Siam Culture (Culture Week)

Singburi - Thailand

Siam Culture (Culture Week)

Singburi - Thailand

Only $325 per week!

Learn more about Thailand, bond with fellow participants, and immerse yourself in the area and culture. This is your kick start into a new country and way of life!

Our Siam Culture week is a must for you to truly indulge into your new surroundings. Through cooking and language lessons, visits to the most famous sights around Central Thailand as well as lesser-known attractions and meeting locals, you will surely be introduced to the country’s culture, traditions, history and lifestyle.

Culture
Learning
Leisure
Community Engagement
Physical Demand






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Program Description

During Siam Culture week, you will learn about Thai culture, get an insight into the language and have a taste of what has made Thai cooking so famous around the world. You will visit Wat Phra Non Jaksi Worawihan temple (famous for containing one of the largest indoor reclining Buddha statues) the ancient capital of Ayutthaya, have monkeys jumping on your head in Lopburi and much more! Moreover, you will get to meet people, take a Thai cooking lesson, learn the basics of the language, and get a firsthand understanding of the Thai way of life.

Aims & Objectives

The purpose of this program is to help you get a reasonable understanding of the manners, norms, and etiquette that is inherent in Thai society. This week is also perfect for you to get to know and bond with other new participants. It is great for those who will be spending a prolonged period in the country, but also for those who have little time and want to experience Thailand at its best. Its emphasis is on educational factors, such as the language, cooking, cultural and historical aspects of Thailand.

Schedule

Monday

After breakfast, we will have a group meeting which includes, registration, explanation of programs and changes, logistics, general information and health and safety. After that we will walk around Tha Kham village to get you familiarized with your new surroundings. We will then stop at the ATM, Bank, Pharmacy, Phone Shop, convenience stores and the local market then followed by lunch at our center.

In the afternoon, we will have a short drive to Singburi and find out about transportation methods to Bangkok. Then head over afterwards to Chai Saeng where you can buy essential supplies for the week such as temple clothing, Mosquito repellent, Sunscreen, Power adapters.

Next, we will pay a visit to Wat Phikun Thong, a buddhist temple where you will get a short introduction to Buddhist rituals.

Once back at the accommodation, you will get a Thai language lesson and you will also learn about the do’s and don’ts in Thailand. After dinner, you will be the special guests of a welcome party with local children performing a Thai traditional dance for us – they will expect you to join in with the dancing at some point! You will have the rest of the evening to engage in night activities or your own free time.

Tuesday

Start off the morning with a visit to Wat Muang in Ang Thong, which is home to the tallest Buddha statue in Thailand and the 9th in the world. Next we will drive to Banbang Sadet Court Doll Centre where you can see the famous world-class miniature dolls and even build your own!

After lunch, we will head to the Historic City of Ayutthaya, which was founded in 1350 by King U-Thong. Once there, we will explore Ayutthaya Historical Park, which contains the ruins of the former capital of the Kingdom of Siam and is recognized internationally as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, we will also visit Wat Mahathat (The temple of the Great Relic).

Next up we will Visit Wat SriSanphet & a local market close-by. This trip will be a while but on the way out you can buy souvenirs, drinks and any other refreshments you like.

Our final stop for the today will be a visit to Wat Yai Chai Mongkol. You can you walk up the Chedi for photos of the city or go to the top of the temple and drop a coin in the bucket for blessings and temple preservations. You will also have the chance to see the Reclining Buddha.

Once we return back to the accommodation, we will finish off the evening with a dinner!

Wednesday

We will start off the morning very early with a drive to Wat Phra Non Chaksi and meet up with the monks on their morning alms collection and walk through the village with the monks. We will then prepare food for the monks and then have breakfast afterwards.

After breakfast, you will have the chance to learn about authentic meditation from a local monk. You will also have the opportunity to engage in a Q & A with the monk. We will then walk around the Vihan to see the massive sleeping Buddha. After visiting the temple, you can buy coffee, soft drinks, ice-cream outside of the temple.

We will then drive back to the accommodation and if you are up for it, watch an interesting documentary about Buddhism. After lunch at our accommodation, we will drive to Singburi for your free time at a local swimming pool or a nice relaxing massage at Chai Saeng.

In the evening, we will have dinner at a BBQ restaurant (Thai style, of course!)

Thursday

In the morning, we will visit an authentic community market in Lopburi where you will find performing arts, cultural activities and a pottery production center. we will also stop for lunch here.

After lunch, we will drive to Wat Phra Prang Sam Yot park and walk over to the old temple, where you can walk around and see all the monkeys. If you wish, peanuts can be bought for the monkeys for fead. We will then head back to our accommodation in Singburi, where we will freshen up and rest.

In the afternoon, you will engage in after school activities with the local children, assist with their homework, English and Maths at our accommodation.

After dinner at our accommodation, you will visit Top Plaza Mall where everyone will have 1 hour of free time in the mall or evening activities.

Friday

The morning will start off with a visit to Coconut Shell House. This local handicrafts workshop makes jewelry from coconut shells and is part of the Thailand's OTOP program.

We will then head back to the accommodation for some traditional Thai cooking lessons. Make sure to pay close attention during the lessons because you will be eating your own cooked meal for lunch!

After lunch, we will visit the Royal Highness Queens Project in Nong Lad. Walk around the project site and see vegetation & rice fields, mushroom & fish farms and even water Buffaloes. Plenty of opportunities to stop and ask questions to the local farmers.

Once we leave the Queens project, we will go to Khai Bang Rachan Memorial Park – one of Thailand's most historical site showcasing a great battle which took place over 250 years ago between the Burmese and Siamese people in old Siam!

We’ll then head back to the accommodation in Singburi where we will have dinner.

   Note:   This schedule can be changed and/or amended depending on weather conditions, local conditions and unforeseen circumstances.

Participant Criteria & Requirements

Standard Requirements

Minimum age:

Maximum age:

Minimum English level: Basic

CRB required: On Signup

Passport copy required: No

Resume copy required: No

Required qualification: None

Additional Requirements

There are no further requirements.

Additional Equipment

  • Clothes that cover your shoulders and knee for visiting temples, schools and sacred sites.

Location

You will be located in the outskirts of Singburi, an interesting town 142 km north of Bangkok. Singburi was founded under the reign of King Rama V through the consolidation of 3 small towns located on the bank of The Chao Phraya River. The three small towns, Sing Buri, In Buri and Phrom Buri, were then established as a single town on the west of the Chao Phraya River in 1895.

Your new home is set close to the village of Tha Kham, an extremely rural area that will give you the chance to experience the Thailand that very few get to see.

About the Accommodation

Your new home will be one of our 3 ‘Eco Houses’ near Singburi, central Thailand: Lemon House, Twin House and Brown House. They are all located riverside (River Noi – Little River) in the village of Tha Kham and depending on which house you are staying at, is about 8-15 km from Singburi (10-15 minutes by car). The 3 houses sleep from 30 to 72 people.

All houses have a communal area where you can eat, relax, meet fellow participants or use the free Wifi.

Although not directly on site, there are laundry facilities offered by locals which many of our participants take advantage of (this will probably cost you 5฿ per item, otherwise you can easily wash your clothes by hand.)

For participants who desire more comfort and privacy, families, couples and more mature participants, we recommend upgrading to a comfort room. These rooms have more amenities, are uniquely designed and are located apart from the two standard participant residences, which means it is noticeably quieter.

   Note:   Important: A security cash deposit of 500THB is required for the key to your room. It is payable upon arrival in cash and will be returned when the key is given back at the end of your stay.

   Note:   No alcohol is permitted in any of our accommodations, but we are located within walking distance of a local shop and there is even a makeshift bar provided by the friendly locals in front of the accommodation.

Food Arrangements

Food will be simple homestyle meals prepared by locals, which are typical to the region, based on whatever fresh fruits and vegetables are in season at the time. You can expect lots of rice and noodles, vegetables, and occasionally some meat will be provided as well.

While we do our best to accommodate you, what we provide for most meals is local cuisine. If you are a picky eater, have dietary restrictions, or if you think that you will not be satisfied with the local dishes provided, you might want to consider supplementing our menu with your own western type foods and snacks that are more to your liking. Weekly trips to the supermarket in Singburi are provided from our accommodation and you can use our bikes to ride to a few convenience stores on other days.

Please keep in mind that refrigerator space is limited and to prevent insect infestation open food items are not allowed in the rooms.

Facilities

There are ATMs and shops in the local village which, depending on the accommodation you will be staying at, is located between 5 minutes by bicycle to 20 minutes by foot.

There are restaurants and small local stores within walking distance of each of the accommodations.

Equally, Singburi has plenty to offer and there will be trips throughout the week into this city where you can find shopping malls, markets, restaurants and even a swimming pool!

Activities & Events

Tuesday Evening

Visit the night market in Tha Kham. Taste all types of Thai food, stock up on inexpensive clothing or just soak in the atmosphere of this small town!

Wednesday Afternoon

This is free time for most participants and we offer a trip into Singburi. You can choose to use the swimming pool, go for a Thai massage or take advantage of a trip to a shopping centre.

Wednesday Evening

You will have the option to attend a Thai BBQ at a local restaurant. This is a fantastic opportunity to socialise with all the other participants, eat great food and enjoy some music.

Thursday Evening

There is a trip to a shopping mall (including a large Tesco Lotus), where you can buy any essentials, snacks, western food (pizza shops, KFC, ice cream parlour, coffee shops etc)

Sights & Surroundings

Locally, Singburi itself has plenty to offer in terms of sites and attractions, ranging from its many Buddhist temples. There is also a swimming pool, two shopping centres and many markets.

You can also choose to travel to Bangkok during weekends. It takes 2.5 – 3 hours either by minivan or bus from Singburi . We provide detailed information about this each week.

Transportation

From this location we provide free transport to your next program at the following location(s):

  • Akha Village Chiang Rai
  • All around Thailand
  • Around Thailand
  • Hua Hin
  • Kaeng Krachan
  • Kanchanaburi
  • Mae Sot
  • Suphan Buri
  • Train Track Northern Thailand
  • Trunk to the South
  • Umphang
  • Udon Thani
  • Wang Nam Khiao

Quick Facts

Name: Kingdom of Thailand

Population: 67 million

Capital: Bangkok

Language: Thai

Currency: Baht (THB)

Time zone: ICT (UTC +7)

Country Information

From trekking in the beautiful mountains of the north to enjoying the glorious beaches in the south and  experiencing the hustle and bustle of the metropolis that is Bangkok, Thailand is certainly not a country that lacks variety.

Whilst it really is at the heart of Southeast Asia, bordered by Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Malaysia, its cultural identity remains very unique. As the only country in Southeast Asia to avoid European powers, the Thai are proud to refer to themselves as ‘The Land of the Free’ and many tourists might also know it as ‘The Land of Smiles’ due to its friendly people.

Climate

The majority of the country is home to a tropical savanna climate which consists of wet and dry seasons of a roughly equal length. The climate can be divided into three distinct seasons:

  • Dry season: November – end of February. During this period, precipitation is at its lowest but so are the temperatures. This said, ‘low temperatures’ are of course relative and the difference is not in fact very different at all in the South. It is only if you will be visiting the northern mountains that you might need to bring some warmer clothes as temperatures can fall as low as 5°C. This period is, not surprisingly, the most popular time to visit Thailand and tourism peaks around Christmas and New Year as well as Chinese New year. Flights and accommodation at this time can be more expensive.
  • Hot: March to June. During this time Thailand reaches its hottest temperatures (as high as 50°C).
  • Rainy: July – October. This is when the tropical monsoons begin to arrive, peaking in September. Although this is indeed rainy season, it doesn’t mean that it rains non-stop. Storms can clear up very quickly, but when it does rain, heavy flooding is not rare.

Culture

A significant feature of Thai culture is its primary religion: Buddhism. Theravada Buddhism is supported by the government and practiced by an estimated 95% of its population. Thailand not only boasts tens of thousands of beautiful temples, but you will notice that a lot of Thai people have miniature Spirit Houses on their front yards because they believe that the household spirits live in them and they make offerings to them to keep the spirits happy.

Another feature of Thai culture is the wai greeting, which is essentially a slight bow with palms pressed together in a prayer-like manner to show respect. This can be compared to the Indian namasté. Things to know about this:

  • The higher the hands in relation to the face and the deeper the bow, the more respect is shown.
  • It is made before formally entering/leaving a house
  • It can also be made as a sign of gratitude or apology
  • You do not make the greeting to those who are younger than you unless you are returning the wai.
  • The gesture is normally accompanied with the phrase “sawadee (krap/ka)” (“krap” if you are  male and “ka” if you are female)
  • A corporate wai (made by cashiers etc) can be returned with a smile or a nod

The major festival in Thailand is Thai New Year, known as Songkran. It is celebrated on the 13th-14th April of every year. It is a festival that concludes the dry season and involves a lot of water throwing!

Gastronomy

Thai cuisine is very nutritious and alongside its plentiful use of rice, it generally contains fresh vegetables and white meats like chicken and fish. Thai people love spicy food but do not fear if you do not, just say ‘mai pet’ when you order. However, the flavors are not only about the spice, as many people believe. Thai food can be slightly salty, sour and/or sweet, so there really is something to suit everyone’s palate.

Transportation

Transport in Thailand is very varied and there isn’t one ‘main way’ to travel. Buses dominate long distance journeys. Travel in thailand is cheap and even domestic flights are a worthwhile consideration for long distance journeys, especially with the expansion of low-cost airlines.

Taxis, tuk-tuks and vans are also common modes of transport, but tourists must be wary about being overcharged. If in doubt, always ask that the taximeter be switched on to avoid overcharging.

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