Thailand tour, mountains & rainforests

“Delve a little deeper into Thailand on this two week, small group tour of the west and south, with hiking, canoeing and superb local food.”

Highlights

Bangkok | Kanchanaburi Town and Province | Bridge on the River Kwai | ‘Death Railway’ | Sai Yok Noi Waterfall | Muang Singh ruins | Khao Sok National Park | Chiew Lan Lake | Khao Luang National Park | Thale Noi Bird Sanctuary | Wat Tham Sumano cave temple complex | Trang Town | Ban-Traat Mountain | Chao Mai National Park

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
29 Nov 2020
£1650
including domestic flights only
Available
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11 Jan 2021
£1650
including domestic flights only
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09 Feb 2021
£1650
including domestic flights only
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08 Mar 2021
£1600
including domestic flights only
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28 Mar 2021
£1600
including domestic flights only
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02 May 2021
£1600
including domestic flights only
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13 Jun 2021
£1600
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11 Jul 2021
£1600
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08 Aug 2021
£1650
including domestic flights only
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05 Sep 2021
£1600
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03 Oct 2021
£1600
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31 Oct 2021
£1600
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28 Nov 2021
£1650
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27 Dec 2021
£1700
including domestic flights only
Available
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Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
This is a genuine small group adventure tour with group sizes limited to a maximum of 12 persons. Experience has taught us that smaller numbers are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore, it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level has proved to be more fun as you make new friends and share your experiences with like-minded people.

Minimum numbers are either 2 or 4 so, while in low season in particular, sizes can be small, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet both locals and other travellers along the way.

The tour price is based upon 2 persons sharing, twin or double rooms, while single room supplements are also available should you prefer. The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella. Please note that all activities are fully flexible and most age and fitness levels can be accommodated.

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your holiday will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Respect for the environment underpins all our tours. We and individual Tour Leaders have fostered healthy, respectful working relationship with the Karen villagers who lead us through the jungle trek in Thung Yai. This provides us with very knowledgeable friends on the trip who are excellent oral witnesses to the life of the Karens and are thus able to give those who travel with us a genuine understanding of this important ethnic minority in Thailand.

Our regular visits provide long term and sustainable extra income for these people. The benefits of our patronage are extended to local businesses not immediately connected to the guides. We eat in small food shops and restaurants, encourage those who travel with us to make souvenir purchases at the local crafts market and make small purchases in the Karen villages such as water and locally make snacks.

We have also made financial contributions to the local orphanage and to Karen and Mon refugee camps housing people fleeing the oppression they have historically encountered in neighbouring Burma.

Wherever practical we use public transport although not to the detriment of local people for whom it can be a lifeline. This is not only contributing to the local economy, but results in fewer carbon emissions per head than does smaller forms of transport. Where minibuses are used, we use privately owned local buses.

Khao Lak village in Southern Thailand. A relatively poor farming community was inspired, partly through our interest, to organise a co-operative home-stay and trekking scheme and has since received grants, training and advice to that extent from the Tourism Authority of Thailand. We are also pleased to state that several local village lads are now keener to lead bird watching and nature tours than their traditional pastimes of shooting or trapping. We provided the co-operative scheme with textbooks on local bird and animal life.

During tours, our tour leaders (including our Silver medal winner in the World Guide of the Year Awards for 2016) discuss relevant information for our customers in order to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism. Our focus is on genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes and the need to be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment. They suggest appropriate ways to behave and dress with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices

Destinations: We combine the well known tourist sites with many off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations thus diverting tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.

We recognise that efforts towards sustainable tourism work two ways. By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them to local agents, guides and hotels, they are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

The tour operator is winner of the 2012 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Nature, Marine and Heritage Tourism, the 2010 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Best tour operator for Local Communities and the 2008 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Best Specialist Tour Operator.

Small groups are core to our way of travel. By limiting groups to less than 12 and usually under 10, we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for individual assistance. We are able to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger tourist groups.

Climate

5 Reviews of Thailand tour, mountains & rainforests

4 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 21 Mar 2019 by

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


I particularly loved visiting the group of pagodas at Wat Chalerm Phrakiet spectacularly perched high on a limestone ridge; and the ride up the mountain at
breakneck speed in the back of a truck was quite exciting too!

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


It's an interesting but busy itinerary so maybe plan some downtime at the beginning or the end of the trip just to chill out.

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


To a degree; we ate in local restaurants and stayed in small guest houses or hotels.

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


We really enjoyed it. Our guide, Wi, was excellent throughout and as well as spectacular temples we also visited markets, unusual museums and were lucky
enough to also witness an elephant feast festival which was a real highlight.

Reviewed on 01 Apr 2012 by

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


Too many exciting experiences to recount. However we loved the alternative accommodation in the lodges - made a refreshing change from the usual soulless 5 star hotels. The spectacular scenery of the Andaman Sea on the boat trip from Koh Lanta - simply unforgettable! Kayaking down the River Kwai - just amazing.

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


Take as little luggage as possible. Be open to new experiences and try new foods including the infamous 100 year old eggs! Upgrade to first class on the night train!

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


Yes. We spent our money responsibly and this was easy because the local people were so helpful and friendly, the service was second to none. We embraced the local travel enthusiastically - even the night train which was a very relaxing experience.

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


Ten out of ten! The most memorable holiday ever! Can't wait to do it all again! The holiday was made especially memorable by our knowledgeable and personable guide - Pascal.

Reviewed on 28 Oct 2011 by

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


Grand Palace and Wat Pra Keow in Bangkok, Elephant ride in Jungle, boat trip snorkelling in Khoa Sok and getting absolutely soaked in a sudden monsoon downpour in the rain forest!

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


It's hot, so more shorts, less trousers, plenty of sun screen and mosquito repellent and a lightweight waterproof jacket.

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


No holiday where you fly half way around the world can be described as having minimal impact on the environment. We ate in local establishments rather than hotels, so I do feel holiday benefited local people.

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


Many activities, ably led by a great guide and overall very good value for money.

Reviewed on 26 May 2011 by

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


Kayaking down the River Kwai for 22km and getting caught in a torrential tropical downpour and storm - it was so exciting and like nothing we have ever experienced (we did pull over and shelter form the lightning). Also the day spent boating on the Lake in Khao Sok National Park was wonderful; we had sunshine for most of the day and it was simply spectacular. Swimming and snorkelling off Koh Lanta was wonderful. Walking the Death Railway was very moving, a good trek and we learned a lot. Going over the Bridge on the River Kwai in the train was great. Walking in the rainforests was so interesting and swimming in the streams was great. The tour around Bangkok using public transport was excellent. The Bangkok train south overnight made me feel young again, it was very civilised - we made good use of the bar and then slept very well. The Elephant ride was a bit challenging and I would opt out if I did the same trip again!

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


Be prepared to spend a lot of time with your fellow travellers and get on with them. We were a group of eight - four pairs who did not know each other, plus our guide; and in the end six of us really gelled (despite the age range of 29 years to us at 65) One couple obviously wanted more time to themselves and took this time on the last few days by the sea, which was fine, but in their effort to get away they did miss out on the snorkelling trip as a result. Travel light - but no need for rucksacks for luggage - soft bags with wheels are fine - not big hard suitcases though. Avoid thick cotton clothing; take light weight cotton or sporty tops and trousers and long sleeves to cover up at night in the forest as you eat outside all the time. Remember Hair gel to not have a constant frizz and a hair drier if you use one.

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


Yes, we used public and locally hired transport for all journeys. We ate in the restaurants either of the locally owned and run accommodation we stayed in, or in local cafes or restaurants and street markets using fresh local food. Local tour guides were local people who we tipped in addition to their pay. Not a hint of foreign ownership of anything we used. We felt people were pleased we were there.

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


We would rate it at four stars as at our age, as by now we have been on some pretty good trips - but only just off 5 stars!! Jean-Daniel Schrantz our guide was fantastic - he wanted us to know about all things Thai, but managed to do it in a kind of laid back, thoughtful way throughout, so we never felt he was dominating us; he was absolutely right for the job, fun and informative and always got us where we needed to be on time or ahead of time, without rushing us or ever bossing us around.

Reviewed on 22 Nov 2011 by

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


Visit to Cheow Lan Lake, Khao Sok National Park.

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


Ask who your tour guide would be and avoid Aor who was a great disappointment as she was unable to answer almost everything asked.

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


Yes, the Thai people are wonderful and we were able to ensure payment for items went to local people

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


Very good, despite the tour guide as our fellow travellers were excellent and the scenery is stunning.

Read the operator's response here:

Thank you for your comments. We are so pleased you enjoyed your holiday and regret that you did not feel Miss Aor came up to our high standards for tour leaders. She is usually a very enthusiastic and warm person who is delighted to proudly show her country to our guests. We have taken your comments on board and will look into it.

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