Now that the Centers of Disease Control has lifted some of the onerous restrictions surrounding the return to the United States by Americans returning home after traveling outside of the country, we are expecting to see more interest in venturing to experience other lands and culture. Restrictions on face coverings and return COVID testing have been eliminated although when I travel on a crowded airplane, I will be wearing my personal mask – just in case! The Chamber is now booking international trips that might be of interest to those who have not travelled to more exotic destinations due to COVID restrictions over the past few years. And, now that some of the sanctions have been lifted, international bookings will be high, so plan now. For those who have never ventured to Southeast Asia, exotic Thailand is a great stepping stone to this part of the world. The culture is so different from our own, the natural scenery is stunning, the people are friendly, and, most importantly, the food is excellent as are the hotels and experiences that await. This well-paced tour allows you to immerse yourself into all that makes this country so exotic. By February, we will welcome a respite from our winter, so the 14-day Collette Vacations tour to tropical Thailand will warm us up. And, it’s never too early to think about Valentine’s Day 2023. The tour begins and ends in Bangkok featuring 14 nights in four-star-plus hotels and resorts, 24 meals, all sightseeing, all flights both from the U.S. and internal Thailand, and more. You will enjoy three nights in Bangkok to see the amazing shrines including that of the Emerald Buddha, the most sacred Buddhist temple in the country. Throw in evening ride in your personal tuk-tuk to see this bustling city at night and you will be transported to another world. You’ll visit Sukhothai – translated to “dawn of happiness” – that was founded in 1238 and was the capital of the Thai Empire for 140 years. It was also the spiritual center of the kingdom and here you will view the many archeological sites including the 49-foot Buddha. A highlight here will be to join Buddhist monks in their chanting at the Marble Temple. There will be two nights in Chang Rai and three nights in Chang Mai. Chang Rai is referred to as the melting pot of Thailand and it is here you will visit a hill tribe to learn their fascinating story. You’ll visit with the Akha and Karen Long Neck People as well. During your time in Chang Mai, you’ll travel to an elephant sanctuary. Another highlight will be a home visit to learn how to prepare local foods from an extended family belonging to the Lanna ethnic group. Now that you will have had the opportunity to learn the history, culture, and religion that have shaped Thailand, the last three days will find you enjoying resort life on the west coast on a private tropical beach in Phuket, an island known for its beautiful tropical sugar white sand and crystal clear jade sand beaches. Here you will have the opportunity relax at the beachfront Cape Panwa Hotel featuring five restaurants and eight bars, explore the charming Old Town, visit more shrines, eat delicious food, swim, walk the beach, and spend a romantic Valentine’s Day. You’ll have started your trip in bustling Bangkok and ending up relaxing on the largest of Thailand’s islands. When compared to Hawaii, Phuket comes out on top when comparing beaches, coastline, and crystal clear water that is warmer than Hawaii, and a offers a more exotic vibe. This trip departs for amazing Thailand on Feb. 2, returning on Feb. 17. Cost per person, double occupancy is $4,999 if booked prior to July 3. There are limited single slots for $5,799. To learn more about this great bucket list tour and the recently booked journey the Chamber is planning to Israel next March as well as other international trips, you are invited to attend a free presentation by a Collette travel representative on Monday, June 20. You may choose to attend either the 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. session but must RSVP to 775-882-1565. To view the full brochure for more in-depth details on this and other Chamber Travel Club offerings, you may log on to www.carsoncitychamber.com and scroll down to the Travel Club page found on the left side of the home page. Marilyn Foster is 93 years old and continues to travel saying it keeps her mind sharp and her body young.