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On this tropical adventure we cruise between Thailand's idyllic islands in the southern Andaman Sea, swimming and snorkelling in warm tropical waters and eating deliciously fresh and fragrant Thai food.
Explore Tour Leader
2 nights comfortable bungalow
10 nights comfortable hotel
1 nights simple overnight train
Trip maximum 16 Explore Average 11
Itineraries on some departure dates may differ, please select the itinerary that you wish to explore.
Arrive in Thailand's capital, the lively metropolis of Bangkok. The bustling street life of this energetic city is set to a backdrop of colourful, ornate shrines and modern glass-fronted high-rises, which jostle for position to dominate the city's skyline. It's a place where old meets new at every corner. Sample the fresh and tasty street food, haggle in the non-stop markets and take a cruise out on Chao Phraya River to witness stunning sunsets.
For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 1pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is an optional longtail canal trip which cruises along the city's Khlongs to explore the city from Bangkok's network of backwaters that branch off the Chao Phraya River. The excursion will also include visits to Wat Arun, the Royal Barge Museum and the Temple of the Dawn, built to represent the towering slopes of Mount Meru - the Khmer's mythical home of the Gods.
If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is one hour from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up in the lobby at 8am on day 2.
Please note that if you wish to join the Optional Longtail Canal Trip today, you must arrive at the hotel by 1pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around one hours' drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 10am.
Theatre Residence (or similar)
Travelling on foot this morning we head for the magnificent splendour of the Grand Palace, where we enjoy a tour of the site in the company of a local guide. Dating from the latter years of the 18th century, this huge edifice represents the emergence of the Thai nation once more from under the yoke of Burmese oppression. It is opulence on the grandest scale and is almost certainly the most impressive site in the city, with its unrivalled collection of palaces, golden stupas, wats (temples) and ornately decorative statues.
The most impressive of the wats within the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaeo (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha), where we find the small jade statue of Buddha, believed to have been created in Sri Lanka and reputedly discovered when a lightning storm split open an ancient chedi in the northern town of Chiang Rai during the early years of the 15th century. Reputed to contain fabulous powers it is still worshipped by Thais, from the king down, to this day.
After our visit we continue on foot to the rambling complex of Wat Po, older even than the city itself and home to the fabulous reclining Buddha, a 46 metre golden plated statue depicting Lord Buddha as he enters Nirvana. We will have some free time to enjoy the delights of Bangkok before we head to the station, to get our overnight sleeper train to Trang. We will travel in 2nd Class A/C sleeper, which comprises of two bunk-style beds that fold down on either side of the carriage. Each bed has a privacy curtain that can be pulled across the length of the bed, and toilets are available at either end of the carriage.
Overnight Train from Bangkok to Trang
Simple Overnight Train
We awake this morning in Trang, the gateway to the Southern Andaman Islands. After disembarking, we make a short drive to Pak Meng Pier where we catch our first glimpse of the shimmering turquoise waters of the Andaman Sea. A short boat transfer takes us to the beautiful island of Koh Hai, (sometimes called Koh Ngai), the least developed of the islands that we will stay on, and a true paradise that is perfect for exploring, with its fine white sandy beaches, clear water and vibrant coral reef. A landscape of rugged limestone outcrops and evergreen forests offer a spectacular backdrop to our stay here. Once we have checked in the rest of the day is free to enjoy as you wish.
Koh Hai Fantasy (or similar)
Our first full morning on Koh Hai sees us taking a boat trip to the nearby Trang Andaman Island of Koh Muk, where we stop off to visit the stunning Emerald Cave (Tham Morakot). An 80 metre swim along a limestone tunnel emerges at an inland beach, surrounded by enclosed cliffs covered in vegetation and an open pool of water that reflects the most beautiful emerald colour. This island is the perfect place to relax and unwind - perhaps taking the opportunity for further snorkelling or a walk through the forested interior to the other side of the island. Returning to Koh Hai the rest of our time on this glorious island is free to enjoy as you wish. You may like to take a walk into the forested slopes of the National Park, where crab-eating monkeys and monitor lizards travel down from the mountains to wander through the plantations of palms in search of food. Alternatively, you can enjoy more of the spectacular reefs off shore, either from the beach, or by taking boat trips from the island.
A free day affords an opportunity to return to the forested landscapes of the National Park, or perhaps to take a speedboat to nearby Rok Nok or Rok Nai, to enjoy some snorkelling and shopping. Of course you may just prefer to soak up the idyllic majesty of our island paradise and relax by the warm waters of the Trang Sea. This evening there is the option to take a sunset cruise from Koh Hai, a fitting way to spend our final night on the island, before continuing north.
Transferring to the local pier we take a public ferry to the island of Koh Lanta, whose beautiful beaches have earned it the name of Pulao Satak by the local people (Island of the Long Beaches). Its white sands and forested hills present the ideal backdrop to our stay amidst the warm waters of the Andaman Sea and on our journey to the island we may even be accompanied by dolphins and flying fish, so keep your eyes peeled. On arrival we will transfer to our hotel and check in, after which the rest of the day is free to explore, or simply relax and take in the tranquil ambience of our idyllic surroundings.
Inhabited largely by Muslims who arrived here from Malaysia 200 years ago, this beautiful island is some 25 kilometres long, with a steep ridge forming a forested interior. Parts of its lush interior are cultivated, but most villagers are still involved in the time-honoured occupation of fishing, much as their ancestors have been for generations. There are superb deserted beaches to wander along, or watch the fishermen pull in a catch, while children splash in the golden waters at sunset. This is the spot to forget your worries and relax. And watching the sunset with a Mai Tai cocktail offers a perfect end to the day.
Royal Lanta Resort & Spa (or similar)
Today has been left free to relax on the idyllic white sand beaches, or perhaps take an optional kayak trip out to Talabeng Island. It's an easy two hour kayak in still and calm waters around the rocky outcrop of Talabeng and through dense mangrove forests, with an included lunch on the beaches of Bubu Island.
A further free day on the island affords a wealth of opportunities to enjoy some more optional excursions, including walks in the national park, a boat trip into the warm waters, or perhaps an excursion by bus around the island. The pristine waters of these shores present ideal opportunities for diving and snorkelling.
We continue our island-hopping voyage with a lunchtime public ferry to Koh Yao Noi. This little-visited island lies in the shadows of towering rocky outcrops and jagged limestone cliffs, all part of the picturesque Phang Nga National Park. We arrive at Koh Yao Noi in the mid afternoon and take a short drive in a local truck to our hotel base for the next two nights.
Baan Taranya Koh Yai Resort (or similar)
Today is free for you to either relax under the shade of a palm tree, or choose from a number of optional excursions. These include hiring a bicycle and cycling around the island to learn about daily life; joining a cooking class at local chef Khun Mina's house, or taking a day cruise through the idyllic karst scenery of Phang Nga Bay. Your tour leader will discuss the various options with you.
This morning we transfer by local truck to the pier where we board a public long tail ferry to Ao Thalene pier on the mainland. We then drive on to Nopparat beach. On arrival we check into our hotel for the next three nights, after which the rest of the day is free to enjoy this stunning location at your leisure. Considered one of the most picturesque regions in southern Thailand, the area is blanketed in verdant vegetation, white beaches and numerous caves, islands and waterfalls just waiting to be explored.
Blue Tara Resort (or similar)
A free day affords another opportunity to relax and enjoy the balmy serenity of these tropical shores, relaxing on the beach, or perhaps taking a walk through the surrounding area.
Renowned for its limestone outcrops, the Krabi region is littered with caves that have unearthed prehistoric rock paintings and artefacts that date back some 40,000 years, one of the oldest finds of human habitation in South East Asia. These caves are also one of the prime sources worldwide for the nests of the Swiftlet that is used to make bird nest soup.
For those looking for adventure farther afield there is the option to take a morning ferry to Phi Phi Island. Here, magnificent limestone cliffs rise out of the water while warm waves crash on the brilliant white sand. The undulating island is covered with rich vegetation and bright flowers and fringed with thatched roof houses. It was on Koh Phi Phi that the film The Beach was filmed.
Another free day in Krabi gives us further opportunity to explore the many interesting sights in the region, or perhaps spend the last full day relaxing on the white sand beaches and browsing the local markets.
There is also the option to take a speedboat out to Koh Hong, an island synonymous with colourful vibrant marine life and crystal-clear waters - a near-perfect recipe for snorkelling.
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Krabi.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Krabi at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Krabi Airport (KBV), a short drive from our hotel.
Generally hot with high humidity. There is some rainfall from April to September with most days being hot (around 33 Degrees) and a light breeze on the islands. If it does rain, it will be more of a heavy tropical downpour that lasts a few hours. Additional information and climate charts can be accessed at http://www.explore.co.uk/weather.
2 Pin Round
Bangkok: City Klongs tour - £20 Koh Hai: 4 Islands by Longtail Boat - £30 Koh Hai: Koh Rok by Longtail Boat - £38 Koh Lanta: Half Day Kayaking around Talabeng Island - £35 Koh Yao Noi: Morning Cookery Class at Mina's - £45 Koh Yao Noi: Full day Phang Nga Bay cruise - £48 Krabi: Full day Phi Phi Islands by speedboat - £50
Pack essentially for hot weather. Bear in mind that the region is tropical (humid) and that days can be very hot. Lightweight rainwear or an umbrella is advisable all year. Casual clothes are the most practical (something with long sleeves, and long trousers for evenings), and tight fitting garments should be avoided. Laundry facilities are available on the islands. A swimming costume is a must.
Comfortable shoes and sandals. Flip-flops or Thongs are useful when hopping on and off boats.
One main piece of baggage and a daypack.
A small torch, insect repellent, water bottle. Bring a beach towel and high factor sunscreen. If you intend to do a lot of snorkelling we recommend you bring your own mask and snorkel, as local equipment is not always top quality. A disposable waterproof camera can be useful whilst snorkelling. Any qualified divers should remember to bring logbooks and certification with them if intending to dive.
Bus, Boat, Ferry, Train
We carefully select the accommodation on this relaxed beach-based trip to ensure a pleasant stay, in some cases the facilities at some of the island hotels are less sophisticated than in the city, with electricity supply and hot water availability being limited in some instances. This maybe because of restrictions in the mains supply or the hotels may need to generate their own electricity and do not wish to run their generators 24 hours a day. In the heat and humidity many people prefer a cool shower - note that where the bathing water supply is unheated, it will take on the surrounding air temperature so still be relatively warm!
Can you drink the water?
The water quality is poor and therefore it is recommended to avoid drinking tap water during your trip.
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Please refer to our COVID-19 entry requirements page for any country-specific conditions of entry. Whilst we strive to update this on a regular basis we recommend you also check the FCDO website for the latest advice on entry requirements in this fast-evolving situation. Information can change at any time.
Please note that some countries require proof of parental consent when travelling overseas with under 18s. Please check requirements with the relevant embassy or consular office well in advance of travel if this applies to your party.
Once your booking has been confirmed we guarantee the price will not increase, whatever the circumstances. However, please note that if you voluntarily make any changes to your booking including changing your trip or departure date, any additional costs or charges incurred will not be covered. Before booking please ensure you have read our important tour pricing information.Booking Conditions
Thailand: Visas are not required by UK, Australian, New Zealand, US and Canadian citizens for a stay of less than 30 days. All passports must have at least 6 months validity remaining on entry to Thailand. Other nationalities should consult their local embassy or consular office.
If you do require assistance in obtaining a visa then you may be able to apply through Explore's recommended visa service in the UK, Travcour. See www.travcour.com to download the relevant visa application for your trip, if applicable (UK citizens only), along with details of how to apply for your visa through Travcour. The Team at Travcour will be happy to answer specific questions relating to visa applications, please call them directly on 0208 5431846.
It is your responsibility to ensure that you are in possession of a full passport, with the correct validity for your chosen destination.
Before booking your Explore trip, please ensure that you read both our Essential Information and Booking Conditions.
Customers who have chosen to book on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements of our tour, please ensure that you have checked your tour specific ‘Joining Instructions’ prior to booking your own travel arrangements. Your joining instructions can be found below in the dates and prices information.
You may also be eligible for the Free Explore Transfer.
Customers booked on the ‘Land Only’ arrangements will receive a Free Transfer, provided you arrive and depart on the tour only itinerary start and end dates. The complimentary transfers will be arranged from the Explore designated airport or train station to your trips joining point, and then back from the ending point to the designated airport or train station. Generally the airport or station that Explore have selected will be the one that is closest to the town or city where the trip starts, or the one nearest to the joining point. It will be either an airport or train station but not both.
The exception to this rule is customers who are booked on a tour where the joining and ending point is at the designated airport or train station.
Free transfers are not available for Polar customers.
If you are not eligible for the Free Transfer then you will need to make your own way through to the joining and ending point. On a majority of our tours Explore will be able to provide a private transfer at an additional cost. Please ask for a quote at the time of booking.
For more information regarding the Explore Free Transfer click here
It is a condition of booking with Explore that you have adequate valid travel insurance. It is your responsibility to arrange appropriate travel insurance and ensure you have read and understood the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy to ensure that you are covered for all activities you intend to undertake whilst on the tour, including all optional activities. Your Insurance Policy must fully cover you for medical expenses and emergency repatriation to your home country. Please ensure your policy includes medical emergency helicopter evacuation in the event of illness or injury and covers the entire duration of your holiday. If you are trekking at altitude please ensure that there is no upper altitude limit which may limit or exclude cover for your trip. The cost of many of our Polar Voyages will exceed the capped amount covered by standard insurance premiums and you will be required to pay an additional premium to cover the full value of your trip. Please ensure that you are covered for the full amount of your holiday cost, as insufficient cover could invalidate a claim under the policy. Medical and repatriation insurance cover is not mandatory for UK residents who are travelling on trips within the United Kingdom.
Read more information about what travel insurance is required.
Explore offers a wide range of flexible flying options to make joining and leaving our trips easy. Read more about them here.
You are able to book this tour on a 'land only' basis or as a ‘flight inclusive’ package. Your flight inclusive package will be fully protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) ATOL protection scheme.
We have a good selection of flights not only from London but from many regional airports around the UK allowing us to compare fares between scheduled carriers as well as low cost and charter airlines. Our dedicated flights team will match the best flight options to your arrival and departure airport.
On our website we display a UK flight inclusive package guide price which is generally based on a London departure. To avoid paying supplements or to secure your preferred flight option, we recommend booking as early as possible, especially for peak travel dates.
An ability to swim is essential for your safe enjoyment of the water based activities on this trip. If you wish to participate in these activities then we insist that you are able to swim.
Nothing compulsory, we recommend protection against malaria, typhoid, tetanus, diphtheria, polio and infectious hepatitis. Although not compulsory, travellers may also wish to immunise themselves against Japanese encephalitis. Consult your travel clinic for latest advice on Dengue, Malaria and Zika Virus. Please take preventative measures to avoid mosquito bites - these include mosquito repellent as well as long trousers and long sleeve shirts to cover up when necessary. Please check the latest requirements with your travel clinic or doctor prior to departure. The above is not an exhaustive list. Further information regarding vaccinations and travel health advice can be found by following the NHS and NaTHNaC links at Explore Travel Health and from your local healthcare provider. Visa and vaccination requirements are subject to change and should be confirmed by you before travelling.