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The Captain's Choice — Thailand

Thursday, May 22, 2008
The Captain's Choice, a family owned and operated company, was established in 1994. It offers tours to the discerning traveller throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, Central and South America. Tours are all inclusive and are luxurious and personalised, and visit exotic and remote destinations.

The services of local tour operators and guides are used in each destination meaning their economy is helped, and their experience and knowledge are invaluable. As a way of repaying communities for their participation, the Captain's Choice supports a variety of charities in some of the countries they visit.

A Tour Escort Team is with you all the way, ensuring everything goes smoothly. They look after luggage and boarding passes so minimal time is spent at airports. and where possible they will coordinate customs and immigration clearances. An English-speaking tour doctor also travels with the group.

Getaway joined the Captain's Club on a recent adventure to Asia, beginning in Thailand.

The Golden Triangle was once an opium growing area of around 350,000 square kilometres. In northern Thailand, it shares borders with eastern Burma (the Union of Myanmar) and western Laos. Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan form the Golden Crescent, another opium-producing area.

The name "Golden Triangle" came about because, rather than deal in three currencies, gold was used. The Golden Triangle also refers to the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers and the junction of the three countries.

The king's mother built a museum to educate the community on the adverse effects of the drug.

The town of Chiang Rai has a population of 40,000, mostly ethnic Thai, but around 12.5 percent is made up of hill tribes and some of Chinese origin.

After a busy day, the luxurious five-star Dusit Island Resort shows another side of Thailand. Sitting on an island in the Mae Kok River which flows through central Chiang Rai, it is surrounded by natural beauty.

The resort has 271 spacious rooms, a pool, fitness centre and Yogi ancient Thai massage. There are four restaurants — Chinatown, Island Cafe serving à la carte and buffet meals and the Peak Steakhouse.

On day two the tour visits Mae Sai, Thailand's northernmost town. One of the few official overland border crossings between Burma and Thailand, many residents criss-cross it each day. The crossing is in the Smuggler's Market Town and popular place for purchasing gems, specifically rubies and sapphires from Thailand and Burmese jade.

In 1988 the last Princess Mother initiated the Doi Tung development project to regenerate forests and improve the lives of local people. Hill tribes were encouraged to practice sustainable agriculture, handicrafts and to work in the growing tourism industry. Opium cultivation has been reduced by 85 percent over the last eight years.

The lake king's mother built the Mae Fah Luang Botanic Garden on an old hillside poppy field. Now people are in legal employment growing harmless flowers for everyone to enjoy.

The next stop on the Captain's Choice Tour will be Laos.

Location

Chiang Rai in northern Thailand.

Cost

The Captain's Choice Tour has a range of private jet tours to Asia, Africa and South America. They include business class travel, all accommodation, meals, taxes and travel insurance. They start at $29,880 per person twin share from Sydney.

For further information

The Captain's Choice Tour
Level 1, 35 Seymour Street
Ringwood 3134
Toll Free 1800 622 628
Fax: (03) 8814 5799
www.captainschoice.com.au

Thailand

It is recommended travellers to Thailand see their doctor at least six weeks before departure as there are specific vaccinations recommended. Other health precautions and preventions may also be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information visit www.welltogo.com.au.

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