Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao

Thailand Discovery - from Bangkok to Koh Tao

13

days

Discovery

From $1,620 Land only

Book this holiday

Holiday Overview

Highlights

  • Trek in search of wild elephants at Khao Yai Nature Reserve
  • Meditate with monks at ancient Ayutthaya
  • Relax in jungle raft houses on the River Kwai
  • Try snorkelling in the reef on the idyllic island of Koh Tao

After arriving in the vibrant Thai capital city, Bangkok, we travel north-east to the wilderness nature reserve of Khao Yai where we stay in comfortable jungle lodge accommodation. We'll enjoy a short trek into the jungle in search of wildlife. There are 300 different species of bird in the park including hornbill, red-breasted flycatchers and silver pheasants. The park is also home to gibbons and stump-tailed macaques, and is one of the few places in Thailand where you can still see wild elephants! Transferring to the ancient Thai capital of Ayutthaya, we tour the site by bicycle taking in famous temples such as Wat Phra Si Sanphet and Wat Mahathat. Later that day we'll enjoy the spectacle of local monks sitting down to prayer and join them with our own personal meditation session. An evening cruise aboard a traditional teak rice barge on the Chao Phraya River rounds off the day nicely. Next stop is Kanchanaburi to visit the famous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai' and the Death Railway cemetery. Later we travel by train and longtail boat up the River Kwai to our overnight accommodation in Raft Houses. In a tranquil location by the river there are 2 days to chill out here and take part in the activities or relax and enjoy the unique atmosphere. Four days on the heavenly Thai island of Koh Tao, with it's lush reef and a day out snorkelling, concludes this varied and relaxing Thai holiday.

Is this holiday for you?

This is primarily a Discovery adventure holiday which includes wildlife, culture, boat trips, overnight train journeys and water activities. To be able to include all these highlights in the itinerary involves some overland travel by private car. There is some river and ocean travel, some of it in private "long tail" boats and some by public ferry. Accommodation throughout is in simple but comfortable hotels, although there are 2 nights on overnight trains. With the exception of the train journeys, all accommodation will be ensuite. Some of the sightseeing is done on foot and by bicycle, and there is a full day aboard a boat from Koh Tao to allow everyone to try snorkelling.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Bangkok. A single transfer from Bangkok Airport is provided.
  • Sightseeing tour of Bangkok including The Grand Palace. Transfer to Khao Yai National Park.
  • Explore Khao Yai National Park, home to wild elephants, gibbons, macaques and 300 different species.
  • Cycle around the ancient ruined city of Ayutthaya. Meet with monks and dine aboard a teak rice barge.
  • Visit Kanchanaburi and the Bridge over the River Kwai. Take the scenic `Death Railway` to Nam Tok.
  • A day at our jungle raft house accommodation. Relax by the water or explore by canoe, raft or on foot.
  • Visit Nakhom Pathom Elephant Camp. Take the overnight trail to Chom Porn.
  • Take the ferry across the Gulf of Thailand to the lovely island of Koh Tao.
  • A full-day boat trip around Koh Tao with the chance to snorkel in several picturesque spots.
  • A free day to enjoy the marine delights or Koh Tao, or relax by the pool or the sea.
  • A second free day on Koh Tao to relax at our comfortable beach resort accommodation.
  • More time on Koh Tao before taking the ferry back to the mainland and then boarding the sleeper train.
  • Arrive in Bangkok, free time to explore before a single departure transfe to Bangkok Airport.
2016
Sun 14 Aug - Fri 26 Aug Code KOS /05/16/ Adult$1,620 Status 2 more to guarantee Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /05/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 14 Aug and departs on Fri 26 Aug
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $405 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
Sun 13 Nov - Fri 25 Nov Code KOS /06/16/ Adult$1,620 Status Guaranteed Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /06/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 13 Nov and departs on Fri 25 Nov
  • This departure is guaranteed. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $405 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
Sun 18 Dec - Fri 30 Dec Code KOS /07/16/ Adult$1,700 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /07/16/
  • This tour begins on Sun 18 Dec and departs on Fri 30 Dec
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $485 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
2017
Sun 22 Jan - Fri 03 Feb Code KOS /01/17/ Adult$1,620 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /01/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 22 Jan and departs on Fri 03 Feb
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $405 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
Sun 12 Feb - Fri 24 Feb Code KOS /02/17/ Adult$1,620 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /02/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 12 Feb and departs on Fri 24 Feb
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $405 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
Sun 05 Mar - Fri 17 Mar Code KOS /03/17/ Adult$1,620 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /03/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 05 Mar and departs on Fri 17 Mar
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $405 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
Sun 26 Mar - Fri 07 Apr Code KOS /04/17/ Adult$1,620 Status Available Book now
More information
  • Kingdom of Siam and Koh Tao
  • The departure reference for this tour is KOS /04/17/
  • This tour begins on Sun 26 Mar and departs on Fri 07 Apr
  • This departure is available to book. Secure your place today with a deposit of $400
  • Single Supplement $405 - Includes all group hotel nights (does not include sleeper train)
The dates shown are for the LAND ONLY itinerary, joining in Bangkok. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Bangkok International airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Bangkok is one of South East Asia's main air travel hubs, and there are many flight options available. Please refer to the 'Joining arrangements & transfers', and 'Flights' sections in the trip dossier for further details.

Flights SHOULD NOT be booked until you have received your booking confirmation and the trip is showing 'Guaranteed to Run' or 'Limited'.


BOOK WITH KE CONFIDENCE - No surcharge guarantee

We have undertaken to guarantee that all of our Land Only prices will not change once you have booked your holiday. Unlike some of our competitors we have decided never to surcharge, whether you are booking for this year or the next.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer

Holiday Itinerary

  • Meet at the group hotel in Bangkok. A single transfer from Bangkok Airport is provided.

    KE land only services begin with a single timed transfer for clients arriving on this day. The group will rendezvous at the group hotel in Bangkok where we will meet our guide for a group briefing. The rest of the afternoon is free to either catch up on sleep or head into the vibrant streets of Bangkok where ancient gold Buddhist temples sit alongside modern skyscrapers. A real city of contrasts, the friendly Thai people are a joy to barter with in one of the many markets and have a fanatical approach to eating, Bangkok dining experiences are probably the finest in the world. Whilst meals on this day are not included your guide will be able to advise on local places to dine.

    • Accommodation Hotel

  • Sightseeing tour of Bangkok including The Grand Palace. Transfer to Khao Yai National Park.

    Waking to the bustle of Bangkok, we enjoy breakfast before heading out to see the main sights including The Grand Palace, home to the Thai Royal family, and Wat Po, a majestic temple. Thereafter we'll take a longtail boat trip around the ancient Thomburi khlongs (canals). After lunch we'll take the 3-hour drive north east to the Khao Yai National Park. Khao Yai, is a sublime contrast to the buzz of Bangkok. On arrival we check into our eco-lodge with some time to explore the sights of Thailand’s oldest reserve or simply relax by the lodge pool and extensive gardens

    • Accommodation Ecolodge

    • Meals b

  • Explore Khao Yai National Park, home to wild elephants, gibbons, macaques and 300 different species.

    With five different vegetation zones (evergreen forest, semi-green forest, mixed deciduous forest, hill evergreen forest and savannah), the park rises up to an altitude of 1351m and enjoys a healthy wildlife population. Today we embark upon an exploration of this most treasured national park. Walking into the depths of the park, we hope to spot some of the 300 bird species, macaques, gibbons and hopefully a wild Asian elephant or two. Pausing for a picturesque picnic lunch, the rest of the afternoon is free to relax in this fascinating land of forests and continue with your own exploration.

    • Accommodation Ecolodge

    • Meals bl

  • Cycle around the ancient ruined city of Ayutthaya. Meet with monks and dine aboard a teak rice barge.

    Taking a morning drive, we transfer to the historic city of Ayutthaya and begin a leisurely-paced bicycle exploration of this ancient Siamese city. Purposely located on an island, the surrounding tidal rivers were natural prevention from attacks by enemy warships. However, during the late 18th Century Ayutthaya was razed to ground by the Burmese, never to be re-built. Cycling through the ruins of Ayutthaya the well-preserved sites of Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Wat Lokayasutharam and Wat Na Pra give an excellent indication of the past splendour of this fascinating site. Later in the afternoon we take a rest from sightseeing as we observe the local monks partake of their daily prayer and meditation ritual. As the sun starts to dip in the sky we head towards Wat Chaiwattaranaram where we should catch sunset over the city from high up on the sides of the main Chedi. Returning to our hotel to freshen up, we enjoy dinner on a traditional rice teak barge as we cruise the tributaries of Chao Phraya River, the 'River of Kings'.

    • Accommodation Hotel

    • Meals bd

  • Visit Kanchanaburi and the Bridge over the River Kwai. Take the scenic `Death Railway` to Nam Tok.

    Travelling through luscious green flora we head westwards for Kanchanaburi and the infamous 'Bridge over the River Kwai', turning our attention to a more modern period of Thai history. During World War II occupying Japanese forces used over 60,000 Allied prisoners and 180,000 Asian labourers to construct a deadly rail route from Thailand into Burma. The poor treatment and dangerous working conditions led to around 110,000 deaths of the forced labourers and today we spend the day visiting the memorial sites dedicated to those who died during the construction, which includes a scenic ride on the ‘death railway’ from the River Kwai to Nam Tok. In the afternoon we board a long-tail boat on the River Kwai and head to our jungle clad raft houses for the next two night

    • Accommodation Jungle Raft House

    • Meals bd

  • A day at our jungle raft house accommodation. Relax by the water or explore by canoe, raft or on foot.

    The fertile valley of Kanchanaburi provides a wealth of cultural and adventurous activities which is easy to explore from our superb jungle-raft accommodation. If you can leave the lure of relaxing by the water’s edge, there are plenty of opportunities to take part in optional activities such as canoeing, bamboo rafting or enjoying a stroll through the local villages of Mon people.

    • Accommodation Jungle Raft House

    • Meals bd

  • Visit Nakhom Pathom Elephant Camp. Take the overnight trail to Chom Porn.

    Known for their sensitive personalities, the Asiatic elephant has been revered in Thailand throughout history, with the ‘white’ elephant seen to be highly auspicious and receiving royal status in the 1800’s it continues to feature on the national flag today. Visiting a local elephant camp is a wonderful chance to get up close and personal with these beautiful creatures. Taking an elephant ride through the bamboo forests, we can watch the playful creatures cool off in the river, as we take to bamboo rafts to be gently poled down the river by our guide. Once on dry land, we depart by vehicle for the local train station to experience the first of our overnight Thai sleeper trains as we steam ahead to the South Eastern port of Chom Porn

    • Accommodation Sleeper Train

    • Meals b

  • Take the ferry across the Gulf of Thailand to the lovely island of Koh Tao.

    Departing our transit town of Chom Porn we take the island ferry service from Thong Makham Noi Pier and head across the Gulf of Thailand for the island of Koh Tao. Located in the Gulf of Thailand, Koh Tao was a well known place of shelter and rest for local fisherman during tropical storms and has continued to provide a haven of beauty and respite for tourists today. After less than a two hour journey, we arrive on this island paradise and check-in to our beach lodge accommodation for the next four nights

    • Accommodation Bungalow

  • A full-day boat trip around Koh Tao with the chance to snorkel in several picturesque spots.

    Today we enjoy a full-day boat trip around Koh Tao, stopping off for snorkelling sessions at 5 separate areas - Ao Chalam (Shark Bay), Ao Luek, Hin Wong, Ao Muang and Nang Yuan Island. Life jackets and equipment will be provided and basic instruction given. We'll enjoy lunch aboard the boat. Overnight at Koh Tao beach resort.

    • Accommodation Bungalow

    • Meals bl

  • A free day to enjoy the marine delights or Koh Tao, or relax by the pool or the sea.

    With picture postcard beaches, turquoise waters and relaxed atmosphere, Koh Tao’s magnetic charm is undeniable! Over the next two days, you may wish to find your own corner of paradise and spend your time relaxing between the beach and warm waters of Koh Tao. For many, the lure of Koh Tao is its thriving marine life. With plenty of time here, there are ample opportunities to take advantage of optional snorkelling and diving experiences, or if you prefer being above the water, you can take to the water in a traditional long-tail boat and tour the local waters. Alternatively Koh Tao’s jungle interior provides a great day-hike experience which is a great way to work up an appetite for the delicious local cuisine and optional Thai cookery class available. Your guide and resort staff will be able to advise on optional activities and costs on arrival.

    • Accommodation Bungalow

    • Meals b

  • A second free day on Koh Tao to relax at our comfortable beach resort accommodation.

    Another free day on Koh Tao for you to enjoy.

    • Accommodation Bungalow

    • Meals b

  • More time on Koh Tao before taking the ferry back to the mainland and then boarding the sleeper train.

    Leaving in the afternoon sun we transfer by ferry across to the mainland and catch the overnight sleeper service to Bangkok. In comfortable tourist class, we return to South East Asia’s most vibrant city in time for the early morning buzz

    • Accommodation Sleeper Train

    • Meals b

  • Arrive in Bangkok, free time to explore before a single departure transfe to Bangkok Airport.

    On arrival into Bangkok, we have the use of day rooms to freshen-up for a free day. Spending the day at leisure on a river trip, visiting one of the many market areas or enjoying the delicious Thai curbside cuisine, your guide will be able to give you advice on the best places to enjoy your last day in the land of the Siamese smile. In the late afternoon, KE land only packages end with a single timed transfer to the airport.

Holiday Information

  • A local English speaking KE tour leader
  • Train and ferry boat journeys as described
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • All land transport involved in the itinerary
  • Single timed Bangkok Airport transfer on day 1 and final day
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips for trek staff
  • Departure tax on leaving Bangkok
  • Some meals as detailed in the Meal Plan
  • Miscellaneous expenses - drinks and souvenirs etc

In Thailand eating is an essential part of the experience. Thai food is justifiably famous and some would say the best cuisine in the world. Though some dishes are very spicy (such as the fiery and quintessentially Thai, Tom Yam soup) it is a mistake to think that all Thai food is hot, and there is a tremendous subtlety of flavours. Your guide will give you hints and tips on how to discover what suits you best from a typical Thai menu. And of course the optional Thai cookery course in Koh Tao will give everyone a better appreciation of the ingredients and techniques involved in creating delicious Thai dishes. In Bangkok, Kanchanaburi and on the island of Koh Tao, there are also many restaurants and cafes serving international dishes and all the familiar fast food outlets are also represented. One interesting dining experience in Bangkok is to visit a ‘seafood supermarket’ where you buy your fresh fish plus vegetables and after going through the check out you can discuss with a chef just how you would like it cooked. Then sit in the restaurant and enjoy a drink while the meal is prepared.

10 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 3 dinners are included in the price of this holiday. Throughout Thailand there is a wide range of dining options and it makes sense to leave this choice of where to eat and at what budget to you. In fact one of the joys of travel in Thailand is sampling the food, which differs in character from region to region. There are a total of 21 non-included meals (see trip dossier for details of which meals are included). You can typically expect to pay around $5 for a lunch and around $10 for a dinner.
A single arrival and departure transfer is included with a local guide. Clients should look for the Essential Travel/KE signboard at the airport.
During this trip the group will spend 1 night at a hotel in Bangkok, 2 nights in bungalows in Khao Yai, 1 night in a hotel in Ayutthaya, 2 nights aboard jungle rafts on the River Kwai, 4 nights at a beach resort in Koh Tao and 2 nights in second class cabins (with bunks) aboard sleeper trains. Hotels will usually be 3 star tourist-class, and the beach resort on Koh Tao will also be 3 star standard. All hotel rooms will be ensuite and with air conditioning. All accommodation is arranged on a twin sharing basis, other than on the overnight train journeys. If you are travelling by yourself you will be paired up with another single client of the same sex. Depending on availability, it is possible to book a single supplement for the trip. For Hotel prices and single supplement costs please refer to the dates and prices page of the trip on our website.

View the gallery below for images of the style of accommodation used

A professional English-speaking Thai leader will accompany the group throughout.

We estimate that a total of around £150 to £200 per person (or equivalent in euros/dollars) should be allowed for personal spending including the above-mentioned meals. This amount should also be sufficient to cover miscellaneous expenses, including any departure tax, and approximately £20 - £30 for tips to local staff. If you are intending to buy expensive souvenirs, you should budget accordingly (credit cards can be useful in this respect). Also, if you expect to buy considerable quantities of soft drinks or beer, you should make an allowance for this. It is not necessary to obtain local currency (Thai Baht) prior to departure. It is possible to withdraw cash from ATMs in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi, and credit cards are widely used throughout Thailand. If you intend to bring your travel money with you, we recommend that you bring this in the form of cash rather than travellers cheques, since this will be much less time consuming to exchange and generally attracts a better rate. Sterling, US Dollars and Euros are readily exchanged.

Tipping is not commonly practiced in Thailand, except perhaps to leave loose change from a restaurant bill or round up a taxi fare. In some restaurants a 10% service charge will be added to your bill, and in this case a tip is not necessary. We do recommend you tip your local guide, drivers and crew. We suggest you co-ordinate these tip as a group and as a rough guide we recommend each group member contributes £20 to £30. The exact amount should be determined by the group.

There is no weight limit on this trip other than that imposed by your international carrier (normally 20kg). However, we do ask you to restrict your luggage to one trek bag and one small daypack per person.

All KE clients will receive a FREE KE trek bag.  These have been specially made to stand up to the rigours of adventure travel.  Your KE bag will be posted to you when your trip is guaranteed to run or on receipt of your booking if the trip is already guaranteed.  If you have travelled with us before and already have a KE trek bag you can select an alternative free gift in the booking process.

The following checklist should help you with your packing. As a general rule, you should always try to keep the weight of your equipment to a minimum.

You must bring the following items:

  • Comfortable walking shoes

  • Small Daypack 20 to 25 litres

  • Sheet sleeping bag (for the sleeper train)

  • Underwear

  • Socks

  • Swimwear

  • Lightweight trousers/shorts

  • Casual shirt and/or T-shirts

  • Lightweight fleece top or jacket

  • Lightweight waterproof jacket

  • Travel clothes

  • Sunhat

  • Sunglasses

  • Torch

  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc.)

  • Washbag and toiletries

  • Antibacterial handwash

  • Small towel

  • Basic First Aid Kit including: antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Imodium), painkillers, plasters, insect repellent, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite)

The following items are optional:

  • Water bottles 1 Litre

  • Camera

  • Pen-knife (remember to pack sharp objects in hold baggage)

  • Small padlock (to lock trek bag)

 

For each holiday there is a minimum number of participants required to enable it to go ahead. Once the minimum number is reached, the trip status will change from 'Available' to 'Guaranteed to run'. You can check the trip status for each departure in ‘Dates and Prices’ table. Other than in exceptional circumstances, we will not cancel a trip once it has achieved this guaranteed to run status and so you are free to proceed with your international flight booking and other travel arrangements.

A passport with 6 months remaining validity at the end of your stay is generally required. The information that we provide is for UK passport holders. Please check the relevant embassy or consulate for other nationalities. It is your responsibility to ensure that you have the correct travel documents and visas for your holiday. Visa requirements and charges are subject to change without notice. If you are travelling outside the EU you should have at least 2 blank pages in your passport.

Visa Thailand

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

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. Malarial prophylaxis are required. A certificate of yellow fever vaccination is required if travelling from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission and for travellers having transited 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.

The unit of currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht.

We recommend you check if you require an adaptor for your electrical items at:

http://www.worldstandards.eu/electricity/plugs-and-sockets/

The better conditioned you are the more you will enjoy your trip. We suggest that you adopt a sensible weekly exercise regime and fit in regular exercise to your weekly routine to ensure that you are physically capable of taking part in this trip. Running, walking, cycling and swimming are all good for developing aerobic fitness and stamina.

As a reputable tour operator, KE supports the British Foreign & Commonwealth Offices ‘Know before you go’ campaign to enable British citizens to prepare for their journeys overseas, and we recommend that all KE travellers take a look at the FCO Travel Advice for their chosen destination on the official FCO website: www.fco.gov.uk. 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 FCO advise against travel for any reason, we will contact everyone booked to travel to discuss the situation.  We receive regular updates direct from the FCO and are in constant touch with our contacts on the ground.  If you have any questions about government travel advice, please call our office.

There are 3 main seasons in Thailand. From November to March the climate is relatively cool and dry. April and May are much hotter and the humidity begins to rise. The rainy season lasts from June to October. During this time the climate is very tropical and cloud frequently builds during the day leading to a short lived afternoon or evening downpour before the skies clear again. The best time for a visit is from November to mid April when the weather is not too hot and the beaches are at their best. Typical daytime temperatures in Bangkok at this time are 32°C / 90°F and in Chang Mai it will be around 28°C / 82°F. Summer temperatures will be warmer, and although there is a greater chance of rainfall, it’s still a great time to visit. In the highland areas of the north and north-east, it can be quite cold at night in December and January.

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Thailand

Thailand at 1:1,500,000 from Nelles Verlag, with its smaller size map offering a convenient format for use when travelling. Several insets provide street plans of city centres and enlargements of the most visited islands and other areas.

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