Love beaches? Love islands? Love cocktails? Love this trip. Head from buzzing Bangkok to blissful Koh Samui, snorkel, swim and hang at waterfalls. and visit jungly Khao Sok National Park, finish up at Ao Nang a paradise dream! Embrace your inner beach bum and come home with sand in all the wrong places. Bring SPF 30, a sense of adventure and an appetite for the delicious and strange.
Welcome to Bangkok. There will be a pre-departure meeting at around 6 pm tonight. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. We'll be collecting insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so ensure you bring these details to provide to your leader. If you're going to be late, please inform hotel reception. Bangkok is a huge, buzzing city. If you arrive early, make the most of the city's bustling markets, grab some spicy noodles from a street cart or relax with a Thai massage.
Notes: If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability).
Today explore some of Bangkok's most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and the adjoining Temple of the Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew). Make an optional visit to the temple complex of Wat Pho, which houses the famous 46 metre-long statue of the Reclining Buddha. Enjoy a free afternoon to discover more of the city in your own time. This evening, head south to Surat Thani on a 13-hour overnight train.
Notes: Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and beds are padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing compartments with locals of the same or opposite gender. Your baggage will travel in the carriage with you. There's also food and drink service available on board. Some people may find the air conditioning a little too cold so we recommend you bring a warm layer of clothes for this journey.
Please see important information in the "packing"' section of the trip notes regarding strict dress code for the Grand Palace visit.
Arrive into Surat Thani this morning, continuing by public bus and ferry to Koh Samui (approximately four hours). The island of Koh Samui has been a tourist hotspot for decades, and with good reason. Swim, snorkel or relax in the waterfalls at Na Muang. Take a trip with the group around the island, visiting the 15-metre tall Big Buddha (Wat Phra Yai). In the evening, perhaps feast on a delicious curry with the group and then join in the carnival that is Koh Samui's famous nightlife.
Spend a free day today swimming, lazing in the sun or exploring Koh Samui. You may like to take an optional day tour to Ang Thong Marine National Park by either slow boat or speedboat. The park is an archipelago of over 40 islands in the Gulf of Thailand, featuring pristine beaches, jungle, mangroves and limestone mountains rising out of the sea. Join the hoards of tourists tanning on the beach at Koh Mae island and check out the saltwater lagoon of Thale Nai (Emerald Lake). For a quieter experience and some great snorkelling opportunities, head to the nearby islands of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan.
Today travel to Khao Sok National Park by songtaew, ferry and mini van. The journey will take a total of about five hours. The park is the wettest spot in Thailand and encloses some of the oldest jungle in the world. See limestone islands rise out of the water and, if you're lucky, monkeys playing by the water's edge. Stroll along trails past waterfalls and spend the night in a guesthouse in the jungle.
Depart by public bus from Khao Sok to the beach town of Ao Nang (approximately three hours). On arrival, settle into your hotel and hit the local beach. Swim or snorkel in the clear water, relax on the sand with a book and sip a cocktail as the sun goes down. You have plenty of free time to do as you please.
This morning head out on a half-day sea kayaking trip to Ao Thalane. Transfer from your hotel in Ao Nang to Thalane Bay in a van, passing through rural villages on the way. Paddle through mangrove forests, coves and narrow karst-walled canyons, keeping an eye out for kingfishers, herons and crab-eating macaque monkeys. Be careful with your belongings, as the cheeky monkeys can steal them. After some time on the water, return to the pier and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant with a great view over the area. After lunch, transfer back to your hotel in Ao Nang. Enjoy free time for the rest of the afternoon.
Enjoy a free day to relax on the beach or participate in a variety of optional activities. Perhaps unwind with a massage or cook up something delicious in a Thai cooking class. Take a tour out to some of Krabi's naturally-formed crystal pools and hot springs, swimming in the clear waters of the Emerald Lagoon while fish nibble at your toes. You might like to take a trip out to the quiet, pristine island of Koh Hong, where you can snorkel in the shallow reefs and kayak past cliffs to a hidden salt-water lagoon.
Today your Thai adventure comes to an end. There are no activities planned and you are free to depart at any time.
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