Thailand Photo Tour: The Treasures of Thailand & Angkor Wat

Tour Intro

Contract Strabo Tours for future tour dates/leaders, or a Group Tour for your photo companions and &/or family. Local guide versed in our photo tours.

Thailand and Angkor Wat are an irresistible combination of breathtaking natural beauty and inspiring temples. Travel from bustling Bangkok with brightly decorated temples, wander through traditional Thai markets, and trek through the hill tribes from Chiang Mai, where you will interact and feel at home in the local villages. Fly to Cambodia, walk amidst the fascinating jungle clad temples and mysterious stone carvings of Angkor Wat, along with lesser known visited ruins, and photograph the unique floating fishing villages.

In Bangkok you will explore the Grand Palace, Wat Phra, cruise the canals on a long tail boat, and photograph vendors in the floating markets. Ayuthaya, about an hour outside Bangkok, is a bit off the tourist track, giving you a day to photograph its temples in a quieter setting. Then it's off to northern Thailand where you will visit and photograph hill tribes from Chiang Mai, and stroll through the hill-top Wat Doi Suthep, the crown jewel of a vivid collection of traditional Thai temples. You will have a first-hand look at the important role elephants have played in every aspect of Thai life, from ceremonial purposes to warfare, transportation, and farming. See a fascinating demonstration of elephants at work and play. You will also photograph the vibrant colors, warm faces, and local crafts at the markets.

Depart Thailand and fly to Siem Reap, Cambodia, your base for exploring the fabled temples of Angkor Wat, the ancient capital of the Khmer empire. Photograph this ancient structure along with lesser known wats in this region, and lake villages built on stilts.

Tour Highlights

  • Magnificent Buddhist Temples and Royal Palaces.
  • Colorful fruit and flower markets.
  • Full day hike through hill tribe villages in Northern Thailand.
  • Travel by boat to the floating village of Tonle Sap.
  • Elephant nature park rescue center.
  • Ancient stone temples of Angkor Wat.
  • Visit a Cambodian village and donate a fresh water well.
  • Two weeks with Photographic Tour Leader Kathy Adams Clark.

Tour Itinerary

November 7: Depart U.S.

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Thailand & Cambodia

A day is lost en-route, landing tomorrow evening (November 8) in Bangkok, Thailand (BKK).

November 8: Bangkok

Photo By: Ron Rosenstock

Photo Location: Thailand

Flights arrive this evening in Bangkok, where you will be transferred to the hotel. Overnight Aurum Hotel (meals on plane)

November 9-11: Bangkok - Ayuthaya

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Thailand & Cambodia

In the morning your local guide will meet you and take you on a walking tour of Pak Klong Market, near your hotel. Explore the market and then head by tuk tuk to the famous Wat Pho, where your guide will give you the history of the temple. After lunch the afternoon will be at leisure, options may include returning to the Wat for an optional massage, relax at the hotel having time to work on your images, or linger amidst the many shops and vendors around the hotel, photographing with Kathy. There will be a welcome dinner, with traditional Thai cuisine.

The next day begins with an early morning long tail boat ride through the khlongs (canals) of Bangkok, seeing local life pass by, on this lively waterfront. Stop at Wat Arun - the "Temple of the Dawn" - before continuing a walk through the beautiful flower market. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and then visit the Amulet Market and the Royal Palace. This evening your guide will take you to the famous Chinatown, exploring this labyrinth of colorful shops, businesses and markets. Visit Tian Fah Foundation Temple, one of the oldest Chinese temples in Bangkok.

Your last day in Bangkok, venture outside the city where you will be transported to the ancient city of Ayuthaya, situated at the confluence of three rivers. The Ayuthaya period is looked on by many as the time when much of what is now thought of as "Thai style" was developed. In temples, this is when you see a marked transition from the Khmer style "prangs" to the bell shaped "chedi." Ayuthaya is a relatively low-key site. You can spend a leisurely day here, all with relatively low pressure compared to many other sites. Visit the historical city center to explore the stunning temples: Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Ratburana, and then join your guide for lunch on a boat cruising along the Pasak & Chao Phraya River. Enjoy the scenery along the river as you learn about the region from your guide. In the afternoon continue exploring Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wihaan Mongkhon Bophit. Enjoy sunset in the temples before returning to Bangkok. Overnights Bangkok (B, D; B, L, D; B, L, D)

November 12-16: Chiang Mai – Hill tribe trek

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Thailand & Cambodia

Board your group flight this morning to Chiang Mai, where you will be transferred to your hotel. Enjoy lunch and get to know your guide of Northern Thailand at a local restaurant. This afternoon visit some of the more famous Wats, within the city walls of Chiang Mai. Your guide will discuss Buddhism and the role it plays in everyday life as well as showing you the many details of each temple. This evening enjoy photographing at Wat Suan Dock, as the sunsets behind the temples.

Wake early the next day, and head to Kruba Sri Vichai Monument to see the monks collecting alms before they return to their monastery for their morning meal. Your guide will explain why and how to give alms, so that you may respectfully take part in this daily ritual. Afterwards photograph the Doi Suthep, the most important Wat in Chiang Mai. Perched high above the city, it offers wonderful views of the city and countryside below. Afterwards photograph the busting market, learning about the local foods and enjoying breakfast.

Enjoy the next morning having a photo discussion with your leader, amidst the beautiful gardens of the hotel. Later in the afternoon visit the Elephant Nature Park, a wonderful organization dedicated to conserving and promoting elephants. Spend the morning learning to bath, feed and command these amazing beasts of burden. Please bring a change of clothes or a swimsuit as you will get wet giving the elephants their daily bath! In the evening your guide will take you to the famous Walking Street of Chiang Mai. This amazing street comes to life with stalls displaying local crafts and unusual finds. Though the Chiang Mai night market is great, Walking Street is where the locals go for the real treasures. Your guide will drop you off and you are free to explore, shop, and enjoy dinner on your own before returning to your hotel.

Another day is devoted to trekking the hill tribes of this region. Start early and drive two hours to Chiang Dao where you will start your walk. At the end of the road from Ban Pang Tong there is a lovely village belonging to the Lao Ho people. Leaving the village you will climb a steep hill for some amazing views of the rice fields and village from above. Continue on until you enter a bamboo forest, where you will see farmers collecting wood, and cutting bamboo. You will emerge into a valley with huge limestone cliffs towering around you and fields of rice and corn. Follow the path into a Karen village and meet some of the locals in their homes. Explore a nearby temple and garden before meeting your vehicle and return to Chiang Mai.

The last day in Northern Thailand begins with an early morning drive to Doi Inthanon National Park where you will reach the summit of the highest mountain in Thailand, at eighty five hundred feet. You will have lunch on the mountain, stopping at a picturesque waterfall. Also stop to photograph a roadside market and the Hmong & Karen Hilltribe Villages before returning to Chiang Mai. Overnight Chiang Mai (B, L; B, L; B; B, L; B, L)

November 17-20: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Thailand & Cambodia

Travel to Cambodia today via flights from Chiang Mai, back to Bangkok, and on to Siem Reap. You will be met and transferred to your accommodations, having the afternoon at leisure.

Wake up early and begin an extensive sunrise tour of the magnificent twelfth century Angkor Wat temple before the crowds arrive. Mid-morning head back to your hotel for a delicious brunch before relaxing in the garden, by the pool, the sitting room, or your own room through the heat of the day. Lunch will be at a restaurant specializing in traditional Khmer dishes. Angkor Thom is a famous walled city with many temples within its borders, including the fascinating Bayon Temple with its magnificent smiling faces. There are several beautiful spots from which to watch the sunset. Relax and enjoy a memorable end to your day.

The next day at Tonle Sap, take a boat ride to visit the village of Kompong Kleang and a Cambodian fish farm. Kompong Kleang is located on the northern section of the lake and is a less traveled village. During the dry season it is a forest of stilted houses and in the wet season a floating village. It is the largest community on the lake and, like all other lake communities, relies on fishing. Experience a unique kayaking trip on the Tonle Sap (boat trip available for those that do not want to kayak). You will arrive at the local home that stores the canoes and after a short safety briefing head off with your guide who will lead you thru waterways, flooded forests and out into the Tonle Sap lake where you can take a dip if you wish. Then back to wind through the village experiencing how the locals live in this watery environment. Return to the home for lunch and a leisurely boat and car ride back to town.

Your last day in Siem Reap, set off with your guide to Banteay Srei, the intricately carved temple just twenty miles beyond Angkor Wat. As you head towards your hotel you can stop at Banteay Kdei and Ta Prohm, two of the prettiest temples in the complex. Enjoy climbing through these smaller unique sites before returning to your hotel for lunch.

Strabo Photo Tour Collection is proud to make a donation on your behalf, in order to fund a new well, which will provide up to five families with easily accessible water all year round – even in the dry season! This afternoon you will have a special visit with the members of this community, get to know the families, and see what a tremendous difference this has made in their lives. This evening enjoy dinner around the pool with traditional dancing and music. Overnights Siem Reap (B; B; B, L; B, L, D)

November 21: Siem Reap – Bangkok – Home
Angkor Wat

Photo By: Tom Bol

Photo Location: Thailand & Cambodia

Transfer to the airport in time to catch your flight back to Bangkok, arriving there by early afternoon. You will then connect to flights home or on to another destination. Please note flights back to the U.S. may be overnight flights, landing November 22, or if early morning flight home you will need to overnight Bangkok airport hotel November 21. (B)

Pricing and Details

US Dollars based upon minimum of 9 paying participants. There is a small group surcharge of $400 if 5-8 paying participants. All our program prices are based on double occupancy unless noted in exceptions.

Single rooms are subject to availability. We try to accommodate travelers who request single accommodations, as well as travelers who are looking for a roommate. If a single room is requested, or if we are unable to find a suitable roommate, you will be required to pay the supplement.

Testimonials

This was the trip of a lifetime for me. I was challenging myself to learn all sorts of new things, photography, a new culture, and was immersed in it. It surpassed my expectations and I met so many beautiful souls along the way. Kathy was fantastic, I give her a 10++!!!

D.Whitney

Everywhere we went was a highlight. Every place had something special. Kathy was a 10+, she was always there to give photo suggestions, help with equipment and locating things to photograph. She is an excellent teacher!

B & R Nelson

Kathy is a remarkable photographer and is soooo willing  to share her knowledge with the traveling companions.  She provided a wealth of guidance on what might be good to shoot but was not in your way if you wanted to do things differently.  I would travel with her again in a heartbeat and will if I get the chance!

B. Adams

Additional Notes

Health and Fitness

Tour participants should be in good health and good physical condition to get the most out of the trip. You will find that every day includes walking in a hot and very humid climate, with one day devoted to a hill tribe trek. Although we will not be running marathons, we will be taking long walks in order to reach the prime photographic locations. We will be at various altitudes with the highest peak being at 8,000’. While you will not be required to climb these peaks, some of the best scenic views are from the tops of these formations. There will be a few long drives on very winding, narrow roads.

Terms and Conditions

Unless otherwise noted, this information applies to all tours.

Airfare

Contact Strabo Tours if you would like rates on International Airfare. Please note on your trip application form if you would like us to assist you with your airfare needs, a charge is added for this service. If making your own arrangements, it is important to discuss flight times with Strabo Tours before booking any airline tickets. This will avoid you having to pay airline cancellation penalties. Please contact Strabo Tours for destination airfare estimates, specific flight time arrivals, and departures.

The land cost includes:
  • Group transportation for tour events in the tour van.
  • Accommodations based on two people sharing a room, singles are assigned on a first come, first served basis.
  • Services of driver, English speaking cultural guide (if applicable) and photographic leader, during the tour.
  • Meals as listed in itinerary (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner).
  • Park entrance fees, day tours and excursions as shown in the itinerary.
  • Extensive pre-departure information and services.
The land cost does not include:

Domestic or International air fare; other airfare if noted in exceptions; air fare tax; airport departure tax; airport transfers; additional transfers or accommodations that may be required by those not traveling with the group; excess baggage charges; meals not included in itinerary; activities taken on your own; passport/visa expenses; personal medical or travel insurance; any expenses of a personal nature, such as room service, laundry, beverages not included with meals, medical expenses, photographic equipment, any activities not specified in tour itinerary or listed as optional, or any items not listed in what is included; fuel surcharges; exchange rate surcharges; upon the completion of your trip, modest gratuities to the local guides and the drivers are customary; tips for meals not included in itinerary.

Fitness and Health

The majority of trips are not strenuous (see exceptions below for particular destinations) and anyone who is reasonably fit should be able to take part in most of the activities. You may experience general fatigue due to the long flights and the change in time zones. You will need to be sufficiently agile to climb in and out of the tour van and be able to carry and manage your own equipment. We will frequently hike trails ranging from easy to moderate. Some hotels do not have elevators or air conditioners.

If you have any special needs or any physical condition that you feel might prevent you from fully participating, please contact Strabo Tours with your concerns (607-756-8676).

You should also be aware that medical services or facilities might not be readily available during all or part of your trip. This could include emergency medical care, presence of physicians, or adequate medication.

Exceptions:

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

The following destinations require more physical activity. Bhutan, China, Patagonia, Peru, Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands, New Zealand, Scotland, Domestic tours. On the African Safari you will spend many hours in a vehicle on game drives, land travel will sometimes be over very bumpy and dusty roads. Galapagos Cruise accommodations are in upper and lower berths (bunk beds) only.

Deposits, Cancellations AND Refunds

A deposit of $750 ($500 on domestic tours) per person is required. Specific tours may require an additional deposit due to accommodation bookings or transportation requirements. If applicable these will be noted on your invoice. Payment in full is required when bookings are made less than 120 days before the departure date. Space is subject to cancellation by Strabo if payment is not received when due.

If a passenger wishes to cancel they must send notification in writing to: Strabo International Tour, Co., P.O. Box 580, Dryden, NY 13053; fax 208-545-4119. At the time we receive your notification, the following per person charges apply:

  • 91 days or more before departure: $300 cancellation fee ($150 fee on domestic tours), plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation.
  • 61-90 days before departure: $500 ($250 on domestic tours) minimum cancellation fee, plus Strabo’ costs, as well as fees that are charged by the suppliers providing the services included in your tour, and/or the airlines providing the air transportation. Fees may range from 25% to 100% of tour costs.
  • 60 days or less before departure or anytime after departure: NO REFUND.

Refunds for services that are voluntarily not used by you cannot be made.

Insurance

Each participant must be covered by medical insurance that is valid overseas.

We strongly urge you to evaluate your risk and to take out insurance on your trip. It is vital for you to realize that if you experience a delay or find it necessary to cancel or cut short your trip for any reason, you will lose part or the entire sum you’ve invested in it (see the section “Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds” in the trip brochure).

Travel insurance helps to minimize the risk of monetary losses you would incur in the event of a delay of your departure due to weather, airline strike, missed connection, etc., your inability to travel for reasons such as illness, injury, unforeseen financial complications and other personal circumstances, or if you were required to cut your trip short for medical or any other reasons.

There are restrictions and limitations on any insurance program. For this reason, please read carefully the enclosed pamphlet, which outlines their program of trip cancellation, baggage, and medical insurance. Trained agents are available to answer your questions, so don’t hesitate to call the toll free number in their brochure. It is to your advantage to apply for insurance at the earliest possible time, so don’t delay in making a decision.

Subject to Change

Itineraries have been carefully constructed to assure participants the best each destination has to offer; however, should events arise that are beyond our control, activities and hotel arrangements are subject to change without notice. The itineraries summarize typical areas you will explore. Since there is no possible way to visit all of them, your guides will plan each day considering the interests of the group and the weather at hand. Be assured that we will make substitutions that are as similar in quality and interest as possible.

Photo Release

Strabo International Tour Company, Inc. reserves the right and permission to use photographs of individuals on tour for use in promotional and publicity purposes. We also reserve the right to use clients photographs for promotional and publicity purposes, when submitted to Strabo International Tour Company, Inc.

Accommodations

Southeast Asia has made great strides in tourist accommodations and services in recent years, and we have chosen beautiful, quaint hotels in beautiful surroundings. Please remember this is still a developing country, so we may experience occasional inconveniences. All our accommodations will be clean and comfortable, with private toilet and shower/bath. The hotels have been chosen for their proximity to prime photographic locations. Transportation will be by various means: tuk-tuk, boat, optional kayak, vehicle, and internal flights

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