Tour Highlights: MSSD Thailand

Sawasdee! 18 students and staff from Model Secondary School for the Deaf (MSSD) landed in hot and humid Bangkok, and started their 10 day adventure!

The first 6 days were in Bangkok, and the last 4 days were in Chiang Mai with 2 local deaf guides and 4 deaf van drivers. Highlights included Ayutthaya, the 2nd kingdom of Siam, as the country was known before becoming Thailand, riding on long tail boats alongside canals in Thon Buri, the 3rd kingdom of Siam, and the Grand Palace, which is the sacred heart of the 4th and current kingdom of Siam / Thailand. We had dinner at a deaf owned pad thai restaurant. We ate plenty of mango and sticky rice. We drank plenty of Thai iced coffee.

We went out west to Ratchaburi for the Mae Klong train station market, where we witnessed a train going through a vibrant market twice, and rode on longtail boats through the Damnoen Saduak floating market. Afterwards, we rode bicycles in the countryside for 19 km (12 miles) with sweltering humidity. We visited Setsatian School for the Deaf and National Association of the Deaf in Thailand (NADT) before taking an overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai.

After arrival into Chiang Mai at 7:15 am, we checked into our hotel and went through Tha Phae Gate, which was the main entrance to the fortified town during the Lanna Kingdom, for our breakfast at a local coffee shop. Then came a surprise – a zipline and luge activity deep in the jungle. We shopped at the night markets. We had an all day trip to Chiang Rai to see Wat Rong Khun (white temple), Wat Rong Suea Ten (blue temple) and Baan Dam (black house). And we spent all day at an ethical hands-off elephant sanctuary, with more than 100 rescued elephants as well as over 5,000 other rescued animals under their care – cats, dogs, horses, rabbits, buffaloes, goats, etc.

On the last day, we flew from Chiang Mai to Bangkok, and spent the afternoon at Chatuchak Weekend Market, with over 15,000 stores. Took tuk tuk ride to the restaurant where we had our farewell dinner, then walked to the airport express train station for the ride back to the airport for our flight back to the USA with many wonderful memories and pictures!

Hands On Travel is a 100% Deaf-owned tour operator company that is truly proud to provide inclusive and accessible tours in sign language around the world since 2002.

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