Thailand Bamboo and Buddhas Family Adventure

11 days of family activity and adventure in Thailand







From $1,460 Land only

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Holiday Overview


  • Explore bustling Bangkok and visit the Bridge over the River Kwai
  • Visit an elephant camp, take an elephant ride and jungle trek
  • Experience a hilltribe homestay and stay in a floating raft house
  • Ride a bamboo raft, try Thai boxing and swim in waterfalls

This action packed family adventure holiday to Thailand includes a range of experiences sure to captivate youngsters as well as older members of the family. After a stay in a very cool jungle raft house, learning Thai boxing and swimming in 7-tiered waterfalls, we have a must-see visit to the infamous 'Bridge over the River Kwai' and ride on the famous 'Burma-Thai' Railway. Travelling up to Chang Mai on a sleeper train we have a day of easy biking on quiet back roads before setting off on a 3 day jungle adventure, travelling on foot, on elephant back and by bamboo raft, through pristine forested valleys which are home to a number of extraordinary hill tribes. We have homestays with the Karen people allowing us to see and participate in an agriculture-based way of life that has changed little for centuries. Returning to Chang Mai we explore local markets and learn how to cook Thai food. We conclude this memorable holiday in the 'Land of Smiles' with a mix of poolside relaxation and sightseeing the temples and waterways of Bangkok from the vantage of our own private long tailed boat.

Is this holiday for you?

Suitable for children from 6yrs old

With its friendly people, spectacular towns and temples and wealth of exotic experiences, Thailand is great for families. The holiday includes some easy walks, cycling on quiet back roads, an elephant ride, the opportunity to learn Thai boxing and a Thai cookery lesson as well as several opportunities for swimming in rivers and hotel pools. Accommodation is in a range of hotels some with pools, 2 nights at a simple village house, 2 nights on a sleeper train and a night on a comfortable floating raft house. Thailand's climate is at its coolest at Easter and Christmas, but the country is also a great summer holiday destination.

Brief Itinerary

View in full
  • Meet at the group hotel in Bangkok. A single transfer from Bangkok Airport is provided.
  • Thai boxing lesson. Transfer by vehicle and boat to jungle raft house.
  • Morning to relax. Transfer to Erawan National Park, swim. Drive to Kanchanaburi.
  • Bridge over the River Kwai. Drive to Ayutthaya to board train to Chiang Mai.
  • Morning in Chiang Mai. Afternoon cycling tour in outlining rural villages.
  • Start our 3 day trek among the Karen people. Meet villagers and overnight.
  • Morning walk to elephant camp. Elephant ride through the jungle. Thai cooking session.
  • Float down river on bamboo raft. Return to Chiang Mai
  • Walking tour of Chiang Mai, or free time. Options for cooking and boat rides. Train to Bangkok.
  • Arrive Bangkok. Long tail boat tour. Tuk tuk to the hotel. Tour of Wat Po.
  • Departure day. A single transfer is provided to Bangkok International Airport.
Sun 20 Dec - Wed 30 Dec Code FAT /06/15/ Adult$1,460 Child$1,380 Status Available Book now
Sun 27 Mar - Wed 06 Apr Code FAT /01/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Available Book now
Sun 03 Apr - Wed 13 Apr Code FAT /02/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 17 Jul - Wed 27 Jul Code FAT /03/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Available Book now
Sun 24 Jul - Wed 03 Aug Code FAT /04/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Guaranteed Book now
Sun 14 Aug - Wed 24 Aug Code FAT /05/16/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Available Book now
Sun 18 Dec - Wed 28 Dec Code FAT /06/16/ Adult$1,460 Child$1,375 Status Available Book now
Sun 02 Apr - Wed 12 Apr Code FAT /01/17/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Available Book now
Sun 09 Apr - Wed 19 Apr Code FAT /02/17/ Adult$1,380 Child$1,295 Status Available Book now
The LAND ONLY dates and prices are for the itinerary joining in Bangkok. For clients making their own flight arrangements, Bangkok Airport is the most convenient for transfers to the group hotel. Please refer to 'Joining Arrangements and Transfers' 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*

* Against Land Only services.

Map & Itinerary

The Route

  • airport
  • point
  • trip direction
  • transfer
  • train
  • trek
  • river journey

Holiday Itinerary

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

    We meet at the group’s hotel in the city. A single timed group transfer from Bangkok Airport is available. KE Land Only package services begin with this transfer. The hotel is centrally located with air conditioning and a swimming pool. In the evening we have a ‘welcome’ dinner at the hotel and a trip briefing from our guide.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals d

  • Thai boxing lesson. Transfer by vehicle and boat to jungle raft house.

    After breakfast at the hotel we will have a short (30 - 45 minute) transfer to a Muay Tai (Thai Kick Boxing) training gym. Here we will have a quintessential Thai experience visiting the Sor Vorapin training centre for the traditional martial art of Thai boxing. We can watch the boxers going through their paces and those who wish can participate after some basic instruction. After our session here we drive (3 - 4 hours) through a fascinating rural Thai landscape of paddies and small villages to reach Resotel Pier. Here we board a long tail boat for a 30 minute fast ride on the river to our overnight accommodation in a jungle 'Raft House'. The raft house which is floating on the river has no electricity and after dark is lit with hurricane lamps. This is a very atmospheric, as well as a very comfortable, way to stay in the jungle with the sounds of the river and riverbank all around. After checking in and having an excellent Thai dinner, we enjoy a performance of traditional Mon Dance.

    • Accommodation Jungle Raft House

    • Meals bd

  • Morning to relax. Transfer to Erawan National Park, swim. Drive to Kanchanaburi.

    The morning is free to relax enjoy the facilities of the Jungle Raft House. Swimming in the river is great fun or there is the option to hire a canoe, or to visit the nearby Mon Village. Before midday we take the long tail boat back to Resotel pier where we meet our van and transfer (approx 1 hour, 15 minutes) to Erawan National Park. We will spend the afternoon at the park including time for swimming in the 7-tiered waterfalls. From here we have a journey of around 1 hour to Kanchanaburi where we check into our hotel.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals b

  • Bridge over the River Kwai. Drive to Ayutthaya to board train to Chiang Mai.

    After an early breakfast, we transfer to the Thai/Burma museum and war cemeteries. A further 10 minutes from here brings us to the famous Bridge over the River Kwai where we will spend time to take photos and walk on the bridge before boarding the Train and following the route of the Burma-Thai railway. This journey taken by British Prisoners of War to Tham Krasae will take approximately 1 hour and arriving at the station, we will explore the nearby Krasae cave and the Tham Krasae bridge. From here we drive for approximately 3 - 4 hours to the town of Ayutthaya. We have the use of day rooms in a hotel near the railway station to freshen up before we climb aboard the sleeper train to Chiang Mai. We make up our berths and soon everyone will be rocked to sleep by the train’s motion as it heads north through the darkened countryside.

    • Accommodation Sleeper Train

    • Meals b

  • Morning in Chiang Mai. Afternoon cycling tour in outlining rural villages.

    We arrive into Chiang Mai station shortly after 8.00 am (trains often run 1 - 2 hours late) after taking breakfast on the train. We transfer to our hotel and after checking in the morning is free to relax, swim in the hotel poor or to explore Chiang Mai. At mid-day we will drive out (20 minutes) to a small village where we start a cycling tour of the area. This will be approximately 27kms on quiet roads which are paved and level. On the way we will pass through several traditional villages with wooden houses on stilts and through emerald green paddy fields. We may be able to stop at a school to see how children are taught in rural Thailand and we will take lunch (included) in one of the villages. The ride will be conducted at a very leisurely pace and should take us 4 to 5 hours to complete. Afterwards we return to the hotel in Chiang Mai for another dip in the pool before dinner.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bl

  • Start our 3 day trek among the Karen people. Meet villagers and overnight.

    Today we begin our 3 day adventure among the Karen people. This hill tribe originating from Burma and with family links across the border, will be our hosts for the next two nights as we make a homestay in two different villages. The adventure starts with a visit to Mae Malai market to by food for the trek. On the way to the trek start we will stop at Mok Fah Waterfall for some swimming and Baan Mae Jok village for a local lunch. Shortly before 2.00pm, we arrive at to Huay Nam Dung National Park where we set off on trek, walking for approximately 2 hours to Baan Mae Jok, Karen village. On arrival we can spend some time talking to the villagers and exploring. This evening the village will host a ‘welcome’ dinner and ceremony for us and we can then settle in to our temporary home in their home. Please note that warm clothing should be brought for the trek as temperatures can be cooler in the mountains, especially in December and January.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

  • Morning walk to elephant camp. Elephant ride through the jungle. Thai cooking session.

    After breakfast at the village we set off trekking again. Our guide will show us how to walk in the jungle and how to recognise the different trees and plants and where to spot wildlife. After 3.5 - 4 hours of walking we will arrive at the Elephant Camp. Our guide will cook lunch here and afterwards we can observe the Elephants in their natural environment. In the afternoon we will have an elephant ride through the lush jungle. Our elephants will walk for around 45 minutes to the next Karen village of Bann Pang Khao Laam where we have our second homestay. Here we will have our own Thai cooking class and prepare our dinner under the instruction of the villagers. After dinner we will sit around a camp fire and listen to the stories being told by the villagers and translated by our guide. We stay overnight in a village house.

    • Accommodation Homestay

    • Meals bld

  • Float down river on bamboo raft. Return to Chiang Mai

    On this, the third day of our jungle adventure, we have a new and fun experience, floating down a quiet stretch of the Mae Tang River on a bamboo raft! It will take us around 1.5 - 2 hours to reach the village of Baan Pong Ngan which is home to a different hill tribe, the Lahu people who originate from Yunnan in China. After a short break to explore the village and meet the local people, we continue our raft journey as the river gather pace passing small rapids on our way downstream to where we meet the road. We should reach here in a further 2 hours of rafting and we will have lunch at a Shan village before boarding our transport for the return drive (3 hours) to Chiang Mai. Arriving in the city it will seem strange to see all the traffic and tall buildings after our jungle experience. We check into our hotel and this evening we can check out the amazing Sunday street market selling all kinds of exotic spices, fruits and vegetables. With our guide we can sample the different foods on offer for a real taste of Thailand. After the tour there will be some free time to wander through the market on our own.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals bld

  • Walking tour of Chiang Mai, or free time. Options for cooking and boat rides. Train to Bangkok.

    The day is free to explore the many delights of Chiang Mai. For those who wish, the guide is available for a complimentary walking tour of the old city, including a visit to the famous Wat Chedi Luang, where on certain days visitors can participate in ‘monk chat’, a program that brings visitors and the monks at Wat Chedi together in order to help the monks improve their English whilst also teaching visitors about Buddhism. There is no fixed schedule for the 'Monk Chat' and participation may involve a charge. Other optional extra activities available include Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai’s most famous temple), Thai cooking class, a horse and cart ride at Wiang Khum Khan Historical park, a horse and cart ride, and a scorpion-tailed boat journey on the river Ping. Your guide can advise you about these including any additional costs involved. At around 4.00pm we will rendezvous at the hotel and transfer to Chiang Mai Railway station to catch the overnight sleeper train to Bangkok. We will now be old hands at sleeper travel and quickly into the routine. As the sun goes down we will soon be tucked up in our bunks as the train gently rocks through the Thai countryside.

    • Accommodation Sleeper Train

    • Meals b

  • Arrive Bangkok. Long tail boat tour. Tuk tuk to the hotel. Tour of Wat Po.

    By 8.30am (depending on the journey) our train will be rolling into Bangkok station. We will take our breakfast from one of the local stalls which serve some of the best and certainly the freshest food in the city. We then transfer to the hotel where we check in before travelling to nearby Tha Tien Pier. Here we board our private long tail boat for an exciting tour of Bangkok's labyrinthine canal system. The canals known as klongs which are connected to the main Chao Phraya River, give access to many parts of the city unseen from the roads, as well as providing a more pleasant and cooler way of sightseeing. Our boat tour will take approximately one hour. Returning to the pier at Tha Tien we travel back to the hotel by tuk tuk. The rest of the afternoon is free for independent sightseeing, or for shopping, or simply to relax and enjoy the hotel pool. For those who wish, the guide is available for an optional guided tour (clients paying entrance fees and transport costs) of Wat Po, which houses the famous 'reclining Buddha’, and the Grand Palace. This evening the guide can advise on a suitable restaurant for the group to take a farewell meal together.

    • Accommodation Hotel with swimming pool

    • Meals d

  • Departure day. A single transfer is provided to Bangkok International Airport.

    After breakfast, a single timed group transfer is provided to Bangkok International airport where KE Land Only package services end.

    • Meals b

Holiday Information

  • A local English speaking KE leader
  • Single timed airport transfers
  • Transfers as described in the itinerary
  • All accommodation as described
  • Meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Any land transport involved in the itinerary including the overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai
  • Guided sightseeing tours in Bangkok / Chiang Mai / Nan

  • Travel Insurance
  • Some meals as described in the Meal Plan
  • Tips for trek staff
  • Departure tax (if applicable)
  • Miscellaneous expenses - souvenirs and drinks etc

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 single timed group transfer from Bangkok International Airport to the hotel in Bangkok is provided on day 1 of the land only itinerary. This transfer is timed with the arrival of the group flight which usually arrives into Bangkok at breakfast time.

At the end of the holiday there will be a single timed group transfer to Bangkok Airport on the final day of the trip itinerary. This is timed for the flight departing in the evening.

Land Only clients must give their flight details to the KE office and let us know if transfers are not required. Hotel contact details and an emergency number will be provided with your booking confirmation.

The group will spend 2 nights in Bangkok at a centrally-located hotel with air conditioning and pool, 2 nights in Chiang Mai at a centrally-located hotel with air conditioning and pool, 1 night in a tourist standard hotel in Kanchanaburi with a pool. We will spend 1 night sleeping aboard a jungle raft house. The floating houses are comfortable and attractive with twin rooms and a deck area for relaxing with hammocks. There is no electricity on the raft houses and at night the rooms, decks and communal areas are lit with hurricane lamps. During the jungle trek in Chiang Mai, we stay for 2 nights in village houses where the accommodation will be in basic dormitory rooms. With the exception of the 2 nights in village houses, all accommodation is arranged on a twin sharing basis although on occasion smaller children (aged under 11) may share rooms with parents.

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

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 Thai cookery course in Chiang Mai will give everyone a better appreciation of the ingredients and techniques involved in creating delicious Thai dishes. In Bangkok and Chang Mai 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.

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 5 dinners are included in the holiday price. Where there is a wide range of dining options such as in Bangkok and Chang Mai, we have left the choice of type of experience and budget to you. You will pay directly for a total of 6 lunches and 5 dinners. Street food and meals in local restaurants are safe, tasty and inexpensive. It is possible to have a great meal for less than £1.00 per person (50 Tai Baht). It is also possible to pay up to £20 per person in a high end tourist restaurant, or a simple burger and chips will cost approximately £3.00.

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 £10 - £15 per family member 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 Chiang Mai and credit cards are widely used throughout Thailand. If you intend to bring your travel money with you, we recommend that 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.

The group will be accompanied by a local English-speaking professional guide for all the activity periods of the holiday from day 1 to day 11.

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 £10 to £15 per family member. 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. During the 3 day excursion in the jungle, you will take only what you need for the three days and the rest of your things can be left at the hotel in Chang Mai. We suggest you bring a second, foldaway bag for this purpose.

KE Trek Bag / Free Gift

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.

A valid passport (with at least 6 months remaining validity) is required for this trip. Visas are not required for stays up to 30 days by British, Australian, Canadian, USA or EU citizens travelling as tourists with a return airticket. Other nationalities should check with the Thai embassy or mission in their own countries.

We do keep our information up to date but be advised that visa requirements are subject to change. It is recommended that you contact the relevant commission in the case of recent alterations.

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:

  • Light hiking shoes or boots
  • Sandals (teva type are good as can double up as watershoes for swimming in waterfalls etc)
  • Socks
  • Trekking trousers
  • Lightweight waterproof overtrousers / rainpants
  • Underwear
  • T-shirts and/or casual shirts
  • At least 1 long sleeved shirts (for sun protection)
  • Warm jacket (fleece) - particularly for December departure
  • Lightweight waterproof jacket
  • Sunhat
  • Warm hat (December departure)
  • Eyewear - Sunglasses
  • Swimwear
  • Small towel or synthetic trek towel
  • Sleeping bag liner*
  • Daypack c.30 litres (depending on how much of the family’s gear you will be carrying)
  • Torch/flashlight and batteries
  • Sun protection (including total bloc for lips, nose etc)
  • Water bottles 1 Litre / 1 quart (x2)
  • Small padlock (to lock your KE trek bag)
  • Washbag and toiletries
  • Antibacterial handwash
  • Basic First Aid Kit - You should bring your own personal first aid kit consisting of the following: Antiseptic cream, throat lozenges, diarrhoea treatment (Immodium), painkillers, plasters (band-aids), and blister treatment, Insect repellent (DEET), antihistamine cream and tablets, and re-hydration salts (Dioralite). Glucose tablets and multi-vitamin tablets are a good idea.

The following items are optional:

  • Trainers / sneakers
  • Shorts
  • Trekking poles
  • Travel clothes
  • Wet wipes
  • Pocket-knife (note: always pack sharp objects in hold baggage)
  • Repair kit – (eg. needle, thread, duct tape)
  • Camera, film / memory cards, batteries
  • Toys / games / books / kit etc.
  • Note:
  • * Sheets and blankets are provided on the train and at the homestays, however we advise you to bring your own sheet sleeping bag liner for personal use.

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

Know before you go

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: North Americans can also check out the U.S. Department of State website: 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.

It makes a lot of sense to do a bit of additional exercise before coming on an activity holiday. Even very fit youngsters will benefit from some kind of training and it can be great fun in the build-up to your holiday. The fitter you are, after all, the more enjoyable you will find the experience. Before departure, we suggest that you try to fit in a number of long walks in hilly country.

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 making travel quite uncomfortable. The rainy season brings some welcome cooler weather and lasts from June to October. The rainy season does not mean rain all the time, far from it. The climate is very tropical with cloud building quite quickly leading to a short lived afternoon or evening downpour before the skies clear again. Typical daytime temperatures in Bangkok at this time are around 32 - 35°C and in Chang Mai it will be around 28 - 30°C. Winter temperatures will be cooler and this is a great time to visit with virtually no rainfall. In the highland areas of the north and north-east, it can be quite cold at night in December and January.

Your Child’s Health Abroad. Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications). Travel With Children. Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet). Thailand. Lonely Planet. Joe Cummings et al. Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand. Lonely Planet. Exploring Chiang Mai. Odyssey Guide. Thailand. Rough Guide.

Chiang Mai and Northern Thailand

1: 670,000 - New Holland, Globetrotter Attractively designed featuring colour photographs. In addition to the main map of Northern Thailand, the following areas of special interest to visitors are shown in greater detail: Town Plans of Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Mae Hong Son, Lampang, Lamphun, Phrae, Phayao, and Nan; and areas: Chiang Mai Area and Golden Triangle.

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