This is the ultimate Thailand experience for every kind of traveller. This 23-day trip combines the best highlights of Northern Thailand, with the picturesque tropical appeal of the islands. Experience cultural touchstones like the former capital city of Ayutthaya and a hilltribe trek outside of Chiang Mai and then head south to discover some of the most idyllic beaches in the entire world. Want Thailand? You've got it.
- Travel Style : Classic
- Service Level : Standard
- Physical Grading : 2 - Light
- Trip Type : Small Group
- What's Included:Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
Your Local Living Moment: Overnight Rafthouse Excursion, Kanchanaburi
Your Discover Moment: Chiang Mai
Your Foodie Moment: Cooking Class, Chiang Mai
Your Local Living Moment: Village Homestay, Lampang. Klong boat tour (Bangkok). Wat Po guided visit. Erawan Falls and Bridge on the River Kwai visit (Kanchanaburi). Temple ruins tour (Ayutthaya). Thai Burma Railway Centre visit. Doi Suthep temple visit (Chiang Mai). Trek to remote hilltribe villages (3 days). Lod Cave visit and bamboo rafting. Free time to explore Chiang Mai. Mae Sai visit (Chiang Rai). Opium Museum visit. Bicycle tour (half-day, Sukhothai). Snorkelling excursion (Koh Tao). Free time on spectacular beaches. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
- Highlights:Hop aboard a Klong boat tour in Bangkok, visit Erawan Falls and Bridge on the River Kwai, embark on a hiltribe village trek, enjoy a local cooking class in Chiang Mai, discover local marine life snorkelling in Koh Tao
- Dossier Disclaimer:The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
- Itinerary Disclaimer:While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
- Important Notes:PASSPORT DETAILS
G Adventures requires your passport number and date of birth before we can confirm your booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.
There may be a weight restriction for the internal flight on this tour. Each passenger is allowed to carry one checked bag with a maximum weight of 15 kg (33lbs). Additional bags or excess weight charges may apply. These charges are the responsibility of the passengers.
- Group Leader Description:All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our CEOs, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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 countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it's the best of both worlds.
- Meals Included:21 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 5 dinners
- Meals:Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap.
- Transport:Train, private vehicle, open pickup truck, trekking, raft, bicycle, longtail boat, ferry, plane.
- About our Transportation:Land Transfers & Included Tours/activities: Many of the land transfers and included tours will be by private van, car or taxi, while others may be shared with other travellers depending on availability, nature of the activity and destination. For transfers, you may have a local non English-speaking driver only, for included tours, you will be accompanied by an English speaking local guide.
Thai Trains: As the popularity of train travel in Thailand continues to grow domestically, some of the routes used on this tour do not have sufficient space during local public holidays, including New Year’s, Songkran, etc. During these times of the year, alternative transport may be arranged for one or more of the train journeys on this tour.
- Local Flights:All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.
- Solo Travellers:We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
- Accommodation:Hotels/guesthouses (17 nts), rafthouse (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt), basic huts (2 nts, multi-share), homestay (1 nt).
- My Own Room Exceptions:Days 2, 5, 7, 8, and 13.
- About Accommodation:A variety of styles of hotels/guesthouses are used on this tour. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home, as service and efficiency can vary. In some areas we stay in simple local guesthouses in stunning locations – rooms are small and basic, may be multi-share, and there may be shared toilet facilities and showers.
- Joining Hotel:For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
- Joining Instructions:When arriving at Suvarnabhumi Airport (pronounced 'su wan na poom') in Bangkok proceed to the Arrivals Hall where you can change money into Thai Baht. (You may be approached by nicely dressed, official looking touts offering an expensive limousine service to your hotel; ignore these offers.)
This trip could start in either Centra Central Station Hotel Bangkok or FX Makkasan Metrolink Hotel. Please make sure to check your tour vouchers for correct accommodation.
You have two transport options; taxi or the Airport Train & MRT. All transportation is located on the ‘ground’ floor.
The airport is located 30km’s away from downtown Bangkok. Approach the taxi counters, advise them where you are going and they will write this information down for you along with the taxis registration details. Taxis should always use the meter and you are required to pay a 50 Baht airport surcharge on top of the metered fee plus any tollway fees (approx 75 -125 Baht depending on the route taken). Total journey will cost between 350 THB – 500 THB, depending on traffic and toll fees. The expressway is substantially faster, so tell the taxi driver to use the expressway, you can say either ""kuen ton-way"" (from 'tollway') or ""kuen taang duan"" in Thai (but most understand Tollway/express way in English).
Centra Central Station Bangkok:
If you are staying at the Centra Central Station Bangkok, you can take the Airport Train. Board the express airport train at the City Air Terminal at a cost of 150 THB. Here you will ride all the way along to Makkasan Subway station where you will need to disembark and change to the MRT Blue line, boarding at Phetchaburi Station.
From Petchaburi Station travel to the last stop, Hua Lamphong, and follow the signs for Exit 1. Once out, walk 2-3 minutes. The hotel is located across the road. Please note, the hotel lobby is located on the 12th floor of the building.
FX Makkasan Hotel:
If you are staying at the FX Makkasan Metrolink Hotel, you can take the Airport Train. Board the express airport train at the City Air Terminal at a cost of 150 THB. Here you will ride the airport train all the way to Makkasan subway station. Disembark at Makkasan station and you will find FX Makkasan Metrolink Hotel right outside next to Phetchaburi MRT station.
If you have paid in advance for an arrival transfer, a G Adventures representative will be at the airport to meet you (go to entrance door 3). If for any reason you are not met at the airport, please call our local support line. If you are unable to make contact for whatever reason, please make your way to the joining point hotel via taxi.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
A G Adventures Representative will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
- Arrival Complications:We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.
If you have pre-booked an airport transfer please meet your driver at gate number 10 of the airport, in the arrival hall. Look for a driver holding a G Adventures sign with your name.
If you have still have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
- Emergency Contact:Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures or if an arrival transfer is included in the cost of your tour, please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
If your call is specifically concerning Bangkok Airport Transfer complications please call our local G Adventures Transfer provider directly at:+66 86 321 0729 (086 321 0729 from within Thailand) or +66 82 450 2777 (082 450 2777 from within Thailand)
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 508 8630
From within Thailand: 02 508 8630
After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
- What to Take:What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit.
Most travellers prefer to carry a softbag or rolling bag of small to medium size can be suitable. If you have combined Independent trip with some other G Adventures trip (basic or standard) we recommend you to travel with a backpack. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.
If you don’t know what type of clothes to bring, you can check different weather web sites. We also recommend you to bring sun protection creams (better to buy them at home, because ones in Thailand are produced for local types of skin).
- Laundry:Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
- Spending Money:Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
- Money Exchange:During this tour the local currency you will use is the Thai Baht. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers' cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached. Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
- Emergency Fund:Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
- Tipping:It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
- Optional Activities:Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
- Chan Kasem National Museum Visit
- Chao Sam Phraya Museum Visit
- Muay Thai Fight
- Night Market
- Chiang Mai Cycling Tour (30USD per person)
- Mae Sai Waterfall Visit
- Horse Cart Ride
- Ang Thong Marine Park Island Hopping Tour
- Stand Up Paddleboarding at Koh Samui (50USD per person)
Ko Pha Ngan
- Ko Pha-Ngan Waterfalls Exploration
- Yoga and Meditation Courses
- Open Water Half Day Dive Experience
- Bangkok Express: Ko Tao to Bangkok (129-195USD per person)
- Health:Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information about before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug.
- Safety and Security: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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer 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. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.
- A Couple of Rules:Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any 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 our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they engage in any form of paid sex work.
- Travel Insurance:Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
- Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation:The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
- Local Dress:In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.
- Feedback:After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at email@example.com and we will send it on to you.
- Newsletter:Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
- Minimum Age:You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
- International Flights:Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
Itinerary (23 days)
Arrive at any time.
Enjoy a klong boat tour of Bangkok including a visit to Wat Pho. Travel to Kanchanaburi and head to your floating rafthouse accommodation. Enjoy free time to explore.
Enjoy a day of sightseeing at Erawan Falls and the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya
Explore the Allied War Cemetery and the Thai-Burmese Railway Centre to learn more about the area's history. Travel to Ayutthaya and visit the historical sites of the old capital city. Opt to visit Chan Kasem National Museum and Chao Sam Phraya Museum.
Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai
Spend a full day exploring Ayutthaya before boarding an overnight train to Chiang Mai.
Arrive in Chiang Mai and explore the city. Visit Doi Suthep in the afternoon.
Chiang Mai/Ban Pha Mon
Drive from Chiang Mai to the trailhead. Trek through farmland and bamboo and teak forests. Learn about bush food and medicinal plants. Enjoy lunch en route before continuing through rice fields and valleys to reach the first village of a Lahu tribe. Assist with food prep and cooking, learn about weaving and embroidery or check out a local Lahu massage.
Ban Pha Mon/Ban Muang Pam
Trek between villages, over farmlands and grasslands, and ascend to the ridge line. Learn about bush medicine and seasonal fruits as you make your way to the lunch stop. Go for a swim and help the local guides prepare lunch. Continue on to the Karen village and spend the night. Opt to learn about medicine from a shaman or play football with the locals.
Ban Muang Pam/Chiang Mai
After breakfast, leave the village and continue on, stopping at other villages along the way. Arrive at Tham Lod, a 1666m deep cave. Enter by bamboo raft and move to different chambers - a truly unique experience. After lunch, drive back to Chiang Mai for some free time to explore.
Enjoy free time to explore Chiang Mai. Opt for a bicycle tour, a visit the Mae Sai waterfall, shopping at the night market, or getting a traditional Thai massage. Enjoy a local cooking class with dinner.
Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai
Travel to Chiang Rai and start exploring.
Visit the town of Mae Sai and the Opium Museum.
Continue on to Lampang and enjoy a homestay in a traditional Lanna village. Participate in craft demonstrations and opt to help prepare a local meal.
Take in traditional morning activities, followed by lunch in the village. Travel to Sukhothai and enjoy a free afternoon.
Take a half-day guided bike tour of Sukhothai Historical Park and explore the area with some free time.
Travel to Bangkok and enjoy some time for last minute shopping.
Catch a flight to Surat Thani and board a ferry to the tropical island of Ko Samui. Relax on the beach or visit the bustling little town.
Relax on the beach or visit the bustling little town. Opt for a snorkelling trip in Ang Thong Marine Park.
Ko Samui/Ko Pha Ngan
Take a ferry to nearby Ko Pha-Ngan, with time to explore the island's waterfalls, swim in lagoons, hike, or relax. If it's the right time, opt to take part in the island's famous Full Moon Party.
Ko Pha Ngan
Enjoy free time to make the most of Ko Pha-Ngan.
Ko Pha Ngan/Ko Tao
Travel by ferry to Ko Tao, in English known as ‘turtle island’. While most of the visitors spend their days in the water, in the evening the beach bars and hotels spill over with people looking to share their tales of the days activities and a cold beer or two.
Enjoy an included snorkelling trip from Ko Tao through Ko Nang Yuan.
Depart at any time. If booking a flight out of Ko Samui airport, the earliest departure time should be 11:00 am Want to take the hassle out of getting back to Bangkok? Book the Bangkok Express, a two-day post-tour Extra. Speak to your Global Connection Officer or travel agent to book.