|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).|
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.
Elephant encounters, jungle treehouses and stunning Thai islands
From £1149 14 days excluding flights