Ease into the beach-loving lifestyle on the chilled-out island of Ko Yao Yai and, armed with a snorkel, explore the surrounding islands and waters on an included boat trip.. Get deep in the community vibes of Ko Yao Yai by spending time with the locals, making desserts and learning about their environmental efforts.. Meet some furry friends and learn about the great work done at the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre to reintroduce this species sustainably back into the wild.. Discover a true slice of paradise on an included sea kayaking trip through the stunning inlets, caves and hidden lagoons of the Ao Thalane mangrove forests.
Clear blue waters, white sands, swaying palm trees and a bungalow on the beach – they don’t call it Thai-riffic for nothing. Come and explore Thailand’s capital, relax in the sun and try some of the choice food this region is renowned for. Exploring capital Bangkok, Ao Nang, Ko Yao Yai and Phuket, you’ll be hitting the best of the best in Thailand, getting all the time you need to hit the bustling streets and manic markets, or just basking on the shores of some of the best beaches in the world. It’s all fun and games that await, so jump right into the heart of Thailand’s best.
Breakfast Included: 6 Lunches Included: 2 Dinner Included: 1
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Bangkok is a vibrant mix of ancient traditions and slick modernity, where markets (obviously bustling) and world-class cuisine are only the beginning. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm today. If you do arrive early, kudos to you! How about acquainting yourself with this frenetic city of tuk tuks, street food and traditional khlong boats winding down the Chao Phraya River and just having a walk around. After your important meeting, you might want to experience the unique tourist mecca of Khao San Road with some of your new travel crew.
You’ll start today with a visit to Wat Arun – Temple of the Dawn. Named after the Indian God of Dawn – Aruna, this impressive landmark of Bangkok sits on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. The rest of the afternoon is free for optional activities, and this city has so much to offer – perhaps head next door to the magnificent Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha or Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage. You may want to take a riverboat to Chinatown and explore the crowded streets, or travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok. Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital. Tonight, board an overnight train southbound for Surat Thani (approximately 13 hours).
Arrive into Surat Thani this morning and continue by bus (approximately 2.5 hours) to the resort town of Ao Nang in Krabi Province. Ao Nang has a main street with open-air restaurants, shops that light up the sidewalk and bars perfect for kicking back with a beer. It’s also in a great position to hop on longtail boats to places like Railay Beach and the idyllic islands surrounding the bay. There's plenty of free time to relax on the beautiful beaches and get into the spirit of southern Thailand. You also might want to take advantage of some of the optional activities on offer, like a cycling trip that takes you on back country tracks, gets you close to local culture, and rewards you with a lovely afternoon dip in a beautiful waterfall. Otherwise, consider a relaxing massage on the beach (no kidding), or just sit back with a good book and a cool cocktail to watch the sun slip beneath the horizon. This is living.
This morning, head on an included sea kayaking trip to the mangrove forest of Ao Thalane. About halfway along the coast between Than Bok Khoranee and Krabi town is a bay of mangroves that might just be the most beautiful bay in Thailand. Surrounded by towering karst formations and many small offshore islands, move slowly through the bays and canyons that are like passageways, discover inlets, caves and hidden lagoons, and check out the local wildlife up-close – keep an eye out for the birds overhead and monkeys in the trees. If you have time today, you might want to explore the beautiful underwater world around Ao Nang with some scuba diving, which includes three dives. Or, learn about one of the most important parts of Thai culture with a cooking class. Tonight, why not grab some travel pals and stroll down the main drag to find a seafood restaurant.
Ko Yao Yai
Get ready to hop on island time today. Transfer by vehicle and ferry to Ko Yao Yai (approximately 2 hours). Set in the heart of Phang Nga Bay, the chilled-out island of Ko Yao Yai is a great place to relax away from the tourist trail and soak up all its natural wonder. Jump in a traditional songthaew to a local Thai village, and meet up with the locals who will show you how to make a traditional dessert of the region. Called Mor Khao Mor Kaeng Ling (‘Monkey Pot’), this small packaged dessert is made out of Nepenthes – a small pitcher plant – and then stuffed with sweet sticky rice and coconut milk. After tasting your creations and having a good old chat, continue on to a close by reforestation area, where a local guide will talk you through how the community has planted fruit trees to preserve their environment. Take an easy walk with the guide around the area, then head back in the village for a stroll and a home cooked dinner of typical southern style cuisine – hot and spicy! Continue to tonight’s beach resort for a relaxing afternoon.
Ko Yao Yai
Today you’ll experience the beautiful underwater world that surrounds Ko Yao Yai with an included boat and snorkelling trip around the islands. Phang Nga Bay is filled with the small islands and dramatic limestone rock formations that are, for many, the iconic image of Thailand. Venture out into the bay to snorkel in the turquoise waters filled with ever-changing colours of coral and fish, and swim in the tropical sun. Enjoy a proper island-style picnic lunch on the beach at one of the many islands that are scattered around the bay, and follow it up with more swimming and snorkelling – what a tough life!
Today you’ll leave the quiet and secluded nature of Ko Yao Yai for the tourist haven of Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most visited island. Travel James Bond style by catching a speedboat to Phuket (approximately 1 hour). This island is certainly a brasher, more vibrant extrovert to the mellower sibling of the last few days. If a little modern pizazz is what you’re after with your dose of sunshine exotica, look no further – this island offers a little something for everyone. When you arrive on the island, you’ll stop by the last untouched rainforest remaining on the island at the Khao Phra Thaeo Wildlife Sanctuary. Here you can drop into Bang Pae Waterfall for a refreshing swim and then pay a visit to the Gibbon Rehabilitation Centre. The centre takes in formerly captive gibbons and rehabilitates then for reintroduction to the wild. Operated by a local NGO, the project works to help ensure the continued existence of these furry little friends on the island. You’ll stay in the heart of Patong, where everything from shops to restaurants to nightclubs awaits.
Phuket is ringed with beaches, each with their own distinct personalities, from a party vibe to perhaps something quieter and more romantic. If you can pull yourself away from the beautiful beaches and curving coasts, Phuket also has a range of activities to fill your day, from Thai boxing exhibitions to cabaret shows. If you love getting out on the water and exploring the islands, then perhaps use your last day to take a day trip out to the stunning Phi Phi and Khai Nok, a tiny island surrounded by white sandy beach perfect suitable for swimming and snorkelling. If you want to spend some time with Thailand’s magnificent elephants, take a visit to the Phuket Elephant Sanctuary. You will get to see the elephants in the safety and security of their natural home and get an insight into the behaviour and personal history of each elephant. Perhaps gather together your fellow travellers tonight and enjoy a celebratory dinner.
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. That doesn’t mean your adventure has to end! If you’d like to continue to soak up the very best of Phuket, we’ll be happy to organise additional accommodation (subject to availability).