Thailand - Hike, Bike & Kayak Trip Notes

Thailand - Hike, Bike & Kayak

Last Modified: 04 Sep 2015
Thailand - Hike, Bike & Kayak
Trip code: TTXF
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
Fancy some outdoor activity in a tropical paradise? Now's your chance as we launch into remote highlands from one of Asia's most cosmopolitan cities. Trek through steamy rainforests to visit colourful hilltribes, paddle a kayak down the River Kwai, and explore the lesser-known side of Chiang Mai by bicycle. The diversity of exciting outdoor options makes Thailand a haven for adventurers.
Table of Contents
StyleYour fellow travellersEmergency funds
ThemesSingle travellersVisas
MapAccommodationIssues on your trip
ItineraryMeals introductionWhat to take
We also recommendMealsHealth
Itinerary disclaimerTransportSafety
Culture shock rating Joining point Travel insurance
Physical ratingJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point instructionsA couple of rules
Optional activitiesArrival complicationsThe Intrepid Foundation
Spending moneyFinish point Responsible Travel projects
TippingFinish point descriptionCarbon offset
Important notesFinish point instructionsFeedback
Group sizeEmergency contact
  • Our Original style trips have a great balance of included activities with your group and free time to explore independently. Where we stay ensures we keep our travellers firmly entrenched in a region’s people and culture, and provides them with unique local experiences that benefits the community too. In most locations we stay in simple tourist-class hotels (i.e. 2-3 stars), plus on many trips you'll also get to experience a night with a local family on a homestay or something a little different like a Bedouin camp in the Sahara. Original style trips come with all manner of transport modes and use a mixture of local and private transport. You might find yourself sailing in a dhow in Zanzibar, jumping on a rickshaw in Sri Lanka or sailing on a yacht through the Galapagos. No matter the mode, it's all about minimising our environmental impact and making getting around part of the adventure.
Walking & Trekking, Cycling, Explorer
Thailand - Hike, Bike & Kayak
Days 1-2 Bangkok
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?
Take to the streets of Bangkok on bikes and explore some of the quieter parts of town on a half day tour. We cross Rama VII Bridge and cycle through the suburbs of Bangkok Noi down small alleyways which are housed by local residents. This is a great chance to get away from the tourist areas of Bangkok and into the heart of soul of this lively city. We also pass the King's Royal Barges, the Bangkok Noi Canal, a local market and onto Wat Arun. We have a brief stop for an optional visit inside Wat Arun before crossing Chao Praya River to Pranakorn via the Memorial Bridge. We head past Wat Suthat again with another optional stop to go inside which houses the largest sitting Buddha image in Thailand. Our final stop on this ultimate Bangkok bike tour is opposite Wat Shuthat to see the giant swing Sao Ching Cha which represents the movement of the God Shiva which was reserved for performances at grand ceremonies. Travelling around by bike allows us to move through the city quite easily and at a pace that allows us to peer into the daily lives of many locals who call Bangkok home.
Head north to Chiang Mai in the evening on an overnight train journey, accommodated in air-conditioned sleeping berths (approx. 13hrs). Multi share compartments are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; sheets and pillow provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a food and drink service available on board.
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Cycling day tour
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1926
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Temple & River of Kings - THB2200
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Tuk Tuk city tour - THB1571
  • Bangkok - Thai massage - THB250
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 3-5 Hilltribe Trek
Arrive in Chiang Mai where we check into day rooms to prepare for our trek into the remote surrounding regions.
On the way to Mok Fah Waterfall, we will drop at Mae Malai local market to buy our fresh food during the trip, then drive for 1 hour to visit Mork Fah Waterfall. We have lunch and rest by the gushing waters, and there's also time for a quick dip before heading to Baan Mae Sae which marks the starting point of trekking (approx 2 hr). We then hike to the Karen village of Ban Pong Noi, we will reach the village in the late afternoon. We will stay in this village for the night.
The next day we have an early morning start to tour the village before breakfast. We then trek through jungle, rice paddies, rotation dry farms, streams, rivers and waterfalls on a nature trail through Karen villages. We enjoy a picnic lunch en route and spend the night in an Lahu village (approx 4-5 hrs). Here, we may have the option for a soothing tribal massage.
Take a morning walk around the village with the opportunity to buy some local handicrafts, before trekking through more farmland and jungle (approx 3-4 hrs) to a Thai village for lunch where we meet with our transport. We then slowly return to Chiang Mai (approx 2 hrs).
All meals while on the trek are provided, but you need to purchase and carry your own water along the way (please allow US$8 for the entire trek). Accommodation is multishare, sleeping on fold-out mattresses on the floors of the wooden/bamboo huts, typical of the villages. There are shared squat toilets and basic washing facilities in most villages (ie. hose or water pipe) or we may be able to wash in a nearby stream. Warmer clothing and sleeping bags are recommended from November to January as the nights are usually quite cool during this period.
Included Activities
  • Hilltribe - 3-day trek
Homestay (2 nts), Buaraya Hotel or similiar (1 nt)
Days 6-8 Chiang Mai
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.
We set off by bike for the next 2 days cycling narrow lanes through local neighbourhoods, past beautiful houses and areas rarely seen by tourists. We cycle for approximately 55 km each day.
The terrain is mostly flat with occasional hills along country roads, through beautiful changing scenery, picturesque rice paddy fields, orchards, pausing at local markets, temples, villages and anywhere that deserves a photo stop or that is worthy to stretch the legs.
You can relax in the swimming pool at our resort tonight for a well deserved refreshing swim.
You also have a free day to relax and enjoy the city. Options abound in Chiang Mai, from wandering the Old City to visit some of the 300 temples which dot Chiang Mai or taking a class at the famous Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School.
Head south to Bangkok in the evening on an overnight train journey, accommodated in air-conditioned sleeping berths (approx. 12hrs). Multi share compartments are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; sheets and pillow provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a food and drink service available on board.
Included Activities
  • Chiang Mai - 2 day cycling tour
Optional Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mind & Soul - THB2300
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mae Ping River Experience - THB2105
  • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
Guesthouse (1 nt), Buaraya Hotel or similiar (1 nt), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 9-11 Kanchanaburi/River Kwai
Arrive in Bangkok early in the morning and transfer to the bus station. Travel by local bus to Kanchanaburi (approx 2 hrs).
Early in the morning we head out to Hellfire Pass (approx. 1 hrs) and visit the museum. We spend some time here learning about the construction of the railway and understanding what it was like to be a POW.
We then have time by the river to have lunch before jumping aboard kayaks to enjoy paddling at a leisurely pace on the smooth waters of the River Kwai Noi for the next 2 days. The time it takes can depend on the water level but we usually kayak for approx 3-4 hours on the first day and 4-5 hours on the second day. The scenery is stunning kayaking through tropical forests and beautiful mountain views.
We overnight on the River Kwai Noi in basic huts. Sleeping mats are supplied.
The 2 day kayaking trip finishes at Kaeng Pralom bridge in the afternoon and we drive back to Kanchanaburi for a well deserved cold drink. Please note there is a support vehicle with us for these 2 days in case anyone get's tired and would like a rest from kayaking.
Included Activities
  • Kanchanaburi - 2 day kayaking trip
Apple Retreat Guest House or Similar (2 nts), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
Day 12 Bangkok
Travel back to Bangkok by public bus (approx 2 hrs).
You are free to depart at any time after our arrival. If you are booking flights or other transport out of Bangkok on this day, please keep in mind that delays are frequent and we strongly recommend that you don't book a flight earlier than 2pm.
Please note no accommodation is included in Bangkok at the end of our tour. We have shared day rooms available for our use until 12 midday. Additional accommodation is available - please enquire at time of booking.
    We also recommend
    If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
    • Cycle Vietnam (TVXB)
    • Cambodia - Hike, Bike & Kayak (TKXC)
    Itinerary disclaimer
    Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Trip Notes a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!
    Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.
    Culture shock rating

    Expect some culture shock. You'll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.
    Physical rating

    Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you'll enjoy your holiday.
    A reasonable level of fitness is required for this trip. You should be able to complete a 20 kilometre walk in a day and be comfortable on a full day's bike ride (3 days of bike activities are included). No prior kayaking experience is needed.
    We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the months before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Doing mountain walks or climbing long stair cases with a pack is good preparation (try putting a few bricks in your pack for real training). 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.
    If possible, take some extended day rides before travelling on this trip, the more preparation you can do for this type of trip, the more you will enjoy it.
    Included activities
    Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.
    Optional activities
    A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
    Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.
    The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, Intrepid has established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. Intrepid aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.
    A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.
    Spending money
    Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
    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 Intrepid 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
    Important notes
    Due to the trekking component the minimum age on this trip is 15 years old.
    If you plan to leave Thailand on the last day of the tour, please do not book flights before 2pm as we are travelling back to Bangkok on that day.
    SONGKRAN FESTIVAL 4th of April 2015 departure
    The Songkran Festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Years Day from 13 to 15 April. The meaning of the word Songkran is to pass or move into, therefore it is the movement from one year to the next. Traditionally it was celebrated with the young sprinkling water onto the hands of the elders to wish them luck for the New year. The young would also buy presents for the elders. This is also time for people to do a spring clean to their house and at the local temples they would clean the Buddha images for a fresh start for the new year. The water has always been a symbol of cleansing and now today the water has become a huge part of the festival. During Songkran you will now see children with water guns spraying anyone who comes close, locals locals standing with a hose waiting to spray anyone who passes and you may even see streets lined with pick up trucks full of locals armed with buckets of water.
    Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting. Our 4th of April 2015 departure will experience the Songkran Festival.
    Group size
    Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
    Your fellow travellers
    As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.
    Single travellers
    Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
    A single supplement is not available to purchase on this trip.
    Homestay (2 nts), Apple Retreat Guest House or Similar (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (2 nts), Buaraya Hotel or similiar (2 nts), Guesthouse (1 nt), Camping (with basic facilities) (1 nt)
    The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.
    Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on different Intrepid trips than your own.
    Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.
    If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.
    Meals introduction
    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. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. 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. There's no obligation to do this though.
    7 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 4 Dinners
    Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.
    USD 200.00
    Overnight sleeper train, Songthaew, Bus
    There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
    Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned with sleeping berths down both sides of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, and there 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, with carriage lights staying on during the night.
    Joining point
    Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel
    269 Larn Luang Road, Pomprab
    Phone: 66 22813088
    Fax: 66 22801314
    Joining point description
    Situated in the heart of the historic old Bangkok, Royal Princess Larn Luang is close to many of the area's main attractions such as the Grand Palace, ancient temples and about a 15min walk to the famous Khao San Road. Hotel services include 4 different restaurants, fitness centre, day spa, outdoor pool, baggage storage, ATM on site and laundry. Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, air-con and wireless internet (roughly TBH3701 per 24 hours).
    Joining point instructions
    Royal Princess Larn Luang is 35km from Suvarnabhumi Airport and 3km from BTS sky train (10-15 minutes).
    Metered taxi ranks are located outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor (gate 4 and 7). Go out of the customs hall, down to the 1st level and walk outside the airport where there is a table with a sign saying "metered taxis". The cost is the metered fare plus a THB50 surcharge. If the taxi uses the toll way it is up to an extra THB75. The total fare should be about THB400 Baht (US$11). Non-metered taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700 (US$20).
    Alternatively Intrepid offer a pre arranged transfer service option. Enquire with your agent and advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have purchased an arrival transfer you will be met after exiting customs. Look for exit door 6 and our representative holding a sign with your name on it.
    If you have any problems and cannot locate our transfer representative on arrival please go to the ATTA Counter (Association of Thai Travel Agents) near exit door 6 on the same floor and ask them to call our transfer operator World Travel Idea 24hr number 081 658 2727 or 081 566 9324.
    Normal check in time at the hotel is after 14:00
    Arrival complications
    We don't expect any problems (and nor should you) but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your group leader.
    Please also make sure have a copy of the local operator's emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
    Finish point
    Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel
    269 Larn Luang Road, Pomprab
    Phone: 66 22813088
    Fax: 66 22801314
    Finish point description
    Situated in the heart of the historic old Bangkok, Royal Princess Larn Luang is close to many of the area's main attractions such as the Grand Palace, ancient temples and about a 15min walk to the famous Khao San Road. Hotel services include 4 different restaurants, fitness centre, day spa, outdoor pool, baggage storage, ATM on site and laundry. Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, air-con and wireless internet (roughly TBH3701 per 24 hours).
    Finish point instructions
    A pre-booked departure transfer is available. Please inquire with your agent at least 2 weeks prior to trip departure
    If you have a transfer to the Bangkok Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator World Travel Idea 24hr number 081 658 2727 or 081 566 9324.
    A taxi to the airport will cost about THB700 (US$20). The hotel or your leader can help you organise a taxi. Otherwise you can catch the BTS sky train from Hua Lamphong Railway Station to Suvarnabhumi or Don Muang Airports.
    Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
    Emergency contact
    In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, Intrepid's Thailand Office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722 (Thailand, Laos, Malaysia, Borneo, Indonesia, Burma & Phillipines) and Tel: +855 92 555 969 (Cambodia). For all other enquiries please contact our Reservations department which is open 24 hours, 6 days per week (excluding Sunday). For further contact details please refer to:
    Emergency funds
    Please also make sure you have access to an additional US$500, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
    Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months' validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.
    We keep the following information up to date as much as possible, but rules do change - it's important that you check for yourself. Residents from other countries must consult the relevant embassies or your travel agent.
    Australia: No - not required
    Belgium: No - not required
    Canada: No - not required
    Germany No - not required
    Ireland: No - not required
    Netherlands: No - not required
    New Zealand: No - not required
    South Africa: No - not required
    Switzerland: No - not required
    United Kingdom: No - not required
    USA: No - not required
    If entering by air you will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival.
    If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.
    If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.
    Issues on your trip
    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. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.
    What to take
    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 you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage, although you won't be required to walk long distances with it (max 30 minutes).
    Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.
    You can find Intrepid's Ultimate Packing List on our website. It should be used as a guide only and isn't intended to be a complete packing list.
    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.
    Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. The sale of bottled water contributes to an enormous environmental problem around the world. In addition to the water in bottles, the production of a 1 litre plastic bottle takes 2 litres of water and 200ml of oil. A large proportion ends up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments. Although it can be difficult to avoid bottled water when travelling, please consider water purification techniques such as iodine or micropur and use the water dispensers which are provided at some of our accommodation. When unable to avoid bottled water it is better to buy the largest available and distribute into your smaller bottle for the day.
    All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.
    You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations and anti-malarial requirements before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements (including a spare pair of glasses) as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. For legal reasons our leaders and guides are prohibited from administering any type of drugs including headache tablets and antibiotics. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.
    Rare instances of dengue fever have been reported in this region. This virus is transmitted by mosquitoes. There is no vaccination against it, but there are preventative measures that you can take such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.
    Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trip.
    We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, air tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
    Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgement when selecting an activity in your free time. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns.
    For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:
    While life jackets are generally available on water craft, there may be occasions where they are not provided and child size life jackets are not always readily available. If travelling with children and this safety issue concerns you we will be able to advise alternative methods of transport (where available) for you to travel to the next destination. You can choose to travel independently for this leg of the journey. This would be at your own expense.
    Please note that helmets aren't provided for the sightseeing on bicycles. Please consider bringing a helmet from home if you want to wear a helmet on these activities.
    Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms.
    Depending on where you come from please note that drivers in this part of the world may drive on the opposite side of the road from what you are used to. Look both ways before crossing any road. Traffic can be a little more chaotic than you might be used to at home. Be aware!
    Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts.
    While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
    You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
    Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
    Travel insurance
    Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.
    When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.
    If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.
    Please go to our website for links to various travel insurance providers:
    Responsible Travel
    We believe strongly in low impact or rather positive impact tourism. Broadly speaking this means that we try to minimise the negative aspects of tourism on the local cultures and environments that we visit and highlight the positive aspects. Please visit our website for further details and suggestions on how you can be a responsible traveller:
    While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Animal Protection (formerly the World Society for protection of Animals) advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money that you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:
    When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.
    A couple of rules
    Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land, but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for Intrepid travellers. Intrepid's philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter and in particular, the local people who make our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.
    Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment at Intrepid, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.
    The Intrepid Foundation
    Since Intrepid Travel commenced operating in 1989 we've been committed to giving something back to the communities we visit. One way has been through our support for local humanitarian, development and conservation projects. Many of our travellers want to contribute something too. Whilst it is often tempting to give hand-outs to those less fortunate, this has the potential to promote a culture of begging and dependency. Handouts are not a sustainable way for individuals or communities to live. That’s why we established The Intrepid Foundation – to make it easier for travellers wishing to give back to communities in an effective and meaningful way.
    The Intrepid Foundation is a not-for-profit fund offering a selection of excellent grassroots organisations which you can contribute to. All donations to The Intrepid Foundation will be matched by Intrepid Travel dollar for dollar (up to AU$1,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year, excluding emergency appeals). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your leader for information on the projects we support through The Intrepid Foundation or go to our website:
    Responsible Travel projects
    Organisations and projects currently supported by The Intrepid Foundation in Thailand include:
    * Friends of the Asian Elephant aims to protect and conserve the welfare of elephants - both domesticated and wild. FAE's elephant hospital provides free medical care and transportation, and is in the process of establishing a nursery in an effort to reduce the high infant mortality rate of domesticated working elephants.
    Carbon offset
    Carbon Offset C02-e 242.00 kgs per pax.
    After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.