Khao Sok National Park is like stepping into another world. Cruise along the Cheow Lan Lake and spend a night on the banks in a rafthouse.. Take some time out in Ao Nang to recharge and relax. You’ll also get the opportunity to share a meal and chat with a local family in their home!. How about jumping on a long tail boat and heading into the spectacular limestone cove of Railay Beach? It’s only accessible by water, but is definitely worth the trip.. Kuala Lumpur is a fantastic urban centre to dig your teeth into. Master the metro, tackle the Petronas towers and explore the colourful Batu Caves.
Jungle escapades, city expeditions, swimming, swimming and more swimming. Sound good? Duh! From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the jungle of Khao Sok, sleep on a raft, kick back at Krabi and eat your way through Penang and Singapore. If this trip was a dish it would taste like Singapore’s chilli crab – full of spice, full of flavour and with plenty of time by the sea. Take a 14-day overland adventure to some of South East Asia’s highlights. You’ll be sweating on the regular, but that doesn’t matter ‘cause the scenery will make up for it.
Sawasdee! Welcome to Bangkok. Your South East Asian adventure starts with an important welcome meeting at 6pm. Thailand’s capital is a chaotic hub of markets, shops, and scooters. So many scooters. It’s a colourful place full of things to do and see, so we recommend you arrive a day or two early to experience it all. If you do arrive early, why not take a walk around Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, wander down the tourist mecca of Khao San Road or indulge in a Thai massage?
Bangkok – Overnight Train
Good morning! Today, explore some of Bangkok's oldest neighbourhoods on a walking tour with your leader. Begin after breakfast and head to Wat Tri Mit temple – the site of the world’s largest solid gold seated Buddha from the Sukhothai era, measuring nearly 5 metres tall and weighing 5.5 tonnes. Along the way, you’ll be able to stop by some food stalls on Sukorn Alley for some snacks. Onto the Odien Circle intersection and the Chinese Temple, and finishing with a walk through the bustling daytime Sampeng wholesales market. You’ll have an included lunch at the famous Labour Egg Noodle (or similar), so tuck into some Fish Ball Noodles or Tom Yam Pork Noodles – they’re to die for. This afternoon is up to you. Perhaps visit the local Talad Noi Market, Chinese Temple and find hidden street art installations. Pass by Wat Pho and perhaps stop in to see who can spot the most images of Buddha (rumour has it there are up to 1000) Tonight, board your overnight train to Surat Thani (approximately 13 hours).
Khao Sok National Park
Arrive in Surat Thani early in the morning, then transfer by private mini van (approx. 2 hours) to Khao Sok National Park. It's an amazing environment, so colourful and vivid it almost looks like it's fake! When you reach Ratchaprabha Lake Pier, hop on to a long tail boat for another hour to reach a raft house on Chiew Larn Lake, where lunch will be served. These dense rainforests are humming with exotic animals and plants, and some walking trails lead to awesome waterfalls alongside the huge Cheow Lan Lake. Cruise along it and see the limestone cliffs set against the jungle backdrop. There’s a chance for your group leader to take a hike to a nearby cave or waterfall, as well as an evening safari on the lake, when the animals are most active. In the evening, enjoy a traditional southern Thai dinner, and stay in a simple raft house, which is literally on the lake. Wait till you see the view when you wake up!
This morning, take a longtail boat back to the pier (approximately 1 hour) and then travel to Ao Nang in Krabi province (approximately 2.5 hours) in a private mini van. Home to sweet white-sand beaches and limestone karsts jutting out of cerulean waters, Krabi is a picture-perfect paradise. The main street of this lively beachside town has heaps of bars and restaurants to enjoy. As the sun begins to set, take a quick 15-minute trip out of Ao Nang to a local Thai family’s home. Sit down to the table and share a dinner, along with laughs, and a heart-warming evening experience.
That's the trouble with paradise – there's too many ways to enjoy it. Today is free for you to explore, so that means time to kayak or climb the karst rock formations that surround this place. Your group leader will recommend a trip to Railay Beach, which is definitely a must when visiting Krabi. This bay is only accessible by a short 15-minute long tail boat trip because of the limestone cliffs that surround the bay. It’s an extraordinary sight to see, and a perfect place for a relax and a swim. Otherwise, you might like to take an optional kayaking activity you can head to Ao Thalane and paddle through mangrove forests, coves and narrow karst-walled canyons, keeping an eye out for kingfishers, herons and crab-eating macaque monkeys.
Today is yours. You're free as a bird. An island-hopping day trip is a great way to get a real sense of just how amazing this part of Thailand is. You can take a longtail boat out to stunning islands like Phi Phi, where the swimming is great and the views are even better. Like exotic, far-out film locations. You'll never tire of looking up at those karsts towering above the turquoise waters. The real adventure-types might opt to go scuba diving. Either way you approach it, paradise is paradise.
Today is a long travel day by private vehicle. Sit back, relax and let Thailand disappear in the rear-view mirror. Next stop – Malaysia! Penang is Malaysia's prized island. You may have heard that people from Penang are serious about their food, and it is delicious, but there is so much more to this place, such as a gorgeous coastline and a colonial heritage which thrives amid the skyscrapers over Georgetown. The Georgetown area is a cool (and World Heritage-listed) blend of religious sites of worship. Now, what time is it? Street food time! Head with your leader on a tour of the best local haunts, and pick up some delicious specialties on offer. Obviously, things change from day to day, but you might snag an ice kacang (a dessert made with crushed ice, syrup and a mixture of jellies, nuts and sweet beans), a hearty nasi kandar (steamed rice accompanied by curries, fried chicken, seafood or vegetables) or the popular char kway teow (stir-fried rice noodles)! Afterwards, perhaps head on for an optional bar crawl with your leader and the gang – they’ll take you to their favourite spots.
Today your group leader will take you on a orientation walk through the Georgetown area to check out the shophouses, Penang Museum, street art and clan jetties. Once you've become old friends with this place, the rest of the day is yours. Check out Kek Lok Sii (the largest Buddhist temple in Malaysia), Khoo Kongsi (amazingly ornate and one of the oldest clan houses in Malaysia) or Cheong Fat Tze Museum (fascinating if you have an interest in Feng Shui), then go looking for delicious food. This place is famous for its cuisine, as you would’ve worked out from yesterday’s delicious outing, and it’s all thanks to many cultures that have lived side-by-side here for ages.
You will have a free morning before setting off for Malaysia’s capital today. A short taxi ride will take you to the ferry terminal and then you will take the ferry to Butterworth (20 minutes), and then take the train to Kuala Lumpur (approximately 4 hours). The train will have you arrive into Kuala Lumpur in the evening. If you’re still feeling like exploring, head out to a bar with a view and take in the city’s lights over a cocktail. Be sure to try and find one with a view of the mighty Petronas Towers, which come to life under lights at night.
Today, you’ll take the train just like a local out of the city to the famous Batu Caves. Check out the tall Murugan statue and the colourful steps that lead up to the limestone karsts. Be careful of the mischievous monkeys though! If you’re hungry, your leader can show you a place which makes some of the best roti in Kuala Lumpur right near the caves. Later on, make sure you get a map and venture out on some walking adventures. You can hit Bukit Bintang, the Golden Triangle (for shopping), or Menara Tower (entry fee applies). Kuala Lumpur also has some great nightlife, so hit up your group leader for some more bar or club recommendations.
Today is another free day to explore KL. Get up early and grab your tickets to see two of the world's tallest buildings, the Petronas Towers. Be sure to ask your leader how the system works, as probably the best thing to do is book your tickets the day before to make sure you’ll get up the towers. The evening is best spent at the night market sampling the different cuisines on offer and bargain-hunting among the stalls of the famous Petaling Street.
An intriguing blend of Malay, Indian, Chinese and Portuguese cultures, Melaka has a wealth of interesting architecture, distinctive food and proud cultural heritage. Take a public bus there (approximately 3 hours in total) and enjoy a free afternoon. Once the most important trading port of Malaysia, Melaka attracted Chinese, Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and British traders, and this diversity is reflected in its overall vibe. Check out Harmony Street where these communities have their places of worship, with a church, mosque, and a couple of different temples all on the one street. Peace out!