Tours and Field Studies for Chiang Mai, Thailand
USAC encourages every student to particpate in the tours/field studies; however, they are optional and have an additional fee. The field study requires you to complete additional academic requirements, keep a journal, and engage in discussions of the sites visited to better understand their historical and cultural contexts. Destinations may change at the discretion of the Resident Director.
The following are possible destinations, view term calendars for specifics.
Craft and Culture Tour
This optional tour is available for students all year round. The itinerary starts with a visit to the Chiang Mai Celadon glazed ceramics factory which is known for producing and distributing celadon ceramic, dinnerware, home décor, gifts and souvenirs. Students will spend the morning exploring the factory and the invaluable private gallery of the owner, creating their own pottery, relaxing in the traditional Lanna atmosphere and tasting traditional Thai lunch. After that we will visit Borsang Handicraft Centre. This is another opportunity to sightsee and learn how local artisans make and decorate the exquisite artworks which express the beauty of Lanna culture. Students can observe the whole process as the workers hand make the paper, lamps, fans, umbrellas and parasols from start to finish and as well as shopping the elegantly painted handicraft products.
Optional Trekking Tour
This optional two-night and three-day tour is a trekking trip to hill tribe villages. It includes elephant riding, bamboo rafting, and a bonfire with the local community. This is an opportunity to explore the remote Hill Tribe villages on the way to Maetang District, one of the most famous areas for trekking in Chiang Mai. The itinerary includes a four-hour hike in a forest; a lecture about wild herbs, edible wild fruits and vegetables in the forest; a swim in the gushing and beautiful waterfalls; experience building your own bamboo rafts; time to relax and play with Hill Tribe children, and enjoying the cultural performances by the Hill Tribe villagers around the bonfire camp at night. Students often say the highlights of the trip are riding elephants and rafting on their handmade bamboo rafts. USAC encourages each student to enroll; however, this segment of the program is optional, quite physically demanding, and has an additional fee. You will sign up for the tour on your Course and Tour Registration Form.
Chiang Mai Historical Tour
This excursion starts with a Samlor ride, a three-wheeled tuk-tuk-like bicycle, before jumping on an individual bicycle to ride through some outlying areas of the city. The tour explores the city's hidden heritage among historic sites established by teh first foreigners who came to live and work in northern Thailand. Learn about the city's development in relation to its markets, investors, and the Teak industry; experience new foods with quick stops in local markets; and visit important sites including the first hopsital, church, and schools established.
Hill Tribe Field Study
This optional 1-credit field study course includes a 2-day, 1-night field trip to Akha village in Chiang Rai province for a rural homestay and several additional half-day field trips to sites close to Chiang Mai city and additional half-day field trips and an additional 2-day, 1-night field trip to a Hmong village in Chiang Mai province. USAC encourages each student to enroll; however, this segment of the program is optional, quite physically demanding, and has an additional fee. You will register for the field study on your Course and Tour Registration Form.
Optional Doi Inthanon National Park Tour
One of the 14 original national parks of Thailand, Doi Inthanon National Park is a must-see location for students who will be in Chiang Mai during for a semester or year. Nicknamed the "roof of Thailand," the park consists of high mountains, including the highest peak in Thailand Doi Inthanon, waterfalls, and rivers that generate electrical power for the region. Students will make the 35 mile trip from Chiang Mai to the park and will spend the day enjoying the breathtaking scenery, visiting the waterfalls and mountaintop temples, and exploring the national park. USAC encourages all students to participate on this tour; however, this segment of the program is optional and has an additional fee. The cost includes transportation, entrance fees, breakfast, lunch, snacks and beverages. You will sign up for the tour on your Course and Tour Registration Form.