This journey through Thailand will be a visual feast that will inspire you to create stunning photographs reflecting cross-cultural learning and deep respect for the places you visit. Travel from the busy streets of Chiang Mai deep into the mountains of the north, where you'll visit remote Hill Tribe villages. Here you will live like the locals as you sleep on mats in traditional Hill Tribe houses with thatched roofs and bamboo floors. These remote village home stays offer the opportunity to document daily life and rituals – just like a working photojournalist.
From here you'll travel to the Rustic Pathways Hill Tribe Orphanage, which provides a home for Karen children who have been separated from their families because of the conflict in Burma. After touring the Orphanage and sharing a meal with everyone, you will head out into the rice fields to capture portraits of the locals planting their crops. This part of the country provides the perfect backdrop for creating stunning images of rural life in Thailand.
From the orphanage you will travel north for an elephant ride through the dense jungles of Mae Hong Son Province. Top it off with a boat ride downriver to see a long-neck Kayan village nestled against the Burmese border. The trip will end in Chiang Mai, where you'll have a relaxing traditional Thai massage, edit your photographs with your guides and fellow students, and shop for souvenirs and crafts at the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar.
Whether you're an enthusiastic beginner or a shooter for your school newspaper, the trip will offer plenty of opportunities to hone your skills. But the trip is also about more than just making beautiful images. You will learn what it means to "communicate" with individuals from a different culture using nothing more than your camera. Storytelling is an art, and we aim to give you the tools you need to tell the stories of the people you meet along the way.
Your guide throughout the journey will be a professional photographer who has spent ample time in Thailand and Burma. He will help you get to know both the culture and your camera. Grab your camera, clean your lenses and get ready for an adventure through one of Asia's most beautiful countries!
Relax and prepare for a world-class trip on Singapore Airlines. Prior to your departure, you will have received your pre-departure packet, which will include your Rustic T-shirts, airline tickets, and important contact information.
Once you arrive at your international departure city, our Flight Liaison will help you get checked in to your international flight. Working with our Flight Liaison will be your Flight Leader, who will escort you all the way to Thailand! Our Flight Leaders are most often school teachers or good friends of our organization who happily fill this role for us each year. Once you're checked in, feel free to relax and get acquainted with your new friends before boarding your flight to Thailand!
Today is lost as you cross the international dateline. Fear not – you will get this time back on your way home.
Sawat dee, and welcome to Thailand! Upon your arrival into one of the world's most modern airports, you will immediately get the feeling that you have arrived in a place that is far different from the United States. Thailand is known as one of the most welcoming countries in the world and is affectionately nicknamed the 'Land of Smiles.'
As you exit the arrival hall with your friendly flight leader, you will meet our team of staff. They have been anxiously awaiting your arrival and will introduce you to the rest of your group.
We'll have ample space for you to relax, as well as a nice assortment of food and refreshments for you to enjoy. This may be your first chance to have truly authentic pad-Thai, or one of the other traditional dishes (including vegetarian options) we have to offer. You can also expect to try a few delicious Thai fruits that you've probably never seen before but that you may quickly grow to love. In the mid-afternoon, you'll hop on a quick one-hour flight up to Chiang Mai, where you'll stay tonight. Relax, get a foot massage, and enjoy a nice dinner before retiring for the night at our Chiang Mai Base House.
Rustic Pathways has many truly wonderful local staff members the world over. In Thailand we are fortunate to have an incredible team of welcoming and dedicated individuals. One of these members, Niyom, is a true pleasure to call a friend. Niyom is Karen, and his home is one of the most spectacular places in the region. This is where you'll start your journey! Well off the beaten path, his village is tucked deep in the mountains, and you must take a four-wheel-drive vehicle to get there. Trust us – it is worth the trip. Once there a stunning sight will greet you. Imagine four small hamlets nestled in a sea of rice fields. Mountain peaks surround the whole setting. It is a beautiful place to say the least. You will spend the day here documenting life in a rural village, soaking up the tranquility, and learning a little more about the Karen way of life.
Today you will drive south to Mae Sariang, the site of the Rustic Pathways Hill Tribe Orphanage and Rustic Pathways Children's Home. After getting settled in, you will enjoy a delicious meal of local cuisine cooked by the crew at the Orphanage. During the evening, take some time to get to know the wonderful people at this place, and hear the stories of perseverance from the many children at the RPCH who are always thrilled to practice their English.
This morning you will have one final breakfast with your new friends at the orphanage before heading out deep into the mountains for a trek to a Karen village. Our local staff have lived in these mountains all of their lives and know every root, stump, and bush in them. They will lead us through dense jungle, across rivers, and past waterfalls before we reach our destination. This day will give you a chance to really get to know how life works in the hill tribes, as well as capturing unforgettable shots along the way.
We will spend this day photographing village life and exploring the surroundings up in the mountains. We will trek to a nearby waterfall and take a swim before heading back to the Hill tribe Orphanage to begin the drive up to Mae Hong Son. Along the way we'll stop several times to photograph the beautiful surroundings this drive has to offer. Upon arrival you'll have a chance to tour the city by bike and photograph all of the picturesque temples and mountain views. At night you'll shop at the hill tribe market located right on the main street to pick up some hand made crafts and souvenirs. You'll wind down by having dinner alongside a beautiful lake in the center of town.
The "City of Three Mists," Mae Hong Son is a gem in Northern Thailand that still has yet to be discovered by many tourists. Hiding itself between towering mountains and nestled along the Burmese border, Mae Hong Son is known for its' charm of culture and scenery. Today you will be able to enjoy a ride on Thailand's most famous animal, the Asian elephant! Trek through the jungle on this enormous creature while snapping photos of the dense mountain scenery that surrounds you. Then you'll board a long tail boat and head down river to visit a Karen "Long Neck" village. This tribe, formerly from Burma, has been practicing the tradition of wearing rings around their neck for over one hundred years. Muri, a friend of Rustic Pathways and a member of the village, can speak with you about the history of her people, their traditions, and the story of her life. It will be a truly unforgettable part of your trip.
This morning we'll rise with the roosters to give alms to the monks that line the streets in their bright orange robes. This is a tradition in Thailand to give food to the monks in the morning and it is something not to be missed! After breakfast, we'll board a quick 30-minute flight back to Chiang mai, swim in our hotel pool for a while, and have one final chance to shop in the night market. After dinner we'll stop into a local karaoke room to see who can hit the highest note.
You will wake up early this morning, grab a quick breakfast, and head to the airport to fly back to Bangkok, where you'll meet up with your next Rustic Pathways adventure or head home aboard our escorted group flight. Wherever you are headed, you will remember the past week forever!
Rustic Pathways reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external tours incorporated in our trips, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of an old activity for a new activity. The itinerary shown here provides a good outline of the anticipated daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.
A friendly reminder: To avoid delays and expensive fees on internal flights within most of SE Asia, you will want to keep your checked luggage under 15 kilograms (33 lbs.) in weight. Stick to the necessities and remember that the lighter your bags, the easier the trip.
Please bring at least a few items appropriate for temple visits. (Knees and shoulders must to be covered)
As a note on toiletries, bring those items from home that you must have. Basic items can generally easily be purchased along the way.
Photo Equipment, Thoughts & Ideas
If you are traveling with expensive equipment, it is strongly suggested to have it insured. We do our best to stay in safe areas, but theft is always a possibility. Weather and accidental damage also pose a threat. If equipment isn’t already covered by an existing policy, Personal Articles Policies are a great inexpensive way to protect your gear against just about anything.
Remember, YOUR ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR EQUIPMENT
In your camera bag
Extension rings are a great, lightweight substitute for carrying extra lenses.
Tribal Shooters visits some of Thailand’s most famous, sacred sites, as well as off the beaten path spots where few foreigners ever see. Throughout this journey, you are accompanied by our quirky, fun-loving professional photo-journalist who’ll help you improve your shooting technique and your wit. If you’re interested in a two-week photo journey that includes longer stays and service with some of these amazing communities, check out the Village Documentary Project.
For students looking to spend one week touring and working on their photography skills, this is it. Students love the beautiful places they go, the relaxed, fun pace of the trip, and they always walk away with some amazing shots.
We’ll stay at hotels, guest houses, and Rustic Pathways bases. Larger cities will feature nice hotels, and smaller towns will have cute guest houses. Beds, Western toilets, and hot showers are available at each location and are quite comfortable.
Many places we stay will offer convenient laundry services at the student’s expense.
There are mosquitoes. They’re usually not too bad, but you will want to have a long sleeve shirt and long pants in the evenings. Also bring a small bottle of insect repellent containing DEET.
You will have plenty of opportunities for shopping. You’ll see all kinds of souvenirs and fun stuff to buy, so budget accordingly. Prices in Asia are on average significantly cheaper than in the West, but be wary that a lot of great deals can add up. Markets and local crafts are huge part of Thai culture and a great way to support the local community. Here are some approximate, sample prices (listed in US dollars) that should help you prepare a budget: hand-woven scarf = $3; hand-woven shoulder bag = $6; T-shirt = $6; small wood carving = $5; soccer ball = $10
It’s hot, and humid in the day and a little cooler in the mountains at night. Daily downpours are short and give way to sunny skies. Be prepared for heat and dampness. Synthetic fiber clothes are great because they dry fast much faster than cotton can.
Phones are always available on an emergency basis. Students’ will be able to use phones nearly every day and we’ll stop at an internet café a few times during the week.
Each trip is staffed by a combination of western (American) and Thai leaders, and in most cases each team will include a nationally licensed guide, a western man and a western woman. We never have fewer than one staff member for every five students.
We’ll eat a wide variety of Thai and ethnic food, as well as a good deal of Western food. Thailand is famous for its food, and this trip will awaken your tastes to flavors you didn’t even know existed. Almost all dietary concerns can be accommodated, but please alert us of any relevant restrictions beforehand just to make sure. Vegetarians Welcome!
We will be drinking all bottled water. Bottled water is safe and readily available.
Every city we visit has a hospital with reliable medical care that caters to hundreds of Westerners every year. For the short time we will be in more rural areas farther from top-quality medical care, our staff will have a clear plan and route to the nearest healthcare depending on the severity of the situation.
Because safety is our number one priority, all of our programs have staff that is certified with First Aid and CPR training. Many of our guides are also qualified Wilderness First Responders, EMTs, Wilderness EMTs, or Life Guards.
Rustic Pathways does not make recommendations regarding immunizations. We strongly suggest that you consult with a travel doctor or your family physician for medical recommendations based on the area where the student will be traveling (Thailand). You can also check the Center for Disease Control website at http://www.cdc.gov for more information.
This decision is best made by you, your family, and your family physician. For up to date information to help your decision please visit the World Health Organization website (http://www.who.int/en), the Center for Disease Control website, and consult your physician.
All flights departing from and returning to the United States will have flight leaders. In the event a student is connecting from another country, they may or may not have a flight leader. In such instances, we generally have coordinated with the airlines to escort the students from check-in through customs, and delivered to a verified Rustic Pathways staff member.
All of our programs within Asia connect seamlessly. All trips begin and end on Thursday, thus allowing for easy connectivity and convenience.
You don’t need anything special. Just bring your camera and creativity. Students will have a wide variety of cameras from small point and shoots to nice SLR cameras. Whatever you bring, you will get some great shots!
Many of the beautiful landscapes, communities, and cultures you’ll explore in Hill Tribe country have long-held a wonderful saying: ‘Many hands make small work’
Contact Us: For more information about Tribal Shooters you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tribal Shooters combines well with the following programs.
Ages: 14 to 18 years old
Length: 11 days from the USA
Cost: $1,695 + $380 Internal Airfare
International airfare is not included in the above cost. Please check our Travel Desk for airfare pricing and specifics.
|Departs Tue||Returns Fri||Availability|
|11 Jun||21 Jun||Available|
|6 Aug||16 Aug||Available|
Dates shown are inclusive of travel time from the United States. Most Rustic Pathways trips interconnect, allowing you to design your own perfect summer program.Apply Now