Purple Dragon Jungle Monk Sauna

Journey to the countryside to "take the cure" Thai style 

Located 108 kilometers from Bangkok, in the upper central region of Thailand, Saraburi is a province which offers a bounty of natural wonders, forests and caves, ancient temples, colorful festivals, and awe-inspiring historical sites. Our side-trip takes you to a little-known and un-promoted area which is nevertheless fascinating and well worth a visit for adventurous travelers. This is definitely not a trip you will find anywhere else! If you are lucky to visit at the end of September you'll find a spectacular longboat racing festival, and don't miss the Wang Muang sunflower fields and festival in late December.

You and your guide embark from your hotel after breakfast. Journey through the atmospheric landscape of Saraburi's mountain quarries to visit Wat Tamgrabawk, a temple founded by jungle monks who spend half the year in retreat in their expansive wilderness property. This temple is famous for its herbal saunas where high school students and Hilltribe opium addicts mingle in the lemon grass-scented steam huts - provided free by the temple as both a warning against, and cure for, drug addiction. Addicts are fed a homemade herbal potion and told that it will make their hearts stop if they use drugs again. The students witness the cure-taking and edifying withdrawals which do seem to be soothed by repeated steamings. Recently, the temple came under intense political pressure for sheltering tens of thousands of nomadic Hmong tribespeople.

Visit picturesque Wat Pra Puttabat temple where a Buddha "footprint" is enshrined. Have lunch in Saraburi city and then roam around its fascinating market with unique goods from surrounding districts. Great finds here are hand-woven fabrics, bamboo basketry, leather, ceramic tiles and marble objects.

personal guide and private car. Not included: meals and small donations to temples