For departures after 26 January 2014 this trip has variations.
Please click here for details.
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)
If you get here early, head to Khao San Road and find out which hawker stall sells the best pork satay skewers. Then, once you’ve met your group you can take them all back and become instantly popular.
Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. There is a pre departure meeting tonight at approx. 6pm!
Meals included: 1 breakfast
Leave hectic Bangkok for a night in this ancient village known as ‘The Dawn of Happiness’. Jump on a bike and visit loads of nearby temples. By the end of the day you should be familiar with cycling slang such as, nooing (going for an easy ride), skid lid (helmet) and bug gag (swallowing a bug).
Meals included: 1 dinner
One way the Elephant Conservation Centre raises money is by selling dung paper (that’s paper made from elephant poo if you were wondering).
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 1 lunch
Get up early to help the mahouts (elephant handlers) and say goodbye to your big, grey pals. You’re bound to feel underdressed around the colourful hilltribe people in Chiang Mai so hit the Night Bazaar for some new threads.
Meals included: 1 breakfast, 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).
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. Back on the sleeper train heading south tonight.
Choose from hanging in a hammock, lazing in the sun or snorkelling/diving. Life’s tough.
Home to monkeys, snakes, tigers and the weird smelly Rafflesia kerrii flower.
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. Try cave exploring, sea kayaking, diving and rock climbing.
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.
• 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 Po; the Golden Triangle region with an opportunity to cross the border into Burma (subject to political conditions); and Koh Samui - Songthaew excursion to the 15-metre tall Big Buddha, visit to the Mummified Monk and a swim at Na Muang waterfalls.
• Bicycle tour around the ancient capital of Sukhothai and an overnight stay in a local-style wooden guesthouse.
• Time with the elephants at the Thai Elephant Conservation Centre in Lampang, including an overnight stay in local-style accommodation.
• Longtail boat ride on Mae Kok, with an overnight stay in a hill tribe village.
• Stay in a jungle guesthouse in Khao Sok National Park, including a canoeing trip.
• Two days relaxing in secluded Ao Nang, with accommodation in comfortable, fan-cooled bungalows.
• Longtail boat ride in Phang Nga Bay with a night camping on a beach on a secluded island.
• Free time to explore Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Koh Samui and Phuket.
• Overnight sleeper trains from Chiang Mai to Bangkok and Bangkok to Surat Thani.
• Public bus from Bangkok to Sukhothai.
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.
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.
Tipping has become an accepted part of tourism in South East Asia. Your tour guide will be able to advise you in this area; however, as a guideline we would recommend tipping 10% of the total bill in restaurants and a small tip to hotel bellboys for carrying your bags.
At you pre-tour briefing your tour guide will discuss with you the idea of running a tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then the tour guide pays the tips and keeps a record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour is returned to group members. This is often the easiest way to avoid the hassles of needing small change and knowing what is an appropriate amount to tip.
It is customary to tip your tour guide, at the end of the trip, if you are happy with the service. A minimum tip of US$2 per day, from each member of the group, is the usual amount expected.
Please note that any travellers of certain nationalities (ie. Australians, Americans, Canadians, British and New Zealanders) do not normally require a visa for Thailand if flying in and staying up to 30 days. However, travellers will only get 15 days of stay if arriving without a visa at a land border checkpoint from a neighbouring country. Travellers arriving in Thailand this way and planning to stay in the country longer than 15 days should obtain a Thai visa before they leave home.
Due to the style of accommodation on our trips it might not always be possible to book you in a single room throughout the trip. If you book a single supplement it will not apply to nights on the overnight trains, homestays, Longhouses, village huts, mountain huts, rainforest lodges ,on hill tribe treks, on boats, Camp 5 in Sarawak, Iban Longhouse, ryokan’s and on the Kokoda Track. If you are unsure of where a single supplement will apply please check with your travel agent before booking.
Update on Bangkok Protests (between 12th-19th January 2014)
Due to an increase in political protests scheduled for the week of 12-19 January, taxi drivers may not want to drive from the airport to your downtown hotel. If the public taxis will not take you please go back inside the airport and you can arrange a private vehicle transfer with the Airports of Thailand transfer services. These cost about 1200THB per car to the downtown hotels.
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!
14 January 2014