Sorry! There are no remaining departures for "Thailand Volunteer & Hilltribe Trek" (ATVJ), but here are some similar trips.
Please note that this tour has been cancelled for 2014. To experience northern and southern Thailand with a Hilltribes trek, please see trip code ATTE.

Thailand Volunteer & Hilltribe Trek

Valid for all trips departing January 1st, 2013 - December 31st, 2013 Last Updated:
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Introduction

Experience the diversity of Thailand on an adventure that includes hilltribe trekking in the North, beach time in the South and life-changing volunteer projects on a pristine Andaman island. You’ll make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged children as you pitch in at the local school, and after a rewarding day, you can really immerse yourself in the island lifestyle as nights are spent in a beachside homestay. Then trade the beach for the hills and a chance to trek to resilient hilltribe villages.

  • Giving back through volunteering with a school and community projects
  • Experiencing local life in a homestay
  • Blissing out in Khao Sok National Park
  • Visiting a community tourism project on Koh Pra Thong
  • Trekking small hilltribe villages and fields
Duration: 13 days
Start/Finish City: Phuket to Bangkok
Service Level: Basic
  • Excellent value, amazing prices, quality experiences
  • Simple and clean hotels, guesthouses and hostels chosen for location and character
  • Affordable public and private transport for maximum cultural interaction
  • Plenty of optional activities tailored to your interests and budget
Physical Grading: 3
Trips may include activities like hiking, biking, rafting or kayaking. No sweat, right?
Travel Style: Classic
The trips we've built our reputation on.

Designed for maximum variety, these trips are geared towards travellers searching for a healthy mix of active exploration, uncommon landscapes, amazing wildlife and local cultures.

Trip Type: Small Group
Group trips average 12 travellers per departure, depending on the adventure. The maximum is usually no more than 16, but some can be smaller or bigger, depending on the trip. Check individual trips for details.

Itinerary

Route map for Thailand Volunteer & Hilltribe Trek (ATVJ)

Day 1 Phuket (D)

Arrive at Phuket International Airport for a pick-up at 3:00pm.
Transfer to a local school for children affected by the 2004 tsunami.

Day 2-3 Koh Phra Thong (2B,2L,1D)

Hop aboard a long-tail boat for a scenic ride out to STA’s conservation and community tourism project. Work on mangrove and community garden conservation, assist with the early childhood education program (reading, writing, swimming lessons), and support artisan groups.

This year STA Travel's goal is to raise $120,000 to support community tourism training in tsunami-affected Thailand! STA Travel with Planeterra and local partners will be building a community tourism-training centre on Koh Phra Thong which will be accessible to communities throughout southern Thailand, providing a way to increase income and sustainable tourism in the area for the future.

Day 4-5 Local Community Homestay, Ban Talae Nok (2B, 2L, 2D)

Experience life in a local community which has been rebuilt since the tsunami of 2004. Relax on the beach, play football with children, make soap with a women’s cooperative or spend the afternoon fishing with other villagers followed by a bbq on the beach.

Day 6-7 Khao Sok (B)

Say goodbye to your host family and transfer to Khao Sok.

Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, a perfect place for people who want to hike and get out there in nature or those that just want to chill out in a hammock by the riverside watching monkeys take their afternoon bath.

Khao Sok National Park covers an area of 739km2. Thanks to other protected areas (Klong Saers and Khlong Nakha) next to Khao Sok, the actual protected area measures almost 4000 km2. The dominant forest is lowland rainforest and is about 160 million years old, which makes it older than the Amazon!

Optional activities include cooking classes, river tubing, kayaking, night safari and an elephant trek.

Day 8 Depart Phuket for Chiang Mai

Transfer to the Phuket Airport for a flight to Chiang Mai

Surrounded by rolling hills, Chiang Mai offers both pretty surroundings and old style architecture. Enclosed by a moat and crumbling walls, the old city features great cafes, shops and accommodations. An important Buddhist centre since the 14th century, Chiang Mai is home to more than 300 temples. Many visitors come here to attend meditation retreats, massage classes or yoga lessons. It is also a centre of handicraft production, with a long history of silverwork, woodcarving, pottery-making and weaving. Not to be missed is the Night Bazaar, a series of covered markets, shops and stalls that offer the best selection of handicrafts in Thailand.

Enjoy optional visits to Doi Suthep Temple, night markets, cooking school, zip-lining.

Day 9-11 Hilltribe Trek (3B,3L,2D)

Trek through the rolling hills and mountainsides of northern Thailand - home to a vast diversity of ethnic minorities.

From Chiang Mai, we start a 3 day hilltribe trek where we visit various hilltribe minority groups, each with their own language, clothing and religion. We will get the opportunity to ride an elephant (approx 2 hours) and test our rafting skills while bamboo rafting.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. It is possible to rent trekking gear in Chiang Mai before the trek in case you have forgotten to pack something vital. We return back to Chiang Mai in the late afternoon of Day 11.

Day 12 Chiang Mai

Overnight train to Bangkok.

Day 13 Bangkok

Trip ends on arrival at Bangkok train station.

What's Included

Volunteering with a local school and community projects in southern Thailand, Hilltribe trek, Remote ethnic minorities, Elephant ride, River rafting

Highlights

Giving back through volunteering with a school and community projects, experiencing local life in a homestay, blissing out in Khao Sok National Park, visiting a community tourism project on Koh Pra Thong, trekking small hilltribe villages and fields

Dossier Disclaimer

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

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

Itinerary Disclaimer

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

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

Important Notes

1. Please note that a mandatory application is required by all passengers booked on a Volunteer trip, a link to the application form will be sent at time of booking.

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

Please be aware that this itinerary is a brand new trip for us in 2012.
While we have thoroughly planned and researched this new itinerary on the ground, the nature of travel is that even the best laid plans can sometimes come across the unexpected! If you like being a trail blazer and are not afraid for a small hiccup or two along the trail, this trip is exactly right for you. If any of the above concerns you, we suggest you wait a year until we have this trip running to our normal perfection.

Group Leader Description

CEO (Chief Experience Officer) throughout. Local Project representatives. Trek guide.

Group Size Notes

Max 16, avg 10.

Meals Included

8 breakfasts, 7 lunches, 6 dinners.

Meals

8 Breakfasts, 7 Lunches, 6 Dinners.

Meal Budget

Allow USD150-200 for meals not included.

Transport

Air-con private van, longtail boat, local bus, plane, train, elephant, walking, raft.

Local Flights

Phuket to Chiang Mai

Solo Travellers

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

Accommodation

Simple hotels (4 nts), treehouse (2 nts), homestays (5 nts, multi-share), sleeper train (1 nt).

My Own Room

Not available for this tour.

About Accommodation

A variety of styles of accommodation are used on this trip. In many instances they might not be like what you are used to back home as service and efficiency can vary. You will live with a Thai family as part of the village home stay program, staying in simple but comfortable conditions. You may have to share a room with another volunteer depending on availability. Thai houses are different from western standard houses: the bed consists of a mattress on the floor and showers are more rudimentary.

Joining Hotel

Arrive at Phuket International Airport for a pick-up at 3:00pm. Your driver will be waiting for you with a sign bearing your name. You will then be transfered to the volunteer project at Kurraburi.

Joining Instructions

Arrive at Phuket International Airport for a pick-up at 3:00pm. Your driver will be waiting for you with a sign bearing your name.
Transfer to a local school for children affected by the 2004 tsunami.

Arrival Complications

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

If you have pre-booked an airport transfer please meet your driver near the information counter at Entrance Door number 3 of the airport, in the arrival hall. If for any reason you can not locate you driver please call the emergency transfer phone number at +66 (0) 800 562777.


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

Emergency Contact

Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.

If for any reason you can not locate you driver please call the emergency transfer phone number at +66 (0) 806496760 or +66 (0) 879177165.

EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574

After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074

If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.

Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0844 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 01805 70 90 30 00
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999

Finishing Point Instructions

The trip finishes on arrival at Bangkok Central Railway Station (Hualumphong).

What to Take

What you need to bring depends on the trip you have chosen and the countries or regions you are planning to visit. We suggest that you pack as lightly as possible as your are expected to carry your own luggage. As a rule we try not to have to walk more than 15-20 minutes with your bags which is why we recommend keeping the weight of your bags between 10-15kg/22-30lb. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures trips! Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please!) You will also need a day pack/bag to carry water, cameras and other electronics like ipods and mobile phones.

Checklist

Passport (with photocopies)
Travel insurance (with photocopies)
Airline tickets (with photocopies)
USD cash
Credit or debit card (see personal spending money)
G Adventures vouchers, pre-departure information and dossier
Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required
Alarm clock
Flashlight with spare battery
Sun hat, Sunblock, Sunglasses
Insect Repellent
Water bottle
Small towel and swim wear
Toiletries (biodegradable)
Sturdy walking shoes/Sport sandals/flip flops
Money belt
Shorts
Long trousers
Hiking pants/track pants
Shirts/T-shirts
Warm clothes for Nov-Feb. Fleece, Windproof/waterproof jacket
Waterproof clothes for wet season May-Oct. Umbrella or waterproof jacket.
Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry.
Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs.
Sleep sheet.

Laundry

Laundry facilities are offered by several of the Hotels on the trip at a reasonable price. There will be times when you may want or need to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.

Visas

Please note that visas for Thailand are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. For the most up to date information please check your governments foreign ministry website or with you travel agent as rules do change. It is important that you check for yourself. For most travellers there will probably have an embassy and consulate in the country that you live in. THAILAND - Most nationalities do not need a visa for Thailand for stays of 30 days or less but if you do they are available on arrival at Bangkok Airport.

Spending Money

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

Money Exchange

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

Emergency Fund

Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!

Departure Tax

Departure Tax is included in all International and Domestic tickets in Thailand.

Tipping

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

Health

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

You should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information well before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements. Please be aware that sometimes we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc. In Asia pharmacies tend to stock the same western drugs as you get at home but they are usually produced locally so please bring the full drug name with you when trying to purchase a prescription drug. When selecting your trip please carefully read the brochure and itinerary and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please refer to the Physical and Culture Shock ratings for trip specific information. G Adventures reserves the right to exclude any traveller from all or part of a trip without refund if in the reasonable opinion of our CEO they are unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themselves and/or the rest of the group.

Safety and Security

Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.

Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.

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

Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.

We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:


www.gadventures.com/travel-resources/safety/

Trip Specific Safety

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

Medical Form

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

The medical questionnaire can be found online at:

www.gadventures.com/medical-form
.

A Couple of Rules

Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of prostitutes is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they use prostitutes.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.

Trip Specific Responsible Travel

You will live closely with the local communities and they will be involved in the programme. When based in a Thai village, you should be open and prepared to live respecting Thai culture and habits.
Women are kindly asked to respect the local community culture and religion by wearing suitable clothes and covering up when in the village (T-shirts and long trousers or skirts would be ideal). When out of the village you can wear swimwear and shorts.

Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation

Through our commitment to responsible tourism we have developed the Planeterra Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to making a positive difference in the lives of people and communities around the world through support of international charities, local organizations and community projects in the places that we visit on our tours. G Adventures matches all individual donations and pays all administration costs, which means that 100% of each donation is doubled and goes directly to support our projects. For more information about Planeterra and the projects we support, or to make a donation, please visit www.planeterra.org

Planeterra Dollar-A-Day Program
Our Dollar-A-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to help us give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar per day for the duration of their tour. 100% of these proceeds will go directly to support our Planeterra projects.

To participate in this program please indicate at the time of booking that you would like to participate in G Adventures’ Dollar-A-Day program, either by clicking the check box online, or by advising your G Adventures specialist or travel agent. (Note: Donation will be charged in the currency of your booking)

Local Dress

In Asia the dress standard is more conservative than it is back home. When packing try to pick loose, lightweight, long clothing that will keep you cool in the usually hot and humid climate of Asian summers. In predominately Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim countries we ask that you dress respectfully and avoid very short shorts/skirts and singlets/tanktops when visiting temples or mosques or other holy sites. In Southern Thailand topless or nude sunbathing is not allowed or appropriate.

Feedback

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

Newsletter

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

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

Travel Forum - The Watering Hole

Be sure to stop by The Watering Hole, our adventure travel forum. If you're interested in meeting others booked on your upcoming trip, check out the Departure Lounge section of our forum and introduce yourself. Otherwise, just drop in at anytime to share some travel tips, ask questions, meet other travellers and quench your thirst for travel. Our forum is located at wateringhole.gadventures.com.