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“The MOST exciting and fantastic trip I’ve been on!”

Joanie Perciballi, US

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“Thank you for the UNFORGETABLE experience”

Richard & Margreeth Marsden, Holland

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“It was a trip of a LIFETIME!”

Deirdre Sullivan, US

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“The MOST amazing traveling experience I’ve had”

Michelle Flynn, US

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“… for anyone with curiosity and adventure in their soul!”

Elaine Albert, US

VegVoyages’ Terrific Tastes of Thailand

ADVENTURE DETAILS

DURATION14 days
GROUP SIZEMaximum 18 people
GROUP MINIMUM1 person (all our trips are guaranteed departures)
STARTS INBangkok
ENDS INBangkok
* START & END DAY NOTE: Since the Thailand Vegetarian Festival dates are based on the Chinese lunar calendar, from year to year, our start day and adventure itinerary order adjust to adapt to the current Vegetarian Festival dates and schedule

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A 14-day journey into the heart and soul of Thailand’s tasty vegan cuisines as we explore the Land of Smiles during the country’s annual Vegetarian Festival! 

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Thailand has been well on the traveler’s map ever since Sean Connery as James Bond was filmed on this country’s strikingly beautiful beaches in “Dr. No” – and there is good reason for it! Siam (as Thailand was called before) has it all: friendly people, an ancient culture rooted in Buddhist traditions, amazing geography and absolutely delicious food! Experience it all on VegVoyages’ Terrific Tastes of Thailand adventure where you’ll see the “highlights”, explore places well off-the-beaten-path and get a real insight into the people, country, culture and customs of this legendary Southeast Asian kingdom!

You’ll get to experience all this and more during one of the country’s most interesting and tasty festivals – Thailand’s annual Vegetarian Festival, or Tesagan Kin Jae as it is locally called. Although the roots of this festival can be traced back to the early Chinese community of traders, miners and merchants who settled in Thailand, the festivities here have taken on their own very unique form.

The religious observances around this truly fascinating (as well as delicious) festival begin on the 1st day of the 9th lunar month of the year when Thai-Chinese forego meat and animal by-products, along with observing other rituals, for at least 9 days, with ceremonies and celebrations surrounding the festival lasting up to 11 days. For vegetarians, this is a festival not to be missed! Although Thailand is known for its food all year round, the Kin Jae Festival offers vegans something really special. Vegan Noodles, curries, spicy salads, tropical fruits and Asian style Vegan sweets are found everywhere. Food stalls, local eateries and specially set up markets and restaurants dish out a bounty of Thai and Chinese culinary vegan delicacies – all while flying the yellow “veggie” flag with “Jae”, or “vegetarian”, written boldly on its face in red.

And it’s not just about the food – though we’ll eat plenty of it! It’s also about learning, exploring and discovering. In Thai society there is a concept known as “sanuk”, or “enjoyment/fun”. This is a concept we’ll take to heart during our journey together, whether it’s vegan cooking classes, participating in local ceremonies, Thai language and cultural lessons, yoga, tai chi, island hopping, exploring vibrant bazaars, or enjoying delicious home cooked meals, stories, music and dance with local families – we’ll enjoy it all in the tradition of “sanuk”. New cultures, religions, customs, traditions, cuisines, new friends and having fun is what the VegVoyages Terrific Tastes of Thailand adventure is all about!

WHAT’S INCLUDED

ACCOMMODATION:

13 nights accommodations (3 nights at a boutique bed & breakfast in Bangkok, 3 nights at an historical heritage villa on the banks of the mighty Maeklong River, 2 nights in traditional Thai style cottages near the beach, 3 nights at a boutique inn in old-town Phuket, 2 nights at a beachside resort and 1 overnight air-conditioned sleeper train)

MEALS:

38 meals (13 breakfasts, 13 lunches, 12 dinners)

TRANSPORT:
  • Private air-conditioned vans
  • traditional local riverboats
  • longtail boats
  • ferries
  • local trains
  • songthaew
  • overnight train (air-conditioned overnight sleeper train from Nakhon Pathom to Surat)
  • airplane (domestic flight back to Bangkok)
STAFF

VegVoyages Adventure Leaders & Local Guides

OTHERS INCLUDED:
  • Tai Chi lessons
  • local Thai cultural lessons
  • 2 Thai full meal vegan cooking classes
  • 1 Thai vegan desserts cooking class
  • 1 Thai vegan salad cooking class
  • daily language lessons
  • live traditional music and folk dances
  • meals with local families
  • guests at an all-vegetarian community
  • guests at an all women vegetarian monastery
  • introduction to Thai music and instruments
  • introduction to Buddhism
  • introduction to Buddhist monastic life
  • local market explorations
  • off-the-beaten-track Bangkok city tour
  • island hopping and snorkeling trip in the Andaman Sea
  • snorkeling equipment
  • Phuket heritage walking tour
  • guests of a local school
  • guests of local temples
  • donations to local children’s home
  • participate in Thai Vegetarian Festival ceremonies
  • guests of local vegetarian society
  • all local guide fees
  • airport arrival pick up
  • help out at a local animal sanctuary
  • donation to a local animal sanctuary
  • 2-hour traditional Thai massage
  • 2-hour Thai oil massage, entry to Grand palace
  • entry fee to Wat Pho
  • riverside vegan BBQ
  • Tai Chi Lessons
  • daily bottled water
  • and all other activities
  • entertainment and entry fees as per the itinerary.
NOT INCLUDED:

International airfare, airport departure transfer, visa for Thailand, personal travel insurance, gratuities and items of a personal nature.

ADVENTURE DATES AND PRICE

YEAR20142015
START DATESeptember 22October 12
END DATEOctober 5October 25
START DAYMondayMonday
END DAYSundaySunday
PRICE (US$)2,350 *2,395

* Promotional Prices – please note, promotional prices are not valid with any other discounts or offers. Also, bookings must be made directly to VegVoyages. Thank you.

ITINERARY

DAY 1   Bangkok

Sawasdee! Welcome to Bangkok – or Krung Thep as the locals call it! Krung Thep means “City of Angels” and like another “City of Angels” – LA, California, you’ll notice that Bangkok shares many of the same attributes like skyscrapers, freeways and traffic. However, once you get past that – wandering its backstreets, byways and historical lanes – you’ll find a rich and vibrant city full of history and culture! Our adventure starts in the morning with orientation meeting where you’ll have a chance to get to know your fellow travelers as we discuss the adventure ahead before sitting down for lunch. After lunch, we’ll head out by foot and boat exploring the heart of the old city visiting serene temples, bustling markets and the Chao Phraya River – the lifeline of the Thai people as much of the country’s history has been based along it. As the sun sets over Krung Thep, we’ll settle down at our longtime friend’s place for a tasty dinner of local vegan delicacies.  (Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 2   Bangkok

The majority of Thais love their meats and surprisingly, given their Buddhist heritage, are not vegetarian. In fact, the Kin Jay (vegetarian) Festival is actually Chinese in origin. When Chinese immigrants came to Thailand, they brought their traditions and festivals with them. Over time, the Thais have adopted this festival into one of their own. Though it’s still Thai Chinese (Thais of Chinese ancestry) who celebrate the festival with the most fervor, many other Thais also join in. On one level, it’s a spiritual festival full of rituals. On another, it’s a great time to be vegan as the variety of vegan food available is astonishing – if not downright overwhelming! Traveling by canal boat, vans and foot, we’ll explore Krung Thep’s historical back alleys, bazaars, temples, vegan scene and side streets before meeting up with the city’s foremost vegetarian pioneer in the evening for a cultural culinary experience where we’ll learn how to make a tasty vegan Thai feast!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 3   Bangkok

Starting with Tai Chi on the rooftop and a traditional hearty vegan breakfast of local delights, we’ll head out to explore historical Bangkok’s most famous landmarks – the Grand Palace and Wat Pho. After taking in the royal capital’s rich past, we’ll enjoy delicious North East Thailand vegan cuisine for lunch. In the late afternoon, you’ll have time to relax and get ready for tomorrow’s journey before we meet in the evening and set out to the epicenter of the veggie festival in Bangkok – Chinatown, where the celebrations kick off into full swing!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 4   Mae Klong – Traditional Thai Home

From the Chao Phraya, we head south by local train and ferry traveling well off the beaten track to the banks of the Mae Klong River. Located a short distance from the Gulf of Thailand, our home for the next three days will be in a lovely historical villa located on the edge of the river’s calm flowing waters. Here, we’ll focus on learning about Thai culture and way of life along the country’s many canals. Arriving in the afternoon, we’ll have a mouthwatering curry tasting session before unwinding with Tai Chi overlooking the river. As the sun sets over the Mae Klong, we’ll settled down for tonight’s cultural culinary experience where we’ll learn to make fresh spring rolls and spicy Thai salads.  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 5   Mae Klong – Traditional Thai Home

In the morning, we’ll be guests of a local children’s home where we’ll be serving up a tasty vegan lunch for the kids and they’ll have a chance to practice their English. Then, we’ll make our way to the railway market where we’ll explore the bazaar’s maze-like aisles before the train arrives. Since it truly is a “railway market” in every sense, we’ll watch the arriving train pass thru the bazaar within inches of the stalls as awnings and umbrellas give way. Later, we’ll set out on longtail boats to explore Mae Klong’s canals and colorful floating market. Joining a local family of musicians at their home in the evening, we’ll learn about Thai musical instruments as well as listen in on a jam session before sitting down with the family for a delicious home-cooked vegan meal.  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 6   Mae Klong – Traditional Thai Home

Today we’ll join a wildlife rescue center where we’ll lend a hand toward their daily activities. An important sanctuary, shelter and rehab, the center offers a clinic, refuge and home for previously abused and exploited animals. The center’s patients, residents and friends include everything from gibbons to macaques, bears to langurs, civets to hornbills, and even elephants. As the colors of the day turn to night over the Mae Klong, we’ll enjoy a tasty riverside vegan BBQ complete with drinks and traditional Thai classical dance!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 7   Nakhon Pathom

Meeting on the banks of the mighty Mae Klong, we board our boat and head up river to Nakhon Pathom. Our first stop: a unique local community that strictly follows the original precepts of Buddhism, so the village is happily 100% vegetarian! As guests of this self-sustaining vegetarian village, we’ll learn about their way of life and join them for lunch. From the village, we’ll make our way to an all women Buddhist monastery that also happens to be one of the very few monasteries in Thailand that are vegetarian. Here, we’ll meet with the resident Bhikkhunis who will share with us their journey to becoming Theravada monastics. In the evening, we’ll enjoy a tasty vegan dinner before boarding our overnight train for the south!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 8   Baan Naam Khem

Waking up onboard the train in Southern Thailand, we’ll meet our vans and make our way through some stunning scenery of limestone cliffs, lush rainforests and rubber plantations on our way to the tranquil picturesque coast of the Andaman Sea. For the next two days we’ll be staying just outside a quaint village in traditional Thai bungalows set around a serene garden a short walk from the beach. After seven busy days on our adventure, it’s time to relax and rejuvenate and enjoy life in the tropics – and what a better way to do that than with a traditional Thai massage. Then, we’ll catch sunset over the Andaman Sea while enjoying a traditional Thai vegan BBQ.  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 9   Baan Naam Khem

The Kin Jay Festival is actually celebrated throughout the country. One of the most auspicious of Thai-Chinese holidays, with Thai-Chinese making up 14% of the population (the percentage of those with mixed Thai Chinese ancestry is much higher), and the fact that many other Thais participate in it as well, means that throughout Thailand the festival is celebrated. So during our journey be on the lookout for the vegetarian yellow flags as we continue off-the-beaten-track celebrating the Tesagan Kin Jay! Today we’ll make our way into town to witness the different ceremonies associated with the Kin Jay Festival in rural Thailand. Settling back at our bungalows, you’ll have free time to take a swim in the sea, stroll along the beach, or just chill before we meet for our Thai dessert class and for a change of pace – vegan pizza!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 10   Phuket

Today, we’ll journey to the epicenter of the Kin Jay Festival in Thailand – the island of Phuket, where we’ll explore the historical lanes and back alleys of the old-town- learning about the rich cultural heritage of the community from which the festival took its roots. In the evening, we’ll meet up with one of the island’s best chefs who’ll teach us how to make a truly delectable local fusion vegan meal. Phuket’s unique cuisine owes its great taste to the mix of different cultures that have called the area home for centuries. The fusion of Thai, Malay and Chinese recipes is what makes the island’s cuisine not only unique, but as you’ll experience tonight – downright tasty!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 11   Phuket

Throughout its history, Phuket has been a port of call for ships that would use it as a safe harbor during long journeys. These ships would later come for the island’s resources and trade. One of the island’s resources that caught the eye of merchants (and invaders) was tin. Tin would become one of the most instrumental factors in Phuket’s development in the 19th century attracting thousands of Chinese who settled and worked the mines. These immigrants brought with them their traditions and beliefs, including the Nine Emperor Gods Festival, which would later lead to what is commonly called the Vegetarian Festival. In the morning, we’ll head into the streets of old Phuket to learn more about the island’s rich history. In the evening, we’ll set out to the epicenter of the vegetarian festival for the closing ceremonies where the Gods are bid farewell to as they return to heaven – so be ready for an unforgettable night as the celebrations are truly epic!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 12   Beachside on the Andaman Sea

Bidding farewell to Phuket, we head further south passing through stunning scenery to the beautiful shores and calm blue waters of the Andaman Sea. With palm-fringed beaches, limestone cliffs and islands seeming to erupt vertically out on the horizon, for the next two days we’ll take in the sun, sand and serenity of Southern Thailand – beachside! Arriving in the afternoon, after a tasty lunch and settling in at our seaside resort, you’ll have the rest of the day free to take a dip in the sea, get in any last minute souvenir shopping, relax with a massage or just kick back at a local café and enjoy life in the tropics!  (Breakfast, Lunch)

DAY 13   Beachside on the Andaman Sea

Waking up to the sound of the sea, we’ll hop aboard our longtail boat and set out for a day of island hopping, snorkeling, reefs, coves and bays. Home to a wide variety of beautiful tropical fish and coral reefs, snorkeling in the warm waters of the Andaman Sea is truly an experience. After spending the day out at sea, you’ll have time to freshen up for our farewell party where we’ll enjoy a colorful evening of live music, refreshing sundowners, vegan snacks and a tasty Thai feast for dinner. So make sure you bring your party shirt, dancing shoes (flip-flops are okay) and definitely your appetite and thirst!  (Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner)

DAY 14   Beachside on the Andaman Sea and Back to Bangkok

After a hearty vegan breakfast, we’ll head to the airport to catch our flight back to the big city. Our adventure ends in Bangkok upon arrival at the airport. Khawp khun maak (thank you very much)!  (Breakfast)

bangkok veg tour

WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING…

If there’s one thing in life I must share with the world, is to recommend Veg Voyages. For an Aussie/English/ Bahamian who hasn’t toured Asia I was very impressed with our hosts and itinerary. They educated us on Thai culture, fed us some of the finest Thai food you will ever encounter and then mixed it up with Vegan Indian and Chinese which was second to none. It was first class sailing from day one. I can’t praise them enough.

Mark HusseyNassau, Bahamas

These people don’t mess around! You will be taken well off the beaten path, not surrounded by tourists. You will see some amazing things, at times I felt like I was in a movie. You will feel safe and well taken care of, and they will keep feeding you until you burst! It was our best trip ever.

Jeff MorrillMA, USA