Thailand wildlife holiday, elephants & waterfalls

Description of Thailand wildlife holiday, elephants & waterfalls

Nature, Waterfalls & Elephants

Just some of the highlights of this fantastic itinerary are exploring a vast nature reserve, getting up close and personal to elephants and swimming in waterfalls. This nature and cultural trip to Thailand is packed full of activities but by exploring a few areas, rather than being constantly on the move like many other adventure holidays, you’ll discover more of the country and get a bit of time to relax too.

This is a private tour and can be taken at your own pace e.g. walking.

This tour is a perfect family adventure holiday. It is popular with families with younger children, as well as teenagers.

It can be taken as an adults break, for friends travelling together or a couple , even a honeymoon with a difference.

The two-week tour starts with a whistle-stop visit to Bangkok to tick off the main sights before you venture into the nature and lush landscapes of northern Thailand. First stop, just outside Chiang Mai where you'll explore 10-tier waterfalls as songbirds and butterflies flit around you. You'll spend two days at a unique sanctuary for elephants, a far cry from the usual tourist experience - you'll learn how to care for elephants and even give them a bath!

The next part of your trip is further north. Here, you'll trek up a mountain for spectacular views over Laos (Thailand's neighbour), bathe in hot springs and dine outdoors, under a blanket of sparkling stars. You'll also get to meet locals of all ages as a welcome friend (not a tourist) - you'll visit a school and the villagers would be delighted if you watch or take part in their early-evening football matches.

The last part of your holiday will be at Khao Yai National Park. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a nature reserve, spanning over 2,000 square kilometers and is home to herds of wild elephants, clouded leopards and monkeys, as well a vast array of flora and fauna. You'll see over 2 million bats swarm out into the night, walk through the jungle and drive to the summit in an open-topped jeep.

We have included a summary of the tour (see below), please contact us to be sent the full itinerary via email. We have put a lot of thought into designing this trip, the itinerary can be customised. Beach extensions are also possible.

Day-by-day itinerary

Day 1:Direct overnight flight Heathrow with Thai Airways or Eva Air (regional departures available). If you are not from the UK, you can arrange your flights separately and be picked up at Bangkok airport.
Day 2:Arrival at Bangkok airport where you will be picked up in a private car or mini-van. Time to settle in and relax at your charming hotel. In the evening, you will drive through lit-up Bangkok before having dinner at a riverside restaurant.
Day 3:Sightseeing in Bangkok with a guide who will take you to the main sites of the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Wat Pho and Wat Arun. Free time in the late afternoon and then an evening exploring Bangkok at your leisure (your driver will take you and wait for you).
Day 4:Transfer to Northern Thailand (via a short internal flight to Chiang Mai). Private car/minivan transfer to a residential area outside the city. Time to relax and settle in, followed by a walk around the local area and dinner with a local family.
Day 5:Explore 10-tiered waterfalls at your leisure. Climb up as far or as little as you want, swim in various spots and picnic as butterflies flit around you. Evening visit to Chiang Mai.
Day 6 & 7:Meet elephants at the Elephant Nature Park, a unique elephant sanctuary where you will spend two days learning about them from conservation experts and their carers, ‘mahouts’
Day 8:Sightseeing in the city of Chiang Mai around the ancient city and temples, then visit handicraft villages dotted around the city where you can watch the locals work expertly and buy directly from their co-operatives. This evening, you will have an informal Thai cookery lesson and dinner with a local family.
Day 9:Head into greener pastures as you transfer further north (past Chiang Rai). Arrive in remote countryside. You'll meet the villagers, learn how they fish/ farm in traditional way and in the evening, have dinner around a campfire.
Day 10:Swim in waterfalls and hot springs and have a forest walk, or relax or nap by the waterfalls. You'll also visit a primary school in a Hmong village.
Day 11:Trek up a mountain - it's certainly off the beaten track, your guide will show you how to cut your own trails and build a makeshift barbeque to cook your lunch.
Day 12:Transfer to Khao Yai. Time to settle in and enjoy the swimming pool. Evening visit to the local night market.
Day 13:Relax in the tropical gardens or swim in the pool. In the late afternoon, you'll have your first visit to Khao Yai National Park for the unforgettable sight of over 2 million bats swarming into the sky.
Day 14:Wildlife-spotting in Khao Yai National Park requires an early start for a chance to see the animals at their most active. Trek through the forests with your guide, then visit beautiful waterfalls, made famous in the film ‘The Beach’, then spend the afternoon driving around in an open-topped vehicle.
Day 15:End of your trip. Drive to Bangkok airport and international flight, arriving at London Heathrow at approximately 7pm UK time (same day).

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

Departure information

This trip is a private tour. It can be taken on dates to suit you, subject to availability. The itinerary can be customised.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type

Tailor made holidays

This holiday is designed for people who like to travel on their own, as a couple, as a family or as friends (not in a group with other people they do not know previously). You will not have a 'tour leader' or an 'escort' with you all the time. We run our own operations so do not need to rely on this type of arrangement to make sure your holiday is organised. We work hand-in-hand with our unique network of local people who are backed up by our carefully-picked drivers and local office. This means you will meet a range of trusted local people throughout your holiday and have time on your own, with full confidence that your holiday will run smoothly at all times.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Thailand wildlife holiday, elephants & waterfalls

All our holidays are deliberately designed to be as socially responsible as possible, and we work with local people on a highly individual basis.

On this holiday, you will get an unrivalled insight into Thai culture and you will meet a wide range of ordinary people on an 'equal' basis, not just those involved in the tourist industry to 'serve' you. You will learn about real life in Thailand, both traditional and modern, sustainable ways of living and farming, local festivals etc. We find people who will show these to you and compensate them accordingly, this helps local efforts of keeping traditions alive.

You will spend most of your time areas away from the main commercial tourist areas, therefore providing additional income in local economies that may not normally benefit from revenue from tourism. Whether a housewife takes you to her local market to buy food to prepare dinner, or you pop into the village co-operative to browse their handicrafts, your holiday will help the very places and people you visit.

The accommodation on this itinerary is small and local, within existing buildings or built with comparatively low impact to the environment. When you do stay in a 'conventional’ hotel in Bangkok, it is a Green Hotel, which uses solar energy for heating the hot water and room sensors that automatically turn off lights and appliances.

We encourage visiting less places and spending more time there, this allows richer experiences and also has less impact on the environment than constantly moving from one place to another. Whilst we do use private cars and minivans, where possible our vehicles are fuelled by LPG. We also encourage exploring local areas by foot, bicycle and boat.

This holiday includes meeting elephants but not riding them, you will learn why when you spend time at Elephant Nature Park. This is a showpiece of wildlife conservation in Asia, with a passionate founder who has been named Time Magazine's 'Asian Hero of the Year' for her efforts. Not only does Elephant Nature Park provide a refuge for elephants from all over Thailand, often previously-abused, but it spreads knowledge on humane training and elephant welfare to the wider community, as well as providing hands-on medical assistance to elephants who are not lucky enough to live here.

It goes without saying that we also provide cultural guidelines and travel, including responsible travel information.

Reviews of Thailand wildlife holiday, elephants & waterfalls

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 01 Dec 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


It was all fantastic, but we really enjoyed the elephant experience. Spending two days at a sanctuary, feeding the elephants, learning to ride them bareback and washing them in the pond was just marvellous. They are the most amazing creatures and we learned so much about them. We also loved the Khao Yai national park and trekking in the jungle around Chiang Rai, staying at a lodge that was really remote and rural.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take mosquito repellent.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes - we did some home stays and thoroughly enjoyed those. Our hosts were charming and very welcoming - they took us to local markets and gave us cookery lessons at their home. The elephant sanctuary also benefited from tourism.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Absolutely brilliant. The whole tour ran to plan and was extremely well organised. It was a great combination of active and relaxing and we had a marvellous time. Highly recommended.

Reviewed on 23 Jul 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Riding the elephants and seeing Angkor Wat. The lodgings at Ko Samed were also very beautiful.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


We each had a sick day or two so bring medicine for your stomach. I would also spend at least one more day in Bangkok. Our lodgings in Chiang Rai were too rustic for our spoiled tastes.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Absolutely. We stayed in people's homes and shopped in small villages. The hotel in Siem Reap (Shinta Mani) gives some of its revenue to promote local education, building wells and providing school supplies.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was a very well run trip. Some parts were more interesting than others. Don't miss Angkor Wat! The people were incredibly friendly and helpful.

Reviewed on 21 Apr 2011 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Time with elephants!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Enjoy every experience!

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, big emphasis on putting money back into the local community and getting to know locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Amazing!

Reviewed on 29 Oct 2010 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Being able to get so close to the elephants, and learning so much about them - a real privilege.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To make the most of the opportunities afforded by not staying in the 'usual' tourist places.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Yes, on the whole, except that the last hotel we stayed at did not seem in keeping with the focus on the environment elsewhere, despite its name (e.g. towel changes every day).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It was amazing - I hesitate to use any clichés, but we had some unique and extremely memorable experiences. A great introduction to the country.

Reviewed on 18 Jun 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


I think there would have to be two - firstly, the elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. I didn't want to visit a place where there was rides, or elephants playing football or painting. At the sanctuary, this could not be further from the truth and the work they do there is fantastic. Combine that with the hands-on experience you gain, as well as the insight and education given, it was truly unbelievable. The second would have to be getting an insight into just how hard life is for the people of Cambodia as they rebuild their country and lives following the awful atrocities of not so long ago. Being able to see directly how staying at the hotel and contributing to such basics as clean running water, was very uplifting

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Throw yourself into it. We all like nice hotels and cosy arrangements and indeed, on my trip I had these as well. But doing Homestay was fantastic as the families were so welcoming and they involve you in local life, which you would never get staying in the usual holiday 'bubble'. Also, investing in the use of your own guides etc. is not particularly expensive and the additional value far outweighs the cost.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


Totally. Some examples - staying at the sanctuary, in the evening there was an opportunity to have a Thai Massage. The sanctuary uses the local village people to provide the service, directly supporting local life - hotels I stayed in were eco friendly (recycled rainwater for showers) and/or supported the local industry i.e. providing a scholarship in hotel hospitality and whilst the students worked at the hotel, the hotel sent 'home' food to the families as the individual culture is to send home money to dependents. I saw many other examples

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


It has totally changed my perspective on how I can holiday, enjoy myself and yet provide genuine, positive, tangible support on the ground. The tour operator (who I used) were fantastic throughout and particularly when I was away. When needed, I was in contact with London and where appropriate, help was available on the ground locally. Everywhere I stayed, seemed to know my whole itinerary, so were able to ensure forward details were checked/reconfirmed etc. It felt very personal and I feel I have made some new friends as a consequence.

Reviewed on 03 Aug 2009 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


We just loved the home stay in Chang Rai. The hosts were wonderful and the adventures we had were fantastic. Both Yui and Leticia could not do enough for us and their children were delightful. The other wonderful part was the food at the clay pot in Chang Mai. Our hosts were wonderful and so very kind to us. Our children would rate the elephant sanctuary as the highlight of their trip.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


You will need cash to pay for any expenses in the national park in Khao Yai as they do not accept credit card.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, and minimized impacts on the environment?


The idea of home stays is a wonderful one. This is by far the best way to meet local people and enjoy real food rather than hotel food.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


We had a wonderful and memorable time in Thailand. We enjoyed every second of it all and would not hesitate to recommend it to all families who like adventure and do not mind roughing it... we just loved it.

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