Thailand Adventure East Coast (May - Oct) Trip Notes

    • 23
    • TTSEC
    • 4.76 out of 5
    • Total price tool tip
      USD $2,320
      CAD $2,355
      AUD $2,380
      EUR €1,695
      GBP £1,465
      NZD $2,895
      ZAR R19,720
      CHF FR2,095
      *
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    • Explorer
    • Original
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Print Version
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2014
Thailand Adventure East Coast (May - Oct)
Trip code: TTSEC
Validity: 01 Jan 2014 to 31 Dec 2014
Discover the riches of Thailand in this epic journey from north to south. An adventure that takes you from the clamour of the capital and the serenity of the rainforest, to atmospheric ruins and tropical sun-drenched islands. If you're after an idyllic Thailand getaway with the perfect blend of northern adventure and southern relaxation, then this one's for you.

Table of Contents
StyleDeparture taxEmergency funds
ThemesGroup sizeVisas
MapYour fellow travellersIssues on your trip
ItinerarySingle travellersWhat to take
Also available to purchaseAccommodationHealth
We also recommendMeals introductionSafety
Itinerary disclaimerMealsTravel insurance
Culture shock rating TransportResponsible Travel
Physical ratingGroup leaderA couple of rules
Physical preparationJoining point The Intrepid Foundation
Included activitiesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel projects
Optional activitiesJoining point instructionsCarbon offset
Money ExchangeArrival complicationsFeedback
Spending moneyFinish point
TippingEmergency contact
To save you money and the hassle of booking multiple trips, this journey is a combination of some of our most popular adventures so your leader and the composition of your group may change.
Style
Original
  • Original trips are classic Intrepid adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you'll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you're as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It's all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.
Themes
Explorer
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 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?
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Thai kickboxing exhibition - THB2200
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Chatuchak Market visit - THB100
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB100
  • Bangkok - Thai massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok by Bike - THB1500
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1870
Accommodation
Hotel (1 nt)
Days 2-4 Kanchanaburi/River Kwai
Travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok (approx 1 hr). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital.
Pay a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage.
Travel by local bus to Kanchanaburi (approx 2 hrs).
Located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.
Enjoy a saamlaw (bicycle rickshaw) tour around the town of Kanchanaburi - the perfect way to take in the splendour of this city and the monuments to its tragic past.
Explore the Jeath War Museum and the Allied War Cemetery.
Travel to Erawan National Park (approx 1.5 hrs each way), where you can explore the famous seven-level waterfall or simply swim and relax.
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho temple
  • Kanchanaburi - Erawan Water Falls
  • Kanchanaburi - Baan Tham temple
Optional Activities
  • Kanchanaburi - Kayaking - THB300
  • Kanchanaburi - Thai cooking class - THB850
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts), Rafthouse (1 nt)
Day 5 Ayuthaya
Travel by local bus via Suphanburi to Ayuthaya (approx 5 hrs).
Day rooms will be arranged as we take an overnight train later tonight.
There's time for a guided tour of 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 Ayuthaya.
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
  • Ayuthaya - Historical ruins guided tour
Accommodation
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 6-7 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.
In Chiang Mai there is the chance to have a traditional Thai massage before heading down to the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a shopaholic's dream.
The Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School offers courses for budding chefs and will definitely allow you to impress your friends upon your return. A novel way to see the surrounding countryside is to take a cycling tour, on which you will visit temples and ruins, the McCain institute for handicapped artists, and possibly a sticky rice factory among other sites.
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.
We set off early (approx 8am) and drive along Mae Taeng Valley to Elephant Nature Park (approx 60 km), a unique project providing a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants.
Greeted by an expert guide we learn about the story of rescued elephants and elephants problem in South-East Asia. After that you will have a chance to feed the elephant from the viewing platform.
Lunch is provided before elephant bathing time. After a safety briefing you can join in to scrub and bathe the elephant (bring some shorts/swim gear and change of clothing) or alternatively just kick back and enjoy watching the elephants bathe.
We depart the Elephant Nature Park at around 5pm to return to Chiang Mai.
Included Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep transport (minivan for group)
  • Day trip: Elephant Nature Park
Optional Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB200
  • Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB750
  • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple - THB50
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mae Ping River Experience - THB2105
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts)
Day 8 Doi Mae Salong
Set off by road to the Golden Triangle region.
We travel by bus from Chiang Mai to Mae Chan and then transfer to a songthaew to continue onto Doi Mae Salong
The atmosphere in the charming town of Doi Mae Salong is reminiscent of a small southern Chinese village. The region is famous for its Chinese tea traders and you can enjoy a cup of tea in a traditional Chinese tea house overlooking the mountains. Check out the interesting markets, full of produce and crafts made by hilltribe people.
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 9 Homestay
Using local songthaews, visit the point of the Golden Triangle where the Thailand, Burma and Laos borders meet. Stop at the border town of Mae Sai, which is full of colourful shops stacked with Chinese goods.
Pay a visit to the House of Opium Museum for a deeper insight into this area's problematic past.
Head to a small Thai village to stay in the home of some local friends. There's plenty of time to experience the quiet village life before sampling a traditional northern Thai khantohk dinner. This evening enjoy a traditional Thai musical performance from our local friends children's band. Staying here is a true privilege and a chance to experience the real Thailand - something very few travellers are able to do. Our basic multishare homestay is in a local village. There will be fold-out mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms.
Included Activities
  • Chaing Rai - Opium Museum
Accommodation
Homestay (1 nt)
Days 10-11 Hilltribe Trek
Walking through hilltribe villages and meeting the locals is, for many, the highlight of this trip. Visit various villages, each with their own unique language, clothing style and belief system.
Please note that you should be fairly fit as we hike across hilly countryside and rain or hot, humid weather pose extra challenges. We walk for about 5 hours each day so there's no great rush. The terrain is rural rather than jungle - the hilltribes grow rice and other vegetables on the slopes - and we trek along village tracks. There's also the possibility of some shallow river crossings. Please note, there may be times during the trek when the use of video and/or still cameras may be inappropriate. Your group leader will advise you further. Each person carries their own pack for the whole trek (see the 'What To Take' section for luggage requirements). All meals are included while trekking, but you'll need to purchase and carry your own water (please allow US$10 for the entire trek).
Accommodation is multishare, sleeping on your rented roll mats on the floor of the wooden/bamboo huts typical of the villages. There are shared squat toilets and basic washing facilities (a hose or water pipe) in most villages. We may also 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
  • Hill-tribe - 3 day trek
Accommodation
Hilltribe village (2 nts)
Day 12 Chiang Rai
Trek for around 3 hours before transferring to Chiang Rai.
Chiang Mai's 'little sister', Chiang Rai boasts a great night market and a variety of good restaurants.
This charming city has a small-town feel and is a great place to explore on foot. Or you may wish to explore the town from the Mekong River on a boat trip.
Optional Activities
  • Chiang Rai - Mekong River boat trip (1-4 pax) - THB1000
Accommodation
Guesthouse (1 nt)
Day 13 Chiang Mai
Travel by bus to Chiang Mai (approx 4 hrs).
The rest of the day is free to explore.
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.
Accommodation
Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 14-16 Bangkok
Arrive back in Bangkok and spend your day shopping or sightseeing. Being a weekend, this is a great opportunity to visit the weekend market at Chatuchak - one of the biggest and busiest markets you will ever see. Your leader can also give you other ideas of what to do - places like Jim Thompson's House, the Grand Palace and Chinatown are all great to explore. There's a fantastic array of transport options available for getting around this traffic-choked city and although it's most efficient to stick to the canals, river and Skytrain, a trip in a tuk-tuk is certainly an experience!
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.
No trip to Thailand is complete without an overnight train journey - in the evening we head south bound for Surat Thani, 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.
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Thai massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Wat Pho temple - THB100
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
Accommodation
Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
Days 17-18 Ko Pha-Ngan
Arrive into Surat Thani and continue by bus (approx 1.5 hrs) and boat (approx 3 hrs) over to Ko Pha-Ngan.
The beautiful island of Ko Pha-Ngan is a perfect spot for relaxing on the beach or exploring the island's fishing villages, temples and waterfalls. While here you can try a delicious seafood barbecue by the beach.
Optional Activities
  • Koh Pha Ngan - Thai Massage - THB300
Accommodation
Guesthouse (2 nts)
Days 19-20 Ko Tao
From one island paradise to another - it's about 2 hours by boat to Ko Tao.
Famous for its spectacular coral reefs, the delightful little island of Ko Tao is the place for immersing yourself in tropical waters and relaxing on the beach under swaying coconut palms - what a tough life!
Take a snorkelling trip to explore around the island. With coral and fish aplenty and the remote chance of seeing timid reef sharks amongst mesmerising coral formations, Ko Tao is undeniably one of the jewels in southern Thailand's crown.
In the evenings, you can stroll the beaches or sample local fare at a seafood restaurant. Ko Tao also has a small but lively scene for those who are interested in some dancing and drinking on the shoreline.
Included Activities
  • Ko Tao - Day tour & snorkelling
Accommodation
Bungalow (2 nts)
Days 21-23 Ko Samui
Take a boat over to Ko Samui (approx 2.5 hrs).
Take a day trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park - an idyllic archipelago of around 40 islands - where you have the opportunity to explore some of the islands and do some snorkelling. Please note that if weather conditions are not suitable, an alternative activity will be substituted.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
Included Activities
  • Ko Samui - Ang Thong Marine Park tour
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.
  • TTSEC Single supplement (TTSEC)
We also recommend
If this trip is not quite right for you, cast your eye over these alternatives:
  • Thailand Adventure West Coast (nov - apr) (TTZEC)
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. For the latest updated Trip Notes please visit our website: www.intrepidtravel.com
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.
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

This trip will raise your heartbeat. Moderate physical activities are included and a good level of fitness is required.
Physical preparation
For the trek on this trip the general rule is the more preparation you have done for it, the more you will enjoy it. Although we are not walking at altitude or setting any distance records each day, the trek can still be demanding, as we walk through hilly terrain with our packs, and the temperature is often hot. We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. 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.
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.
Tipping
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
Departure tax
All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.
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. However you can download Intrepid's FREE Meet Up app to chat with your fellow travellers before your trip. Meet up, discuss your upcoming trip and share the excitement of planning for your adventure. For more information visit: www.intrepidtravel.com/meetup
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. The following days are excluded from the single supplement:
Day 4 Rafthouse
Day 5 Overnight Train
Day 8 Homestay
Days 9 & 10 Trek
Days 13 & 16 Overnight Train
Accommodation
Guesthouse (6 nts), Hotel (5 nts), Overnight sleeper train (3 nts), Hilltribe village (2 nts), Bungalow (2 nts), Homestay (1 nt), Rafthouse (1 nt)
OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
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.
TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS
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.
CHECK-IN TIME
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.
PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
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.
OVERNIGHT TRAINS
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.
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.
Meals
6 Breakfasts, 5 Lunches, 4 Dinners
Budget for meals not included:
USD 460.00
Transport
Van, Taxi, Bus, Sammlaw (cycle rickshaw), Songthaew, Overnight sleeper train, Ferry
LONG TRAVEL DAYS
There are some long travel days and some of the transport can be quite cramped and without air-conditioning.
OVERNIGHT TRAINS
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.
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
Viengtai Hotel
42 Rambuttri Road
Banglumphu
Bangkok
10200
THAILAND
Phone: +66 22805434
Fax: +66 22818153
Joining point description
Centrally located just off famous Khao San road, the Viengtai is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. Local area maps are available from reception.
Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, AC, TV, phone & mini-fridge. The hotel has 24hr reception, restaurant and swimming pool.
www.viengtai.co.th/en
Joining point instructions
Metered taxi ranks are located outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor (gate 4 and 7) Go out of the customs hall, do 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 (US$13). Non-metered taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700 (US$20). It will take about 1 hour drive to the hotel.
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 outside. Look for exit door 6 and our representative holding a sign with your name on it.
If you have any problems locating our representative please go to the ATTA Counter (Association of Thai Travel Agents) near exit door 6 and ask to call our transfer company on one of the following 24 hour numbers:
081 658 2727 or
081 566 9324
If you flight is delayed or cancelled please call the above numbers.
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 group 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 operators Emergency phone numbers from our Emergency Contact section of these trip notes.
Finish point
Beach House Samui Hotel
16/1 Moo 4, Big Buddha Beach, Koh Samui
Suratthani
Ko Samui
84320
THAILAND
Phone: 077 245124
Fax: 077 245123
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$400, to be used when unforeseen incidents or circumstances outside our control (eg. a natural disaster, civil unrest or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.
Visas
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.
VISAS
THAILAND:
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 and although you won't be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.
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.
FOR THE TREK:
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.
WATER BOTTLE:
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
Health
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.
DENGUE FEVER:
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.
Safety
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. 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 group 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 group 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:
FIRE PRECAUTIONS:
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.
BALCONIES:
Some hotel balconies don't meet UK standards in terms of the width of the balcony fence being narrower than 10cm.
TRAFFIC AND DRIVING ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROAD:
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!
SEAT BELTS:
Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in the western world or from your home country and not all the transport which we use provides seat belts.
PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY:
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 and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.
CYCLING:
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.
LIFE JACKETS:
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.
WATER SAFETY:
Please take care when taking part in any activities in the ocean, river or open water, where waves and currents can be unpredictable. It's expected that anyone taking part in water activities is able to swim and have experience in open water. All swimmers should seek local advice before entering the water.
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 group 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:
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
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:
LOCAL DRESS:
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.
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$5,000 per donor and a total of AU$400,000 for all donors in each financial year). And every cent gets there as Intrepid Travel pays for all the administration costs. Donating is simple and secure. Please ask your group 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 708.00 kgs per pax.
Feedback
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.
Remember that once you’ve left your feedback you’ll automatically be entered into our monthly draw for a US$500 (or equivalent in your local currency) travel voucher.