Thailand on a Shoestring

16 days,Bangkok to Bangkok

Experience the bustling streets of Bangkok, explore colourful Chiang Mai, trek to remote hilltribe villages, float down a river on a bamboo raft, enjoy the island beaches of Koh Samui and Koh Tao.

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Perfect for those looking to experience northern Thailand’s cultural treasures and the natural beauty of its southern islands. This 16-day trip will help you get off the beaten path with a trek to the region’s hilltribes but remains flexible enough to suit all tastes. From the lush hills of the north, stitched through with the diverse colours of its hilltribes, to the soft sands of the south and the glorious chaos of Bangkok, Thailand will leave you captivated.

What's Included

  • Visit to Chiang Mai night market
  • Hilltribe trek
  • Indigenous village stay
  • Bamboo rafting
  • Street food crawl
  • Full-day snorkelling trip (Koh Tao)
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
  • 10 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 2 dinners. (Allow USD325-425 for meals not included.)
  • Local bus, train, walking, boat.
  • Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout, trekking staff.
  • Small group experience; Max 18, avg 12.
  • Simple hotels/bungalows (9 nts), basic hilltribe huts (2 nts, multi-share), sleeper trains (4 nts).

Day 1Bangkok

Arrive in Bangkok at any time.

Day 2Bangkok/Chiang Mai(1B)

Opt to visit Wat Po and the Grand Palace, or check out the city's klongs by boat. Board an overnight train to Chiang Mai (flight and extra night in Bangkok during monsoon season, depending on conditions). Enjoy one of two street food crawls with the group and CEO while in Chiang Mai.

Day 3Chiang Mai

Opt to visit Doi Suthep temple, comb the night markets for souvenirs, or participate in a Thai cooking class.

Day 4Chiang Mai/Ban Mae Jok(1B, 1L, 1D)

Trek through rugged forests and experience the wonderful diversity of this region: each village has its own language, belief system, style of dress, and traditions. Drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Malai village, where the trek will begin. After a few hours of hiking, reach the first village.

Day 5Ban Mae Jok/Pa Khao Lam(1B, 1L, 1D)

Trek 2-3 hrs and, after lunch, head to a Karen village to learn about traditional basket weaving and scarf-making. Continue trekking another few hours to the next village for the night.

Day 6Pa Khao Lam/Chiang Mai(1B, 1L)

After breakfast, leave the village by bamboo raft, stopping at other villages along the way. Meet the van after lunch and head back to Chiang Mai for some free time to explore.

Day 7Chiang Mai/Bangkok(1B)

Opt to go shopping, enjoy a Thai massage, or explore Chiang Mai's many temples. Board an overnight train to Bangkok (flight and extra night in Chiang Mai during monsoon season, depending on conditions).

Day 8Bangkok

Return to Bangkok to visit the temples missed, museums only passed by, and shops only peeked into.

Day 9Bangkok/Surat Thani(1B)

Get to know Thailand's capital. Check out Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, get a Thai massage, or explore the klongs on a boat tour before an overnight train. Enjoy a street food crawl with the group and CEO either today or another day on tour.

Day 10Surat Thani/Khao Sok

Get out and explore the natural beauty of the area. Opt to go hiking or swimming in Khao Sok National Park.

Day 11Khao Sok/Ko Samui(1B)

Travel across southern Thailand to Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand.

Day 12Ko Samui(1B)

Water activities abound on this island. Opt to go on a snorkelling trip through a national marine park, go swimming, or take a Thai cooking class.

Day 13Ko Samui/Koh Tao(1B)

Enjoy some time on the beach with more water activities and plenty of time to chill out.

Day 14Koh Tao(1B, 1L)

Enjoy an included full-day snorkelling trip.

Day 15Koh Tao/Bangkok(1B)

Free time in the morning. Overnight train to Bangkok.

Day 16Bangkok

Trip ends upon arrival at the Bangkok train station.

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