This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2017 to 12 October 2017. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2018 - 31 December 2018
This trip includes an overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Accommodation is simple but comfortable – soft sleeper class multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds, with sheets and a pillow provided. Overnight trains are a real Intrepid experience and one of the best ways to come face-to-face with the country and its people.
This is an active style trip so a good level of fitness and a passion for hiking, biking and rafting is of course recommended.
These trips are setup to involve and include all the family so no real physical preparation is necessary. The trips all have some degree of physical activity but nothing that is too strenuous. Please check the physical rating on the trip notes and if you need further explanation please contact one of our sales consultants who will provide you with more detailed information.
Nouvo City Hotel
2 Samsen Road, Pranakorn
Phone: +66 22827500
Private arrival transfers are available at the time of booking. Please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your departure. After exiting customs go outside and look for exit door 4 and our representative holding a sign with your name on it.
If you have any problems and cannot locate 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 are making your own way to the hotel, metered taxi ranks are located outside the airport entrance on the 2nd floor. Go out of the customs hall 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 THB70. The total fare should be about US$12 (THB400). Non-metered taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of US$20 (THB700).
Normal check in time at the hotel is after 14:00.
ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP:
While we always endeavor to provide you 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/specialist guide or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem. 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/guide to speak to their direct manager.
Intrepid's Thailand Office: +66 898 103 722
Nouvo City Hotel
2 Samsen Road, Pranakorn
Phone: +66 22827500
Departure transfer is available - enquire at time of booking.
If you have a transfer to the Bangkok Airport your transfer driver will collect you from your Hotel 3 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel / guesthouse reception to call our transfer operator World Travel Idea 24hr number 081 658 2727 or 081 566 9324.
A taxi to the airport costs between THB400-700 (US$13-20) depending on time of day and toll ways, and takes approx. 1 hour.
Normal check out time is 12 noon. If you are departing later, you can arrange luggage storage at the hotel.
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.
After your travels, we want to hear from you! We realise that our partner company may ask you to complete paper or online feedback following your trip, however we would also like to know what you thought and encourage you to submit your feedback to us too. 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.
A discount of 10% applies on this trip to children 17 years and under at the time of travel.
Please note that these trips are for adults and children travelling together and there must be at least one child under 18 with you.
Minimum age for children on this trip is 11 years old.
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.
Kids' bellies are delicate and the standards of hygiene you may experience while travelling in this region can be less than what you are accustomed to at home. There are a few simple precautions you can take that will keep the family travelling in good health.
Make sure you always travel with plenty of water so you do not risk dehydration.
With all the exotic tastes available it would be a shame to avoid the great experience of trying new foods for the first time - both kids and parents! In most cases food is fresh and tasty, and perfectly fine to eat, however it can contain ingredients that you are not used to. Any change in diet (no matter where in the world you travel) can result in an upset stomach. Usually this is the only side-effect and it can last a few days. We don't want you to miss out savouring new flavours, but be wary of what you choose to eat - especially what your kids eat.
Keep your hands clean - and the kids'. It is important to remember to do this before eating especially if you will be eating with your hands as may be the custom. Antiseptic wipes or antiseptic hand gel (which you can use without water) are fabulous inventions - made with travelling families in mind.
CONTACT WITH ANIMALS:
In new and exciting destinations we often come across different animals. There are a lot of stray cats and dogs in some destinations. Keep an eye on children in these situations as aggravated animals can bite and may transmit diseases including rabies.
MEDICAL PREPARATION FOR KOKODA
Physical Fitness Trekking the Kokoda Track is physically demanding. The 96km track is a narrow, uneven, muddy path with numerous steep inclines and declines. The climate is hot and humid. A high level of fitness is required and training is essential. Any training programme should consist of aerobic exercise, strength building and hiking up and down hills with a backpack. We recommend that all trekkers over the age of 40 have an exercise stress test prior to commencement of training. Those with risk factors such as obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or strong family history of cardiac disease should consider an exercise stress test even if under the age of 40. Trekkers with known cardiac disease should have a stress echocardiogram or myocardial perfusion study prior to commencement of training, Please refer to our Kokoda Training program immediately after you have booked to allow yourself plenty of time to physically prepare for the trip.
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
Your group leader will endeavour to cater for specific dietary requirements where possible, and vegetarianism and gluten intolerance will be catered for in most instances. There are, however some meals and activities that are fixed in advance and therefore cannot be modified to suit dietary requirements. These instances will be indicated in the ‘trip notes’ itinerary. Please notify your group leader of any dietary requirements in your group meeting at the start of the trip.
For those suffering from particular food allergies, your group leader will endeavour to disclose to their fullest knowledge the main ingredients in dishes being consumed. It is, however, your personal responsibility to ensure that you do not ingest any foods to which you are allergic.
GENERAL ROOMING CONFIGURATIONS:
Family of two - All family groupings of two will be put into a twin room.
Family of three - Wherever possible we will put you in a triple room. Please be aware that in a handful of places triple rooms are in short supply. This means that, in practice, a triple room will often simply be a twin room with a mattress on the floor or a further bed squashed in. Where it is impossible to provide a triple room, you will have to decide which of your party takes the single room.
Family of four or more - You will most likely stay in two twin rooms. If and wherever possible we will aim put you in a quadruple room. Whilst we will do our very best to ensure that families are roomed close together (in some cases, we can arrange adjoining rooms), we can’t guarantee this. Most family holidays occur during peak season and we sometimes have little to no control over where you will be put. You need to come prepared for this.
We believe that the vehicles you use pay an important part in your holiday so where possible we include a wide variety of vehicles from local remorks or tuk tuks in Asia to feluccas on the Nile as well as the ubiquitous air conditioned minibus.
If you are happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it is of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations. We recommend that any tips are given to the intended recipient by a member of your group, rather than collected and passed on by the group leader.
Restaurants: Local markets and basic restaurants - round your bill up to the nearest US$1. More up-market restaurants we suggest 10% to 15% of your bill.
Your crew: Tipping is entirely voluntary. The crew may be travelling with you for many weeks and usually they become good friends with most members of the group. It is sometimes easy to forget that they do work hard to ensure that you do have a great trip. If you feel you would like to tip them, they certainly would appreciate it. On a number of our trips, we also use a local guide as well as our own crew. These guides live and travel with you through their home country and it is usual to tip them when they leave. We recommend USD10 to USD15 per person
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.
You will be required to pay airport and departure taxes in most countries. Most of these are added to the ticket price on purchase and you will not need to bother further about them. Others must be paid physically at the airport on departure. All airport taxes should now be included in the price of your flight ticket and so there should be no need to pay additional tax at the airport. However we recommend that you check with your travel agent for the latest information.
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.
You visit a number of temples on this trip so it's a good idea to take a sarong along with you as it is compulsory to wear in a lot of temples and for shoulders and knees to be covered. Singlets, tank tops, shorts are not acceptable attire for temple visits.
All Intrepid Family trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to assist your family take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Your leader will provide information on the places you are travelling through, offer suggestions for fun things to do and see- for both kids and parents, recommend great local eating venues that will even get the kids trying new things, 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 countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects.
Our leaders are not babysitters on this trip - we leave that to you (the experts), but they will make sure that group members of all ages are able to explore their destination safely and with as much fun as possible. Our group leaders are not responsible for looking after children at any time and children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at all times throughout this itinerary.
You may stay at hotels with unfenced pools and no life guard on duty.
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 most included activities but you won’t be accompanied while travelling between locations. During your trip you'll also 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:
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 Peregrine travellers. Peregrine’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 violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment at Peregrine, either between passengers or involving our leaders, local operators or locals. 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.
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.
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. On our Family Adventures, single relatives or friends are welcome to travel along with a family. These single travellers share with people of the same gender for the duration of the trip and in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Please note that 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 Comfort and Original style trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.
A single supplement is available on this trip, please refer to your booking agent for further information.
You will travel in a group with other like-minded families who may have come from all over the world. We find that the kids of all ages usually bond really well and act as a catalyst for the rest of the group. If you are keen to know the ages of other children on the trip then please ask. 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.
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.
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.
Thai Etiquettes and Customs
Your tour leader will advise you further on Thai cultural etiquettes during your tour; however, here are some simple ones to get you started.
· Patting a Thai on their head is considered extremely rude and insulting
· Public displays of affection are not acceptable, including holding hands and kissing.
· Losing your temper or showing anger and shouting or yelling will lose respect immediately; to remain cool, calm and collected at all times is an admired quality in a person in Thai culture
· When visiting temples, ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. They are places of worship, so it is important to dress modestly
· The monarchy is held in very high esteem in Thailand. Please show the highest level of respect to the king of Thailand and never make jokes about him
ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:
During your visit to Asia there will be many opportunities to ride elephants and see them perform. While we believe it's important to give our travellers a choice and respect each individual's decision, we recommend that Intrepid travellers bypass this activity. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including the World Society for Protection of Animals (WSPA), 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 wellbeing. 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 following pdf:
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.