Thailand Beaches East Coast
Come and explore Thailand's beautiful southern islands, relax in the sun and try some of the special Thai food this region is famous for. These are just some of the pleasures that await you on this relaxing tour of Thailand's beautiful beaches.
Day 1 Bangkok
Sa-wat dee! Welcome to Thailand. Bangkok is a heady mixture of ancient traditions and slick modernity, where the bazaars (obviously bustling) and world-class cuisine are only the beginning. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm today. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. Have your insurance details and next of kin information on hand for collection. With free time, acquaint yourself with this frenetic city of tuk tuks, street food and traditional khlong boats winding down the Chao Phraya River. Tonight you might want to experience the unique tourist mecca of Khao San Road.
Day 2 Bangkok / Overnight train
You’ll start today with a visit to Wat Pho, home to the country's largest reclining Buddha and keeper of the magic behind Thai massage. Wat Pho is one of the ‘trinity’ of Bangkok temples, located practically next door to the Grand Palace, and inside lies a 46-metre long gold-plated Buddha. Even the feet of this statue are incredible, three metres long and intricately decorated with mother of pearl. The temple grounds are equally fascinating, filled with beautifully decorated stupas, halls, and shrines. The complex is considered the first public university in the country, and is home to the world famous Wat Pho massage school, the centre of the traditional practice. 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, 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 you will board an overnight train southbound for Surat Thani (approximately 13 hours).
Notes: Sleeper trains are clean and air-conditioned, and beds are multi-share compartments with bunk bed padded berths with sheets, pillow and blanket provided (although some people prefer to bring their own sleeping sheet). Please note that you may be sharing compartments with locals of the same or opposite gender. Your baggage will travel in the carriage with you. There's also a food and drink service available on board.
Day 3 Ko Pha-Ngan
Arrive into Surat Thani this morning and continue by bus (approximately 1.5 hours) and boat (approximately 3 hours) over to Ko Pha-Ngan. While its Haad Rin beach might be famous for the Full Moon Party, the beautiful island of Ko Pha-Ngan is also a perfect spot for some chilled relaxing on the beach or some exploring of the island's fishing villages, temples and waterfalls. The rest of the day is free – maybe take a trip to nearby Than Sadet falls or Bottle Beach, a favourite of the hippy trail and often said to be one of the most exquisite in the entire region. You’ll finish the day in true chilled out island-life style with an included seafood barbeque right on the beach.
Day 4 Ko Pha-Ngan
A highlight of any time spent on the beach in Thailand is a massage, so what better way to start the day than with an included That massage right on the beach front, where you have no choice but to relax. The rest of the day is free for you to do as you wish, but a great optional activity is the Eco Discovery Adventure afternoon. This allows you to laze around in the morning and then combine the lush beauty of the island with some serious adventure and excitement. On the activity (joined by an English speaking guide) you’ll hike to through the spectacular scenery of Phaeng National Park to Than Naamruk viewpoint, then down to a cooling natural spring water pool for a swim and a water massage. You’ll drop by a mountaintop Chinese Temple, snorkel to discover the beautiful coral reefs at the island of Ko Ma and then get your adrenaline pumping at the Wipeout Water Activity Centre. Located at Koh Phangan's only fresh water lake, this is much like the TV shows Knockout or Wipeout and you can challenge the rest of the participants on a fun obstacle course. This activity ends with a visit to the Amsterdam Bar for amazing panoramas and stunning sunsets.
Day 5 Ko Tao
Today you’ll go from one island paradise to another – it’s about 2 hours by boat to Ko Tao. Famous for its spectacular coral reefs, the delightful little island of Ko Tao is a favourite for those preferring the slightly more laid-back approach. It’s the perfect place to immerse yourself in tropical waters and relax on the white crescent sands of beaches like Sairee under swaying coconut palms – what a tough life! The sea around Koh Tao is also known for some of the best diving in the region, so there’s the option to do some scuba diving for those wanting to get up-close to the abundant marine life. Absorb Thai culture through the smells of an aromatherapy care session in a local spa, or through the tastes of a Thai cooking class. In the evenings, you can stroll the beaches or sample local fare at a seafood restaurant. Ko Tao also has a small but lively scene for those who are interested in some dancing and socialising on the beach.
Day 6 Ko Tao
Today you’ll experience the beautiful underwater world that surrounds Ko Tao with an exploratory snorkelling trip around the island. With coral and fish aplenty and the remote chance of seeing timid reef sharks amongst mesmerising coral formations, Ko Tao is undeniably one of the jewels in southern Thailand's crown. You will climb aboard a boat from Mae Haa Pier and sail south, navigating around the southern tip of the island until you reach Shark Island. While it's named because it looks like a shark fin sticking out of the water, you might still see the occasional leopard shark while you're snorkelling here. Drop by Luek Bay for one of the best swimming beaches on the island with fish-filled reefs on either side, then stop at Hin Wong Bay for lunch aboard the boat – an idyllic spot where palm trees line the sheltered inlet. The shallow waters of Muang Bay are filled with colourful fish to swim by, and then stop at Nang Yuan Island - actually three teardrop shapes of land connected by wide sweeps of sand. You can pay the small entrance fee to this privately owned island and take a short hike up to a viewpoint, relax on the beach, snorkel through schools of parrotfish, or just chill on the boat. Return to Mae Haad Beach after this glorious beach and snorkel adventure. This evening you can be as active or low-key as you want on your last night on Ko Tao.
Day 7 Ko Samui
Hop on another boat today and cruise over to Ko Samui (approximately 2.5 hours). The island is certainly a brasher, more vibrant extrovert to its quieter, mellower siblings. 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. Known simply as Samui by locals, Thailand's third largest island is rich with white sandy beaches, coral reefs and coconut trees. There's also the Big Buddha, waterfalls, markets, temples, a mummified monk, great shopping opportunities, Michelin star restaurants, luxury spas, and a lively nightlife. Today you can take an optional sightseeing tour around the island or brush up on your cooking techniques with a Thai cooking class.
Day 8 Ko Samui
It’s up to you what you want to do today, but if you feel like being more active, take an optional day trip to Ang Thong Marine National Park, an idyllic archipelago of around 40 islands (many uninhabited). If you choose this option you’ll take a speedboat to the Marine Park, with the island of Koh Wao or Koh Tai Plow as your first stop – here you can snorkel in the turquoise waters filled with ever changing colours of coral and fish. Sail around the steep limestone cliff islands and stop near an inland saltwater lagoon called Emerald Lake (Talay Nai), which is fed by an underground cave. Take a short walk up pathways and a wooden staircase to reach a magnificent hilltop lake viewpoint. Enjoy lunch on the island that houses the park headquarters, then chill out on the beach, climb up for a panorama of the Marine Park, and get out on to the bay for some kayaking. You’ll head back to Koh Samui in mid-afternoon. Maybe join you the rest of your group for a drink to celebrate the end of this east coast Thailand beach adventure tonight.
Day 9 Ko Samui
This wonderful Thailand beach adventure comes to an end today, and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time. Perhaps continue your exploration of South East Asia with another Intrepid adventure.
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