Classic Thailand

15 days
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£2,239
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Traveller ratings
4.3 / 5 from 15 reviews >
Leisurely
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Trip code: 
AOE
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Food & Drink Holidays
Min age:
16
Group size:
5–16

A north and south exploration of the best of Thailand

This leisurely journey mirrors the gentle pace of life in Thailand. We explore Bangkok's Royal Palace and the backstreets of this fascinating and vibrant city. Next we visit Kanchanaburi and the River Kwai before learning about the unique hilltribe cultures of the north in Chiang Mai. Finally we enjoy the tropical serenity of the south for a couple of day's relaxation on the beach. We also take time to enjoy Thailand's culinary delights, including a cooking course in Chiang Mai. Above all we will take away a feeling for the warmth of the Thai people, for whom a smile is never far away.

Highlights

  • 'Food Departures' - look out for highlighted food trips that add an extra culinary element to the trip
  • Erawan Falls, 7-tiered waterfalls, one of Thailand's most picturesque settings
  • Day trip to Sam Roi National Park
  • Giant Buddha's of Bangkok
  • Relaxing time at the end on the beach

Key information

  • 11 nights comfortable hotels, 1 night comfortable rustic lodge, all en suite, 1 night air-conditioned open plan train in soft-bed berths
  • Travel by private minibus, internal flight and sleeper train
  • Leisurely pace of travel

What's included

  • 13 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 1 dinners (increased inclusions on 'Food' departures)
  • All accommodation
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Arrival & departure transfers

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Bangkok.

    There will be a welcome briefing this evening with an optional group dinner at a local restaurant.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    City tour including Grand Palace.

    This morning we take a short walk to the Chao Praya river where we board a long tail boat for a tour of the local canals. Bangkok was once known as the Venice of the East because of its intricate canal network. We get a glimpse of daily life as we pass locals selling their wares by the river. We will visit what to this day remains the home of the Thai Royal family at the Royal Palace complex followed by Wat Phra Kaew, home to the Emerald Buddha, one of Thailand's most venerated images. Another highlight is Wat Po, the largest temple in Bangkok, housing a 46m long, 15m high gold-plated reclining Buddha. We then head back to our hotel. This afternoon is free for personal exploration.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Drive to Kanchanaburi; visit waterfalls of Erawan N.P.

    Leaving Bangkok we transfer by road to Kanchanaburi (approx 3 hours). Kanchanaburi province is a pretty area and a favourite with travellers for its caves, waterfalls and river trips. Kanchanburi is an area made famous by the film 'Bridge on the River Kwai'. We will visit the war museum, which is more a memorial to the thousands who were killed whilst constructing the 'death railway', and have a chance to pay our respects at the War Cemetery in town. We then visit Erawan National Park with its picturesque waterfalls. The waterfalls are named after the Erawan, the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology which the seven-tiered falls are said to resemble. Your time here is free to enjoy the falls area and there is a chance to enjoy some swimming or to walk to the top of the falls (approx 2 hours return trip), before checking into our riverside resort on the outskirts of Kanchanaburi town.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ride on Death Railway; visit 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.

    Today we take a ride on the infamous Death Railway but first we visit Hellfire Pass so called because POW's were forced to chisel through solid rock, working by firelight on a particularly difficult section of the line resulting in a heavy loss of life. The film 'Bridge on the River Kwai' is fictional but uses the construction of the Burma Railway in 1942–43 for its historical setting. The Japanese used Allied POW's to build a railway from Thailand to Burma so they could supply their army without the dangers of sending supplies by sea. Thousands of POW's died under appalling conditions during its construction, and the line became known as the 'death railway'. Our train ride will finish at the bridge itself which was reconstructed after the war and is used today to take tourist trains over the river.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Ayuthaya's temples, overnight train to Chiang Mai.

    After breakfast we head to Ayuthaya (approx 4 hours drive), the 2nd royal capital of the Kingdom of Siam. At its peak the Kingdom encompassed large parts of present day Laos, Cambodia and Burma. Diplomatic and international trade missions found their way to Ayuthaya from countries as far afield as Europe. It was not long before Ayuthaya became one of the most important trading centres of the region. The population grew to over 1 million people by the 17th Century, more than any European capital at the same time. Following decades of wars and then a siege that lasted nearly 2 years, Ayuthaya was invaded and destroyed by the Burmese army. Temples were ransacked and statues of gold stolen and carried off to Burma. Following this devastating defeat the Siamese Kingdom relocated its capital to Thonburi (now a suburb in Bangkok) on the banks of the Chao Praya River.

    In Ayuthaya we explore the temples that still remain today as part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the afternoon we board a converted rice barge for a delightful lunch cruise, sampling the delights that Thai cuisine has to offer. Early evening we board our overnight sleeper train bound for Chiang Mai.
    Overnight Train

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 7

    Cookery class, late afternoon visit to Doi Suthep Temple for monk chanting.

    In the early morning the train pulls into Chiang Mai, 'The Rose of the North', known for its temples, markets and the many colourful hill tribes that live in the area. Chiang Mai is a former religious and cultural centre, twice coming under the control of the Burmese, there is a strong Burmese influence reflected in the architecture of the city. Today we will head to a highly commended Thai Cooking School, where we learn the intricacies of Thai cooking. Under the supervision of an English-speaking Thai chef you have the opportunity to create your own 'gaeng keow wahn' or green coconut curry or spicy Pad Thai. You don't need to be a proficient cook to enjoy this activity but, be warned, you get to eat your creations at the end of the day! Late afternoon we visit the hilltop temple of Doi Suthep, the most revered Buddhist shrine in the Chiang Mai region. The climb up to the temple is well worth the effort as on a clear day it affords an excellent view over Chiang Mai and its striking temple landscape. In the evening we can visit the night market where many of the hilltribe's handicrafts can be seen.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Free day; option to visit Elephant Nature Park or join a bike ride.

    Today is a full free day to explore the wonderful city of Chiang Mai and its surroundings. There are many optional activities to choose from. You may wish to visit the Elephant Nature Park which is based just outside of the city. In the past elephants have been used as beast of burden in the logging industry but over a decade ago the Thai government banned logging leaving the elephants and their mahouts out of work. This is a centre set up for the long term care of these graceful animals and on a day visit to the centre you will be able to feed and even bathe the elephants as well as watching them roam in acres of lush parkland. Alternatively there is the option today to join a half day cycling trip of the rural surroundings. Helmets will be provided. For those who would rather a relaxing day Chiang Mai has many cafes and markets and is easily explored on foot.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Transfer to lodge in the jungle.

    This morning we will drive to the Hmong Lodge deep in the jungle-clad hills. The afternoon is free to relax in the lodge's rural setting or to join a short walk of the surrounding area if you would like. In the evening the staff of the lodge will teach us about the traditional Hmong dances. Our lodgings are bungalows built in Hmong style but with the creature comforts of a proper bed, hot shower and Western toilets.
    Basic Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 10

    Gentle trek to visit local hilltribe village; return to Chiang Mai.

    Today we take a gentle 2-3 hour trek into the hills to visit a nearby Hmong village to learn a little more about the lifestyles on the Hmong Hilltribe people who are believed to have migrated down from southern China 100 - 150 years ago. It was the Hmong tribesmen who made up much of the CIA's secret army in Laos during the Indochina conflict. They are a ferociously independent hilltribe group who have maintained their own culture, customs and languages over the centuries. We then return to Chiang Mai.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Fly to Bangkok; drive to Hua Hin.

    This morning we fly to Bangkok and then drive to Hua Hin, approximately 3 hours by minivan, a popular tourist destination for Thais as well as foreigners.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Relax at the beach; day trip to Sam Roi Yort N.P.

    These two days are ours to relax and unwind at the beach resort of Hua Hin. This royal beach resort, features long stretches of sand and smooth waters. We take a day trip to Khao Sam Roi Yort National Park, meaning 'Three Hundred Mountain Peaks in English'. The park features towering limestone pinnacles and mysterious caves. Great for birdlife, the park is best explored on foot and by boat along the coastline. We will visit the famous Tham Phraya Nakhon, a cave that houses a Royal Salaa (meeting hall) for one of the Thai kings, Rama V. The park is an adventurers dream, and your guide will help you explore it on foot to get that perfect photo. Your hotel is just 5 minutes away from some of the famous night markets of Hua Hin as well as a large variety of restaurants. Please note that the rainy season typically ends on the east coast by the end of September; if, however, the season has continued beyond this the beach may feel a little more narrow than in the full dry season.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Hua Hin free day.

    Second day relaxing in Hua Hin. 
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Drive Bangkok; free afternoon.

    This morning we drive back to Bangkok where the afternoon is free for any final shopping, sightseeing or relaxing that you wish to do.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Thailand

A visa for Thailand is not required for British nationals for stays of 30 days or less. If you are unsure of the requirements please check with your nearest Thai embassy.

Vaccinations

Thailand

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Polio, Tetanus, Diphtheria, Typhoid, Hepatitis A. The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice. Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Eating and Drinking

11 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner included. 

In most towns you will find a wide variety of restaurants, both Thai and Western. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Please note that in Thailand the availability of certain products is minimal or non-existent, for example wheat or dairy-free, please be prepared for this and you may need to bring these from home.

Food Departures

The ‘Food’ departures of this trip contain the following extra inclusions to the standard itinerary. These trips will also be led by a food-obsessed leader who will make sure that you sample as many culinary delights as possible throughout your trip and will teach you all about the intricacies of Thai cuisine as you travel the country. There will also be visits to local markets where you will be able to touch and taste the fresh ingredients that make up the basis of this fantastic cuisine.

Day 2: Dinner in Chinatown, Bangkok This evening we jump in a tuk tuk and set off on a food crawl through one of the most dynamic dining destinations in the city, Yaowarat. With bright neon signs, a sea of red plastic chairs and precariously balanced street food stalls with smoking cauldrons of stock and sizzling barbeques, Bangkok's Chinatown comes into its own in the evening. Hop from stall to stall, tasting your way through classics such as kha moo grob (crispy fried pork with rice), ba mee hong kong (Hong Kong fried noodles) - and, of course, pad thai, probably one of the most famous of all Thai/Chinese fusion dishes. Wash it all down with a refreshing glass of ginseng tea or an icy cold Singha beer.

Day 4: Visit to Kanchanaburi night market We’ll visit the local open-air food market that really does sell everything ranging from the popular snack of fried crickets to fresh mango shakes and a huge variety of satays. Day 5: Roti Sai Mai demonstration, Ayutthaya We will go to the local market see the demonstration of how to make roti sai mai (Thai cotton candy and pancake dessert made from pandan), a famous dessert in Ayutthaya.

Day 7: Traditional Khan Toke Dinner, Chiang Mai Tonight we’ll sit down to a traditional Khan Toke dinner. ‘Khantok’ is a circular tray that is used to serve a variety or Northern Thai (Lanna) dishes and guests will usually sit on the floor on bolsters. It is a chance to learn about the ancient traditions and customs of Lanna heritage – a favourite is often the aeng hanglay, a slowly simmered pork and ginger curry served with a variety of dishes.

Day 8: Alms giving, Chiang Mai For those up at dawn there is chance to witness the daily parade of saffron-robed monks receiving alms. Those who wish can also partake in the giving of alms. After we will join the locals for some Thai breakfast of congee, a rice based porridge with pork.

Day 10: Street Food Dinner at Hua Hin Night Bazaar Dinner will be enjoyed at the Chat Chai night market of Hua Hin. Every type of street food you can imagine is served here ranging from softshell crab, punchy papaya salads and coconut pancakes served with sticky mango rice. The leader will talk you through each dish and you can watch it being cooked in front of you. Pull up one of the small plastic chairs and join the locals for a real street feast adventure!

Weather

Bangkok and the surrounding region are hot all year round. The rainy season is between May and October when rainfall is abundant but not excessive. This time of year is characterised by more cloudy days and slightly higher humidity. Downpours are usually short and sharp and can be dramatic to watch! November to April is the dry season with rainfall only on a few days per month. April and May tend to be the hottest months before the monsoon. Northern Thailand has a tropical climate with fairly high humidity. The rainy season in the north is also between May and October. November to April sees cooler temperatures. At night in the hilltribe region during this period it can get very chilly and it is important to be prepared for cold nights at this time. Southern Thailand is always hot (but hotter in the summer months of May to October) and you should expect temperatures of between 30º and 35ºC. The rains come between May and July. Hua Hin is a real year round destination, and in the rainy season it experiences less rain than further north or south, if it does rain it is usually for only 10-20 minutes a day. In central and northern Thailand, pre-rainy season, in March to May the weather can get very hot and humid.

Bangkok

Is this trip for you?

This is a leisurely trip, with the focus on spending time in each area in comfort with limited travelling times as much as is possible. We travel by private minibus, internal flight and more modest accommodation on an air-conditioned sleeper train. The gentle trek on this trip should not be too hard for anyone who is reasonably physically fit. Hua Hin at Christmas and New Year periods as well as Thai holidays can see an increase in visitors, resulting in a busier atmosphere.

Look out for ‘Food’ departures. These will add some extra culinary ingredients to the normal itinerary; led by a food-obsessed local leader you will explore local markets, savour the delights of fresh street-food and learn about the spice and aromas that make Thailand a permanent fixture on the world gourmand map. Please see Trip Notes for full list of extra inclusions for these special departures.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels, Lodge & Train

You will spend 11 nights in comfortable hotels, one night in a comfortable rustic lodge and a further night on an air-conditioned open plan train in soft-bed berths. You will spend 2 or 3 nights in some locations.

Single rooms are available for a supplement depending upon the season. Please advise the sales team at the time of booking. This includes nights spent in hotels only and is not available on the sleeper train.

Call for general departures:
0208 772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

The mountains will always draw us back to this majestic country: and now, with the return of a very special trip, the

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Linda Stalker

    Disappointing "food departure"

    I particularly selected this trip because the trip notes promised that the trip would be led by a food obsessed leader who would make sure that we would taste and learn about Thai cuisine and that there would be several extra food orientated inclusions to the standard itinerary. Unfortunately this turned out not to be the case. We had a lovely guide, Tony, but he was either unaware of these extras or chose not to provide them:- we did not get a tuk tuk food crawl in Bangkok so missed the opportunity to taste street food cooked as we watched it being prepared nor did we get a street food dinner at Hua Hin night bazaar. In both cases Tony replaced these highlights with meals at local restaurants. We did get to visit Kanchanaburi night market and were encouraged to sample some street food there before we all sat down to a meal in one of the market restaurants. We also went for a "traditional" Khan Toke dinner but this was at a tourist trap on the outskirts of Chiang Mai with mediocre food and uninspiring entertainment in a huge hall filled with large tour parties. The Roti Sai Mai demonstration at a local market consisted of stopping at the roadside in Ayuthaya to watch a lady making the roti (pancakes) but the bags of filling were all pre-prepared and no explanation was provided as to how the cotton candy filling was prepared. We were able to participate in alms giving in Chiang Mai but again this was not an authentic experience as we were driven to an area of the city where vendors were selling prepared trays of food (almost like a UK Boots meal deal) which were then given to passing monks by tourists. We had three enjoyable walks - the Erawan Falls outside Kanchanaburi, Hmong Village trek and Tham Phraya Nakhon cave

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Bangkok - visiting the Grand Palace and Wat Po Kanchanaburi - Hellfire Pass and War Museum Ayuthaya - lunch cruise Chiang Mai - Cookery school and "free" day taking part in Karen Elephant experience Hua Hin - Khao Sam Roi Yurt National Park walk to Tham Phraya Nakhon cave (well worth the effort and the climb up was not nearly as difficult as Tony suggested)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I was very disappointed that this was not the food orientated trip promised by Exodus. Ultimately Exodus must take the responsibility for ensuring that customers get the trip that they sign up for. Exodus make a great deal about the need to read the trip notes in detail to check that travellers know what to expect so they have a responsibility to ensure that their guides deliver the trip described in the trip notes. Based on previous reviews of this trip I took a box of items for children at the Hmong hilltribe - coloured pencils, dot-to-dot books, spot the difference puzzles, drawing pads, chalks, balls, toothbrushes etc. Our guide had no idea what to do with these items and, rather than let me give these to the local school or the village chief, kept calling young children to come over as we walked round the village. This was not what I had intended although the gifts were clearly appreciated by the youngsters. This was a level 1 trip so there was free time at each location and it would have been helpful to have some local orientation when we arrived - Tony's main concern seemed to be to tell us the location of the nearest 7/11. This was a feature of all road trips too and rather than stop at local stops we often either stopped at tourist traps where the quality of food was poor (cafe beside Grand Palace in Bangkok, Butterfly/Orchid Farm en route to Hmong Village) or at service stations with Mcdonalds, KFC, 7/11 etc. After pushing for the missing Tuk Tuk food tour from the first night of our trip Tony arranged for Tuk Tuk's to take us to Khao San Road on the last night. Unfortunately rather than the street food that we were looking forward to we were instead taken to a restaurant full of other tour groups for an uninspiring meal before we were taken for a walk up Khao San Road to get taxis back to our hotel.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For a relaxing introduction to Thailand this is an ideal trip although it will probably just whet your appetite to return and do your own thing in Thailand. Bangkok is a very busy city with heavily congested traffic. The Rembrandt Hotel used by Exodus is in the business area of the city so if you want to do any sightseeing you have to use public transport or taxis.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    This is an Exodus "Premium" trip but the hotels at Kanchanaburi (Felix River Kwai resort) and Chiang Mai (Imperial Mae Ping) were disappointing and, once again, the hotels selected by Exodus (at Kanchanaburi and Hua Hin) were miles from anywhere leaving us unable to visit local amenities in our free time. The lodge at Hmong was much better than expected and the food at the lodge was delicious too. The overnight train trip was better than expected although those on the top bunks had to spend the night sleeping under the bright carriage lights as these are not dimmed overnight. The beds had thin mattresses so weren't too uncomfortable,there was a curtain across the bunk for privacy and they provided clean sheet, pillow and blanket. There were 14 in our group and all road travel was in two minivans. This meant that half the group did not have the guide travelling with them and had no-one pointing out things of interest etc. It would have been much better if we could have travelled together in one, larger, bus. We flew back to Bangkok from Chiang Mai and then endured a lengthy road trip through heavy Bangkok traffic to the seaside resort of Hua Hin or rather to a concrete resort Novotel 30 minutes drive from Hua Hin. This is a large 240+ room resort hotel with small beach area and the hotel minibus offering free transport to Hua Hin was fully booked for the duration of our stay - I'm sure Exodus could find a much nicer beach resort for the last few nights or at least a hotel nearer Hua Hin

    Reply from Exodus

    Reply from Exodus

    We would like to thank Linda for her review, although we are very sorry to learn that she was disappointed with the food orientated aspects of this trip. We recognise that on a food orientated departure, the leader needs to be knowledgeable about the local cuisines and have a strong interest in food, so we have asked that this leader does not lead any future food departures; we hope this will help to avoid similar client disappointment and we have been in touch with Linda on an individual basis.

    Megan Devenish - Product Manager

  • Reviewed February 2017
    Joanna Weston

    Classic Thailand

    A great introduction to Thailand with a good balance between sightseeing and travelling, with comfortable accommodation throughout. I'd be very happy to go back to Thailand on my own given how safe I felt and how friendly the locals were.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There were so many highlights: Hellfire Pass and the War Cemetery - when you see this for yourself you cannot help but be moved by what the prisoners of war had to endure. Cooking at Home Thai Culinary School - Pom and her husband were so welcoming and great teachers. We started by visiting their local market and learning about the local produce, including the many many different varieties or rice! The actual cooking school at their home was brilliantly equipped and run. I thoroughly enjoyed cooking and eating a number of authentic Thai dishes. Great day and look forward to trying to replicate it all at home! Hilltop Temple of Doi Suthep - there is always the possibility with these holidays that you can become a little "templed out", however, for me personally the setting of this temple in particular, up in the hilltops and with the incredible gold ornate detail and the stunning views made this a firm favourite for me. Elephant Jungle Sanctuary - the normal Elephant Nature Park that Exodus tends to visit was fully booked but the jungle sanctuary was a good second option. It was great spending time with the elephants feeding and washing them and so refreshing to see that they didn't have chains rounds their ankles. The elephants really were free to roam so if they got bored of you, or spotted someone else with more food they could just wander off as they pleased. Just a word of warning, if you do this particular optional extra the journey to the sanctuary was a good 1.5hrs and is in the back of a local taxi (in essence like being in the back of a pick up truck) - therefore take some warm clothes as it was certainly a bit chilly first thing in the morning. Hmong Lodge - beautiful tranquil setting with very comfortable accommodation. They have a lovely pool so remember to take your swimmers if leaving your larger bag in Chiang Mai.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Tony was a great group leader, always willing to please and even on our free days was always around to see us off on trips etc. It was my birthday whilst I was out there and despite this falling on a fairly busy travelling day he'd done his best to source a birthday cake and candles!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I had been somewhat dreading the overnight train journey based on my experiences of having done this in other Asian countries. To my surprise it was a very enjoyable experience. We were fortunate to be on a fairly new train but it was clean, had western toilets, smooth ride (not too many stops throughout the night) and there was even a little mattress to make it more comfortable! I would advise taking an eye mask and ear plugs for this as they don't dim the lights at night. On the whole all the convenience stops were perfectly acceptable but toilet roll is scare so do take some with you! Whilst this trip is a Level 1 some of the walks were a little more challenging than expected, especially when you take the heat and humidity into account. The walk / trek round the Hmong tribe area was fine and more like a leisurely stroll around their stunning farmland area. The walk up the Erawan Waterfalls is steep, slippery and hot! In Khao Sam Roi Yort National Park we chose to get the boat to the beach before embarking on the walk to the Tham Phraya Nakhon cave - the idea was that this would save our walking legs a little. Unfortunately my particular boat got struck by a rather large wave and as a result we were totally and utterly drenched. As a result I then didn't fancy hiking up to the cave in sodden clothes so perhaps take a few spare items in your bag in case something similar happens. For those that did the hike to the cave I gather it was another steep and slippery walk but based on their pictures clearly worth the effort!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All the local food is fine to eat, just make sure it is freshly cooked in front of you. I have travelled with Exodus a lot over the years and I have to say the standard of accommodation on this trip was the best I have experienced to date. Obviously with busy days you don't always have a lot of time to enjoy the hotel facilities but I found the standard of the accommodation was a pleasant surprise when compared to other trips I've done. The road network in Thailand was far better than I expected, no pot holes and so not the back breaking hours i've experienced on other trips being bounced up and down in mini vans! The traffic, however, particularly in Bangkok is terrible and therefore the transfer to Hua Hin is a very long and boring journey (not in the least bit scenic). We would have all preferred it if we could have either flown direct from Chiang Mai or got the train from Bangkok, however, the timetables for these don't match up with the needs of the trip unfortunately.
  • Reviewed December 2016
    Joanna Leslie

    Classic Thailand

    A relaxing holiday which combines about the right amount of excursions and free time.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting Hellfire Pass and the death railway memorials was very moving. The day spent at the elephant jungle sanctuary was wonderful giving me a chance to embrace wild elephants.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was outgoing and entertaining which helped with our small quiet group. She could have been quicker to take on board our preferences.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Although the walks are short they mostly involve steep and sometimes slippery steps so probably not the holiday for people with dodgy knees or hips.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    All the hotels are of a good standard including the Hmong tribe lodge which had all mod cons, a swimming pool and wi-fi access.
  • Reviewed November 2016
    Jane Hall

    AOE161031 Classic Thailand

    A busy, informative and totally enjoyable trip with an exceptional leader. Though in a period of mourning for the King, we were welcomed wholeheartedly and genuinely felt that everyone wanted us to have the best of experiences. Every day brought a new experience and we left enriched but with a hunger to return.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The whole trip had instances of inspiration. However, if we had to pick three experiences that stood out we would highlight the sleeper train journey to Chiang Mai, the visit to Hellfire Pass and visiting the Hmong hill tribes. The opportunity to experience the living conditions and culture of a community so different to our own will stay with us for ever.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ae was an exceptional group leader. She was full of energy, ready with relevant and useful advice and clearly well qualified for this 'foodie' trip. It was clear that Ae wanted the group to have a full experience of her homeland and worked tirelessly to deliver the best possible trip for everyone. Ae has a natural effervescence that helped when the heat or tiredness caught up with us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please can you emphasise to future travellers the opportunity to take educational gifts to the hill tribe children. We had not seen the link in the reading and felt that we had missed out on a real opportunity. Although classed as a leisurely trip, we were kept very busy. It was fine for us, as we were able to see so much. However, others may have expected more 'downtime'.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We will definitely return to Thailand to visit other areas, particularly the islands in the south. Great food, wonderful sights and friendly people.
  • Reviewed March 2016
    Robert Higgins

    Classic Thailand AOE160222

    The hotels were all a reasonable standard with some slightly better than others. The cookery lesson and the sleeper train were the highlights for us. We particularly enjoyed the night at the Hmong hIllLodge and would have liked a 2nd night there with the option of a longer trek - maybe 7-9 km. The walk we did among the forest and village was very short.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visit to Kanchanburi and the museums. We enjoyed our few days in Chang Mai. The cycle ride. The cookery lesson. The night at the Hmong Hill lodge.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Pikul was very attentive. We had a number of interesting street food meals and was able to organise the food for everyones taste.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The treks are mis-labelled and are short walks. You don't really need walking shoes or boots, just something more than flip flops or sandals.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hua Hin was slightly disappointing. It is a built up area spread along the coast for approx 10-12 Km. It is not a pretty area and there was little to entertain us other than 1 trip to the Royal Cave (which we did enjoy). We were unable to walk anywhere from the hotel as the hotels are just off a busy main road. Having flown back to Bangkok from Chang Mai I feel we could have then flown to a prettier Island for the last few days.
  • Reviewed December 2014
    caryl Gregory

    Thailand what a great place

    This 14 day tour was just fascinating. Our leader Aom was delightful she was from Bangkok and was very knowledgeable about local restaurants and markets. We started in Bangkok and visited lots of temples and the grand palace and Aom had lots of interesting historical facts for us. There were 12 in our group and most of our transportation was in 2 very comfortable minibuses. We visited the bridge over the river Kwai and Hellfire pass which was very moving. We got to swim in waterfalls, had boat trips and spend 1 night on an overnight sleeper train. The tour took in at least 5 other cities and Aom was able to take us to really good restaurants in each one. This was one of the best touring holidays I have done.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    While staying in Hua Hin we visited a national park and climbed into the mountains to visit a cave. After the long climb we descended into the cave and then in a second chamber there was a temple. It was amazing just like something out of Indiana Jones.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Aom was great she manged to keep us all under control and on time - not an easy task. She was always smiling and had lots of local knowledge.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    For the overnight train it would be helpful to have an eyemask and earplugs. Also for the waterfall it could be useful to have beach shoes like the ones you can use at the seaside with stony beaches - I found that much safer than flip flops
  • Reviewed July 2014
    Deborah Lloyd

    Classic Thailand

    This was done at a good relaxed pace, so not recommended for adrenalin junkies, but if you want free time to enjoy a place and do your own thing then this was perfect. Getting 'metime' in a group trip was priceless and turned it from good to very good! Hotels were so much nicer than the usual Exodus hotels, yet without losing anything in character. I could not fault the location of any of the hotels (my usual complaint with Exodus hotels), and there was always excellent food around.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Time on my own exploring Banglampu before the trip, Thai people are welcoming and helpful. The whole time in Kanchaburi, the railway museum was very thought provoking but being able to have a free afternoon by the riverfront really made it a balanced day. Hellfire pass memorial . The Cooking at Home school in Chang Mai, the early morning elephant ride through the river. Hua Hin and sunrise walks along the beach - arriving at the quirky Marakech hotel in Hua Hin and finding we had been upgraded to suites complete with private balconies and jacuzzi.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Probably less enthusiastic than many of the Exodus leaders I have had elsewhere, as you often had to prompt her with questions to get information, but she always did things if you asked her and was brilliant at things like organising meals for vegetarian or other diets, or people who didn't want spicy food.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Don't be put off if you usually avoid Exodus because the hotels are of poor quality or poorly located, this one used good hotels in great locations. If you have time have an extra night before the tour in Bangkok as the Nuovo hotel is located in a wonderful area (Banglampu) that has retained a lot of character. Shopping in the 'night markets' is poor tourist tat and knockoffs. Wander away into the shops and galleries behind the markets. much better quality goods at the same prices! Don't be put off the idea of a cookery school, I don't 'cook' but the instruction at "Cooking at Home" was good and very practical. Probably not a trip for adrenaline junkies but if you want a holiday that you don't need a holiday to get over then this is perfect. If you want to climb to the top of Erawan falls wear walking sandles as you need to wade for the last part. Wifi available everywhere so lovely to keep in touch and send home photos.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus: Make more of your trips in nicer hotels - both quality and location! So much more relaxing than any other Exodus holiday. Ayuthana was the least inspiring visit. Both the temples and the hotel arrangements so look into that. Ask guides to give clients more time at Hellfire pass. We were rushed through without being able to listen to the audio commentary but there was a lot of spare time that day.
  • Reviewed January 2014
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC THAILAND

    A wonderful way to end the year and prepare for the New Year...I am home, throoughly exhausted yet rested! Thailand is a real feast for the senses.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Our first group activity was a visit to the Grand Palace and Wat Pho.  Wow, I was blown away.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Arjan is a lovely local girl who plays a mean Uno.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack lightly, use the local laundry services and eat from the markets - its delicious and so cheap. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A wonderful introduction to a beautiful and charming country.
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC THAILAND

    A good varied holiday that wasn't too rushed. It was nice to spend a couple of days in each place.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Lots of things. It was really interesting seeing all the bits of the thailand Burma railway and hearing about what happened. The night in the hills near Chiang Mai was lovely. Food was fab and I really enjoyed the cooking day although there was too much food to eat!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was Ok. Because we travelled in 2 buses rather than all together it made it difficult for her to tell us extra stuff about Thailand. On previous holidays with Exodus the guide has talked during longer drives and answered questions about the country and culture etc. I missed that on this trip. Got a bit of conflicting info at times.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    On the day we travelled from the hioll tribe back to Chiang Mai it would have been better to do a longer walk before we got back on the bus. We arrived in Chaing Mai at 12.00 and our hotel rooms weren't ready so we wasted a couple of hours hanging about. I would have preferred to walk for longer or go somewhere else and then get back at 14.00 so we could go straight to our rooms and then go out exploring.
  • Reviewed March 2013
    Anonymous

    CLASSIC THAILAND

    A good experience of the basic highlights of Thailand, done at a reasonably leisurely pace in reasonable accommodation. Basically delivering what was promised.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting away from the built up and to be frank, somewhat tawdry modern Thailand. The trips to the Natioal Parks were especially enlightening.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    She was adequate. She did the basic organisational stuff well but was a bit short on interesting background. However as the group was split between 2 minibuses it was somewhat difficult for her to provide a consistent service to all parties.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Try to ensure that the group is small enough to travel in one single group rather than split in two. The 2 buses were not ideal. Not sure why Exodus couldn't provide a single vehicle given that we were only 17 including our guide. Also in Hua Hin the hotel was a bit past its best and some way out of the centre, necessitating a drive every evening to the restaurants and town action.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    We had a good and varied group, and apart from the afore mentioned comments, the trip did what it said on the tin!

Dates & Prices

An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

 

Private Adventures 

Not found the date you’re looking for? We can organise this itinerary as a Private Adventure – just click on the tab above the list of dates and prices, let us know your preferred dates of travel and how many people are travelling, and we’ll do the rest!

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