Real Thailand

16 Days from $1,539

START: Bangkok

FINISH: Ao Nang

AGES: 18 - 29

THEME: 18 to 29s

Overviewicon readmoreicon minus

Description

Leave behind crowded Bangkok and head into parts of Thailand that lots of travellers never see. By the time they’re up and ready to shake off last night’s hangover, you’ll be on your way to Doi Inthanont National Park, where you will find Hilltribe villages, waterfalls and jungle. From there, it just keeps getting better. Sure, you’ll see the vaunted beaches of Koh Samui and Ao Nang, but you’ll also spend a night in a rafthouse in Khao Sok National Park and partake in a Muay Thai Class in Chiang Mai. Now THIS is Thailand.

Start: Bangkok

Finish: Ao Nang

Ages: 18 - 29

Theme: 18 to 29s

Accommodation: Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights), Resort (2 nights), Rafthouse (1 night), Hilltribe Village House (1 night), Hostel (3 nights)

Destination: Ao Nang

Highlights

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Feel like one of the locals on an overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. Grab some snacks from the on-board vendors, utilise your phrase book and embrace this unique journey.
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Obsessed with the Tom Yam Goong at your local Thai joint? Imagine how much better it would be in Thailand, on a beach, with a cocktail, at sunset. Nice, eh?
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Koh Samui is a slice of paradise. Cruise the island, go chasing waterfalls and feel peachy on the beach before carving up the dance floor in one of Koh Samui's famous bars.
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Kick back for a few days in Ao Nang. Plenty of free time to take up optional activities like, cook some food in a Thai cooking class, cook yourself in some hot springs or paddle to a hidden lagoon on Koh Hong island.
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Need more reasons? Here are 7 more why we love it: intrepidtravel.com/adventures/southern-thailand/

Itineraryicon readmoreicon minus

icon check Day 1 : Bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok, Thailand. Once you’ve hit Khao San Road, you’re officially on holiday. There’s a welcome meeting at around 6 pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you arrive early perhaps take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or head to the magnificent Grand Palace. Our pick for cocktails is Bed Supper Club or Vertigo. Ask your guide for directions or grab your new travel mates and attempt to navigate the Skytrain.

icon check Day 2 : Sukhothai

Take a six-hour local bus to Sukhothai, AKA the ‘dawn of happiness’. That sounds like a pretty swell place to spend a day, right? Pick yourself up a pushy, and head out on a guided cycle tour of Sukhothai’s Historical Park and World Heritage-listed ancient city. Roll your bike around the temples and other archaeological relics within the area. Apparently riding a bike helps build new brain cells in the hippocampus – the bit of your brain responsible for memory. This is great, 'cause now you won’t forget all the gorgeous temples you cycle past today.

icon check Day 3 : Chiang Mai

Rise and shine for a five-hour private minivan drive to hillside Chiang Mai. Stop in at the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital in Lampang to meet some big-footed friends being nursed back to good health. Arrive in Chiang Mai in the late afternoon. With over 120 temples in the city centre alone, you can easily while away a few hours doing a temple run. On the other hand, if you’re all templed out, perhaps indulge in a thai massage or hit up the Night Bazaar and get haggling.

icon check Day 4 : Chiang Mai

Today you're free as a bird, maybe get flying on the Jungle Flight and negotiate the zipline and canopy course within the treetops. Or take an optional excursion to the temple at the top of Doi Suthep, which offers fantastic views over the city. Perhaps spoil yourself with a traditional Thai massage or try your hand at a local cooking class. It's totally up to you.

icon check Day 5 : Doi Mae Salong

Doi Mae Salong is a seriously good-looking tea plantation way up in the hills of the Golden Triangle. Not only are the views incredible, you’ll also get to meet some seriously lovely hill-tribe villagers as you wander. Today travel by public bus and minivan to Doi Mae Salong via Mae Chan (approximately five hours in total). It's the perfect place to relax and kick back for the day. Make sure you enjoy a cup of tea in a traditional Chinese teahouse overlooking the mountains. Check out the interesting market, which is full of produce and crafts made by hill tribe people. For something a little more adventurous, why not climb up the 719 steps to see the town’s Buddhist temple.

icon check Day 6 : Chiang Rai

While the Golden Triangle may have gained a little unwanted notoriety in the 1920s for its opium trade, today it remains a lush, mountainous, traditional intersection of Northern Thailand, Laos and Burma. In the morning take a three-hour ride in a minivan to this famous border. Pay a visit to the House of Opium Museum for a deeper insight into this area's problematic past. Continue your travels for around two hours to Chiang Rai, where you’ll stay the night. Perhaps head to Chiang Rai's night market, which is a great place to pick up some hill tribe handicrafts. 

icon check Day 7 : Chiang Mai/Overnight sleeper train

Like your temples creepy and kooky and quirky and weird? Good thing we’re stopping in at the White Temple this morning. Although it can be crowded with tourists, this temple is a modern wonder. In the afternoon, take a three-and-a-half-hour public bus back to Chiang Mai and board an overnight train for Bangkok (approximately 13 hours). Soft sleeper class trains are used for the overnight journey. The compartments are multi-share with air-conditioning and bunk beds that come with sheets and a pillow. Baggage travels in the carriage with you, and there's a food and drink service available on-board.

icon check Day 8 : Bangkok

Your train is scheduled to arrive into Bangkok in the early morning on Day 8 of the trip. The rest of the day is free to explore. As this is a combination trip, your group leader and the composition of your group may change at this location. There will be a group meeting to discuss the next stage of your itinerary. You're welcome to attend, as this is a great chance to meet your new fellow travellers.

icon check Day 9 : Bangkok / overnight train

Today explore some of Bangkok's most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and the adjoining Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Please see important information in the 'Packing' section of the trip notes regarding strict dress code for the Grand Palace visit. There's nothing worse than being turned away from an attraction while all your buddies get to go ahead! Make an optional visit to the temple complex of Wat Pho, which houses the famous 46-metre-long statue of the Reclining Buddha. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover more of the city in your own time. This evening, head south to Surat Thani on a 13-hour overnight train. 

icon check Day 10 : Ko Samui

Arrive into Surat Thani this morning, continuing by public bus and ferry to Koh Samui (approximately four hours). The island of Koh Samui has been a tourist hotspot for decades, and with good reason. Swim, snorkel or relax in the waterfalls at Na Muang. Take a trip with the group around the island, visiting the 15-metre-tall Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai). In the evening, perhaps feast on a delicious curry with the group and then join in the carnival that is Koh Samui's famous nightlife. 

icon check Day 11 : Ko Samui

Spend a free day today swimming, lazing in the sun or exploring Koh Samui. You may like to take an optional day tour to Ang Thong Marine National Park by either slow boat or speedboat. The park is an archipelago of over 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand, featuring pristine beaches, jungle, mangroves and limestone mountains rising out of the sea. Take a swim at popular Koh Mae island and check out the saltwater lagoon of Thale Nai (Emerald Lake). For a quieter experience and some great snorkelling opportunities, head to the nearby islands of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan.If you prefer to stay on land perhaps check out the Samui Elephant Sanctuary and observe these gentle giants as they roam, socialise, bathe and enjoy a peaceful life that they so deserve.

icon check Day 12 : Khao Sok National Park

Today travel to Khao Sok National Park by songtaew, ferry and mini van. The journey will take a total of about five hours. The park is the wettest spot in Thailand with some of the oldest jungle in the world. See loads of amazing limestone rock faces and, if you're lucky, monkeys playing here and there. Stroll along trails past waterfalls and spend the night in a guesthouse in the jungle. 

icon check Day 13 : Khao Sok National Park

Lucky you with all this time in the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world. Your awesome jungle guesthouse sits right outside the entrance to the park, so it's pretty easy to take a hike along any of the numerous dirt trails that snake their way through the park. This place is paradise, especially if you love nature – if you're super lucky there might be a glimpse of elephants, exotic Hornbills, water-loving Langur Monkeys and even the occasional tiger deep inside the park. Head for river and waterfalls and give yourself a cooling dip.

icon check Day 14 : Ao Nang Beach

Depart by public bus from Khao Sok to the beach town of Ao Nang (approximately three hours). On arrival, settle into your hotel and hit the local beach. Swim or snorkel in the clear water, relax on the sand with a book and sip a cocktail as the sun goes down. You have plenty of free time to do as you please.

icon check Day 15 : Ao Nang Beach

This morning head out on a half-day sea kayaking trip to Ao Thalane. Transfer from your hotel in Ao Nang to Thalane Bay in a van, passing through rural villages on the way. Paddle through mangrove forests, coves and narrow karst-walled canyons, keeping an eye out for kingfishers, herons and crab-eating macaque monkeys. Be careful with your belongings, as the cheeky monkeys can steal them. After some time on the water, return to the pier and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with a great view over the area. After lunch, transfer back to your hotel in Ao Nang. Enjoy free time for the rest of the afternoon.

icon check Day 16 : Ao Nang Beach

Enjoy a free day to relax on the beach or participate in a variety of optional activities. Perhaps unwind with a massage or cook up something delicious in a Thai cooking class. Take a tour out to some of Krabi's naturally-formed crystal pools and hot springs, swimming in the clear waters of the Emerald Lagoon while fish nibble at your toes. You might like to take a trip out to the quiet, pristine island of Koh Hong, where you can snorkel in the shallow reefs and kayak past cliffs to a hidden salt-water lagoon.

icon check Day 17 : Ao Nang Beach

Today your Thai adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you are free to depart at any time.

What's Included?icon readmoreicon minus

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Meals

8 Breakfasts, 2 Dinners
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Transport

Public bus, Private vehicle, Taxi, Overnight sleeper train, Songthaew, Tuk-tuk, Boat, Ferry
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Accommodation

Guesthouse (3 nights), Hotel (2 nights), Overnight sleeper train (3 nights), Resort (2 nights), Rafthouse (1 night), Hilltribe Village House (1 night), Hostel (3 nights)
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Included Activities

  • Ao Nang - Transport to Railay Beach (round trip)

Important Detailsicon readmoreicon minus

icon readmoreicon minusJoining Point

Astera Sathorn Hotel

143 South Sathorn Rd., Yannawa, Sathorn

Bangkok

10120

THAILAND

Phone: 22127090

Fax: 22123610

icon readmoreicon minusFinishing Point

J Mansion Guesthouse

302 Moo 2

Ao Nang Beach

Ao Nang

81000

THAILAND

Phone: (+66) 075695128

icon readmoreicon minusImportant information

1. A Single Supplement to have your own room is bookable on this trip, subject to availability, and excludes Day 7 & Day 9 (overnight train).

icon readmoreicon minusGroup leader

All Intrepid group trips are accompanied by one of our group leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other group leaders.

Your leader 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 places visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. At Intrepid we aim to support local guides who have specialised knowledge of the regions we visit. If you were interested in delving deeper into the local culture at a specific site or location then your leader can recommend a local guide service in most of the main destinations of your trip.

icon readmoreicon minusSafety

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 and ensure that your travel insurance covers you for all areas your itinerary covers. Please refer to our website's safety page for links to major travel advisories and updates on safety issues affecting our trips. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe-keeping of your passport, flight tickets, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of our hotels have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. Your leader will accompany you on all included activities, however during your trip you'll have some free time to pursue your own interests or relax and take it easy. While your leader will assist you with the available options in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your Intrepid itinerary, and Intrepid makes 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. Please also note that your Leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it's deemed necessary due to safety concerns. For more details on the type of conditions and safety standards you can expect on your trip, please refer to Intrepid's operational safety policy on our website. We recommend that you take a moment to read through this information before travelling, and would appreciate any feedback on how well it's being implemented in the field:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/safety-field

FIRE PRECAUTIONS: Please be aware that local laws governing tourism facilities in this region differ from those in your home country and not all the accommodation which we use has a fire exit, fire extinguishers or smoke alarms. SEAT BELTS: Please be aware that local laws governing transportation safety may differ from those in your home country and not all the transport which we use is able to provide seat belts. PETTY THEFT AND PERSONAL SAFETY: While travelling there is always the risk of pick-pocketing and petty theft, particularly in the more touristy cities. We recommend that you exercise caution when walking alone at night and encourage you to walk together and only on main, well-lit thoroughfares. Be particularly vigilant on public transport. Simple measures like carrying your day pack on your front, not hanging your bag over the back of your chair or on the floor and wearing a money belt will reduce any chance that your valuables should go missing. MOTORBIKE BAG SNATCHING: Be particularly aware of motorbike bag snatching, especially in the bigger cities.

SNORKELLING: Your leader will conduct a brief safety discussion before our snorkelling activities.

icon readmoreicon minusVisas

As a general rule most countries expect that your passport has a minimum of 6 months validity remaining. Please ensure the name on your passport matches the name on your booking and airline tickets. Your passport details are required to complete your booking. Your consultant will contact you when this is required.

Take a copy of the main passport pages and other important documents with you, and leave another copy at home with family or friends.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with acquiring visas. Visas can take several weeks to process, so familiarise yourself with any requirements as soon as you have booked your trip to allow for processing time.

THAILAND:

If entering by air most nationalities will be granted a 30 day stay on arrival. If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (some exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border.

If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.

icon readmoreicon minusWhy we love it

Dumbo isn't the only elephant that needs saving. Travel by private minivan to the Friends of the Asian Elephant Hospital and witness the awesome work these guys do on a daily basis

Bike? Check. Shades? Check. Wind in your hair? Check. Sukhothai's Historical Park is the kind of dreamscape you don't have to wake up from

Swing 'til your winning and zip through the canopies at Flight of the Gibbon, an optional activity that will get your heart racing. This is just another brilliant excuse to act like a cheeky little monkey

Feel like one of the locals on an overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok. Grab some snacks from the on-board vendors, utilise your phrase book and embrace this unique journey

Obsessed with the Tom Yam Goong at your local Thai joint? Imagine how much better it would be in Thailand, on a beach, with a cocktail, at sunset. Nice, eh?

Koh Samui is a slice of paradise. Cruise the island, go chasing waterfalls and feel peachy on the beach before carving up the dance floor in one of Koh Samui's famous bars

Kick back for a few days in Ao Nang. Plenty of free time to take up optional activities like, cook some food in a Thai cooking class, cook yourself in some hot springs or paddle to a hidden lagoon on Koh Hong island

More fun in kayaks, coves and canyons is to be had in the mangrove forests of Ao Thalane. Don't let the local troublemakers (macaque monkeys) steal your camera

Need more reasons? Here are 7 more why we love it: intrepidtravel.com/adventures/southern-thailand/

icon readmoreicon minusIs this trip right for you

We visit a number of temples on this trip, which requires a certain level of modesty. Please bring clothes that cover the arms and pants/skirts that go past the knees. A light scarf is also a good idea for covering shoulders and arms when it’s hot.

This trip involves some long journeys on the road, lots of public transport (songthaews, public buses) and an overnight train, which can be tiresome. Although conditions are basic, overnight trains are a true local experience and the best way to travel long distances, meet locals and maximise time at your destinations. Occasionally passengers of different genders will be required to share a compartment and/or you'll be sharing with locals or travellers from other groups. For your own security, take a lock for your luggage.

As this is a Basix trip, the majority of activities are optional and you'll have lots of free time. This means you're able to do your own thing at your own pace.

Accommodation can be simple but it's always comfortable.

icon readmoreicon minusHealth

All travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group, Intrepid Travel reserves the right to exclude them from all or part of a trip without refund.

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information or for any necessary vaccinations before departure. We recommend that you carry a first aid kit as well as any personal medical requirements as they may not easily be obtained at the locations on this trip. Please ensure that you are adequately prepared.

DENGUE FEVER:

Dengue fever occurs in Thailand, and is particularly common during the rainy season (November-March in Koh Samui and the south-east of the Thai peninsula and May-October in the rest of Thailand, including Phuket), peaking in July and August. There is no vaccination or specific treatment available for dengue fever.

MALARIA:

Malaria can be contracted throughout the year in rural areas, particularly near the borders with Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar. Speak to your doctor about preventative medication if you are concerned about malaria.

OTHER:

Other mosquito borne illnesses, such as Japanese encephalitis also occur in some areas.

Always take preventative measures to protect yourself against mosquitoes such as wearing long clothing, using repellent and being indoors particularly around dusk and dawn.

BOX JELLY FISH

Box jelly fish have been reported in Thailand waters throughout the year. Please be aware of this when swimming alone and follow any warnings from local authorities. Stings require immediate medical treatment and fatalities have been known to occur.

ZIKA VIRUS:

There have been reports of transmission of the mosquito-borne Zika virus in this region and we advise all travellers to protect themselves from mosquito bites. Given possible transmission of the disease to unborn babies, and taking a very cautious approach, we recommend all women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant to consult with their doctors before booking their trip.

AIR POLLUTION AND SMOKE HAZE:

Bangkok and other Thai cities experience high levels of air pollution, which may aggravate bronchial, sinus or asthma conditions. These can be particularly high between the months of December and February. Smoke haze, which usually occurs across parts of north and north-east Thailand during March to April, can also aggravate these conditions. Regular air quality reports are available from the following website http://aqicn.org/city/bangkok/

icon readmoreicon minusFood and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There's no obligation to do this though.

icon readmoreicon minusMoney matters

SPENDING MONEY:

When it comes to spending money on the trip, every traveller is a little different. You know your spending habits better than we do, so please budget a sensible amount for things like meals not included, drinks, shopping, optional activities and laundry. It's always better to bring a little more than you think you'll need. Also make sure you've read your trip details thoroughly so you know what's included in the trip price and what isn't. This should make budgeting a little easier. You'll find this info in the Inclusions section of your Essential Trip Information (that's this document).

The official currency of Thailand is the Baht (THB). The most convenient and cheapest way to obtain local currency is via ATMs which are available in most towns and cities. Foreign currency notes that are old, torn or faded can be very difficult to exchange. Clean bills in small denominations are most useful. The use of credit cards is restricted, mainly to major hotels and more upmarket shops and shopping centres.

CONTINGENCY FUNDS:

We try to plan for every eventuality, but there are still some things beyond our control. Please make sure you have access to an extra US$500 for emergencies (e.g. severe weather, natural disasters, civil unrest) or other events that result in unavoidable changes to the itinerary (e.g. transport strikes or cancellations, airport closures). Sometimes these things necessitate last minute changes to enable our trips to continue to run, and as a result there may be some extra costs involved.

The recommended amounts are listed in USD for the relatability of universal travellers, however the local currency is needed in the countries you are visiting.

TIPPING

If you're happy with the services provided a tip - though not compulsory - is appropriate. While it may not be customary to you, it's of great significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels, inspires excellent service, and is an entrenched feature of the tourism industry across many Intrepid destinations.

Optional Tipping Kitty:

On Day 1 your tour leader will discuss with you the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips for drivers, local guides, and hotel staff (excludes restaurant tips). The leader will keep a running record of all monies spent which can be checked at any time, and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing when and what is an appropriate amount to tip. Participation in this kitty at your own discretion, and you are welcome to manage your own tipping separately if you prefer. Please note the tipping kitty excludes tips for your tour leader.

Please note this is a combination trip made up of 2 sections. There will be the option of contributing to a group tipping kitty on both sections of this trip.

Day 1 Optional tipping kitty for this section: THB 150 to THB 200 per person

Day 8 Optional tipping kitty for this section: THB 200 to THB 240 per person

Your Tour Leader:

You may also consider tipping your tour leader for outstanding service throughout your trip. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline US$2-US$4 per person, per day can be used. Of course you are free to tip more or less as you see fit, depending on your perception of service quality and the length of your trip. Remember, a tip is not compulsory and should only be given when you receive excellent service.

Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult

The receipt of commissions or kickbacks in exchange for recommending particular shops or services is ingrained in the culture of the tourism industry. Rather than turning a blind eye to this unavoidable issue in some areas, we have established a centralised fund whereby contributions from recommended suppliers are collected and distributed back into the business. We aim to provide the best value trips in the market, and this fund assists in keeping operating costs and trip prices low to you.

A priority in establishing this fund is that the experience of our traveller - you - is not compromised in any way. Please let us know via the feedback form completed after your trip if we are successfully meeting this objective.

icon readmoreicon minusWhat to take

Remember - the lighter you travel the better! You may be buying things as you go, so don't bring too much from home. Many people find a backpack the most suitable type of luggage for our holidays. Medium-sized suitcases can also be used; however, you should avoid the large, bulky cases that are difficult to carry. Lockable suitcases on wheels are the best type to use. Be aware that some hotels in Asia do not have lifts (elevators) and there may be occasions when you need to carry your luggage up stairs or along railway platforms, etc.

When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate. Sandals, thongs, flip-flops or jandals are appropriate footwear in the tropics. In many rural areas in Asia women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable.

When visiting sites of religious significance, all travellers should wear clothing that covers their shoulders and knees. In some sites in South East Asia thongs are not allowed (ie. Royal Palace in Phnom Penh). Please check with your leader or local guide.

When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the year some of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. Most of the time the weather is warm in South East Asia; however, it may be distinctly cold up in the highlands. If there are specific requirements for a trip they will be noted here, in the Essential Trip Information. Laundry facilities are available in most destinations.

Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, flight tickets, Essential Trip Information

Photocopy of the above documents

Spare passport photos

Money: cash, credit/debit cards

Money belt

Small padlocks

Metal chain and padlock to secure luggage on overnight trains – additional precaution

Small first-aid kit

Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions

Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)

Electrical adapter plug

Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes

Insect repellent

Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses

Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)

Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)

2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)

Refillable water bottle

Phrase book

Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates

Wind and waterproof jacket

Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks

Camera and charger, spare batteries

Swimwear

icon readmoreicon minusClimate and seasonal

SONGKRAN FESTIVAL DEPARTURE 2019

The Songkran Festival is celebrated to mark the Lao New Year. The festival runs from the 13th to the 16th of April. Traditionally houses and villages are properly cleaned in preparation for the New Year, flowers are gathered to decorate Buddha images, young people pour water over the elders for good luck. Songkran Festival is often referred to as the “water festival” as it is now common to throw water over each other during the festival period.

Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting.

The following departures will be operated during Songkran:

7th of April 2019

icon readmoreicon minusA couple of rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our 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 our destinations such special places. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our group leader or local representative has the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Everyone has the right to feel safe and secure on their trip. We don’t tolerate any form of sexual harassment, either between passengers or involving our leaders or local operators. Sexual relationships (consensual or otherwise) between a leader and a passenger are unacceptable. If you ever feel another person is behaving inappropriately please inform us immediately by contacting the emergency contact number detailed in these trip notes.

icon readmoreicon minusFeedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

icon readmoreicon minusEmergency contact

GENERAL ISSUES ON YOUR TRIP

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. But we do ask you to be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is complete.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

Intrepid's Thailand office: +66 898 103 722

icon readmoreicon minusResponsible travel

Our Responsible Travel Policy outlines our commitment to preserving the environment, supporting local communities, protecting the vulnerable and giving back to the places we travel. All our trip leaders, suppliers and staff are trained on these principles, and are core to us delivering sustainable, experience-rich travel.

Explore the different parts of our Responsible Travel Policy by visiting:

https://www.intrepidtravel.com/responsible-travel

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/rt/responsibletraveller

ELEPHANT PERFORMANCES & ELEPHANT RIDING:

While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Intrepid does not include elephant rides or unnatural performance activities on any itinerary, and we recommend you bypass these activities should they be offered to you during your stay. Professional wildlife conservation and animal welfare organisations, including World Animal Protection advise that contrary to common belief, captive elephants remain wild animals and despite good intentions, unfortunately many venues are unable to provide the appropriate living conditions elephants require and this ultimately impacts their well-being. While there is some merit in the argument that the money you pay for the activity goes towards keeping the elephants and their mahouts employed, we know that it also fuels demand for elephants to be captured in the wild or captive bred. We thank you for your support in improving the welfare of these majestic creatures. Further information is available on the below link:

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/au/elephants-welfare

LOCAL DRESS:

Dress standards are conservative throughout Asia, especially outside major cities. To respect this and for your own comfort, we strongly recommend modest clothing. This means clothing that covers your shoulders and knees by wearing sleeves and long trousers. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in areas of predominantly hot climate. In many rural areas women will need to wear modest clothing even to swim. Singlets, tank tops and topless sun bathing are all unacceptable. When visiting religious sites men often need to wear long trousers and women a long skirt or sarong.

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OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION

The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS

Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multishare basis. Please note there may be times where facilities will be shared rather than ensuite and rare occasions when you share a room with passengers travelling on a different Intrepid trip than your own.

CHECK-IN TIME

Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION

If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (subject to availability), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

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Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects.

When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and the insurance company's 24 hour emergency contact number has been seen by your leader.

If you have credit card insurance your group leader will require details of the participating insurer/underwriter, the level of coverage, policy number and emergency contact number rather than the bank's name and credit card details. Please contact your bank for these details prior to arriving in-country.

http://www.intrepidtravel.com/insurance.php

icon readmoreicon minusYour fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit of everyone's travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don't keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well - this takes just a little effort on your part. Due to privacy reasons we are unable to provide you with contact details and any personal information about your fellow travellers booked on your trip prior to departure.

SINGLE TRAVELLERS:

Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don't involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Essential Trip Information. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own accommodation (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour - pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

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ITINERARY CHANGES:

Our itineraries are updated regularly throughout the year based on customer feedback and to reflect the current situation in each destination. The information included in this Essential Trip Information may therefore differ from when you first booked your trip. It is important that you print and review a final copy prior to travel so that you have the latest updates. Due to weather, local conditions, transport schedules, public holidays or other factors, further changes may be necessary to your itinerary once in country. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary seasonally to ensure our travellers have the best experience. Your tour leader will keep you up to date with any changes once on tour.

OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES:

A selection of optional activities that have been popular with past travellers are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn't an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only for some of what might be available. Prices are approximate, are for entrance only, and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability, and may be on a join-in basis. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination, so some pre-planning for what you are most interested in is advised. When it's recommended that travellers pre-book these activities, look for a note in the Special Information section of the day-to-day itinerary. For most, they can either be organised independently on the day, or let your leader know you are interested and they can assist.

Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. Although it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Medium and high risk activities not listed above have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with organising these activities. Activities that contravene our Responsible Travel policies are also not listed. Please remember that the decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

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Guesthouse (8 nights),Hotel (4 nights),Overnight sleeper train (2 nights),Resort (2 nights)

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