Hi, just booked on this trip with my husband Phil and two children Imogen (10) and George (9). This is our first trip with Exodus and first long haul flight with children - any tips?! We'd love to hear from anyone else booked on Jungles and beaches departing in August 2011. Thanks Sarah
I am currently looking into booking a trip with Exodus. I've been on one of their trips before (to Costa Rica) and found it excellently planned. I was considering this one to Thailand, for myself and my son, who will at the time of travel, be 8 years old. Am a little concerned since this will be a very long journey. This one is one of the few which has children my son's age, which is why I am considering it.
Is this your children's first trip abroad/holiday? Have they travelled before?
I'd like to speak to my son about this trip before I book it. I look forward to your response and will soon let you know if we do take this trip!
Yes, this is my children's first real trip abroad. We have done a week in Spain and a city break to Barcelona a few years ago. Usually we holiday in Devon on a farm stay or stay in a caravan on the south coast. However, Phil and I did a lot of travelling before the children came along and are keen to show them a bit of the world. The flight is my biggest worry so to have a friend on the flight would be a real bonus!
We went to Thailand about 17 years ago so know it is a fabulous destination for the children at the ages they are now. The homestay in the tribal village, the overnight train journey and swimming at the Erawan waterfalls are what Imogen and George are looking forward to most.
George will be 9 in July so is probably a similar age to your son. He loves sport (both watching and playing), going to cubs, playing on his DS and beating his Grandma at Monopoly!
Best wishes with what ever decision you make. We took many weeks to decide, but are so glad we have taken the plunge. We now need to apply for three new passports that have expired... not cheap!!
we have just placed 4 "holds" on this trip and will most likely be booking it by the end of this week! We are a family of 4, travelling from Canada. We have a son, 15, and a daughter, 13, so our children, our not too close in age, but still very excited about the trip! We have never been to Thailand before, and can hardly wait! We are starting to read and study everything we can get our hands on about Thailand.
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Great to hear from you. Imogen was thrilled that there will be another girl on the trip. She will be 11 in September and loves to act all grown up!
Wow! Coming all the way from Canada. That will be some long haul flight! Are you travelling via England? We have just been enjoying the Royal Wedding in England today. What an atmosphere! The children have never experienced anything like it- street parties, bunting and wall to wall TV coverage. It only happens once every 25 years (shame!!)
Hi again Sarah,
I am so glad you got my reply, I was wondering if you were checking back since it had been so long since you had been on the forum! We booked the trip, so we are officially coming! We are travelling the 'other' way around the world. We live in Winnipeg, so we are flying to Vancouver - Tokyo - Bangkok! What route do you take?
Hannah will be turning 14 during the trip. she always gets to celebrate her birthday during our holidays, she is so lucky! her best friend here in Canada is named Imogen! Our son's name is Quinn. Do you live in London? We taped the wedding (it was the middle of the night here) and watched the important bits. She sure looked beautiful. it was lovely.
My husband's name is Jamie. We have never been to Thailand, but we have travelled widely through Europe (before kids)! Are you arriving in Bangkok early or staying after at all?
We have just been locating Winnipeg on the globe!
We live 30 minutes outside London in Essex (and only a 20 minute train ride from the new Olympic Stadium!) We are flying London-Mumbai-Bangkok. I think it is about 16 hour flight time with nearly two hours in Mumbai. We arrive at 6.30pm in Bangkok so we will probably explore for a couple of hours then be tucked up in bed for 9pm! We are doing the published itinery with no extra days. We couldn't face sorting out transfers etc as we want a holiday as hassel free as possible. What about you? I dread to think how long your flight is but I'm sure it will be worth it as we are in for a fabulous holiday and an adventure the children will not forget.
how cool you'll be in Mumbai! i want to travel to India one day. I wish I could see tokyo when we are there, but alas, we will have to see it from the airport only! our flight time is 27 hours! gulp! we arrive the evening of the 14th. we leave the morning of the 13th, but with the time change etc, we move lose time and move ahead fast! so we will have the 15th all day to ourselves. do you have any idea when we all met up (the time) on the 15th? when the tour ends, we leave on the 28th in the morning, so we will have all day on the 27th to fiddle around in Bangkok. do you leave right on the 27th?
did you find Winnipeg easily? Our province is the polar bear capital of the world! of course we live thousands of kilometres away from them, we are WAY south of them! we did have snow on sunday though! it was terrible, thankfully it is all melted and the sun is shining!
sorry, i mean "we gain time" not "we move lose time"! argh!
Sadly we will only see Mumbai from the airport too. We spent 4 days in India a few years ago and it was one amazing place. We did look in to having a 2 day stop over as we thought it would give the children a fascinating, if not brief, insight into Indian culture. However, our flights would not allow this.
We leave on the evening of the 27th about 9pm, so we get the whole day in Bangkok before, hopefully, falling asleep on the flight home.
How come you booked your holiday through a British Company? Do the operate in Canada too? Can't believe you have had snow. England has had been unusually warm and sunny for the last 4 weeks. I even had shorts on over the Easter weekend. Not a sight often seen in England!!
Hi again Sarah, it's so nice we are getting to know each other beforehand! I am envious you have been to India! Our dear friends spend 7 weeks there earlier this year. They have 2 girls our kids age. He is Indian and they spent time in the village his family is originially from. He was born in Canada though.
I originally wanted to book this trip through another company based in America, but they could not guarantee the departure date and that didn't sit well with us, so I went back online and found Exodus, who works with Adventure Centre in Canada. They have offices in about 5 cities in Canada, but none here, so i worked with a woman in Calgary over the phone and internet. Apparently Exodus also works with another company in Australia too.
We are thinking about doing a dinner cruise the night of the 15th, but not sure because we are thinking the group might get together for a meeting that night. did you get any information about a meeting time that evening?
Have you looked in the trip notes for when the group meets up? I haven't yet, so can't advise you. I do know the trip notes are pretty comprehensive.
We have used You Tube a lot to get a flavour of the trip. The Erawan waterfall videos look amazing. The Bangkok to Chiang Mai overnight trains look ...interesting and like they could be great fun for the children but a long night for adults!
We went to Bangkok in late July when we last visited. It was very hot and humid but overcast. We both wore shorts and T-shirts. This was great to stay cool but meant we could not go into The Grand Palace as we were not covered up. So do pack a sarong or light weight skirt that you can carry round to slip on when visiting temples. I think men also have to cover up too! I distinctly remember Phil having to hire a sarong to wear when visiting temples in Bali. I'm sure I have a photo somewhere!!! Jamie be warned!
Can't believe we are half way through May already. We are checking our bank account daily as we have booked Olympic tickets and you know if you have been allocated any when the money goes out of your account. The opening ceremony is on George's 10th birthday next year so we would love to be there. What a way to celebrate... It would certainly be a birthday he would never forget. So fingers crossed.
Be in touch soon.
so nice to hear from you again! we finally have nice weather here. last week we were still wearing winter jackets, hats and mittens! yesterday it was 22'c! yipee!
i did check the trip notes, but there is no mention of it. i emailed out travel agent here in Canada, and she mentioned that since the group from the UK doesn't arrive til the evening, there may not even be one til the morning at breakfast, so she encouraged us to just book our dinner cruise that we would like to do and not worry about it, so i think we might just do that.
thanks for advice about the Grand Palace and clothes. i have been doing some research and read about that. apparently the do rent clothes outside, but i would rather wear my own clothes too! :-)
are you and Phil thinking about doing the optional activity in Chiang Mai at the elephant conservation centre? we are, and we are getting very excited about it!
are you bringing suitcases or backpacks with you for all your gear? we are bringing backpacks.
i know what you mean about the train. i think it may be a l-o-n-g night for us, hopefully we can get some sleep! we have been looking on YouTube too for videos of all things Thailand. sometimes i find myself just giddy, i am so excited! the kids have to ME down! ;-)
that is so exciting for you about the Olympics! hope you get them! best of luck and talk to you soon!
i wonder who else is travelling with us? i have a feeling it is 2 parents and a 14 yr old. our travel agent told us when were booking there were 9 spots open and there were 3 kids, your two and a 14 yr old. now that we are in, 16 is the max, so we take up 4 , there must be 11 of us - 4 is you guys, 4 is us....that is why i am thinking what i think, 2 adults and one more child....too bad they don't check out the forum!! it would be nice if it was a small group it think!
talk to you soon!
hi again, i checked the website, now it says there are 4 spots left. i can't tell if the max is 16 or 18 spots....
On the website here the trip is now closed, so full. It takes max 18.
Both the children are away on scout camp this weekend. It'll be our first child-free weekend for 10 years!! Can't wait. They have got lots planned including abseiling and rifle shooting. Why my lovely little 10 year old girl, who is into ballet, insisted on joining the scouts is beyond me. It must be her inner tom-boy. The following week it is four nights of performing in a ballet show at the local theatre. From one extreme...
Just off for a cycle ride. It's a lovely sunny evening here.
Think we will probably take suitcases and day ruck sacs.
In Chiang mai we will probably spend the day relaxing or one trip that sounds good in a review on the Trails of Thailand trip is..
I recommend the "Flight of the Gibbon" excursion (not mentioned in the trip notes) at Chaing Mai - there are too many screaming tourists to see any wildlife but if you've never tried sliding down zip wires this was great fun.
As we have the elephant rides as part of the trek, the elephant orphanage might take the edge off seeing the elephants arrive in the village and the children's first up close encounter with them. I'm sure our guide will advise us. I read the trip notes last night and felt exhausted! A day to recharge our energy levels might be what is needed before the trek, or we may be desperate to pack more in... I'm sure the humidity/weather will also guide us.
Now must go and cycle!!
how was your child free week? :)
i see now that the trip is off the website, so like you said, it is all full! wow! hopefully the others that booked will come on to the forum and introduce themselves! :-)
i didn't realize that we would have a choice of other options such as flight of the gibbon from other tours. i sure hope we have a fantastic tour guide for our tour. i do wonder what the weather will be like, especially since we will be there during the rainy season! hot and humid for sure! do you think you will be wearing long skirts or dresses for the temple days or pants? i can't decide!
we have been going through the itinerary with the kids, day by day, as their attention span allows, and going over where we are going and what we are doing and seeing. they are getting excited!
Child free weekend was lovely and the children had a ball at camp.
Had our injections for Thailand today and arm is aching like mad. The children were great and made no fuss. The nurse had to inform us of all the worse case senarios and I think the children were beginning to wonder what we are getting them into.. rabies, malaria symptoms, heat stroke etc. A beach in England sounds an easier options but its time for an adventure!
I think we are free to do anything on our free day in Chiang Mai. The Flight of the Gibbons was just a recommendation on a review, I don't think their tour actually included it. The Thai cookery course sounds fun. It's about $12 US for half a day and you get to eat your efforts. That sounds a cheap evening meal sorted! And a life skill the children can use in the future.
When do your children finish school for the summer? In England we finish the last week in July and reurn to school the first week in September. The 6 week holiday always goes so fast.
Airport car parking is next on my to-do list and paying the balance of the holiday...ouch!
Be in touch soon. Sarah
i am glad you had such a nice time with your childfree week! what injections are you getting? we are only getting the Hep A & B shot (mixed into 1 needle), 3 times. the kids have it already, so it is just for Jamie and I. we are also doing an oral vaccine called Dukoral, which you drink twice before you leave, 2 weeks, and 1 week. it is for cholora and travelers diarahea. we decided against the malaria tabs as the side effects sounded bad and we plan on really using replellant.
the kids finish school June 30th and don't return until Sept 7th. we will spend about 6 weeks at the family cottage and just relax and then come to the city for a few days and pack and then leave for thailand!!! we have the payment of the holiday coming up very soon too! yikes! what a big chunk!
we will be taking a taxi to the airport, as luckily we are only less than 10 minutes away. do you not have a relative that can drop you off?
i STILL have no idea what clothes to bring....how about you??
Booked it a few days ago. Myself (Mick), my wife Kate and two kids Tom (13) and Livvy (10). Not done anything like this before but decided to blow the budget as another year of Eurocamp would probably have killed me. Culture shock way well kill the kids.
We live in the north of England (just north of Preston) and will be flying Manchester-Dubai-Bangkok. We've decided to spend 4 days in Dubai on the way back because we think the punishing heat of Thailand just won't be enough!
look forward to meeting you all
Great to hear from you both. Wecome to the group Mick! Imogen was delighted a fellow 10 year old girl will be along. It should be a good mix of children with 3 boys/3 girls between 9-15 years. I'm sure they will all have a great time.
As for the injections, the children had Hep A (we are already up to date), we had tetenus, diptheria, and polio booster. No malaria tablets for us either.
We live over an hour from Heathrow so asking a relative to take us is not an option as our flight returns at 6.50am on a Sunday morning. I don't think we would be too popular! Who are you flying with Mick and when do you arrive in Bangkok?
As for clothes, we will be taking the regular summer wardrobe with some hiking trainers and possibly a waterproof poncho each incase it pours on the trek. We will buy anything else we need out there as it will be half the price of the UK! We found evenings in Thailand very warm so no need for a sweater. However we have never been to Northern Thailand so I have no idea if the same is true.
Must read the trip notes in more detail!!
we just arrived back from the family cottage on Lake Winnipeg and I checked in to see if there was anything new and was delighted to see the post from Mick and Kate and family! Welcome!! i guess from reading the previous posts you know all about myself and my family. it's so nice to kind of get to "know" everyone before we all actually meet in real life. i still wonder if there is still any other members of our tour unaccounted for, as the maximum advertised group size is 18, there is 12 of us and the website says there 3 spots left.
my husband jamie has a question for Mick and Phil, he wants to know if anyone is a Manchester United fan. As strange as it seems for a Canadian, he is a huge fan and was wondering if either of you were? :-)
hope to hear from you all soon! Jo
Count George in. He's a massive fan and only an hour ago had me in the sports shop buying Man U shorts with some money his Grandad gave him at the weekend. He lives in his Man U top with 'George; emblazened across the back. Not sure how the nylon type material will cope with the humidity of Thailand!
Kate, did you apply for Olympic tickets? We did and got absolutely nothing, like the vast majority of people. Poor old sports-mad George will have to think again about his tenth birthday as the second round of tickets will be roman-greco wrestling and water polo!! No thank you... not at £50 a ticket.
Now I'm rambling, this really has nothing to do with Thailand. Must go and get on with writing school reports (just don't tell the children that they have teachers on the trip! Arghhh!!)
i can just see my almost 50 year old husband and your 10 yr old son bonding on this trip! LOL! i understand that Man U is huge in Thailand, for some odd reason, so he can get some nice jerseys at the markets for low prices. I am sorry to hear you didn't get any tickets :(
I didn't realize that you are a teacher Sarah! Another thing we have in common! So am I! although i am not currently teaching and have not taught for several years, due to some health issues. what grade/year do you teach? i taught mostly grades 2 to 4.
I teach the 'tinies'- 4 and 5 year olds or as we call it in England - Early Years Foundation Stage. I absolutely love it. Tomorrow we are making Gingerbread men, learning about the letter g and practising relay races for sports day and then using the races to reinforce ordinal numbers 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc. What a lovely way to spend a day!
Phil teaches the 'biggies'- secondary school (11-16 year olds) English. He's got a pile of exams to mark tonight and is very jealous that I get paid for making gingerbread men!! He does add that he would struggle to last more than 10 minutes with thirty 4 year olds demanding his attention.. it would be good fun watching it though!! I don't think I would last much longer teaching English to top group year 11s or even worse, the bottom group who really don't want to be there!!
Is grades 2 to 4, 7-10 year olds?
I am a teacher too and my husband is now threatening to cancel the holiday!! Hope you've all got a good sense of humour to put up with his sarcasm re. teaching? I have to say, try as I might, it's hard to avoid the subject when 3 teachers get together!! What do your husbands say or are they teachers too?? I have to say, Michael is generally (he says "very") supportive but gets a bit irate at the hours I work for 0.5 of a salary ( I just work am each day). I teach years 1 and 2 (that's ages 5-7) at the moment. Anyway, before I ramble on more about teaching, Michael's also worried about all the Man U fans (him being a Geordie and therefore a Newcastle fan) but at least it'll give him something to talk about while us teachers solve the world's education problems! Hopefully Thailand will inspire us all to talk about something different. Tom and Liv aren't really into sports- Liv does ballet and is generally fairly fit; Tom does as little as possible to exert himself most of the time but seems to spend most of his time doing martial arts-type stuff around the garden and is now starting to do that sleeping longer thing at the weekends that teenagers do!! Tom loves all things oriental; especially Japanese (including Manga, martial arts, films etc.) and hopes to go and live in Japan when he's older. Michael and I like hill walking (and used to climb) and are trying hard to go running a bit to try to get a bit fitter- it's early days yet though! Ask me in a few weeks whether we're both still keeping this up.
We didn't put in for Olympics tickets but I would certainly love to see some of it live if I could- did you say there would be another chance to get some later Sarah? I'd like to see the horse stuff (I love watching eventing) but not sure the rest of the family would be suffieicently interested?
I too wonder who else is going because I thought there were 18 in all- our agent said 3 boys aged 9,13,15 and 4 girls aged 10,10,12,13 had booked so there's a good mix of ages and genders for the children. We bought the Berlitz (Thailand) guide book which came recommended (we usually buy the Rough Guide or similar when we go to other countries and always find them really useful). Last night Michael kept reading the food bits out to me while I was trying to read a novel in bed; we both ended up feeling really hungry; can't wait for the food; it sounds so cheap too!!
hi kate and sarah! yes, grade 2 to 4 is around 6 to 10 yr olds. tell Mick not to worry, Jamie is not a teacher, he is a boring old accountant, or rather his title is 'chief financial officer', sounds more spiffy! Sarah, it's nice that both you and Phil are both teachers and have your holidays together. What does Mick do? tell me not to worry about the man U thing. Jamie will be thrilled to just talk about English soccer in general, as no one here in remotely interested! I have a strange UK interest too, i adore Coronation Street! Both times i have been in the UK, i have tuned in and watched to see what was happening in the future because we are 10 months behind here in Canada! I have been watching it for about 25 years!
Quinn our 15 yr old is not a big sports fan either, he likes all things electronic. he likes skateboarding, windsurfing and video games. Hannah is more sporty and is a great volleyball player, adores animals. both kids do all their schooling here in french, but we speak english at home.
We are very excited about the food in Thailand too. We are all vegetarians, we we might be in for a wild ride, but are already learning how to say a few key phrases we need to know to ask for what we need or want. I have also been reading the guide books and internet sites a lot too.
I've just emailed Exodus to ask about how much we'll need to move our own luggage about because I noticed you'd been asking eachother about suitcase/rucsack and we aren't sure either. I would imagine that it'll just be the adults/older children that carry a day-sack on the trek; I know Olivia wouldn't manage much herself! I'll let you know if Exodus say anything of importance on this matter. Hoping we can make do with our usual selection of odd suitcases and/or rucsacks but I think we're going to try to keep it down to just one case/sack/hold-all each plus one piece of hand-luggage between us.
I've now got a reply from Exodus re. what to take. They said that we won't need to move our main luggage around so suitcases, hold-alls or rucksacs are all OK. When we go on the 2 day trek we will need to carry day-sacks just for items such as water, camera etc. but not clothing or sleeping bag liners etc. for the night as those items will go ahead of us on a truck. Our main luggage will stay behind at the hotel in Chaing Mai. Hope that helps.
thanks kate, that is great info! we are all taking large back packs instead of suit cases.
one thing i do wonder about is when we are doing activities such as swimming in Erwan Falls, where do we put our valuables such as money, camera and passports? i cannot assess the exodus email addresses to ask these questions because they are blocked for me on the UK website. all i get are the Canadian Adventure Tour company we booked through and they have no idea, they just book the tours.
Just read a new review of our holiday that has been added at the end of May. Lots of good advice and interesting anecdotes about the holiday... worth a read.
Jo, can you pick up the reviews from your site? If there is anything you want us to ask Exodus on your behalf, just post your questions on here and I'll forward them by email for you.
Money... any idea how much to take? Not sure how big Koh Samet is and whether they will have ATMs. Don't think the hilltribe will accept visa either!!
As for valuables, my main worry is the bags on the sleeper train. If you look on You Tube for what the trains are like, it looks like an ideal place for bags to go astray whilst you are sleeping. When Phil and I inter-railed round Europe as students we took a small bicycle lock to attach our backpacks to the luggage rack. It was just to stop opportunists grabbing and running off with all our stuff while we slept. It certainly saved our luggage on the Rome to Brindisi train which was notorious for thefts.
Hope you have all had a good couple of weeks. Thanks Kate for the baggage update.
well, i just checked and there is 1 spot left on the trip, so we have some new travellers joining us! i wonder if they will come on the forum and introduce themselves!
sarah, it would be great if you would email Exodus and ask them the question about valuables, both about when we are participating in things like the activities like the waterfalls, elephants etc. will there be a safe place for our valuables AND is there a place on our compartment on the train where our valuables can be stored where they are not easily assessable while we are (hopefully!) sleeping.
i did some research on Koh Samet and they do have an ATM. there is a 7-11 where you get off the ferry. we don't have any idea about the money situation either. we think we will bring some cash and rely mostly on ATM's as they seem to be extremely plentiful and credit crds in a pinch.
I've sent an email to exodus with your questions. I will get back to you when I've had a reply.
thanks for posting that Sarah. i appreciate your doing that! at least that offers some clarity to the situation. i guess in some cases it will be a day to day decision making situation as we won't always be staying at the same hotel to rely on the hotel safe.
everybody getting more and more excited? i am!!
Getting very excited! Only 6 weeks to go and it will soon fly by.
School year nearly over but still very busy with open afternoons, sports days, pre school picnics etc.
Now sorted car parking near Heathrow c/o 'park on my drive' website. It has saved us a fortune (... well £50 odd pounds!) This week we are getting Thai money as Imogen is on a school trip to France next week so getting both currencies in one batch. Moneysaving expert has some good comparisons for foreign currency exchange/commission charges. The best rates seem to be in London. Luckily Phil is on a once in a 'once in blue moon' course there on Monday so hopefully will pick currency up at the Liverpool St. exchange on the way home.
What are people planning to wear on their feet for the trek? I don't fancy carrying walking boots around Thailand so was going to go for sturdy trainers and keep fingers crossed for a rain-less trek.
How is your research about Thailand going Jo? Are their any useful tips/information you could pass on? A teacher assistant at school went to Bangkok and Chiang Mai last summer so if there are any questions you want me to ask her, just fire away!
Enjoy your weekend.
PS Eventually got Olympic tickets in the second round of ticket sales. YIPPEE! Double excitement. We got Athletics (200m mens qualifying so Usain Bolt!, triple jump qualifying, hurdles and 5000m), women's volleyball and men's football (last pre-lim match at Wembley)
Booked flight seats last week. Went out and bought quick-drying clothes (looking on the bright side!), new treking sandals and boots (for Tom with his giant feet) at the weekend. then got the final joining notes from Exodus yesterday. Very excited now!
Been telling the kids horror stories about jet lag...I don't think they can fully grasp the concept, but I think staggering around Bankok on the first day appreciating statues of the Buddha when my body's telling me it's 3am will be a challenge.
Be seeing you soon, Mick
We're not arriving on the same flight as rest of UK lot. we should be in 30mins or so before, so were told to watch out for guide in Exodus t-shirt with sign when principal flight arrives (19:00 hrs on 15th). Will then be transported to hotel and will meet up that evening for a joining briefing in the hotel (at the pool) and then go out for a group Thai meal. Have you not been sent this stuff?
For us the time shift is +7 hours
We haven't received the info about the briefing meeting either, so thanks for posting it Mick. The Thai meal sounds great but if we are 7 hours ahead it will feel like 2am! Must try and sleep on the flight... although have never managed it before.
Just watched a news report about the US/Canadian heatwave. You are cetainly getting good practice for Thailand, Jo!
School finished today... Hooray. It's been a long week as my Headteacher retired after being Head at the school fot 21 years. So we've had celebrations galore all week as well as 80 preschoolers for a picnic on Wednesday and two sports days too. I'm just glad we have a few weeks before I have to think about packing for Thailand.
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