Explore the fascinating culture of Thailand and Cambodia on this comprehensive Quest, which takes you from bustling Bangkok to the remote hill tribes, including the Black Hamong, Lisu and the famous Karen Long Neck tribe in Northern Thailand.
In Thailand, photograph the Loy Krathong Festival (The Lantern Festival) in Chiang Mai, featuring beautifully illuminated lanterns, which are either carried, or displayed in houses and temples. Capture the highlight during full moon when tens of thousands of paper lanterns (khom loy) are set off into the sky and thousands more candle-lit floats are released along waterways.
In Cambodia, photograph Cambodia’s magnificent Angkor Wat and the famous Bayon in Angkor Thom, the capital city of the Khmer Empire, as well as Ta Prohm. Complete the Quest with a traditional Aspara dance performance.
You will get the best tips, advice and hands-on assistance no matter what level of photographer you are as you travel through stunning landscapes, picturesque ruined cities, glorious temples and markets, while photographing friendly locals and colorful minority hill-tribes.
November 9 - Depart USA
Depart the USA for your flights to Bangkok, Thailand.
November 10 - Arrive Bangkok, Thailand (BKK)
After immigration and custom clearance, you will be met and transferred to The Peninsula Hotel in Bangkok. Your arrival will be at around 10pm this evening.
November 11 - Bangkok
Meet at 6am in the lobby for a visit to a Buddhist temple to offer alms to the monks which is a unique ritual to photograph. Each morning, monks in saffron robes, carry alms bowls, to receive boiled rice and condiments from local people. We will have the opportunity to participate in this very special Thai custom by personally presenting alms at a temple and receiving the monks’ blessings in return. Afterwards, photograph the famous Bangkok Flower Market.
After breakfast, photograph The Grand Palace, an architectural wonder of golden stupas, walls and pillars encrusted in shining and colorful mosaics. After lunch, take a cruise along the Chao Phraya River by long-tail speed boat to see family homes, temples and Wat Po, with its massive reclining Buddha. Photograph the Temple of Dawn (Wat Arun) at sunset, whose towering spire has become an iconic symbol of Bangkok. Overnight Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok. (B,L,D)
November 12 - Bangkok - Ayutthaya & Ancient Siam
After breakfast, photograph the ancient city of Ayutthaya, located about 50 miles north of Bangkok. This UNESCO World Heritage Site was home to 33 kings from many different dynasties. Photograph Wat Yai Chai Mongkol flanked by a row of saffron-draped Buddha statues. Capture the ruins at Wat Phra Sri Sanphet, a temple complex situated within the former Royal Palace grounds, which served as a model for Bangkok's Temple of the Emerald Buddha.
After lunch, board a motorized long-tail boat for an afternoon cruise, with a stop at a Muslim village . Photograph villagers going about their daily routines at temples, schools, markets and mosques near the river banks. Return to Bangkok late afternoon. Dinner at our hotel. Optional night photography tour of Bangkok tonight.
Bangkok is a city that never sleeps and this tour takes us around the “old quarter” to see iconic buildings that are illuminated at night and serve as a backdrop to the activities of market traders, street food hawkers and people enjoying the capital’s entertainment venues. We will take you to landmark sites including bustling Chinatown; a drive alongside the gleaming Grand Palace; the City Pillar, a sanctuary for guardian spirits; the National Museum; and then onto the Phra Sumen Fort on Ratanakosin Island. Overnight Peninsula Hotel, Bangkok. (B,L,D)
November 13 - Bangkok - Chiang Mai - Loy Krathong festival
Breakfast at the hotel and an early transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Mai at 9am. Upon arrival at Chiang Mai airport, you will be met by our local guide at the airport.
In the afternoon, explore the old city by rickshaw ride to photograph Wat Phra Singh. Drive up the mountain to visit Prathat Doi Suthep temple to photograph panoramic views of the city from the mountain top.
Dinner at he River Market restaurant. Photograph the Loy Krathong festival.
November 14 - Chiang Mai - Loy Krathong day
Early morning photograph the Bo Sang Umbrella Factory renowned for its production of umbrellas and parasols followed by a visit to the Elephant Nature Park; a natural home and sanctuary for elephants, buffalos, dogs, cats, birds and many other rescued animals. Your visit starts with a picturesque drive through rural countryside to Elephant Nature Park. You will hear the personal stories of rescued and orphaned elephants. See how they became a proud herd and free from abuse for the first time in their lives. Photograph free roaming elephants, and other rescued animals enjoying the natural surroundings of the sanctuary.
After an early dinner, photograph the most spectacular of the massed balloon launches which takes place at Mae Jo University, about 13 kilometers outside of town. Tens of thousands of paper lanterns (khom loy) are set off into the sky and thousands more candle-lit floats are released along waterways. We have special tickets to photograph this spectacular event.
November 15 - Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle
Today, we travel through splendid mountain scenery and tropical jungle, approximately 3 hours to Chiang Mai, with a stop at Mae Ka Jan hot spring, one of the most well-known hot springs. Then visit Wat Rong Khun to admire the beauty of the temple Rong Kun or White Temple. This temple is considered one of the emblems of Buddhism in Thailand and much of Asia.
In the afternoon, explore Chiang Saen town, the capital of the first Thai Lanna kingdom, located in the Mekong River on the border between Thailand and Laos. Visit the "Hall of Opium," a new museum that traces the history of opium through its historical implications, economic, sociopolitical and so on. Stop at a place called "Golden Triangle." Over the hill to Muang Sam Moum, get a great view that embraces the whole Golden Triangle and the border of three countries. Then embark on a local boat and cross the river to Don Xao village on the border with Laos. Cruise back to Thai side.
November 16 - Chiang Rai - Mae Salong - Long Neck Tribes
After breakfast at the hotel, depart to Mae Salong to photograph its mix of cultures. You will also visit several hill tribe villages: Akha, Lisu and Muser. Lunch at a local restaurant, then continue to visit the village of the long neck tribes.
November 17 - Chiang Rai - Siem Reap, Cambodia
In the morning, meet our guide and transfer to the airport for our 9:30am flights to Siem Reap, Cambodia (via Bangkok). Photograph our first sunset at Angkor Wat near the reflecting pools.
Angkor is one of the most important archaeological sites in Southeast Asia. Stretching over some 400 square kilometers, including forested area, Angkor Archaeological Park contains the magnificent remains of the different capitals of the Khmer Empire, from the 9th to the 15th century. They include the famous Temple of Angkor Wat and, at Angkor Thom, the Bayon Temple with its countless sculptural decorations. Overnight at Angkor Village Hotel.
November 18 - Angkor Wat
At 4:30am, depart for Angkor Wat to capture the Angkor sunrise. Return to hotel for breakfast, then visit the overgrowth jungle temple of Ta Prohm. Ta Prohm has been left relatively untouched since it was discovered and retains much of its mystery. After Ta Prohm, visit Ta Keo and Thommanon temples. Lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, visit Banteay Kdei (a Buddhist temple), East Mebon and Pre Rup. Enjoy the sunset at La Bayon. This temple located in Angkor Thom is breathtaking any time of the day, but even more so at sunset. The multiple stone carvings of King Jayavarman VII’s face glow beautifully in the late afternoon light. Dinner with a traditional dance performance at our hotel. Overnight at Angkor Village Hotel.
November 19 - Dimapur - Kolkata and final departure
After breakfast, depart hotel at 7:30am and drive to the remote Beng Mealea temple through the typical Khmer countryside (60 kilometers from Siem Reap). There is a lot to see in the approximate 2-hour drive as it takes you through many lively villages and rice paddy fields. Explore the long abandoned temple from the 11th century, strangled by the jungle. Lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, proceed to the floating village on Tonle Sap for sunset photography. Tonle Sap lake is the largest permanent fresh water lake in Southeast Asia and flows into Tonle Sap river, joining the Mekong river in Phnom Penh. We will photograph fishermen’s “floating village” with floating schools, floating police station etc.
After our final dinner, fly from Siem Reap (REP) on the 11:25 pm flight to ICN South Korea, back to JFK arriving on November 20th.
Itinerary is subject to change.
Accommodations based on double occupancy.
A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.
Mirjam is a New York City based travel photographer specializing in international environmental portraiture, landscape photography and adventure images. Born and raised in the Netherlands, she has photographed in more than 75 countries, including many of the most exotic places in the world. Mirjam's photographs are indicative of her unique capacity to personally connect with diverse cultures and communities. Her eye for location lighting is highly stylized and works to illustrate and heighten the unique characteristics of each international locale. She is able to transcend cultural and language barriers with an intangible spirit that is conveyed in every image. Her work has appeared in AFAR, The New York Times, AARP, Outdoor Photographer, PDN, American Photo, Popular Photography, Digital Photo, Departures, MSN Travel.
Thailand occupies the western half of the Indochinese peninsula and the northern two-thirds of the Malay Peninsula in southeast Asia. Its neighbors are Burma (Myanmar) on the north and west, Laos on the north and northeast, Cambodia on the east, and Malaysia on the south. Thailand is about the size of France.
Situated on the Indochinese peninsula, Cambodia is bordered by Thailand and Laos on the north and Vietnam on the east and south. The Gulf of Thailand is off the western coast. The size of Missouri, the country consists chiefly of a large alluvial plain ringed by mountains with the Mekong River to the east. The plain is centered around Lake Tonle Sap, which is a natural storage basin of the Mekong.
This moderately-paced, escorted Thailand tour includes a reasonable amount of walking or hiking and requires an average level of physical fitness.
Thailand: The climate is always hot and humid, with the highlands being around 10 degrees cooler. November through February is the best time to go when the days are more mild.
Cambodia: December and January are the best months for travel in Cambodia although it is still hot and humid. The months of November and February are tolerable.
The currency in Thailand is the baht. Please review the current exchange rate for the baht. ATMs are located everywhere in major cities.
The currency in Cambodia is the riel.
U.S. citizens must have a passport which is valid for at least six months after your arrival date. U.S. passport holders do not need a visa to enter Thailand for tourist stays up to 30 days. U.S. passport holders must have a visa to enter Cambodia, which will be issued upon arrival. You must bring two passport-size photos and $30 (exact change, U.S. dollars only) visa fee with you
Malaria is not present in major cities. Although not required, typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis vaccinations should be considered if you're going to remote areas.
Thailand: 220 volts. Plugs A & C. You will need a plug adapter in order to use U.S. appliances. We recommend getting a universal adapter. View more information about electrical standards around the world.
Cambodia: 230 volts. Plugs A & C. Some outlets are a combination of type A and C and can accept either type plug. Plug G may be found in some hotels.
Computer / Digital Accessories
$6400 based on double occupancy. Single supplement is an additional $1650.
PQA will try to match you with a roommate if you do not opt for a single supplement. However, if a roommate is not available, you will be charged the additional single supplement fee.
Limited to 12 participants.
We highly recommend that you purchase travel insurance.