Stride climate

Trip Type : Small Group Tour
A Portrait of Thailand with Me Ra Koh tour
Bangkok Chiang Mai A Portrait of Thailand with Me Ra Koh Trip

A Portrait of Thailand with Me Ra Koh

Encounters Travel
5.0 . Excellent
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Travel Style: For those looking to maximize their sight seeing time. You thrive on a packed day’s schedule from 8 am to 6pm, with some (but limited) free time. Most activities and meals included. Full on
Physical Level: Regular walking or cycling over moderately long, hilly, or bumpy distances. Some public transport or utility vehicles such as safari jeeps. Moderate
Lodging Level: 3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards. Premium - 4 star
9 days
From: Check price
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Overview

Short Description

Experience Thailand through the lens with celebrity photographer, Me Ra Koh, and her husband, Brian Tausend (award winning photographer and cinematographer). They will bring hands-on instruction and teach you how to see the light

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
3 to 4 star western hotel equivalents. While not all lodging will be 'luxury' they will be quite comfortable by western standards.
Lodging Level Premium - 4 star
Flights & Transport Only ground transport
Start City N/A
End City N/A

Trip Includes

  • Photo workshops, hands-on instruction, tuition and mentoring by Me Ra Koh and Brian Tausend
  • Airport-hotel arrival & departure transfers
  • Internal flights from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and Chiang Mai to Surat Thani
  • 1 night's accommodation in boutique style hotel in Bangkok in double/twin room on breakfast only basis
  • 3 nights' accommodation in boutique style hotel in Chiang Mai in double/twin room on breakfast only basis
  • 1 night's accommodation in basic floating raft houses in Khao Sok in double/twin room on full board basis
  • 3 nights' accommodation in a mystery location in double/twin room on room only basis
  • Khantoke dinner in Chiang Mai including return transfers
  • All other meals as detailed in the itinerary
  • Tours and transfers as mentioned by private a/c coach with driver
  • Professional local guide for sightseeing tours as detailed in the itinerary
  • Full day visit to Elephant Nature Park
  • Hotel city taxes

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Itinerary



Day 0: Depart home and fly to Thailand
Those travelling to the tour on flights from the west will generally always need to depart a day early. Flights are available from a range of airports on request.
OVERNIGHT:
On flight Day 1: Arrive in Thailand, Transfer to hotel
On arrival in Bangkok (BKK), you are met at the airport by your private transfer who will bring you to the boutique hotel accommodation in the centre of the city. The rest of the day is free to relax and settle in after your flights, meet up wtih Me Ra and Brian, and perhaps head out for your first taste of Thailand's famouse cuisine.
OVERNIGHT:
Bangkok hotel
EXTRAS:
Single Room Supplement (THETPT)

Day 2: Bangkok, Floating Market, fly to Chiang Mai
From the start today, we jump into photographing the exotic wonders of Thailand at what are undoubtedly some of Thailand’s most famous markets, Our first stop is at Maeklong Railway Market where fresh market stalls lie on both sides and across the railway tracks. We'll witness and photograph the amazing scenes as stalls and produce are whisked out of the way just metres before the train passes through. Then we continue to the renowned authentic floating market at Damnoen Saduak where we step back in time and photograph this unforgettable, colorful scene of locals trading exotic fruits on small, narrow rowing boats of all kinds. This afternoon we transfer to the airport and take the short flight north to Chiang Mai. In the evening, our guide will escort us on a walking tour through the Sunday market (or Walking Street), which is a large market located right in the centre of the old walled city area of Chiang Mai. Starting at the Tha Phae Gate at one end, the Sunday Market extends for roughly 1km down the full length of Ratchadamnoen Road containing a huge number of stalls run by local people from all the surrounding areas, selling food & drink, clothes, and some excellent quality crafts. Bring your tripod as Brian and Me Ra teach you how to capture night photography!
OVERNIGHT:
Chiang Mai hotel
MEALS:
Breakfast

Day 3: Doi Suthep Temple, Hill Tribe Visit, Khantoke Dinner
After breakfast, bring your favorite images from yesterday to the morning photography workshop. We will review them together and discuss what is working, and answer questions so you can break through creative and photography glass ceilings. At the end of our time, you will be given the daily photo exercise. Later, we head out of town to one of Chiang Mai's most sacred landmarks, Doi Suthep Temple. Perched 15 km away on the glorious mountain overlooking the city, your route up to the temple is fun and exciting with the road twisting and turning through the thick jungle. Once at the top, take the 300 stairs of the beautiful carved mythical Naga Serpent Staircase - or opt for the cable car as a relaxing final stretch - to reach the temple. Get up close to the glistening golden chedi that makes this temple famous and photograph the intricate Lanna-Buddhist architecture. Afterwards, we head back down to the roadside, and swap the car for an open-air truck to continue up the mountain. We'll pass by the Coffee Research Department of Chiang Mai University, where you can taste fresh "Coffee Arabica", before finally reaching a remote White Hmong hill tribe village. Keep your eyes peeled for the famous bamboo housing raised on stilts above the ground. We'll meet the locals and get a closer look at how the community is sustained with traditional handicrafts. We switch our focus to portrait photography, using shadows and light to help accentuate emotion, camera settings for best color and sharpness, photo exercises to inspire the photojournalism side of you. This evening we enjoy a traditional Khantoke Dinner for a taste of what makes northern Thai food distinctive and famous even among Thailand's iconic cuisine. These meals, with multiple dishes served in large platters on low tables, are a Lanna tradition stretching back centuries. During the meal we'll enjoy a line-up of live traditional dance and music performances by members of surrounding ethnic hill tribes, including Karen, Hmong, Lahu, Akha, Mien and Lisu. To cap off a memorable night, we're invited to join in with the final act called 'Ramwong', where you can dance, smile and laugh alongside the local performers.
OVERNIGHT:
Chiang Mai hotel
MEALS:
Breakfast, Dinner

Day 4: Elephant Nature Park. Street Food Tour
Today we enjoy a full day visit to Elephant Nature Park; a natural home and sanctuary for elephants, buffalos, exotic birds and many other rescued animals. Our visit starts with a picturesque drive through Thailand's rural countryside. We'll hear the moving stories of rescued and orphaned elephants and witness how they have become a proud herd, free from abuse for the first time in their lives. Me Ra and Brian have supported the rescuing of elephants for years, and they know this experience will be magical. Many people say their visit to the Elephant Nature Park is rewarding, inspiring and relaxing. We'll observe free roaming elephants (no riding) and other rescued animals enjoying the natural surroundings of the sanctuary. You will have the opportunity to feed, walk alongside, and help bathe the elephants in the river as they splash around. If going into the river is not for you then photograph the elephants from the bank as they play and bathe while you stay dry. Bring your wide angle lens to capture these magnificent, gentle giants. Your visit helps support regional projects and offers an invaluable opportunity of helping elephant conservation. *Park visits are all about spending quality time observing and being with the herd. We do not adhere to a strict schedule; the best way to make the most of your day's visit is to relax, watch, and learn from the elephants. Some fantastic photos are guaranteed here. Back in Chiang Mai, we get a taste of northern Thailand’s unique flavour on an evening journey blending culture and culinary discovery. Under a blanket of stars, head out into Chiang Mai’s culinary heart, stopping first at a collection of food stalls frequented by hungry locals after the sun sets. Make sure to sample some of the locals’ favourites here - Thai curry fish cake, sticky rice with pork and crispy fried munch! After getting your fill, follow your guide into a small nearby alley leading to a sleepier residential area, and pick up a refreshing fruit shake along the way. Wander further on to at Wat Chedi Luang, a 15th Century stupa that looks its most mysterious and beautiful in the moonlight. Sample some famous Thai noodles here before heading onto another of Chiang Mai’s most famous food streets, this time for a taste of pork skewers, pork leg with rice and coconut desserts. Afterwards, hop on board a local truck and zip off to a hidden bar that’s well-known with local night owls. Wrap up your culinary journey with a refreshing drink and a chat with your guide.
OVERNIGHT:
Chiang Mai hotel
MEALS:
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5: Fly to Surat Thani, and on to Khao Sok National Park
After a full few days, you get to sleep in. This second half of the tour takes you to more remote, exotic places. You have free time this morning to review your images from the last couple of days, or perhaps enjoy a relaxing and stimulating traditional Thai massage. Then we check out of the hotel and head to the airport for a direct, short flight with Thai Air Asia to Surat Thani. On arrival we transfer to Khao Sok National Park (Cheaw Lan Lake) and go off-the-beaten path to one of Me Ra and Brian's favorite places in Thailand. The spectacular scenery of Khao Sok National Park is formed by the erosion of limestone karsts and these rocky outcrops jut out amongst the lush jungle and forests surrounding the lake. Me Ra's family calls Khao Sok National Park "Jurassic Park" because when the longtail boat takes you between the limestone cliffs to your floating raft houses for the night, you will feel like you've reached the end of the world! Bring your telephoto lens and learn how to capture wildlife in their natural habitat, as well as the breathtaking scenery of the jungle (wildlife often spotted in Khao Sok includes Gibbon Apes, Great Hornbills, Wild Boar, Wild Elephants, various monkeys, and more!). Here you can also enjoy swimming, kayaking, floating in an inner tube and soaking in the surrounding sounds of the jungle. Our accommodation for this night is one of the highlights of the tour, as we stay in basic but comfortable floating raft houses. The towering cliffs surrounding us in this remote part of the forest means we are happy to offer you NO WiFi; in fact no internet, no telephone signal and no electricity (except for a few hours at night)! What we DO offer you is the chance to enjoy one of the most natural, peaceful places in the world. Though peaceful doesn't actually mean quiet...the jungle is full of amazing sounds even at night!
OVERNIGHT:
Raft houses
MEALS:
Breakfast, Dinner

Day 6: Khao Sok National Park, to the Beach
Your adventure on the lake continues this morning with a short jungle trek, and then a fun bamboo raft trip to visit "Coral Cave". Inside the cave you will see stalactites and stalagmites that look remarkably like coral reefs. Wear your bathing suit under your clothes and jump in the lake if you feel daring! But keep your eyes and ears open for Gibbon Ape families that sing beautiful songs throughout the jungle's canopy. This place is magical. After lunch we leave the lake and head to the coast and to our final destination of the tour. We're keeping your accommodation and location for the next few days a surprise. Me Ra and Brian have spent weeks and weeks at this place, and love it so much, they just have to keep it secret! Suffice to say, it's one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with gorgeous accommodation and great spots to eat and drink while you enjoy the sunsets just steps from your door.
OVERNIGHT:
Mystery location
MEALS:
Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Snorkelling Boat Trip
Our adventure continues today with a boat trip to scenic Koh Hong. As part of a National Marine Park and with a spectacular backdrop of Phang Nga Bay, this stunning collection of islands is considered the most beautiful in Krabi Province. Entirely uninhabited, Koh Hong promises a spectacular excursion to meet birds, white-faced gibbons and giant monitor lizards just off of the main white sand beach. We spend the day exploring Koh Hong’s pristine beach and incredible wildlife before heading onward to its central lagoon - an area only reached through a dramatic cliff passage. You can take some photos and enjoy a picnic lunch in the open air before heading onward to Koh Lahding, another of the area’s beautiful islands that boasts impressive sand bars only visible at low tide. During the tour, go beneath the water’s surface for at least two snorkelling trips at Koh Daeng, Koh Hong and Lahding Bay. After your day of snorkelling, sun-bathing and relaxing in this far-flung corner of Krabi, we head back to our own beach. (Note, the itinerary for today will vary depending on tides and the time of the month so that the lagoon can be entered before low tide and we can include a picnic lunch on one of the islands). Me Ra and Brian have brought you to this part of Thailand because it's not only a gorgeous place but one of the very best places in the world to snorkel or dive! If you think snorkeling in Hawaii or Mexico was wonderful, you haven't seen anything yet! We recommend you bring a rent or buy an underwater housing unit for your camera or an underwater point-and-shoot for this day. Brian and Me Ra will teach you specific shooting techniques for being underwater; how to use White Balance for best color, photo tips to getting great shots of sea life (and yourself!) during this unforgettable, dreamy, all day excursion. This evening you could have dinner on your own or with some of your new friends or feel free to stick with Me Ra and Brian. Have a cocktail on the beach as you watch the magnificent sunset. Later, those interested can set up their tripods for a special night photography lesson with Brian on time lapse, shooting stars, night landscape and light motion.
OVERNIGHT:
Mystery location
MEALS:
Lunch
EXTRAS:
Ko Phi Phi extension

Day 8: Free day by the sea
Your day is free to relax on the beach and explore your beautiful surroundings. For the adventurous, there will be an option to go rock climbing with Me Ra and Brian in the morning/early afternoon. This is not included in the tour, but we highly suggest you joining them. Beginners welcome! This area is one of the top places in the world to rock climb, and if Me Ra can do it with her fear of heights...we know you can too. Or, find your perfect spot and relax on the beach with a coconut smoothie. There's plenty of time to meet and review favorite images and have a last Q&A with Me Ra and Brian. This evening we'll head out for a sumptuous, final, Thai cuisine, group dinner and look back on what we've enjoyed and seen. We'll reflect on your photography skills and how your knowledge has developed. And be on the lookout, there may be a few, final surprises from Me Ra and Brian! Now...where to next with your camera and Me Ra and Brian to guide you!
OVERNIGHT:
Mystery location

Day 9: Departure transfer to Krabi or Phuket airport
Your time is free today until we transfer you to the airport for your departure
flight. Our location allows for transfers to both Krabi and Phuket airports. If you'd like assistance with flights, please don't hesitate to ask.
OVERNIGHT:
N/A

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5 Encounters Travel Travel Reviews & Ratings

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5.0 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
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Value
5.0
Guide
5.0
Activities
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Lodging
5.0
Transportation
5.0
Meals
5.0

A Portrait of Thailand with Me Ra Koh

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Knowledgeable and entertaining

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Activities5.0
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I just got back from the Discover Egypt tour and I don't have enough good things to say. Our guide, Mohamed El Zawahry is an Egyptologist and is incredibly knowledgeable and entertaining. I took my 2 kids, ages 12 and 16, and he did such an amazing job with them (and everyone else). Honestly as a blond haired, green eyed westerner I was a bit nervous about safety issues, but couldn't have felt better than I did (and I'm not a novice traveler). We saw so many things, learned so much, I only wish I would have added the Jordan trip on the front end of this tour! I had a medical complication in the middle of the trip and Mohammad and Walid went out of their way to help accommodate me. They made this trip so much more than it could have been! I highly recommend all of the 'extra' tours- Abu Simble, hot air balloon, Philae Temple- all incredible. Thanks for everything! My kids are still in awe!
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I just came home from an amazing bespoke trip round North India.
Encounters Travel were amazing. Hotels were beautiful, our driver and local guides I couldn’t praise more. The trip was well planned and ran like clockwork.
I saw some amazing places, learned about the history, architecture and people. I would recommend anyone to go to India and to go with Encounters
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Amazing trip to Egypt!

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I just got back from my amazing trip to Egypt!
My tour was Discover Egypt from January 13 to January 21, 2018... What can I say?! I grew up with a fascination for Egypt and I feel so blessed I was able to go, with so many dates as an option, once I saw the date of my birthday, that was it! What better way to spend my birthday than in a country that has always been on the top of my bucket list !
I was lucky to meet an amazing group of people that shared my desire to see this amazing place and every single person involved in this tour was absolutely amazing! My tour guy Big Mo was the best! I felt very safe and well taken care of from the moment I landed in Egypt to the day I left. I really appreciated the birthday celebration as well!
I miss every single moment I lived during those days.
I went with a fascination and left loving Egypt, it’s culture and it’s beautiful people.
I will treasure this experience forever.
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Well organized

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My husband and I booked the Discover Egypt trip in February 2017 and traveled in may 2017 and it was even more than we could have asked or dreamed it would be. Our group was led by Magz and we learned so much about Egyptian history and current culture. The trip was well organized and communication before during and after the trip was incredible. I have recommended this company to anyone who asks and can't wait to take another trip with them in the future. For any additional questions feel free to message me - I'm happy to provide more feedback. Thank you encounters for the trip of a lifetime!
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Discover Egypt is the most comprehensive tour I've ever been on

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Encounters Travel Discover Egypt is the most comprehensive tour I've ever been on.They met us at the airport getting off the plane and took us back to the airport and saw that we got through security and everything in between. It is very safe in Egypt. You can walk the streets and when telling people that ask that we were from America we were met with smiles and positive comments. Because of the low number of tourists in the country right now Encounters Travel has negotiated with the hotels to stay in 5 star hotels. The pyramids are spectacular but it's only a small part of what you will see. Right now there are no crowds. An example My Wife and I took an optional tour to some pyramids southwest of Cairo. We went inside the Red Pyramid to the burial chambers. Two people passed us going in and two people passed us going out. That's 4 other people in the pyramid with us. All of the people with Encounters Travel are there to see to it that you have an enjoyable time and are extremely helpful.Our tour guide Big Mo is very knowledgeable and friendly.The Encounters agent in Hurghada, Mohamed,( I think everyone in Egypt is that name,HaHa) Was extremely pleasant and fun to be with. When Anass,the Encounters manager found out that my wife couldn't walk far he arraigned for a wheel chair to tour the Egyptian museum so she could see it all. This was my second time going on the Discover Egypt tour. I went last year with my son and when my wife heard all of our stories she wanted to see it. Someone asked her on the way home what her favorite part was and she replied "All of it" If you ever thought of going to Egypt now is the time.
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Details

Flights & Transport

Only ground transport

Group Size:

Intimate Group - 12 max

Maximum Number of People in Group: 20

Trip ID#:

Encounterstraveltourcms-THETPT

Trip Excludes

  • International flights (available on request)
  • Travel Insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Single room supplements (chargeable if a same-sex room share is not available)
  • Meals not indicated in the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour guide, drivers, restaurants etc.
  • Arrival and departure airport transfers
  • Any other items not mentioned above

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