Jones Adventures
Tigers and Elephants in Thailand

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The itinerary for our December 10, 2016 - December 19, 2016 trip is as follows. While this itinerary will give you an idea of what future trips might be like, this is a new version of this trip and as we always do, we will continue to make adjustments to ensure that our trips are very best up close animal encounters we can create. As with all of our trips we work hard to make sure we include everything we would want to experience on a trip in a new country. We hope you will consider joining us on this adventure to get up close with tigers and elephants in Thailand.

For more information, to ask questions about the up coming or future trips, or to sign up, please email Keith.

December 10, 2016:
Arrival day in Bangkok. We'll meet you at the airport (or our driver will) and transfer you to the Royal Menam River Hotel on the bank of the Chao Phraya River. We love the view from the rooms and the splendiferous breakfast buffet at this hotel. This hotel has an excellent location close to the bustling downtown area of Bangkok, but not in the middle of all the noise and confusion. A quick 5 or 10 minute ferry boat ride easily places you at Khao San Road, backpacker Central in Thailand. Bars, restaurants and loads of shops abound in this really busy section of Bangkok. Tonight we plan to meet for dinner at a nearby outdoor seafood restaurant that is a very nice introduction to authentic Thai seafood. Owned by a famous Thai actress whose specialty is dubbing foreign films into the Thai language, even royalty is said to frequent this restaurant. Sometimes people arrive late. We will make certain your room is available and leave instructions for the morning of December 11.
December 11
This morning you begin an all day tour of some interesting highlights in Bangkok. First you will visit the Grand Palace, a truly amazing palace that is still used for many official functions and is the official home of the World's richest King. From there you'll visit Wat Pho, known throughout the world as a teaching center for Thai massage and the home of the reclining Buddha. Then on to Wat Arun an ancient temple. Sometime along the way today we should enjoy a canal tour of some of the waterways of Bangkok, which was once called the Venice of Asia. (B& L)
December 12:
Today we leave Bangkok proper to visit the well known floating market. This is not as much a local working market as in the past, but just as many Thai people visit here as do foreign visitors, because it is such an interesting venue. You will enjoy a slow and relaxing ride along the canal that is lined with both floating and shore side vendors stalls. A tiny Thai woman will most likely be your paddle boat driver as she pulls you along the waterway. You can buy fruit, candy, scores of exotic spices and a lot of street food from the floating vendors. Or just sit and enjoy the sights. Next we travel a short distance to visit an elephant camp where the elephants love to bathe and swim with us in the River Kwai. The afternoon we return to the Royal Menam where we will meet for dinner together. (B)
December 13:
We leave Bangkok and fly to the city of Sukhothai, the ancient Thai capital city to enjoy an afternoon bike tour of some of the ancient ruins. Some of these have been restored, while others have been left alone, just the jungle and forest cleared away. This town is another Thai tourist destination with not so many foreign visitors. In Sukhothai we stay the night at a Thai style hotel that was awarded special recognition as the best Thai style hotel in the province. (B)
December 14:
Today we drive from Sukhothai to Chiang Mai. We travel through rural northern Thailand giving you an opportunity to see how the average non-city dweller lives and plays. Once settled in Chiang Mai in the late afternoon, the group members will be on their own until we meet for dinner. Dinner tonight is at the night market in one of several open air restaurants. We will stay at a nice 4 star hotel near to the night market. Most likely the Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel. (B)

December 15, 16, 17 & 18:
For the next four days we have a busy and varied itinerary. Leaving each day from the hotel after breakfast and returning in the early to late afternoon. Activities will include a visit to a Karen hill tribe village where the long bronze neck rings give the women elongated necks thought to make them more beautiful in their culture. We will also likely see some very big ear piercings, the like of which has suddenly become a worldwide craze. Also on the action list for today is a leisurely float trip down a small placid river on a bamboo raft. For the next hour the world slows down as we float along a jungle lined stream. Along with bamboo rafting we intend to make our first elephant camp visit. We might end the day at the Do Suthep village and the Temple on the Hill. The village was once the center of Thailand's opium growing region. Funding from the Royal Foundation helped convert this village to tourism and various cash crops that replaced the opium flowers. You can shoot a handmade crossbow, dress up in authentic native clothing for some photos or just wander around this large village and sample some delicious local food. Chiang Mai is in the center of Southeast Asia's gemstone region. We have a long relationship with a local gem merchant whose small shop in the night market has unique and interesting offerings from throughout Southeast Asia. The husband is the buyer. He travels to the mines and buys rough gemstones and rocks to bring back to his shop. His wife is the gem cutter and we sometimes find her at work in their small shop. Chiang Mai is the location of Tiger Kingdom, where we'll have our up close tiger encounter.
We plan to stop and visit the Borsan umbrella making Village. The skilled artists who paint designs on handmade paper umbrellas and fans will also paint almost any scene on your camera, phone, laptop or shirt for just a very small sum. If you're interested check out Keith's laptop art and the golden elephant painted on the pop up flash of his Nikon. Another interesting stop is the woodworking village where all sorts of carvings, furniture and other wood art are on display. Also nearby our hotel is a small bar street that features Muay Thai kick boxing. If you ask Onanong she will gladly lead you there and explain the action both in and outside of the boxing ring. We will also venture out to the interesting and ancient Chiang Dao Cave Temple site in the morning.
December 19:
Today is our travel back to the Bangkok Airport day and this ends the organized tour segment. We will catch a flight from Chiang Mai directly to the BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport. We don't know the time yet on those flights, but we will try to arrive at BKK around 1 PM or earlier. This tour itinerary includes breakfast each day at the hotel we are staying in. Lunch and dinner are planned as group events, but with each member paying for their own meals and drinks. This is to simplify how things happen during each day. You each can choose to eat with the group or to go off on your for a more private meal.
List of hotels we plan to use The hotels may change due to availability or other situation, but this list is indicative of the various styles of hotel we will use. At Baja Jones we are drawn to hotels because of location or style or some other special feature. Sometimes a location is just very convenient for our tour plan. Mostly we look for interesting and local style first. Frequently our hotels will not be star rated by any large hotel rating institution. On this trip the Ramada Royal Menam Riverside is in a terrific location and has always had a really good breakfast buffet. The Ruean Thai Hotel is a traditional Thai style hotel that is not star rated, but it did achieve special distinction with a Trip Advisor award of Excellence. This only comes after many 5 star reviews attract a personal visit by a Trip Advisor staff member. The Chiang Mai Plaza Hotel is a 4 star slightly older hotel and again is in a really good location for you to find interesting things near to the hotel. The village homestay lodge is new to us and so we will all experience this for the first time. I enjoy every one of these hotels and have stayed at each of them on numerous occasions.

Important information about this trip

(B, L, D) indicates which meals are included. Drinks are only included as provided by the hotel buffet breakfasts. Any other drinks are not included.
This trip includes the air tickets from BKK to Sukhothai and from Chiang Mai to BKK Suvarnabhumi Airport on the last day, no other air fare.
We reserve the right to make changes to the itinerary as might become necessary due to changing conditions. This might be road conditions, weather, politics or some other situation that we feel requires a change to the itinerary. We will always do our best to replace any sightseeing or encounters with something as similar as possible. Please note that the Tiger Temple is not on the itinerary. We will do our tiger encounter at Tiger Kingdom in Chiang Mai.

Questions? Ready to sign up? Need clarification? Email Keith

copyright 2016, Keith Jones
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