Hills & Sandcastles

Bond with your local guide in Thailand
Get active in Ao Nang, Thailand
Overnight homestay in Chiang Mai
  • Jungle versus beach – the epic battle begins. Elephant ride in the hills or camping on the beach? Swimming in waterfalls or snorkelling in the ocean? By the end of this trip, a victor will be crowned.

    (Was Hill Tribes & Beaches)


    Day 1-3 - Bangkok - Kanchanaburi

    Kanchanaburi is home to Bridge on the River Kwai, which had a pretty famous movie made about it. Ask your dad, he’s probably got an old VHS floating around. 

    Day 1

    • Arrive in Bangkok and spend a bit of time getting to know the city

    Days 2-3

    • Arrive in Kanchanaburi and transfer by songthaew to a fan-cooled guesthouse situated near the river
    • Travel in a rickshaw to the famous Bridge on the River Kwai and an Allied war cemetery
    • Enjoy a full day tour to Hellfire Pass and Erawan National Park and relax in the cool blue waters of the pools beneath the seven-tiered waterfall
    • Perhaps trek along the jungle trail to the top of the falls
    • At Hellfire Pass, walk down the cutting dug by Allied POW’s during World War II
    • Explore the museum and learn more about the POW’s and ASEAN Labourers experience

    Day 4 - Ayuthaya

    Let your tour guide shine today, as you zip around on a bike tour of the temples together. Practice your card skills on the overnight train to Chiang Mai.

    • Travel by local bus through rich farming lands to Ayuthaya, the former capital of old Siam
    • Jump on a bike and ride to one of the many temples located in Ayuthaya for a guided tour
    • Perhaps continue on to visit more temples, go for a leisurely ride around town or head back to the hotel to chill out
    • Board the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai in the evening

    Day 5-8 - Chiang Mai - Hill Tribe Trek

    Let's skip to the best part – an elephant ride along the river! There's a bit of a trek beforehand, but... did we mention the elephant?! Chat to members of a remote hill tribe and stay overnight in a local hut.

    Day 5

    • Set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep, with fantastic views over the city
    • Perhaps get a traditional Thai massage or even partake in a cooking class
    • Why not visit the Night Bazaar a great chance to practice those bargaining skills

    Days 6-8

    • Take a two-day/one-night excursion to a Palong Village in the hills beyond Chiang Mai
    • Try to get the hang of elephant riding
    • Visit the local villages that are homes to various hill tribes - and perhaps haggle with them for authentic Hilltribe handicrafts
    • Sleep overnight in a local village hut as a guest of the hill tribe people
    • Return to Chiang Mai for a night and explore the town or shop at its markets
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 9-10 - Bangkok

    Haggle to your heart’s content at Sukhumvit Road, or Chatuchak Market, Khao San Road, MBK, Panthip Plaza… need we go on?

    • Spend two days exploring this awesome city
    • Visit some of Bangkok’s most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
    • Enjoy the rest of the day to further explore the city
    • Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs

    Day 11-12 - Koh Samui

    Swim, snorkel, eat, dive, sunbake, eat, drink, trek, eat, watch sunsets... you get the drift.

    • Take a trip around the island in a songthaew, visiting the 15-metre tall Big Buddha
    • Enjoy a dip in the cool tropical waterfalls of Na Muang and drop in to see the Mummified Monk
    • Spend free time on Koh Samui swimming, lazing in the sun, riding elephants, diving or snorkelling
    • Perhaps take an optional day tour to the Ang Thong National Marine Park

    Day 13 - Khao Sok National Park

    It's a jungle out there. Climb into a canoe and let your tour guide lead the way. A little guesthouse is your home for the night.

    • Take the ferry back to the mainland and then continue to Khao Sok National Park by local songthaew
    • Head down to the river for a canoeing trip in the country's finest and largest rainforest
    • Perhaps spot monkeys playing by the waters edge during the experience
    • Optional walks along the many interesting trails and beside the many waterways that exist within the park

    Day 14-16 - Bamboo Island Beach Camp - Ao Nang

    You don't need to know Orion's Belt from the Big Dipper to know that camping under the stars is awesome.

    Day 14

    • Depart by public bus from Khao Sok to Ao Nang
    • Arrive at the beautiful and secluded beach area of Ao Nang

    Day 15

    • Morning, take the long tail boat to Bamboo Island for beach camping
    • Spend time swimming in the warm waters of a hidden tropical paradise
    • Enjoy beach over night camping

    Day 16

    • Relaxing on the beach soaking up island life, after breakfast return to Ao Nang
    • Perhaps visit a rubber plantation and school, take a Thai cooking class or watch some Thai kick-boxing
    Breakfast | Lunch | Dinner

    Day 17-18 - Phuket

    Make the most of the sand under your feet in Phuket, because its nearly time to head home.

    • Stroll along the streets of Phuket, indulge in shopping opportunities or wander through a local market
    • Perhaps consider extending your stay to really make the most of your time in Phuket
  • What's Included

    • An experienced local tour guide, and there will be the services of local site guides at some sites. All transportation, accommodation, sightseeing and meals as indicated.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Hills & Sandcastles

    Alana - Australia, 28 Jan, 2014
    Overall Rating

    The northern part of the tour gave us a great exposure to Thailand and it's people, while the southern portion was all the touristy beachy things you'd expect in Thailand.

    Hills & Sandcastles

    Harry - Australia, 1 Jan, 1970
    Overall Rating

    I thoroughly enjoyed most aspects of this tour. Our guides 'Dong' and "Rongtel' were fantastic; both very easy going, approachable and great fun to hang out with. One thing I'd change though is the final destination (Phuket Town). Although the hotel we stayed in was fine, Phuket town is a long way from the beach and prime shopping destinations. All in all, I had a great experience on this tour.

18 days
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4 - 16
Boat, Elephant, Ferry, Local fan bus, Long-tail boat, Public bus, Sleeper train, Songthaew, Taxi, Tuk-tuk
3 nights Sleeper train, 1 night Village hut, 8 nights Guesthouse, 4 nights Hotel, 1 night Beach camp

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