Visit Thailand: elephants and idyllic islands

Tailor-made holidays
Duration (in days): 16

From: UK - Bangkok

To: Hat Yai - UK

From

£2,860

Inc. International flights (per person, based on 2 sharing) 
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Overview

Visit Thailand, where endless white-sand beaches, exotic wildlife, golden temples and castaway islands await. Start in Bangkok, where you can stroll through the bustling night markets and visit the shimmering Grand Palace before heading north to Chiang Mai. Taste northern dishes like crunchy khao soi noodles and people-watch in this charming town. Next, you’ll fly south to spend a few days with the gentle giants at Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp, learning about the local flora and fauna along the way. Finish your trip on two paradise islands – Koh Mook and Koh Lipe – where endless beaches, turquoise waters and fresh seafood are the perfect end to your Thailand holiday.             

This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.

This holiday includes

  • International flights
  • All transfers
  • All accommodation in Thailand  
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary        

 

You’ll remember…

  • Your first glimpse of the golden Reclining Buddha in Bangkok     
  • The views over Chiang Mai from Doi Suthep
  • Interact with Asian elephants at Elephant Hills jungle camp
  • Snorkelling in the warm waters of Koh Mook      
  • Trying local dishes of spicy noodles and fresh seafood                    
  • That castaway feeling on the beaches Koh Lipe

Itinerary

 

Itinerary in brief:

  • 2 nights Bangkok
  • 3 nights Chiang Mai
  • 2 nights Elephant Hills
  • 2 nights Koh Mook
  • 4 nights Koh Lipe

Day 1: Depart UK

Depart the UK from your chosen airport.

Included: International flights 

Day 2: Arrive Bangkok

On arrival in Bangkok, you will be met at the airport and driven to your hotel in the city, where you will check in for two nights.

Included: Transfers, 4* hotel   

Day 3: Bangkok

With a full day to explore Bangkok, we recommend that you start with the temples. The Grand Palace and Wat Pho are both intricately decorated with gems and mosaics, making them perfect for a morning wander. In the afternoon, catch a boat along the Chao Praya River to Chinatown, where you can squeeze your way through the crowded lanes past fabric shops, medicine men and vendors selling squid and pork on a stick! If it’s a Saturday, be sure to visit Chatuchak Weekend Market, which is a great place to find some unusual souvenirs. In the evening, head out to a night market to try a massaman curry or kao ka moo for dinner - you won’t regret it! 

Included: Breakfast, 4* hotel     

Day 4: Fly to Chiang Mai

This morning you will be met at your hotel and driven back to the airport in time for your short flight to Chiang Mai. On arrival, you will be taken to your hotel and check in for three nights.

Included: Breakfast, transfers, internal flights, 4* hotel                

Days 5 & 6: Chiang Mai

Spend a couple of days exploring Chiang Mai, whether you stroll amongst the temples and monasteries of the city or hire a moped and zoom up the hairpin bends to the top of Doi Suthep. Stunning views over the city await you, as well as the golden temple that you’ll discover amongst the trees at the top of the hill. Staying in the city you can explore the shops and restaurants of Chiang Mai – why not try a bowlful of khao soi, a northern speciality made of crunchy noodles, lean beef and delicious Thai spices and herbs.

In the evenings you could head over to the night market, exploring the various stalls and shops selling everything from clothes and jewellery to food and souvenirs. Finish the night at one of the city’s many laid back bars, enjoying the relaxed night-time atmosphere of this northern town. If you want to get out into the countryside, we can book you a day trek visiting some of the local hilltribe villages – just ask us to add this to your itinerary.

Included: Breakfast, 4* hotel                     

Day 7: Fly to Phuket, travel to Elephant Hills Camp

When you arrive at Phuket airport, you’ll be picked up and driven to Elephant Hills Camp in Khao Sok National Park. During the journey, you’ll get glimpses of tropical rural life in southern Thailand.

After lunch, you’ll set off on a relaxing jungle canoe trip down the Sok River, passing limestone mountains and cliffs covered with exotic tropical vegetation. Sometimes, you can see hornbill birds flying high overhead or reptiles basking in the sun on the riverbanks, so keep your eyes peeled. You’ll be floating through one of the last areas of primary rainforest in Thailand, a world that has changed little in thousands of years.

Next, you’ll get out of the canoe and head over to the elephant park, where you can learn about Thai elephants and the Elephant Hills elephant conservation project. During this amazing Elephant Experience, you’ll have the chance to interact with the elephants and learn the secrets of their mahouts. You will prepare and feed them one of their daily meals and then watch them bathe, before helping to scrub and wash them clean. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to really experience the Asian Elephant, this part of the world’s largest land animal!

Next, you’ll head back for a hot shower in the unique bathroom of your luxury safari tent. Relax and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding jungle-covered mountains. You’ll be 100% immersed in nature. Your luxury safari tent has a comfortable bed, reading lights, hot water and a western-style toilet. All the doors and windows are covered with mosquito netting as well as canvas flaps, so insects and reptiles can get to you in the night. It’s real luxury in the heart of the rainforest!

Included: Breakfast, transfers, internal flight, all meals at Elephant Hills, luxury tent accommodation 

Day 8: Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp

This morning, you’ll wake up to the sounds of nature. By the time the sun comes up and the mist over the rainforest-covered mountains clears, you’ll hear the territorial morning calls of gibbons echoing down the valley.

Today, you’ll explore Cheow-Larn-Lake by long-tail boat, cruising through emerald waters past towering limestone mountains. It’s no wonder that this region is called the “Guilin” of Southern Thailand. Cheow-Larn-Lake is a little-known wonder and natural habitat for wild elephants, rare Asian ox, various monkey species, amphibians, reptiles and even tigers and leopards. It’s also home to hornbills and hundreds of other tropical birds, making it one of the most important areas of rainforest in South East Asia.

Next, you’ll head to the floating Elephant Hills Rainforest Camp. Situated deep within the national park it’s second Elephant Hills property in the area. When you arrive, you’ll settle into your luxury tent, with a private en-suite bathroom, solar and wind-powered electricity and hot showers. You’ll find all the conveniences of a modern hotel room, with totally unspoilt nature right on your doorstep. You can sit back and enjoy the surrounding views of Cheow-Larn-Lake whilst enjoying a fabulous Thai buffet lunch.

After lunch, you’ll set out to explore the on foot. It’s an excellent opportunity to explore the ecology of one of the world’s oldest rainforests and learn about a huge variety of exotic plants and animals. You can spot birds such as the hornbill in the canopy high up above, hear gibbons calling to their mates, see macaque or a leaf monkey swinging through the branches and watch beautiful butterflies flutter around. Every day is different in the rainforest.

When you return to the rainforest camp, you can watch the sunset over the limestone mountains from the deckchair in front of your tent. Dinner will be served shortly after dark. After that, you’ll be alone with the intriguing sounds of nature under a starlit sky.           

Included: All meals at Elephant Hills, luxury tent accommodation  

Day 9: Boat to Koh Mook

Wake to the sounds of the rainforest on your 3rd day and relax on your lakeside balcony or go for a refreshing morning swim! After breakfast head out with your guide on a canoe safari spotting birds and monkeys high up in the trees whilst marvelling at the silence of your surroundings.

Enjoy a last meal at your floating camp before being collected and driven down to the pier in Phuket and hopping on a private speedboat which will deliver you to the island paradise of Koh Mook.

Included: Breakfast, lunch, transfers, private speedboat, 4* hotel             

Day 10: Koh Mook

Koh Mook is a relatively large island with a mountainous west coast and swathes of white sand beaches to the east. It has stayed under the tourist radar and still only holds a handful of resorts and guesthouses, so the beaches here are peaceful and relaxing. Spend your time simply relaxing on the spectacular beaches or exploring the island. A trip to Emerald Cave is a must – make sure you get there early before day-trippers arrive. Head to Charlie’s Beach to enjoy a drink on the sand while watching the sun sink into the ocean.

You’ll be staying at Sivalai Beach Resort, a lovely little hotel set on the perfect white sands of Koh Mook. Surrounded by palm trees, with pretty villas and fresh seafood – if you are looking for paradise then look no further.  

Included: Breakfast, 4* hotel     

Day 11: Boat to Koh Lipe

After breakfast, you’ll hop on the ferry to Koh Lipe, one of the southernmost Thai Islands, just across the water from Malaysia. On arrival, you’ll check into your hotel for four nights.

Included: Breakfast, transfers, ferry, 3* hotel     

Days 12 - 14: Koh Lipe

Welcome to paradise. The tiny island of Koh Lipe sits on the edge of Tarutao National Marine Park and is wonderland of pristine beaches, relaxing walks, colourful locals and vibrant sunsets. The snorkelling and diving here is fantastic – the reefs are easy to reach from the main beaches and the water is clear and perfect. You’ll be staying at Castaway Resort, a small hotel with beachfront bungalows, swaying hammocks and delicious food. It’s a simple spot, with no air conditioning or hot showers, but if you’re looking for an authentic island stay then you can’t get much better than this! The evening breeze will keep you cool and the gorgeous ocean views might make you never want to leave.   

Included: 3* hotel           

Day 15: Depart Thailand    

This morning, you'll be taken by ferry back to the mainland and take a short transfer to Hat Yai Airport in time to catch your flight home. 

Included: Transfers, ferry, international flights

Day 16: Arrive UK

Info

Monsoon season in Bangkok goes from May to July and lasts into November. This is then followed by a dry period from November to May which provides lower temperatures until mid-Feb followed by much higher temperatures until May. August and September are the rainiest months with chances of flooding.

The weather in Chiang Mai is most enjoyable from November to mid-February as this is when temperatures are at their most mild and the weather at its driest. During the cooler season (Dec-Mar) the temperatures can become cold at night. March until May is the hot season in Chiang Mai and can be quite extreme.

The Southern region of Thailand has two seasons ‘wet’ and ‘dry’. On the west coast, most rain falls between April and October and on the east coast from September to December with dry and sunny weather typically for the rest of the year.

This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.           

What's included: 

  • International flights
  • Return airport transfers
  • Accommodation as mentioned in the itinerary   
  • Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
  • Excursions as mentioned in the itinerary

Not included: 

  • Any meals not mentioned
  • Personal expenses
  • Tips & gratuities               
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