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Hills & Sandcastles (2014)

Trip Length

Trip Code

18 days GTTD

Countries Visited


Start City

End City

Bangkok Phuket
Hills & Sandcastles (2014)

A super trip through Thailand. From homestays and temples in the north (Chang Mai, Chang Rai etc etc) to the sweet, sweet island-y beaches of the south (Koh Samui, Ao Nang, Bamboo Island). Rad.


This is Thailand with a whiff of Burma. Our trip mantra: Gonna live while I’m alive, I’ll sleep when I’m dead. Thank you Mr Bon Jovi.

(Was Thailand in Depth)


In 2015 this trip will be 16 days long and will finish in Ao Nang, Krabi. The 2015 itinerary will be available online on the 1st of October 2014.

Hills & Sandcastles (2014)

Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok

If you are walking past a street vendor who smells suspiciously like last season's footy socks, don't judge him. He's probably selling durian. For some unknown reason, this stinky little number is known as the king of fruits because of its unique creamy texture. Try some if you dare. 

Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. There is a pre departure meeting tonight at approx. 6pm!

Day 2: Sukhothai

Meals included: 1 breakfast

When was the last time you rode a bike? Don't worry, you'll pick it up pretty quick. It's just like riding a ......oh forget it. Get comfy in the saddle and pedal your way around temples and the historic area of the city.

Day 3-4: Chiang Mai

Sorry about the early start today. We'll make it up to you with a healthy dose of temples, museums and hilltribe villages on arrival.

Day 5-8: The Golden Triangle - Chiang Rai - Chiang Mai - overnight train

Meals included: 2 breakfasts, 1 dinner

Head into the hills for a night in a local homestay. Get a taste of Burma in the village of Tachileik and a sneak peak into the opium trade in The Golden Triangle (the meeting of Thailand, Burma and Laos).

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Day 9: Bangkok

You’ll be a bit sleepy after a long overnight train ride, but the city tour of Wat Pho, Grand Palace etc will wake you right up.

Day 10: Bangkok - overnight train

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Free day to check out Bangkok.

Yawn, tonight is an overnight trip

Continue your journey south by train

Day 11-12: Koh Samui

Choose from hanging in a hammock, lazing in the sun or snorkelling. Life’s tough.

Day 13: Khao Sok National Park

Home to monkeys, snakes, tigers and the weird smelly Rafflesia kerrii flower.

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

Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner

Life just gets harder and harder as we camp overnight on Bamboo Island. Console yourself with a swim and a cold Singha.

Camp under the stars at Bamboo Island Beach Camp – it’s the best kind of cliche. Choose from a myriad of exciting activities.

Day 14

Day 15

Day 16

Day 17-18: Phuket

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Fill up your bellies with some tom yum gung from the market and shop for last minute silk scarves and bags.

Your Trip

Nuts and Bolts

• Gecko’s expert English-speaking local tour guide throughout the tour, and professional local site guides at some sites.

• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Bangkok - Grand Palace/Emerald Buddha and Wat Pho; the Golden Triangle region; and Koh Samui island tour.

• Bicycle tour around the ancient capital of Sukhothai.

• Stay in secluded Ao Nang with two days in comfortable, fan-cooled bungalows.

• Longtail boat ride to Bamboo Island near Koh Phi Phi, with overnight beach camping.

• Stay in a jungle guesthouse and canoeing trip in Khao Sok National Park.

• Free time to explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai.

• Time to relax in Koh Samui, Krabi area and Phuket.

• Overnight sleeper trains from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Surat Thani.

• Public bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals




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.

Optional Extras

We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and 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 it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.

Important Information


In 2015 this trip will be 16 days long and will finish in Ao Nang, Krabi. The 2015 itinerary will be available online on the 1st of October 2014

Fellow Travellers
On this trip you may link up with passengers on other Geckos tours.

Local Tour Guides
By employing and training local site guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour guide’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success.

Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Gecko's Thailand office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722

Single Supplement
A single supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information. Please note that on the following nights the supplement is not available:
Day 6 Homestay
Day 8 Overnight train
Day 10 Overnight train
Day 15 Bamboo Island Camp
Please note that the accommodation facilities at the homestay are basic, but provide you with an authentic experience of how local people live. You may wish to bring an inner sleeping sheet for the train journeys and the home stay, but please note that this is not a necessity. For light sleepers, we recommend that you bring ear-plugs and eye-patches for the overnight rail journey and the village stay.

While we respect each individual’s decisions while travelling, Geckos 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 (formerly the World Society for Protection of Animals) 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 that 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 here.

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please ensure that you have the most up-to-date information for your trip. We recommend that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

22 July 2014

General Contact Details

Geckos AdventuresPhone: 1-877-285-0655
Web: Visit Geckos