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Best of Thailand – East Coast Islands

About Thailand

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This 20-day whirlwind experience of Thailand brings together all the cultural beauty of the North with the stunning nature of the east coast islands. Discover the gorgeous temples of ancient Ayutthaya, roam the bustling streets of Bangkok, and swim in the idyllic waters off Koh Samui. See Thailand the right way on this journey of a lifetime.

What's Included

Klong boat tour (Bangkok). Wat Po guided visit. Erawan Falls and Bridge on the River Kwai visit (Kanchanaburi). Rafthouse stay. Temple ruins tour (Ayutthaya). Thai Burma Railway Centre visit. Doi Suthep temple visit (Chiang Mai). Local cooking class and meal (Chiang Mai). Mae Sai visit (Chiang Rai). Opium Museum visit. Local community homestay (Lampang). Bicycle tour (half-day, Sukhothai). Snorkelling excursion (Koh Tao). Free time on spectacular beaches. Internal flight. All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.

Highlights

Sightseeing at Erawan Falls and the Bridge on the River Kwai, get to know a local family in Lampang with a homestay, enjoy a snorkelling trip from Koh Tao through Koh Nang Yuan

Dossier Disclaimer

The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.

VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.

Itinerary Disclaimer

While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.

Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.

Important Notes

PASSPORT DETAILS
G Adventures requires your passport number and date of birth before we can confirm your booking. Please make sure you give this information to your travel agent.

LUGGAGE
There is usually a max weight limit of 15kg (33lbs) on the internal flight in Thailand. Passengers are responsible for any excess luggage charges.

Group Leader Description

All G Adventures group trips are accompanied by one of our CEOs, a G Adventures representative, or an expedition team. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. They 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 countries visited on the trip, including historical, cultural, religious and social aspects. We also use local guides where we think more specific knowledge will add to the enjoyment of the places we are visiting- we think it’s the best of both worlds.

Group Size Notes

Max 15, avg 12

Meals Included

18 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners

Meals

Eating is a big part of travelling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap.

Transport

Train, private vehicle, bicycle, longtail boat, longtail boat, ferry, plane, walking.

About our Transportation

Land Transfers & Included Tours/activities: Many of the land transfers and included tours will be by private van, car or taxi, while others may be shared with other travellers depending on availability, nature of the activity and destination. For transfers, you may have a local non English-speaking driver only, for included tours, you will be accompanied by an English speaking local guide.

Thai Trains: As the popularity of train travel in Thailand continues to grow domestically, some of the routes used on this tour do not have sufficient space during local public holidays, including New Year’s, Songkran, etc. During these times of the year, alternative transport may be arranged for one or more of the train journeys on this tour.

Local Flights

All local flights are included in the cost of your tour unless otherwise noted. It is important that we have your passport information at the time of booking in order to process these tickets. Internal flight tickets are issued locally and will be given to you prior to the flight departure.

Solo Travellers

We believe solo travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and solo travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.

Accommodation

Hotels/guesthouses (16 nts), rafthouse (1 nt), sleeper train (1 nt), homestay (1 nt).

About Accommodation

Please remember that hotel/lodge/resort standards can be different from what you are used to in your home country, which is part of the appeal of adventure travel. Porterage is not included, but can be arranged directly at most hotels.

Joining Hotel

For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.

Arrival Complications

We don’t expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, as soon as possible please contact your starting point hotel, requesting that you speak to or leave a message for your CEO (if you are not on a group tour please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier). If you are unable to get in touch with your leader, please refer to our emergency contact details.

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer please meet your driver near the information counter at Entrance Door number 3 of the airport, in the arrival hall. Look for a driver holding a G Adventures sign with your name.

If you have still have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.

What to Take

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit.
Most travellers prefer to carry a softbag or rolling bag of small to medium size can be suitable. If you have combined Independent trip with some other G Adventures trip (basic or standard) we recommend you to travel with a backpack. You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.
If you don’t know what type of clothes to bring, you can check different weather web sites. We also recommend you bring sun protection cream that suits your needs.

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Spending Money

Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

Money Exchange

During this tour the local currency you will use is the Thai Baht. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers’ cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $200 (or equivalent) as an ‘emergency’ fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Tipping

It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected – though not compulsory – and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.

Health

Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.

There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information about before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug.

Safety and Security

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. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewelery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your group leader has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it deemed necessary, due to safety concerns. Your Chief Experience Officer (CEO) will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy and explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location, please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer 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. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards), have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk. Read more about travel safety for ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling.

Trip Specific Safety

We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers’ cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home – you won’t need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.

Medical Form

Our small group adventures bring together people of all ages. It is very important you are aware that an average level of fitness and mobility is required to undertake our easiest programs. Travellers must be able to walk without the aid of another person, climb 3-4 flights of stairs, step on and off small boats, and carry their own luggage at a minimum. Travellers with a pre-existing medical condition are required to complete a short medical questionnaire, which must be signed by their physician. This is to ensure that travellers have the necessary fitness and mobility to comfortably complete their chosen trip. While our leaders work hard to ensure that all our travellers are catered for equally, it is not their responsibility to help individuals who cannot complete the day’s activities unaided. Please refer to the physical ratings in this Trip Details document for more information.

Please note that all passengers traveling to Antarctica are required to fill out this questionnaire.

The medical questionnaire can be found online at www.gadventures.com/medical-form.

A Couple of Rules

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

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your leader, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy we require that at a minimum you are covered for medical expenses including emergency evacuation and repatriation. A minimum coverage of USD200,000 is required. G Adventures can provide you with the appropriate coverage. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. Some tours include adventure activities that require extra coverage (e.g. crampon use); please review your itinerary and make sure that you are covered for all included activities. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.

G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.

Dollar-a-Day Program
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.

Local Dress

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites.

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we’ll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at customerservice@gadventures.com and we will send it on to you.

Newsletter

Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/

Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra’s monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.

Minimum Age

You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.

International Flights

Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.

PRODUCT_LINE: ATHE, ID: 24796

Terms, conditions and restrictions apply; pricing, availability, and other details subject to change and/ or apply to US or Canadian residents. Please confirm details and booking information with your travel advisor.


Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Bangkok

    Arrive at any time.

    Included Activities:
    Arrival Day and Welcome Meeting

  2. Day 2 Bangkok/Kanchanaburi (1B, 1D)

    Enjoy a klong boat tour of Bangkok including a visit to Wat Po. Travel to Kanchanaburi and head to your floating rafthouse accommodation. Enjoy free time to explore.

    Included Activities:
    Klong Riverboat Tour
    Wat Po Visit
    Overnight Rafthouse Excursion

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (2.00-3.00 hours, 129km)

  3. Day 3 Kanchanaburi (1B)

    Enjoy a day of sightseeing at Erawan Falls and the Bridge on the River Kwai. Explore the Allied War Cemetery, the Thai-Burmese Railway Centre and the JEATH War Museum to learn more about the area’s history.

    Included Activities:
    Erawan Waterfalls Visit
    Bridge on the River Kwai Visit
    Thai/Burma Railway Centre and Allied War Cemetery Visit

    Transport:
    Enjoy a short drive to view the beautiful Erawan Waterfalls. (1-2 hours per direction)
    Private Vehicle (1.00-2.00 hours)

  4. Day 4 Kanchanaburi/Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya (1B)

    Travel to Ayutthaya and visit the historical sites of the old capital city. Opt to visit Chan Kasem National Museum and Chao Sam Phraya Museum.

    Included Activities:
    Temple Ruins Tour

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (2.50 hour(s), 150km)

  5. Day 5 Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya/Chiang Mai (1B)

    Spend a full day exploring Ayutthaya before boarding an overnight train to Chiang Mai.

    Transport:
    Basic overnight train (beds) (12.00 hour(s))

  6. Day 6 Chiang Mai

    Chiang Mai is a vibrant city with heaps to see and do. Famous for its night market, cooking classes, and Muay Thai, it’s a feat to fit it all in.

    Included Activities:
    Doi Suthep Temple Visit

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))

  7. Day 7 Chiang Mai (1B, 1D)

    Enjoy free time to explore Chiang Mai. Opt for a bicycle tour, a visit the Mae Sa waterfall, shopping at the night market, or getting a traditional Thai massage. Enjoy a local cooking class with dinner.

    Included Activities:
    Cooking Class

  8. Day 8 Chiang Mai/Chiang Rai (1B)

    Travel to Chiang Rai and start exploring.

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (4.50-5.00 hours, 274km)

  9. Day 9 Chiang Rai (1B)

    Visit the town of Mae Sai and the Opium Museum.

    Included Activities:
    Mae Sai Visit
    Opium Museum Visit

  10. Day 10 Chiang Rai/Lampang (1B, 1D)

    Continue on to Lampang and enjoy a homestay in a traditional Lanna village. Participate in craft demonstrations and opt to help prepare a local meal.

    Included Activities:
    Village Homestay

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (5.00 hour(s), 315km)

  11. Day 11 Lampang/Sukhothai (1B, 1L)

    Take in traditional morning activities, followed by lunch in the village. Travel to Sukhothai and enjoy a free afternoon.

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (4.00 hour(s), 213km)

  12. Day 12 Sukhothai (1B)

    Take a half-day guided bike tour of Sukhothai Historical Park and explore the area with some free time.

    Included Activities:
    Sukhothai Bicycle Tour

  13. Day 13 Sukhothai/Bangkok (1B)

    Travel to Bangkok and enjoy some time for last minute shopping.

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (6.00-7.00 hours, 422km)

  14. Day 14 Bangkok/Ko Samui (1B)

    With tons to do in the area, spend the next couple of days enjoying this tropical paradise.

    Transport:
    Private Vehicle (0.75 hour(s))
    Plane (1.00 hour(s))
    Private Vehicle (1.00 hour(s))
    Ferry (0.75 hour(s))
    Private Vehicle (0.50 hour(s))

  15. Day 15 Ko Samui (1B)

    Relax on the beach or visit the bustling little town. Opt for a snorkelling trip in Ang Thong Marine Park.

  16. Day 16 Ko Samui/Ko Pha Ngan (1B)

    Take a ferry to nearby Koh Pha Ngan, with time to explore the island’s waterfalls, swim in lagoons, hike, or relax. If it’s the right time, opt to take part in the island’s famous Full Moon Party.

    Transport:
    Transfer to the ferry terminal and board for the short ride to Koh Phangan.
    Ferry (0.75 hour(s))

  17. Day 17 Ko Pha Ngan (1B)

    With everything from yoga and meditation courses, natural beauty, and its famous full moon parties, Koh Phangan has something for everyone.

  18. Day 18 Ko Pha Ngan/Ko Tao (1B)

    Travel to Koh Tao, in English known as ‘turtle island’. While most of the visitors spend their days in the water, in the evening the beach bars and hotels spill over with people looking to share their tales of the days activities and a cold beer or two.

    Transport:
    Transfer to the ferry in Koh Phangan and on the other end in Koh Tao.
    Ferry (2.50 hour(s))

  19. Day 19 Ko Tao (1B, 1L)

    Enjoy an included snorkelling trip from Koh Tao through Koh Nang Yuan.

    Included Activities:
    Snorkelling Excursion

  20. Day 20 Ko Tao (1B)

    Depart at any time.

    Want to take the hassle out of getting back to Bangkok? Book the Bangkok Express, a two-day post-tour Extra. Speak to your Global Connection Officer or travel agent to book.

    Additional Notes:
    Add the “Bangkok Express: Koh Tao to Bangkok” to your adventure and make your way back to bustling Bangkok with the guidance of a CEO. This nifty post-tour Extra includes a ferry to the mainland where you’ll board an overnight train to Bangkok arriving in the city early the next morning. Speak to your Global Connection Officer or travel agent to book.

    Included Activities:
    Departure Day

Contact our travel experts for more details

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