Thailand Adventure West Coast (nov - apr) Trip Notes

Thailand Adventure West Coast (nov - apr)

Last Modified: 13 May 2016
Thailand Adventure West Coast (nov - apr)
Trip code: TTZEC
Validity: 01 Jan 2016 to 31 Dec 2016
Discover the riches of Thailand in this epic trip from north to south. On this adventure we take you from the bright lights and crazy sights of Bangkok city to the serenity of the rainforest, from atmospheric ruins to tropical sun-drenched islands like Samui, Tao and Pha-Ngan. If you're after the idyllic Thailand getaway with the perfect blend of northern adventure and southern relaxation, then this tour is definitely for you.
Table of Contents
StyleAccommodation NotesFinishing point instructions
ThemesMeals introductionEmergency contact
Why we love itMealsVisas
MapTransportWhat to take
ItineraryMoney mattersClimate and seasonal information
Itinerary disclaimerGroup leaderHealth
Physical ratingSafetyTravel insurance
Included activitiesJoining pointA couple of rules
Important notesJoining point descriptionResponsible Travel
Group sizeJoining point instructionsThe Intrepid Foundation
Your fellow travellersFinish pointFeedback
AccommodationFinish point description
Style
Original
Themes
Explorer
Why we love it
- Experience local village life on a homestay
- Learn about the Golden Triangle’s past
- Discover beachside bliss in Krabi
Map

Itinerary
Day 1 Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Thailand's bustling capital, Bangkok is famous for its tuk tuks, khlong boats and street vendors serving up delicious Thai food. 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, and have your insurance details and next of kin information ready for collection. Bangkok has so much to offer those with time to explore, so perhaps arrive a day or so early and 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. After the meeting tonight, perhaps gather your fellow travellers together and tuck into some world famous street food.
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
  • Bangkok - Chatuchak Market visit - THB100
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
    Accommodation
    Hotel (1 nt)
    Day 2 Kanchanaburi/River Kwai
    Begin the day with a river cruise down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous ‘khlongs’ (canals) (approximately 1 hour). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Pay a visit to Wat Pho, one of the ‘trinity’ of Bangkok temples, with a 46-metre long gold plated Buddha reclining inside. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with beautifully decorated stupas, halls, and shrines. Hop on a local bus and travel northwest to Kanchanaburi (approximately 4 hours). Located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.
    Included Activities
    • Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
    • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
      Accommodation
      Guesthouse (1 nt)
      Day 3 Kanchanaburi
      This morning you’ll get an insight into the darker side of Kanchanaburi’s history with a visit to the Jeath War Museum and the Allied War Cemetery. Jeath (acronym for Japan, England, Australia-America, Thailand, Holland) was one of the first museums to attempt to educate the public and keep alive the memory of the Asian and POW workers who died constructing the infamous ‘Death Railway. Then travel to Erawan National Park (approximately 1.5 hours each way), where you can explore the famous seven-level waterfall or simply swim and relax. The falls are considered the most beautiful in the whole country, with glacial blue waters rushing through the forest into bamboo-shaded pools perfect for a refreshing dip. If you want to make the climb all the way from level one to level seven it’s about a ninety-minute hike, with the uppermost level usually quiet and with a stunning view over the jungle below. Be sure to pack your swimming gear, but also appropriate footwear if you’re going to make the walk. Level seven features a triple cascade that gives the falls their name – Erawan is the mythological three-headed white elephant that carries the Hindu god Indra. Tonight you can explore the rows of street vendors in town and grab a drink overlooking the River Kwai.
      Included Activities
      • Kanchanaburi - Erawan National Park
      • Kanchanaburi - The Kanchanaburi War Cemetary (POW Cemetary)
        Optional Activities
        • Kanchanaburi - Kayaking - THB350
          Accommodation
          Guesthouse (1 nt)
          Day 4 Kanchanaburi
          Today you’ll then spend a memorable day and night floating down the Mae Glong River in a raft house. The raft house is towed by a boat, and it is your transport down the river, your lounge room for the day to sit back and enjoy the sights, and your bed for the night. This is a unique way to travel and sets the scene for pure relaxation. Spend the afternoon temple-hoping down the river, stopping off to see the cave temple of Wat Baan Tham, a Chinese temple called Wat Tham Khao Noi, and a Thai temple called Wat Tham Suea. There’s also plenty of time for card playing, reading a book, or just taking in the view down the river. This really is an Intrepid style of travel!

          Notes: The raft house has Western style toilets and shared bathrooms with showers. There is an open plan living area that is fully covered and so offers plenty of shade, but the sides are open to take in the views and to feel the breeze while moving down the river. At night time the raft house will be moored, and the living room becomes the sleeping area. Thai style thin mattresses are placed on the floors with sheets provided, and everyone will sleep in the one area. Mosquito nets are also provided. Delicious Thai food will also be served on the raft house.
          Included Activities
          • Kanchanaburi - Wat Baan Tham
            Accommodation
            Rafthouse (1 nt)
            Meals
            1 lunch, 1 dinner
            Day 5 Ayuthaya
            After your river adventure, you’ll disembark and travel by private mini van to Ayutthaya, via Suphanburi (approximately 5 hours). Day rooms will be arranged, as you take an overnight train later tonight. Ayutthaya was the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai, and it became one of the most powerful in Asia with over 1 million residents by AD 1700. Trading brought great riches to the city, and merchant tales tell of golden palaces, elaborate ceremonies, and breathtaking temples. You’ll see the remains and reminders of its golden age with a guided tour of the picturesque ruins and temples spread across the town. The rows of headless Buddhas at Wat Phra Mahathat, sacked by the Burmese in the 18th century, are very atmospheric, and a Buddha head surrounded by Banyan tree roots is perhaps the most photographed site in all of Ayutthaya. This evening you’ll head north to Chiang Mai on an overnight train journey, accommodated in air-conditioned sleeping berths (approximately 13 hours).

            Notes: Multi share compartments are air-conditioned, with bunk beds; sheets and a pillow provided. Your baggage travels in the carriage with you. There is a food and drink service available on board.
            Included Activities
            • Ayutthaya - Temple Ruins Guided Tour
              Accommodation
              Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
              Meals
              1 breakfast
              Day 6 Chiang Mai
              The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. Renowned for dazzling beauty and extremely welcoming locals, the ‘Rose of the North’ will leave you spellbound. Chances are, you won’t want to leave. When you arrive in Chiang Mai, your first day will be free. There are a number of optional activities for you to choose from, so you can do as much, or as little, as you like. Perhaps simply have a traditional Thai massage before heading down to the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a shopaholic’s dream. There are also many Thai cooking schools offering courses for budding chefs, sure to help you impress your friends when you return home. Or get active with a bicycle tour to discover the city and surrounding countryside from a different perspective; temples and ruins, the McCain institute for handicapped artists, and possibly a sticky rice factory are just some of the sights you may visit.
              Optional Activities
              • Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB200
              • Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB950
              • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
                Accommodation
                Hotel (1 nt)
                Day 7 Chiang Mai
                Set off early this morning, around 8am, and drive along the Mae Taeng Valley to the Elephant Nature Park (approximately 60 kilometres), a unique project providing a sanctuary and rescue centre for elephants. You’ll be greeted by an expert guide and learn the stories of rescued elephants and understand the issues surrounding elephants in South-East Asia. After that you will have a chance to feed the elephant from the viewing platform. Lunch is provided before the memorable experience of elephant bath time. After a safety briefing you can join in to scrub and bathe the elephant (be sure to bring some shorts/swim gear and a change of clothing), or alternatively just sit back and enjoy watching these incredible creatures wash themselves. Return to Chiang Mai for your final evening in the city – make sure to sample some delicious traditional northern Thai food. The signature dish is kao soy, yellow wheat noodles in a curry broth, traditionally served with chicken or beef.
                Included Activities
                • Chiang Mai - Elephant Nature Park day trip
                  Accommodation
                  Hotel (1 nt)
                  Meals
                  1 lunch
                  Day 8 Doi Mae Salong
                  Set off by road to the Golden Triangle region, the area where Thailand meets Myanmar and Laos. Travel by public bus, maybe chatting with the locals, from Chiang Mai to Mae Chan (approximately 4 hours). Then transfer to a private minivan to continue onto Doi Mae Salong (approximately 1 hour). The atmosphere in the charming town of Doi Mae Salong is reminiscent of a small southern Chinese village, as it was settled by former Chinese Nationalist soldiers who fled from (then) Burma in the 1960s. 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 and tea fields. Check out the interesting markets, where you may see produce and crafts made by hilltribe people like the Akha.
                  Accommodation
                  Guesthouse (1 nt)
                  Day 9 Homestay
                  Jump in a private mini van and visit the point of the Golden Triangle, where the Thailand, Myanmar and Laos borders meet. Stop at the border town of Mae Sai, a great place to do some souvenir shopping; full of colourful shops stacked with Chinese, Thai and Lao goods, all at some of the best prices around! Pay a visit to the House of Opium Museum for a deeper insight into opium culture and this area’s problematic, drug-filled past. Then you’ll begin one of the highlights of this whole trip, when you’ll spend a few of days with the locals – head to a small Thai village and stay in the home of some local friends. There will be plenty of time to experience the quiet village life before sampling a traditional northern Thai khantohk dinner. Not only that, but this evening you’ll also 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.

                  Notes: The accommodation in the homestay is on a basic multishare basis. There will be foldout mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms.
                  Included Activities
                  • Chaing Rai - Opium Museum
                  • Homestay - Thai Musical Performance
                    Accommodation
                    Homestay (1 nt)
                    Meals
                    1 dinner
                    Day 10 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. After breakfast at the homestay and with a lunch pack in your bag, say bye to your hosts and take a songthaew to the Karen people village of Baan Yang Khamnu. After a short walk along the road, hike through green forest and climb through bamboo forest for just over an hour to the top of a hill. Around 50 minutes later you’ll arrive at a lovely waterfall where you’ll break for lunch. Through beautiful forest, crossing streams and climbing up a mountainside, you’ll reach the Akha village of Baan Pha Sert Nai 2 hours later. There are around 46 families in the village, most of whom emigrated from Myanmar around 16 years ago, and you’ll stay with one in their home near a stream with a forest view. You can join in with the local kids playing football or volleyball, or the local girls have many games they can teach you. Lend a hand to help your guide cook a delicious dinner of local food, and enjoy an early evening meal in this memorable location and experience.

                    Notes: To take the trek you should be fairly fit, as you hike across hilly countryside, and rain or hot, humid weather can pose extra challenges. You’ll walk for up to 5 hours each day, but there's no great rush. The terrain is rural rather than jungle – the hilltribes grow rice and other vegetables on the slopes – and you’ll 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 his or her 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 approximately US$10 to cover your water purchase for the 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. You 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. Sleeping bags can be rented locally – ask your leader to organise this for you at the group meeting.
                    Included Activities
                    • Hill-tribe - 3 day trek
                      Accommodation
                      Hilltribe village (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                      Day 11 Hilltribe Trek
                      After breakfast, chat with local women and see the handicrafts that they sell, perhaps choosing to purchase some – spending your money on community enterprises directly can help support community development. Begin your trek at 9am, with a distance of around 5-6 kilometres covered today. It’s a bit longer than yesterday, but the scenery is stunning and, with the cover of the jungle overhead, it won’t be too hot even in the summer. For the next 80 minutes or so you'll walk up a hill though scenic bamboo forest, then descent down to a stream where you can break and splash on some refreshingly cool water. Relax and refuel with your snacks, then continue uphill for 40 minutes to the main trail. Here you can see a Buddha image above a well of clean holy spring water that the locals drink from. 15 minutes or so later you’ll arrive at a Lisu people village, with a beautiful view across the countryside to the village you’ll stay in. Prop yourself on a rock and enjoy lunch under a shady tree. Pass tea plantations for 20 minutes, then an hour later reach Huay Kaew Waterfall. This last section can get quite hot in the dry season, so the waterfall is perfect for cooling off. Climb 15 minutes uphill to the swimming area and luxuriate in the refreshing waters (though beware it’s very slippery in rainy season). Just 10 minutes down the road is the Akha village of Baan Khum Akha, where you’ll stay tonight. The village overlooks a majestic valley surrounded by native jungle, tea plantations and lychee farms. You’ll arrive around 2pm and, after a walk around the village, have time to relax – maybe even with a recuperating massage. Flex your cooking skills as you help the guide with dinner tonight.
                      Accommodation
                      Hilltribe village (1 nt)
                      Meals
                      1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner
                      Day 12 Chiang Rai
                      Another 9am trek start takes you uphill though lychee fields, then downhill on a hike that’s easier going than yesterday. Take it easy for the next 1.5 hours or so as you walk through scenery of rice fields and bamboo jungle, stopping in the village of Baan Ja-Jor to take a look around and maybe say hi to the local school kids. Then it’s not too far to the end of the trek at Pha Sert Hot Springs in Mae Kok National Park. You walk for a total of around 3 hours today. Here you’ll have lunch and can relax, swim and reward you muscles in the springs. Transfer to Chiang Rai (approximately 40 minutes), arriving around 1pm. Chiang Mai's 'little sister', Chiang Rai boasts a relaxed atmosphere, 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. For many, the privately owned Wat Rong Khun, more commonly known as the White Temple, is a must-visit. This contemporary temple is constantly being added to and its strange design features references to Buddhist mythology, human sin and pop culture icons such as Michael Jackson, Harry Potter and Superman.
                      Optional Activities
                      • Chiang Rai - Mekong River boat trip (1-4 pax) - THB1000
                        Accommodation
                        Guesthouse (1 nt)
                        Meals
                        1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                        Day 13 Chiang Mai
                        Return to Chiang Mai by bus (approximately 4 hours). The rest of the day is free to explore. Maybe take a scenic, winding drive up a mountain (around 45 minutes) to one of the country's most stunning temple complexes, Doi Suthep. A 300-step naga-guarded stairway leads you to the temples, and the climb is well worth the effort. The hypnotic atmosphere of chanting Buddhist monks and sweeping views of the city make this a most memorable experience. This evening you’ll get back on the rails for an overnight train to Bangkok (approximately 13 hours). Conditions are the same as Day 5 – soft sleeper class.
                        Accommodation
                        Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
                        Day 14 Bangkok
                        Arrive back in Bangkok and spend your day shopping or sightseeing before meeting again for a final night's dinner. 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!
                        Optional Activities
                        • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
                        • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
                        • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
                        • Bangkok - Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB1790
                        • Bangkok - Chatuchak Market visit - THB100
                          Accommodation
                          Hotel (1 nt)
                          Day 15 Bangkok
                          Today you have a free day; you might want to consider doing an optional Urban Adventure. Or simply relax with a Thai massage and a bowl of pad thai.

                          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.
                          Optional Activities
                          • Bangkok - Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
                          • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
                          • Bangkok - Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB1790
                          • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
                            Accommodation
                            Hotel (1 nt)
                            Day 16 Bangkok
                            You’ll start today with a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage. Wat Pho is one of the ‘trinity’ of Bangkok temples, located practically next door to the Grand Palace, and inside lies a 46-metre long gold-plated Buddha. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with beautifully decorated stupas, halls, and shrines. The complex is considered the first public university in the country, and is home to the world famous Wat Pho massage school, the centre of the traditional practice. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities, and this city has so much to offer – perhaps head next door to the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok. Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Tonight you will board an overnight train southbound for Surat Thani (approximately 13 hours).

                            Notes: Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and beds are multi-share compartments with bunk bed padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing compartments with locals of the same or opposite gender. Your baggage will travel in the carriage with you. There's also a food and drink service available on board.
                            Included Activities
                            • Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
                              Optional Activities
                              • Bangkok - National Museum - THB50
                              • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
                              • Bangkok - Grand Palace - THB500
                              • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
                                Accommodation
                                Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
                                Day 17 Ao Nang/Krabi
                                Arrive into Surat Thani this morning and continue by bus (approximately 2.5 hours) to the resort town of Ao Nang. A lively beachside town in Krabi Province, Ao Nang has a main street with open-air restaurants, shops that light up the sidewalk and bars perfect for kicking back with a beer. It’s also in a great position to hop on longtail boats to beaches like Railay and idyllic islands. There's plenty of free time to relax on the beautiful beaches and get into the spirit of southern Thailand. Enjoy a relaxing massage on the beach, or simply sit back with a good book and a cool cocktail to watch the sun slip beneath the waves. Rather than relaxing today you also might want to take advantage of some of the optional activities on offer, like a cycling trip that takes you on backcountry tracks, gets you close to local culture, and rewards you with a lovely afternoon dip in a beautiful waterfall. The area around Krabi is also home to some of the most spectacular climbing routes around. Whether you're a novice or a pro, being securely tied high up a limestone cliff-face looking down on jungle and crystalline seas is unforgettable.
                                Optional Activities
                                • Ao Nang - Longtail Boat Taxi to Railay Beach - THB80
                                • Krabi - Cycling Trip including waterfall visit - THB3000
                                • Ao Nang - Thai Massage - THB300
                                • Krabi - Rock Climbing - THB1800
                                  Accommodation
                                  Guesthouse (1 nt)
                                  Day 18
                                  This morning you’ll enjoy an included sea kayaking trip to the mangrove forest of Ao Thalane. About half way along the coast between Than Bok Khoranee and Krabi town is a bay of mangroves that might just be the most beautiful bay in Thailand. Surrounded by towering karst formations and many small offshore islands, move slowly through the bays and canyons that are like passageways, discover inlets, caves and hidden lagoons, and check out the local wildlife up-close – the birds overhead and monkeys in the trees. If you have time today (or possibly on Day 3), you could explore the beautiful underwater world around Ao Nang with some scuba diving, which includes three dives. Maybe absorb Thai culture through the tastes of a Thai cooking class this afternoon. In the evenings, you can stroll the beaches or sample local fare at a seafood restaurant.
                                  Included Activities
                                  • Krabi - Sea Kayaking
                                    Optional Activities
                                    • Ao Nang - Scuba Diving (3 dives) - THB4000
                                    • Krabi - Thai Cooking Class - THB1300
                                      Accommodation
                                      Guesthouse (1 nt)
                                      Meals
                                      1 lunch
                                      Day 19 Ko Yao Noi
                                      Transfer by vehicle and longtail boat to the island of Ko Yao Noi (approximately 2 hours). Set in the heart of Phang-Nga Bay, the chilled-out island of Ko Yao Noi is a great place to relax away from the tourist trail and absorb its natural wonders. It has unspoilt shorelines, beaches and coves, a dramatic mountainous backdrop, fantastic views back across to the limestone islands of Ao Phang-Nga, and friendly locals. The afternoon is free to take an island tour, along roads that may still be dirt, past dense green forest to visit fishing villages and rubber plantations to meet the locals, or perhaps simply appreciate the islands serenity and beauty, coupled with some swimming in the crystal clear waters.

                                      Notes: In the event of unfavourable weather conditions, we may be unable to travel to Ko Yao Noi. Alternative arrangements will be made to stay on Phuket Island.
                                      Optional Activities
                                      • Koh Yao Noi - Island Sightseeing Tour - THB1000
                                        Accommodation
                                        Resort (1 nt)
                                        Day 20
                                        Today you’ll experience the beautiful underwater world that surrounds Ko Yao Noi with an included boat and snorkelling trip around the islands. Phang Nga Bay is filled with the small islands and dramatic limestone rock formations that are, for many, the iconic image of Thailand. Venture out into the bay to snorkel in the turquoise waters filled with ever-changing colours of coral and fish, and swim in the tropical sun. Enjoy a proper island-style picnic lunch on the beach at one of the many islands that are scattered around the bay, and follow it up with more swimming and snorkelling – what a tough life!
                                        Included Activities
                                        • Koh Yao Noi - Snorkelling
                                        • Koh Yao Noi - Phang Nga National Marine Park
                                          Accommodation
                                          Resort (1 nt)
                                          Meals
                                          1 breakfast, 1 lunch
                                          Day 21 Phuket
                                          Today you’ll leave the quiet and secluded nature of Ko Yao Noi for the tourist haven of Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most visited island. Travel James Bond style (who visited the nearby island of Ko Phing Kan in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun) by catching a speedboat to Phuket (approximately 1 hour). This island is certainly a brasher, more vibrant extrovert to the mellower sibling of the last few days. If a little modern pizazz is what you’re after with your dose of sunshine exotica, look no further – this island offers a little something for everyone. When you arrive on the island you’ll stop by the last untouched rainforest remaining on the island at the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can drop into Bang Pae Waterfall for a refreshing swim and then pay a visit to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. The centre takes in formerly captive gibbons and rehabilitates then for reintroduction to the wild. Operated by a local NGO, the project works to help ensure the continued existence of these furry little friends on the island. You’ll stay in the heart of Patong, where everything from shops to restaurants to nightclubs awaits.
                                          Included Activities
                                          • Phuket - Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre & Bang Pae Waterfall
                                            Accommodation
                                            Resort (1 nt)
                                            Meals
                                            1 breakfast
                                            Day 22 Phuket
                                            Phuket is ringed with beaches, each with their own distinct personalities, from a party vibe to perhaps something quieter and more romantic. If you can pull yourself away from the beautiful beaches and curving coasts, Phuket also has a range of activities to fill your day, from Thai boxing exhibitions to cabaret shows. If you love getting out on the water and exploring the islands, then perhaps use your last day to take a day trip out to the stunning Phi Phi and Khai Nok, a tiny island surrounded by white sandy beach perfect suitable for swimming and snorkelling. Perhaps gather together you fellow travellers tonight and enjoy a celebratory dinner as your Thailand west coast beach adventure comes to an end.
                                            Optional Activities
                                            • Phuket - Phi Phi & Khai Nok Island Day Trip - THB2800
                                            • Phuket - Thai kickboxing exhibition - THB600
                                              Accommodation
                                              Resort (1 nt)
                                              Meals
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Day 23 Phuket
                                              There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.
                                              Meals
                                              1 breakfast
                                              Itinerary disclaimer
                                              ITINERARY CHANGES 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. 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.

                                              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.
                                              Physical rating

                                              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
                                              Bangkok - Khlong boat (canal) tour
                                              Bangkok - Wat Pho Temple
                                              Kanchanaburi - Erawan National Park
                                              Kanchanaburi - The Kanchanaburi War Cemetary (POW Cemetary)
                                              Kanchanaburi - Wat Baan Tham
                                              Ayutthaya - Temple Ruins Guided Tour
                                              Chiang Mai - Elephant Nature Park day trip
                                              Chaing Rai - Opium Museum
                                              Homestay - Thai Musical Performance
                                              Hill-tribe - 3 day trek
                                              Krabi - Sea Kayaking
                                              Koh Yao Noi - Snorkelling
                                              Koh Yao Noi - Phang Nga National Marine Park
                                              Phuket - Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre & Bang Pae Waterfall
                                              Important notes
                                              1. A single supplement is available on this trip. See Trip Notes for more information.

                                              Group size
                                              Maximum of 12 travellers per group.
                                              Your fellow travellers
                                              GROUP TRAVEL
                                              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.

                                              SINGLE SUPPLEMENT:
                                              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 9 Homestay
                                              Days 10 & 11 Trek
                                              Days 13 & 16 Overnight Train
                                              Accommodation
                                              Guesthouse (6nt), Hilltribe village (2nt), Homestay (1nt), Hotel (3nt), Overnight sleeper train (3nt), Rafthouse (1nt), Resort (4nt)
                                              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.
                                              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
                                              8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 4 dinners
                                              Transport
                                              Bus, Overnight sleeper train, Songthaew, Speed boat, Taxi, Van

                                              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.
                                              Money matters
                                              SPENDING MONEY
                                              When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

                                              We recommend USD510 for meals not included.

                                              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.

                                              All departure taxes should be included in your international flight ticket.

                                              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 (e.g. a natural disaster, civil unrest, strike action or an outbreak of bird flu) necessitate a change to our planned route.

                                              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.

                                              Optional Tipping Kitty:
                                              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. Participation in this kitty is optional at your own discretion.

                                              Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

                                              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.
                                              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.
                                              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 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:

                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety

                                              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.

                                              SEAT BELTS:
                                              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.

                                              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 or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing.

                                              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.

                                              Please note bike helmets are provided on the included bike activity on this trip. Please note bike helmets may not be of the same standard as from your home country, if you have any concerns we recommend you bringing your own bike helmet.
                                              Joining point
                                              Nouvo City Hotel (Canal Wing)
                                              2 Samsen Road
                                              Banglumphu
                                              Bangkok
                                              10200
                                              THAILAND
                                              Phone: +66 22815596
                                              Joining point description
                                              Centrally located and close-by the famous Khao San road, the Nouvo City Hotel is within walking distance of many of the area's main attractions such as: Grand Palace, National Museum and Wat Po. Rooms are equipped with private en-suite, Formerly known as the New World City Hotel they have changed their name on the 1st of December 2014 to merge with the Nouvo City Hotel. We use the "canal wing" for all of our Intrepid Original trips that stay at this property.
                                              Breakfast is not included but a buffet breakfast can be purchased in the hotel's restaurant.
                                              Please note that no alcohol is served in this hotel but there are lots of great bars across the road
                                              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, 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.

                                              Check in time at the hotel is after 14.00
                                              Finish point
                                              Deevana Patong Resort & Spa
                                              43/2 Raj-U-Thid 200 Pee Road, Patong Beach,
                                              Kathu,
                                              Phuket
                                              83150
                                              THAILAND
                                              Phone: 66 0763414145
                                              Fax: 66 076 341706
                                              Finish point description
                                              Located at the centre of Phuket’s most popular destination – Patong, the resort is just minutes away from the famous Bangla Road’s nightlife, Jungceylon shopping and entertainment centre and 5 min walk to the beach. Guests have a wide range of facilities to enjoy during their stay including outdoor swimming pool, fitness centre, free wifi in public areas, bars, restaurants and laundry service. All rooms include private facilities, air-con, TV and safety deposit box.
                                              Finishing point instructions
                                              A pre-booked departure transfer is available. Please inquire with your agent.
                                              If you have a transfer to Phuket Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 3.5 hours before international flight and 1.5 hrs before domestic flight. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to call our transfer operator Ms. Boom on +66 81 8924252.

                                              A taxi to the airport will cost about THB1000, the reception can help you organise this.

                                              Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
                                              Emergency contact
                                              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.

                                              For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

                                              In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.


                                              Intrepid's Thailand Office: +66 898 103 722
                                              Visas
                                              As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.
                                              Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

                                              Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

                                              THAILAND:
                                              If entering by air most nationalities will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival.

                                              If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (some 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.
                                              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.

                                              Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:

                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/trips/packinglist.pdf

                                              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.
                                              Climate and seasonal information
                                              SONGKRAN FESTIVAL 27th of March 2016 and 10th of April 2016
                                              The Songkran Festival is celebrated in Thailand as the traditional New Years Day from 13 to 15 April. The meaning of the word Songkran is to pass or move into, therefore it is the movement from one year to the next. Traditionally it was celebrated with the young sprinkling water onto the hands of the elders to wish them good luck for the New Year. The young would also buy presents for the elders. This is also a time for people to do a spring clean of their house and at the local temples they would clean the Buddha images for a fresh start for the New Year. The water has always been a symbol of cleansing and now today the water has become a huge part of the festival. During Songkran you will now see children with water guns spraying anyone who comes close, locals standing with a hose waiting to spray anyone who passes by and you may even see streets lined with pick up trucks full of locals armed with buckets of water.

                                              Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting. Our 27th of March 2016 and 10th of April 2016 departures will experience the Songkran Festival.

                                              Warmer clothing and sleeping bags are recommended for the Hilltribe trek from November to January as the nights are usually quite cool during this period. Sleeping bags can be rented locally for approx. THB200, please ask your leader to organise this for you at the group meeting.
                                              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.

                                              BOX JELLY FISH
                                              Box jelly fish have been reported in Thailand waters throughout the year. Please be aware when swimming alone and follow any warnings from local authorities as stings require immediate medical treatment and fatalities have been known to occur.

                                              Zika Virus
                                              Thailand is experiencing ongoing transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, pregnant women should consider postponing travel to Thailand or talk to their doctor about possible implications.

                                              Please see further information about the Zika virus (and our current cancellation/change policy) on our safety page of the Intrepid website at http://www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us/safety
                                              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.

                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php
                                              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.
                                              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.

                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

                                              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:

                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/pdf/rt/51033_Elephant_Welfare.pdf

                                              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.

                                              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:

                                              http://www.theintrepidfoundation.org/

                                              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.

                                              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.

                                              http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback

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