Jungles & Beaches

15 days
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£1,999
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Traveller ratings
4.8 / 5 from 6 reviews >
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Trip code: 
FIT
Ways to Travel:
Family Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Family - Culture
Min age:
8
Group size:
5–18

Explore Thailand's countryside, towns and beaches

From busy Bangkok with its magnificent temples and lively markets, we head west for some beautiful countryside and the slower pace of rural Thailand. We visit the site of 'The Bridge on the River Kwai', the spectacular Erawan Waterfalls and the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. Then we head north exploring the Chiang Mai region on foot. For two days we walk past hilltribe villages whilst exploring the surrounding area, and spend the night in a village house. Finally we enjoy a well-earned rest by the beach at Koh Samet, a small tropical island with wonderful snorkelling and swimming opportunities.

Highlights

  • Two day hilltribe trek
  • Kanchanaburi with its 'Bridge on the River Kwai' and stunning Erawan waterfalls
  • Ayutthaya the ancient capital of Thailand
  • Ancient and modern cities, temples and markets
  • Relaxing finale on a tropical beach at Koh Samet
  • Swimming pools at every hotel for the kids

Key information

  • 10 nights hotels, all en-suite, 1 night village house, 1 night sleeper train
  • Travel by private minibus, boat, train and 1 internal flight
  • Flights usually via Mumbai with Jet Airways
  • Group normally 4 to 18 plus leader

 

What's included

  • 11 breakfasts, 1 lunches and 1 dinner
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • 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 us on
0208 772 3936
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

Bangkok
to
Bangkok
  • Day 1

  • Day 2

    Arrive Bangkok.

    Those not flying with the group will need to meet us at our hotel please check for a message from your guide at reception/on the hotel notice board.
    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 3

    Tour of Bangkok including the Grand Palace and Wat Pho; afternoon to Kanchanaburi and a Samlaw (Rickshaw) ride to the 'Bridge on the River Kwai'.

    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. After lunch we transfer to Kanchanaburi, an area made famous by the movie 'Bridge on the River Kwai'. The film 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'. Jumping in Samlaws (Rickshaws) 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. After this we travel to the bridge itself, before returning to our resort on the banks of the river.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Visit Hellfire Pass and Erawan N.P., famous for its beautiful waterfalls.

    Today we take a full day tour to the picturesque Erawan Waterfalls and to 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 afternoon 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).
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Journey to Ayutthaya, ancient capital of Thailand; overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai.

    After breakfast we head to Ayutthaya, the 2nd royal capital of the Kingdom of Siam (approx 4 hours). 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 away 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 Bangkok. After lunch we transfer to a hotel were we have day rooms to freshen up in before boarding our overnight sleeper train bound for Chiang Mai.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Visit Wat Doi Suthep (temple); evening free for shopping in Chiang Mai's famous night market.

    In the early morning the train pulls into Chiang Mai, 'The Rose of the North', known for its temples, markets and the many colourful hilltribes that live in the area. The morning is free to relax. A walking tour through the old quarter of the city after lunch is followed by a visit to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep the most revered Buddhist shrine in the Chiang Mai region. Perched on the hill overlooking Chiang Mai, it provides us with a fantastic view of the area. Back in Chiang Mai people are working feverishly away to set up the famous 'Chiang Mai Night Bazaar' which is nothing short of a shoppers' paradise. For those not into shopping there are plenty of atmospheric restaurants lined along the Ping River.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Free day; option to visit Elephant Nature Park or take part in a Thai cookery course.

    Today is a free day for private exploration or relaxation in this historical city. Chiang Mai is a former religious and cultural centre, twice coming under the control of the Burmese, so there is a strong Burmese influence reflected in the architecture of the city which one can explore. One popular option is a half day at a highly commended Thai Cooking School, where adults and children alike can 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. 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! You may instead wish to visit the Elephant Nature Park which is based just outside of the city. In the past elephants have been used 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. We have chosen this option as we believe it to be the only responsible option available to see elephants in the area.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 8-9

    Begin our two-day trek past Lahu, Lisu and Karen villages, with elephant ride. We spend one night in a hilltribe village; return to Chiang Mai on evening of day eight.

    This morning we start our two-day adventure into the Chiang Dao region, an 80 km drive north of Chiang Mai. This is an area that has spectacular scenery and is home to many of the minority groups that have migrated into Thailand from Burma, Tibet and Southern China. The highlight of our trek is meeting the local people in the various villages, each with their own unique language, customs and dress. Our exact itinerary will vary during the year as we take into account the weather and local conditions, but the terrain is more rural than jungle. Various hilltribes grow rice and other vegetables on the slopes we walk past. A reasonable level of fitness is required, as we expect to be walking about 3-4 hours each day at a leisurely pace taking in the scenery.

    The ground may be muddy and slippery during the rainy season (around July to October), though the scenery is at its most lush and spectacular to compensate. At night, we sleep in villagers' huts, where we will be sleeping communally on fold-out mattresses on the floors of the wooden/bamboo huts typical of the villages. There are shared squat toilets and basic washing facilities in most villages (i.e. a hose or water pipe). Warmer clothing and a 4 season sleeping bag are needed from November to February as the nights are usually quite cold during this period. You only need to carry a day pack while on trek, whatever you need for the evening will be transported to the village for you. We return to Chiang Mai on our second evening, and a hotel bed.

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 10

    Fly to Bangkok and transfer to Koh Samet.

    An early morning flight takes us back to Bangkok. Upon arrival we are transferred to the island of Koh Samet, approximately 3 hours by minivan and then a short 30-minute ferry ride.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Days 11-12

    Two free days by the beach in Koh Samet.

    Two days are ours to relax and unwind in tropical Koh Samet. Designated a National Marine Park in 1981 Koh Samet is the perfect place to relax and unwind. Due to its size and a ban on the construction of new properties, Koh Samet has been protected from the developers, providing the ideal end to a holiday. Watersports, snorkelling and island visits (all optional) can all be arranged locally with the help of your tour leader. Please be aware that Christmas and New Year periods as well as Thai holidays can see an increase in visitors, resulting in a busier atmosphere.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Morning at leisure; afternoon return to Bangkok.

    The morning is free on the beach. In the afternoon, we drag ourselves from the sand and take the journey back to Bangkok.
    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

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, 1 lunch, 1 dinner included. 

Food is cheap in Thailand and you can generally avoid the spicier food if you wish. Western food is readily available almost everywhere, with the exception of the hilltribe villages of course.
The food on the trip is all of a good to high standard, breakfasts are usually buffet style and there is plenty to chose from, fruit, bread, cereal/yoghurt (sometimes) and cooked breakfasts. You should allow at least £10-£20/$17-28 pp per day for lunch and dinner. You can eat out very cheaply in Thailand, but if you go to the more expensive restaurants most of the time, you will spend more than the suggested amount. 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.

Weather

Bangkok and the surrounding region are hot 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 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. Koh Samet is part of the driest archipelago in Thailand and receives less rain than the mainland, making it a real year round destination.

Is this trip for you?

This holiday is designed so that you can see the best parts of Thailand using a mixture of private buses, boats and a flight. There is a lot to see in the time you are there, but it is paced so that it doesn't feel too rushed. Travel time is kept to a minimum although there are a few longer drives but there is plenty of time for sightseeing and the trip has numerous stops where we spend two or more nights. The hilltribe trek is relatively relaxed and within the capabilities of families who are used to doing some walking.
Whilst choosing this trip please note that some of the accommodation will be basic but is clean and tidy. The swimming pools may not be up to western standards. Risk of malaria is present in parts of Thailand. Locals and other Asian tourists may want to take photos of themselves with your children particularly if they are young, blond and have blue eyes, you should be prepared for them to do this without asking permission first. You will be encouraged to respect the dress code at the Royal Palace in Bangkok. Men must wear long trousers and shirts with sleeves, no tank tops. If you're wearing sandals or flip-flops you must wear socks (in other words, no bare feet.) Women must be similarly modestly dressed. No see-through clothes, bare shoulders. If you show up at the front gate improperly dressed, there is a booth near the entry that can provide clothes to cover you up properly.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
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, Village House & Sleeper Train

During this trip you will spend 10 nights in comfortable hotels, all en-suite, a night in a traditional village house and a night aboard a sleeper train with pen plan soft berths. In Chiang Mai our hotel is a short walk from the famous market, whilst the Koh Samet you will stay near the beaches.

There may be instances when you specifically want a single room. Perhaps a grandparent needs one, or parents of a family of three or five want to ensure they get a bit of space! You only need to pay for this if you want to ensure a single room. Please ask for prices.

We endeavour to provide twin or triple rooms for all family clients – for trip specific details please download the Trip Notes.
During this trip you will spend 10 nights in comfortable hotels, all en-suite, 1 night in a traditional village house and 1 night air-conditioned open plan train in soft-bed berths. In Chiang Mai your hotel is a short walk from the famous market, in Koh Samet you will stay near the beaches.

Call us on
0208 772 3936
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 August 2012
    Anonymous

    JUNGLES & BEACHES - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    A great way to see a true Thailand at a suitable family pace. 'Absolutely immense" - Bradley aged 9

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Seeing our 9 year old son riding on the neck of an elephant and feeding her as we rode along.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Knowledgeable and better to have a local leader who knows the culture and history of Thailand.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Great holiday if you have a real sense of adventure.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    A fabulous holiday with the right content to suit families who are looking for adventure and something different from their holiday. Ideal for children as ours ( and the other children on our trip ) had a great time. The holiday is set to the needs of the group and nobody was pressured into doing or trying anything they were not happy with. The two beach days at the end are a great addition just to chill out and relax before the journey home.
  • Reviewed April 2012
    Anonymous

    JUNGLES & BEACHES - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    A great introduction to/overview of Thailand, with many fun bits to keep the kids happy.  We went from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to the jungles around Kanchanaburi, up to the northern capital of Chiang Mai and finishing off with a few relaxing days on the beach.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many including: The elephant ride for the young children.  Remember to take a couple of 20 Bahts to feed your elephant en-route. Messing around on the beach at the end of the holiday and taking a speed boat around Koh Samet and swimming with the fish.Making merit in several of the wats and especially during Songkran (Wat Pho was excellent).Water fights during Songkran. Sliding down the 4th waterfall at Erawan.Contrast of jungles, mountains, cities and beaches. A bit of free time to visit Chiang Mai zoo etc to see pandas, feed animals, ... 

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Boom did an excellent job, keeping a smile on her face even when things had to be changed/re-arranged.  She tried to let families get on with their own holidays as well as keeping the group together.  She was particularly helpful in sorting out small, but important problems, like arranging the childrens' birthday cake, helping to find pictures at the hotel at the end of the holiday, ...  During the hill tribe trek, she stopped at the back of the group and made sure we/our young kids kept going.  The local restaurants she took us to were all excellent.  Thoroughly recommended.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Thoroughly recommended.  A few things which we found useful: Try and arrive a day or so early for a bit of extra sightseeing in Bangkok and to get over jet lag.  We went to the local Lat Mayom floating market, canal trip around Bangkok Noi and Khlong Om as well as up the Golden Mount, Wat Arun.  We could have done many other things.  Songkran is great fun (13-15 April).  Try and go at Easter time.The trip notes mention that the hotel on Koh Samet is "Samed Grandview Resort" whereas it is in fact "Samed Cabana".  Trip advsior rates the latter much higher, so perhaps the trip notes should be updated?  It has free wifi access (useful for getting in touch with home as you have ~3 days beach/spare time here).Our kids turned 6 on the holiday and are fairly active.  On the hill tribe treks (4 hours on first day, 3 hours on second day) they had excellent support from the guides/tour leader, but it was right at the edge of what they could achieve.  If you have children this young, have a think about if they will manage it.Wear socks on the hill tribe trek, en-route the ants can bite! Travel light and get washing done in laundries outside hotels (40 Baht/Kg).Take a couple of pool toys for younger kids as they will spend much of their free time in the pools.Hotels are of a good standard and good value.  There is generally wifi access and all have pools (much needed).  Don't expect the Ritz and enjoy. 
  • Reviewed October 2011
    Anonymous

    JUNGLES & BEACHES - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    This was a brilliant holiday!  The best we've ever had.  The perfect mix of culture, adventure and relaxation.  Beautiful countryside, welcoming people, gorgeous food, millions of temples, billions of Buddhas... Marvellous!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My most inspiring part of the holiday was the first sight of the inside of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha in Bangkok because it surpassed all expectations  as regards beauty, atmosphere, size and detail.  It was also the first day of the holiday and everything was completely different and new. (Mick)Having gone to sleep on the night train feeling that our adventure was really about to begin, I found waking up in the middle of the jungle absolutely amazing; I looked out of the window in my cosy cabin to see jungle vines, paddy fields, rivers, swamps and fantastic views across the countrside. (Kate)My most memorable moment was playing games with the hill-tribe children. (Tom)My favourite moment was riding in the speed-boat and snorkelling at Koh Samet. (Olivia)

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Beam was brilliant!  On arrival in Bangkok, Beam greeted us wih her "beam"ing smile and warm welcome.  She displayed enthusiasm throughout and thought of everything; planning all our little extra excursions with efficiency.  As well as a keen guide and leader, she was also extremely patient and considerate.  Beam had a wonderful rapport with the children and we all loved her!  Without a guide, we wouldn't have seen and done a third of what we did; having never been on this type of holiday before, and generally enjoying our own independence, I didn't realise the importance of a good local guide to getting the most out of an adventure holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Remember your sleeping bag liners when doing the hill-tribe trek (the bedding will not be what you're used to!).Don't worry about going in the rainy season (unless you're after sun-bathing); we enjoyed the mixture of weather and didn't find the occasional down-pours inconveient (in fact we quite enjoyed them!); also, because of the heat, the cloud cover was welcome at times.Everything when you get there is really cheap from a Western viewpoint, so you don't need lots of spending money.We were surprised at how few flying insects there were- we used repellant but often it wasn't needed.Being reasonably experienced walkers, we were worried that his type of led-experience may be a little tame and too child-centred but we all had an amazing holiday with plenty of adventure and interest for all.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Our holiday experience was enhanced by meeting the other families as well as Beam, Mr Tong (our jungle guide) and other people along the way (porters, taxi drivers, restaurant owners etc.).  We made good friends and it definitely helped our children to get the most out of the holiday as well as having others to share in our excitement.Our children (Thomas aged 13 and Olivia aged 10) absolutely loved this holiday as much as we did.  We have never been on an Exodus holiday before and our usual holiday involves camping or a gite/villa; we didn't know what to expect (none of our friends knowing the company either).  We would definitely book with Exodus again.  We have been recommending Exodus to all our friends, many of whom were so excited by our 800 photos that they are talking about booking one of these holidays themselves!! We feel that this has been a real trip of a life-time and we will never forget it!  Thank you.
  • Reviewed September 2011
    Anonymous

    JUNGLES & BEACHES - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    This was the most spectacular experience that our family had ever experienced! Many times we would look at each other and say "Can you believe we are here?" or "Can you believe we are doing this?". We were very pleased to have chosen Exodus as a tour company as we are Canadian and took the tour as land only, as we flew from Canada separately. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It's really hard to just pick one! Spiritually, I'd have to say visiting the temple of the big white Buddha on Koh Samet and having the friendliest Monk "pho pho" come and wrap us such love and warmth and spend so much time with us was the most inspirational...but there are so many others. Our time with the elephants was so exquisite, the over night at the hill tribe was unforgettable. the children playing together was so touching, coming from two such different lives, yet it didn't matter, play was the universal language!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader "Beam" was incredible. She was so professional, so kind, so loving, so much fun. Her name was perfect, because her face just beamed with sunshine and love. I can't imagine what it would have been like if we had to have had anyone else but her. She went above and beyond the call of duty for our family on a personal note, when my husband was unable to do one of the excursions, she found a way that made it possible for him to do it, which made it so special for my family!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I wouldn't worry to much about forgetting anything because you can find anything you forgot from back home in Thailand and most likely you can find it very cheaply! Make sure you have an umbrella, a rain cape. don't bother bringing a towel as this is provided for you by all the hotels.  Good trekking sandals (with covered toes) are your best bet for the trek & for the waterfalls and for most of the trip. we rented bicycles on Koh Samet and loved it, we were really able to explore the island during the day and were able to eat at places other than the resort, which is really lovely, but short of out of in the middle of nowhere. try Ploy Thalay, which has a fire show on the beach at 8:30pm. 

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    don't be afraid to eat at the street vendors! you can eat a full meal from them for around 30 to 35 baht and they are excellent and very clean! we ate many many of our meals from street vendors, as well as our desserts (banana roti) and fresh fruit. we NEVER got sick. that is because it is made fresh and hot in front of you. try and learn some key thai phrases. go on you tube and practice the pronunciation.  the thai love it when you try and speak thai and you will be rewarded when you try and speak thai to them.  wonderful and friendly people!i recommend trying to spend extra time in Bangkok either before and/or after your tour. we did that and we are very happy that we had that extra time to do more exploring and see more sights than we got to see on the Exodus tour. 
  • Reviewed August 2011
    Anonymous

    JUNGLES & BEACHES - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    We travelled extensively as a couple but for the last 10 years have done bucket and spade holidays in the UK due to the age of the children.  Nothing wrong with that, but we felt we wanted to begin to share the excitement and exhilaration of experiencing a completely different culture and a real sense of adventure with the children. Thailand was an obvious choice.  Having honeymooned there 17 years ago and both turning 40 this year, this trip seemed perfect.  It lived up to, and exceeded, all our expectations.  The best holiday we have ever had and we have a wealth of memories that will live with us all for years to come. 

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    With a very well planned itinerary, every day was inspirational.  However, highlights for each of us included:Imogen (aged 11): jumping into the crystal clear water and snorkelling in the corals around the islands of Koh Samet  George (aged 9): all elephant encounters, including ride through the jungle and visit to the elephant conservation centre...especially the dung paper!  He even bought a hand(trunk)painted elephant masterpiece.  Sarah: visiting the food markets and Thai cookery school in Chiang Maibamboo rafting after challenge and sense of achievement of trek to Karin tribe in North of Thailand Phil:Erawan waterfalls - swimming in incredible natural setting and having fish nibble the feet after the moving museum remembering the construction of the so-called 'death railway' at Hellfire Passpeace and tranquility of Koh Samet, contrasted by the energy and adrenaline of the beach fire jugglers We all loved the company of the other families in our group of 17 - what an amazing experience to share with like-minded travellers!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Outstanding in every respect, we couldn't imagine anyone more enthusiastic, kind and organised than our group leader, Beam.  What an apt name - always happy and smily, she made the trip special for each of us. Especially good with the children with a great sense of humour and fun, but also happy to answer every question about her country's culture, we couldn't imagine a better ambassador for Thailand and its people or for Exodus.  She really made our holiday.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Pack lightly as essential items such as rain ponchos if you get caught in a short, sharp downpour are readily available very cheaply.  And items needed for the hill trek such as a torch can be bought at the market visited on the way.Best market for authentic souvenirs was the 'Walking Street' market in Chiang Mai and the huge weekend market at the end of the skytrain line in Bangkok.  Do buy cooking spices needed for Thai cooking before returning home as much cheaper than in the UK.All optional activities offered (such as elephant conservation and Thai cookery course) were excellent value. However, two of us did one activity in the morning and the other two did the other later in the day, which gave some much needed time for R+R. Make time for a Thai massage...what an experience and limbs will go places you never thought possible!  

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Hill Trek was more challenging than we were expecting but still achievable due to excellent 'porters' (guides) and camaraderie of the rest of the group.  But do be prepared for the odd slip and slide, especially if you get one of those heavy downpours.We found the pace about right (but see above re not overdoing it).  You pack it in, yet it doesn't feel rushed or frenetic.  We all thoroughly enjoyed every minute of this wonderful holiday.  Worth every penny to have everything organised impeccably.  Can't imagine a better, kinder or more thoughtful tour leader than Beam.
  • Reviewed May 2011
    Anonymous

    JUNGLES & BEACHES - FAMILY HOLIDAY

    Stimulating physically, culturally and emotionally this was by far one of the best holidays I've been on with my son, having already been on quite physically active holidays many times in Morocco (five long desert treks and we climed the High Atlas one year), Turkey (kyaking) and Spain (white water rafting and canyoning) with other family oriented companies. By comparison this was very good value for money and the flight times suitable for travelling with young ones. There was also a lot of variety.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    My most inspirational moment would probably be curious to many people reading this — it was at Kanchanoburi where we visited the Bridge on the River Kwai and then walked a little of the Hellfire Pass. It was an incredibly hot day and we were already wet with swet. There were hardly any visitors. It was very still at the Pass. I thought about the men who had died here in such extreme conditions, trying to hew rock in this heat and humidity. By comparison, the museum was cool and quiet and the descriptions of life working on the railway very moving. I know I should probably have been inspired by the royal palaces and temples in Thailand, they are indeed magnificent, either in their bejewelled splendour or artistic ruin. But for me, visiting Kanchanoburi was more inspiring because it pays homage to the courage and comraderie of so many brave men. On return to London I immediately bought a copy of The Railway Man by POW survivor Eric Lomax. We swam in four of the seven wateralls at Erawan Falls as huge black-winged butterflies skimmed the water and light-coloured ones played together in clouds of colour on the wet rocks beside us. We were entombed by massive vines and big leaves a la Jurassic Park. My son could have spent his entire holiday here.I was terrified of the activity we booked on one of our free days - a 100m, 22 station zip wire experience in deepest jungle (think Predator with Arnold Schwarzenegger). My 12 year old son loved it. I don't drink alcohol but had there been some available it might have been helpful that day.  I feel the way about riding elephants as my son feels about zip wires. I was close to ecstacy when we were allowed to ride these beasts, sitting high up behind their ears as they lopped slowly down from where they were resting to take a bath in the river, rolling onto their sides and thrusting their entire heads and trunks under the water. They came out clean and shiny, we came out soaked and smelling of elephant poo. Brilliant.   

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our tour leader was very knowledgeable about all of the historic sites we visited in the cities. Everything went to plan. He allowed us some flexibility in the schedule in terms of what we visited, when we stopped and when we ate etc. This was helpful, rather than having to set to a very strict timetable.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    It seems that there are different places to ride elephants. We were in a less well-used spot on a river where we also rafted the following day. You definitely need mosquito spray. If you can, it is worth staying at Spicey Villa. It is iydyllic, overlooking a valey, lush mountains in the background, hot showers, hammocks. We stayed there one night. There's not much for kids to do but its great if you just want to R&R and to read and write for a day. They tell you to wear a costume for washing the elephants as you get immersed (true). Better to have long thin trousers on as the elephants have quite dirty, prickly hair so you get sore thighs (but then we did ride them twice and wash them twice on two consecutive days, having opted to do this instead of visiting the hilltribes).  On Koh Samet island its really worth going into the main 'strip' at night because the restaurants are all set out on rugs on the beach and there are fire jugglers all night. Only problem is its dark so you can't see what you are eating so a bit tricky if eating fish with bones.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    In Bangkok I took my son walking an old railway line. Its just north of the Royal Benja Hotel and if you walk far enough (about 20 minutes) you come to what looks like an outdoor railway museum, with ancient railway buildings and steam engines and carriages set out in clean lines amidst clipped grass. You're not allowed access but can get close enough to take pictures. 'The slums' said our guide without looking up. Obviously off the tourist track. I know its not posible for a tour company to recommend doing something like this due to health and safety regulations, but for my mind this is just as important as any tourist attraction.  Under the flyover a woman had set up a 'cafe', four tables covered in vinyl tablecloths at which a few peoplw were eating. As I stepped from one sleeper to another I felt immense gratitude that I lived a world away from this. 'Imagine that when you come home from school you come home to live here,' I said to my son, 'you sleep in a home made from cardboard boxes.' We never felt threatened as one might imagine in an area like this, people were washing themselves and hanging out washing, had pet dogs and were cooking and eating by the track. A group of elderly ladies were laughing as they played cards. We smiled and said 'hello' to everyone and most smiled back. My son said, 'I bet no other mums make their kids do this.'

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]

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Call us on 0208 772 3936