PDI
HILLS & SANDCASTLES

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with Imaginative Traveller.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


your-trip

Nuts and Bolts

  • Expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour, and professional local site guides at some sites.
  • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Bangkok - Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho; the Golden Triangle region; and Koh Samui island tour.
  • Bicycle tour around the ancient capital of Sukhothai.
  • Stay in secluded Ao Nang with two days in comfortable, fan-cooled bungalows.
  • Longtail boat ride to Bamboo Island near Koh Phi Phi, with overnight beach camping.
  • Stay in a jungle guesthouse and canoeing trip in Khao Sok National Park.
  • Free time to explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.
  • Time to relax in Koh Samui, Krabi area and Phuket.
  • Overnight sleeper trains from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Surat Thani.
  • Public bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

  • Aircon bus
  • Bicycle
  • Boat
  • Canoe
  • Ferry
  • Local bus
  • Local fan bus
  • Long-tail boat
  • Sleeper train
  • Songthaew
  • Taxi
  • Tuk-tuk

Accommodation

  • 1 night Village homestay
  • 2 nights Sleeper train
  • 9 night Guesthouse
  • 4 nights Hotel
  • 1 nights Beach camp

Meals

  • 6 breakfasts
  • 1 lunche
  • 2 dinners

not-included

International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.

optional-extras

  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House
    THB100
  • Bangkok - National Museum
    THB200
  • Bangkok - Royal Barges Museum
    THB100 (camera fee: THB100; video fee: THB200)
  • Bangkok - Thai massage
    THB200.00
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok by Bike
    USD$45.00
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery
    USD$60.00
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Tuk Tuk Experience
    USD$40.00
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures- Temple & River of Kings
    USD$65.00
  • Bangkok - Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
    THB50
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho (Temple of the Reclining Buddha)
    THB100
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep Temple
    THB30
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Chiang Mai Mind & Soul
    USD$70.00
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mae Ping River Experience
    USD$65.00
  • Chiang Rai - Hilltribe Museum and Education Centre
    THB 50
  • Chiang Rai - Wat Jet Yot
    Free
  • Chiang Rai - Wat Phra Kaew
    Free
  • Golden Triangle - Opium Museum
    THB40
  • Koh Samui - Day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park by slowboat
    THB800
  • Koh Samui - Day trip to Ang Thong Marine Park by speedboat
    THB2200
  • Krabi - Diamond Cave
    THB40

preparing-to-travel

Visas and Permits

Thailand

If you are flying into Thailand you will be issued with a 30 day stay on arrival.

If you are crossing into Thailand via a land border you will be granted a 15 day stay only. However, you can obtain an extension at an immigration office for approx 2000THB, alternatively you can apply for a Thauland visa in advance from your embassy or consulate – this will allow a 30 day stay. Exception– as of 28 Oct 2013 citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders.

If you are not from one of the following countries please contact your consulate or embassy for more information on visa conditions for Thailand Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.

The above information has been put together as a guide. We do endeavor to update this information as much as possible but it’s also important that you check for yourself as visas are the responsibility of the traveller.

government-travel-advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 
UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
U.S. Department of State New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Medical---prep

We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please consult your doctor or a travel health specialist. The choice of vaccinations can depend on a range of issues including the specific destination, the duration of the trip, your personal health and of course what vaccines you have had before.
Routine Background Vaccines: We strongly endorse current public health recommendations that all travellers should be up-to-date with their routine vaccines such as tetanus, diphtheria, measles/mumps/rubella, polio and influenza, and paediatric vaccinations for children.

Travel Vaccinations: While the food and water-borne diseases such as hepatitis A and typhoid will apply to most of our travellers, other travel vaccines such as hepatitis B, rabies, meningitis, Japanese encephalitis and cholera may apply to select travellers, especially long-term travel. Travel health experts can advise on what is required and also what is not required!

It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return. To find out which, if any, vaccinations are mandatory or recommended for your destination contact your local doctor, immunisation centre or medical centre for up-to-date information. If you need to arrange vaccinations or a supply of preventative medicine (e.g. malaria tablets), you should contact your doctor at least two months before you depart. Some inoculations require more than one visit and can take several weeks to administer the full course.

For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

Carry Your Certificate
You should be issued with an International Certificate of Vaccination booklet that records each vaccination. Always carry this with you on your travels; it could provide essential information for doctors in the event that you fall ill whilst travelling.

Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in the tropical areas. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. We prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.

Copies of key documents

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller’s cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you in case of additional visas, permits or other unforeseen paperwork.

 

what-to-take

General Packing List

Remember - the lighter you travel the better! You may be buying things as you go, so you should not bring too much from home. Many people find a backpack the most suitable type of luggage for our holidays. Medium-sized suitcases can also be used; however, you should avoid the large, bulky cases that are difficult to carry. The lockable suitcases on wheels are the best types to use. Be aware that some hotels in Asia are not over-endowed with lifts (elevators) and there may be occasions when you need to carry your luggage up stairs or along railway platforms, etc.

When packing, consider cultural differences which may mean that some attire that we wear at home is not appropriate in Asia and may be offensive to the local people. Beachwear in towns is not appropriate, nor is 'short' shorts, particularly for women. Light cotton pants are a better option. When visiting sites of religious significance, modest clothing should be worn. Sandals, thongs, flip-flops or jandals are appropriate footwear in the tropics.

Please refer to the specific country section for climate details. When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. The majority of time the weather is warm in South East Asia; however, it may be distinctly cold up in the highlands. If there are specific requirements for a trip, these will be noted in the separate country section, or in the Trip Notes relating to that trip. Please note that in the last few years, the world’s weather pattern has gone somewhat awry. The effects of ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’ are very real and this has resulted in unseasonable droughts followed by unseasonable deluges. Be prepared for the unexpected! Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.
 
Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

  • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts, Trip Notes
  • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
  • Spare passport photos
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
  • Money belt
  • Small padlocks
  • Metal chain and padlock to secure luggage on overnight trains – additional precaution
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions
  • Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
  • Electrical adapter plug
  • Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
  • Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
  • 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phrase book
  • Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
  • Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
  • Binoculars

Medical Kit

It is a good idea to take a small medical kit with you, and you should consider packing the following items:

Antibiotics, Lip-balm, moisturiser, sunscreen, headache tablets, antiseptic (e.g. Betadine), anti-diarrhoea tablets (for changes in diet and water), laxatives, band-aids/moleskin/dressing strips for blisters, small scissors/tweezers. Note that moleskin is particularly good for blisters and can be obtained from any pharmacy.

It is also recommended to carry a letter from your doctor explaining any less common prescribed medications that you may be carrying.

Diarrhoea Stomach upsets are not uncommon when travelling through new destinations (usually a 24 - 48 hour 'bug') and this may cause diarrhoea, leading to dehydration. Should you develop a stomach upset you should eat only in moderation and drink plenty of fluids. It is a good idea to carry a couple of sachets of rehydrants with you (such as Gastrolite). We also suggest that you carry one of the common anti-diarrhoea tablets such as Imodium.

Sunstroke It can be quite easy to get sun burnt when you are not accustomed to the sun in new climates. You should take sensible precautions such as wearing a hat and using a good UV sunscreen. Finally, drink plenty of fluids - preferably water.

Water In general, water is not safe to drink in the areas through which we travel. Bottled Water is widely available and most travellers prefer to drink this. Your guide can assist you in regards to the relative safety of tap water and the availability of bottled water on each tour. When walking, or in hot conditions, you must make a conscious effort to maintain your hydration, drinking as much water/tea as possible to offset fluid loss.


money

Currency

Thailand

The unit of currency is the Thai baht. There are 1, 5 and 10 baht coins, and just to confuse things, 1 baht and 5 baht coins come in three sizes. There is a large 5 baht coin and two smaller coins. There is a new copper and silver 10 baht coin. Notes are in the denominations of 10 (quite scarce), 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht (with the last very hard to change!).

Exchange rates

Check out www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Thailand

There are plenty of money changing facilities in Thailands cities. Authorised money changers generally offer the best exchange rates but it’s worth it to shop around. Thailand also has a plethora of ATMs, which can also be used to get cash advances on credit cards. Look for ATMs displaying Maestro, Cirrus, Mastercard or Visa symbols. Traveller's cheques can be changed at most hotels, banks and currency exchange booths. In large cities there is no problem cashing cheques. You should consider where you are heading to, taking into account any public holidays, and cash enough money to see you to your next major town. Your tour leader will brief you at your pre-departure meeting on the specifics relevant to your particular trip. Credit cards are accepted in many shops, restaurants and hotels, but should not be relied on as your only form of funds. There are currency exchange booths in the arrival hall of Bangkok Airport which offer the standard rate.

Personal Expenses

South East Asia

You will need to take money with you to cover sightseeing, entrance fees, meals and drinks. Other costs to consider are drinking water, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional activities during free time and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and be reimbursed later by your insurance company.

How Much Money? In our trip notes we have suggested an appropriate allowance for additional meals. This does not include alcoholic drinks, e.g. beer. In addition to this you should carry sufficient funds for optional activities, additional sightseeing, shopping and tips. As a guideline we suggest that you allow $US15-20 per day (or maybe less!) in Asia would allow you to eat and drink reasonably well. Emergency Funds In the unlikely event of an emergency of a personal nature or unforseen changes to the schedule, we recommend you have access to an additional US$300 to cover any costs that may arise as a result of these events.

Spending Money

In our brochure we have suggested an appropriate allowance for additional meals (US$190). As a result of customer feedback we recommend you allow a figure of between US$150-$200 for your DRINK and SNACK requirements, additional to the amount suggested in the brochure for meals. Use a higher figure particularly if you are travelling during the hot season when you will require more fluids.

In addition you should carry sufficient funds for extra sightseeing and optional activities.

Shopping is a personal thing that, again, varies enormously. On average, people spend anywhere between US$50 and US$300 on souvenirs, art, tailor-made clothes etc.

Airport Taxes

Thailand

You will be required to pay airport and departure taxes in most countries. Most of these are added to the ticket price on purchase and you will not need to bother further about them. Others must be paid physically at the airport on departure. All airport taxes in Thailand should now be included in the price of your flight ticket and so there should be no need to pay additional tax at the airport. However we recommend that you check with your travel agent for the latest information.

Tipping

If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many of our destinations. Although can be difficult to source we advise you to carry small notes of local currency each day to make tipping easier.

The following amounts are per person suggestions based on local considerations and feedback from our past travellers: Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.

Local guides: Throughout your trip you may at times have a local guide in addition to your tour leader. We suggest US$2-US$3 per day for local guides.

Drivers: You may have a range of drivers on your trip. Some may be with you for a short journey while others may be with you for several days. We would suggest a higher tip for those more involved with the group, however we suggest US$1-US$2 per day for drivers.

Your Tour Leader: You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

In total, we recommend you budget approx US$5-US$10 per day of your trip to cover tipping. At your group meeting on Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip.

Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

 


while-you-are-travelling

On arrival

If you have booked an arrival transfer with us:

On arrival, after collecting luggage and clearing customs, a representative will be waiting at EXIT 6 with a Geckos welcome board

If you have any problems or cannot find our staff, please call the following number: Miss Lyn 081 658 2727 or Klang 081 566 9324 and wait at the Association of Thai Travel Agents. Alternatively ask reception to contact World Travel Idea for assistance.
 

Emergency contact:

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, PEAK South East Asia Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722

Bangkok new Suvarnabhumi (pronounced 'Suwannaphoom') International Airport is located in the Samut Prakan District, 30 kilometres east of the city. It is serviced by taxis and buses into downtown Bangkok. If travelling by taxi to your hotel use only authorised taxis and not the touts who frequent the arrivals hall. The meters in metered taxis into town should read no more than 350 Baht, but there is an additional 50 Baht for airport surcharge and 70 Baht for tolls. Allow for a total of just under 500 Baht (approximately US$14). From the arrivals hall in Level 2, passengers should head down to Level 1, where the taxi rank is located. All airport buses, no matter where you get off, cost 150 Baht (approximately US$4) per person. The airport bus is not a recommended option for first-time travellers to Bangkok. Another alternative is the Airport Rail Link that has just been completed. It offers a fast alternative for those wishing to use it. It travels regularly offering a 15 minute express train or a 30 minute journey stopping all stations. It travels (return) from Suvarnabhumi Airport to downtown Bangkok ( Makkasan Station) and offers full check in facilities. It cost 150 Baht per person.

If you have NOT pre-booked an arrival transfer, you must find your own way to the joining hotel.

On arrival at your hotel please check the notice board in the lobby for a note from your tour leader, which will advise you of the actual time of the Welcome Meeting. Please bring your passport and travel insurance documents to the briefing.

Hotel Check In / Check Out

Generally, your room will be available from around midday as Check In and Out times are midday according to hotel policy. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until a room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Please refer to the 'Additional Services' panel in the pricing page of our brochure. When arriving early after an overnight rail journey, it is not always possible to check into your hotel immediately. Please be patient and wait for your tour guide’s instructions. Normally the leader will arrange a day room for guests to share if it is not possible for all rooms to be ready at once. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12.00 noon unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge. Please ensure that you settle all bills (eg mini-bar, phone calls) when you check out. If you are sharing a room with someone who is checking out before you make sure they pay their bills at reception or you collect some money to cover their bills as you will be asked to pay upon check out.

Photo etiquette

Please ask first if you want to take someone's photograph. This is just a normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, and police stations).

Flexibility and patience

Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.

Local Prices

Thailand

Thailand is wonderfully inexpensive. A meal in a restaurant will cost around THB100-THB300, whereas a street snack is only THB30-THB50. A large bottle of Singha beer is about THB80-THB120 and a litre of water will set you back THB10-THB20.


other-important-information

Local Tour Guides

By employing and training local site guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour guide’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.

Local Emergency Contacts 

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Gecko's Thailand office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 

Single Supplement 

A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note that on the following nights the supplement is not available: 
Day 6 Homestay 
Day 8 Overnight train 
Day 10 Overnight train 
Day 15 Bamboo Island Camp 
Please note that the accommodation facilities at the homestay are basic, but provide you with an authentic experience of how local people live. You may wish to bring an inner sleeping sheet for the train journeys and the home stay, but please note that this is not a necessity. For light sleepers, we recommend that you bring ear-plugs and eye-patches for the overnight rail journey and the village stay.

Our Style of Travelling

Please remember that our tours are of an adventurous nature. Our style of travelling means that it is more desirable to carry a backpack and a day pack on our tours.

Occasionally it may be necessary to amend this itinerary for reasons beyond our control such as weather and road conditions. Changes to domestic train schedules occur frequently and with little notice: any such changes may necessitate some alterations to this itinerary.

Please note that Thailand is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed (especially during festival periods). Some of the accommodation is of a basic nature, as our aim is to enable you to experience how the Thai people live.

This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of Thai culture. Please be open minded while travelling, as this will allow you to truly experience everything that Thailand has to offer.

Begging:
At some of the tourist sites and in the cities it is possible you will come across beggars. This can prove an uncomfortable encounter especially for inexperienced travellers. There are many genuine beggars, however there are also those who find the lifestyle easier than working and these people often see tourists as easy prey. As a general rule, if you feel the impulse to give, you should be discreet in the giving. Never make a show of it, as you will attract a crowd, which brings with it its own set of problems. There are often charities that take care of the needy and it may be wise to give to them rather than to individuals begging.

 

daily-itin

HILLS & SANDCASTLES

Trip Length

Trip Code

18 days

GTTD

 

Countries Visited

Thailand

 

Start City

End City

Bangkok

Phuket

GTTD

 

Day 1: Bangkok

If you are walking past a street vendor who smells suspiciously like last season's footy socks, don't judge him. He's probably selling durian. For some unknown reason, this stinky little number is known as the king of fruits because of its unique creamy texture. Try some if you dare. 

Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. There is a pre departure meeting tonight at approx. 6pm!

Day 2: Sukhothai

Meals included: 1 breakfast

When was the last time you rode a bike? Don't worry, you'll pick it up pretty quick. It's just like riding a ......oh forget it. Get comfy in the saddle and pedal your way around temples and the historic area of the city.

  • Travel to Sukhothai - 'The Dawn of Happiness' - and stay in a local style wooden guesthouse
  • Ride bicycles around the temples and other archaeological relics in Sukhothai's historic area
  • Visit a local pottery factory in the area.

DAY 3-4: CHIANG MAI

Sorry about the early start today. We'll make it up to you with a healthy dose of temples, museums and hilltribe villages on arrival.

  • Spend a free day exploring the northern city of Chiang Mai, with over 120 temples in the centre alone
  • Set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep, with fantastic views over the city
  • Perhaps get a traditional Thai massage or even partake in a cooking class
  • Why not visit the Night Bazaar a great chance to practice those bargaining skills

DAY 5-8: THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE - CHIANG RAI - CHIANG MAI - OVERNIGHT TRAIN

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Head into the hills for a night in a local homestay. Get a taste of Burma in the village of Tachileik and a sneak peak into the opium trade in The Golden Triangle (the meeting of Thailand, Burma and Laos).

Day 5

  • Journey through the countryside to Thaton, situated on the banks of the Mae Kok River
  • Board a long-tail boat for a journey down stream, passing several villages along the way
  • Enjoy the surroundings along the Kok River, then meet your local hosts for this evening
  • Spend the night with your Northern Thai friends in local accommodation

Day 6

  • Travel to the Golden Triangle - the point where the three countries, Laos, Burma (Myanmar) and Thailand meet
  • Optional visit to the small opium museum that provides information on the infamous trade for which this region is known

Day 7

  • For early risers there's time to visit the temples of Chiang Rai, such as Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Jet Yot
  • Perhaps browse the markets, where the local hill tribe people sell their wares

Day 8

  • Catch a local bus back to Chiang Mai, then overnight sleeper train to Bangkok

DAY 9: BANGKOK

You’ll be a bit sleepy after a long overnight train ride, but the city tour of Wat Pho, Grand Palace etc will wake you right up.

  • Visit some of Bangkok’s most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
  • Enjoy the rest of the day to further explore the city
  • Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs

DAY 10: BANGKOK - OVERNIGHT TRAIN

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Free day to check out Bangkok.

Yawn, tonight is an overnight trip

Continue your journey south by train

DAY 11-12: KOH SAMUI

Choose from hanging in a hammock, lazing in the sun or snorkelling. Life’s tough.

  • Embark on a two-hour ferry trip to the beautiful island of Koh Samui
  • Take a trip around the island in a songthaew, visiting the 15-metre tall Big Buddha
  • Enjoy a dip in the cool tropical waterfalls of Na Muang and drop in to see the Mummified Monk
  • Spend free time on Koh Samui swimming, lazing in the sun, diving or snorkelling
  • Perhaps take an optional day tour to the Ang Thong National Marine Park

DAY 13: KHAO SOK NATIONAL PARK

Home to monkeys, snakes, tigers and the weird smelly Rafflesia kerrii flower.

  • Take the ferry back to the mainland and then continue to Khao Sok National Park by local songthaew
  • Head down to the river for a canoeing trip in the country's finest and largest rainforest
  • Perhaps spot monkeys playing by the waters edge during the experience
  • Optional walks along the many interesting trails and beside the many waterways that exist within the park

DAY 14-16: BAMBOO ISLAND BEACH CAMP - AO NANG

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Life just gets harder and harder as we camp overnight on Bamboo Island. Console yourself with a swim and a cold Singha.

Camp under the stars at Bamboo Island Beach Camp – it’s the best kind of cliche. Choose from a myriad of exciting activities.

Day 14

  • Depart by public bus from Khao Sok to Ao Nang
  • Arrive at the beautiful and secluded beach area of Ao Nang

Day 15

  • Morning, take the long tail boat to Bamboo Island for beach camping
  • Spend time swimming in the warm waters of a hidden tropical paradise
  • Enjoy beach overnight camping

Day 16

  • Relaxing on the beach soaking up island life, after breakfast return to Ao Nang
  • Perhaps visit a rubber plantation and school, take a Thai cooking class or watch some Thai kick-boxing

DAY 17-18: PHUKET

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Fill up your bellies with some tom yum gung from the market and shop for last minute silk scarves and bags.

  • Stroll along the streets of Phuket, indulge in shopping opportunities or wander through a local market
  • Perhaps consider extending your stay to really make the most of your time in Phuket. Otherwise your free to leave at any time on the final day of your trip!
  • Trip ends after breakfast on Day 18.

about-this-re-departure-inf

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

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Your feedback is important to us and to our tour guides and helps shape the quality of our trips. It tells us what we're doing right, what you believe could be done better and what improvements you feel could help future travellers choose and enjoy Imaginative Traveller.Just go to http://on.fb.me/16wYISa for our easy to fill out form. We’d love to hear what you have to say!

Last Updated

4th April 2014

Affordable Adventures

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