Family Thailand Active Jungle and Beach Adventure
|Family Thailand Active Jungle and Beach Adventure
|Asia, South East Asia, Thailand
Thailand has long been a highly popular destination for families, understandably given its friendly, welcoming reputation coupled with fascinating culture and fantastic food. This two week trip is packed full of activities and experiences to give you an insight into traditional Thai life. Stay in raft houses on the River Kwai, walk through dense rainforests, put culinary skills to the test and relax on Thailand's tropical beaches.
Bangkok – Take part in a Muay Thai boxing training session and absorb local life on a long-tail boat journey through Bangkok's canal network
Khao Sok National Park – Kayak through one of the oldest jungles in Southeast Asia
Koh Samui – Relax among the island's coconut plantations and perfect palm-fringed beaches
Day 1 Trip starts in Bangkok
Arrive in Bangkok, the bustling capital of Thailand famous for its street vendors serving up tasty Thai food, bright lights, tuk tuks and khlong boats plying the network of canals and waterways.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Bangkok at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you’ll need to arrive into Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport (airport code BKK), which is 30km, between 45 minutes and an hour from the hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, perhaps you might choose to join a sight-seeing tour this afternoon of the Grand Palace and rambling complex of Wat Po. Older than the city itself, this is home to a reclining Buddha which is a 46 metre golden plated statue depicting Lord Buddha as he enters Nirvana.
Day 2 Thai boxing session and tour of the city by long tail boat.
This morning, we visit the Sor Vorapin Gym – the famous Muay Thai training camp, where we will watch Thai Boxing experts in action. Afterwards, we will have the chance to try out training techniques of the traditional martial art in a training session (there are showers). This afternoon, we head to Tha Tien Pier where we cruise in a traditional long-tail boat along Thonburi’s klongs (canals). This is the ideal way to explore Bangkok’s network of meandering waterways that continue to serve as an important thoroughfare in the city. Along our route, we watch local life taking place around us – vendors pass by on small wooden boats that are filled with vegetables and noodles to be sold to canal-side homes. We may even see the postman making his deliveries in his engine-powered banana-boat. This evening, we head to Siam Paragon Food Court, where we can enjoy a traditional Thai food dinner with the opportunity to shop in the area for souvenirs before we return to our hotel.
Day 3 Optional cookery course; Afternoon boat trip along Kwai Noi River.
After visiting a local market this morning, you have the opportunity to take part in a Thai cookery lesson, in which you can create up to three different dishes. Five basic flavours make up Thai cuisine – sweet, sour, salty, creamy and spicy and you learn how to combine these rich tastes with the freshest ingredients. This afternoon, we drive to Pakseang, in Kanchanaburi province where we board a long-tail boat for the 45-minute journey to our raft house accommodation on the Kwai Noi (River Kwai). We spend the next two nights in this spectacular jungle setting with the rest of today free to relax and enjoy at your own pace. The resort is located in tranquil and natural surroundings of tropical forests and scenic mountain ranges with an eco-approach that includes having candles and lanterns rather than electricity, preserving the Mon culture by including traditional furniture within the lodges and assisting in providing decent living conditions for the elephants in the area. The river flows underneath the floating rafts with guest rooms made from bamboo that are weaved into the wall reflecting traditional Mon living.
Day 4 Bamboo rafting; Afternoon cycle to limestone caves.
This morning, we walk to a nearby Mon village from where we board bamboo rafts to explore more of the Kwai Noi. The Mon people are spread throughout Burma and the western provinces of Thailand. They are believed to have originated in either India or Mongolia, travelling south into the Chao Phraya Valley sometime during the 1st century BC and have been accredited with introducing Theravada Buddhism to the area. This afternoon, we take to the saddle for a cycle ride out to some impressive limestone caves. Lawa Cave is the largest cave in the Kanchanaburi province with a narrow entrance that opens up into several chambers including the Music, Throne and Curtain Chambers with numerous stalactites and stalagmites in full display. The caves are home to the world’s smallest bat, the Khun Kitti, which weighs only 2 g, is 2.5 to 3 cm long and has wing-span of 10cm
Day 5 Long tail boat and trek to Erawan Waterfall, swimming in natural pools. Overnight train to Surat Thani
After a leisurely breakfast, board a long tail boat for a short journey to Phutakien pier where we disembark and drive to Erawan Waterfall, stopping for lunch at a local restaurant. Trek to the waterfall along a well graded nature trail looking out for wildlife along the way. We have time at the falls to swim in the natural pools .
We then travel to the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, where over 16,000 allied prisoners of war and an estimated 75,000 Asian forced labourers lost their lives building the ‘Death Railway’. One of the most notorious atrocities of the Second World War, the bridge and railroad were built between June 1942 and October 1943 by the occupying Japanese to link Siam with neighbouring Burma (Myanmar). After spending some time at the bridge, we continue on to the railway station at Nakhon Pathom, from where we board the overnight train south to Surat Thani and the Gulf of Thailand.
Berths are not in compartments, but are arranged open plan either side of a central aisle. During the evening and morning part of the journey, pairs of seats face each other on each side of the aisle. At night, each pair of seats pulls together to form the bottom bunk, and an upper bunk folds out from the wall. The attendant will make up your bunk with a proper mattress and a pillow, bedding and blanket. There’s plenty of luggage room. A steward or stewardess from the restaurant car may come round and take your food or drink order, offering you a set menu with several choices, around 180 baht for dinner and 100 baht for breakfast. The meal will be delivered to your seat although you may want to have this in the restaurant car. Toilets and hand wash sinks are located at the end of each carriage.
Day 6 Arrive Surat Thani and drive to homestay in Klong Noi.
This morning our train arrives into Surat Thani and we take time to explore the morning market and take breakfast. It’s then a short transfer to the Homestay at Klong Noi, a small village located in a mangrove forest near the coast. We meet our hosts for the night, one of many local families who participate in the Community Based Tourism program, an initiative set up to empower local communities to not only showcase but also help preserve their traditional way of life. We then visit the local shipyards and learn how the locals have made boats over the years, something that is vital to their way of life. Following lunch with our host families we set off to explore the mangrove forests by boat, looking for fish and wildlife along the way. The area is famous for its tiger fish and we should have plenty of chances to spot them. The village is also a great place to learn the art of weaving with palm leaves. In the afternoon we return to our host families and help with the preparation of our dinner. The evening is free to relax and spot the local fireflies lighting up the night sky.
Day 7 Khao Sok National Park; jungle canoe adventure and free time.
Following breakfast we bid farewell to our hosts and drive to our jungle adventure in Khao Sok National Park. Covering an area of some 65 square kilometres, the park is one of the oldest and most bio-diverse jungles in South East Asia, boasting a lush rainforest that is older than those of either the Amazon or Central Africa. Set against a spectacular backdrop of towering limestone mountains, it is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including elephant, tiger and the Malaysian sun bear. With some 180 species of birds in residence, it is a haven for keen birdwatchers and novices alike.
Head out on a guided walk through the surrounding jungle keeping eyes peeled for mischievous monkeys playing in the canopy above and watch out for colourful hornbills and kingfishers as they dart amongst the trees. The park is a haven for a wide variety of exotic plants, including bamboo, fig, palms and the carnivorous pitcher plant. The rest of the day is then free to indulge, explore or relax as you see fit. Our jungle lodge accommodation will be our base for the next two nights. In this magical setting, we can look forward to the sight of monkeys descending from the surrounding canopy to drink from the river.
Day 8 Full day in Khao Sok National Park, walking and canoeing safari.
Our second day in the jungle sees us exploring by canoe. Gently floating down the Khao Sok River, this is a very relaxing way to take in the astounding surrounding beauty. Passing towering cliffs and shoals of vibrant fish, we have the chance to break our journey with a swim in the cool waters. Along the way, our guide will show us brightly coloured birds and monkeys on the shore, and maybe even a snake or two hanging high up on the trees. The rest of the day is free for you to spend as you wish. This evening, there is the option to go on a walking jungle safari and witness the jungle bursting with life at night.
Day 9 Ferry to Koh Samui and transfer to beach accommodation.
Transferring by road to Don Sak Pier, we then catch the ferry to Koh Samui. This island is the largest in the Samui Archipelago and is known for its distinctive mix of quiet palm- fringed beaches, backpacker resorts and coconut plantations. Our beachside accommodation for the next three nights is in the north of the island. This area is more relaxed than the bustling east coast and retains a laid back atmosphere that is perfect for families. The rest of the day is free for you to relax and explore at your own pace. You may choose to take to the waters with mask and snorkel, or simply wander the palm-fringed beaches and trails around the island.
Koh Samui has a slightly different feel to many of the other islands in southern Thailand, owing in part to the influence of the Hainan islanders, who first settled the island 150 years ago. The Chinese influence is still visible in some of the buildings in Na Thon, and some descendants of the original settlers still live in the area.
Day 10 Free day on Koh Samui.
Today is a free day to enjoy Bang Rak beach or relax by the pool. Take a tuk tuk to lively Chaweng beach, located just ten minutes away from our hotel. Koh Samui offers a little something for everyone with numerous white sandy beaches, coral reefs, hip restaurants, lively night spots, waterfalls, temples and great shopping opportunities; the choice is yours.
Day 11 Boat trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park
Today we will visit the beautiful chain of islands that make up the Ang Thong National Marine Park, an idyllic archipelago made up of over 40 islands, once renowned as a haven for pirates. This stunning archipelago’s reputation now centres on its pristine beaches, remote bays and virginal rainforest. These limestone islands are home to sea otters, monitor lizards, dolphins and wild pigs. Our day will be spent walking, snorkelling and swimming in this beautiful setting.
Day 12 Koh Samui and train back to Bangkok
Today’s free time affords the opportunity for more swimming, beachcombing and relaxing on the island. Alternatively, there is the option to partake in another Thai cookery course. We later take the ferry back to Don Sak on the mainland, from where we transfer to Surat Thani for our overnight train back to Bangkok.
Day 13 In Bangkok with optional visit to interactive museums, Golden Mount or Ocean World
After arriving in Bangkok and transferring to our hotel, the rest of the day is free to use as you wish. You may choose to visit the Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall – just a short distance from our accommodation. This interactive museum is regarded as one of the best in Thailand and helps to bring Bangkok’s history and culture to life. Another option is a visit to Wat Saket, known as The Golden Mount. Here, a Buddha relic is housed in a gleaming gold temple, attracting worshippers throughout the year. Alternatively, you may choose to visit Siam Ocean World – one of the largest aquariums in South East Asia.
Day 14 Trip ends in Bangkok
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Bangkok.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Bangkok at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International airport (airport code BKK), which is 30km, between 45 minutes and an hour from the hotel.