Day 1: Bangkok. Arrive Bangkok airport, meet our staff and transfer straight to your hotel. Our staff will brief you about all the activities. Dinner on your own. Option for dinner cruise on Chao Preya river, depending on arrival time. Overnight: Baan Chantra.
Days 2-3: Kaeng Krachan National Park. *Choice of Lodge-based or Camping Highlights: Hiking, Wildlife Viewing, Birdwatching, Night Drive. Lodge or Camping Option. Wildlife: Over 40 mammal species including elephant, tiger, clouded leopard, Malayan sun bear, Asiatic black bear, slow loris, binturong, serow, barking deer, mouse deer, tapir, Malayan pangolin, and 3 species of primates – gibbons, dusky langurs and long-tailed macaques. Local hill tribes also claim there are Sumatran rhinoceros by the border with Burma, but this is doubtful. The park is also home to more than 250 species of birds including five species of hornbills.
Lodging option: Hike through the lush tropical forests of Thailand’s largest national park –and one of its least visited. View wildlife by Mt. Pakarang where langurs and serows are commonly seen, then enter the lush tropical forest at Pha nen Thung to see Gaurs, Elephants and Gibbons. Enjoy night drives each night to look for nocturnal animals such as jackals, civets, Malayan porcupine or possibly even a clouded leopard. Overnight: Kaeng Krachan country club (superior room). Or choose special camping option for both days (below).
Deep Jungle Option:
Days 2-3: Camping instead of lodging choose 2 nights camping (We provide camping gear, no need to carry it!) Our base camp is the ideal spot to see langurs, serows and other wildlife. Each day we'll choose from a variety of hikes, including the road to Mt. Pakarang, a trail to the beautiful Hanuman cave, a specacular waterfall, and a salt lick basin, a hot spot for wild elephants. Animal tracks are everywhere! We've even spotted wild tiger tracks and "sandboxes"! We’ll also hike to a calm, secluded stream, where wild animals come to drink. Gibbons, Langurs, Macaques, Bears, Gaurs, Civits, Giant Squirrels, Porcuipine, Flying Fox, and 6 species of hornbills are often seen here. Enjoy delicious Thai meals deep in the forest at the end of your exciting day. Includes: (B, L, D).
Days 4-5: Ko Talu Island - Snorkeling, Kayaking, Karst and Beaches
Highlights: Snorkeling, sea-kayaking and brilliant white-sand beaches. Boat to beautiful Ko Talu Island for snorkeling, kayaking and relaxing on the beach. Thailand’s famous shallow turquoise waters are perfect to explore the kaleidoscope of colorful coral reefs. Overnight: Ko Talu Island Resort. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 6: Khao Sam Roi Yod National Park. Highlights: This small park contains a diverse array of habitats: ten distinctive habitat zones in all, including high steep limestone mountains, fine sandy beaches, spectacular caves, forest trails, estuarine and mangrove habitats. But its most famous attraction is a spectacular cave, home to unique limestone formations and a Buddhist pagoda favored by kings for over 100 years. Evening transfer to Pa La-U, the far Southwestern entrance to Kaeng Krachan known for its abundant wild elephant population. Overnight: The Park's House (Rustic). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 7: Pa La-U, Karen Indigenuos Village, Waterfall, Wild Elephant Tracking. Visit Pa La-U waterfall, a beautiful 11-tiered rock waterfall in the jungle, surrounded by monkeys and birds. Then visit an indigenous Karen village, moved to Thailand from Myanmar their ancestors. This afternoon we'll follow elephant tracks to see wild elephants and other animals as they come to forage and then find their sleeping place for the night. This second foray into a completely different entrance of Kaeng Krachan Natonal Park is ideal for observing these incredibly social animals. Overnight: The Park's House (Rustic). Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 8: Bangkok, Floating Market, Temple of Emerald Buddha, Grand Palace. Leave Pa La-U and head back to Bangkok. On the way we'll visit the Damnoen Saduak floating market, one of Thailand’s most exotic and colorful spectacles. Hundreds of longboats laden with an astonishing variety of fruits, vegetables, sweets and meats navigate the canal. Later, visit two of Thailand’s most famous sites; The Grand Palace and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. The breathtaking Grand Palace was built in 1782 and was the residence of the king for 150 years. Next door is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, a wonderland of golden towers and grand buildings decorated with glittering mosaics, widely regarded as the most important Buddhist temple in Thailand. Evening flight to Chiang Mai. Overnight: Lanna Mantra Ping River Hotel. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 9: Chiang Mai Cooking School, Doi Suthep Temple, Khantok Dance Show. Chiangmai is the most culturally significant city in Northern Thailand, once part of the ancient Silk Road. Enjoy a phenomenal cooking class led by a world-renowed professional Thai chef who will teach you to prepare tasty Thai dishes. Afterwards visit Doi Suthep, a Buddhist temple that is a landmark of Chiang Mai. This evening enjoy a Khantok Dinner, Northern style, with a fantastic Thai dance show. Overnight: Lanna Mantra Ping River Hotel. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 10: Tiger Kingdom, Doi Inthanon National Park, Chiang Mai Night Bazaar. Highlights: Visit a Tiger Sanctuary, meet tigers and play with baby tiger cubs! Explore the birds of a Thai Cloudforest. Shop at a famous Thai night bazaar. Wildlife: Tigers! Sunbirds. Early morning wildlife viewing and birdwatching at Doi Inthanon National Park, home to the largest number of bird species in Thailand, including the endemic Green-tailed Sunbird. Beautiful Asian orchids adorn its cloudforest ad Gibbons, deer and Siamese Hares are sometimes seen. Visit nearby waterfalls. Then visit Tiger Kingdom. Meet tigers and Interact with baby tiger cubs! You’ll be instructed to safely feed and play with tigers up to 1 year old at this special sanctuary. This evening enjoy shopping at Chiang Mai Night Bazaar, famous for handmade items and Thai silks. Overnight: Lanna Mantra Ping River Hotel. Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 11: Elephant Camp, River Rafting, Chiang Rai. Spend an amazing day feeding, bathing and learning about elephants at an eco-responsible elephant camp. Play with them in the river, then float downstream on a bamboo raft. You will not believe how much fun this experience is, and how much it will open your heart to learn about these incredibly social animals! 15 day passengers transfer to Chiang Rai and overnight at a beautiful Thai spa. (11-day passengers transfer to Bangkok for flight to USA or overnight at extra cost). Overnight: Pholwadon Resort and Spa (15 day passengers only). Meals: Breakfast, Lunch (travelers on 11 day itinerary return to Bangkok and overnight in Bangkok if necessary (extra charge). 15-day travelers transfer to a beautiful Thai spa in Chiang Rai).
Day 12: Gibbon Experience - One of the worlds most unique eco-tourism projects! Very early this morning your Thai naturalist guide will transfer with you to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong, in time to be first in line to cross the border to Houxay, Laos, at the famous Me Kong river when the border opens at 8:00am. Once across, you'll meet with the staff of the Gibbon Experience at their office and begin your 4WD journey to Bokeo Nature Preserve. This is a very poor road, but a long stretch is in the process of being paved.
After a break for lunch in a small Laotian village, you'll continue your journey through rivers and over dirt roads to a small native village. Here you'll leave your 4WD behind and walk about an hour or more with your bag, up to the Gibbon Experience (pack light!) (Note that in the event of heavy rain, the 4WD truck may not be able to make it all the way to the village, and additional walking may be required). Upon arrival, you'll meet your local Laotian guides, who will provide a short orientation and safety instructions.
They will fit a rock-climbing harness to you, show you how it works, (including an innovative rudimentary cable breaking system) and help you zip to the first tree house. From there your guide will accompany you on a series of zip lines and short hikes to the tree house where you'll be spending the night. The guides will bring your hot, delicious Lao meals, prepared with incredible taste and packed ingeniously to travel with them on the zip lines. Overnight in one of the magnificent rustic treehouses.
Highlights: Traverse a unique system of zip line cables that end in magnificent rustic treehouses, affording panoramic views of the rainforest. With luck, you'll have front row seats to see the gibbons, a small ape that sings duets with its mate each morning as the mist burns off the rainforest. Wildlife: Gibbons, macaques, asiatic bear, barking deer, giant squirrels, and over 300 species of exotic tropical birds. Overnight: Spectacular rustic Treehouse in the rainforest canopy, accessed by zip lines! Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 13: Gibbon Experience. Early this morning your Laotian guide will guide you as you explore the network of ziplines and treehouses. For groups of 6 or more, we can also include a second naturalist wildlife guide, who will be both serving you and training the local Laotian guides to spot and identify wildlife. You'll have all day to explore the rainforest with your guides. One of the great benefits of the treehouse/zipline network is that it allows wildlife lovers to be up in the canopy at dawn, dusk, and at night the best times for wildlife observation. We know of no other ecotourism effort that caters so specifically to wildlife observation, especially with such conscious attention on serving the local community and conserving the rainforest and wildlife. Overnight in one of the magnificent rustic treehouses. Overnight: Spectacular rustic Treehouse in the rainforest canopy, accessed by ziplines! Includes: (B, L, D).
Day 14: Gibbon Experience. Around mid morning you will begin the hike back to the last village and wait for your 4WD transportation back to Houxay. The border closes at 5:00pm, and usually we make it in time. Once you've crossed the Me Kong again, you'll check in at the Thai border crossing to get your passport stamped, meet your Thai guide, then transfer by vehicle back to the spa in Chiang Rai, ready for a relaxing afternoon of pampering yourself after your adventure. Note: if the 4WD vehicle doesn't reach Houxay by 4:20 pm, you will not get across the border to Thailand and will have to spend the night in Houxay at a minimal extra charge. Do not make any urgent travel plans for the rest of this day. Overnight: Pholwadon Resort and Spa. Meals: Breakfast.
Day 15: Thai Spa/Bangkok. Choose to spend the morning at the spa and leave for Bangkok in the afternoon, or enjoy another night at the spa at additional cost (recommended). Transfer to the Chiang Rai airport for your flight to Bangkok, in time to make your international flight. Includes: (B).
Note: Due to the logistics required in order to travel to and from the Gibbon Experience, flexibility is required of all passengers. To make it easy for you, the first and last nights of your package will be spent at a beautiful Spa near Chiang Rai. In the event your transportation does not make the border crossings as scheduled, you may need to spend the night in Houxay in Laos instead, at minimal extra cost.
- Also available as a 15-Day "Go On Your Own" trip for $399 additional, on a date of your own choosing (2 person minimum.) Group prices are for departures where we have 4 passengers or more. In the event only 2 passengers sign up (rare) the trip will be run at the price for private services. Note: It is to your advantage to reserve early regardless of how many passengers are on the trip so you can take advantage of lower airfare rates.
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