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Thai Experience

18 or 25 days from $2,442 (was $2,481)

$97 Deposit
Trek to the viewpoint on Phi Phi for amazing island views

The ULTIMATE trip to Thailand

Meet elephants in Chiang Mai!
Relax with your group on some of Thailand's best beaches
Explore Chiang Mai's stunning temples
Exclusive to Real Gap Experience
18 or 25 days – you choose
WhatsApp buddy list before you go
Group size: Max 22

Trip Highlights

  • Experience bathing, feeding and caring for Asian elephants at an ethical elephant camp
  • Kayak through the amazing mangrove forests of Bor Thor
  • Trek through the jungle and go bamboo rafting in Northern Thailand
  • Snorkel in the jewel-like waters of Ang Thong Marine Park
  • Explore bustling Bangkok with long-tail boat rides, temple tours and a night out on Khao San
  • Be rocked to sleep by the water in a traditional Thai ‘float-house’ in Khao Sok National Park

Trip Summary

Discover the wonders of Thailand on this great value group adventure! With neon-soaked nights in Bangkok, an unforgettable day living with elephants in a rural elephant camp, amazing hostels, wild beach parties, national parks, a jungle-hike around Chiang Mai, and some serious bliss on the dazzling white sands of the southern islands, it’s the trip of a lifetime!

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

This is our 2020 itinerary. Looking to travel in 2019? Check out our Thai Experience 2019 itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok! You’ll be staying in an amazing hostel in the legendary Khao San Road area. Throw yourself straight into the city with a food-cart pad thai, a Thai massage or some market-stall bartering. Get to know the rest of your group and guide at a welcome meeting tonight.

Day 2: Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Start today with a long-tail boat city tour. Get an insight into daily life as you drift past local homes that back on to the water. Stop at famous temples and take an optional tour of the Grand Palace. Later, board the overnight bus or train to Chiang Mai.

Day 3: Chiang Mai. Chill out in your chic hostel before exploring the laid-back, leafy city. This afternoon, learn how to cook some delish Thai dishes, before sampling what you’ve made. Tonight, pick up some unique souvenirs at the famous Chiang Mai night market – get haggling!

Day 4: Chiang Mai to Elephant Project. Travel deep into the countryside to the elephant camp. This amazing centre is all about the animals’ wellbeing (strictly no riding). Instead you’ll help to feed, bathe and care for these majestic beasts, living alongside them in harmony. Watch the herd as you dine alfresco before settling down in your hut, right by the elephants’ sleeping quarters!

Day 5: Hill Trek. Strap on your walking boots and strike into the stunning mountainous countryside. Hike rough trails between viewpoints for the most dramatic panoramas. Spend the night in a rustic retreat, including a delicious dinner under the stars.

Day 6: Hill Trek and Chiang Mai. Trek a little further this morning before taking part in some traditional bamboo rafting. Tuck into some lunch before travelling back to Chiang Mai. Why not try out some of the city’s awesome live music venues tonight with your travel buddies?

Day 7: Chiang Mai to Koh Phi Phi. Fly down south and transfer to the golden island of Koh Phi Phi. Dump your bags at the hostel before grabbing a cocktail on the beach and watching the sun go down over the bay.  

Days 8 - 10: Koh Phi Phi. Spend the next 3 days in paradise, chilling on the beach by day and hitting the bars after dark. We’ll also take a hike up to the best viewpoint on the island and a snorkelling boat trip with stops including Monkey Beach where you can meet the cheeky locals!

Day 11: Phi Phi to Ao Nang. Get the boat to Ao Nang, where we’ll be based for the next 3 nights. Fill your tum while getting to know the local area tonight with a guided street food crawl.

Day 12: Ao Nang & Bor Thor Mangrove Forests. Paddle your way through history today with a kayak trip through the mangrove forests and ancient caves of Bor Thor. Marvel at 3,000 year old cave paintings and enjoy the tranquillity of the wildlife rich area.

Day 13: Hong & Poda Island Boat Trip. Take an island boat trip including Hong and Poda. These stellar islands are textbook tropical idylls and completely unspoilt.  Stretch out on the sands and snorkel in the azure sea before sailing back to Ao Nang for another night out. 

Day 14: Ao Nang to Khao Sok National Park. Travel into the heart of the National Park today. Khao Sok is all thick evergreen, limestone cliffs and sparkling waterfalls. Take a boat ride across Cheow Lan Lake and spend the night in a traditional Thai float-house on the water.

Day 15: Khao Sok to Koh Samui. Wake up on the water and take an optional boat safari first thing, before a tasty breakfast and some free time in the Park. Transfer to Koh Samui where we’ve got a big night planned in Chaweng at the famous Ark Bar!

Day 16: Koh Samui Beach Day. Bum around on the beach today - there’s no better place to get over the night before! Catch some rays, bob about in the sea or grab a tropical smoothie to help with the detox!

Day 17: Ang Thong Marine Park. We’re cruising through the turquoise waters of the world-famous Ang Thong Marine Park today. We’ll drop anchor in the loveliest turquoise coves and snorkel over the most abundant reefs before sailing back to Samui for sundowners.

Day 18: Koh Samui to Koh Phangan (25-day tour only). If you’re on the 25-day tour, you’re off to Koh Phangan today! Drop your things at your hostel in the vibrant Baan Tai area and relax on the beach before going out Phangan-style! If you’re on the 18 day tour, your adventure ends here.

Day 19 - 20: Koh Phangan. Over the next 2 days we’ll enjoy everything Phangan has to offer, from beautiful beaches to wild nights out. The island has a quieter side if partying isn’t your thing, including secluded bays and a whole range of activities from yoga classes to Muay Thai, paddle-boarding and hiking.  

Day 21: Koh Phangan to Koh Tao. From paradise to...paradise again! Today we’ll take the short boat ride over to little Koh Tao. Check in to your centrally located hostel before strolling down to the beach for an ice-cold coconut and a dip in the sea.

Day 22 – 23: Koh Tao. Lap up your last few days on the Thai islands. On day 22 we’ll go on our final boat trip with lots of snorkelling stops as well as some time on Koh Nang Yuan with its unique beach that’s submerged at high tide.

Day 24: Koh Tao to Bangkok. Our time on the Thai islands has come to an end, so hop on the ferry back to the mainland, and then settle back on the bus to Bangkok. We’ll have a night out under the neon-lights of the city. It’s your last one, so make it count!

Day 25: Trip End. All good things come to an end. Pack your bags, swap numbers and give your travel buddies a hug.  If you’re travelling home today, your guide can help arrange a transfer to the airport. If you’re staying on in Thailand, they can help with onward travel too.

More

  • 17 or 24 night’s accommodation
  • Some meals
  • WhatsApp buddy list before you travel
  • Airport transfer on arrival
  • Bangkok city boat tour
  • In-country transport (inc. internal flight from Chiang Mai to Krabi)
  • Cookery class in Chiang Mai
  • Chiang Mai night market tour
  • Ethical elephant experience
  • Trekking in the northern foothills
  • Bamboo rafting
  • Koh Phi Phi viewpoint visit
  • Phi Phi boat trip with snorkelling and kayaking
  • Ao Nang street food crawl
  • Bor Thor mangrove forests kayak trip
  • Krabi boat trip including Hong and Poda islands
  • Drinking water on Krabi boat trip
  • Khao Sok long-tail boat trip
  • Ang Thong National Marine Park visit
  • Koh Tao Snorkel Boat Trip
  • 24-hour emergency support
  • For the 2019 itinerary inclusions please view our Thai Experience 2019 itinerary

  • International flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas (if needed)
  • Most meals, snacks and drinks
  • Entrance fees to the Grand Palace, temples and Khao Sok National Park
  • Nightclub entry / tickets to Moon Parties on Koh Phangan
  • Return airport transfers

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Accommodation

Accommodation is provided for the entire duration of the trip – 17 nights if you’ve booked the 18-day trip, and 24 if you’ve taken the 25 day option. Most nights will be spent in hostels. Rooms are a combination of single-sex and mixed-sex dorms of usually between 4 and 10 people. The accommodation is one of the key features of this trip, with a carefully chosen range of premium hostels to stay. Hostels have been selected with comfort and design in mind and are perfect for the young traveller, looking for a sociable atmosphere, without compromising on style.

The night we spend at the elephant camp will be in simple huts in the grounds, right next to the elephants’ sleeping quarters! Rooms are basic, but clean and comfortable with dorm-style beds and mosquito nets. On the overnight trek we’ll be staying in a rustic accommodation and in Khao Sok National Park, our home for the night is particularly unique – it’s a traditional Thai ‘float-house’, built on a raft and floated on Cheow Lan Lake. The facilities in these accommodations are more basic, but their setting more than makes up for it!

Please note: In some of the hotels along the way, you may be asked to pay a security deposit of £15 - £20. This is standard practice across Thailand. This is fully refundable on departure, as long as there’s no damage to your room.

Meals

Most food isn’t included on this trip, apart from when we are at the elephant camp and in remote areas (3 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 4 dinners). You’ll have to buy the rest of your meals yourself. This offers you a fantastic opportunity to sample Thailand’s delicious cuisine. You won’t be short of places to choose from and your guide will always be happy to make restaurant suggestions. We tend to eat together as a group as sharing the experience is part of the fun, but there’s no obligation to do so. If you have any dietary requirements, let us know when you book.

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Arrival

You’ll need to arrange your flight to arrive into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). As long as you arrive between the hours of 6am and 10pm, one of our team will be there to meet you and to take you to your first hostel in the heart of the city. We recommend that you arrive by 3pm, so you can join the rest of the group for the welcome meeting, where you’ll learn all about the amazing adventures we’ve got planned. If you arrive at Bangkok’s smaller airport (Don Muang), or outside the window of time outlined above, you will need to take a taxi to your hotel. This is very easy to arrange.

Departure

If you have chosen the 18 day trip, your adventure ends in Koh Samui. You can fly direct from Samui to Bangkok. Make sure you leave plenty of time for travel, to allow for cancellations or delays.

If you’ve selected the 25 day trip, your itinerary takes you on a full loop and ends in Bangkok, so the departure airport is the same as arrival. Return transfer from your Bangkok accommodation to the airport is not included. However, your guide can organise this for you. If you’re staying on in Asia, we can also help with any onward travel.

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You must be at least 18 years old to join this trip. This trip is designed for 18-35 year olds.

Visas

It is your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. British passport holders arriving by air can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa. Please ensure your passport is valid, with six months' validity remaining on the date of your planned return, and that you hold a valid return flight, or onward travel, ticket. If you plan to stay in Thailand for more than 30 days you will need to apply for a visa before departing the UK, which will be issued as a 60 day tourist visa.

Do I Have To Travel Back To Bangkok On My Own?

If you’ve booked the 25 day trip, we will take you back to Bangkok and all you need to do is arrange your transfer to the airport. If you’ve chosen the 18-day option, your trip ends in Koh Samui and you’ll have to make your own way back to Bangkok. There are a range of options, but flying direct from Samui to Bangkok is the most straightforward and often more affordable than you might imagine.

What About Full Moon Parties?

If you’re on the 18 day tour, you won’t be stopping at Koh Phangan (the original home of the Full Moon Party), but some of the other islands have their own versions. If you’re on the 25 day tour, we will be staying on Phangan, but whether there’s a Moon Party or not depends on your dates. Phangan also has a smaller Half Moon Party or Black Moon Party, which are still pretty wild! Check with your travel adviser for party dates.

Is It Ok To Travel On Your Own?

Definitely! Lots of our customers travel solo and find that the format of our trips suits them very well, as we operate small group tours, meaning you’ve got a ready-made group of mates! Many of our customers make friends for life on our tours!

How Much Money Should I Take?

All accommodation, in-country transport and most excursions are included on this trip. However, you will need to pay for most meals, drinks, and any additional activities yourself. Thailand is a really affordable country, so depending on your personal spending habits, we recommend having between £700 and £800.

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Please note this is our 2020 itinerary. If you are looking to travel in 2019 check out our Thai Experience 2019 itinerary