Beautiful Northern Thailand

Trip Code: TTSN

Why we love it

This is one of the original Intrepid journeys that started it all. Discover why Northern Thailand was chosen all those years back as an ideal destination to launch a world of travel experiences., Experience rural Thai life with multi-day trek through scenic hilltribe villages in the remote Thai countryside, meeting welcoming locals and sharing laughs along the way., Visit the home of the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, learning about its dark history and the construction of the railway during the war., Even the transport on this trip is an adventure – discover the joys of travelling on overnight sleeper trains, longtail boats, songthaew and rafthouses., Indulge in an organic farm to plate cooking demonstration and lunch at a farm stay in the Mae Chan District – full of heat, spice and fresh food, you won’t go hungry!

Is this trip right for me?

The hilltribe village house stays are a wonderful opportunity to witness every day rural life. Facilities are simple and multi-share but comfortable, with mattresses, bedding and mosquito nets all provided. Some travellers are nervous about the village house experience before they arrive, but we find most end up naming this as a highlight of their time in Thailand and a rewarding, authentic experience. On occasion your accommodation may not have hot water, but you will probably be keen to cool down from the heat with a refreshing cold shower!

As we cover so much of the country in just over two weeks, be prepared for some long travel days. This trip includes two nights on overnight trains between Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Accommodation is simple but comfortable – soft sleeper class multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds, with sheets and a pillow provided.

Temperatures and humidity can be high in Thailand, especially when walking in the countryside where, at times, there may be little shade. Be prepared by taking plenty of drink breaks and wearing appropriate skin protection. Some travellers find an umbrella handy to keep the sun off (this will also come in handy should it rain!).

Important information

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, excluding Day 4 (Rafthouse), Days 5 & 13 (Overnight Train) and Days 10 & 11 (Trek).

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list, PACKING FOR THE TREK:
During the trek we leave our main piece of luggage at the guesthouse and collect it at the end of the trek. You will need to bring along a comfortable overnight pack (about 30-35 litres/8-9 gallons) for trekking. This should be big enough to carry a spare set of clothes and basic necessities for the trek, including a sleeping bag which should be a warm one in the colder months from November to February.

To avoid carrying excess luggage, most trek equipment can be rented in Chiang Mai before the start of the trek. Backpack, roll mat, sleep bag, re-hydration salts and water bottle holder will cost approximately US$25 for the three days.

We don't allow video cameras when trekking in the hilltribes as they can be perceived by the local people as highly intrusive. Please respect this when using digital cameras, or cameras on your mobile phone.

Physical rating

3

For the trek on this trip the general rule is the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. Although we are not walking at altitude or setting any distance records each day, the trek can still be demanding, as we walk through hilly terrain with our packs, and the temperature is often hot. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trek to its fullest.

Joining your group

Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing), 2 Samsen 2, Samsen Road, Pranakorn, Banglumphu, Bangkok, 10200, THAILAND, Phone: +66 22827500

The Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions, such as the Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. We use the Canal Wing and rooms are equipped with a private en-suite. Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant. Please also note that no alcohol is served in this hotel, but there are lots of great bars across the road.

Joining instructions

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking an arrival transfer from the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure.

If you have pre-booked a transfer for an arrival at Suvanabhumi International Airport, you will be met after exiting the Customs Hall. A transfer representative holding a sign with your name on will meet you at between Exit Door 3-4. If you cannot find your transfer representative, please go to the Information Counter at Exit Door 3. Ask them to call our transfer provider, Ms. Janet, on +66 64 649 0485. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

For arrivals at Don Muang International Arrival, when you are at the arrival hall, our representative will be in front of you at Gate 5. Please find the Intrepid Logo and check your name on the signboard held by the representative on your lefthand side. If you have trouble locating our representative, please call our transfer provider Ms. Janet, at +66 64 649 0485.

Metered taxis are available outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor. Exit the Customs Hall, go down to the 1st floor and leave the airport at Gate 3, 4, 7 or 8. You will find a table with a “metred taxis” sign. The taxi fare will be the metred fare plus a surcharge of THB50-THB75 (depending on the driver’s use of toll roads). The total fare will be approx. THB400. Pre-paid taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finishing your trip

Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing), 2 Samsen 2, Samsen Road, Pranakorn, Banglumphu, Bangkok, 10200, THAILAND, Phone: +66 22827500

The Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions, such as the Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. We use the Canal Wing and rooms are equipped with a private en-suite. Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant. Please also note that no alcohol is served in this hotel, but there are lots of great bars across the road.

Intrepid can assist with pre-booking a departure transfer to the airport - enquire with your agent. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to the start of your trip.

If you have pre-booked a departure transfer your leader will advise your pick up time the day before your trip ends. You can expect to be picked up three hours prior to your flight. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pick up time, ask the hotel staff to call our transfer provide, Ms. Janet +66 64 649 0485

Taxi fare from your hotel to the airport will cost approx. THB700. Please ask your leader or hotel staff for assistance in arranging a taxi.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 3

Lunches included: 5

Dinners included: 3

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

THAILAND FOOD:
One of the most popular take away foods in the world, you'll have a chance to try authentic Thai food, local and fresh, throughout this trip. Here's just some of what you can look forward to: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/best-food-thailand/

For vegans and vegetarians, you'll need to look out for ingredients like shrimp paste (often in curry sauces), fish sauce, dried shrimp and cooked egg added to stir fries and soups. If you are a vegan foodie, check out our Thailand Food Adventure trip: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/thailand/thailand-vegan-food-adventure-114827

Travelling in South East Asia with a food allergy? We have some advice for you here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/travelling-food-allergies-south-east-asia/

Climate & seasonal information

Warmer clothing and sleeping bags are recommended from November to January as the nights are usually quite cool during this period. Sleeping bags can be rented locally for approx. THB200, please ask your leader to organise this for you at the group meeting.

SONGKRAN FESTIVAL
The Songkran Festival is celebrated to mark the New Year. The festival runs from the 13th to the 16th of April. Traditionally houses and villages are properly cleaned in preparation for the New Year, flowers are gathered to decorate Buddha images, young people pour water over the elders for good luck. Songkran Festival is often referred to as the “water festival” as it is now common to throw water over each other during the festival period. Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

Intrepid's local Operator: +66 898 103 722

Accommodations

Transportation

OVERNIGHT TRAINS
Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned and have sleeping berths down both sides of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, with are curtains that close over the beds. A sleeping sheet and a pillow are provided, and our luggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a western and Asian-style toilet located at the end of the carriage, but no showers. Carriage lights staying on during the night, so an eye mask is a good thing to bring with you, as is warm clothes as the air conditioning can be cold. For more on overnight trains in Thailand and around the world: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/overnight-train-travel-around-the-world/


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