Real Food Adventure - Thailand Trip Notes

Real Food Adventure - Thailand

These trip notes are valid for departures from 01 January 2015 to 31 December 2015. View the trip notes for departures between 01 January 2016 - 31 December 2017

Last Modified: 20 May 2015
Real Food Adventure - Thailand
Trip code: TTZF
Validity: 01 Jan 2015 to 31 Dec 2015
An adventure in flavour, experience the fresh aromas and heavenly spices that make Thai food a worldwide phenomenon. Explore bustling markets spread out over land and water, and taste exotic fruits and aromatic dishes whipped up in front of your eyes. Learn the trick behind making palm sugar, slurp noodles alongside the locals in Bangkok, whip up a jungle curry in Kanchanaburi, enjoy home cooking with a family in Chiang Mai, sit down to a Khantohk feast and tour all the must-see sights of Thailand in one incredible culinary journey through one of South-East Asia’s most seductive food cultures.
Table of Contents
StyleImportant notesEmergency contact
ThemesGroup sizeEmergency funds
MapYour fellow travellersVisas
ItinerarySingle travellersIssues on your trip
Also available to purchaseAccommodationWhat to take
We also recommendMeals introductionHealth
Itinerary disclaimerMealsSafety
Culture shock rating TransportTravel insurance
Physical ratingGroup leaderResponsible Travel
Included activitiesJoining point A couple of rules
Optional activitiesJoining point descriptionThe Intrepid Foundation
Money ExchangeJoining point instructionsResponsible Travel projects
Spending moneyArrival complicationsCarbon offset
TippingFinish point Feedback
Departure taxFinish point description
  • 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.
Real Food Adventure - Thailand
Day 1 Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand.
Your adventure begins with a Welcome Meeting at 5pm 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.
This evening we jump in a tuk tuk and set off on a food crawl through one of the most dynamic dining destinations in the city, Yaowarat (aka Bangkok's Chinatown). With bright neon signs, a sea of red plastic chairs and precariously balanced street food stalls with smoking cauldrons of stock and sizzling barbeques, Bangkok's Chinatown comes into its own in the evening.
Hop from stall to stall, tasting your way through classics such as kha moo grob (crispy fried pork with rice), ba mee hong kong (Hong Kong fried noodles) - and, of course, pad thai, probably one of the most famous of all Thai/Chinese fusion dishes. Wash it all down with a refreshing glass of ginseng tea or an icy cold Singha beer.
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Crawl
Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Days 2-3 Kanchanaburi
Rise early and drive to the Maeklong Railway Market (Talaad Rom Hoob), a curious market that is actually set up on the railway tracks (approx 1.5 hous). When the train comes through, vendors must quickly remove their wares then replace them back on the tracks after the train has passed. Grab some breakfast from the trackside vendors. Maybe try some khnom krok (rice pudding) or khnom gui chai (fried Chinese chives rice cake).
Continue by minivan to the Tha Kha Floating Market, an authentic local market unlike other more touristy commercial markets around Bangkok. Locals bring their produce from their nearby orchards for trading and (outside of weekends) opening days are dependent on the auspicious waxing and waning of the moon.
Take a walk along the canals, then board a paddle boat to explore the waterways further. Float through stalls piled high with fresh fruit and produce. This area is well known for coconut palm sugar production and along the way we'll stop past a riverside operation to see how it is made.
*** Please note ** The Maeklong Railway Market (Talaad Rom Hoob), is closed for maintenance until mid-November. As an alternative, we will be visiting the Amphawa floating market which is situated just near the Railway Market. Amphawa market mainly attracts the locals with many food stalls along the riverbank and stretching into the surrounding streets. The banks are lined with teak shop-houses that open to the water and you may even see Buddhist monks making their rounds by boat. The boats sell fruit and vegetables from the local orchards and fields. You will also find some locally produced handicrafts, fashion and art.
Depart for Kanchanaburi (approx. 1 hour).
Along the way, stop past Nakorn Pathom to witness the tallest stupa in the world - standing at a cool height of 127 metres! Also take this opportunity to sample a popular regional dessert, khao lam, an enticing mixture of sweet sticky rice neatly wrapped in a bamboo tube.
Arrive in Kanchanaburi by mid afternoon.
Famed as the location of the Bridge on the River Kwai, Kanchanaburi is a beautiful town surrounded by verdant jungle, waterfalls and rivers.
Consider a cycle rickshaw tour over the iconic bridge that marked the tragic starting point of the Burma Railway constructed by the Allied prisoners of war, taking in the WW2 cemetery and museum,
Alternatively relax at one of the floating restaurants along the river, watching the river traffic pass by.
Join the locals for a lively street food dinner at the Kanchanaburi night markets.
The following day, get ready for a hands-on masterclass in Central Thai cuisine. Start at the markets to collect ingredients for the day's menu, then whip up some classic dishes including 'fern' salad and jungle curry. Feast on your creations for lunch.
The rest of the afternoon is free for your own exploration. Perhaps meet again in the evening for dinner at a restaurant specialising in Issan flavours found in north-eatern Thailand.
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Tha Kha floating Market Visit & Paddle Boat Ride
  • Bangkok - Palm Sugar Demonstration
  • Kanchanaburi - Market Tour and Central Thai Cooking Class
Apple Retreat Guest House or Similar (2 nts)
Day 4 Ayutthaya
Wake early and travel to Ayutthaya (approx. 3.5 hours).
Once the capital of ancient Siam, Ayutthaya offers a great opportunity to stroll the World Heritage-listed ruins of this once magnificent city.
Stop past a street food stall for a demonstration and tasting of roti sai mai. A dish synonymous with the Kingdom of Ayutthaya, roti sai mai consist of a thin pancake wrapped around delicious, fine strands of thin-spun cotton candy.
Also be sure to try a steaming bowl of kwit-tieau reua, widely known in English as 'boat noodles'. A morish combination of fragrant pork broth, tender and thin roasted strips of pork or beef, Thai-style pork balls and crackling skin along with sliced morning glory stalks, fresh green onion and a choice of small (sen lek), large (sen yai) or extra thin (sen mee) rice noodles, this popular and ancient dish, once served from wooden sampans in the canals and rivers of Ayutthaya, can be found all over Thailand. But the boat noodles in Ayutthaya are widely recongnised as the original and the best. While no longer served from sampans on the river, these narrow rowboats now adorn the roadside eateries as a marker that boat noodles are on the menu.
There's time for a guided tour of the picturesque ruins and temples spread across the town. The ruins at Wat Phra Mahathat provide many photo opportunities and the Buddha head surrounded by Banyan tree roots is perhaps the most photographed site in Ayutthaya.
Board an overnight train bound for Chiang Mai (approx 11 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.
Included Activities
  • Ayutthaya - Temple Ruins Guided Tour
  • Ayutthaya - Roti Sai Mai Demonstration
Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt)
Day 5 Chiang Mai
Arrive in Chiang Mai by mid morning.
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. Most importantly Chiang Mai is famous for its northern Thai cuisine and may just be home to many of your favourite Thai dishes.
Check out Chiang Mai's bustling Warorot Market (Kad Luang). One of Chiang Mai’s largest markets and a thriving social hub, this is the perfect place to get a glimpse of daily life in northern Thailand, as well as some of the ingredients and snacks unique to northern cuisine. Take a tasting tour through the stalls. Be sure to try sai ua (Chaing Mai sausage). Bamboo worms are for the more intrepid foodies...
Lunch today is khao soi, a delicious curry noodle dish which is synonymous with this region of Thailand. It is often made with chicken, served over Chinese bah-mi egg noodle, and garnished with fried noodles, shallots, cilantro, pickled mustard greens, fried whole chillis and a squeeze of lime juice
The rest of the day is free for your own exploration.
There are so many things to do - spectacular temples, an enormous night market, a picturesque river-front and fantastic shopping. Join your leader on a walk through the old city, or undertake the many optional activities available. Chiang Mai is a great place for hiring a bicycle, or simply loosening those muscles with some traditional Thai massage.
Alternatively, take a songthaew to 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.
In the evening, check out the 'Chiang Mai Night Bazaar' full of local handicraftsand fabulous northern street food dishes.
Included Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Khao Soi Lunch
  • Chiang Mai - Warorot Market Tasting Tour
People Place 2 Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Day 6 Homestay
This morning wake early to join locals on the streets giving alms to the passing Buddhist monks, then savour a simple Thai-style congee breakfast.
Later in the morning, meet our host for an incredible homestay experience in a small Thai village.
You can leave your main luggage at the Chiang Mai hotel and pack an overnight bag for the homestay. As we will be staying in a traditional rural community, please be mindful to pack and wear conservative dress.
Our first stop is lunch at a restaurant specialising in fermented rice noodles. We will also be treated to a noodle-making demonstration to see how this local delicacy is made.
Next, head to the homestay via a couple of local producers, including a mushroom farm, to pick up ingredients for a northern Thai cooking class.
By mid afternoon gather in the kitchen for a unique hands on experience - the preparation of a traditional Khantohk dinner. Khantohk technically refers to a raised tray used for serving food in northern Thailand. Over the years, a khantohk dinner has become a traditional way to welcome guests. Some of the traditional northern Thai dishes that will likely be on the menu include: gai tod (northern fried chicken), nam prig ong (minced pork & tomato chili paste), nam prick num (young green pepper chilli paste), gaeng hung lay (northern Thai pork curry), laab moo (minced pork spicy salad with mint & coriander), khao neow (sticky rice) and assorted vegetables.
Enjoy your delicious Khantohk dinner accompanied by local musicians playing traditional Thai music and performing traditional Thai dance.
Our accommodation for tonight is multi-share and basic but the atmosphere is warm and welcoming. Beds are fold-out mattresses on the floor and bathrooms are shared.
Included Activities
  • Homestay - Khantohk Cooking Class
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 7-8 Chiang Mai
Breakfast on fried rice, sweet sticky rice and egg custard, before farewelling your hosts and returning to Chiang Mai.
The rest of the day is free for last minute shopping, eating or a final massage.
Perhaps meet up again in the evening for a final dinner at a restaurant along the Mae Ping River, and toast the end of this Real Food Adventure Thailand with a beautiful view over the water.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are free to leave at any time.
People Place 2 Hotel or similar (1 nt)
Also available to purchase
For many of our trips we have other services or experiences that are also available to purchase to extend your trip or to make your holiday a little easier. Below is a list of other travel products you can purchase in conjunction with this trip.
  • TTZF Single Supplement (TTZF)
  • Real Food Adventure - Thailand - Single Supplement (TTZF)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Real Food Adventure - Indochina (TVZKC)
  • Real Food Adventure - Cambodia (TKZP)
  • Real Food Adventure - Vietnam (TVZY)
  • Real Food Adventure - Malaysia (TMZF)
  • Real Food Adventure - Japan (CJZF)
  • Real Food Adventure - China (CBZF)
  • Real Food Adventure - Indochina (TVZKC)
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

Some easy physical activities included in your trip. No physical preparation is required to make the most of the journey.
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.
Money Exchange
The official currency of Thailand is the Baht (THB).
The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via an Automated Teller Machine (ATM) or Bancomat. ATMs are now available in most towns and visa cash advances are available in major banks. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange, clean bills in small denominations are most useful. Traveller's cheques can be difficult to change. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels.
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 are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is 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. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
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.
Your crew: Tipping is entirely voluntary. The crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
Important notes
BANGKOK PROTESTS Ongoing since November 2013
There has been ongoing protest's in Bangkok since November 2013. During this time when protest gatherings have been quite large Bangkok taxi drivers may not want to drive from the airport to your downtown hotel. If the public taxis will not take you please go back inside the airport and you can arrange a private vehicle transfer with the Airports of Thailand transfer services. These cost about 1200THB per car to the downtown hotels.
Please refer to our safety page on the Intrepid website for more up to date information regarding these protests.
Severe food allergies must be advised at the time of booking so it can be assessed whether we can cater for the passenger for the included activities as food allergies could impact the extent of participation in these activities.
The Maeklong Railway Market (Talaad Rom Hoob), is closed for maintenance until mid-November. As an alternative, we will be visiting the Amphawa floating market which is situated just near the Railway Market. Amphawa market mainly attracts the locals with many food stalls along the riverbank and stretching into the surrounding streets. The banks are lined with teak shop-houses that open to the water and you may even see Buddhist monks making their rounds by boat. The boats sell fruit and vegetables from the local orchards and fields. You will also find some locally produced handicrafts, fashion and art.
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 available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
Apple Retreat Guest House or Similar (2 nts), People Place 2 Hotel or similar (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Overnight Sleeper Train (1 nt), Royal Princess Larn Luang Hotel or similar (1 nt)
We use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. 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. Please note that on occasion the overnight trains may be covered by an overnight bus rather than train.
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 a vast array of dishes, beverages, dining experiences, ingredients and produce.
To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, the trip price does not include all meals. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility – whether you wish to partake in budget, mid-range or high-end dining options. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. Generally, our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company, however there's no obligation to do this.
For travellers wanting to eat at a particular high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurant, there will be specified free nights in certain locations where you can make your own restaurant reservations. It is recommended you make reservations for high profile and/or ‘fine dining’ restaurants well in advance of your departure, as there can be long lead times for booking in some instances.
3 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 2 Dinners
USD 100.00
Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the ‘trip notes’ itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.
For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
Tuk-Tuk, Van, Overnight sleeper train, Songthaew
Group leader
All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.
Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for things to do and see, recommend great local eating venues and introduce you to our local friends. While not being guides in the traditional sense you can expect them to have a broad general knowledge of the places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.
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
People Place Hotel
9 Soi 8 Charoen Prathet Road
Chiang Mai
Finish point description
Centrally located the People Place hotel is within short walking distance to the famous Chiang Mai night bazaar, as well as the flower market and the Ping river.
Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, AC, TV, phone & mini-fridge. The hotel has 24hr reception, and safety deposit boxes.
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.
Consider bringing your own water bottle to refill along the way. We recommend at least a 1.5litre capacity. 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 end up in limited landfill or discarded in waterways and natural environments.
We recommend that you pack some light warm clothing for the overnight train as it may get a little cold through the night with the air-conditioning. An eye mask and ear plugs are also recommended.
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:
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!
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.
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.
On this trip you will be staying in some heritage hotels and traditional guesthouses, and these are one of the charms of this trip, but occasionally staircases, balconies and passages etc don't always comply with western safety standards. Please don't expect elevators in these properties as they are preserved to their original state.
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:
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 by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas 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 177.00 kgs per pax.
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