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Self-Guided Holiday in Thailand

Thailand
Available Departures: Jan, Feb, Mar, Apr, May, Jun, Jul, Aug, Sep, Oct, Nov, Dec

12 days from

US$1,420

without flights
Culture
Self-Guided
LEISURELY LEISURELY

Experience the culture and flavours of Thailand from Chiang Mai to Kanchanaburi on this unique self-guided holiday

Trip Code: SGTH
Holiday Grades

Our Holiday Grades Explained

To show the relative difficulty of our holidays, each trip is graded on a scale of 1 to 12, with 12 being the most challenging. Although we have tried to make our grading system as clear as possible, it cannot take into account your personal interests, abilities or experience. If you have any questions about the nature of a particular trip or its suitability for you, please read the 'Is this holiday for you?' section or contact us.

 1 - 3 LEISURELY
1 - 3 LEISURELY

Suitable for most people in good health, holidays at this grade include only limited amounts of activity.

View leisurely holidays
4 - 6 MODERATE
4 - 6 MODERATE

Suitable for reasonably fit individuals, such as weekend walkers and cyclists. There can be the occasional more difficult day.

View moderate holidays
7 - 9 CHALLENGING
7 - 9 CHALLENGING

Physically challenging holidays, where you need to be prepared before you go.

View challenging holidays
10 - 12 TOUGH
10 - 12 TOUGH

Our toughest holidays, involving many long days, often in isolated areas. A high level of fitness and previous wilderness and mountain experience is essential.

View Tough holidays

Self-Guided Holiday in Thailand

Highlights
  • Discover emerald mountains and meet the indigenous hill tribes of northern Thailand
  • Explore the golden temple of Doi Suthep and delve into the history of UNESCO Ayutthaya
  • Experience the contrasts of buzzing Bangkok
  • Enjoy a cooking class in Chiang Mai and immerse yourself into fragrant Thai flavours
  • Relax surrounded by nature in Kanchanaburi, staying in floating raft houses on the River Kwai

At a Glance
  • Self-Guided
  • 4 days walking and sightseeing
  • 3 days cycling and sightseeing
  • 3 days/2 nights at leisure in Kanchanaburi
  • Daily departures available
  • GPS Travel App
  • Max altitude 2565m
  • Join In Chiang Mai / End in Bangkok

Accommodation & Meals
  • 11 Breakfasts
  • 2 Lunches
  • 2 Dinners
  • 8 nights Hotel with swimming pool
  • 1 nights Sleeper Train
  • 2 nights Jungle Raft House
Overview

Take an unforgettable journey into the Land of Smiles to discover the stunning landscapes and welcoming culture of Thailand. On this fantastic self-guided holiday, you will explore some of the best highlights from Chiang Mai to Bangkok by foot and by bike, a great way to really delve into the heart of the destination.

Beginning in the north, you will be captivated by dreamy landscapes of emerald mountains and cascading waterfalls; and enjoy your first taste of Thai and Buddhist culture. Travelling south by rail, Ayutthaya and its UNESCO World Heritage listed archaeological ruins awaits, inviting you to explore on two wheels to discover its incredible history. Arriving to the capital city of Bangkok, you will experience the wonderful contrasts of this buzzing metropolis, which offers so much more than you might initially expect. Finally, unwind in Kanchanaburi, surrounded by beautiful nature and poignant history. Thailand really has something for everyone.


Travelling independently with the guidance of a self-guided travel app, you decide on the pace of your explorations on your holiday in Thailand. With a carefully balanced itinerary combining guided experiences with self-guided discovery, you will benefit from valuable cultural insights with your local guide, and also have the flexibility to take your time and delve into the sights and history of the places visited with the freedom of your self-guided app.

This holiday is perfect for you if you enjoy the freedom of travelling independently from a group, while having the ease of holiday logistics and arrangements taken care of for you. With your self-guided travel app, you will have a local guide in your pocket to help you along your way as you explore the sights, tastes and culture of Thailand at your own pace.

The sightseeing walks and bike rides included in this itinerary are short and of a leisurely, exploratory nature. The cycling is on predominantly flat and paved terrain; on a mix of small city roads, quiet secondary roads and cycling lanes.

There is an optional walk available in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park between November and February – this is a challenging full day self-guided hike covering around 16km, with over 600m ascent and 900m descent. This optional self-guided walk is suitable for fit and experienced hikers that are confident in terrain that can be steep and occasionally technical.

In the cities, you will stay in well-appointed 3* hotels with pools, where you can be sure of a warm welcome and a comfortable base from which to set off on your daily explorations.

This holiday involves an overnight journey on the sleeper train; facilities on the train are basic but comfortable. Travelling on the train offers a fantastic opportunity to interact with local travellers and experience the culture of Thailand.

You will also spend two nights in a floating raft hotel in Kanchanaburi; the accommodation is simple, with no electricity, wi-fi or heated water. Staying off-grid, surrounded by the sounds of the forest and the river, you can relax and unwind, and reconnect with nature.

Why KE?

On this holiday unique to KE, you will journey from north to south Thailand and experience its wonderful variety of landscapes and history along the way. With a carefully balanced mix of guided and self-guided excursions, plus utilising the train to travel between Chiang Mai and Bangkok, you will have the opportunity to really delve into the culture of this delightful country.

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Itinerary

Your self-guided holiday begins on arrival to Chiang Mai Airport, where your driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will have a briefing with your self-guided assistant to welcome you to Thailand, familiarise you with your self-guided travel app, and answer any questions you may have about your holiday. The rest of your day is at your leisure; to help you get oriented your app contains suggestions for places to visit and some restaurant recommendations.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

This morning you will have an unforgettable introduction to the fantastically flavoursome cuisine of Thailand. Your cooking experience begins with a visit to the local market where under the guidance of your instructor, you will learn about the deliciously fresh ingredients and the fragrant herbs and spices that will make up your culinary creations today. Stocked up with your choice of supplies, you will head into the kitchen and discover the magical alchemy of cooking up your own dishes with step by step demonstrations and guidance. And of course, the best bit of the experience is tasting your very own home-cooked creations - that's lunch sorted!

In the afternoon, you can embark on a leisurely self-guided walking tour of the old city, guided by your travel app. The tour commences from the famous Tha Phae Gate, and takes you on the route less travelled to explore small alleys, lesser-known temples, and the bustling markets of Chiang Mai's ancient trade district, learning of the city's history along the way.

Well-acquainted with the city after your full day of discovery, you can take your pick of local eateries for your evening meal, perhaps with a refreshing local brew of Singha or Chang beer.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B L

Distance

3 KM

This morning you have the opportunity to partake in the Buddhist alms-giving ceremony, Tak Bat. Your guide will meet you at your hotel early in the morning and accompany you through this spiritual experience, sharing insights into the rite that takes place each morning. In this traditional practice, saffron-robed monks set off from the temple and walk the streets to meet the faithful, who gift to the monks alms (usually offerings of food) in return for a blessing. Performed for hundreds of years, this religious ceremony is a form of spiritual redemption and illustrates the symbiotic relationship between the monks and the Buddhist community.

Returning to your hotel after the ceremony, tuck in to your own breakfast before taking a taxi or tuk tuk to the stunning temple complex of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Perched atop the emerald summit of Doi Suthep, this majestic temple dates back to 1383 and is one of the most sacred in the north of Thailand. A staircase flanked by beautiful balustrades of naga serpents lead you up the 306 steps to reach the temple grounds. Utilising your travel app, explore the area and learn about the importance of this religious site for the community of Chiang Mai.

From November to February, an optional walking trail is available in the Doi Suthep-Pui National Park, offering a full day self-guided hike for active travellers who are looking for (and are prepared for) a challenging walk. Undulating through the rainforest, the trail can sometimes be muddy and slippery with tree roots and vegetation on the track, and the going can be steep and tough in some places. This hike requires care and surefootedness, and is not suitable in the rainy season.

The hiking trail begins from the Doi Pui Hmong village, and ascends the verdant flanks of Doi Pui (1685m) to reach a pleasant viewpoint near the summit. From the high point of the trail, the going is mostly downhill, taking you through another Hmong hill village where you can stop for a rest and a coffee, before continuing on to reach Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. Take some time here to explore the temple complex and drink in the breath taking views over Chiang Mai - a well-earned reward for your trekking efforts.
16km / 683m ascent / 939m descent / 6 hours

If you would like to undertake this optional hike during the available season, we can arrange return transfers at a supplementary cost (hotel pick up at 08:00), please contact our sales team to request this at the time of booking your holiday. As this hike is led by the self-guided travel app, we highly recommend that your phone is fully charged and that you bring a power bank as back up.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Reaching an altitude of 2565m, the national park of Doi Inthanon is famed for its cool climate, lush vegetation, misty mountains, numerous waterfalls, and indigenous hill tribes.

Your guide will pick you up from your hotel in the morning. You can sit back and watch the changing scenery as the road carries you from the city lowlands to the lush green mountains, often shrouded in steamy mist. You will spend a full day here with a private guide to experience another side of Thailand. You will get to hike through the forest with your Karen hill tribe guide, discover cascading waterfalls, learn about Karen culture, customs and traditions, and get a glimpse of life in the mountains. You will also be able to sample coffee produced locally, reach the highest point of Thailand - Doi Inthanon - and admire the manicured gardens and twin chedis (pagodas or stupas) of Phra Mahathat Naphamethanidon and Phra Mahathat Naphapholphumisiri, built by the Royal Thai Air Force to commemorate the birthdays of the Thai king and queen.

At the end of the day, feeling rejuvenated after all that fresh mountain air and memorable cultural interaction, you will be transferred back to your hotel to have a final evening in Chiang Mai at your leisure.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B L

Descent

250 M

Distance

3 KM

This morning, you can hire a bike locally to explore Chiang Mai on a self-guided cycling adventure. Travelling on two wheels with the guidance of your travel app, you will be able to cover larger distances and get off the beaten track in this atmospheric city. Your cycle tour will take you to wider areas of the old town as well as the city surrounds, discovering some of the oldest neighbourhoods, impressive temples and animated markets. Along the way, you can also stop for refreshments at local cafes and restaurants as recommended in your travel app.

After your cycle tour, return to your hotel to freshen up before saying farewell to northern Thailand. In the afternoon, you will be transferred to the train station to board your overnight train to Ayutthaya. The train usually departs at around 18:00; you can relax and enjoy dinner on board, either at your seat or in the dining car. In the evening, the train attendants convert your seats into bunks for you to bed down for the night, lulled to sleep by the rhythmic rocking of the train.

Accommodation

Sleeper Train

Meals

B

Distance

16 KM

Arriving early in the morning to Ayutthaya train station, hail a taxi or a tuk tuk (readily available at the station) to take you and your luggage the short distance to your hotel. Early check-in is included on this day, allowing you to access your hotel room on arrival. Having had some extra shut-eye, you can tuck in to breakfast at the hotel before hiring your bike and heading out on your self-guided cycle tour of Ayutthaya today.

Formerly the capital of the Siamese kingdom, Ayutthaya was once a major trading port, strategically located on an island surrounded by the three rivers of Lopburi, Pasak and Chao Phraya. In its heyday, this wealthy city boasted of hundreds of majestic golden temples. With the fall of Ayutthaya in the 18th century, the once-glittering wats were ravaged by the Burmese army and left to be reclaimed by the jungle. Nowadays, the remnants of the grand palaces and temples have undergone careful restoration and the archaeological ruins, surrounded by open green spaces, make up the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ayutthaya Historical Park.

Cycling along small paths and quiet streets, you will pedal through the area's most famous sights as well as the lesser-known highlights. Your self-guided cycle tour will also delve you into history along the banks of the Chao Phraya river, taking you to the areas where the first settlers established their communities in Ayutthaya. With the flexibility to decide your own pace today, you can explore and admire the impressive ruins to your heart's content, before returning to your hotel and choosing where to take your evening meal tonight. We suggest taking a walk around the night markets at Hua Raw or Bang Lan, and letting your senses guide you through the smorgasbord of street food on offer!

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Distance

24 KM

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast before checking out of your hotel and making your way to the train station; your hotel can assist with a taxi or tuk tuk if required. Today you will take the late morning/mid-day train from Ayutthaya to the bustling city of Bangkok, a journey of around 2 hours. Thailand's dynamic capital city is a dizzying blend of spirituality, history and modernity; a fascinating juxtaposition of ancient temples and majestic gleaming palaces with modern high-rise buildings of concrete and glass.

On arrival to Bangkok train station, your driver will meet you and transfer you to your hotel, ideally located for you to discover the city. The rest of your day is at your leisure, free for you to explore as you please. Unmissable sights include the Grand Palace, the National Museum, Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Pho, and the backpacker hub of Khao San Road. You may also like to experience the cityscape from a new angle with a cruise on the Chao Phraya river.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

One of Bangkok's most vibrant neighbourhoods, Chinatown has a wealth of markets, temples, traditional shop houses and fascinating colonial architecture. This morning, make your way to the MRT station at Wat Mangkon in the heart of Chinatown, where your self-guided walking tour will commence. Following the guidance in your travel app, you will meander through the maze of atmospheric alleys in this captivating district, gaining insight into its history along the way. Highlights to discover include the largest Golden Buddha in the world (over 3m tall and weighing more than five tonnes!); noteworthy landmarks such as the Chinese gate at Odeon Circle; and the famous "Street of Gold", home to over a hundred gold and jewellery shops painted gold and bright red for good luck, with their glittering wares on proud display. Your tour will also take you to lesser-known but equally interesting places, immersing you into the heart and soul of the district. Furthermore, your app contains recommendations for restaurants and cafes to help you to sample some of the flavours available here, with its vibrant melting pot of Thai, Chinese and Indian cultures.

After your walking tour of Chinatown, you can continue uncovering the highlights of the city with the points of interest to be found within your app.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Distance

4 KM

Today you will have the opportunity to experience a tranquil green oasis right in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the city. The man-made island of Bang Krachao, set in a sharp bend on the Chao Phraya River, is an idyllic haven teeming with mangrove forests and lush jungle vegetation. It is nicknamed the "Green Lung" of Bangkok as the abundance of trees help to clean up the city air. A gentle self-guided cycle tour in this verdant paradise will reconnect you
with nature and rejuvenate the soul.
In the morning, make your way to the Klong Toei MRT station and take a short tuk tuk ride to the pier at Wat Klong Toei Nok (or take a taxi/tuk tuk directly from your hotel). Crossing the river, your app will direct you to bike hire shops from where you can rent your bicycle for your self-guided tour today.

Guided by your travel app, you will explore the island's canals and elevated pathways, cycle through rustic homesteads and small villages, and visit the peaceful botanical garden of Sri Nakhon Khuean Khan Park. You will find temples dotted over the island, inviting you for a rest in their tranquil and leafy grounds. In this serene setting, you have to remind yourself that you have not left the capital city!

If your visit to Bang Krachao coincides with the weekend, the floating market of Bang Nam Pheung is not to be missed - here you can find a wide range of food, local produce and handicraft stalls. The market opens from the morning to the mid-afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays, and would make for an ideal lunch stop.

Concluding your cycle tour, return your bike to the hire shop and make your way back to your hotel to freshen up and perhaps cool off in the pool, before choosing where to take your dinner tonight, you really are spoilt for choice while in Bangkok.

Accommodation

Hotel with swimming pool

Meals

B

Distance

20 KM

Check out of your hotel after breakfast. This morning, a driver will collect you from the hotel for the transfer to Kanchanaburi province (approx. 3 hours), where the two rivers of Kwai Noi and Kwai Yai meet to form the Mae Klong River. The region of Kanchanaburi is rich with cultural, natural and historical attractions, set amidst rugged limestone peaks and sinewy rivers. You will stay for the next two nights in a floating jungle raft house set in the gentle flow of the Kwai Noi River, a great opportunity to unwind with an off-grid experience. For the next two days, you are free to arrange your own activities or excursions (these can be arranged through the hotel staff on arrival), or simply relax and enjoy the tranquillity of your natural surroundings.

In the evening, you can tuck into dinner by lamplight at your accommodation accompanied by the ambience of the river and the jungle, and enjoy a cultural show of traditional Mon dances.

Accommodation

Jungle Raft House

Meals

B D

Made famous by Pierre Boulle's book 'The Bridge Over the River Kwai' and the subsequent 1957 movie of the same name, you have the opportunity to learn of the history of World War II in Kanchanaburi. There are a number of memorials and museums here, sensitively commemorating and educating visitors on the history of the so-called Death Railway. The construction of the infamous Burma Railway claimed the lives of around 15,000 Allied prisoners of war, and tens of thousands of conscripted labourers, who endured brutal conditions and treatment by their captors.

Not far from your floating hotel, Hellfire Pass is a highly recommended visit. Constructed by POWs who only had primitive tools with which to carve the deep cuttings through solid rock faces, labouring 16-18 hours a day, the name Hellfire Pass comes from the light and shadows cast on the gaunt faces of the prisoners by the burning torches as they worked at night, said to resemble Dante's 'Inferno'. There is a beautiful and poignant walking trail along this section of the old rail route, as well as an excellent museum at the Hellfire Pass Interpretive Centre.

For a dose of nature, the region offers up some beautiful waterfalls - probably the most famous is at Erawan National Park. These tiered cascades have an unbelievably blue hue, forming pretty pools shaded by bamboo and liana. It is possible to enjoy a dip in some of the pools, and even have a natural fish spa from the small fish that nibble away your dead skin.

At Sai Yok National Park, you can discover teak forests, the Sai Yok Falls, as well as fascinating limestone caves with stalactites and stalagmites forming incredible shapes. This National Park is also home to some incredibly rare animals, such as the elusive Kitti's hog-nosed bat, the smallest mammal in the world.

Accommodation

Jungle Raft House

Meals

B D

Depending on the time of your departure flight today, you may have the opportunity for another swim or paddle on the river, before being transferred to Bangkok Airport to meet your flight.

Meals

B
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The Route
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Essential Information

We've compiled some of our Frequently Asked Questions to help you learn more about this amazing trip.

  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Self-guided travel app
  • Local SIM card
  • Self-guided assistance throughout
  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Cooking class in Chiang Mai
  • Guided morning Tak Bat ceremony in Chiang Mai
  • Full day guided excursion to Doi Inthanon including transfers
  • Transfer to Ayutthaya with overnight train
  • Train transfer to Bangkok
  • Transfer to Kanchanaburi
  • Transfer from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok Airport on Day 12

  • Travel insurance
  • Travel to Chiang Mai
  • Travel from Bangkok
  • Visas (if applicable)
  • Some meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Personal equipment
  • Bike hire for self-guided cycling days
  • Entrance fees and tickets on self-guided excursions
  • Any additional activities/excursions indicated as optional

This holiday is led by a self-guided travel app, which contains the personalised details of your complete holiday itinerary. This includes the GPS-led routes for you to follow on your self-guided walking and cycling tours, as well as attractions, coffee stops and points of interest in the towns and cities along the way. The app does not need to have Wi-Fi connection to work, you simply follow the instructions we provide you to download the app to your phone before you leave home and you are ready to go.

Alongside the self-guided app, you will also have support from our local self-guided assistants who are available at the end of the phone. You will be provided with a local SIM card with unlimited internet access on arrival in Chiang Mai, and have a welcome briefing with your self-guided assistant. You can reach our local partners easily by phone, text or on WhatsApp at any point during your holiday and they will be happy to assist you.

Each mobile comes with a different expected battery life so we suggest you pack a spare battery pack with you just in case you require it.

Our Self-Guided Holidays are perfect for your next family holiday and are suitable for children of all ages.

Our partner hotels and accommodations are able to provide cots for young children, and some offer family rooms. We can also arrange hire of children’s bikes and tag along bikes for our self-guided cycling trips and with trips such as Lake Constance and the Danube offering routes on designated cycle paths you can rest assured in keeping your family safe.

As a parent we trust that you know your own child’s capabilities, please read the itinerary details to ensure the distances covered each day are suitable for your family. If this is a first time walking holiday for your family, a centre based trip is a fantastic option as it allows you to easily opt out of a days walking if a day of building sand castles, swimming in the pool or visiting museums is calling.

Please discuss this further with our sales team who will be happy to assist in picking the best trip for your family.

The trip starts in Chiang Mai Airport and ends at Bangkok Airport. All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you.

The nearest airport for this trip is Chiang Mai International Airport with many departures from regional UK airports.

For this trip we have included a pick up transfer from Chiang Mai International Airport to take you to your hotel in Chiang Mai on Day 1 of the itinerary. A driver will be waiting to meet you upon exiting Chiang Mai Airport. The holiday ends on Day 12 with a transfer from Kanchanaburi to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi (International) Airport, timed for the check in of your departure flight from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

Please ensure you inform our customer sales and support team as early as possible of your flight times so that we can arrange your transfers for you.

At hotels in Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok, your stay is arranged on a bed & breakfast basis to offer you the most flexibility where there are many options available in the towns and cities.

You also have a cooking class included in Chiang Mai where you will cook up a delicious Thai lunch under the guidance of your instructor.

Meals are not included on the sleeper train; you can purchase food on board at the restaurant car, or order from the vendors who will deliver your food to your seat. You can also bring food on board if you prefer. Please note that alcohol is not sold or permitted on Thai trains. When you arrive to Ayutthaya early in the morning of Day 6, early check in is included for you to have direct access to your hotel room on arrival, and breakfast is also available at the hotel this morning.

Your two night stay at the floating raft hotel in Kanchanaburi is arranged on a half board basis (dinner, bed and breakfast).

It is not recommended to drink untreated water from the taps. You should take purification tablets or a filter bottle (such as a Water-To-Go bottle) to treat your water. We do not encourage the purchasing of single use plastic bottles.

Thai cuisine is a delightful stimulus for the senses, utilising to great effect the base tastes of spiciness, sourness, saltiness, sweetness and bitterness, with flavours carefully balanced in every dish. Food and eating is an institution among Thais and you will find delicious local dishes at cheap and cheerful hawker stalls everywhere you go; sampling these freshly cooked dishes is a huge part of the adventure of getting under Thailand’s skin.

You will find regional variations that take influence from neighbouring states and seasonality. Tasty northern specialties to sample include ‘khao soi’, a dish of boiled and crispy egg noodles with pork, chicken or beef in a curried soup; ‘khep moo’ and ‘nam phrik num’ – deep fried pork crackling and a roast chilli dip, served with sticky rice (‘khao niaw’).

Thai curries have a variety of curry pastes as their foundation; created by pounding, mashing and grinding an array of fresh and aromatic ingredients into a thick paste. Fragrant flavours typically come from chilli, galangal, lemongrass, kaffir lime, shrimp paste, garlic and shallots.

Perhaps a lesser-known culinary delight is the Thai salad known as ‘yam’. These salads come in many permutations, with noodles (‘yam wun sen’), meat (beef ‘yam nua’ or pork ‘nam tok’), seafood (squid ‘yam plaa meuk’) or vegetables, but tying the dishes together is a generous dash of lime juice to give the salad its distinctive tang, and a sprinkling of fresh chillies to give it heat.

There is also a vast array of colourful tropical fruits to be sampled, some bizarre-looking (such as the rambutan with its covering of soft spines, concealing sweet white flesh within its hairy-looking shell); some pungent (namely the durian, a strong-smelling large fruit with a hard spiky shell and soft creamy flesh); to the more familiar mango, watermelon and papaya. Sampling these fruits in their prime season will likely enrapture you to their delicious flavours – so much better than out-of-season imports.

Whilst we can cater for vegetarians, albeit sometimes with a more limited choice, we cannot always provide special diets.  Due to the nature of some of the trips that we operate and the countries in which we operate them, it can be very hard (and sometimes impossible) to cater for a wide range of dietary choices and you may have to supplement your diet with food/snacks from home.  If you have specific dietary requirements please do speak to our sales team and they will be able to advise you whether or not we will be able to offer your specific choice.  Please note that we are unable to provide separate menus and cannot accept liability for any problems arising from special dietary requirements or intolerances.

For this holiday you will stay in hand-selected 3* hotels in the vibrant cities of Chiang Mai, Ayutthaya and Bangkok. All hotels offer twin/double rooms with air conditioning, and showcase their charming blend of style, character and modern amenities alongside their unparalleled service. All hotels also have swimming pools, along with bars and restaurants serving up a mix of Thai and international cuisines.

It is possible to extend your stay with additional nights in Chiang Mai or Bangkok, just speak with one of our sales team for further information.

Your holiday includes travelling on the overnight sleeper train from Chiang Mai to Ayutthaya (Day 5). Journeying on the sleeper train is a fun part of the Thai travel experience and is a great way to get around in an environmentally friendly manner. For this overnight journey, you will travel in 2nd class air-conditioned sleeper berths. These are seats that are converted into upper and lower bunks for sleeping, each with privacy curtain, pillow and blanket. You take your luggage on board with you; these are stored on racks, under the seats, or on the floor next to your seats. The air conditioning can be effective, so it would be a good idea to have a warm layer and extra socks to hand. There are basic shared washroom facilities at the end of each carriage, with both squat toilets and sit down toilets.

You will also spend two nights at a river raft resort in Kanchanaburi, floating on the River Kwai amidst the jungle and only accessible by long tail boat. Staying at this remote location makes for a wonderful experience, perfect for unwinding whilst surrounded by nature and away from the hubbub of the city. The off-grid bamboo raft houses are simple and rustic: there is no electricity or wifi. Each twin/double room has a simple ensuite private bathroom (water is not heated), along with a shared terrace to the front and a small private deck to the rear. In each room, lighting is by kerosene lamp and hand torch, and mosquito nets are provided. Hammocks and sun loungers are set up on the terraces, ideal if you wish to soak in the surroundings of the floating resort and relax with a good book. The hotel offers activities such as boat trips, kayaking or SUP on the river; off-site excursions are also available. These can all be arranged with the hotel staff. You may find that elephants owned by local villagers visit the resort - we strongly discourage any animal interactions or contact such as feeding, petting or riding elephants. Please refer to KE's Sustainability pages for more information: https://www.keadventure.com/about/ke-sustainability

As the raft hotel is off-grid with no electricity supply, they do not have the facility to process card payments. As such, it is a good idea to have a supply of cash with you.

Bike hire for your self-guided cycling days are payable locally. You will find details of recommended bike hire companies in your self-guided travel app. We strongly recommend that you should take your own cycle helmet for the best comfort.

For this holiday you should take one piece of luggage and a day pack for your daily essentials. Keeping your luggage limited to one piece in a soft, lockable bag such as a duffle bag would be most practical when travelling by train.

For international flights please check your baggage allowance with your airline.

The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required, and you should have at least 2 blank pages for each country that you visit.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Please ensure that you check for the latest advice before travel. For the most up to date information on entry requirements, please visit the UK Government website.

Visa Thailand

UK and USA passport holders do not require a visa for short stays.

VACCINATIONS

You should contact your doctor or travel clinic to check whether you specific require any vaccinations or other preventive measures. You should be up to date with routine courses and boosters as recommended in the UK e.g. diphtheria-tetanus-polio and measles-mumps-rubella), along with hepatitis A and typhoid. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transitted for more than 12 hrs through an airport of a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. On holidays to more remote areas you should also have a dentist check up. A good online resource is Travel Health Pro.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika virus has been confirmed as active in this country. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The mosquitoes that transmit ZIKV are unlikely to be found above 2,000m altitude. For more information, visit the website of the National Travel Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) at https://travelhealthpro.org.uk

 

Severe Allergies

Please inform our KE Sales and support team of any severe allergies you may have before travel. We will always do our best to help but we are unable to guarantee an allergy free environment on our KE trips. We advise that you always carry your own treatment for the allergy with you such as 'adrenaline auto-injectors' if required.  We also recommend that you discuss this with your accommodation on arrival so that they can better assist you.

The unit of currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht.

The advantage of a self-guided holiday is that you decide the pace, however getting some additional exercise before coming on an active holiday would be a good idea. The walking tours in the itinerary are typically gentle and allow many opportunities for stops, other than the hike in Doi Suthep-Pui National Park (available from November to February) which is a challenging hike of around 6 hours.

The sightseeing cycle rides on this holiday are of a leisurely nature, and you are free to decide when to stop for photos and refreshment breaks. The distances cycled are short and on flat terrain, no more than around 24km in a day and typically on paved roads or small paths. We would recommend you dust off your bike and head off on a few rides before your holiday.

Thailand has a tropical climate that gives rise to three main seasons: the cool season (November to February), the hot season (March to May) and the rainy season (June to October).

The cool season from November to February is the most pleasant time to visit; temperatures can be anywhere between 29°C-32°C during the day, and with little rain. During the hot season, daytime temperatures can reach up to around 37°C in Bangkok, and it will feel more humid. You will also experience regional variations, as the uplands of the north are notably cooler and less humid. At higher altitudes, the temperatures during the day can vary between 18°C-26°C, and at night it can feel chilly.

During the rainy (monsoon) season, the rains can vary in length and intensity each year, but generally this season brings short-lived downpours in the afternoon or at night, and helps to alleviate the high temperatures and humidity. Daytime temperatures between June and October can reach an average high of 33°C.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office's ‘Travel Aware campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas. The 'Travel Aware' website provides a single, authoritative source of advice for all kinds of travellers and we recommend that prior to travel, all KE clients visit the official UK Government website at travelaware.campaign.gov.uk and read the FCDO Travel Advice for their chosen destination. North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: www.travel.state.gov for essential travel advice and tips.

KE treat the safety and security of all clients as the most important aspect of any trip we organise. We would not run any trip that we did not consider reasonably safe.  Should the FCDO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCDO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

KE do not encourage the use of single use plastic items. We are ensuring that our agents all over the world are working together to reduce the problem and educate those around them. We are leading by example in our KE office by reducing our plastic use.

Travelers’ Tales: Thailand – edited by James O’Reilly & Larry Habegger

Slithering South – Steve Van Beek

Thailand: A Short History – David K. Wyatt

To the River Kwai: Two Journeys – 1943, 1979 – John Stewart

The Bridge Over the River Kwai – Pierre Boulle

The Railway Man – Eric Lomax

It is an essential condition of joining a holiday with KE Adventure Travel that you have a valid travel insurance policy to cover the cost of medical treatment and to protect the value of your holiday in the event of cancellation.  When taking out insurance please ensure the policy you choose covers you for the activities and altitude included in your itinerary.

For appropriate insurance cover we recommend Campbell Irvine Direct.  Please go to our Travel Insurance page for further information and to get a quote.

  • Hiking boots with good grip soles

  • Functional base layer

  • T-shirts

  • Lightweight travel trousers/shorts

  • Lightweight loose-fitting shirt / shawl to cover shoulders for temple visits

  • Scarf / neck buff

  • Hat

  • Windproof jacket

  • Fleece / extra layer

  • Rain protection

  • Rucksack (approx. 20 l)

  • Small first aid kit for your rucksack

  • Sunscreen

  • Water bottle or hydration pack (we encourage re-filling water bottles rather than single use plastic)

  • Camera (batteries/memory card)

  • Mobile Phone (unlocked to accept an additional SIM card)

  • Power bank

  • Sun glasses

  • Personal wash kit

  • Reusable cloth bag for shopping to avoid the use of plastic bags

  • Tupperware for picnics

  • Ear plugs

  • Eye mask

  • Swimsuit

  • Small travel towel

  • Sandals

  • Insect repellent

  • Headtorch & batteries

For self-guided cycling days:

  • Cycle helmet

  • Cycling shorts

  • Handlebar mount compatible with your smart phone

*Please dress respectfully and modestly when visiting temples. Loose fitting clothing that covers shoulders and knees are best. Avoid wearing clothing with religious themes (e.g. images of Buddha or Hindu deities).

Cotswold Outdoor Red PantonMany of the Equipment items listed above are available from Cotswold Outdoor - our 'Official Recommended Outdoor Retailer'. When you book a holiday with KE you will receive 12.5% discount voucher from Cotswold Outdoor and other retailers.
>> Find out more

DATES & PRICES

2024

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2025

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2026

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Land Only Information

Please note our 'from price' listed is based on 4 persons in double or twin occupancy, however we can quote for any number of travellers, including solo travellers, contact our sales team for a quote.

All of our self-guided holidays are sold on a Land Only basis allowing you the flexibility to choose the travel method which best suits you. You may even wish to make this holiday part of a bigger adventure or pair it with one of our other holidays. We can arrange additional nights accommodation before or after your self-guided trip, ask our sales team to find out more about this.

Our sales team will also be happy to provide you a quote for scheduled flights from your nearest regional airport (where possible). Flight prices are subject to change depending on availability and seasonality. Flight prices will only be confirmed to you when all services have been arranged and confirmed for your requested dates.

Please DO NOT book your flights before you have received your booking confirmation and your deposit has been taken.

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Changes to flights

Please be aware that the flight industry is experiencing a high level of service fluctuation and changes to your flights may occur. This may also require amends to the transfers and joining arrangements. Thank you all for continuing your patience and understanding.

BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

The price of our holidays can change depending on a variety of factors but unlike some other tour operators, KE have undertaken to guarantee the Land Only price of your holiday will not change after you have booked. The price when you book is the price you will pay, whether you are booking for this year or the next. Book early to avoid any tour price increases, get the best flight prices and take advantage of our 'No Surcharge Guarantee'.

KE Adventure is a fully bonded tour operator. We hold an ATOL license (No: 2808) and are bonded with ABTA (Membership No: W4341)


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