Take Me to Thailand
Jan. 6-14, 2018 | 9 days / 8 nights | $3,295
“Thailand is a country that wakes up all your senses. The strong aromas of the food, energy of the city, traffic and tuktuks, prominence of the Buddhist religion, relaxation that comes from the crashing salt waves and famous Thai massages, warm smiles and welcome from every local you meet, the peace, the calm, the animals, the energy — it’s a place that makes you instantly feel alive and inspired.” Mary —- Living Big trip host for this adventure. To learn more about Mary, click here.
Day 1 – January 6
Start your journey to Thailand so that you arrive into Chiang Mai on this day. Your Trip Host will coordinate your transfer from the airport to the hotel so you can relax and rest from the long journey and be ready to meet the rest of the crew the following morning. And we’re staying at a pretty amazing hotel; an oasis from the hustle and bustle of city life, so you’ve got that going for you in your battle against jet lag. Arrive into Chiang Mai International Airport (airport code CNX.) No meals included.
Day 2 – January 7
Over breakfast in the hotel’s courtyard we’ll spend some time meeting one another and learning more about the week ahead. Afterwards (and while we’re still sipping coffee and tea to fight that jet lag!) we’ll hear from a local expert who will give us foundational knowledge about Buddhism – the dominant religion in Thailand that influences a lot of what you’ll see and experience during the trip. With our local expert in tow, we’ll venture into the heart of Chiang Mai’s old town to explore a few temples, including a chat with monks. After lunch we’ll explore the famous Sunday street market for some local shopping, and then hit the town and experience the food and culture of Chiang Mai’s nights markets and delicious street food. All meals included.
Day 3 – January 8
After breakfast at the hotel we’ll make the journey about 90 minutes outside the city to the Elephant Nature Park; an elephant rescue and rehabilitation center that cares for elephants that have been hurt, abandoned and broken down from their time in the tourism industry (such as the circus and trekking camps) and illegal logging operations. Here elephants receive the care, food and medical treatment needed to nurse them back to a health and safe state. During our visit you’ll learn all about elephants, and even join in their care, feeding and bathing. All meals included.
Day 4 – January 9
For the early risers in the group, join your Trip Host to visit a temple about 30 minutes outside town, and way up in the hills, as you watch the sunrise over the city of Chiang Mai in a pretty magical setting. After greeting the day, we’ll make our way back to the hotel for breakfast and a day of R&R. Go ahead, you’ve earned it! During the afternoon everyone will receive a Thai Massage at a local spa, and can spend the rest of the day relaxing by the hotel pool, further exploration of Chiang Mai’s old town, visiting local museums and cafes, etc. We’ll regroup in the late afternoon for our dinner — which will be a Thai cooking class in the home of a local woman named Pea. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 5 – January 10
Today will be an early day — and a long one – but the R&R day you had the day before will leave you energized to tackle the trek that’s in store for you! Today we’ll drive a few hours outside the city center to explore Doi Innthanon National Park, known as “the roof of Thailand,” as it sits 2,565 meters above sea level. Here guides from the local Karen tribe will guide us on a trek through the forest, pointing out unique species of plant life, flowers, local animals and plant of origin to familiar elements of our modern life (cinnamon from a tree bark, anyone?) Throughout the hike we’ll be foraging plants, vegetables and supplies that will later be used at our lunch cookout in the forest and among rice fields. Later that night we’ll settle under the twinkling lights of our hotel restaurant for our final meal in Chiang Mai. All meals included.
Day 6 – January 11
We’ll catch a flight mid-afternoon to Krabi Province, our jumping off point to the beautiful islands in southern Thailand. After landing we’ll start our journey to the sleepy island of Koh Lanta. First here we’ll go by car, then by private boat, before we pull up (literally) to the sandy beach that’s steps from your hotel room. Get ready to rest, relax in the sun, and unwind. All meals included.
Day 7 – January 12
Today the schedule is pretty slim — it consists of you sleeping in, making your way to breakfast when you’re up, ready and hungry, then settling into a lounger on the beach, by the pool or heck — back in your bed! There are no set plans today, so make it what you need and want. And if what you need or want includes a massage or visit to the local spa, just ask your Trip Host for help getting an appointment scheduled. Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 8 – January 13
Our private boat will arrive early in the morning to take us snorkeling, and to experience local fish and underwater fauna. We’ll cruise around nearby islands to find the uncrowded and clear snorkeling spots, stop at a local beach for lunch and a swim, then make our way to the east side of Koh Lanta to explore the “old town” of this quiet island. Bring your underwater cameras, sun block and be prepared to be amazed. It’s a whole new world underwater in Thailand! After a full day on the water we’ll make our way back to our home base and small slice of home on Koh Lanta for a final beach BBQ and night together in Thailand. All meals included.
Day 9 – January 14
Swap phone numbers, emails and photos. Everyone will either head home or start the next leg of your journey. Depart from Krabi International Airport (airport code KBV.) Breakfast included.
Trip itinerary is subject to change but will always maintain a spirit of adventure and diverse activities. Questions? Check out the FAQs (click here) for this trip.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who is going on the trip?
This trip is made up of 14 women: 13 guests and your Trip Host. A major tenet of Living Big is to make international travel more accessible to women who don’t want to go at it alone. To learn more about the philosophy, click here.
Can I join the trip solo? Or can I invite a few of my friends to join me on the trip?
Yes and yes to both questions! Some women join Living Big trips on their own; there to make friends and see the world, and others join Living Big trips because they want to share the experience with their friends, sisters, mothers or daughters and don’t want to do any of the planning!
You’ll find that the trips are structured in a way that you’ll have a good amount of group time, but also a fair amount of independent time to explore on your own, with new friends you met in the group, or with the friends joining you on the trip.
Who is the Trip Host? And what is her role?
On this trip your Trip Host is Mary. To learn more about Mary, click here.
The role of the Trip Host is to be there to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible, even when the inevitable travel bumps come our way – such as an unexpected rainy afternoon, traffic, missing luggage, etc. But more importantly, to be a resource that will give you the space you need to really enjoy the experience. So if throughout the trip there is something your Trip Host can do to support you in this regard – please let her know. For example, if you’re not feeling well, having trouble sleeping, not getting along with someone, not satisfied with something, etc. please please share these concerns. No one needs a ‘Mother’ on this trip – that’s not our intention, but if there are small adjustments that can be made to create more space for you to enjoy the experience —- the Trip Host will see what can be done!
How much does the trip cost? And what is included/excluded in this price?
The total price per person is $3,295. This includes the following:
- Planning: all trip logistics, including pre-trip negotiations with all hotels and vendors, onsite coordination, useful information leading up to your trip such as advice on what to pack, how much to budget for spending money, a cheat sheet for learning the local language, advice on local currency, etc.
- Hotels: 8 nights accommodation based on two people sharing a room.
- Airfare between Chiang Mai and Krabi on January 11.
- Meals: see the daily itinerary for meals included each day. On some days, you’ll be on your own for a meal. Some alcohol, water and snacks are also included.
- Transport: all ground transportation, including airport transfers and hired ground transportation, are included.
- Activities: all activities, unless specified in the itinerary, are included.
- Gratuities for all local guides.
The following expenses are not included in the total trip price:
- Round-trip airfare is not included, but gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles or to extend your trip as you wish. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities. You will be required to share flight details at least 8 weeks before the adventure commences.
- A set amount of wine and beer will be purchased with each hosted dinner, but each guest will be responsible for alcoholic beverages beyond this amount.
- While not required, each guest is encouraged to consult their existing insurance policy to determine what is covered while on the trip, and if needed, secure an individual insurance policy for the trip.
- Any additional activities you want to book along the way or outside of the coordinated group trip: spa visits, private tours, etc.
- Luggage fees on your international flight as well as the domestic flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi. Note: luggage weight restrictions and baggage fees for the domestic flight will be provided.
- Spending money.
- Additional tips for the Trip Host.
What are the health and physical fitness requirements to join on the trip?
Guests should take personal responsibility to ensure they are physically able and healthy to participate in all group trip activities, such as hiking and walking on uneven surfaces for durations up to 6 hours, climbing up and down up to 500 steps, riding in a minibus for up to four hours at one time including periods of time on windy and steep roads, carrying luggage up stairs, riding in and getting on/off various modes of public transportation such as buses, taxis, tuktuks, boats and trucks, riding on a small regional airplane, hiking in a natural environment, snorkeling, and being in humid and polluted environments. The trip is moderately strenuous and best enjoyed by anyone who is physically fit and enjoys active days.
You should consult with a medical doctor to determine if you are healthy and physically able to participate, and if there are any vaccines you should get before the trip.
Is there a minimum/maximum age to participate?
Women over the age of 21, that are physically able to participate in the trip itinerary, are welcome to join for this adventure. Please see the detailed itinerary and FAQ on minimum physical fitness requirements to learn more.
What should I do to secure my spot on the trip?
The first step is to request a spot, which you can do that online (click here.) Once you reserve your spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver. Please note: registration is taken on a first-come, first-serve basis.
Is airfare included in the trip fee?
Round-trip airfare is not included in the trip fee, but this gives you flexibility in using airline reward miles, to extend your trip any way you like, and to select the routes and airlines you prefer. Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare and transportation to the stated start and end cities. You will be required to share flight details at least 8 weeks before the adventure commences.
What do I need to know before I book my flight?
Each guest is responsible for organizing their own airfare to the stated start and end cities. You will be required to share flight details at least 8 weeks before the adventure commences.
- Inbound flights should arrive into Chiang Mai International Airport (airport code CNX) anytime on January 6.
- Outbound flights should depart from Krabi International Airport (airport code KBV) anytime on January 14.
Please note: there are limited flight into Chiang Mai and out of Krabi, and you might be required to stay overnight in Bangkok either on your international flight into or out of Thailand. Please discuss your flight options with Living Big prior to booking your flights.
Will I be sharing a hotel room? Can I choose my roommate?
Yes, everyone will be sharing a room with at least one other person. In most instances, you will have your own bed. You can request a roommate preference on forms that will be included in your Trip Packet, which you will receive approximately 12 weeks before the adventure begins.
Can you tell me about the type of accommodations we'll be staying at?
You betcha! During our time in Chiang Mai we’ll be staying at a four-star property just beyond the east entrance to the old town. During our stay on Koh Lanta we’ll be staying at a five-star property on the beach. Neither of these hotels have elevator access to all the guest rooms.
What kind of ground transportation will we use?
All kinds! During our stay in Chiang Mai plan on a good amount of walking, riding in tuktuk’s and other local taxis, minibus shuttles and large passenger vans. We’ll fly a regional airliner between Chiang Mai and Krabi, and then travel in a large passenger van and speedboat to get to the island of Koh Lanta. During our stay in Koh Lanta we’ll travel in tuktuks, other local taxis and by speedboat. Throughout the trip we’ll be traveling on uneven surfaces, steep hills and narrow roads with traffic behaviors unlike what is traditionally found in the United States.
What should I pack?
Prior to the trip, you’ll receive a packing checklist and advised on what type of clothes and supplies you’ll need.
Do I need to carry my luggage?
Yes, plan on carrying your bags to/from the airport, on/off buses and vans and in/out of the hotel.
I don't speak the local language. Is that OK?
Don’t worry about mastering the local lingo to join our trips. When traveling internationally, locals do appreciate it when visitors know at least a few key phrases. We’ll provide a quick language lesson and cheat sheet.
What will the weather be like?
While January is known as the “cool” season in Thailand, daily averages are between 83-90 degrees Fahrenheit. There might be occasional light rain and winds. Evenings can be cool after the sun goes down. And it can be incredibly humid during the day.
What if I don't need every hotel/activity/etc. on my trip?
Unfortunately, refunds aren’t possible for unused hotel rooms, meals or activities. The total trip price is a package deal; credits are not given for services not used. Please contact Living Big (click here) if you have questions or concerns about any trip activities due to a physical condition. If there is a reasonable alternative, we can explore it.
How do I communicate information like allergies, injuries, etc?
About 12 weeks before we begin our adventure, you’ll receive your Trip Packet. It includes forms, questionnaires and waivers that you’ll need to submit no later than 8 weeks before the trip begins. The forms in the Trip Packet allow you to share these important details. Living Big will provide meals as outlined in the official trip itinerary and will work with you to try and accommodate special dietary requirements; however, Living Big is not required to provide such meals, supplements and/or any special requests beyond what is outlined in official trip itinerary.
Do I need a U.S. Passport or Visa for this trip?
Yes, a U.S. Passport is required to visit Thailand. Your U.S. Passport must be valid for at least six months beyond your intended departure date and have one blank pages for an entry stamp. A Visa is not required. But please note that entry requirements may change at any time. While Living Big will attempt to keep you informed of changes, you should take personal responsibility to ensure you can satisfy entry requirements. Click here to learn more about entering Thailand with a U.S. Passport. If you plan to visit another country before or after your Living Big trip, please consult the following site for individual entry requirements: click here
Do I have to pay for the entire trip up front or can I make payments?
No, you do not need to pay for the entire trip up front. (Although you can, if you prefer.) Check out the Trip Pricing tab (click here) for payment details.
What if I need to cancel the trip?
If you decide you need to cancel your trip the following refund schedule applies upon written notice of your cancellation:
- Cancellations made on or before September 6, 2017:
- Your trip deposit is nonrefundable. If you paid in full for the trip the deposit is $500.
- You will be reimbursed 50% of what you have paid to date, less the nonrefundable deposit.
- As an example, if you made a $500 deposit, then made two additional payments each for $250 (total paid = $1,000) then the amount you would receive back is $250.
- Cancellations made on or after September 7, 2017:
- All payments made to date are nonrefundable.
Travel insurance helps protect against last-minute cancellation, trip interruption, and to cover medical treatment or emergency medical evacuation during your trip. We strongly recommend you purchase travel insurance and flight cancellation insurance in advance of your trip. To learn about travel insurance, click here for a quick lesson!
What if the trip doesn't fill up or is cancelled?
The trip requires a minimum number of participants in order to take place at the stated price, since it takes into account group discounts, shared accommodations and other factors that create cost efficiencies. Once an adequate number of participants sign up for the trip, you will be notified. If a trip does not have enough participants, or if someone unexpectedly cancels, you will be refunded your deposit or you will be given the option to pay a trip supplement to continue the trip with fewer participants. Should additional participants sign-up after you have paid the trip supplement, this fee will be refunded. Your air travel itinerary is yours to decide, and we recommend you purchase flight cancellation insurance. Living Big is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by you in preparing for the trip including non-refundable air tickets, gear, medical equipment or travelers insurance.
What if I can't make payments according to the payment schedule?
If unusual circumstances arise and you can’t make payments on time please contact Living Big (click here) to discuss. Generally speaking, failure to make payments according to the schedule may result in losing your spot on the trip.
Oh no! The trip is sold out -- but I really want to go to Thailand!
Because all Living Big adventures are kept to small groups, it’s highly likely that the trips will sell out. If we had our way everyone would be able to join (but we can’t grow that fast!) Be sure to sign-up to receive Living Big trip announcements by email (click here to sign-up) to hear about future trips to Thailand. Alternatively, you can work with Living Big to plan your own trip to Thailand that mirrors the Living Big trip, or make any modifications you like! To learn more about Living Big’s custom travel design services, click here.
Trip Pricing + Payment Options
See below for key details and next steps to save your spot!
This trip is nearly all-inclusive of meals, all hotels, all ground transportation, and all activities outlined in the trip details tab (click here), all the planning and booking (so you don’t have to do ANY work but show up!) and advice on what to pack, tips on international travel and a go-to resource available to answer any questions you have leading up to the trip, and on the trip, to help ensure that you have an amazing experience!
If you’re interested in reserving a spot on this trip please make note of the following booking process and payment terms:
- The first step is to request a spot, which you can do online (click here.) Once you request your spot, we’ll reach out to you to schedule a call to review the trip details, get to know you, give you a chance to ask questions about Living Big, etc. provided there are spots available on the trip.
- If after this conversation you’re on board to join for the adventure, you’ll receive a link to the registration page where you can formally register, submit your first payment and sign the trip waiver.
There are two options for payment:
- Pay the full amount by credit card or by check.
- Break your payments into equal monthly installments. Make a deposit of $500 to formally register for your spot, and then on the first of each month (following the month you made your deposit payment) your credit card will be automatically charged a set amount, so that the final payment is applied on October 1, 2017. If you decide to make monthly installment payments, you will receive a payment schedule based on when you register.