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Classic Thailand West Coast (Nov - Apr)


Combining the best of the north and south, this is the definitive Thailand tour. Travel from the clamour of the capital to the serenity of steamy rainforests; from atmospheric ruins to relaxed sun-drenched islands. Tour temples in Bangkok, bargain-hunt in lively Chiang Mai and then swim, snorkel or simply kick back on the divine beaches of the southern coast. This adventure is the perfect chance to visit the many attractions and treasures of Thailand.

16 days, from

$2,770

per person

GROUP SIZE

12 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: TTZBC
Style: Original
Theme: Explorer

Details

Countries Visited:  Thailand
Accommodation: Homestay (1 night), Overnight sleeper train (1 nights), Resort (6 nights), Hotel (7 nights)
Transportation: Overnight sleeper train , Speed boat , Private minivan , Taxi , Longtail boat , Songtheaw , Bicycle , Public Bus , Plane
Included Meals:

  • 9 breakfasts
  • 5 lunches
  • 2 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 12

  • Work up an appetite with a leisurely cycle through the ancient Buddhas and ruined temples of Heritage-listed Sukothai Park, then feast on a home-cooked picnic lunch

  • Experience daily rural life firsthand when staying with long-time Intrepid friends in a small Thai village

  • Support an important animal welfare initiative and get close to incredible creatures at the Chang Chill Elephant Park and the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre

  • Pick up some impressive new culinary skills and taste delicious local dishes in a Thai cooking class

  • Travel like the locals do on an overnight sleeper train, the best way to travel long distances, meet locals and maximise time at destinations

  • Ease into the beach-loving lifestyle and enjoy various sea activities of snorkeling and kayaking to explore the amazing limestone cliff and caves, colorful coral reefs and mangrove forests.

  • Get deep in the community vibes of Baan Nai Nang village by spending time with the locals, enjoying a hearty home-cooked lunch and learn about their organic fruit orchids.

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand's bustling capital. Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. With no planned activities until your important welcome meeting at 6 pm, why not head out and explore. You could take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, uncover the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road, or indulge in a Thai massage. After the meeting tonight, perhaps gather your fellow travellers together and tuck into some into world famous street food.

Day 2: Sukhothai

This morning, leave the current capital of Thailand and head north by train (approx 6 hours) and private mini van (approx 1 hour) to one of the first ancient capitals of Siam, Sukhothai. Located on a fertile plain, Sukhothai was established in the 13th century, and the name means the 'Dawn of Happiness'. It’s now famous for its World Heritage-listed historic park that celebrates the Golden Age of Thai civilisation. Tonight, be sure to head to the fascinating local night market and try the local dishes, like Sukhothai noodles.

Day 3: Sukhothai

Head out to the historical ruins of Old Sukhothai, set amid beautiful lakes and gardens. The religious art and architecture of the Sukhothai era are considered to be the most classic of Thai styles, and the Sukhothai Historical Park contains the remains of 21 historic sites, with awe-inspiring Buddha images and four large ponds often filled with stunning lotus flowers in full bloom. Upon arrival at the park, hire bicycles and enjoy a few leisurely hours feeling the breeze in your hair and learning about the history of this fascinating place. Enjoy a home-cooked picnic lunch somewhere along the way, and if you have enough free time, visit a local ceramics factory.

Day 4: Village Homestay

Travel by private minivan from Sukothai (approx 4 hours) to the warm and welcoming home of Intrepid's long-time friends in a small Thai village where you’ll spend the night. Accommodation at the homestay is multishare and basic (there will be fold-out mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms), but there is no better way to better understand a country and its people. In the evening, you’ll be treated to a traditional northern Thai khantok dinner, accompanied by live music and dancing.

Day 5: Village Homestay - Chiang Mai

In the morning, jump on some bikes and cruise around the homestay village. This is a great opportunity to see how the locals live, and you’ll make a few stops along the way to see small country industries in the area. Cycling past the rice fields and breathing in the fresh country air, with beautiful mountains in the distance, makes this morning a picture-postcard experience. Say goodbye to your new friends and travel on to Chiang Mai (approximately 45 minutes). The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the ‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound. Chances are, you won’t want to leave. Follow your leader on an orientation walk to get your bearings and enjoy a free evening tonight.

Day 6: Chiang Mai

Today is free for you to explore Chiang Mai. During your free time, perhaps explore the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep. Drive along a scenic, winding mountain road that ends at an impressive 300-step naga-guarded stairway (approximately 45 mins). The rewards justify the climb with one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand on display, not to mention fantastic panoramic views of the city and the opportunity to listen to hypnotic evening chanting by resident Buddhist monks. Or maybe wander markets, meet monks, cruise the river, and slurp noodles on a Mae Ping River Experience. At noon, don't miss out on having a lunch at the Chuan Chom vocational training center where you'll learn about the work that they do to train the women from the correctional institution with skills to go back to society. In the evening, a Thai cooking class awaits! If you're a foodie, then you’ll discover some of the secrets of Thai cuisine, learn the key ingredients, how to use them, and what to use in their place if you can’t get them at home. As well as taking your own comprehensive recipe book with you after the class, you'll feast on the fruits of your labour for dinner.

Day 7: Chiang Mai

Today, you’ll have a pretty special time visiting the ChangChill elephant experience. Take a 1.5-hour drive out of Chiang Mai to ChangChill, where you’ll begin to learn how this organisation supports the protection, conservation and lifestyle of free roaming elephants in the region. You’ll observe the daily patterns of these jungle giants from a safe distance, seeing how they graze and socialise with their other friends. The expert local guides will be able to give you a ‘live lecture’ on the elephants themselves, its sustainable tourism practices and conservation efforts in the area. Enjoy some refreshments nearby the elephant’s mud pit but be careful not to get a spray! Be treated to some lunch in a riverside sala (pavilion) alongside your giant friends, who will be enjoying a meal too. Return to Chiang Mai where the rest of the time is at leisure.

Day 8: Bangkok

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Bangkok is a vibrant mix of ancient traditions and slick modernity, where markets (obviously bustling) and world-class cuisine are only the beginning. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you do arrive early, kudos to you! How about acquainting yourself with this frenetic city of tuk tuks, street food and traditional khlong boats winding down the Chao Phraya River and just having a walk around. After your important meeting, you might want to experience the unique tourist mecca of Khao San Road with some of your new travel crew.

Day 9: Bangkok

You’ll start today with a visit to Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn. Named after the Indian God of Dawn – Aruna, this impressive landmark of Bangkok sits on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities, and this city has so much to offer – perhaps head next door to the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage. You may want to take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok. Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Tonight, board an overnight train southbound for Surat Thani (approximately 13 hours).

Day 10: Ao Nang/Krabi

Arrive into Surat Thani this morning and continue by bus (approximately 2.5 hours) to the resort town of Ao Nang in Krabi Province. Ao Nang has a main street with open-air restaurants, shops that light up the sidewalk and bars perfect for kicking back with a beer. It’s also in a great position to hop on longtail boats to places like Railay Beach and the idyllic islands surrounding the bay. There's plenty of free time to relax on the beautiful beaches and get into the spirit of southern Thailand. You also might want to take advantage of some of the optional activities on offer, like a cycling trip that takes you on back country tracks, gets you close to local culture, and rewards you with a lovely afternoon dip in a beautiful waterfall. Otherwise, consider a relaxing massage on the beach (no kidding), or just sit back with a good book and a cool cocktail to watch the sun slip beneath the horizon. This is living. In the late afternoon, visit Baan Na Teen village and take part in Batik Making to learn about this ancient technique of dyeing and then join in a local family for some home-cooked feast. Here is also an opportunity to assist with the preparation of tonight's meal – learn some of the delicious secrets of southern Thai cooking and enjoy a dinner that tastes all the better thanks to your handiwork! This is a wonderful opportunity to absorb some of the daily rituals of Thai culture.

Day 11: Ao Nang/Krabi

This morning, head out to Ao Nang beach and on board a long tail boat to start today’s exploration. Immerse in the beauty of the coast line with stops at Phra Nang Cave, Railey Beach, Koh Tup, Koh Gai and discover the amazing coral and tropical fish through snorkelling in the crystal clear water. Enjoy a day of swimming and snorkelling and return back to Ao Nang beach in mid-afternoon. Tonight, why not grab some travel pals and stroll down the main drag to find a seafood restaurant.

Day 12: Khao Lak

Say goodbye to Ao Nang this morning and continue your journey to Khao Lak. On the way, stop at a great Community-based tourism initiative at Baan Nai Nang village (supported by Mangrove Action Project) and you’ll spend a better half of the day here, experiencing the amazing nature and learning about local culture. Get active and venture out in a kayak to explore the amazing water, limestone cliffs and mangrove forests at Khao Ka Rot. Return back to the village and enjoy a hearty home-cooked lunch after a good workout, then learn to prepare and taste the organic local mulberry leaf tea. Head out for a walk in the village and its organic fruit orchards after lunch before hopping back on your bus and continue to Khao Lak (approx. 3 hours).

Day 13: Khao Lak

Enjoy a free day at Khao Lak. There are plenty to do in Khao Lak. Why not visit Lam Ru National Park andTon Chong Fa Water Fall, or make it a day trip to Similan Islands or Surin Islands? Your tour leader will be on hand to help you make the best of the day.

Day 14: Phuket

This morning leave for the tourist haven of Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most visited island. This island is certainly a brasher, more vibrant extrovert to the mellower sibling of the last few days. If a little modern pizazz is what you’re after with your dose of sunshine exotica, look no further – this island offers a little something for everyone. It’ll take about 3 hours to get to Phuket.Once you've arrived on the island, there's a chance to stop at the Tsunami Memorial if you would like to visit. Then continue to Mai Khao Marine Turtle Foundation which support the protection of turtles and research of the Marine Biodiversity. You'll be able to learn about the important work that they do here and see the different type of turtles at the foundation. Then it's another hour to Kata beach. You’ll stay in the heart of Kata beach, where everything from shops to restaurants to nightclubs awaits.

Day 15: Phuket

Phuket is ringed with beaches, each with their own distinct personalities, from a party vibe to perhaps something quieter and more romantic. If you can pull yourself away from the beautiful beaches and curving coasts, Phuket also has a range of activities to fill your day, from Thai boxing exhibitions to cabaret shows. If you love getting out on the water and exploring the islands, then perhaps use your last day to take a day trip out to the stunning Phi Phi and Khai Nok, a tiny island surrounded by white sandy beach perfect suitable for swimming and snorkelling. If you want to spend some time with Thailand’s magnificent elephants, take a visit to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. You will get to see the elephants in the safety and security of their natural home and get an insight into the behaviour and personal history of each elephant. Perhaps gather together your fellow travellers tonight and enjoy a celebratory dinner.

Day 16: Phuket

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! If you’d like to continue to soak up the very best of Phuket, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).