“Compare and contrast Thailand's two premier cities, Chiang Mai and Bangkok, as well as exploring the jungles of the north and the white sand beaches on the southeast coast.”
Tour of Bangkok, including the Grand Palace | Kanchanaburi | Ayutthaya temples | hilltribe village trek | Khao Sam Roi Yort National Park | Death Railway & Hellfire Pass | Waterfalls in Erawan NP | Bridge over the River Kwai | Overnight train to Chiang Mai | Thai cookery class | Jngle tour | Hua Hin beach | Optional activities include: bike ride or a visit to Elephant Nature Park
Check dates, prices & availability
Price per adult
29 Oct 2017
US $ 2265
19 Nov 2017
US $ 2135
06 Jan 2018
US $ 2245
03 Feb 2018
US $ 2365
24 Feb 2018
US $ 2245
24 Mar 2018
US $ 2245
20 Oct 2018
US $ 2245
17 Nov 2018
US $ 2365
22 Dec 2018
US $ 2325
Our top tip:
Buy a local sarong which never fails to come in handy both on the beach and in the jungle. Also, light sleepers may want to take ear plugs and eye masks for the overnight train trip.
Small group. Avg 12. Min age 16.
Leisurely. Gentle trek, jungle lodge and city sightseeing.
11 hotels, 1 jungle lodge and 1 sleeper train.
Accommodation, tour leader, transport and local flight.
11 breakfasts, 2 lunches and 1 dinner. £200-£250 is around the budget for extra meals.
Single travelers welcome. Solo room supplement for hotels.
Small group vacation
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, traveling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week vacation, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.
The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travelers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.
We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.
Make the most of your vacation time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!
Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travelers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your vacation.
Solo travelers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those traveling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.
Less confident travelers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travelers their own room.
“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.
“The accommodation will be basic” Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.
“I won’t like the other travelers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.
“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson
Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando
Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travelers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.
Responsible tourism: vacations to Thailand, Classical Thailand
Conservation: On this trip, we have the option to visit the Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai to help provide some awareness of work being done with Asian elephants in Thailand. The park is an elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre in Northern Thailand where you can volunteer and visit to help. The park has been involved in dozens of rescues which have allowed a herd of elephants to thrive. The park also provides a natural environment for elephants, dogs, cats, buffaloes and many other animals under their care and engages with local communities, educating them on animal welfare. Purchasing souvenirs here, making a donation or by merely learning about this issue, our business is very beneficial for these gentle giants.
UK Office: It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.
Local Craft & Culture: We are dedicated to supporting local communities and the continuation of the craftmanship and traditional ways of life that make Thailand’s culture so rich and exciting. For example, we visit a local Hmong village where locals from nearby hill tribe villages are employed to perform traditional songs and dance. This provides these communities with an avenue to share their long and proud history of culture with younger members of the community and outsiders whilst stabilising income generation. Here travelers can also see demonstrations of how crafts have been handmade for centuries and have the opportunity to purchase gifts and clothing. Guides will be able to advise on which products to avoid when shopping e.g. unapproved home made alcohol and anything sold by children.
Accommodation & Meals: Our accommodation is locally owned and locally staffed and we try on this tour to spread our commerce to a variety of hotels so that several communitites benefit. All breakfasts are provided, but where meals are not included, your tour leader will be happy to recommend the best local restaurants and some authentic, traditional dishes. This is a great way to ensure that smaller businesses profit from our commerce and also to give travelers a real taste of the country. There is even the opportunity to learn how to cook your own 'gaeng keow wahn' or green coconut curry on day 6 in Chiang Mai!
A Fair Deal: We work closely with our local operator and ensure that all of our guides are local and that in exchange for their expertise that they are paid and treated fairly. Our leaders and guides have been trained in responsible travel and actively encourage our suppliers, drivers, and other members of our team to respect the environment, protect the culture and support the local economy. They have also completed Child Safe training which enables them to take positive action should they encounter children at risk as well as educating clients re child protection within tourism.
Group Size: This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.
Reviews of vacations to Thailand, Classical Thailand
You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the vacations.
I am reborn! Simply the best vacation I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
It was OK
A bit disappointing really
Reviewed on 04 Apr 2014 by deborah lloyd
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?
The cookery course at Cooking at Home. The railway and war cemetary at Kanchanaburi, elephant training centre. Time to "chill"
2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?
Think about booking an extra night before/after the trip. The hotel in Bangkok is close to the markets of Banglampu and Thawet and the best shopping was in Bangkok. Be prepared for the heat/humidity. Up to 40 degrees in March. However this is a very leisurely trip and most of the accommodation was very comfortable so it was more than manageable and I came back relaxed not exhausted.
3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes mostly, we had lots of free time and hotels were usually in good locations where you could purchase food/drinks from locals, visit the markets. A couple of meals in hotel or 'tour' restaurants but most others were local or street markets. Elephants were well cared for.
4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?
Good. Our guide was less enthusiastic than most guides of this company I have travelled with in the past , but she was organised and the hotels were very efficient.