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Jungles & Beaches

Explore magnificent temples and lively markets
Includes return economy airfares

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Escorted Journey
From busy Bangkok with its magnificent temples and lively markets, we head west for some beautiful countryside and the slower pace of rural Thailand.

Highlights

Some of the highlights included are:

  • Join a hilltribe trek
  • Visit Kanchanaburi and 'Bridge on the River Kwai'
  • Relax by the beach
  • Explore magnificent temples and lively markets

Holiday Type

Culture
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
Active
  • Y
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
  • N
Beach
  • Y
  • Y
  • N
  • N
  • N

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What's included
  • 11 breakfasts, 1 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation: Hotels, Village House, Sleeper TrainHotels, Village House & Train
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers
Need to know
  • Minimum age 5
  • Family group holidays that you and your family can enjoy together.
  • A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less.
  • Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A.
  • The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.
  • Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited.
  • You should allow at least GBP10-20/USD17-28 pp per day for lunch and dinner.
Your route
Exodus: Jungles and Beaches Map Thailand Asia Bangkok Chiang Mai

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrive Bangkok

Arrive Bangkok

Arrive in the Thai capital, Bangkok, a city where skyscrapers tower over traditional markets; where the brand new meets the reassuringly traditional head-on. It's certainly a must-do stop on the backpacker trail, yet there's a great deal more to the city than the Khao San Road. Sights include opulent temples, the fascinating National Museum and an alluring network of markets and waterways feeding from the mighty Chao Phraya River.

Day 2
Tour of Bangkok including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho; afternoon to Kanchanaburi and a Samlaw (Rickshaw) ride to the 'Bridge on the River Kwai

Tour of Bangkok including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho; afternoon to Kanchanaburi and a Samlaw (Rickshaw) ride to the 'Bridge on the River Kwai

We take a short walk to the Chao Praya river where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the canals which give Bangkok its other name - the Venice of the East. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. Visit the home of the Thai Royal Family at the Royal Palace complex followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. After lunch we transfer to Kanchanaburi, an area made famous by the movie 'Bridge on the River Kwai'. The film is fictional but uses the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942-43 for its historical setting. Thousands of POW's died under appalling conditions during its construction, and the line became known as the 'Death Railway'. Jumping in Samlaws (rickshaws) we visit the J.E.A.T.H war museum, pay our respects at the War Cemetery, and see the bridge itself.

Day 3
Visit Hellfire Pass and Erawan N.P., famous for its beautiful waterfalls

Visit Hellfire Pass and Erawan N.P., famous for its beautiful waterfalls

Today we take a full day tour to the picturesque Erawan Waterfalls and to Hellfire Pass, so called because POW's were forced to chisel through solid rock, working by firelight on a particularly difficult section of the line resulting in a heavy loss of life. The afternoon is free to enjoy the falls area, and there is a chance to enjoy some swimming or to walk to the top of the falls (approx. 2 hours return trip).

Day 4
Journey to Ayutthaya, ancient capital of Thailand; overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai

Journey to Ayutthaya, ancient capital of Thailand; overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai

After breakfast we head to Ayutthaya, the 2nd royal capital of the Kingdom of Siam (approx. 4 hours). At its peak the Kingdom encompassed large parts of present day Laos, Cambodia and Burma. Diplomatic and international trade missions found their way to Ayuthaya from countries as far away as Europe. It was not long before Ayuthaya became one of the most important trading centres of the region. The population grew to over 1 million people by the 17th Century, more than any European capital at the same time. Following decades of wars and then a siege that lasted nearly 2 years, Ayuthaya was invaded and destroyed by the Burmese army. Temples were ransacked and statues of gold stolen and carried off to Burma. Following this devastating defeat the Siamese Kingdom relocated its capital to Bangkok. After lunch we transfer to a hotel were we have day rooms to freshen up in before boarding our overnight sleeper train bound for Chiang Mai.

Day 5
Visit Wat Doi Suthep (temple); evening free for shopping in Chiang Mai's famous night market

Visit Wat Doi Suthep (temple); evening free for shopping in Chiang Mai's famous night market

In the early morning the train pulls into Chiang Mai, 'The Rose of the North', known for its temples, markets and the many colourful hilltribes that live in the area, we then transfer to our hotel. The rest of the morning is free to relax. A walking tour through the old quarter of the city after lunch is followed by a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep the most revered Buddhist shrine in the Chiang Mai region. Perched on the hill overlooking Chiang Mai, it provides us with a fantastic view of the area. Back in Chiang Mai people are working feverishly away to set up the famous 'Chiang Mai Night Bazaar' which is nothing short of a shoppers' paradise. For those not into shopping there are plenty of atmospheric restaurants lined along the Ping River.

Day 6
Free day

Free day

Today is a free day for private exploration or relaxation in this historical city. Chiang Mai is a former religious and cultural centre, twice coming under the control of the Burmese, so there is a strong Burmese influence reflected in the architecture of the city which one can explore. One popular option is a half day at a highly commended Thai Cooking School, where adults and children alike can learn the intricacies of Thai cooking. Under the supervision of an English-speaking Thai chef you have the opportunity to create your own 'gaeng keow wahn' or green coconut curry or spicy Pad Thai. You don't need to be a proficient cook to enjoy this activity but, be warned, you get to eat your creations at the end of the day! Hiring a bike and cycling around the city is also a fun activity.

Days 7-8
Begin our two-day trek past Lahu, Lisu and Karen villages, with elephant ride. We spend one night in a hilltribe village

Begin our two-day trek past Lahu, Lisu and Karen villages, with elephant ride. We spend one night in a hilltribe village

This morning we start our two-day adventure into the Chiang Dao region, an 80 km drive north of Chiang Mai. This is an area that has spectacular scenery and is home to many of the minority groups that have migrated into Thailand from Burma, Tibet and Southern China. The highlight of our trek is meeting the local people in the various villages, each with their own unique language, customs and dress. Our exact itinerary will vary during the year as we take into account the weather and local conditions, but the terrain is more rural than jungle. Various hilltribes grow rice and other vegetables on the slopes we walk past. At night, we sleep in villagers' huts, where we will be sleeping communally on fold-out mattresses on the floors of the wooden/bamboo huts typical of the villages. Before we start our trek we visit an Elephant Conservation Centre where the kids will love getting up close and personal with these magnificent beasts. 

Day 9
Fly to Bangkok and transfer to Koh Samet

Fly to Bangkok and transfer to Koh Samet

An early morning flight takes us back to Bangkok. Upon arrival we are transferred to the island of Koh Samet, approximately 3 hours by minivan and then a short 30-minute ferry ride.

Days 10-11
Two free days by the beach in Koh Samet

Two free days by the beach in Koh Samet

Two days are ours to relax and unwind in tropical Koh Samet. Designated a National Marine Park in 1981 Koh Samet is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Due to its size and a ban on the construction of new properties, Koh Samet has been protected from the developers, providing the ideal end to a holiday. Watersports, snorkelling and island visits (all optional) can all be arranged locally with the help of your tour leader. Please be aware that Christmas and New Year periods as well as Thai holidays can see an increase in visitors, resulting in a busier atmosphere.

Days 12-13
Return to Bangkok

Return to Bangkok

Enjoy a free morning on the beach. In the afternoon, we drag ourselves from the sand and take the journey back to Bangkok. You'll have a free day in Bangkok.

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