Today is arrival day so there are no activities planned. You are free to relax, explore the city & adjust to the frenetic pace and humid heat of Bangkok. Please arrive at our start point hotel before 6pm for an important group meeting where you will meet you Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. Please look for a sign on the hotel's notice board for the time and location of your group meeting. At this meeting you CEO will ask to sight your travel insurance and complete some other paper work. After your meeting, you may choose to head out for an optional dinner to further get to know your CEO and fellow group members. We spend this evening in Bangkok. Our hotel is located in China Town, next to the central train station and MRT (Subway), and is only a short USD2 taxi ride from Khao San road and the central shopping area of Siam Square, MBK, Siam Paragon, etc. All rooms are double or twin share with air conditioning and en suite bathroom. The hotel has a small pool and wifi is available at extra cost.
On Day 2 jump on your bicycle and escape to the quieter back-streets of this busy city. During your 4 hour guided bike ride (approx 20km) explore hidden temples, lovely parks, amazing street food vendors, you never know what you may find. On the afternoon of Day 2 we take a private minivan for approximately 3 hours to Kanchanaburi.
In the morning we cycle around the sites of Kanchanburi. Kanchanaburi province itself is the third largest province in Thailand and possesses some of the best preserved natural sites in Thailand – partly due to the fact that it is still sparsely populated. Situated alongside the River Kwae Yai amongst limestone hills, Kanchanaburi (golden city) is most famous (or infamous) for the death railway that was constructed during WWII using prisoners of war and Asian labor. The bridge on the River Kwae, the war cemetery, war museum all make up the major attractions of this town. Many veterans and descendants of the POW’s return here to honor those that died during the construction of the railroad. The story goes that the British were the first to survey the track lines but decided it would be too difficult to build. The Japanese during WWII wanted to establish a supply route to Myanmar and India. As the route along the river was covered by thick forest, the Japanese thought that it would be better protected. The allies bombed the railway in two places – at the beginning in Thailand (the bridge) and the end in Myanmar. All up the track is 415kms long, with around 300km in Thailand. Around 100,000 Asian laborers and 16,000 POW’s died during its construction with the track only running for about 20 months. This afternoon we visit Erawan National Park. The park contains the waterfalls of the same name (seven tiers of blue clear water with little fish that nibble at your feet). You are meant to be able to see Erawan; the 3 headed elephant that carries the Hindu God Indra, when you reach level seven (use your imagination!). Tonight we sleep on a floating River Kwai Raft-house! Spend the evening on board the raft-house with time for swimming, relaxing and eating. On the afternoon of Day 4 we transfer to Ayutthaya.
Located 86km north of Bangkok, Ayutthaya served as Thailand’s capital from the 14th to 18th centuries, when it ranked as one of the most magnificent cities in the world. Late in the 17th century its population reached one million, and foreign visitors wrote awestruck accounts of its size and splendor. We explore the ruins of this World Heritage Site by bike, including various pagodas and Buddha images. In the evening we board an overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai. This train journey is approximately 12 hrs.
On arrival in Chiang Mai we transfer to our guesthouse for showers and breakfast and then visit the trek rental shop to pick up any gear that might be needed. After driving into the hills we start with a half day of trekking. Continue up into the mountains for an unforgettable hike through lush jungle, past rice paddies and alongside streams and waterfalls. Emerge from the wilderness to discover remote hill-tribe villages, home to Karen, Lahu and Akha peoples. Spend some time with our hill-tribe hosts, learning about their unique cultures and relaxing in traditional bamboo cottages. We walk approximately 4-5 hours each day along sloping hills and valleys. We leave our big packs in storage and take an overnight bag. Each person is required to be able to carry their own pack as our porters will be carrying food and water supplies. Accommodation is group share, where you will be sleeping on the floor of the village huts. Toilet and washing facilities are very basic in most of the villages so be prepared to rough it for a few days. During the trek simple food is provided for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It can be cold during the evenings so make sure you have some lightweight warm clothes with you. We return to Chiang Mai on the evening of day 8 and head to our guesthouse where you can shower and relax after your hike.
Following an early lunch in Chiang Mai we catch our flight South to Phuket and transfer to the beach town of Ao Nang (Krabi Province) where we check into our guest house to enjoy the stunning Karst scenery. Our guesthouse is also close to gorgeous beaches and provides a perfect spot to mellow out and relax.
Leaving the beauty of Krabi behind we head out for 3 days of kayaking around the Andaman Sea exploring white sandy beaches and coral bays. We camp under the stars for 2 nights enjoying the relaxed pace of the South. The kayaks carry basic snorkeling equipment for you to use but you may want to bring your own. **Please note that you will leave your main bag at the hotel in Ao Nang and we'll provide a 15 L waterproof bag in which you can pack only the things you'll need for this 3 day/2 night excursion. We recommend that you do not leave anything of value at the hotel. On the evening of day 12 we return to our guesthouse in Ao Nang.
Your morning is free and after lunch we travel to Sura Thani (approximately 3 hours) to board our overnight train to Bangkok.
Arrive in morning at the train station to bid farewell to everyone. If you are departing Bangkok today please do not book any onward travel until after 1pm.