Chiang Mai, Thailand Study Abroad 2019!

Join Rebecca on an amazing study abroad journey in Chiang Mai, Thailand

Join Zion Massage College for 11 days as we study Thai Massage from a Traditional Master Teacher, Practice Meditation with the Monks, Tour Temples (called Wats in Thai), and explore the culture, food, sights and sounds of Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Dates: October 20th*, 2019 – October 31st, 2019

*We will leave on Sunday, October 20th from the Las Vegas Airport after 7 p.m. PST.

Cost: $2,995 or included as a graduation award for ZMC students that demonstrate consistent excellence in the Professional Massage Therapy Program.

Registration Deadline: August 1, 2019
Non-Student/Award Participants: Flight Deposit of $1,500 must be paid by August 1, 2019
ZMC Award Recipients: Must have tuition paid by August 1, 2019 and be eligible to attend*
  • Flight from Las Vegas to Chiang Mai Thailand
  • Guest House Stay
  • 3 Day Thai Massage Training with Traditional Master Thai Massage Instructor
  • City Tour
  • Market Tour
  • Wat Tour
  • 2 Day Meditation Retreat
  • Travel Insurance
  • 2 Free Days to Explore the Area
  • Travel from the Chiang Mai Airport to and from our guesthouse upon arrival and departure.
Does Not Include:
  • Meals
  • Drinks, Bottled Water (there is water at our massage training and purified water refilling stations around Chiang Mai city)
  • Optional Training
  • Optional Excursions and Excursions on Free Days
  • In Town Travel Expenses (tuk-tuks, sawng-taws, etc.)
  • Personal items, incidentals
  • Medical Insurance
Optional Activities:
  • Ethical Elephant Interaction Experience
  • Trekking to Hilltribe Villages and/or National Parks
  • Cooking Classes
  • Yam Khang (Fire Massage Training)
  • Muay Thai Boxing
  • Train Ride exploration of Bangkok
  • Visit to the White Temple and Black House in Chiang Rai, Thailand
  • Visit to beautiful Mae Hong Son
  • Visit to Southern Thailand beaches and islands

Highlights: Getting to know the other group members, the excitement of embarking on our journey, possible side trip on our layover in china

Flight from las vegas (las) to chiang mai (cnx) thailand. We leave las vegas on october 26th and arrive in chiang mai on the morning of october 28th. There is a 14-hour time difference between utah and our base in chiang mai. This time difference flips us into a completely opposite schedule where our former night become our day and our usual daytime hours become our night. Because of this, we lose a day when we fly to s.e. Asia. (don’t worry, we get it back when we return).

Option 1:
  • Highlights: peaceful, spiritual, authentic traditional thai town with almost no other western tourists. Fly to the peaceful village of mae hong son in northern thailand to visit local spiritual sites and historic temples and to spend two days and 2 nights enjoying relaxation, massage and a trip to the beautiful ban rak thai refugee village on the myanmar/thai border. Purchase amulets blessed by monks and enjoy the local markets and peaceful vibe of this quaint, authentic, local village. In thai culture, amulets are believed to offer protection, prosperity, love and a host of other specific benefits. This is a fascinating part of thailand’s culture and history and is also a giant industry within thailand.


Option 2:
  • Fly to the bustling city of bangkok and set out to visit the famous thai massage temple, wat pho and wat arun. Wat pho contains depictions of traditional thai medical “sen” points, which are located on specific parts of the human body.  Wat pho is one of the best-known schools of thai massage and offers traditional thai massage on-site. For those who desire, you can enjoy a relaxing, therapeutic, and memorable thai massage on the temple grounds.After visiting temples, we eat a delicious vegetarian lunch at the famous and delicious restaurant, mae kadees. We then take a trip bangkok’s famous amulet market. Amulets are spiritual charms which are often worn as a necklace or kept near the wearer.In the evening, you will have the choice of resting at our guest house or, of visiting the crazy night life on kao san rd. If you choose to visit kao san rd, you will encounter a giant street party complete with dancing, shopping and people watching.

    The next morning, we enjoy a walking tour to explore the markets, sights and sounds and experience bangkok’s china town. After lunch in china town, we walk to the bangkok train station to begin our overnight journey to chiang mai.

    Participants always enjoy the overnight travel on the sleeping train. The train staff come by and turn your seat into an ample bed with sparkling clean sheets, a pillow and a light blanket. There is a limited menu dining car on the train where you can purchase meals, snacks, tea, coffee and other items. Still, we recommend that you purchase a few snacks and water before boarding the train. We allow time for this before we embark.

Highlights: Sunday weekend market, receive thai massage, enjoy delicious food, settle into our guesthouse on the beautiful ping river

We arrive at our private guest house located on the bank of the ping river in chiang mai thailand. After a short rest period and group orientation, we tour the gated old city of chiang mai. The “old city” dates back to 1296 a.d. And holds some of chiang mai’s most stunningly beautiful temples. Chiang mai has over 300+ temples, which in the thai language are called “wats.”

We then visit the city’s famous sunday market where participants can get an overview of the many items that this vibrant market offers, such as handicrafts, art, bedspreads, pillows, knick knacks, jewelry, clothing, shoes, amulets, and more. There is something for everyone at chiang mai’s weekend markets. Plus, although there are many wonderful markets in this part of the world, chiang mai has the best prices and most diverse market offerings in all of s.e. Asia. The market also offers body and foot massage and a diverse selection of culinary delights. You can choose to sample from the many food vendors carts or, eat at one of the delicious restaurant selections, which line the side of the market’s path. On our first evening in chiang mai, we will be eating dinner at the sunday market.

At around 9:30 p.m. We leave the sunday market to return to our guest house for a debrief, and journaling exercise.

Highlights: Thai massage training with arjarn pichest, evening markets, delicious food

We meet as a group today at 6:00 a.m. For our morning group meditation and daily schedule overview. On day.6, we begin our day with a visit to a local morning market where we will have breakfast and purchase small offerings for arjarn pichest’s alter to his teachers.

Pichest is one of my main teachers. He is known for his eccentric personality and his ability to quickly assess a client to address the heart of his/her disorder. He is also known for his ability to break down the ego in others. It is a unique experience and an honor to study with arjarn pichest. His classroom, at first, appears disorganized with many students just working with each-other, without a clear lesson. In actuality, this disorganization is an illusion, which tests one’s patience, challenges one’s childhood learning fears and ultimately allows the student to break free of his/her ego and to truly learn. In the evening, we will enjoy dinner at a local thai vegetarian restaurant.

Highlights: Morning market, local coffee shops, massage training with arjarn somphong, receiving thai massage, evening markets or evening relaxing at our beautiful guesthouse on the ping river

We wake up early, at 6:00 a.m. On tuesday morning for our morning group meditation and schedule overview. At 7:00 a.m. We visit a local fruit and flower market to eat breakfast, gather offerings for our teacher’s alter and prepare for our 3 days of study with ahjarn sompong. Our study with ahjarn sompong is from 9:00 a.m. – 4 p.m. Daily. There is a lunch break that will be determined by our instructor. Sometimes ahjarn sompong will have a lunch prepared for the group. Other times, we will eat at one of the close by local thai or indian restaurants.

Arjarn sompong has practiced thai massage and thai traditional medicine for over 30 years. In addition to thai massage, he has mastered, promoted and sustained many of thailand’s traditional medical practices such as traditional herbal medicines, tok-sen, hek (gua-sha) and herbal compress. He is heavily influenced by thailand’s animistic and buddhist spiritual traditions and previously served as a monk. Arjarn sompong’s morning training will begin with chiang mai exercise (a martial arts-dance like warm up) or reusi dat tan (a contemplative exercise that is similar to india’s yoga). After the morning exercise, we will give our offerings to sompong and will be led through the morning mantra to dr. Shivaka. The morning offering and mantra are the traditional way of acknowledging one’s line of teachers and of showing respect and appreciation for the line of knowledge and training that we are receiving.

During your study with ahjarn sompong, you will have free time from 4 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. Daily. Based on group preference, we will have dinner at one of chiang mai’s delicious restaurants or cook together at our guest house. On one of the evenings, of the groups choosing, we will take a trip to the sprawling and vibrant chiang mai night market where you can find just about anything you desire, if what you desire is tibetan singing bowls, clothing items, art, jewelry, scarves or faux designer items such as sunglasses, watches, headphones and purses.

At 9:00 – 9:30 p.m. Each evening, we will hold our small and large group debrief and journaling activity. We ask that you retire for the evening at around 10:30 p.m. So that you are well rested and alert for each day of the training with ahjarn sompong.

Highlights: Bike ride & walk through ancient temple ruins, see artisan craftsmen demonstrating their skill, visit with locals, pottery painting, old city tour

This morning we meet at 6:00 a.m. For our group meditation and schedule overview.  After breakfast we will travel by bus from chiang mai to the ancient capital city of sukothai, thailand where we will be staying with kru usa in her pottery village and guesthouse. The bus ride takes between 4-5 hours.

Sukothai was established in the 13th century and is widely regarded as the first capital of siam. The dynasty of sukothai spanned over 200 years and hosted 9 prominent kings. The most famous king of the region was king ramkhamhaeng, who ruled sukothai from 1275 – 1317. Ramkhamhaeng’s best known contribution is the development of the first thai script and is responsible for the first of thailand’s literature. The area holds the ruins of many beautiful temple and ancient government buildings. Sukothai holds distinction as an unesco world heritage site.

After we arrive and settle into our guest house, we will enjoy a 3-4 hour walking tour of each section of town in old sukothai . On our walk, you will experience the many handcrafts that the region offers, from artisan wood carving to pottery and jewelry making.

On the evening of our first night in sukothai we will eat dinner at one of the delicious thai restaurants located in the old city. We will return to our guesthouse at around 8:00 p.m. For our evening small and large group debrief and journaling activities.

We ask that you try to retire for bed by 10:30 p.m. – 11:00 p.m. So that you are well rested for the next morning as we will have a busy day, exploring ruins and enjoying a pottery painting class with usa.

On our second day in sukothai, we meet at 7:00 a.m. For a group meditation and daily schedule overview. After breakfast we visit the ancient ruins of sukothai where we enjoy a relaxing bike ride as we explore the 13th century kingdom and learn about the history of the city.

After a lunch in old town, we will return, during the heat of the day, to our guesthouse to paint pottery with usa. We will then allow for a few hours of free time to go back and revisit the ruins by bike, take a nap, or enjoy a relaxing massage. Dinner tonight will be on your own. We will meet back at the guesthouse at 9:00 p.m. For a debrief and our small and large group journaling activity.

We ask that you retire to bed by 11:00 p.m. So that, in the morning, we can catch our 6:45 a.m. Bus back to chiang mai. The bus ride takes approx. 4 hours.

Upon arriving in chiang mai, we will settle into our guest house. Tonight, we will be visiting the chiang mai sunday market. Our guest house for the next two nights is located at chiang mai gate and is very close to the sunday market. We will be eating dinner at the market tonight.

At 9:30 p.m., we will meet back at our guest house for our evening debrief and our small and large group journaling activities. We ask that you retire by 11:00 p.m. Tonight so that you wake up refreshed for our training with kru ong in the morning.

Kru ong is an amazing teacher and thai medical practitioner. She has a well-established school that offers a variety of quality training options. Participants will be able to choose from the following two day courses:

  1. Stretch massage
  2. Facial massage

Highlights: Somphet market, massage training with kru ong, meditation retreat led by english speaking monks

In the morning, we meet at 6:00 a.m. For our morning schedule overview and meditation. We then enjoy a morning walk to somphet market, which offers many delicious breakfast options from traditional thai breakfasts to european coffee and pastry shop fare.

After breakfast, we continue our walk to the college area of santitam to ong’s thai massage school. On our first day of training with ong, will be studying from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Immediately after class, we will be traveling to attend an evening cooking school where you will be able to choose what you want to learn to cook from several traditional thai cuisine choices. With the help of our instructor, you will create a delicious 5 course meal, which will serve as your evening dinner.

After our cooking class, we will return to our guest house for the evening debrief and our small and large group discussions and journaling activities. If you’d like, you are welcome to take a tuk-tuk or walk to the night market or just allow yourself some relaxation time.

On the second day of our training with ong, we meet at 6:00 a.m. For our morning schedule overview and group meditation. We then begin a morning breakfast walk, stopping again to dine from the offerings near somphet market. After breakfast, we continue our walk to ong’s thai massage school. Class today, will be held from 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. As we leave for wat suan dok at 2:00 p.m. To attend our silence and meditation retreat.

Promptly at 2:00 p.m., we board our songthaew to wat suan dok to eat lunch at an amazing vegetarian restaurant and then to register and embark on our 24 silence and meditation retreat. For the retreat, we are transported to a beautiful “forest monetary” where the english speaking monks from chiang mai university lead us in practicing several styles of meditation. We eat dinner at the monastery and spend the night in simple yet comfortable on-site accommodations. In the morning, we participate in a special ceremony, eat breakfast and continue our meditation training until early afternoon. After the retreat, we will travel back to our guest house where we will hold a participant debrief, discussion and journaling with our small and large groups. You will then have the evening free to enjoy however you see fit. If you are interested, rebecca and the other facilitators will be available to assist you with excursion and evening activity ideas. We, the facilitators will likely be attending a muay thai fight this evening (yin-yang baby ).

Highlights: Monks alms giving ceremony, city tour, temples/wats, cooking class, mekong river teak-wood boat ride, lunch and performance, evening market

On the 13th day of our journey, we meet at 6:00 a.m. For our daily schedule overview and meditation. We then take a walk across the street to the local morning market for a quick breakfast before catching our songthaew to the airport. Today we are traveling to luang prabang, laos!

Upon arriving in luang prabang, we will check into our beautiful guest house before beginning our walking and history tour of the city. Luang prabang is such a charming town that blends s.e. Asian architecture with french provincial charm. On our walk, we will visit local wats, cross a bamboo bridge, witness the breathtaking mekong river, pass the town’s many coffee shops and restaurants and visit the colorful evening market. We will be eating dinner in the evening market where you will find an abundant selection of offerings.

At 9:00 p.m. We will meet for our daily debrief, group discussions and journaling activity. If you will be waking up for the morning alms ceremony, we recommend that you retire to bed by 10:00 p.m. – 11: 00 p.m. Tonight, depending on your sleep needs.

On this day of our journey, we meet early, at 5:30 a.m. To walk to the morning alms ceremony. The alms ceremony is just one of the many things that makes luang prabang a special place. At around 7 a.m. We return to the guest house for our daily schedule overview & breakfast. Breakfast is included at our guesthouse stay in luang prabang. The morning market is directly in front of our guest house. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the morning market as you sip tea, coffee and/or a fresh fruit smoothie and dine on a wide selection of delicious options.

Enjoy free time to explore the morning market, sleep in or take in the town until 11 a.m. When we will meet to begin our river boat excursion to the sacred ancient pak ou cave. While floating up the mekong river, you will enjoy a traditional laos lunch and a traditional dance performance. Upon returning to luang prabang, we will make a quick stop at our guesthouse before going to our next activity, a laotian cooking class. You will have the opportunity to select several courses to make and eat for your dinner.

After dinner, we visit the night market to pick up any last-minute souvenirs on your last day in luang prabang.

At 9:30 p.m. We meet to hold our daily debrief, small and large group discussions and journaling activity. We ask that you retire by 11:00 p.m. This morning so that you have enough energy for our next day’s 12 mile trek to visit kmhu and hmong hilltribes.

Highlights: Trekking, hilltribe visit and overnight stay, kayakking, kuang si waterfall

We meet at 7 a.m. This morning for a daily schedule overview and group meditation. You will enjoy a delicious breakfast at our guesthouse before setting out on our journey  to explore laos’ jungles and hilltribe villages. In the evening we will be staying with a local hilltribe family to experience the culture, beliefs and practices of the hmong people. Meals, bedding and all necessities are included on the trekking tour. In the evening, we will enjoy the activities of the village and retire to bed appropriate to the village standards. As time permits, we will hold our group meeting and journaling activity.

In the morning, we wake with the village, eat breakfast and continue our excursion as we make our way back to luang prabang via kayak and hiking. At the sprawling kuang si waterfalls, we stop to admire the beauty and to play and swim in the river.

We then head back to luang prabang, where we board a overnight bus to chiang mai

Highlights: Free day in chiang mai, last minute shopping and sightseeing, additional excursion opportunities, embark on the flight back to las vegas or stay longer for the journey’s extension to thailand’s beaches.

On day 20 of our journey, we arrive in chiang mai in the early morning, at around 7a.m. – 9 a.m. Depending on the bus schedule and timeliness.

Day 20-21 are free days. As such, you will have the option to shop and explore the city, rest or, to book (at an additional charge) an excursion of your choice, options include additional cooking classes, a visit to an ethical elephant sanctuary, a visit to chiang rai to see the white temple and black house, attend a muay thai fight, spend the day hiking or visit more of chiang mai’s 300+ temples. Rebecca and the other facilitators can help assist you with your choices.

On day 21, we meet at 6:00 a.m. For our schedule overview, group meditation and our final small and large group debrief, sharing and journaling activities. We will then enjoy a morning walk and market tour to enjoy breakfast together. If you want, i can help you with choices such as booking an excursion to an elephant sanctuary, visit additional hill-tribes, or take additional training.

Highlights: Reflection! The anticipation of seeing and sharing your experiences with family and friends

For those of you on your way back to the u.s, you will leave the guest house at 8:30 a.m. And be in flight on this day. Remember that you get a day back when you return to the u.s. So, you both leave and arrive on the 14th. You will arrive back in las vegas at 6:25 p.m. And will need to have travel arrangements such as a shuttle, friend or family member to pick you up.

As you travel remember to look back on your journaling and reflect on the lessons, experiences, epiphanies and growth that you experienced on our journey.

*there is also an optional 4 day extended trip excursion to koh jum.

Rebecca farraway has previously visited these areas and will be leading this extended excursion. However, participants must make arrangements for and pay for their own expenses for this optional extended portion of the trip. Rebecca will help you with the details and make recommendations for arranging the flights and hotel accommodation. Contact rebecca directly for more information: 435-216-8512 or

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