls and other local treasures. Then your orientation continues with some Meditation and Buddhism ethics and a presentation about Buddha & Buddhism.

Wednesday (Buddhist Monastery)

After a visit to the local wet market you are now ready to immerse yourself a step further as we pack a small bag for a stay at the local Monastery. Here you will meet a living master of Buddhism who you’ll be able to interact and ask questions in a Q&A session.

Thursday (Buddhist Monastery)

Continue living the life of a local monk as you wake up early for a pre-dawn meditation session and contribute with chores around the monastery, giving alms, praying, mediating and joining in the chanting

Friday (Wang Nam Khiao)

After your last community breakfast with the monks and locals, we head off to pay respects at the Wat Phukao Thong Temple, explore a mushroom farm and see the sights from the Pa Keep Tawan viewpoint.

Saturday (Singburi)

Time to return to the Singburi centre, but not before visiting some famous spots locations along the way. The Wat Phra Phutthaba temple hosts a footprint of The Buddha and you better hold on to your snacks as we visit the famous Monkey Temple of Lopburi!

Week 2

Sunday (Singburi)

The sightseeing continues after breakfast, as we head to the Historic City of Ayutthaya to explore an ancient city. This UNESCO World Heritage Site contains the ruins of the former capital of the Siam Kingdom. Then it’s on to pay our respects to the largest Buddha statue in Thailand, the Khai Bang Rachan hero monument and the famous “Reclining Buddha”.

Monday to Tuesday (Singburi)

Time to give back to the locals! Join one of three on-going community engagement projects depending on your skills, interests, weather or local conditions.

At the orphanage you will help improve the facilities through some construction work and painting, bringing smiles to the children as a visiting mentor along the way!

Or join our on-going English program at nearby schools, interacting with the kids in basic conversational English and playing educational games with them, all to help play a part in improving their future prospects.

Or if you don’t mind your hands and feet getting messy, you may help out on the Clay house project. Once built, these natural mud houses are donated back to locals in need.

Wednesday (Kanchanaburi)

Time to hit the road again! With bags packed, we ride through the Kanchanaburi region, famous for its beautiful attractions. Here we will enjoy the Erawan waterfalls and say hi to some friendly Elephants from our conservation program. If the elephants let us, we should make it back in time to get lost in the sights and sounds of Hua Hin’s famous night market.

Thursday (Hua Hin)

We head to Pranburi Forest Park, famous for its mangrove plantations and where we can help clear the beach of pollution. Once done you can relax and enjoy the Seapine Beach…you’ve earned it!

Friday (Hua Hin)

On your last day of the program, you will need a good rest before your flight! Sleep in and enjoy the beautiful beaches one last time before we visit the open-air Cicada market, perfect for any last minute mementos.

Saturday (Hua Hin)

Time to say goodbye, though after this special tour, we are sure you’ll return to the land of smiles again soon!

***This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.***

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Program participant criteria

There are no further requirements.

Additional equipment

No additional equipment required.

About Singburi

You will be located in the outskirts of Singburi, an interesting town 142 km north of Bangkok. Singburi was founded under the reign of King Rama V through the consolidation of 3 small towns located on the bank of The Chao Phraya River. The three small towns, Sing Buri, In Buri and Phrom Buri, were then established as a single town on the west of the Chao Phraya River in 1895.

Your new home is set close to the village of Tha Kham, an extremely rural area that will give you the chance to experience the Thailand that very few get to see.

Accommodation in Singburi

This accommodation is located in one of our Eco Houses. Here you will find comfortable, spacious and uniquely designed bedrooms with air-conditioning and hot water showers.

We recommend this accommodation for participants who desire more comfort and privacy, families, couples and more elderly participants. Single as well as double rooms are available on the premises. The comfort class accommodation is located apart from the two standard participant residences and so is noticeably quieter.

Comfort class includes a communal area where you can eat, relax, meet any other fellow participants.

Food arrangements

All the meals served inside the accommodation are vegetarian friendly and will be typically Thai, including plenty of rice dishes and fruits. Water, coffee and tea are available all day long.

***Important: A security cash deposit of 500TBH is required for the key to your room. It is payable upon arrival in cash and will be returned when they key is given back at the end of your stay.***

***No alcohol is permitted in any of our accommodations, but we are located within walking distance of a local shop and there is even a makeshift bar provided by the friendly locals in front of the accommodation.***

   Note:   Important: A security cash deposit of 500TBH is required for the key to your room. It is payable upon arrival in cash and will be returned when they key is given back at the end of your stay.

   Note:   No alcohol is permitted in any of our accommodations, but we are located within walking distance of a local shop and there is even a makeshift bar provided by the friendly locals in front of the accommodation.

Facilities

There are ATMs and shops in the local village which, depending on the accommodation you will be staying at, is located between 5 minutes by bicycle to 20 minutes by by foot.

There are restaurants and small local stores within walking distance of each of the accommodations.

Equally, Singburi has plenty to offer and there will be trips throughout the week into this city where you can find shopping malls, markets, restaurants and even a swimming pool!

Activities & Events

Tuesday Evening

Visit the night market in Tha Kham. Taste all types of Thai food, stock up on inexpensive clothing or just soak in the atmosphere of this small town!

Wednesday Afternoon

This is free time for most participants and we offer a trip into Singburi. You can choose to use the swimming pool, go for a Thai massage or take advantage of a trip to a shopping centre.

Wednesday Evening

You will have the option to attend a Thai BBQ at a local restaurant. This is a fantastic opportunity to socialise with all the other participants, eat great food and enjoy some music.

Thursday Evening

There is a trip to a shopping mall (including a large Tesco Lotus), where you can buy any essentials, snacks, western food (pizza shops, KFC, ice cream parlour, coffee shops etc)

Sights & Surroundings

Locally, Singburi itself has plenty to offer in terms of sites and attractions, ranging from its many Buddhist temples. There is also a swimming pool, two shopping centres and many markets.

You can also choose to travel to Bangkok during weekends. It takes 2.5 – 3 hours either by mini-van or bus from Singburi . We provide detailed information about this each week.

About Wang Nam Khiao

Your new home will be in the Nakhon Ratchasima province. Set amidst rolling hills, the views here are spectacular and the location is tranquil to match. Our resort is situated about 30 km from the city of Nakhon Ratchasima and about 15 km from Wang Nam Khiao, the nearest town. It takes 30 minutes from the resort to Wang Nam Khiao, where you will find all the amenities you could need.

Accommodation in Wang Nam Khiao

During your time here, you will be staying in one of our eco cottages. There will be 2 people per room on a single gender basis. A private room will cost 2 points extra per room per week.

All rooms have a private western style toilet/bathroom and each of these has a shower with both hot and cold water. Rooms also come equipped with a powerful fan as well as air conditioning.

The resort has a communal area where you can eat, relax and meet with other participants. There is also WiFi available which covers most of the resort.

Food arrangements

All food is included during your stay and the meals will be typically Thai, including plenty of rice dishes (suitable for vegetarians).

Facilities

Due to its rural location, the nearest ATM is in Wang Nam Khiao (30 minutes by car), so please make sure you have enough money with you before arriving for your stay. However, since all food is provided you will probably not need much money here!

There is a small local store within walking distance. All other amenities can be found in Wang Nam Khiao (30 minutes by car).

Activities & Events

There are no activities or events outside of the program.

Sights & Surroundings

The area is very rural and offers beautiful views and Thai countryside to explore by foot or bike.

About Buddhist Monastery

A 20 minute drive away from the town of Wang Nam Khiao stands a forest monastery where you will spend two nights sleeping at in order to immerse fully into the everyday life inside an authentic monastery.

Accommodation in Buddhist Monastery

During your stay at the monastery, we will sleep in rooms that fit two people based on a single gender basis.

All rooms have western style toilets and showers. Rooms are equipped with a fan and thin blankets are provided upon request.

There is no wifi available at the monastery.

Food arrangements

After almsgiving, the community brings in food for breakfast and a gigantic buffet filled with food of all kinds is served. Breakfast will be the only meal we will have, as monks and those living permanently inside monasteries only eat one meal a day.

Facilities

Due to its rural location, the nearest ATM and amenities are in Wang Nam Khiao (30 minutes by car), so please make sure you have enough money with you before arriving for your stay. There are small local shops nearby where you can buy basic things.

Activities & Events

There are no activities or events outside of the program.

Sights & Surroundings

The area is very rural and offers beautiful views and Thai countryside to explore by foot or bike.

About Kanchanaburi

Boasting some of Thailand’s finest forests, a statement not to be taken lightly, Kanchanaburi is rapidly increasing as a popular tourist destination. Situated 130km east of Bangkok, its central location makes it an ideal location as a stop off point for those travelling through Thailand. Our location is based in a beautiful setting where you can see the elephants enjoying their natural habitat.

Accommodation in Kanchanaburi

Accommodation is provided in a spacious, idyllic bamboo bungalow which will be on a minimum of 2 person, single gender basis. Showers, bathroom, mosquito nets and a comfortable decking are all provided.

Food arrangements

We will provide breakfast, lunch and dinner on weekdays and brunch and dinner on weekends. Meals are typically Thai and vegetarian-friendly.

Facilities

The closest ATM is 15 kilometers outside of the Elephant Camp.

Activities & Events

There are no activities or events outside of the program.

Sights & Surroundings

Due to its rural location, participants on this program normally stay on site at the park and enjoy their immediate surroundings. For those wanting to trek further afield, you might stumble across some waterfalls!

About Hua Hin

Hua Hin is one of Thailand’s most popular beach destinations and is located only 280 kilometers Southwest of Bangkok. Hua Hin is where the city meets the sea. Scrumptious seafood, lively markets, never-sleeping bars, long beaches and palm tree-decorated landscapes make up this bustling town!

Accommodation in Hua Hin

Our center is located in the hilly countryside of Prachuap Khiri Khan province amidst green surroundings. The accommodation consists of luxury tents with a fan, private hot water showers and Western style toilets attached to the tents.

All tents are single gender and have a maximum capacity of four people per tent. There is free Wi-Fi available throughout the center.

Food arrangements

A vegetarian breakfast and dinner which will be served on site. During the afternoons, you will be in Hua Hin’s center, where you will have many food options and eateries to choose from for lunch (not included in the program).

Facilities

Most of your day will be spent in Hua Hin city centre, where all amenities can be found.

Activities & Events

There are no activities or events outside of the program.

Sights & Surroundings

Hua Hin, as a lively fisherman-town and popular tourist destination, has a lot to offer besides just sunbathing, snorkelling and swimming at its golden beaches. Not only are there plenty of seafood restaurants and other eateries to choose from, but visitors can also enjoy golf, spas, shops, markets (including a popular night market), and Hua Hin’s Vana Nava water park.

You might also consider visiting Khao Tekiab, a mountain at the end of the beach with a temple atop that overlooks the beach.

Hua Hin is also surrounded by beautiful national parks and you might decide to go slightly further afield to explore the likes of the Pa La-U Waterfall, located 60 km west of Hua Hin in the south side of the Kaeng Krachan National Park. Alternatively, 45 km to the south of Hua Hin is the mystical Phraya Nakhon cave for the more adventurous!

Quick Facts

Name: Kingdom of Thailand

Population: 67 million

Capital: Bangkok

Language: Thai

Currency: Baht (THB)

Time zone: ICT (UTC+7)

Country Information

From trekking in the beautiful mountains of the north to enjoying the glorious beaches in the south and  experiencing the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that is Bangkok, Thailand is certainly is not a country that lacks variety.

Whilst it really is at the heart of Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, its cultural identity remains very unique. As the only country in Southeast Asia to avoid European powers, the Thai are proud to refer to themselves as ‘The Land of the Free’ and many tourists might also know it as ‘The Land of Smiles’ due to its friendly people.

Thailand has a constitutional monarchy currently headed by King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Rama IX and governed by a military junta (National Council for Peace and Order). The Thai monarchy – especially the King – remains an incredibly important part of Thai culture and is held in the highest respect.

Climate

The majority of the country is home to a tropical savanna climate which consists of wet and dry seasons of a roughly equal length. The climate can be divided into three distinct seasons:

  • Dry season: November – end of February. During this period, precipitation is at its lowest but so are the temperatures. This said, ‘low temperatures’ are of course relative and the difference is not in fact very different at all in the South. It is only if you will be visiting the northern mountains that you might need to bring some warmer clothes as temperatures can fall as low as 5°C. This period is, not surprisingly, the most popular time to visit Thailand and tourism peaks around Christmas and New Year as well as Chinese New year. Flights and accommodation at this time can be more expensive.
  • Hot: March to June. During this time Thailand reaches its hottest temperatures (as high as 40°C).
  • Rainy: July – October. This is when the tropical monsoons begin to arrive, peaking in September. Although this is indeed rainy season, it doesn’t mean that it rains non-stop. Storms can clear up very quickly but when it does rain, heavily flooding is not rare.

Culture

A significant feature of Thai culture is its primary religion: Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism is supported by the government and practiced by an estimated 95% of its population. Thailand not only boasts tenths of thousands of beautiful temples, but you will notice that a lot of Thai people have miniature Spirit Houses on their front yards because they believe that the household spirits live in them and they make offerings to them to keep the spirits happy.

Another feature of Thai culture is the wai greeting, which is essentially a slight bow with palms pressed together in a prayer-like manner to show respect. This can be compared to the Indian namasté. Things to know about this:

  • The higher the hands in relation to the face and the deeper the bow, the more respect is shown.
  • It is made before formally entering/leaving a house
  • It can also be made as a sign of gratitude or apology
  • You do not make the greeting to those who are younger than you unless you are returning the wai.
  • The gesture is normally accompanied with the phrase “sawadee (krap/ka)” (“krap” if you are  male and “ka” if you are female)
  • A corporate wai (made by cashiers etc) can be returned with a smile or a nod

The major festival in Thailand is Thai New Year, known as Songkran. It is celebrated on the 13th-14th April of every year. It is a festival that concludes the dry season and involves a lot of water throwing!

Gastronomy

Thai cuisine is very nutritious and alongside its plentiful use of rice, it generally contains fresh vegetables and white meats like chicken and fish. Thai people love spicy food but do not fear if you do not, just say ‘mai pet’ when you order. However, flavors are not only about the spice as many people believe, Thai food can be slightly salty, sour or sweet and so there really is something to suit everybody’s pallet.

Transportation

Transport in Thailand is very varied and there isn’t one ‘main way’ to travel. Buses dominate long distance journeys. Travel in thailand is cheap and even domestic flights are a worthwhile consideration for long distance journeys, especially with the expansion of low-cost airlines.

Taxis, tuk-tuks and vans are also common modes of transports but tourists must be wary about being overcharged. If in doubt, always ask that the taximeter be switched on to avoid overcharging.

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FRANCIS
Living and working at the HQ in Thailand. Mainly involved with marketing and program development.

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