A definitive tour through South East Asia's gem

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.

Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Phuket, Thailand
Countries
Thailand
Themes
Explorer
Code
TTZBC
Physical rating
Cultural rating
Ages
Min 15
Group size
Min 1 Max 12
Carbon offset
492kg pp per trip


Highlights

  • Visit Bangkok’s impressive temples
  • Be a guest at a village homestay
  • Set off on a longtail around Phang-Nga
  • Spy cheeky monkeys at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre in Phuket

Itinerary

Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.
Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.
Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food.
Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore - why not 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 some Thai massage?
We take a local bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai (approx. 6 hours) with a short midway stop for a chance to stretch the legs and buy some lunch.
The first ancient capital of Siam, Sukhothai was established in the 13th century. Located on a fertile plain, Sukhothai means the 'Dawn of Happiness' and is now famous for its World Heritage-listed historic park, which celebrates the Golden Age of Thai civilisation.
Try a local dish such as Sukhothai noodles at the fascinating local night market.
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 we have enough free time, we'll visit a local ceramics factory.
Today we travel by private minivan from Sukothai to our Homestay for the evening (approx 4-5 hours). On the way we stop off at Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital located in Lampang.
Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital is a non-government organisation in Thailand which aims to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants both domesticated and wild. We stop off at this center today to see the fantastic work this organisation is doing to care for the elephants in Thailand.
Stay the night at the warm and welcoming home of Intrepid's longtime friends in a small Thai village (approx 1.5 hrs from the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital) Accommodation is multishare and basic (there will be fold-out mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms). In the evening, we're treated to a traditional northern Thai khantohk dinner accompanied by live music and dancing
In the morning we jump on local bikes and cruise around the homestay village. This is a great opportunity to see how the locals live and we make a few stops along the way to see small country industries. 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.
We say goodbye to our new friends and travel to Chiang Mai (approx 45 mins)
The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This 'Rose of the North' is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people.
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 (approx 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.
You have the option of doing a half day Thai Cooking Class or a half day Cycling tour around Chiang Mai
Discover some of the secrets of Thai cuisine by joining a cookery course. Learn about the main ingredients used in Thai cuisine, how they are used and stored and what alternatives you can substitute if you can't get them at home. Questions are welcome and you are provided with a comprehensive book of recipes and ingredient details. For lunch, sit down and feast on the delicious results of your tuition. The meal is usually rounded off with a tasting of seasonal Thai fruit.
Some may prefer to jump on a half day cycling trip. After a short safety briefing and bicycle fitting, we leave the hotel for the streets of Chiang Mai. Traffic downtown is light as we begin our cycling journey south, following the Ping River. It's pleasant to ride along its green banks. We visit a former leper colony which is now a rehabilitation centre and you will get to know some more of the daily life of the missionaries who worked here over a hundred years ago. Cycling over small country roads you will discover the real rural Thailand. The trip continues along various fruit orchards and you'll encounter the Thai way of life as we meander around the villages on the outskirts of Chiang Mai. We explore the temple ruins of Wiang Kum Kam, the former capital of Lanna, before we cycle back to Chiang Mai.
Our accommodation clean, comfortable in Chiang Mai is located by the famous night markets and has ensuite bathrooms and air conditioning.
Board an overnight train for Bangkok (approx 13 hrs). We use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. Multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds - sheets and a pillow are provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There's a food and drink service available on board.
Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore - why not 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 some Thai massage?
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 and you're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.
Pay a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage.
We head southbound for Surat Thani on an overnight train, accommodated in air conditioned sleeping berths (approx 13 hrs). Multishare compartments have bunk beds; sheets and pillow provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a food and drink service available on board.
Arrive into Surat Thani and continue by mini van bus (approx 2.5 hrs) to the resort town of Ao Nang.
A lively beachside town in Krabi Province, Ao Nang has a main street with restaurants, shops and bars, and is close to many idyllic islands.
Enjoy an included Sea Kayaking trip to the mangrove forest of Ao Thalane. About half way along the coast between Than Bok Khoranee and Krabi town is a bay of mangroves that may be the most beautiful bay in Thailand. Here, bays and canyons are like passageways.
There's plenty of free time to relax on the beautiful beaches and get into the spirit of southern Thailand. Perhaps you might want to enjoy a relaxing massage on the beach, or simply sit back with a good book and a cool cocktail to watch the sun slip beneath the waves.
Transfer by vehicle and longtail boat to the island of Ko Yao Noi (approx 2 hrs).
Set in the heart of Phang-Nga Bay, the chilled-out island of Ko Yao Noi is a great place to relax away from the tourist trail.
The afternoon is free to take an island tour, visit fishing villages and rubber plantations to meet the locals or perhaps some swimming in the crystal clear waters.
Venture out into the bay to snorkel and swim in the tropical sun. A picnic lunch on one of the many islands that are scattered around the bay is followed by more swimming and snorkelling.
Please note, in the event of unfavourable weather conditions, we may be unable to travel to Ko Yao Noi. Alternative arrangements will be made to stay on Phuket Island.
We travel James Bond style catching a speed boat to Phuket (approx 1 hour)
The tourist haven of Phuket is Thailand's largest and most visited island. It has a range of tourist-oriented activities on offer, such as Thai boxing, cabaret shows or the colossal cultural theme park that is Phuket Fantasea.
Stop at a waterfall for a refreshing swim and visit Phuket's Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre, which is operated by a local NGO to help ensure the continued existence of our furry little friends.
We stay in the heart of Patong, where shops, restaurants and nightclubs await.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
View trip notes to read full itinerary

Inclusions

Meals
7 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 1 dinner
Transport
Minibus, Overnight sleeper train, Public bus, Songthaew, Speed boat, Van
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nights), Homestay (1 night), Hotel (4 nights), Overnight sleeper train (2 nights), Resort (6 nights)
Included activities
  • Sukhothai - Historical Park Bike Tour & Picnic Lunch
  • Lampang - Friends of the Asian Elephant
  • Chiang Mai - Thai Cooking Class OR Cycling Tour (half day)
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
  • Koh Yao Noi - Snorkelling
  • Koh Yao Noi - Phang Nga National Marine Park
  • Phuket - Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre & Bang Pae Waterfall

Dates

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip, please see trip notes for further information.

Trip notes

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Your trip notes provide a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what’s included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.

View trip notes

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