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Real Thailand


Take on an epic journey through Thailand and make loads of new friends along the way – the islands are calling! On this 15-day adventure, you’ll check out the night markets and bars in Bangkok, trek the hillside outside of Chiang Mai, chase waterfalls and maybe go searching for elephants. Go kayaking and soak in some gorgeous natural scenery that you’d only see from local hilltribe villages, plus enjoy loads of free time to go snorkelling, swimming or ziplining. With a local leader who has all the insider knowledge, you’ll hike, learn about turtles, sail on rivers, bliss out on the beach and get your safari fix in the jungle of Khao Sok National Park. Eat your weight in noodles, find your new fave nightlife spots and end it all in bustling Phuket with a banger sunset.

15 days, from

$1,045

per person

GROUP SIZE

16 people max

ACTIVITY LEVEL

3
Trip code: TTYDC
Style: Basix
Theme: 18 to 35s

Details

Countries Visited:  Thailand
Accommodation: Hotel (6 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights), Hilltribe Village House (multi-share) (2 nights), Resort (2 nights) Rafthouse (1 night)
Transportation: Private vehicle , Overnight sleeper train , Songthaew , Tuk-tuk , Shared Boat , Public bus
Included Meals:

  • 7 breakfasts
  • 4 lunches
  • 3 dinners

Group size: Minimum 1, Max 16

  • Feel like one of the locals on overnight train journeys throughout this trip. Grab some snacks from the on-board vendors, utilise your phrase book, rub shoulders with the locals and embrace this unique journey.

  • Taste the best of Thailand. Obsessed with the Tom Yam Goong at your local Thai joint? Imagine how much better it would be in Thailand, on a beach, with a cocktail, at sunset. Nice, eh?

  • Koh Samui is a slice of paradise. Cruise the island, go chasing waterfalls and feel peachy on the beach before carving up the dance floor in one of Koh Samui's famous bars.

  • Kick back for a few days in Ao Nang with plenty of free time to take up optional activities! Cook some food in a Thai cooking class, cook yourself in some hot springs or paddle to a hidden lagoon on Koh Hong island.

  • Get your street food fix in bustling Bangkok and tuck into some of the tastiest eats in all of Asia. Did someone say 'mango sticky rice'? Yes, please!

Itinerary

Show Full Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand. Your adventure kicks off with a welcome meeting at 6 pm tonight. If you arrive early, there's plenty to keep you occupied until then - perhaps take a walk around Chinatown and explore the vibrant streets, or head to the magnificent Grand Palace. Then, after tonight's important welcome meeting, it’s time to dig into some traditional tastes of Thailand. Bangkok is known for its street food, so you'll get the chance to head out with your leader and check out some roadside stalls around Khao Sarn Road. Later on, discover Bangkok’s nightlife and head out to one (or more) of the best local bars. Ask your guide for directions or grab your new travel mates and attempt to navigate the MRT subway train.

Day 2: Ayutthaya - Overnight Train

Good morning, it's time for an adventure. Take a train from Bangkok to Ayutthaya this morning. Ayutthaya was the capital in the Kingdom of Siam, but now the ruins of this old city form the Historical Park: an archaeological site that contains palaces, Buddhist temples, monasteries and statues. Take local tuk tuks on a visit to the Ayutthaya temple site, stopping by Wat Panan Choeng (adorned with a huge 19 metre Buddha image), Wat Yai Chai Mong Kol (with its 62 metre Victory Pagoda), and the famous Wat Maha That (the Buddhist temple with a striking figure head swallowed by tree roots). You’ll have the chance to buy some of Ayutthaya's famous Boat Noodles’ soup – trust us, they’re delicious. After your day exploring, hop on an overnight train up to Chiang Mai. You’ll have a few day-use rooms to share in Ayutthaya to freshen up before your train ride.

Day 3: Chiang Mai

Arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning and transfer to your hostel. Even though check-in is at 2 pm, you’ll still be able to use the facilities, if you’d like. Chiang Mai is the perfect entrance to the Thai highlands, with misty mountains and colourful hillside villages awaiting you to explore. This will be your base for the next few days, as you’ll return here after your hillside trek. Today, spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing and exploring the city, then at night, why not get a group of you together and visit the night markets or the trendy bars in the happening Nimman area? You're on holiday, after all.

Day 4: Chiang Mai - Hilltribe Trek

This morning at around 8 am, leave Chiang Mai and head to Mae Malai Market to stock up on some delicious fresh snacks for your trek. Then continue on to the start point of today’s 8km hike. Your destination for this evening is the Lahu Hilltribe Village of Pong Ngan Lahu (approximately 5-6 hours trekking time). Walk along the mountain ridge and take in the views of the natural forest and remote scenery. Enjoy a packed lunch in the beautiful surrounds of Huey Nam Dang National Park before continuing on to meet your local hosts. Pong Ngan Lahu Village is located beside the Mae Taeng River and you will arrive here late afternoon. Tonight, experience a local home-cooked dinner by the campfire, then take a walk around the village to chat with the locals. This is a really special opportunity to experience rural Thai life first-hand.

Day 5: Hilltribe Trek - Chiang Mai

The best thing about being deep in the jungle in the morning is to enjoy the natural wake-up sounds of wildlife calls. After breakfast, you’ll have the opportunity to buy some handicrafts from local enterprises to help support the community. Then begin today’s trek through the storybook landscape of farmland and jungle (approximately 4-5hours, 10km), exploring other hilltribe villages along the way. Reach Mae Sae Village at approximately 2pm, where you’ll meet your transfer and drive down to Mok Fah Waterfall. After two long days of hiking, relax your legs by the gorgeous falls or take a dip in the water – there’s no rush this afternoon! Arrive back in Chiang Mai around 5pm and check into your accommodation. The rest of the day is free to relax and explore the city.

Day 6: Chiang Mai

Today, head out on an orientation walk with your leader. Then you're free as a bird for the rest of the day in charming Chiang Mai. There are plenty of optional activities for you to consider today. We highly recommend checking out Wat Prasingh and Wat Chedi Luang temples. After this, perhaps stop by Chuan Chom Vocational Training Center for lunch or a massage. Here you'll learn about the work that they do to train the women from the correctional institution with skills to go back to society. Alternatively, head to Doi Suthep or try your hand at a local cooking class. It's totally up to you! At night, why not get the gang together and party the night away at a local bar.

Day 7: Chiang Mai - Overnight sleeper train

With another day to explore Chiang Mai, you’re spoilt for options. Included for today is your chance to learn one of the world legend Martial arts, Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) this morning. Spend 1.5 hours exercising and learning the basics of Muay Thai with the pros, plus how to adapt yourselves to be the weapons and guard. Later in the evening, board an overnight train for Bangkok (approximately 13 hours). Soft sleeper class trains are used for the overnight journey, and they’ve got all you’ll need! The compartments are multi-share with air-conditioning and bunk beds that come with sheets and a pillow. Baggage travels in the carriage with you, and there's a food and drink service available on board.

Day 8: Bangkok

Your train is scheduled to arrive into Bangkok in the early morning on Day 8 of the trip. The rest of the day is free to explore thecity as you wish. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. We encourage you to attend this meeting, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.

Day 9: Bangkok - Overnight Train

Today, explore some of Bangkok's most famous sights. Take an included visit with your group to the temple complex of Wat Pho, which houses the famous 46-metre-long statue of the Reclining Buddha – he sure looks comfortable. And how will you get there? Take a public boat down the Chao Phraya River and observe the beautiful scenery, getting off at Tha Tien Pier - within easy walking distance of Wat Pho. Afterwards, the afternoon is free for you to discover more of the city, like the Grand Palace or Jim Thompson House (or just more food, up to you). In the evening, be ready to head south on an overnight train to Surat Thani.

Day 10: Ko Samui

Arrive into Surat Thani this morning, continuing on an approximately 4-hour journey by public bus and ferry to Ko Samui. The island of Ko Samui has been a tourist hotspot for decades, and with good reason. You can swim, snorkel or relax in the waterfalls at Na Muang. Take a trip with the group around the island, visiting the 15-metre-tall Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai). In the evening, perhaps feast on a delicious curry with the group and then join in the party atmosphere that is Koh Samui's famous nightlife.

Day 11: Ko Samui

Spend a free day today however you’d like – swimming, lazing in the sun or more exploring. You may like to take an optional day tour to Ang Thong Marine National Park by either slow boat or speedboat. The park is an archipelago of over 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand, featuring pristine beaches, jungle, mangroves and limestone mountains rising out of the sea. Take a swim at popular Ko Mae island and check out the saltwater lagoon of Thale Nai (Emerald Lake). For a quieter experience and some great snorkelling opportunities, head to the nearby islands of Ko Tao and Ko Nang Yuan. Ko Samui is also home to an elephant sanctuary, and you are able to come close to these gentle giants if you please. Watch them bathe, roam the fields and socialise with other elephants, all knowing that they are in a caring and peaceful environment.

Day 12: Khao Sok National Park

This morning, head from Ko Samui to Khao Sok National Park. Take a songtaew and catch an early ferry from Samui Pier for a 1.5-hour journey to reach Don Sak Pier. Then, jump in a private vehicle to Chiew Larn Lake (approximately 2 hours), and take a traditional longtail boat for a calm 1-hour journey to reach your rafthouse. Keep your eyes out for wild bull elephants, gibbons and Spectacled langur (dusky leaf monkeys). Khao Sok National Park is the wettest spot in Thailand with some of the oldest jungle in the world. See loads of amazing limestone rock faces and, if you're lucky, monkeys playing here and there. Later on, take an evening safari with your group, where you’ll head by longtail boat deep in the jungle, keeping an eye and ear out for more animals. This is when they're most active. Afterwards, enjoy a traditional southern Thai meal at the rafthouse with your group.

Day 13: Khao Sok National Park - Ao Nang Beach

Lucky you with a morning in the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. Your awesome jungle rafthouse sits right inside the park, so you’ll have time this morning to catch the mist drifting along the lake as you search for wildlife in the jungle on a longail boat. Before lunch, take a jungle hike around the park, and depending on the season, see cascading waterfalls or head up high to a panoramic viewpoint. This place is paradise, especially if you love nature – if you're lucky there might be a glimpse of elephants, exotic Hornbills and water-loving Langur Monkeys deep inside the park. After lunch, you'll leave the rafthouse and head back to the pier on another longtail boat. Then, take a private vehicle to Ao Nang, on the Andaman Sea. Get ready, ‘cause you’ve arrived in a seaside paradise.

Day 14: Ao Nang Beach

Ao Nang beach is on the southern Thai coast and is bursting with white sand and laidback vibes. One of the most popular places to go chill out is nearby Railay Beach, but this is an interesting one to get to. Even though it’s connected on the coast, the massive limestone karsts that surround the bay make it virtually impossible to access via land. That being said, take a longtail boat journey for a matter of minutes, and you’ll be washed up on the pristine shores. There’ll be some time to swim and relax on the sand. This place is thai-riffic, if you ask us.

Day 15: Ao Nang Beach

Today is as clear as the emerald waters surrounding Ao Nang. Enjoy a free day to relax on the beach or participate in a variety of optional activities. Perhaps unwind with a massage or cook up something delicious in a Thai cooking class. Take a tour out to some of Krabi's naturally formed crystal pools and hot springs, swimming in the clear waters of the Emerald Lagoon while fish nibble at your toes. You might like to take a trip out to the quiet, pristine island of Ko Hong, where you can snorkel in the shallow reefs and kayak past cliffs to a hidden salt-water lagoon. The best thing is you can choose to do whatever you please, so soak it all up!

Day 16: Ao Nang Beach

With no activities planned for today, you are free to depart the accommodation at any time. But that doesn’t mean that your Thailand adventure has to come to an end! Pull up a towel on Ao Nang beach, catch some rays and relax into the day. You deserve it.