A statue known as the Emerald Buddha has been meditating in the same pose since the 14th century. Meticulously carved from a single block of jade, this Buddha—which now resides in Bangkok's Grand Palace—is considered the holiest and most revered in all of Thailand. Three times a year, the Thai king changes a cloak on the statue in an important ritual that is said to bring good fortune to the nation. But whereas the Buddha has stayed locked in its position in the palace, the city outside now zooms at breakneck speed. Discover Bangkok’s rich pas and ultramodern present with a seven-day, five-night guided tour of the city from SNA Tours. View the full itinerary here.Days 1–2: Flights from Vancouver, Seattle, Los Angeles, or San Francisco (or from another city for an additional cost) touch down in Bangkok, Thailand’s capital city, and you'll be whisked away to a four-star hotel. Dinner and a classical Thai dance show are on the docket for the first night. Waitresses in full costume attend to the dining room as performers in The Ultimate Cabaret Show give a glimpse into Bangkok’s legendarily risqué nightlife.Days 3–4: With the aid of an English-speaking tour guide and a hunting dog that sniffs out the best green curry, groups will embark on a Bangkok City and Temples Tour. During a lengthy stop at the world-famous Grand Palace, you'll have a chance to explore the architectural masterpiece, constructed in 1782, that housed Thai kings for 150 years. Grand Palace’s myriad temples and palaces recall the glory of Siam, with golden Thai spirals sprouting from gabled rooftops. The following day, it’s off to the enchanting Floating Market, where vendors sell colorful fruits and produce from boxy canoes that bob in the river.Days 5–6: Not one single nail was used to construct Vimanmek Palace, the world’s largest golden teakwood mansion and the next stop on the tour. You can see European influences in the mansion’s 19th-century décor, parceled out among the palace’s three floors; throughout the day, performers at the palace demonstrate Thai dancing and Thai boxing. During an afternoon canal tour via motorboat, you'll have a chance to snap shots of the affluent homes that line the city’s waterways. Day 6 is completely open; on your free day, consider checking out the food stalls on Yaowarat Road, Bangkok's Chinatown, or visit the famous silk merchant Jim Thompson's decadent house-turned-museum. Day 7: Once you finish up breakfast and complete a prospective pen pal’s lie-detector test, you'll head to Suvarnabhumi Bangkok Airport for a homeward-bound departure. Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
As fall winds sweep over the land, all manner of horrifying creatures descend on Scream Fair Halloween Haunt to feast on visitors' shrieks. Multiple themed areas provide a host of different scares to curdle the blood of even the bravest souls, and new horrors rumble the walls each season. In previous years, vampires have hunted the living, murderous lunatics have escaped their cells, and Michael Myers has caught an unlucky few in order to subject them to his vacation photos.
The Fraser Valley Trout Hatchery Visitors Centre aims to educate and entertain visitors with programs and events centred on the world of water-breathing animals. The centre's indoor and outdoor facilities allow guests to observe live fish in aquariums as well as in their natural habitat. Educational programs, which are designed to reach specific age groups, include It's a Trout's Life for grades K–2, What's That Habitat? for grades 2–5, and Trout Fast Food, in which visitors in grades 2–5 analyze the insects that trout seek out when their waterproof refrigerators go empty. In the all-ages Learn to Fish program, aspiring anglers learn how to identify fish and use different lures to attract specific species. The program also focuses on responsible fishing ethics and proper fish-handling techniques to increase survival during catch-and-release.
With Langley's picturesque countryside as its backdrop, Neck of the Woods Winery concocts red, white, and sparkling wines using grapes grown primarily in the surrounding Fraser Valley. The facility takes advantage of the area's cool climate–which is similar to that of Northern France and Germany–to oversee the entire production process from pressing to bottling. After spending quality time with their maker or a court-appointed barrel, products migrate to store shelves throughout Fraser Valley and Vancouver, or stay right at home in the winery's tasting room. There, visitors pass through daily to sample the varietals, or hang out in the showroom, warmly stocked with rustic casks and a crackling fireplace.
Years ago, Derrick and Donna Smith began brewing a quartet of ales together, the steaming vats of barley filling their small facility with steam. They quickly gained the attention of beer drinkers and critics and expanded into a 10,000-square-foot space. There, they invite you to check out new craft brews such as Classic Nut Brown Ale, Bold Belgian Pale Ale, and Seasonal Citrus Wit. Rotating seasonal suds fill the recognizable frog-emblazoned bottles with beers whose flavors vary with the season. Derrick and Donna offer clients a peek inside their operation with tours and tastings.
Since 1962, owner and U.S. Coast Guard–licensed captain Terry Buzzard has gotten to know the San Juan Islands and surrounding miles of water pretty well. Having hauled mail for the Post Office, salvaged wrecks, assisted in oil spill cleanups, and ferried passengers throughout the San Juan Islands, he has built quite a resumé of seafaring. This relationship with water isn't so surprising considering he began boating at the age of 3 when he was allowed to pilot a single-horsepower boat by himself with his trained rescue dog, Rusty.
Regardless of the actual job he's performing, Terry is always drawn to whales. By 1978, this fascination lead him to chartering trips specifically for whale watching, especially toward the schools of orca that made the region their home. Looking back, he's pretty certain his boat was the only one in the area at the time dedicated to the thrill of witnessing some of the world's largest and most beautiful animals. Today, the waters are spotted with various boats filled with passengers snapping pictures of the great aquatic beasts and shouting ululations whenever one smacks its enormous tail against the water, takes a playful leap, or belts a Mariah Carey song.
Terry's boat, the 110-foot Island Caper, provides generous sightlines to all passengers via its spacious outdoor deck and ample indoor viewing areas, and is decked out with a 34-speaker sound system. In business for 50 years, Island Mariner Whale Watching also employs a seaplane to help spot whales and guide tours. With his chief navigator––a 5-year-old airedale terrier also named Rusty––Terry is right out there amid the excitement, ferrying whale watchers and sharing his life-long passion.
Growing up in Idaho, Luke E. Baugh was never far from adventure. His early experiences in the state's rugged backcountry were so formative that, rather than settling down when he got older, he set out to explore the natural landscape of the entire United States. Luke spent years on the nation's most challenging rivers, mastering the art and safety of rafting as he learned to maneuver through their harrowing rapids. But that wasn't enough. Luke had to share the beauty he'd experienced with others.
At Triad River Tours, Luke and his team know that the number-one reason people don't get to enjoy the outdoors is fear, which is why they make it their mission to ease as many of their customers' worries as possible. Every lead rafting guide is a professional outdoorsman who undergoes and graduates from Swiftwater Rescue training. Every tour follows meticulous safety protocols, including the use of a safety kayaker to communicate upcoming river conditions and funny-looking pebbles. And even before they offer a tour, the team spends up to six months scouting, preparing, and analyzing the specific route to ensure that every variable has been accounted for. This is all so that everyone, from the timid to the adventurous, can enjoy the beauty of the water and the inspiration of the outdoors. The result is a range of exhilarating tours for every interest, from the tranquility of romantic dinner tours to the adrenaline boost of Sauk River's Class III rapids.