Program photograph

Thailand Family Adventure

June 14-23, 2014
Faculty: Steve Cushman, Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at U.Va.
Price: $3,890 Adult Land Only
$3790 For Teens (12-17) and $3,390 Child (8-11)

Registration is Open

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Thailand Family Adventure

Thailand is a place no family is soon to forget. Designed for multiple generations of U.Va. alumni and their families to experience an educational and fun family vacation, this trip allows you to discover the glories of this ancient culture, laugh, learn and enjoy life with your family. The contemporary metropolis of Bangkok dazzles all with its grandiose temples and palaces, pagodas and golden roofs. The local people are renowned for their kindness, pleasantly going about their business in the floating markets that line the canals, and the nearby rain forest is home to plenty of wildlife. Hill tribes in mountainous villages of Thailand preserve their cultural traditions, Buddhist monks roam the streets, and gentle elephants frolic in rivers.

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Program Highlights

Thailand Family Adventure ^ back to top


Thailand Family Adventure

Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel
Situated on the banks of Bangkok’s Chao Phraya River, the Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel offers a traditional Thai experience amid all the modern conveniences of a luxury hotel. With nine restaurants and bars, twenty-four functions rooms and banquet halls, and the Massira Wellness & Spa and fitness center, you may forget that there is a bustling business district just outside the window! The hotel is a 40-minute drive from the airport, and convenient to the Skytrain.

Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa
Newly built in the traditional Lanna style, historic symbolism blends effortlessly with innovative design at the Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa Chiang Mai. The beautiful luxury boutique hotel in Chiang Mai is cradled in the surrounds of lush, manicured gardens of Frangipani mingled with the pink Bougainvillea. Guests will experience the authentic culture of the North with the luxury amenities expected by the modern traveler. Located just far enough from the city center to escape the hustle and bustle, Siripanna
Villa Resort and Spa is just a 5 minute tuk tuk ride from all the exciting sights and sounds of the Night Market and other attractions.

Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel is located a short, complimentary shuttle ride from the airport, or a 3-minute walk from the main terminal via underground walkway. A direct rail link connects the hotel to the city's public transport systems, downtown Bangkok, and the city's central business districts. The hotel's 612 rooms and suites are designed with a distinct Thai influence, and property is complete with an outdoor pool surrounded by tropical plants, a fitness center, and five restaurants and bars.

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Breakfast: 7 meals; Lunch: 2 meals; Dinner: 4 meals

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Stephen Cushman

Stephen Cushman is the Robert C. Taylor Professor of English at U.Va., where he has taught since 1982. With a B.A. from Cornell and a Ph.D. from Yale, he has brought to the English Department his commitment to American literature, modern Literature, poetry, literature and the environment, and the American Civil War. His teaching has been honored with an All-University Teaching Award and the first Mayo Distinguished Teaching Professorship. A poet as well as a scholar, he has published eight books, most recently Riffraff, a volume of poems (LSU, 2011), and the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics (Princeton, 2012), for which he served as general editor. Steve and his wife Sandra have two sons, Sam and Simon. He has enjoyed five trips with Cavalier Travels (Ireland twice; safari in Tanzania; D-Day and Normandy; and Around the World by Private Jet). He is very glad to have the opportunity to visit Burma.

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Day 1 -- Saturday, June 14
Depart the U.S for Thailand

Day 2 -- June 15
Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand
Upon your arrival in Bangkok, deplane and follow signs to Immigration, located one level above baggage claim. Descend elevator to collect baggage. After clearing customs, proceed to the Arrival lobby and look for the Thomson Family Adventures sign. Our friendly representative will assist your family with luggage and help with your transfer to your comfortable hotel for check-in Accommodations: Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel

Day 3 -- June 16
Sprawled along the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok—“City of Angels” — is one of Asia’s most compelling metropolises. Kids will love exploring its network of canals, klongs that hum with day-to-day activity— commuter ferries, floating businesses, farmers delivering produce and colorful flowers to market, children traveling to school. Ancient temples (wat) and modern skyscrapers rise beside teetering shacks and suburban estates along this arterial waterway, giving a unique cultural glimpse into both ancient and modern Bangkok.
Longtail Boats:
We will board longtail boats for a cruise through the klongs (canals) of Bangkok. Here you will see the daily life of the Thai people along the canals.
Grand Palace:
This huge compound, a Thai cultural wonder, was built in 1782 and includes more than 100 brilliantly colored buildings, many of them capped with glittering, golden roofs and soaring pagodas. Home to the Thai Royal Family for 150 years, the magnificent Grand Palace houses countless treasures, including dazzling mosaics and impressive guardian statues. It remains the country’s seat of power and the spiritual heart of the Thai people.
Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha):
Located in a corner of the Grand Palace compound, Wat Phra Kaew is considered by the Thai to be the country’s most important Buddhist temple. It houses the exquisite small statue known as the Emerald Buddha, carved from a single block of jade. Modest dress is required here and those who enter this holy place are sure to be moved by the experience.
Accommodations: Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4 -- June 17
One of the earliest settled areas, and the former capital of Thailand, Thonburi once offered safe harbor to trade ships from China and India and, later, from Portugal. We’ll cross to the other side of the Chao
Phraya River and step back in time into this charming neighborhood of narrow lanes, exquisite shrines, picturesque parks and pagodas, and colorful markets.
Thornburi Bicycle Ride:
We outfit ourselves with bicycles for an adventure to the other side of the Chao Phraya River and Thonburi. A warren of lanes leads to the Klongsan Market, a favorite and very lively shopping haven for young people.
Accommodations: Ramada Plaza Menam Riverside Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 5 -- June 18
Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Although Chiang Mai was founded as the capital of the Lanna Kingdom more than 700 years ago, it is still referred to as “the new city.” Old and new architecture commingle today, but the heart of the original city beats strong in its moat-encircled Old Town. Here cultural diversity blooms, in the rich tribal heritage, in the distinctive cuisine, the traditional values, colorful festivals and incredible artistic expression. Your journey to Chiang Mai encompasses both cultural splendors and the unspoiled natural beauty—the National Park, wild rivers and waterfalls, and, of course, an unforgettable visit to the Ran-tong Elephant Camp.
We will head to the Bangkok Airport and fly to Chiang Mai in the heart of Northern Thailand
Accommodations: Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6 -- June 19
Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai is surrounded by verdant mountains, the highest of which—Doi Inthanon—is located within the boundaries of the National Park. The forests of this northern hill country are the watershed for all of central Thailand and Thai folklore recalls the belief that this mystical place is the home of the “spirit who shares water.” Chiang Mai’s last king revered this region and requested that his remains be taken to the top of Inthanon. Since 1899, his stupa (spiritual monument) has been visited annually by thousands of Thai people.
Doi Inthanon National Hike:
We'll set off on a 90-minute drive to Doi Inthanon National Park, a wonderland of forests, waterfalls and the ruins of ancient temples. Our hike keeps us at about 5,000 feet, and we’ll enjoy the refreshing cool air as our guide points out the wild botanicals, animals and some of the 300 species of birds that make their home here—if we’re lucky, we may spot the green-tailed sunbird, found nowhere else in the world.
Hill Tribe Village:
A visit to the traditional hill tribe village gives you the chance to witness a way of life nearly lost and to meet some of the people who struggle to preserve their cultural and family traditions. The villagers came to Thailand from Laos nearly 100 years ago and settled in this fertile region. Many villagers still wear the colorful traditional clothing, and you’ll enjoy the chance to look inside a village house.
Accommodations: Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7 -- June 20
Chiang Mai
The elephant has been revered in Thai culture as a symbol of both power and peace for more than
5,000 years. Once used as wartime “machines,” as the caravan transportation means of choice, and as a beast of burden in the felling of Thailand’s great teak forests, the amazing elephant is slowly regaining its status as an animal to be respected and cared for. Of the many thousands of elephants that once roamed freely, only about 2,600 currently remain in Thailand, a result of careless deforestation practices.
Ran-tong Elephant Camp:
As part of this experience we’ll teach you how to take care of your elephant and get to know it. You’ll learn to respect its behavior and understand its intelligence and right to be free and cared about. Capture the experience in the setting where the elephants live together in their family group amid the natural beauty of the forest with a peaceful stream running through the elephant’s natural habitat. Experience the wonder of these magical creatures without disturbing their environment.
Accommodations: Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8 -- June 21
Chiang Mai

Nature rules the minute you leave the city limits of Chiang Mai. Mist-enshrouded mountains, rolling hills, thick forests and swift rivers are all part of the magnificent wild landscapes. Just 90 minutes north of the city, the Mae Tang River valley is home to several ethnic hill tribes who farm the rich, river irrigated land.
Chiang Mai Biking:
Enjoy a leisurely half-day biking trip throughout Chiang Mai and the surrounding area. The tour will take us by the most important and impressive sites in the city itself, as well as outside the confines of the city walls, where ride along the Ping River, explore the ancient city of Wiang Khum Kham, and return to Chiang Mai’s old city through the Tha Pae Gate.
Farewell Dinner:
Meet for a farewell dinner and say sawat-dee (good-bye) to your guide.
Accommodations: Siripanna Villa Resort and Spa
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 9 -- June 22
Chiang Mai to Bangkok
An elaborate network of canals known as khlongs gave Bangkok the nickname "Venice of the East" at a time when most transportation was by boat. Today, nearly all of the canals have been filled in and converted into streets. A network of canals still exists on the Thonburi side of the river. On the Rattanakosin side river taxis are a common mode of transportation to the heart of the city.
Alms for the Buddhist Monks:
One of the most unique experiences in Thailand is a visit to a Buddhist temple to offer alms to the Buddhist monks. Each morning before dawn (pick-up from your hotel is at 06:00 hrs), the monks put on their distinctive saffron robes and quietly pad in their bare feet along the streets, carrying alms bowls and receiving boiled rice and condiments from the citizens of Thailand. In return people receive the monks’ blessings. You can participate in this very special Thai custom by personally presenting alms; a brief exploration at the Sri Soda temple may be made as well, religious festivals permitting, you may see the monks at their early morning prayers. Return to your hotel for breakfast.
Bangkok Return Flight:
A short 70 minute flight returns us to Bangkok.
Accommodations: Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 10 -- June 23
Depart Bangkok, Thailand
All great adventures must one day come to an end. Today, bid a final farewell to this amazing land and prepare to share your experiences with curious friends and family. There will be complimentary hotel transportation to the airport for the flight home. Cross the International Date Line and arrive home the same day.
Meals: Breakfast

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Program Fees

$3,890 per person, double occupancy, adult land only.

Child land only (8-11): $3,390
Teen land only (12-17): $3,790
Triple Room Discount: $200

 A limited number of single rooms are available for a supplement of $1,500 to the per person, double occupancy rates.

Price includes:

Does not include:

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How To Register

Ready to register? The best way to do this is by phone so that we can ensure we are meeting all of your needs. Please call us at 866-765-2646. Or, e-mail with your contact information and the best time to reach you.

A deposit of $700 per person is required to reserve your spot. Final invoicing will be done approximately 110 days prior to departure. Final payment is due 90 days prior to departure.

Deposits can be made via Master Card and Visa.

Early registration is encouraged as space is limited.

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General Terms & Conditions

Deposit Information:
A $700 per person non-refundable deposit, payable by check or credit card, is required to initiate the booking process. Trip extensions or extra services require an additional deposit of $700 per person. and is payable by personal check, money order, or wire transfer. Please note that credit cards are not accepted for final payment.

Final Payment:
Payment is due in full no later than 90 days prior to the date of departure. Final payment must be made by personal check, cashier’s check, or wire. Credit cards are not accepted for final payment. If full payment has not been received at that time, Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right either to treat the reservation as cancelled or to charge your credit card for the cancellation fees.

International airfare is not included. You will need to fly into and out of Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok and the airport code is “BKK”. Thomson Family Adventures will refer a travel agent to you, if you would like assistance with booking flights. 

Cancellation and Refunds: 
Notification of cancellation must be made in writing to Thomson Family Adventures. At the time we receive the cancellation; all moneys will be refunded less the following cancellation charges, deducted from the total package price.

Up to 91 days before departure:         Deposit
90 to 61 days before departure:          50% of the package price
60 days or less before departure:       100% of the package price

Please note that no partial refunds will be given for unused meals, hotels rooms, airport transfers etc., for any reason whatsoever. Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right to increase the tour price in the event of cost increases due to changes in airfares, currency fluctuation, park fees increases, or fuel surcharges. Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right to alter the tour without notice. Thomson Family Adventures is not responsible for expenses incurred by trip members in preparing for the trip (e.g. visa fees, equipment, etc.) or for any necessary additional travel arrangements should you embark from home before the group departure date. Accommodations are subject to change.

Cancelled Trips:
Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right to cancel any departure to protect your safety
due to a natural disaster, act of God, act of terrorism, sickness or disease outbreak, or other causes beyond our control. In such a case a refund is given which equals the total payments received less $700 per person deposit and less all non-refundable expenditures paid our adventure outfitters. For all other trips cancelled by Thomson Family Adventures each customer will be sent a full refund. In both cases Thomson Family Adventures is not responsible for additional expenses incurred by customers such as non-refundable advance purchase air tickets, visa fees, etc.

Change Fee:
Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right to charge a change fee of $500 per family for each change to a confirmed reservation.

Release of Liability and Assumption of All Risk:
Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. does not own or operate any entity which is to, or does provide goods or services for your trip including, for example, accommodations, air or other transportation companies, food service providers, equipment suppliers (local ground handlers, some of whom may utilize the [Thomson] name in logos, signs, clothing, etc.), etc. Some such goods or services, however, may be provided by Thomson Safaris, Ltd., Nature Discovery, Ltd., Ngorongoro Safari Lodge and Tanzania Conservation Limited, Tanzanian Companies which are affiliated with Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. is not liable for any negligent or willful act or failure to act of any such person, or of any other third party. As used hereinafter, Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. includes its employees, shareholders, officers, directors, successors, and assigns (collectively Thomson Family Adventures).

I am voluntarily participating in this trip with the knowledge of the numerous risks and dangers involved including but not limited to risks of physical exertion for which I am not prepared; forces of nature; transportation failures whether by plane, train, auto, boat, canoe, kayak, bicycle, ski, horseback or other animal, by foot, or by any other conveyance; consumption of alcoholic beverages; risks associated with food or impure water; risks associated with food allergies and/or medical conditions including, without limitation, the failure of any supplier to adhere to my dietary, medical or allergy related protocols; government actions; civil unrest; terrorism or the threat thereof; criminal activity; dangers associated with wild or other animals; breakdown of faulty maintenance of equipment; high altitude; accident or illness without access to means of rapid evacuation of availability of medical supplies or services; the adequacy of medical attention if and when provided; epidemics or the threat thereof; and stolen, lost, or misplaced luggage or property. In addition, I accept all risk of and release Thomson Family Adventures from its own negligent conduct. I acknowledge that the enjoyment and excitement of travel is derived in part from the inherent risks incurred by travel and activity beyond the accepted safety of life at home or work and that these risks contribute to such enjoyment and excitement, being a reason for my participation. I hereby agree to be responsible for selecting a trip which my party, I and our doctors believe we are physically and mentally able to undertake and to be responsible for our own welfare and accept any and all risks of delay, unanticipated events, inconvenience, illness, injury, emotional trauma or death.

I acknowledge that the cost of all Thomson Family Adventures trips is based upon trip participants executing this Release of Liability and Assumption of All Risk, and Arbitration Agreement. Therefore, as lawful consideration for being permitted to participate on such trip(s). I hereby release and discharge forever Thomson Family Adventures from and against any and all liability arising from my participation in the trip. I agree that this release shall be legally binding upon me personally, all members of my family and all minors traveling with me, my and their heirs, successors, assigns, and legal representatives, it being my intention fully to assume all the risks associated with this trip and to release Thomson Family Adventures from any and all liabilities to the maximum extent permitted by law.

Thomson Family Adventures will attempt to adhere to your itinerary as much as possible. However, certain conditions (political, climatic, environmental, cultural, wildlife migrations, etc.) may necessitate changes in the itinerary. Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right to alter any itinerary at any time for such reasons or for safety or the convenience of participants. We will attempt to notify participants of changes as far in advance as possible. Costs incurred by such changes will be the responsibility of the participant.

I agree that Thomson Family Adventures reserves the right to take photographs or film records of any of its trips and agree that it may use any such photographic film records for promotional and/or commercial purposes, as well as for approved use by third parties with whom Thomson Family Adventures may engage in joint marketing, without any remuneration to me. I hereby assign all right, title, and interest I may have in or through any and all media in which my
name or likeness may be used by Thomson Family Adventures.

Medical Proxy:
Passenger hereby gives Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. and their contractors permission to arrange emergency medical treatment for passenger if necessary, and passenger agrees to hold Wineland-Thomson Adventures, Inc. harmless for the provision, non-provision, or negligent provision of such services.

Binding Arbitration: 
I agree that any dispute concerning, relating, or referring to these terms and conditions, the catalog, or any other literature concerning my trip itself shall be resolved exclusively by binding arbitration according to the then existing rules of the American Arbitration Association in Boston, Massachusetts. Such proceedings will be governed by substantive Massachusetts law. The arbitrator and not any federal, state, or local court or agency shall have exclusive authority to resolve any dispute relating to the interpretation, applicability, enforceability, conscionability, or formation of this contract, including but not limited to any claim that all or any part of this contact is void or voidable.


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