Airport Pick Up
We will be there to greet you when you arrive (into either Bangkok airport) and will take you straight to our hotel, just a stone’s throw away from the famous backpacker hotspot of Khao San road. Even if you arrive one or two days before the start of the trip we will still pick you up, will introduce you to any other early arrivals and give you some ideas for things to do and see in Bangkok before the tour starts.There are no activities planned for day one so you have time to get settled in, meet your new travel buddies and get ready for one of our best: The Northern Thailand and Beaches tour. In the evening we’ll take you to one of our favorite restaurants and then for a few drinks on Khao San road so we can all get to know each other over an ice cold beer (or two).
KANCHANABURI, KAYAKING ON THE RIVER KWAI
Leaving Bangkok in the morning by private mini bus, we’ll get a real taste of Thailand as our first stop is Taling Chan floating market, possibly one of the coolest sites to see around Bangkok. After a bit of sightseeing and shopping, we head on to Kanchanaburi where we take part in another water based activity as we jump on a boat and cruise down the river Kwai exploring your new surroundings. We head to the famous ‘Bridge Over the River Kwai’ for sunset.
FLOATING MARKET & BRIDGE OVER KWAI
Just an hour away from Kanchanaburi sits possibly Thailand’s most famous waterfall, and for a country that boast many waterfalls both big and small, that is no small claim. Erawan waterfall has seven tiers with different features and every one of them is jaw-droppingly beautiful. Make sure you bring a towel and your swimming costume because you will undoubtedly want to take a dip in the crystal clear water on some, if not all, of the levels as we trek from one to the next. When we arrive back at our guesthouse you will have a few hours to explore the town or chill by the pool before we catch up in the evening for dinner and a few drinks.
AYUTTHAYA, ANCIENT RUINS & HISTORY
After a bit of a lie in we get back on the road to the ancient capital city of Ayutthaya. It’s absolutely dripping in history and culture. We’ll explore the ancient city ruins by bike, take in the incredible sights of the UNESCO world heritage site and learn a little about the fascinating history of this place, and indeed the Kingdom of Siam (Thailand). After grabbing a bite to eat, we hop onto the night train to our next destination, Chiang Mai. The train is a true Thai experience, everyone gets their own berth, complete with fresh sheets and linen. You can use the time on the train to catch up on sleep or take in the views. We’ll arrive nice and early the following day in the beautiful northern city of Chiang Mai.
CHIANG MAI – TEMPLES & CULTURE
After we check into our new accommodation, which is ideally situated between the old and new areas of Chiang Mai, you’ll have time to chill by the pool, explore your new surroundings, or check out the oldest temple in Chiang Mai (which is right opposite our hotel). After some lunch we jump in a cab up to the most famous temple in Chiang Mai – Wat Pra Maha Doi Sutthep (or just Doi Sutthep for short) – This beautiful temple is situated way up high on the side of a mountain, so the views from the top are just incredible and you get a panoramic view of the whole of Chiang Mai below.
JUNGLE TREKKING & HILL TRIBE HOMESTAY
Today we’re off on a jungle trekking expedition to a local hill tribe village! It is a long trek, but don’t be put off by that! We stop at waterfalls along the way for a cheeky swim and lunch! Learn about the local’s culture and we’ll set up camp for the night. If you’re looking for a once in a lifetime experience, this is it. Get a real taste of what it’s like to live in a traditional hill tribe; their customs & traditions haven’t changed for generations.
JUNGLE TREK, WATERFALLS & BAMBOO RAFTS
WATERFALLS & BAMBOO RAFTS
After a night of blissful sleep under the stars, we head back to Chiang Mai. But don’t stress, your trekking days are over. We’re heading back via bamboo raft! Yeah you heard us a BAMBOO RAFT. Cruise down the river with the wind in your hair before we stop off for a dip at another beautiful waterfall. Freshen up in the clear waters after an insightful evening with the hill tribe, dry off and we’re on our way back to Chiang Mai! Note: This trek doesn’t require a high level of fitness, but can be challenging in some places; you’ll have definitely earned that cold beer once you complete it though!
WATERFALLS & BAMBOO RAFTS
ZIP LINE THROUGH THE JUNGLE
Chiang Mai is often referred to as the adventure capital of Thailand. There are loads of cool activities to do up here, and our absolute favourite of these (and probably the most popular) is ziplining; an amazing experience certain to get the heart racing and adrenaline pumping. Soar from platform to platform through the canopy of the jungle up to 50m above the ground, throw in some rope bridges and a few abseils and you’ll experience the jungle in an entirely different (and much faster) way than walking through it at ground level.
Today we will get to know some of the planet’s most amazing and majestic creatures. At this sanctuary, all of the elephants are free to roam and are not forced to do anything unnatural. When we arrive we will be given a quick briefing and learn about some of the resident elephants, then we can feed them some sugar cane and banana (which they love) and get to know them a bit before we wander with them down to the river for a swim and bathe. In the afternoon we’ll jump in a minibus and follow the mountain roads to the cool and quirky little town of Pai. It’s about three hours outside of Chiang Mai and is now a very popular backpacker destination for a number of good reasons. Nice scenery, cool stuff to see and do, very chilled vibe, lovely people, good bars and excellent food. Winning!
LIFE OF PAI – CAVES, CANYONS & HOT SPRINGS
We’ll explore the surrounding areas of Pai today. Starting with Lod Cave, Thailand’s biggest cave; we’ll either trek through the main chambers, or float through on a bamboo raft (depending on the season and accessibility). We’ll then make our way to the hot springs, crystal clear and heated by geothermal activity. Use the clay to give yourself a natural facial, and relax in the perfect temperature water. Finish off at Pai Canyon for some impressive views of the surrounding landscape, as we watch the sunset.
NICE AS PAI: CHILLING
Today is yours to spend as you like; time for some free time. Opt to spend a bit more time in bed in the morning; and then head to Fluid Swimming Pool Bar where most of the backpackers in the area head to socialise, cool down and relax. We’ll head over to the local Chinese Village for a tea tasting later in the day.
BACK TO CHIANG MAI & COOKING COURSE
We’ll head back to Chiang Mai today; where we’ll stuck into a cooking class. Thai cuisine is incredible, and it’s your turn to learn from the masters how to cook your favourite dishes at a local cooking school. We’ll visit a market first, where you’ll be taught everything there is about the ingredients they use. The best part of the whole thing, is that you get to eat the feast you’ve all cooked as a group. It’s a very authentic Thai experience, and definitely a way of impressing family and friends at home when you whip up these dishes for them when you’re back.
CHIANG MAI CANYON
Chiang Mai’s very own Grand Canyon. It’s an old excavation site which is now a man-made lagoon that has been turned into an adult playground, great place to spend a day. There are floaties to chill on in the water, paddle boards, tubes; and if you are brave enough, you can have a go at cliff jumping, deep water soloing, or climbing on their new climbing wall. In the evening we head out into town for our last night here.
TRAVEL TO BANGKOK
After checking out, you’ll have plenty of time to relax, hit the markets, or explore Chiang Mai a little more; before jumping onto the overnight train back to Bangkok.
TEMPLES, TUK TUKS & NIGHTLIFE
Time to explore the country’s capital - Bangkok. Zip around the city in tuk tuks, visiting two of Bangkok’s prestigious temples - Wat Arun and Wat Pho, where you’ll see the giant, gold reclining Buddha. We’ll then ditch the tuk tuks for a longtail boat as we see the city from the Chao Phraya River. You’ll have the rest of the afternoon to explore your new surroundings, grab a bite to eat from the numerous street vendors, or try your luck at bartering at the markets. In the evening we’ll meet for dinner, then head out for drinks on Khao San Road - the backpacker Mecca of the city.
Tonight we hit the tracks as we travel on an overnight train down south, so indulge yourself in a tradition Thai massage before we board to really relax before our journey, as we swap the hustle and bustle of Bangkok for the tranquil lakes of Khao Sok National Park which is situated in the Surat Thani province of Thailand.
KAYAKING, SWIMMING & TUBING
KHAO SOK FLOATING BUNGALOWS
Picture a freshwater lake surrounded by lush rainforest; this is home for the night. We will be staying in the floating bungalows of Khao Sok tonight for a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. Before the sunset, try your hand at some kayaking or chill with a beer in a tube in front of the stunning backdrop of this limestone mountain range. This place has always been one of our personal favourites.
ARRIVE IN KOH PHANGAN, BOTTLE BEACH
We are up bright and early today to enjoy breakfast on the lake before we head on to Koh Phangan, where we make our way straight to a paradise that is so secluded it’s like no where you’ve seen before. Welcome to Bottle Beach, a true TruTravels favourite! Only accessible by boat, this place is insanely beautiful, and we pretty much get the whole beach to ourselves! Laze around on the beach, have a game of volleyball or head out for a swim before this evening’s dinner and cocktails, which we enjoy campfire style right on the sand, just a stone’s throw away from our beachfront huts.
BOTTLE BEACH, KOH PHANGAN
MUAY THAI LESSON
This morning you will wake up to the sound of the rolling waves of bottle beach and feel totally chilled. Kayaking, topping up your tan or seeing the view points on a trek, whatever you do just make the most of it, because early afternoon we will be picked up and taken to a local gym to try your hand at Thailand’s national sport, Muay Thai boxing. Workout over, it's time to make our way to out awesome accommodation for our final couple of nights.