Land of Smiles Trip Notes
Trip code: FFTH
Trip length: 12 days
- Elephant jungle ride
- Hilltribe homestay
- Temples & palaces
- White sandy beaches
Make your way to your hotel and check in. Your welcome meeting is at 18:00 hours and you will meet your group leader and the rest of your family group then.
Bangkok is full of sights and wonders; with its many temples and busy street markets it’s not a city any adult or child is likely to forget in a hurry.
Viengtai Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
This morning you tke a long tail boat trip down the Chao Phraya River and explore the famous klongs (canals) of Bangkok (approx 1 hour). Life on these canals seems a world away from the chaos of the city streets. Visit Wat Pho home of the largest reclining Buddha in Thailand and see the floating markets.
Later you travel by local bus (approx 2 hours) to Kanchanaburi, home of the famous Bridge on the River Kwai. Check into your hotel.
The following day you will travel to Erawan National Park (approx 1.5 hours each way), here you can swim under the seven tiered waterfall. As you head back it's possible to take a kayak along the river back to town and under the infamous bridge. There are also temples to explore.
River Kwai Bridge Resort (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx2)
Travel by mini bus to the ancient city of Ayuthaya (approx 2.5 hours). Here you will visit the ancient temples of this World Heritage Site. This city was once the capital of Siam, you will be guided through the site which spreads across the town with picturesque ruins and temples. Great photo opportunities include Wat Phra Mahathat ruins and the Buddha head surrounded by Banyan tree roots.
Later board a comfortable overnight sleeper train (approx 11 hours) to the pleasant northern city of Chiang Mai. Dinner and drinks can be bought on the train, but most people prefer to buy a selection of local dishes from the numerous stalls in and around the station, and have a picnic dinner on board. The train is quite comfortable - sheets and pillows are provided and curtained bunks provide some privacy. Children usually love this journey!
Overnight train - 1 night (B)
Early in the morning you arrive in Chiang Mai - the Rose of the North - where the slower pace of life is immediately evident. You’ll be met at the station, and transfer straight to your guesthouse to shower and freshen up. The rest of the day is left free to wander at your own pace and soak up the atmosphere of this lively city, surrounded by impressive city walls. Chiang Mai is the most important of Thailand’s northern cities, with a history dating back to the 13th century and beyond. For 200 years the city was under Burmese control and much evidence of this period remains in both the architectural style of many buildings and in some of the rice and soup dishes found in local restaurants! You will visit the Theravada Buddhist temple an Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. In the afternoon visit Bor Sang and the traditional umbrella factory. Tonight visit the colourful night market where you can eat from the fast food stalls.
Holiday Garden Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
This morning you will take an exciting elephant ride through the jungle (approx 30 mins) and see the show at Chiang Dao elephant training centre including elephants bathing and working. Then transfer to the village of Ban Hua Tung (approx 30 mins) where you have a homestay experience in a village house for this evening. Accommodation is multishare with fold out beds on the floor and shared bathrooms but the welcome more than makes up for the basic facilities. Tonight enjoy a traditional northern Thai dinner with live music and dancing.
Village House (A) - 1 night (BD)
Explore the Hua Tung community forest at the base of Chian Dao mountain, with local guides and learn about the herbal medicines and wild foods that grow here. Return to your hotel in Chiang Mai and enjoy some free time or activities. You could hire bikes, take a cooking class or visit the Thai doll museum.
Holiday Garden Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
Enjoy some free time today to explore further or take optional activites or maybe just let the kids have fun in the hotel swimming pool. This evening you board your overnight train to Bangkok. (approx 13 hours).
Overnight train - 1 night (B)
Early this morning you'll arrive back in Bangkok. From here, you'll transfer south (about 3 hours) to Hua Hin where you’ll slow right down for a few days at the beach. This resort is popular with domestic tourists as a getaway from the metropolis of Bangkok. Here, you can enjoy some sun-filled time playing on white sandy beaches and take a dip in the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand.
Chom View Hotel (AAA) - 2 nights - Swimming Pool (Bx2)
Today you drive (approx 3 hours) back to Bangkok. The rest of the day is free for last minute shopping and sightseeing. Visit the incredible Grand Palace and see the temple of the Emerald Buddha. Go shopping along Khao San Road or take a river boat to China town and explore the crowded streets.
Viengtai Hotel (AAA) - 1 night - Swimming Pool (B)
Your family adventure ends today. (B)
About The Imaginative Traveller
Our aim has always been to provide exceptional travel experiences. We believe that adventure travel should be stimulating, and that it should give you an authentic experience of a place. We want our travellers to relish the amazing diversity of countries and cultures the world has to offer. Our focus is on innovation, not imitation.
Obsessed with quality
One of our strengths has been our obsession with quality. We've always believed that our commitment to you doesn't end as soon as you've paid for your holiday. On the contrary, it is just beginning. Whilst most operators simply get a local company to handle the day to day operation of their tours, we do it all ourselves. We have managers for each of our key destinations around the world and all our small groups are escorted by our own leaders. Our local teams include guides, drivers, administration staff and contacts in the local community who help us ensure that our adventures are active and involving.
For comparability, all prices in this dossier are quoted in one currency. We use the US Dollar since that is familiar to most. However, once on tour you will need to pay for all goods and services in the local currency. See your Country Dossier for details of exchange rates.
Any healthy child or adult should be able to take part. It’s really more a case of preparing and adjusting mentally to Asian culture and tribal life. Seasoned travellers are unlikely to have any problem with this. Minimum age: 7 years.
Transport - Minibus, boat, overnight train, domestic flight. public bus
Accommodation - Hotels (8nts), basic homestay (1nt), berth on overnight train (2nts).
Meals - 10 breakfasts, 1 lunch & 1 dinner.
For your comfort we recommend you travel as light as possible; many airlines impose a maximum weight limit of 20kg – we advise you to take 10kg as you will be on the move a good deal! For domestic flights using light aircraft the usual weight limit is 15 kg.
One main piece (a soft bag or rucksack, not a hard suitcase).
A daypack (25-30 litres), large enough to carry what you need for the day including camera, water, etc.
There are two basic types of curry in Thailand, those based on water and those based on coconut milk. Coconut-based dishes are well known in the UK and include the classic red, green and yellow curries. Local favourites in Thailand include the water-based ‘sour curry,’ often prepared with fish and ‘jungle curry,’ which is usually very spicy.
Phra Farang, an English Monk in Thailand – Phra Peter Pannapadipo
Borderlines: A Journey in Thailand & Burma – Charles Nicholl
Anna and the King of Siam - Margaret Landon
The Beach – Alex Garland
Bridge on the River Kwai – Pierre Boulle
An English Governess at the Court of Siam – Anna Leonowens
The Revolutionary King: The True-life Sequel to "The King and I" - William Stevenson
Your Child’s Health Abroad - Matthew Ellis and Jane Wilson-Howarth, (Bradt publications).
Travel with Children – Maureen Wheeler (Lonely Planet)
For Younger Readers:
Even a Little is Something: Stories of Nong – Tom Glass
The Girl who Wore too Much: A Folktale from Thailand – Margaret Read MacDonald
Hello - Sawasdee
Please - Karuna
Yes – Chai
No – Mai Chai
Thank you – Khop Khun (Ka) - women / Khop Khun (Krup) - men
How Much? - Thâo Rai or Kee Baht?
Local Costs - Thailand
Approximate average costs are given for guidance only, and may vary widely according to location and type of establishment.
Soft drink £1.00
Bottle of mineral water £1.50
Medium beer £2.00
Bottle of wine £10
Local snack lunch £3.00
3-course dinner* £9.00
*reasonable mid-range tourist class restaurant
Visas & Permits - Thailand
Holders of UK & IRL passports do not require a visa unless stay exceeds 30 days. Nationals of all other countries should contact their local embassy or consulate. Passports must be valid for at least six months after the end date of your trip. Information can also be found at www.travcour.com. This information is given in good faith, but may be subject to change without warning. Please note that, where appropriate, obtaining a valid visa is ultimately your responsibility. Please consult a visa agency or the consular authorities 4-6 weeks before departure for the most up-to-date information.
We advise all passengers to carry photocopies of passport & travel documents & to be aware that is it a legal requirement to carry id at all times.
Vaccinations - Thailand
The following are recommended:
- Hepatitis A
- Tetanus Polio
- Typhoid Malaria
- Diphtheria NB: Yellow Fever vaccination is compulsory if coming from an infected country.
For detailed information and advice concerning vaccinations go to:www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk
Vaccination requirements change periodically so we advise that you check with your nearest specialist travel clinic 4-6 weeks before departure to get up-to-date information.
International rules for carrying medicines vary. Some countries do not allow certain medicines to be imported, or require official documents, such as a doctor’s letter, to prove drugs have been prescribed by a doctor and obtained legally. It is sensible to contact the relevant embassy or high commission of your destination to check what their drug transportation rules are before you travel.
The itinerary and supplementary information has been compiled with care and provided in good faith. However it may be subject to change, and does not form part of a contract between the client and The Imaginative Traveller.
Responsible Travel - Travellers' Guidelines
At Imaginative Traveller we love helping our clients experience the beauty and cultures of the destinations we visit. However, hand in hand with this we have always been aware that we have a responsibility to minimise any negative impacts that tourism can bring.
Responsible Travel is twofold. It’s about taking people to the places they want to go in a safe and responsible manner but also about respecting and maintaining the natural and often delicate balance of the destination. Economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, but should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment.
- It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit.
- We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.
- Whilst it is our aim to show destinations and cultures in a positive light, we do not believe in papering over the cracks or shielding visitors from the realities of life. This does not mean, however, that we condone or endorse certain situations or regimes that may be in place.
Our guidelines are meant not as rigid instructions but rather as suggestions to make our holidays more enjoyable – for everybody. As cultural and environmental sensitivities vary from country to country more specific guidelines can be found in our individual country and trip dossiers.
Before you depart try to spend some time familiarising yourself with the destination you will be travelling to – their culture and customs. The country dossiers on our website offer detailed information about all the regions we visit. They also include some useful phrases in the local language for you to use on your trip! A few words of the local language can open up many more opportunities for you to interact with the people you will meet.
Although it is tempting to give out pens, sweets and money to people begging, and particularly tempting to give to children, we feel that this encourages a begging mentality and has a long-term negative impact on communities. If someone begging earns more than someone in the same community who works this can discourage local employment. If children regularly bring home money it may discourage their parents from sending them to school. It is of course your own personal choice but you could consider giving to registered charities or contributing to our Responsible Travel fund instead. Money donated through our fund to our worldwide projects is matched pound for pound by Imaginative Traveller and used to help local grassroots projects.
Always ask permission to photograph local people and respect their decision if they would prefer not to have their picture taken.
Respect local dress codes, especially at religious sites. Our tour leaders are always on hand to give you advice about this.
In many of the countries we visit you might see examples of animal cruelty (for example dancing bears, performing monkeys and snake charmers). Please do not take photographs of this or offer money as it encourages the activity.
Respect the environment you are in. It sounds obvious but do not throw litter, take it with you or use rubbish bins! You may see locals throwing rubbish on the street but do not follow their example!
When shopping in countries where haggling is the norm – enjoy it and only pay what you feel is a fair price for the goods you are purchasing. However, remember that the shopkeeper does have to make a living so do stop once you have reached a price you are happy with. Bargaining should be fun but always remember that a small amount can mean much more to the vendor than to you.
Endeavor to take home souvenirs made locally; the money you spend can be very important to the local communities. However, do use your common sense and don’t buy anything that you think might be made out of endangered animals or plants.
To help keep as much money as possible in the host country - try to eat in locally owned restaurants and order local drinks and produce rather than international brands.
In hotels do be conscious of how much water you are using. Many of the areas we visit regularly have shortages; try not to have hour long showers! Don’t leave lights, air conditioners or fans on when you leave the room – you wouldn’t at home!
Respect the environment you are in, especially when in national parks or reserves. Pay attention to rules about keeping on paths, keeping a distance from animals and not removing any of the natural habitat.
Relax and immerse yourself in the differences of the culture you are in – you’ll be back home in the familiar soon enough (and wishing you were still on holiday!). These cultural differences are part of what makes your experience special.
If you would like to offset the carbon dioxide that will be produced on your flights you can do this on our website (on our Responsible travel page). We work with climatecare, who will reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide that you produce in another part of the World through their emission reduction projects. These projects are low carbon efficient technologies in developing countries and not only serve to reduce emissions but also help to spread the adoption of low carbon technologies and improve the quality of life for local communities. Details of climatecare’s projects can be found on their website.
If you would like to contribute to our Worldwide projects, helping communities all over the World, you can also do this on our website or with a sales consultant. Please refer to our responsible travel page on the website for details of our current projects. Any donation you make will be matched £ for £ by Imaginative Traveller (up to a maximum of £1000).
Have a great trip!
Please do let us know if you have any comments about responsible travel at firstname.lastname@example.orgThe Imaginative Traveller & The Adventure Company. This trip is operated by our partner company, The Adventure Company. They have more than 10 years experience in adventure travel and they share our ethos for offering unique holiday adventures. As this is a codeshared departure you can expect there to be both Imaginative Traveller and Adventure Company travellers on your trip.