Thailand: The Spirit of Greng Jai, Sample Itinerary

This is a sample itinerary. No two Dragons courses are the same. Every itinerary considers the unique strengths of the instructor team and interests of the student group.
Week One: Bangkok, Ayuthaya & Chiang Mai We begin our travels in Ayutthaya, where students are introduced to Thai language and group bonding activities during explorations of the historical remains of one of South East Asia’s most fabled cities. After a few days of orientation, we continue north by train to Chiang Mai, Thailand’s second largest city, where we learn about the essential qualities of life in northern Thailand. We hike to the temple atop Doi Suthep and meet with monks in the cave temple near the base of the mountain. We sample street cuisine, study the living history of the city, discuss the shifting political realities after the King's passing and learn about mindfulness through meditation.
Week Two: Pun Pun In Pun Pun Village. Here we settle into a village home-stay and focus on independent study projects as well as community building. We practice meditation and yoga and collaborate with local communities to better understand how remote agriculture-based communities are maintaining their distinctive cultures, customs and values amidst Thailand’s march toward modernization. We'll sleep in adobe houses built by the community members using handmade bricks and age-old architectural techniques. For a week, the soil of Pun Pun and the surrounding communities in the valleys will represent our classroom.
Week Three: Karen Village & Trekking From Pun Pun, we travel three hours south through misty mountain passes to a Karen village near the largest mountain in Thailand, Doi Inthanon. Here at the Indigenous Dialogue Center we are introduced to more than simply artisanal craftwork; we find ourselves drawn into the profoundly beautiful and intricate ways in which indigenous peoples exhibit the world through their art and mythology. We trek into the valleys during the monsoon seasons when the paths are muddy, waterfalls stream off the cliff sides and the rice paddies are deep underwater.
Week Four: Pak Mun & Bangkok A long bus ride toward Laos takes us to Isan province, the agricultural heartland of Thailand and source of the majority of rice. We are welcomed into a village on the Pak Mun river where we spend with Thai musicians, fishermen, land rights activists, shamans and chiefs. The homestay offers a rare glimpse into a life in which the chanting of monks whispers dawn and students greet sunrise with their host families offering alms. Upon leaving we make our way to Bangkok, where we visit Thailand’s elegant temples and engage in activities meant to solidify the experience and offer tools to empower students to transmute the lessons learned into their daily lives.