Laem Chabang (Bangkok), Thailand
In the Footsteps of Phad Thai: In Partnership with Food & Wine Magazine
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Approximately 7¼ Hours
During this immersive trip into the countryside of Thailand, you'll get a feel for the country's multi-disciplined culture. Explore its history and food by visiting a small village, understand its religion at Buddhist temples, and spend time on an organic farm to prepare for a delicious hands-on cooking lesson focused on flavorsome local cuisine.
A panoramic drive from Laem Chabang brings you to Nam Tan Sot village -- a virtual flashback to simpler times. The village's primary industry is sugar-palm plantations that produce a natural sweetener used in Pad Thai and other traditional dishes. Watch as the locals climb trees and harvest seeds the old-fashioned way -- by hand. You'll have a chance to sample the sweet palm sugar straight from the source.
Your next stop is at the Golden Temple, known for its impressive Standing Buddha.
If water levels permit, you'll take a short boat ride to the Wat Pho Bang Kla temple. Featuring a mix of ancient architectural styles, this fascinating temple is believed to have been built during the reign of King Taksin the Great, who ruled Thailand in the 1700s. Besides its century-old Buddha, Wat Pho Bang Kla is famous for the fruit bats that live here.
Then, you'll visit an organic garden, where you will be welcomed with a snack -- either a morsel that is usually made for Thai royalty, or a Thai-Chinese treat made by a nearby family using a recipe that has been passed down through generations. In the garden, you'll learn about the herbs and vegetables that are included in many of the best-known Thai dishes. You'll also have a chance to see how rice -- the key ingredient in Phad Thai -- is planted.
Your last stop is at a garden restaurant, where you will watch a cooking demonstration and learn tips for making authentic Phad Thai with bean sprouts, tofu and shallots. You'll also try your hand at preparing Som Tam (papaya salad). Afterwards, enjoy these tasty creations for lunch, saving room for the local dessert served at the end of the meal.
After an eclectic morning and a taste of real Thai cuisine, it's time to head back to the ship in Laem Chabang.