Thailand and Cambodia

Faculty: Melanie Mock and Jill Jamison
Class meeting time: Tuesdays from 6:30 to 9 p.m.
Trip Dates: May, 2025



This trip to Cambodia and Thailand is perfect for those wanting to explore history and culture, while also spending ample time enjoying beaches, jungle tours, and outdoor activities. We will devote our in-class periods to learning about these countries through memoirs of the people who lived (and live) there; we will use collaborative activities to discover together what these cultures might be like; and we will develop the knowledge we need to be ethical travelers once we begin our journey.

This part of Southeast Asia offers students a unique opportunity to consider the complicated past of both countries, and how the histories of Cambodia and Thailand intersect with notions of empire and colonization. We will also investigate the flora and fauna of the region, visit ancient cities and temples, watch the sunset on warm Thailand beaches, experience wildlife sanctuaries, and, of course, eat amazing food. Some of the time will be spent in big cities like Bangkok and Phnom Penh, but we will also visit rural areas and a floating village.

From temples to train rides, cycling to snorkeling, monkeys to tuk-tuk rides, this trip truly has something for everyone. You can anticipate that the weather will be warm during our travels, and that this will be an active trip, with some hiking, boating, swimming, and biking.

Tentative Itinerary

Day 1-2 Phnom Penh: Fly in, get orientated and tour Cambodia’s bustling and charming capital city by rickshaw.  Visit the Killing fields and genocide museum. Spend time exploring the bustling central market.
Day 3-5 Siem Reap: Explore the charming little city by  tuk tuk or take an excursion to Chong Kneas, a floating village on Tonle Sap Lake. Site see at Angkor Thom, the last capital of the Great Khmer under the reign of Jayavarmana giant VII and the temple Angkor Wat which was built during the reign of King Suryavaman II in the early 12th century. There will be time for exploring a floating village
Day 6 Fly from Siem Reap to Chiang Mai, Thailand
Day 6-11 Chiang Mai: Fly from Siem Reep to Chiang Mai. visit Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, is a highly revered Buddhist temple in northern part of Thailand, containing a holy relic of the Lord Buddha. Continue to Sankampang District, and explore the heart of the Handicraft industry. Visit an elephant tour and learn about the behavior and the personal history of elephants. Perhaps take the opportunity to feed or bathe an elephant.

Experience a Khan toke Dinner, which is named after the table it is served on, traditionally the table used for dinner in Lanna, a Kingdom that ruled over North Thailand from the end of the 13th century until the 18th century.

Take a Thai Cooking Class starting with buying fresh ingredients at a local market in Nong Hoi, as well as learning about tropical vegetables.
Day 12-13 Mae Sai, Chiang Rai: Depart from Chiang Mai on the scenic route passing the beautiful Northern mountains and valleys. Stop at The White Temple, a dazzling structure that is the ongoing work of a local artist that reflects principles of Buddhism and enlightenment, continue the trip to Chiang Mai.
Day 14-15 Sukothai: Enjoy free time at the pool. Take a guided cycling trip around the countryside and visit many attractions. Learn about Thai culture and traditions in the rural countryside.
Day 16-21 Bangkok and Koh Samet: Drive to Bangkok (8 hrs) and on to Koh Samet by private speed boat to the beautiful beaches in Koh Samet – an idyllic island located just on the east coast of Thailand. Spend an afternoon swimming and sunbathing. Return to Bangkok, enjoy a canal tour, the reclining Buddha, and a final dinner while cruising on the Chao Phraya River.
Day 22 Return to PDX

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