Travel from the bright lights of Bangkok to the palm-fringed beaches of Krabi. Using a variety of transport and staying in a selection of simple accommodation, this is an adventurous trip that combines some of Thailand's best highlights with remote hideaways, away from the main tourist trail.
Bangkok - Explore the markets and street food stalls of Bangkok's bustling Chinatown.
Khao Sam Roi Yort - Discover the cave pagoda of Phraya Nakhon and spend a night camping on a deserted beach.
Koh Phithak - Try your hand at optional squid fishing and experience warm Thai hospitality in our homestay
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Thailand's capital, the lively metropolis of Bangkok. The bustling street life of this energetic city is set to a backdrop of colourful, ornate shrines and modern glass-fronted high-rises, which jostle for position to dominate the city's skyline. It's a place where old meets new at every corner. Sample the fresh and tasty street food, haggle in the non-stop markets and take a cruise out on Chao Phraya River to witness stunning sunsets. For those arriving on time today our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and to take us on a tour of Bangkok's street food. Embarking on the impressive metro system, we will take in the city's frenetic energy is encapsulated within this one kilometre strip of gold traders, street-side restaurants, market stalls, Chinese temples, and of course bright neon lights. We make our way through the melee of stalls where our trip Leader will explain the history of this area, providing some context for the colourful and exotic scenes in front of us. For those that are hungry, there is a huge array of tasty street food to try, and for those feeling brave, there is the delicacy of this area- deep-fried insects! If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is one hour from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up in the lobby at 8am on day 2. Please note that if you wish to join the Street food tour of Chinatown today, you must arrive at the hotel by 6pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around one hours' drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 3pm.
Today has been left free for you to explore Bangkok. There are a number of optional excursions available, enabling you to choose how you discover this fascinating city. One stand-out highlight of Bangkok is the Grand Palace, the city's gleaming and glittering centrepiece. Constructed in 1782, it was the home of Thai royalty for over 150 years, as well as housing the Royal Court and administrative seat of government. Its intricate carved statues, art work and gold-gilded architecture is some of the best in the country, and the complex also houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, one of the most sacred temples in the country. Next door to the palace is Wat Pho, otherwise known as the 'Temple of Reclining Buddha'. The iconic temple houses a huge 46 metre long golden Buddha and is symbolic of Buddhism in Thailand. Another popular option is to explore Bangkok's 'Klongs' - a narrow network of waterways navigated by long-tail boats and water taxis, offering a different way of seeing the capital. Other options include cycling through Bangkok's 'Green Lung' in Sri Nakhon Park, a morning excursion to the Damnoen Saduak Floating Market, and a full day trip to visit the temples of the ancient capital of Ayutthaya.
We make an early start today, heading to Kanchanaburi located 128 kilometres west of Bangkok. We visit the world-famous Bridge over the River Kwai and Allied War Cemetery and ride on the train along the infamous Death Railway, before continuing onto the Hellfire Pass. The building of the bridge and railway is one of the most infamous episodes of the Second World War. The Japanese built the railway to link Siam and Burma (Myanmar) using Prisoners of War between June 1942 and October 1943. We spend time learning about the gruesome history here before boarding a train for a ride along the so-called 'Death Railway', that offers wonderful scenery, but more importantly, context to the information we have taken in.
Today has been left free in Kanchanaburi, where there are a number of different activities available. You could go back and visit the Bridge over the River Kwai, walking across the bridge and along Hellfire Pass, or you could choose to float gently down the Kwai Noi River on a bamboo-raft. The nearby Erawan Waterfalls are well worth seeing, a cascading complex of waterfalls and emerald-green rock pools. It is also possible to arrange a cookery class whilst here.
This morning we leave Kanchanaburi behind and head south towards Khao Sam Roi Yort. Following a break for lunch we set off on a walk through the mangroves using a series of boardwalks, and here it is possible see several species of rare birds, such as the Oriental Hobby and Spoon-Billed Sandpiper, which use these freshwater marshes as an important breeding area. From the mangroves we continue onto Sam Phraya Beach, our base for the night. We pitch our tents on the fringes of the white sand beach, with the rest of the afternoon free to spend relaxing in the tropical surroundings. Dinner tonight will be taken in a local beach-side restaurant. Tents are of the 2 person dome style with sleeping mats and bags provided. There is a shower and toilet block with western toilets, and some participation will be required when putting up the tents. There is a cafe on the beach for dinner and where snacks can be purchased, but please note that alcohol is prohibited from being consumed on this beach.
After our beach-side breakfast we drive a short distance to Laem Sala and set off on foot to explore the spectacular Phraya Nakhon Cave, with its atmospheric pagoda built within. There is a short but steep ascent up a staircase, but the sights waiting at the top makes the climb worthwhile. After some time spent exploring the cave we then move onto Koh Phithak, where we leave behind the mainland and take a long-tail boat over the short kilometre crossing to the island, before getting settled into our homestay accommodation and meeting the community that will be hosting us over the coming 2 nights. The accommodation here is a mix of twin-share and communal rooms, with some people staying in the homes of locals, whereas some people may be in the community hall. There is access to toilets and showers in a central area, and all meals are provided.
Today has been left free to either relax and soak up the tranquil atmosphere, or to explore the island. There is a short circular walk of around 1-2 kilometres around the island, and there is also the option to take a boat trip out to snorkel the surrounding coral reefs. In the evening you may like to join the local fisherman on a squid fishing quest, where we learn the interesting techniques of this old trade, and if we get lucky our catch can be cooked onboard the boat for us to enjoy - ocean to plate in a matter of minutes.
After saying goodbye to our hosts we continue our journey south this morning, heading for our riverside jungle lodge in Khao Sok National Park. Covering an area of some 65,000 sq km, the park is one of the oldest and most bio-diverse jungles in South East Asia, boasting a lush rainforest that is older than those of either the Amazon or Central Africa. This evening we take an exciting night walk with our local guide along jungle trails, learning about the flora and fauna of the park. The park is home to a rich diversity of wildlife including elephant, tiger and Malaysian sun bear and with some 180 species of birds it is a haven for keen birdwatchers and novices alike, although of course wildlife viewings can never be guaranteed.
Today has been left free for you to explore the park at your own pace. There is the option to hire canoes and take them on the river. Alternatively if a more relaxing day is preferable then it is possible to swim in the river near the lodge, or simply relax and enjoy the idyllic jungle surroundings with the noises of the rainforest all around, and the sight of monkeys descending from the surrounding canopy to drink at the water's edge.
This morning we leave our jungle surroundings and head for the coast, the beautiful white sand beaches of Krabi our final destination. The journey will take approximately three hours, and after checking into our beach-side hotel, the rest of the afternoon is free to spend at leisure.
Today is free to relax on the beach, or you may choose to take one of a number of optional excursions. There is the option to take a speedboat to the idyllic island of Koh Phi Phi that includes swimming and snorkelling in Maya Bay (famous from the film 'The Beach), discovering Viking Cave and visiting the monkeys living on the aptly named Monkey Island. Other possibilities include a kayaking trip through the mangrove forest of Ao Thanlane, you could visit Krabi's natural hot springs and the emerald lagoon, or take a traditional long-tail boat through the towering limestone cliffs of Phang Nga Bay and visit the famous 'James Bond Island'.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Krabi. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Krabi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Krabi Airport (KBV), which is 40 minutes from our hotel.
Generally hot with high humidity. There is some rainfall from April to September with most days being hot (around 33 Degrees) and a light breeze on the islands. If it does rain, it will be more of a heavy tropical downpour that lasts a few hours. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at http://www.explore.co.uk/weather.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and infectious hepatitis. Although not compulsory, travellers may also wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Dengue, Malaria and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.
Bangkok: Half day Grand Palace, Wat Pho & flower market by public transport (1,440 THB), full day city tour & klongs (1,880 THB), half day tour of floating market (950 THB), morning cycle of Bangkok's 'green lung' (1,790 THB), full day excursion to ancient Ayutthaya (1,390 THB)
Kanchanaburi: Day trip to Erawan waterfalls (1200 THB), Hellfire Pass visit and trail (1100 THB), Thai cookery class (1800 THB)
Khao Sok NP: 3 hour river canoeing searching for wildlife (920 THB), hot springs of Khao Sok & scenic view point (800 THB) Squid Fishing (830THB)
Krabi: Phi Phi island by speedboat (2530 THB), kayaking through mangrove forest (1650 THB), hot springs & emerald Lagoon (1650 THB), Phang Nga & James Bond island (1900 THB)
Please note prices stated are a guide and may vary up or down depending on the number of participants.
Thailand: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens for a stay of less than 30 days. All passports must have at least 6 months validity remaining on entry to Thailand. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
All holidays are subject to availability and prices are subject to change.