Thailand – Water Festival - Medical Relief

Thailand – Water Festival

April 6, 2017 - April 16, 2017

Minimum Donation: 2,700

  • Including International Airfare: 3,400.  See Trip Info below for full details and additional options for travel.

This medical trip coincides with Thailand's Songkran water festival, the most popular festival in the country that marks the beginning of the new solar year on April 13th! The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word that means “astrological passage,” meaning transformation or change. People...
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About The Mission Trip

trip_InfoAboutExperience the real "Land of Smiles" in a serene town of Northern Thailand where you will stay in a small forest compound surrounded by mango trees. Nestled among rice fields and the quiet hum of daily life, this town neighbors the bustling Chiang Mai night market. Stroll through lines of vendors for a total sensory experience; immerse yourself in the appetite-inducing smells, regional fruits, stunning silk tapestries, and sizzling fried insects; then break for a traditional Thai massage. With our advantageous location, remove yourself from the bustle with a short walk up the mountain to take in spectacular views of the valley below. Travel on an open-aired tuk-tuk through the city where the juxtaposition of historic temples and modern establishments is sure to inspire a deep love of the country's magnetism.

About Clinic

trip_InfoClinicThis unique trip offers a training partnership with International Medical Relief and the Barefoot Doctors, who hail from the Golden Triangle of Laos, Myanmar, and Northern Thailand. The Barefoot Doctors will conclude three years of medical training with a graduation ceremony in February and will join your IMR team to gain valuable hands-on experience in patient care. They will receive training and tools for their continued success and share their knowledge of local illness with our team. Our shared goal is to help them provide sustainable care for their patients in their home villages. Your team, with the Barefoot Doctors, will treat remote indigenous family groups from the Akha hill tribes, high in the Chiang Rai Mountains. These gentle people give respect based on age and experience and will treasure the care you take with them. Your team will also care for local migrant workers, many working under difficult conditions on the construction sites, refugees from Myanmar without access to the Thai health care system, and sadly, children, many under 5, who have already suffered personal abuse and violence due in part to their unprotected status.

Lodging

The team will be staying with host families for the majority of the trip's duration. This is a special opportunity to live in the villages where your patients will have the honor of preparing meals for your team. You will find it surprisingly comfortable, with soft mattresses provided for you by IMR. There might be occasional evenings in which the team will stay in the IMR compound, a two-story, dorm-style accommodation with private rooms and bathrooms. Each room is complete with sheets and towels, and the compound is equipped with AC and Wi-Fi. There is a chance that we will spend one night in a more remote location as we finalize our logistics. Regardless of where you sleep, you will be enchanted by the opportunity to care for patients in so much need.

Water Festival

trip_InfoHighlightsThis medical trip coincides with Thailand's Songkran water festival, the most popular festival in the country that marks the beginning of the new solar year on April 13th! The word “Songkran” comes from the Sanskrit word that means “astrological passage,” meaning transformation or change. People celebrate Songkran by splashing water on each other, symbolizing the washing away of bad luck and a wish for a year filled with blessings. Major streets close and are instead used for exciting water fights! Celebrants young and old participate, and if you’re lucky, you may even get splashed by a painted elephant! The Songkran celebration is rich in traditions. For many locals, mornings usually begin with a visit to a temple, offering food to the Buddhist monks and pouring water on the Buddha statues. As a festival of unity, people who have moved away usually return home to their loved ones and elders. Younger people often practice water pouring over the palms of elders’ hands as a sign of respect. Paying reverence to the ancestors is an important part of Songkran tradition. We hope to have you join us as the IMR team embraces Thai cultural traditions and gets a little soaked!

Trip Highlights

trip_InfoHighlightsExperience the night market frenzy of shopping and bartering for local trinkets. Northern Thailand is famous for their renowned assembly of domesticated elephants, which you can admire as they go through their daily activities. Enjoy a Thai meal of many shared dishes and conversation over lunch at a serene orchid farm. Take a peek into the spiritual history and culture of Thailand when you step inside numerous Wats and temples sprinkled throughout the land.

Extend Your Stay

Have some extra days? Explore Bangkok, and pay a visit to the ornate Grand Palace and famous Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho. Visit Wat Arun, an icon so revered that you will find it on the 10-baht coin. See one of the world’s largest solid gold Buddha statues, worth millions of dollars, at Wat Traimit. Spend an evening sampling delectable, yet wildly affordable street food for the authentic Thai experience, and cap it off with a cocktail from a rooftop bar overlooking the commotion of this famous city. Take a day trip from the center of the city to a nearby waterfall or the lesser-known Rod VI vintage market, where you can score gently used clothing, retro propaganda, and modern fashions. If you love the beaches, head south to the famous beaches of Phuket, where you can enjoy a boat trip, snorkel, or dive experience, catch a Muay Thai fight, and even participate in a training! Paradisiacal island adventures are easily accessible from Phuket.

Trip Donation & Travel Options

PURCHASE YOUR
OWN FLIGHT
Payment by Mar 23rd, 2017
SUBSIDIZED IMR FLIGHT
50% Payment by Jan 9th, 2017 to qualify
PRICE 2,700
(plus your flight costs from your home city to your international destination)
3,400
(plus your flight cost from your home city to the team’s departure point in the U.S.)
EARLY BIRD SPECIAL 2,500
SAVE $200 if your donation of 1,350 (50% Minimum Donation Amount) is received before Jan 9th, 2017.
3,200
SAVE $200 if your donation of 1,700 (50% Minimum Donation Amount) is received before Jan 9th, 2017.
DONATION DUE DATES Full Minimum Donation Amount due Mar 23rd, 2017. Payment of 1,700 (50%) is required by Jan 9th, 2017 to be included on the IMR Subsidized Flight. Full Minimum Donation Amount due Mar 23rd, 2017.
BAGGAGE Check your bags through from your home city without having to claim them along the way. All personal items will be in your carry-on and you will check two IMR team supply bags at no additional cost to you. You will be responsible for the cost of any personal checked bags.
FLIGHT SCHEDULE You are responsible for meeting the team at the airport or designated location in Thailand – Water Festival prior to the team’s official arrival. Should you have travel delays it will be your financial responsibility to meet up with the rest of the team at our final destination in Thailand – Water Festival. You will fly with other IMR team members to our final destination. The official ground itinerary will exactly match your flight schedule.
EXTENDED STAY Extend your stay to see some of the amazing sites that this country has to offer. Flexibility in your return date may also help you reduce your ticket cost. The team flight will match the promoted travel dates with +/- 1 day of travel on either end.

Your Donation to IMR Includes:

  • All group costs from the time you arrive at the team meeting point in country until you separate from the team, including transportation, lodging, food, tips for services provided to the IMR team, costs associated with clinic, and all logistics, including translation services and security as needed.

 

Costs that you are responsible for in addition to your donation to IMR:

  • If flying on subsidized team flight: your domestic round-trip airfare to the central point of departure and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • If flying independently: your international round-trip flight to destination city and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • Passport fees, visa fees, and transit fees, including baggage or overnight accommodations/meals while in transit.
  • Vaccinations and medications common for travel.
  • Spending money for souvenirs and personal purchases.
  • Trip supplies and personal equipment or small gifts for the special people you meet. 
  • Any lodging, meals, and transportation outside of the scheduled team trip, payable at the time of service to the local vendor.

Fundraising

IMR provides a fundraising packet and personal fundraising page to all registered trip applicants that is full of ideas on how you can raise support for your trip or for supplies to be utilized on this specific mission. When soliciting donations for any of our trips, success is completed through telling your personal story. Why do you want to go? Who will you help? Why their donation can help you achieve the ultimate goal. Tell your story to anyone and everyone. Refer your potential or active donors to our website or Facebook page and to your IMR personal fundraising page. You may share your IMR personal fundraising URL on Facebook and other social media sites.

Safety & Security

We take security very seriously at IMR.  It is our job to ensure that security precautions are in place, but please keep in mind that we cannot guarantee your safety on the trip.

  • We continuously review all current activities occurring on the ground, and we work with the State Department and the U.S. Embassy to know the ground situation to the best of our ability. 
  • We have a security training conference call with our volunteers where we detail our security procedures that are in place for the trip. 
  • We take many security precautions such as radios, a buddy system, and security planning. 
  • We provide you with an email address that you can give to the people you meet to protect your privacy until you determine that you want to remain in contact with team.
  • We rely on our teams to be cognizant of their own safety and to be aware of their surroundings. 
  • We have several policies in place that we require the team to adhere to for their safety and that of the team as a whole. 

Trip Preparation


A service that we are very proud of at IMR is the preparation that each team and team member receives prior to the trip. This is one of the most important reasons that you should join an IMR team.

All team members receive a detailed briefing packet outlining the important elements that make a successful trip, packing lists, and a checklist to keep you on track. You will receive detailed information on how clinic operates, the roles on an IMR team, community health education topics, fundraising, and access to a personal IMR fundraising page. Best practices for providing care in short term medical clinics, public health information specific to the country you are traveling too, and a guide to the infectious diseases of that country will be shared with the team. You will also receive a comprehensive country briefing packet that provides background information, cultural etiquette, common phrases, and links to additional information from a variety of sources. Finally, a departure packet that outlines how and where to meet your team will be sent just prior to departure.

IMR applicants and team members will also have access to a series of phone conferences where you will learn about specific aspects of IMR trips and 2 Q and A calls where you can ask questions specific to your trip. There will also be a Q and A call just prior to departure to help ensure that you have the most important information and are ready to go!

Most importantly, we are always here to answer your questions or help you complete your application. It is our goal that we exceed your expectations for preparation, patient care, and your overall trip. Let us know how we can help and how we did!

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the donation amount include?

The donation amount covers the cost of lodging, meals, and transportation while you are in the country, and clinic supplies/medications for our patients. If you are eligible for and choose the Subsidized IMR Flight, your donation amount also includes the cost of your international airfare. Costs that are not included in the donation amount are your passport, travel visas (if applicable), domestic airfare to the group departure city, vaccinations, and insurance. You also have the option of flying on your own directly from your hometown and meeting up with the team in country. IMR gives you the option of purchasing your own tickets, which decreases your minimum donation amount. It also gives you the opportunity to extend your stay to do some sightseeing after the trip, and fly directly from your home city to your final destination.

What will the team be doing on the trip?

IMR teams provide medical care and community health education to communities that lack access to care. A typical IMR team consists of doctors, nurses, EMTs, medical/nursing students, pre-med students, and non-medical volunteers. We strive to have a dental team on every trip as well. The team usually stays in a central location and travels each day to a different community to set up a mobile medical clinic. In order to promote lasting and sustainable improvements in the health of those communities, IMR conducts an extensive community health education program in each area as well. No matter what your specialty or skill level, there is a job for you on an IMR trip!

Can I fundraise for the trip?

Yes!  Many volunteers fundraise for trips.  Once your references are approved, IMR will send a fundraising packet that contains information on how the personalized fundraising page on the IMR website works.  It also contains some great ideas for fundraising events and other ways to fundraise for the trip.  IMR is a 501(c)3 charity, and all donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

Are there any important dates I need to know?
      • IMR Subsidized Flight: In order to qualify for the IMR Subsidized Flight, you will need to reach 50% of theMinimum Donation Amount on or before Jan 9th, 2017.
      • Early Bird Special: A discount of $200 is awarded to team members who raise / pay 50% of the Minimum Donation Amount on or before Jan 9th, 2017.
Are there additional costs / expenses for the trip?
  • If flying on subsidized team flight: your domestic round-trip airfare to the central point of departure and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • If flying independently: your international round-trip flight to destination city and any costs associated with this portion of your travel.
  • Passport fees, visa fees, and transit fees, including baggage or overnight accommodations/meals while in transit.
  • Vaccinations and medications common for travel.
  • Spending money for souvenirs and personal purchases.
  • Trip supplies and personal equipment or small gifts for the special people you meet. 
  • Any lodging, meals, and transportation outside of the scheduled team trip, payable at the time of service to the local vendor.
Can IMR assist me with travel plans and extended say options?

Yes!  We encourage our volunteers to extend their stay and explore.  And by extending your stay you also put money into the economies of these developing countries!