Southern Thailand Getaway


    enquire now 16 Days From NZD $3,395 pp twinshare
    Small group
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    Spend a few weeks in the paradise of Southern Thailand

    Squeeze through crowded markets in Bangkok, then calm yourself down on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. From chaos and honking horns to sand and snorkels, this 16-day trip is the perfect way to see both sides of Thailand.

    Itinerary

    Day 1: Bangkok
    Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Bangkok is a heady mixture of ancient traditions and slick modernity, where bazaars (obviously bustling) and world-class cuisine are only the beginning.  With free time, acquaint yourself with this frenetic city of tuk tuks, street food and traditional khlong boats winding down the Chao Phraya River. Tonight, you might want to experience the unique tourist mecca of Khao San Road.

    Day 2: Bangkok
    You’ll start today with a visit to Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn. Named after the Indian God of Dawn – Aruna, this impressive landmark of Bangkok sits majestically on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities, and this city has so much to offer! Tonight, you will board an overnight train southbound for Surat Thani.

    Day 3: Ao Nang/Krabi
    Arrive into Surat Thani this morning and continue by bus to the resort town of Ao Nang. A lively beachside town in Krabi Province, Ao Nang has a main street with open-air restaurants, shops that light up the sidewalk and bars perfect for kicking back with a beer. It’s also in a great position to hop on longtail boats to beaches like Railay and idyllic islands. There’s plenty of free time to relax on the beautiful beaches and get into the spirit of southern Thailand.  As the sun begins to set, take a quick trip out of Ao Nang to a local family’s home. Sit down to the table and share a dinner, along with laughs, stories and a heart-warming evening experience. (D)

    Day 4: Ao Nang/Krabi
    This morning you’ll enjoy a sea kayaking trip to the mangrove forest of Ao Thalane. About half way along the coast between Than Bok Khoranee and Krabi town is a bay of mangroves that might just be the most beautiful bay in Thailand. Surrounded by towering karst formations and many small offshore islands, move slowly through the bays and canyons that are like passageways, discover inlets, caves and hidden lagoons, and check out the local wildlife up-close – the birds overhead and monkeys in the trees. This evening you can stroll the beaches or sample local fare at a seafood restaurant. (L)

    Day 5: Ko Yao Noi
    Transfer by vehicle and longtail boat to the island of Ko Yao Noi. Set in the heart of Phang-Nga Bay, the chilled-out island of Ko Yao Noi is a great place to relax away from the tourist trail and absorb its natural wonders. The afternoon is free to take an island tour, along roads that may still be dirt, past dense green forest to visit fishing villages and rubber plantations to meet the locals, or perhaps simply appreciate the islands serenity and beauty, coupled with some swimming in the crystal-clear waters.

    Day 6: Ko Yao Noi
    Today you’ll experience the beautiful underwater world that surrounds Ko Yao Noi with a boat and snorkelling trip around the islands. Phang Nga Bay is filled with the small islands and dramatic limestone rock formations that are, for many, the iconic image of Thailand. Venture out into the bay to snorkel in the turquoise waters filled with ever-changing colours of coral and fish, and swim in the tropical sun. Enjoy a proper island-style picnic lunch on the beach at one of the many islands that are scattered around the bay, and follow it up with more swimming and snorkelling – what a tough life! (B, L)

    Day 7: Phuket
    Today you’ll leave the quiet and secluded nature of Ko Yao Noi for the tourist haven of Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most visited island. Travel James Bond style (who visited the nearby island of Ko Phing Kan in 1974’s The Man with the Golden Gun) by catching a speedboat to Phuket. This island is certainly a brasher, more vibrant extrovert to the mellower sibling of the last few days. When you arrive on the island you’ll stop by the last untouched rainforest remaining on the island at the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can drop into Bang Pae Waterfall for a refreshing swim and then pay a visit to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. The centre takes in formerly captive gibbons and rehabilitates then for reintroduction to the wild. Operated by a local NGO, the project works to help ensure the continued existence of these furry little friends on the island. You’ll stay in the heart of Patong, where everything from shops to restaurants to nightclubs awaits. (B)

    Day 8: Phuket
    Phuket is ringed with beaches, each with their own distinct personalities, from a party vibe to perhaps something quieter and more romantic. If you can pull yourself away from the beautiful beaches and curving coasts, Phuket also has a range of activities to fill your day, from Thai boxing exhibitions to cabaret shows. If you love getting out on the water and exploring the islands, then perhaps use your last day to take a day trip out to the stunning Phi Phi and Khai Nok, a tiny island surrounded by white sandy beach perfect suitable for swimming and snorkelling. Perhaps gather together you fellow travellers tonight and enjoy a dinner on the beachfront. (B)

    Day 9: Phuket
    Enjoy a free day in Phuket before you meet your new leader and any new travellers joining your group this evening. You might want to kick off this leg of your adventure by sharing a cocktail with your group or taking a dip at the ocean. (B)

    Day 10: Phuket
    Go beach-hopping with a local guide while exploring some of the finest sights Phuket has to offer. Start off at Phuket’s Big Buddha, one of the island’s most important and revered landmarks. Travel onwards to Nai Harn Beach, arguably one of the prettiest in the area thanks to undeveloped tree-covered mountains clasping the shores on each side and clean, clear waters. Next stop – Kata Noi Beach, enjoy at your own leisure after a restaurant lunch with the group. (B)

    Day 11: Khao Lak
    Continue travelling towards Khao Lak in a private minivan. Spend a bit of time appreciating the natural splendour of the region with a stop-off at the Ton Chong Fa waterfall, located in the Khao Lak-Lam Ru National Park. After jumping back in the minivan and pushing on to Khao Lak, drop off all your luggage at the resort. Perhaps head down to the beach afterwards, located an easy 3-minute walk away from your accommodation. (B)

    Day 12: Khao Lak
    From the tiny sandy beaches with their awning mangroves to the isolated lighthouses sitting perched on rocky outcrops, the Khao Lak shoreline offers a serene ambience that softly washes over you like an inviting tide of its own. Sink into its mellow groove with a free day to stroll along the beach or bask by the pool. Alternatively, if you’re feeling more adventurous then there’s plenty to do. Consider taking an optional snorkelling day trip to Koh Ra and Koh Khai, travelling out to the Similan Island for a tour or take part in a Thai cooking class set by a tropical fruit plantation. Just speak with your leader and they’ll be able to arrange the rest. (B)

    Day 13: Ranong
    The islands are calling, and in order to answer you’ll need to be up bright and early for a private minivan journey to Ranong. Cool down with a dip at Koh Kam beach en-route to Bang Ben Pier. Board a slender longtail boat and embark on an island-hopping adventure, sailing between Koh Gum, Koh Kangkaw and Koh Yeepoon. These three relatively unspoiled isles offer a raw glimpse into Thailand’s pristine, natural beauty. First up is Koh Kangkaw, where you’ll stop for a spot of snorkelling. Afterwards, head to Koh Gum, which boasts a soft beach shaped like a buffalo horn. Spend a bit of time here taking photos or swimming among the coral and beautiful fish before heading inland for a lunch under the trees. Cruise onwards to Koh Yeepoon, which formerly housed a Japanese military base. Bask in the sun on the white, powdery beach before returning to Ranong, to transfer to your hotel and spend the evening however you please. (B)

    Day 14: Ranong
    Gain a greater understanding of Ranong’s local culture on a sightseeing trip throughout the area, meeting up with Thai communities as you go. Later, taste traditional desserts and herbal drinks while enjoying a folk-dance show at a learning centre. Try your hand making ceramics or mining for tin at Haad Som Pan, a great community visit that will give you a better understanding of the local industries in this rural area. With free time in the afternoon, choose to either wander around the area at your own pace or take an optional trip to the Raksa Warin hot spring for a lovely soak in the warm waters. The hustle and bustle of a late-night visit to the Ranong Burmese Night Market offers a lively insight into the local community – perhaps snack on some of the street food with the group to round out a big day of cultural engagement. (B, L)

    Day 15: Phuket
    Jump back in a public bus and return to Phuket, where the afternoon is yours to enjoy. As the evening rolls in, consider sharing a final meal with your new friends along Patong’s beachfront. (B)

    Day 16: Phuket
    Your Southern Thailand tour comes to an end today after breakfast. (B)

    Inclusions

    Meals
    11 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 1 dinner

    Transport
    Private minibus, Long tail boat, Public bus, Songthaew, Taxi, Train.

    Activities

    • Bangkok – Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn)
    • Ao Nang – Sea kayaking
    • Koh Yao Noi – Snorkelling
    • Koh Yao Noi – Phang Nga National Marine Park
    • Phuket – Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre & Bang Pae Waterfall
    • Phuket – Full day Island tour
    • Khao Lak – Lam Ru National Park & Ton Chong Fa WaterFall
    • Ranong – Koh Kam Beach Hopping Day Trip
    • Ranong – Community visit

    TIN-TTSSC Southern Thailand Getaway

    Images courtesy of InterpidGroup