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Beautiful Thailand

Trip type: 
Adventure level: 
3. Moderate
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Asia, Thailand | 17 days
Trip code: 
What's included: 

Transport - Train, minibus, local bus, songthaew, rickshaw and Taxi

Accommodation - Hotels/guesthouses (8nts), overnight train (2nts), hilltribe villages (2nts), homestay (1nt), rafthouse (1nt)

Meals - 4 breakfasts, 3 lunches & 4 dinners

Trip Highlights: 
See the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai
Visit the beautiful temple complex of Doi Suthep
Trek through remote hilltribe villages
Uncover traditional Thai culture with a homestay
see full itinerary >>

Holidays in Thailand
You'll follow an itinerary which has been researched and planned by our experts, saving you all the hassle of organising the trip. The itineraries are designed to minimise the time spent travelling and maximise the variety of experiences.
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2012 Itinerary

(Departures in 2012-13)
  • Day 1/2 - Fly to Bangkok
  • Day 3-5 - Kanchanaburi; River Kwai
  • Day 6 - Ayuthaya
  • Day 7/8 - Chiang Mai
  • Day 9 - Doi Mae Salong
  • Day 10 - Homestay
  • Day 11/12 - Hilltribe Trek
  • Day 13 - Chiang Rai
  • Day 14 - Chiang Mai
  • Day 15 - Bangkok
  • Day 16/17 - Overnight flight home
Extensions and Extras: Extend your holiday and see more of the world. View additional tours for this trip »

Fly to Bangkok

After your overnight flight to Bangkok, you will be transferred to your first night's accommodation and check in.  In the evening you will meet your leader and the rest of your group for a welcome meeting. Your leader will have left details of where and when this will take place with the hotel's reception. Hotel - 1 night

Kanchanaburi; River Kwai

Kanchanaburi; River Kwai


Travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok (approx 1 hr). Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital.Pay a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage.Travel by local bus to Kanchanaburi (approx 2 hrs).Located where the Khwae Noi and Khwae Yai rivers converge, Kanchanaburi is home to the infamous 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.Enjoy a saamlaw (bicycle rickshaw) tour around the town of Kanchanaburi - the perfect way to take in the splendour of this city and the monuments to its tragic past.Explore the Jeath War Museum and the Allied War Cemetery.Travel to Erawan National Park (approx 1.5 hrs each way), where you can explore the famous seven-level waterfall or simply swim and relax. Guesthouse - 2 nights, rafthouse - 1 night





Travel by local bus via Suphanburi to Ayuthaya (approx 5 hrs).Day rooms will be arranged as we take an overnight train later tonight.There's time for a guided tour of of the picturesque ruins and temples spread across the town. The ruins at Wat Phra Mahathat provide many photo opportunities and the Buddha head surrounded by Banyan tree roots is perhaps the most photographed site in Ayuthaya.Board an overnight train bound for Chiang Mai (approx 11 hrs). We use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. Multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds - sheets and a pillow are provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There's a food and drink service available on board. Overnight Sleeper train - 1 nt



Chiang Mai


The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This 'Rose of the North' is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people.In Chiang Mai there is the chance to have a traditional Thai massage before heading down to the famous Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, a shopaholic's dream.The Chiang Mai Thai Cookery School offers courses for budding chefs and will definitely allow you to impress your friends upon your return. A novel way to see the surrounding countryside is to take a cycling tour, on which you will visit temples and ruins, the McCain institute for handicapped artists, and possibly a sticky rice factory among other sites.Explore the famous temple complex of Doi Suthep. Drive along a scenic, winding mountain road that ends at an impressive 300-step naga-guarded stairway (approx 45 mins). The rewards justify the climb with one of the most beautiful temples in Thailand on display, not to mention fantastic panoramic views of the city and the opportunity to listen to hypnotic evening chanting by resident Buddhist monks.  Hotel - 2 nts



Doi Mae Salong


Set off by road to the Golden Triangle region.After lunch, explore the five interconnected Chiang Dao Caves before heading to our destination, Doi Mae Salong.The atmosphere in the charming town of Doi Mae Salong is reminiscent of a small southern Chinese village. 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. Check out the interesting markets, full of produce and crafts made by hilltribe people.

Guesthouse - 1 nt





Using local songthaews, visit the point of the Golden Triangle where the Thailand, Burma and Laos borders meet. Stop at the border town of Mae Sai, which is full of colourful shops stacked with Chinese goods.Pay a visit to the House of Opium for a deeper insight into this area's problematic past.Head to a small Thai village to stay in the home of some local friends. There's plenty of time to experience the quiet village life before sampling a traditional northern Thai khantohk dinner. This evening 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. Our basic multi-share homestay is in a local village. There will be fold-out mattresses on the floor and shared bathrooms.

Homestay - 1 night. Accommodation at the homestay is basic, and bathroom facilities are shared. You will be sleeping on fold-out mattresses on the floor.


Hilltribe Trek

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.Please note that you should be fairly fit as we hike across hilly countryside and rain or hot, humid weather pose extra challenges. We walk for about 5 hours each day so there's no great rush. The terrain is rural rather than jungle - the hilltribes grow rice and other vegetables on the slopes - and we 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 their 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 US$10 for the entire trek). Village houses - 2 nights

Accommodation will be basic, sleeping on rented roll mats on the floor in shared wooden/bamboo huts typical of the villages. There will be shared squat toilets and basic washing facilities in most villages (usually a simple water pipe). Warmer clothing and sleeping bags are recommended from November to January as the nights are usually quite cool during this period.

Please note - There may be times during the trek when the use of cameras/video cameras are inappropriate. Your leader will be able to advise you further.


Chiang Rai


Trek for around 3 hours before transferring to Chiang Rai.Chiang Mai's 'little sister', Chiang Rai boasts a great night market and a variety of good restaurants.
Guesthouse - 1 nt



Chiang Mai


Travel by bus to Chiang Mai (approx 4 hrs).The rest of the day is free to explore.Board an overnight train for Bangkok (approx 13 hrs). We use soft sleeper class trains for all of our overnight train journeys. Multishare compartments with air-conditioning and bunk beds - sheets and a pillow are provided. Our baggage travels in the carriage with us. There's a food and drink service available on board. Overnight Sleeper train - 1 nt





Arrive back in Bangkok and spend your day shopping or sightseeing before meeting again for our 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! Hotel - 1 night



Overnight flight home

Tour ends. Those on our group flights will be tranferred to the airport for your overnight flight home.

There are 4 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches and 4 Dinners on this trip and you should budget USD300 for meals not included.