Dragonfly Tour

Dragonfly Group Culinary Tour of Thailand

Country: Thailand

12 Days | $5,965

Come along as Truckee-based local celebrity chef Billy McCullough explores the cultural highlights and exotic flavors of Thailand. Wander through the markets where locals and top chefs alike find the freshest ingredients for their Thai cuisine. Sample Bangkok’s legendary street food as well as the finest dining the city has to offer. Learn how to create memorable Thai dishes at home with a Thai cooking class in Chiang Mai. All while taking in the sights and culture of the big city, the countryside and the beaches of Phuket with Chef Billy as your guide and co-explorer.

At the end of the tour it’s your chance to bring it all together with a group trip to the local market to gather what you’ll need to make your own Thai lunch.

Meet our tour leader: Billy McCullough

Private Chef & Sustainable Food Consultant.

Chef Billy McCullough has over 25 years in the culinary arts. He is currently a private chef and consults with restaurants on developing sustainable food menus. Prior to that he was the chef/owner of a Dragonfly Restaurant and Sushi Bar in Truckee and the chef/partner of Twenty Two Bistro in Squaw Valley. He founded the Best of Tahoe Chefs event with Gary Bulmer, which has raised money for local cancer causes for the last 14 years.

A graduate of The Western Culinary Institute, Billy gained his chops training under two of the area’s top chefs- Douglas Dale of Wolfdale’s and Jean Pierre Doignon of Le Bistro. At Dragonfly, his unique blend of Asian Flavors with local, sustainable products was called “the first true Cal-Asian Restaurant’ by Mike Dunne of the Sacramento Bee and won “Restaurant of the Year” from the Sierra Sun.

At Twenty Two Bistro, he has spread his culinary style into “comfort food with a global flare” and has continued his quest to support the “Slow Food” movement by using sustainable, seasonal products.

Jan. 14, 2019 Bangkok: Arrival
Arrive in Bangkok where you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel.

Meals Included: None
Overnight at Riva Surya – Deluxe Riva Room

Jan. 15 Bangkok: Riverside Public Transport with Klong trip
You will be met by your guide at your hotel at 9am before joining a river express taxi to the Pak Klong Market. Your guide will take you on a tour of this lively central market and point out local produce, exotic flowers and traditional spices and herbs. Then hop into a renowned Thai tuk tuk for an exciting ride to Wat Pho to see the celebrated Reclining Buddha. Afterwards, enjoy a relaxing thirty minute massage from the nearby traditional Thai massage school. Break for lunch and enjoy some traditional Thai cuisine at a local restaurant before head-ing to the pride of Thailand, the Grand Palace. Here you will be able to explore the palace, its well-manicured grounds and Wat Phra Kaew which houses the Emerald Buddha. Afterwards, you will hop into your own pri-vate riverboat for a tour of the klongs (canals) that make up the interconnected waterways of the city. You will then be transferred directly back to your riverside hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight at Riva Surya -Deluxe Riva Room

Jan. 16 Bangkok: Culinary Delights and Nang Gin Kui Private Dining
Meet your guide in the hotel lobby around 8am to go and join the hustle and bustle of Bangkok’s morning streets. You will travel by public transport to a local market where you can see numerous food stalls set up selling fresh produce and the Thai’s answer to ‘fast food’. Make sure you sample a local tea and some of the more renowned dishes as you wander around the maze of the market. You will then travel by local transport to the famous Aor Tor Kor Market. This high standard market created by the Marketing Organization for Farmers has become very popular due to its fresh produce and seafood at reasonable prices.

Many locals make the journey just to eat at the food court, known for selling famous dishes from all around the country. After enjoying a filling lunch at the market, head back to your hotel for a free afternoon.

This evening you transferred by your private van to the rendezvous point at the Royal Orchid Sheraton near Chinatown, where you will meet your fellow diners and start the experience at 1900hrs. Florian Gypser, found-er of this popular and fashionable private dining venue, will lead your group to the private dining location just down the Soi (small street). Although these smaller streets can be dark, this neighborhood is very safe and you are in good hands, so relax and enjoy the short stroll with your new-found companions. Tonight, you will enjoy a 15-course set-menu of contemporary Thai fusion dishes, whilst enjoying the spectacular view of the Chao Phraya River from your 15th floor vantage point. While getting to know your fellow diners, relax and en-joy the ‘free flowing’ drinks and personal service in this casual, yet intimate setting.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
Overnight at Riva Surya – Deluxe Riva Room

Jan. 17 Chiang Mai: Arrival and Wat Suan Dok with sunset
Your driver will meet you at your hotel for your private transfer to the airport, where you will arrive in time for your onward flight – Bangkok Airways PG223 departing from Bangkok at 09:45 & arriving in Chiang Mai at 11:00. You will be met by your guide at Chiang Mai Airport and transferred to your hotel.

Drive up to visit Doi Suthep, the most important Wat in Chiang Mai. Perched high above the city, it offers won-derful views of the city and countryside below. From here head west of the city walls on to one of the most beautiful viewpoints for sunset – Wat Suan Dok. Literally translated as ‘’field of flowers’’, this temple was built by King Keu Na of Lanna, and is a prime example of Lanna architecture. Here at this fourteenth century tem-ple you will witness evening prayer as the monks and local people come together at the end of the day.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa – Deluxe River View

Jan. 18 Chiang Mai: Elephant Daycare at Patara Elephant Farm
This afternoon you will be met in the lobby of your hotel between 1-1:20pm by your Patara guide and then transferred to the Patara Elephant Farm, located approximately 45 minutes outside of Chang Mai. When you arrive at the camp, you will be given an informational lecture about the history of elephants in Thailand and the rapid decline of these gentle giants in the region of Southeast Asia. Afterwards, you will change into your traditional elephant mahout uniform for this afternoon’s activity and will be introduced to the non-working pregnant and small elephants in the camp. During this once-in-a-lifetime experience, you will take part in the daily care of the farm’s pregnant elephants and their babies. You will learn about the proper approach to ele-phants, feeding them and general healthcare before leading them on a walk to the river for a drink and a bath. Enjoy watching the elephants feed and rest in their natural environment as you have a Thai snack in the forest. Return back to the camp, change out of your mahout clothes. You will be transferred back to your hotel around 6pm.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa – Deluxe River View

Jan. 19 Chiang Mai: Pantawan Cooking Class
This morning your guide will take you to the local market close to the Pantawan Cooking School, (located only 15 minutes from the old city) to introduce you the ingredients of Thai cooking and to see the local way of life in Chiang Mai. Your next destination will be the Pantawan Cooking School, where you will be welcomed with cold towel and a delicious drink. The school building is made of teak in the Thai old-luxury style, with a large comfortable space for cooking. They also have their own small organic farm, and sell the fresh vegetables at the market that you visited. The chef will demonstrate how to prepare each of the four dishes for you, before you will make them yourself. Retreat to the balcony where you can enjoy your delicious meal, and take in the peaceful view of the garden. The menu changes based on the day of the week.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa – Deluxe River View

Jan. 20 Chiang Mai: Treks and Rafts
Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8:30am this morning to drive to Mae Wang National Park, 90 minutes southwest of Chiang Mai. Discuss your trekking preferences with your guide along the way and on arrival, you can either trek or drive to a local hilltribe village. Take some time exploring the village, before trekking 20-30 minutes through hills and forests to a picturesque waterfall for a refreshing swim, followed by a picnic lunch. After lunch, continue hiking for 2 – 3 hours to the Mae Wang Base Camp. Your driver will meet you here to take you to the Mae Wang River starting point where you will round the day off with a bit of bamboo rafting. Enjoy the shady scenery of rich forests slipping past on both sides as you glide down the river. Meet your driv-er at the finish point and return to your hotel at approximately 5pm.

Meals included: Breakfast, Lunch
Overnight at Anantara Chiang Mai Resort & Spa – Deluxe River View

Jan. 21 Phuket: Arrival
You will be met by your guide at your hotel and transferred to Chiang Mai airport for your departure flight – Bangkok Airways PG248 departing from Chiang Mai at 14:30 & arriving in Phuket at 16:40.

Arrive in Phuket where you will be met by the hotel representative and will be transferred to your hotel. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight at The Sarojin Hotel -Double Garden Residence

Jan. 22 Khao Lak: Catch and Dine
Depart from The Sarojin Jetty at 8am this morning for your fishing adventure on a local longtail boat. Your cap-tain will speak with you about the recent local fishing hot spots, weather conditions and wind patterns and to-gether you will decide on either estuary or deep sea waters for your day. Today you will be accompanied by a local fisherman, who will find the best fishing spots for you and help you to understand and use the equipment provided on board. The most common species on offer in this area include Tuna and White Snapper, so cast your lines and enjoy the serenity of the surrounding waters. Around 1pm you will begin to make your way back to the Jetty, with the boat docking at approximately 2pm. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon before your evening ‘catch of the day’ meal at The Edge Restaurant. Your catch will be cooked by Chef Gogh and Chef Billy McCullough who will adapt the menu specifically to the type of fish caught on the day.

Meals included: Breakfast, Dinner
Overnight at The Sarojin Hotel – 7Double Pool Residence

Jan. 23 Phuket: Day at Leisure
You have today free to relax or explore on your own.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight at The Sarojin Hotel -Double Garden Residence

Jan. 24 Phuket: Group Cooking Day
Today is the day to bring all your new skills to the table – literally! Head out together as a group to the local morning market and gather what you’ll need to make your own Thai meal. You will have use of the hotel’s kitchen today and here you can cook your own authentic Thai lunch. Enjoy the rest of the evening at your lei-sure at the beach.

Meals included: Breakfast
Overnight at The Sarojin Hotel -Double Garden Residence

Jan. 25, 2019 Phuket: Departure
You will be transferred from Sarojin Hotel to Phuket airport – Bangkok Airways PG274 departing from Phuket at 14:50 & arriving in Bangkok at 16:15. Catch your connecting departure flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

This itinerary is currently in progress and does not reflect hotel room availability. The pricing is not final until the itinerary has been confirmed and booked.

Tour rate: $5,965 per person sharing a Twin/Double, based on a group of 12
*rate subject to change if minimum number of travelers not met

Price includes:

  • Air tickets Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Phuket – Bangkok
  • Boat tickets as specified above
  • Accommodation as specified above **or equivalent property
  • Air-conditioned car/van with driver
  • Licensed English speaking guides
  • Tours and admission fees as mentioned above
  • Meals as specified in itinerary, including water

Price excludes:

  • Personal expenses
  • Visa fees
  • Drinks (except water) and meals not mentioned in itinerary
  • Tips

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