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Study Trip

Exploring Greece

Friday 11 to Tuesday 22 October 2019
Leader: Khun Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, President of The Siam Society

 

Picture from : Encyclopedia of Archaeology

 

Greece is a small country and is one of the most visited countries in Europe. Greece possesses marked regional difference. Nearly three-quarters of the land is mountainous, uninhabited, or uncultivated. On the mainland, fertile agricultural land supports tobacco farming in the north east, with fruits and vegetables grown further south. A third of the population lives in the capital, Athens, the cultural, financial and political centre, where ancient and modern stand side by side. Of the myriad islands, only about a hundred are today inhabited.

From beaches to ancient archaeological sites, Greece boasts a wide range of attractions. The nation’s greatest ancient monuments are located in the capital, Athens, but relics of the Mycenaean, Mioan, Classical and Byzantine civilizations can be found all over. Temples were the most important public buildings in ancient Greece, largely because religion was a central part of everyday life. Greece’s greatest drawcard is its ancient sites, with no less than 16 that feature on the World Heritage List. The ancient landscape is riven by mighty gorges and towering mountains. There are plenty of opportunities for an adventure in the wilds of Greece. With over 1400 islands, Greece has more coastline than any other country in Europe. Inland, the scenery can vary dramatically, from the semitropical in lushness of the Ionian and Northeastern Aegean islands, to the bare, sunbacks rocks of the Cyclades. Northern Greece is a haven of forested mountains, icy lakes and tumbling rivers. In spring much of this breathtaking landscape is mantled with vibrant wild flowers.

Under the leadership of Khun Pikulkeaw Krairiksh, The Siam Society will travel to Northern Greece to explore natural beauty and the rich cultural heritage of the region, including Pella, the birthplace of Alexander the Great, and visit many of northern Greece’s finest examples of Byzantine architecture in the bustling city of Thessaloniki.

Central Greece; Athens, the city’s greatest glory was during the classical period of ancient Greece, from which so many buildings and artifacts survive. The city is dominated by the world-famous Acropolis and its theaters and temples. Beyond the endless urban sprawl of Athens, the vast expanse of central Greece has a little of everything for visitors, from sandy beaches and fishing ports, to one of the country’s most important archaeological sites, Ancient Delphi. In ancient times Delphi was believed to be the center of the earth. The site was renowned as a dwelling place of Apollo, and from the late 8th century BC people came here to worship and seek advice from the god.

The most visited island group, the Cyclades are everyone’s Greek island ideal, with their whitewashed, cliff-top villages, blue-domed churches, and a rich ancient history. Fabulous Santorini, officially known as Thira, is regarded by many as the most spectacular of all the Greek islands. Santorini is the southern-most island of the Cyclades, and is a major tourist destination. Santorini was part of a series of volcanoes over a million years ago, and the volcanic history is visible everywhere.

 

The tentative programme will be as follows:

Day 1: Friday 11 October: Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport

7.00 pm Meet at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, Row U, Check in counter for Turkish Airlines
9.45 pm Depart Bangkok Suvarnbuhmi Airport to Istanbul by Turkish Airlines flight TK65

Day 2: Saturday 12 October: Istanbul – Thessaloniki

4.10 am Arrive at Istanbul International Airport, transit for flight to Thessaloniki City (in northern Greece also known as Central Macedonia)
7.50 am Depart Istanbul to Thessaloniki Airport by TK1881
8.40 am Arrive at Thessaloniki Airport, transfer to the city.
  Thessaloniki was the second city of Byzantium and it is the second biggest city of modern Greece. Tucked in the northwestern corner are the beautiful Prespa Lakes. To the south, Mt Olympus, Greece’s highest peak at 2917m., rises from a plain just 6 km from the sea. Short sightseeing in Thessaloniki before check in at the hotel.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Check in at Electra Palace hotel
- Dinner at local restaurant. Overnight at hotel Electra Palace in Thessaloniki.

Day 3: Sunday 13 October : Thessaloniki - Pella - Thessaloniki

- Breakfast at the hotel.
Morning: Proceed to Vergina, is ancient Aigai.
 

Visit Museum of the Royal Tombs in Aigai, the first capital of the ancient kingdom of Macedonia. Founded by King Perdikas in the 7th Century BC. In 336 BC, Phillip II was assassinated by one of his seven bodyguards while attending the wedding of his daughter Cleopatra in the theatre, and his son Alexander the Great was proclaimed king.  Alexander the Great started his campaign in 334 BC from Aigai to conquest almost all of the known world at the time.

The excavations by professor Manolis Andronikos and his group in 1977 made one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the 20th century by discovering Royal Tombs and Palace remains.  The museum was made over the actual Royal Tombs covering them by a roof and making an elegant exposition in a mysterious darkness where only the historical objects are lighted.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon:

Proceed to visit Pella, an ancient Greek city, the second capital of Macedonia and birthplace of Alexander the Great (The Capital of Macedonia moved from Vergina to Pella in the 5th Century BC). See the exceptional mosaics discovered in the remains of houses and public buildings. The two most impressive of them are the mosaic of deer hunting and the mosaic with the kidnapping of Eleni by Theseus – the largest till today known mosaic depiction in Greece.

After visiting the site, we will visit the Archaeological Museum of Pella, which includes a display of pottery, jewelry and mosaics found at the site.  It is famous as one of Greece's best on-site archaeology museums.
 

Picture from : ART: A World History

Late afternoon: Drive back to Thessaloniki.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
- Overnight at Electra Palace hotel in Thessaloniki.

Day 4: Monday 14 October : Thessaloniki - Kalambaka-Meteora

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9.00 am

Check out of the hotel. Sightseeing in Thessaloniki. Situated by Thermaic Gulf, at the northwest corner of the Aegean Sea.Thessaloniki, named after the step-sister of Alexander the Great, was founded in 315 BC.

See some of most important historic, cultural, architectural and religious monuments, including the White Tower, Galerius Arch, Rotunda monument, the Old Town known as Ano Poli, the City Walls and the Port of Thessaloniki.
- Visit Agios Demetrius Byzantine Church and its crypt and the Archaeological Museum.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Depart for Kalambaka, a small town situated at the foot of the astonishing complex of the Meteora where gigantic rocks rise steeply from the plain of Thessaly in central Greece.
- The extraordinary sandstone towers of Meteora were formed by the action of the sea around 30 million years ago. The huge columns of rocks were first used as a religious retreat in AD 985. In the mid-14th century a small church was built. A further 23 monasteries were built later. Each monastery is built around a central courtyard surrounded by a monk’s cell, chapels and a refectory. In the centre of each courtyard stands the Kalickon. The Meteora is listed as a World Heritage Site.
Evening: Dinner and overnight at hotel Divani Meteora in the village of Kalambaka.

Day 5: Tuesday 15 October : Meteora-Delphi

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9.00 am

Check out of the hotel and proceed to visit The Holy Monasteries of Meteora The area of Meteora and the Monasteries of Meteora are among the most important monuments in the world. It is a complex of imposing rocks. The first hermits and monks came on the unreachable peaks of the suspended rocks in the 10th century and later formed the Skete of Doupiani. During the 14th century Saint Athanasios the Meteorite formed the first organized monastic community in the Monastery of the Great Meteora. Twenty-four monasteries, numerous cells, and hermitages scattered in the area, flourished in the rocks of Meteora for over 600 years.

Today, the intact and functioning monasteries are just six: the Great Meteora, the monastery of Barlaam, Holy Trinity, St. Stephen, St. Nicholas Rousanou and Anapafsas.
- We will visit 2-3 monasteries which is opened on the day we plan to visit.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant in the village near Meteora in Delphi.
Afternoon: Depart to Delphi, a small town which is famous for the ancient sanctuary of the same name that grew rich as the seat of Pythia, the oracle who was consulted about important decisions throughout the ancient classical world. The ancient Greeks considered the centre of the world to be in Delphi, marked by the stone monument known as the omphalos (navel).
- On the way we pass by the famous Thermopylae, where the battle of Thermopylae took place in 480AD between the Persians of King Xerxes and the 300 Spartans of King Leonidas
Evening: Check in at hotel Amalia Delphi, dinner at the hotel.

Day 6: Wednesday 16 October : Delphi-Athens

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9.00 am Visit the Archaeological Sites of Delphi; the Treasury of the Athenians, the Temple of Apollo and the Museum of Delphi which displaying many masterpieces of Ancient Greek sculpture as the bronze Charioteer and the famous athlete Aghias. The archaeological sites of Delphi are recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant
Afternoon: Depart Delphi to Athens, on the way visit one of the most famous Monastery of Hosios Loukas, known for its Byzantine architecture and the golden mosaics, built in the 11th century, also is recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
Evening: Dinner at local restaurant and overnight at hotel Electra Ermou in Athens.

Day 7: Thursday 17 October : Athens - Corinth - Mycene - Ephidaurus

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8.30 am Depart Athens for a day tour visiting two important sites of the ancient Greek world. Drive along the coast of the Saronic Gulf into the Peloponnese. Photo stop at Corinth Canal, after that continue to visit the ancient hilltop city of Mycenae, once a powerful fortified settlement ruled by King Agamemnon. View highlights such as the Palace, Tomb of Agamemnon and Lion’s Gate.
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Afternoon: Visit the UNESCO-listed Sanctuary of Asklepios, view the spectacular relics and the breathtaking ancient theatre of Epidaurus. Built in the 4th century BC, the colossal theater is considered one of the world’s most beautiful and still boasts fabulous acoustics. The ancient city of Epidaurus is the mythological birthplace of Asklepios, the Greek god of healing.
Evening: Drive back to Athens.
- Dinner at own arrangement.
- Overnight at hotel Electra Ermou in Athens.
 

Picture from : ART: A World History

Day 8: Friday 18 October : Athens - Santorini (The southernmost islands of the Cyclades)

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8.00 am Check out of the hotel and transfer to Athens Airport.
10.25 am Depart Athens to Santorini by OA354
11.10 am Arrive Santorini Airport, transfer to restaurant for lunch.
Afternoon: Proceed to the pier for the a private cruise, sail along the Red and White Beach, continue along the coastline to the old port of Fira, where we can admire the island and the glorious sights of the caldera and see the lunar landscape and volcanic vibes of this area.
Evening: Check in at El Greco resort, dinner at the hotel.
- Overnight at El Greco resort, Santorini island.
 

Picture from : Wikipedia

Day 9: Saturday 19 October : Santorini island

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9.00 am

Full day tour Santorini Island. Visit the majestic spots in the island:-

  • The breath-taking view at the Prophet Elias Monastery.
  • Pyrgos village, one of the most picturesque villages on the island.
  • Akrotiri Excavations, one of the most significant archaeological sites in the area. Akrotiri is a vast structure, once inhabited by 200 families and preserved under the volcano’s lava.
  • The Red Beach to simply enjoy the colorful formations of the mountains
  • Fira town, the capital of the island, strolling around and see the magnificent pictures
Noon: Lunch at local restaurant.
Evening: Dinner at own arrangement.
- Overnight at El Grego Resort, Santorini Island.

Day 10: Sunday 20 October : Santorini - Athens

- Breakfast at the hotel.
9.30 am Check out of the hotel and transfer to airport.
11.45 am Depart Santorini to Athens by OA355.
12.25 pm Arrive at Athens Airport, transfer to restaurant for lunch.
Afternoon: Visit the National Museum. On the way, by coach pass to see some iconic places in Athens such as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Greek Parliament building and Presidential Palace, the home of Greece’s royals until the monarchy ended in 1974, the Panathenaic Stadium, the venue of the first modern Olympic Games in 1896, the National Library and the Temple of Olympian Zeus - a gigantic, semi-ruined edifice completed in the 2nd century AD.
 

Picture from : ART: A World History

Evening: Dinner at local restaurant.
- Overnight at hotel Electra Ermou, Athens.

Day 11: Monday 21 October  : Athens - Istanbul - Bangkok

- Breakfast at the hotel.
8.30 am Walk up the south slope of the Acropolis, visit the ancient hilltop citadel, the UNESCO World Heritage List. Acropolis is home to the remnants of several magnificent buildings. Constructed during the heyday of ancient Greece in the 5th century BC, the area includes the famous Parthenon and New Acropolis Museum, the ultra-modern museum that contains the archaeological treasures found at the Acropolis site.
Noon: Lunch at own arrangement.
3.30 pm Transfer to airport.
7.00 pm Depart Athens to Istanbul by TK9194
8.30 pm Arrive Istanbul International Airport, transit for flight to Bangkok.

Day 12: Tuesday, 22 October : Istanbul - Bangkok

1.25 am Depart Istanbul Airport to Bangkok by Turkish Airlines flight TK9194
3.00 pm Arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Booking

Bt. 160,000 (Bt. 163,500 for non-members). Single room surcharge Bt. 29,000. A deposit of Bt. 50,000 and photocopy of passport must accompany the booking. Your reservation will be confirmed as soon as the deposit has been made. Payment in full is required 60 days before the start of the trip (i.e. by Sunday 11 August 2019)

Please pay by cash or cheque payable to ‘The Siam Society’. There is a 4% surcharge for credit/debit card payment to cover bank charges. Alternatively, you can deposit/transfer the money to the Siam Society travel account at the Thai Military Bank, Asoke Branch saving account no. 053-2-18000-7. Please fax or e-mail the deposit or transfer docket to us. In case the tour has to be canceled due to insufficient participants, a full refund of the deposit will be made.

In order to make the trip possible, at least 15 participants are required.

Includes/Excludes:

The contribution includes meals as mentioned in program, domestic flight, accommodation for two persons per room, entrance fees, gratuities and other costs incurred to make this trip possible. It excludes visa fee (if any), international airfare, personal expenses, personal beverages, etc.

The excluding airfares as shown in the program is only our suggestion. We have decided to offer this trip without including an international airfare but for those who would like us to book and buy airfare can be arranged for the price at the date of booking.

To comply with payment and cancellation policies set forth by tour agencies, and to facilitate smooth working condition between the Siam Society and the tour agencies, please read carefully the revised cancellation policies stated below:

Cancellation charge:

60 days before the start of the trip:                                    Deposit forfeited
60-30 days before the start of the trip                                 50% of the tour cost
Less than 30 days or cancellation without notice:                  No refund

Your booking will not be confirmed until deposit payment has been received.

The Siam Society reserves the right to change the programme as necessary. Seats are limited. Please book your place as soon as possible. For further information and bookings please contact Khun Prasert or Khun Supanut.