Day 1: ARRIVAL
You’ll be met at BKK international airport by your guide and transferred to our Bangkok accommodation on the world-famous backpackers' hub of Khao San Road. The accommodation is right in the heart of the action and a great place to be based to soak up the sights, sounds and smells of this fantastic city.
Day 2: BANGKOK TOUR
After a morning orientation making sure you know all the do’s and don’ts (!) and what’s coming up, you’ll head out with your group to see some of the iconic sites of the city. Your Bangkok tour includes a fantastic boat trip along the Chao Phraya river and surrounding canals, takes in Wat Arun and Wat Pho (home of the famous reclining Buddha) and you then have the option to visit the Grand Palace if you wish (note: entry fees to the Grand Palace are not included – currently +/- 500THB). Once the tour finishes you’ll walk back to your accommodation experiencing yet more of the hustle and bustle that makes this such a vibrant city and then enjoy the evening sampling different foods around Khao San Road.
Day 3: TRANSFER TO SURIN
An early start today as you leave Khao San Road for Bangkok’s main train station and then jump on the train to Surin – don’t worry, you’ll be accompanied by one of our team! The journey to Surin takes around 7 hours and you get the chance to see Bangkok’s sprawling suburbs slowly change to forests and then to flat plains of rice paddies stretching into the distance. Also, take the opportunity to sample all sorts of different snacks and fruit as vendors line up at different stations. Once you arrive in Surin you’ll then transfer to our ‘volunteer’ house accommodation in Surin city and introduced to the team who’ll look after you for the next few days.
Day 4: ELEPHANTS!
You’ll transfer from Surin city to the elephant village in the morning, around 1 hour, and ‘check in’ to your ‘homestay’ for the next 3 nights. Our team will introduce you to the village and the mahouts and then it’s straight to work learning about life in the village and what you’ve come to see – the elephants! Over the next 3.5 days you’ll have the opportunity to:
Days 5 and 6: THE ELEPHANT VILLAGE
- Walk with the elephants and help bathe them in the local river
- Harvest and / or plant crops for the village and the elephants
- Help feed the elephants
- Kayak on the local river
- Learn how to make elephant dung paper
- Learn how to cook simple but healthy Thai food
- Spend as much time as you want up close to the mahout’s elephants!
You’ll spend these two days carrying out a range of activities as laid out on day 4 and spending time not only with these wonderful animals but also with the warm and friendly villagers
Day 7: FAREWELL ELEPHANTS
You’ll spend most of the day at the elephant village and then head back to Surin city in the late afternoon, checking in again to our ‘volunteer’ house accommodation.
Day 8: FREE DAY
Today is a free day to relax, catch up with some washing, check into Facebook (!) or to explore Surin city – a small and friendly city of around 50,000 people. Within 5-10 minutes walk of the accommodation, there is a huge range of food stalls, restaurants, bars and even a sports ground for those needing some exercise!
Day 9: TRANSFER TO BANGKOK
It’s time to get back on the train and head back to the big city, ready for the next part of your adventure. You overnight tonight on Khao San Road where you’ll meet our team from your next destination, Sangkhlaburi, who look after you on the building and renovation part of this trip.
Day 10: TRANSFER TO SANGKHLABURI
A long day of traveling but an amazing one! Traveling by local bus you’ll head first out of Bangkok and eventually up into the hills bordering Burma in the West of Thailand. A final couple of hours of this trip are spectacular as you go up and down ‘mountains’, skirt glistening lakes and begin to see a whole new side of the country. On arrival (late afternoon), you’ll check into a local guest house and meet the whole Sangkhlaburi team who’ll tell you about what’s going to happen for the next 5 days.
Days 11 – 15: BUILDING AND RENOVATION
For the next 5 days you’ll work alongside our team, and other travelers, on a range of different projects. You could be part of re-decorating a rural school, installing drainage in a local village or even building a new village toilet! The actual nature of the work you do depends on the time of year you travel, the weather and, of course, the needs of the local communities at that time. However, whatever you do, you’ll learn a huge amount about life in this part of Thailand and know that you’re helping make a difference to those in the area.
Day 16: BACK TO BANGKOK – AGAIN!
Say goodbye to the mountains and lake and head back to Bangkok for another quick burst of life in the big city. Stay overnight on Khao San Road and catch your breath before heading off to the islands of Southern Thailand.
Day 17: TRANSFER TO KOH PHANGAN
You have a free day in Bangkok prior to your overnight coach to the South so why not take in some temples, have a relaxing massage or even load up on some souvenir shopping. In the evening you then board the coach taking you to the South, finally changing to a ferry in the early morning of Day 18.
Day 18: THE BEACH!
You’ll arrive on Koh Phangan in the morning and check into your hotel for the next two weeks. The hotel is located right on the beach with it’s own pool (if you get bored of the sea in front of you!) and in a great location – far enough from the craziness of Had Rin so you can get some sleep, but close enough that it’s easy to head out and about and join in the evening parties!
Days 19-27: AND RELAX (OR PARTY!)
The next 9 days are spent on Koh Phangan where there’s a world of choice available to you. From exploring beaches and snorkeling to jungle trekking and kite surfing, there’s something for everyone here – and of course don’t forget what made the island famous, it’s ‘Moon’ Parties! Whether your trip coincides with a Full Moon, Half Moon or Black Moon there’s always a party going on on the island and if the ‘Moon’ isn’t your thing then try one of the regular ‘Jungle’ Parties! But don’t worry – if partying in a tropical paradise isn’t your thing (?) there are plenty of chilled out places to explore and experience.
Day 28: BACK TO BANGKOK
You’re up early and transfer by ferry and coach back to Bangkok. Stock up on snacks, Thailand is a long country! You’ll arrive back in Bangkok in the mid/late evening and check in again to the guest house on Khao San Road and have time for one blast in the city that never seems to sleep.
Day 29: HOME (or further travels!)
Your trip ends today when you check out from the guest house at midday. Pack your bags and think of the amazing things you’ve seen and done over the last 4 weeks.
This tour is only partially guided. You will be looked after by our team from Day 1 through to Day 8. You then transfer back to Bangkok unaccompanied but don’t worry, you are given detailed instructions on how to get from the train station to your guest house!
You are then accompanied again from Day 9 through to Day 15 by our Sangkhlaburi team.
Your transfer back to Bangkok on Day 16 and then travel to and time on Koh Phangan are all unaccompanied. However, our team does give you detailed information on how to get everywhere, the hotel management on Koh Phangan are excellent and look after you and, of course, you have access to our 24/7 duty phone throughout your tour.