|Day 1:||Depart UK. Depart London Heathrow on a direct flight with Eva Air or Thai Airways.|
|Day 2:||Pick up at Bangkok airport in private car and transfer to residential area where you can settle into your private guesthouse. Time to settle in, later a walk around the local area and dinner with friendly family. o/n Bangkok.|
|Day 3:||Morning free to relax. Midday pick up by your driver and an afternoon lesson at a professional cookery school in the core skills needed for Thai cookery. Evening at your leisure in the centre of Bangkok (the driver will take you where you choose from our maps and tips and wait for you). o/n Bangkok.|
|Day 4:||Tick off the main sites in Bangkok with guide taking in the Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha and the 'Temple of Dawn', Wat Arun. Evening authentic cookery lesson with local family, learning how to make your own curry paste. o/n Bangkok.|
|Day 5:||Savour regional delicacies at a giant farmer's market before moving onto a village in the Central Plains, the rural heartland of Thailand. Afternoon boat trip to see the local area and temple and feed the fish. This evening, learn how to make traditional Thai desserts. o/n Central Plains.|
|Day 6:||Haggle with the housewives for the best vegetables at the local food market, the Headman's wife will show you how. Then lessons in Thai countryside cooking. Time to relax on the terrace, then gentle cycle (or walk) around the surrounding green and lush rice fields. o/n Central Plains.|
|Day 7:||Transfer to off-the-beaten-track Isan in the north east via a short plane and private cars either end. Settle in and enjoy the pool before an early evening walk around the local village o/n Isan.|
|Day 8:||Pick vegetables and herbs at the organic farm before learning how to cook Isan food, influenced by neighbouring Laos. Evening in nearby riverside town, have dinner at a restaurant and browse the weekend market for local specialities such as silk. o/n Isan.|
|Day 9:||Visit local villages to see handicrafts and sightseeing day. Evening cookery lesson o/n Isan.|
|Day 10:||Forage for berries and herbs in the forest. Free afternoon, relax by the pool before you last cooking lesson in Isan food in the evening. o/n Isan.|
|Day 11||Variation A|
|Day 11||Fly to the Andaman Coast in Southern Thailand and take a boat to a small island where people live in traditional ways from farming and fishing. Settle into your charming chalet and have a walk to watch the locals finish their days with a game of impromptu volleyball.|
|Day 12||Boat trip to local market to pick the catch of the day, the freshest vegetables and the latest gossip. Free afternoon to laze on a hammock or walk around the island. Evening fiery Southern-style cooking lessons.|
|Day 13||Dawn fishing on the Andaman Sea and cook up your catch from sizzling stir fried squid with chilli to spicy crab.|
|Day 14||Morning transfer to stylish boutique beach resort and rest of day to relax on the beach|
|Day 15||Day at leisure to relax on the beach. Day 16: Fly home via a short flight to Bangkok to connect to the international flight back to London Heathrow|
|Day 11||Variation B|
|Day 11:||Fly to the Andaman Coast in Southern Thailand and transfer to your comfortable air-conditioned bungalow on the mainland, set on an old palm plantation. Evening visit with locals to the night market to sample a range of regional delicacies.|
|Day 12:||Morning and early afternoon at leisure by the small pool. Late afternoon visit to a nearby village for a walk around the various smallholdings such as cashew nuts. Dinner with deputy headman's family and make Thai desserts.|
|Day 13:||Morning visit to Krabi market for breakfast, gossip and shopping. Fish is very fresh in these parts, straight off the boats and there is also a lot of farming. Then time to cook up a storm! A couple of hours free to enjoy the pool in the afternoon and evening free to enjoy the local seafood restaurants (a driver will take and wait for you).|
|Day 14:||Private boat trip amongst the desert islands made of limestone rock and covered in rainforest that lie in the Andaman Sea. Snorkel in reefs teeming with tropical fish, swim in a emerald green lagoon or lay back on sandy beaches.|
|Day 15:||Discover Krabi mainland. Visit a local village to stock up on their handicrafts for souvenirs. Then visit a giant catfish farm, head into the hills to escape the heat, or visit a beautiful beach.|
|Day 16:||Fly home via a short flight to Bangkok to connect to the international flight back to London Heathrow|
All our holidays are deliberately designed to be as socially responsible as possible, working in harmony with the daily lives of local people. You will spend most of your time areas away from the main tourist destinations, therefore providing additional income in local economies that do not normally benefit from tourism revenue.
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, dances etc. We find people who will show these to you and compensate them accordingly, which helps local efforts of keeping traditions alive.
On this itinerary, as well as tasting the different flavours of Thailand, you will get genuine understanding of life for the different people throughout the country. In the Central Plains, tourism is being developed in a way that it does not detriment traditional ways of living and some of the money from this holiday will go to improving the local area e.g. keeping the canals clean.
The north east of the country is not often visited by tourists and by encouraging traditional farms which use local indigenous knowledge of sustainable farming, you will help people take pride in traditional ways and withstand the onslaught of industrial farming.
Finally, in southern Thailand, traditional ways of living such as fishing and farming have often lost out to mainstream tourism, changing communities as well as areas of previous beauty, this holiday promotes a different type of tourism which works hand-in-hand to keep people and places intact.
The accommodation on this itinerary is small and local, converted from existing buildings or built with comparatively low impact to the environment. All accommodation is small scale except for the boutique beach resort at the end of the Variation A, although even that is much smaller (less than 50 rooms) than mainstream hotels and built sensitively into the landscape.
Although we design our itineraries with visiting less places and spending more time for the purpose of richer experiences, this also has the benefit of cutting down on miles driven. Whilst we do use private cars and minivans (not shared or public transport), where possible our vehicles are fuelled by LPG. You will also spend some time exploring local areas by foot, bicycle and boat.
Experience real French culture and get off the beaten track
From €510 - €780 5 days excluding flights