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Alternative Thailand

Take a jet ski safari to hidden bays and stay in a floating raft house in Khao Sok National Park

Alternative Thailand

9 Days | From £2120

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  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • Accommodation

About your trip

Thailand: Southeast Asia’s most popular travel destination and a hedonistic spot that’s firmly on the backpacker trail; you’d be forgiven for wondering if it’s been ‘done’.

Your answer? It hasn’t, and this adventure is proof. 

Yes, you’ll get the chance to dip your toe into the famed intensity of the Khao San Road and witness the country’s golden temples. But it’s the adventures you haven’t heard of before that really make this one special. Like experiencing the drama of Phuket’s coastline on a jet ski safari, zipping beneath towering limestone cliffs and pulling into small islands before turning back into the sunset. Or taking a long-tail boat to your floating raft house, where you’ll sleep above a glassy lake in reach of waterfalls and mountains where hornbills and monkeys hide. There’ll be moments of bonding as you cook up a storm with your group, learning traditional cooking techniques from a local family, and a chance to lap up the luxury together on your own private boat.

So you see, Thailand will never be ‘done’. If anything, this is how lifelong love affairs with the country begin.

What's Included

  • Accommodation in twin rooms
  • Max 14 travellers per group
  • Exclusively for people in their 30s & 40s
  • Arrival transfer included
  • All activities mentioned on the itinerary
  • Experienced Pack Leader with you throughout the trip
  • Tips for the guide & driver
  • Minibus, jet skis & private boat
  • Overnight sleeper train
  • Stay in handpicked 3-5 star hotels
  • 8 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners
  • We offset 0.75 tCO2e (carbon) per person on this trip

Flashpackers are required to produce proof of COVID-19 vaccination 30 days before departure OR proof of a negative test within 72 hours of their adventure starting. Flashpackers must also provide evidence that they have purchased travel insurance for the duration of their adventure. Remember, flights aren't included and prices are based on sharing a twin room. If you'd like to upgrade to a single room, you can add this during the booking process or by contacting our Customer Experience team.

Itinerary

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  • Day 01 Sawadee, Bangkok

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    Your Thailand holiday has officially begun. Well known for its outlandishness, Bangkok is a city where towering skyscrapers cast shadows over ancient temples. Where ultra-modern shopping malls abut centuries-old floating markets. The contrast between old and new is obvious here, which is, perhaps, it’s charm – Bangkok is undeniably, unashamedly, Bangkok. Having been picked up at the airport by your private driver; you’ll have had a sneak peek of this wondrous mayhem en route to your riverfront hotel, where you can refresh with your arriving group, safely tucked away from the madness beyond. After a late-afternoon welcome meeting, you’ll board your waiting river taxi outside the hotel and make your way to your first traditional Thai dining experience. The best bit? The restaurant is directly opposite the Wat Arun Temple, which will become illuminated gold by the sunset as you sit down to feast. You’ll finish the night 50+ floors up at one of Bangkok’s best sky bars.

  • Day 02 The Old City & an overnight train

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    This morning you’ll board your private long-tail boat from outside the hotel and head to the canals of Old Bangkok. You’ll sail past a riverside community that still buzzes on, as it has done for hundreds of years, where floating markets thrive and modest wooden shacks rise up along the water. The most special moment comes next, however, when you’re taken to a small local temple that lies off the tourist trail. Here you’ll be able to make a traditional Buddhist offering amongst the quietly worshipping locals. Afterwards you’ll enjoy a lunch of street food from local stalls and visit some architectural marvels, including Wat Pho and the reclining golden Buddha. Tonight, you’re off on a different adventure: an overnight sleeper train. Passing through rural villages, rice paddies and verdant countryside, you’ll get a glimpse of everyday Thai life as you speed south to Surat Thani. 

  • Day 03 Krabi street food safari

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    A private minibus will be waiting at the train station to transfer you to the white sands of Krabi. You’ll be staying a little away from the main action amongst lush jungle landscapes. Having had some time to make use of the infinity pool and watch the sunset from Ao Nang Bay, you’ll be picked up for this evening’s immersive street food safari. Led by a local foodie that knows their stuff, you could be sampling anything from BBQ seafood to papaya salads, deep-fried…well…everything, to fragrant, spicy soups. You’ll be led to real local haunts, like the Muslim quarter, where you’ll find colourful, sticky, sweet delights and be encouraged to try things you might usually pass up. With the camaraderie of your group, anything is possible…even chowing down on insects. Top tip: opt for crispy grasshoppers over juicier grub if you don’t want anything to ooze…

  • Day 04 Forest kayaking

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    Pure magic will be the order of the day today as you kayak through a flooded forest to Nong Thale Crystal lake. Your guide will take you to a secret spot, paddling through narrow gorges between huge limestone cliffs. Hidden away with this gnarled otherworldly waterscape, the lagoon’s cool, clear water is a perfect spot for swimming. Back at your hotel, you’ll have the option to visit Railay Beach and go rock climbing on the limestone cliffs. Looking forward to dinner, you’ll be treated to an incredible cooking class where you’ll learn all about Thailand’s fragrant ingredients at a small, family-run restaurant. Led by a lovely couple (whose children will be on hand to help and hand out refreshments), this is sure to be a veritable feast.

  • Day 05 A night atop a glassy lake

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    Today you’ll be taken by private long-tail boat to Khao Sok National Park. With its rainforests, caves and limestone islands, this vast national park is yet more proof that so much of Thailand’s beauty remains untouched. Upon arrival on Khao Sok Lake, you’ll pull up to your unique floating raft house, surrounded by limestone mountains, and look out from your room’s private landing towards a mirror-still lake. Once settled, you’ll be welcomed with a delicious Thai lunch on the lake before an excursion out to the surrounding landscapes. What you do will be dependent on the time of year and the weather, so you might be visiting a roaring waterfall or taking a private boat to a majestic cave. Back at your beautiful abode, you’ll have some free time before dinner, so make use of the kayaks, enjoy a cocktail or two and swim in the perfect water.

  • Day 06 Sunrise wildlife & Phuket

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    If you’ve never experienced the stillness of a picturesque lake at dawn, this is the time to do it. Wake early and embark on a private wildlife safari as the mist slowly evaporates and the sounds of gibbons calling echoes across the water. Back at the raft house with the sun firmly risen, you’ll enjoy breakfast and some more time to make the most of the kayaks and swim, before you’re taken by long-tail boat back to the pier for the next part of your adventure. Your Pack Leader will help you choose a good spot for a local lunch before your transfer on to sparkling Phuket Island. Upon arrival at your beachfront hotel, you’ll look forward to three glorious nights sleeping in the same spot.

  • Day 07 Your coastal jet ski safari

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    This might just be your most exciting day yet. After a slow morning spent enjoying breakfast, the beach or your hotel’s beautiful Thai spa, it’ll be time for your jet ski safari. During your hours out at sea, you’ll explore pristine isles you’ve likely not heard of before. Like Yao Yai, Naka Island and Koh Li Pe, where you’ll get a chance to experience real desert island perfection. With water so crystalline, here you only need to look down from your jet ski to spot fish and coral beneath you. You’ll experience true freedom today as you zip amongst limestone cliffs, pull into secret bays and keep away from everyone but your own group of newfound friends. Only the setting sun will be your cue to turn back towards Phuket. And what a journey back that will be, racing across the ocean, your silhouettes contrasting against the reddening horizon.

  • Day 08 Beach club BBQ & sunset cocktails

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    From the adrenaline of jet skis to the luxe serenity of a private beach club; today the pace slows and the high life ensues. Spend a much-needed morning enjoying the hotel facilities, swimming in the turquoise sea (it never gets boring, trust us) or exploring the local area. Late afternoon, you’ll be heading to Phuket’s most inventive trend-setting venue to finish your trip off in style. Here, on the pristine sands of Bangtao Beach to a backdrop of funky tunes, you can treat yourself to your favourite cocktail or a traditional Thai massage in between cooling dips in the gorgeous infinity pool. Facing west, it’s the perfect spot to watch the land and waterscapes transform with the changing colors of the sky. Dancing the night away with a group of new friends as the sun sinks into a Thai horizon? We’ll take that.

  • Day 09 Farewell, Thailand

    Card image

    One final breakfast at your hotel and it’ll be time to say goodbye. New experiences, new friendships, and a newfound love for a destination that, despite its popularity, keeps on giving. Be sure to spread the word: Thailand most certainly isn’t ‘done’ yet.

  • Day 01 Sawadee, Bangkok

    Card image

    Your Thailand holiday has officially begun. Well known for its outlandishness; Bangkok is a city where towering skyscrapers cast shadows over ancient temples. Where ultra-modern shopping malls abut centuries-old floating markets. The contrast between old and new is obvious here, which is, perhaps, it’s charm – Bangkok is undeniably, unashamedly, Bangkok. Having been picked up at the airport by your private driver; you’ll have had a sneak peek of this wondrous mayhem en route to your riverfront hotel, where you can refresh with your arriving group, safely tucked away from the madness beyond. After a late-afternoon welcome meeting, you’ll board your waiting river taxi outside the hotel and make your way to your first traditional Thai dining experience. The best bit? The restaurant is directly opposite the Wat Arun Temple, which will become illuminated gold by the sunset as you sit down to feast. You’ll finish the night 50+ floors up at one of Bangkok’s best sky bars.

  • Day 02 The Old City & an overnight train

    Card image

    This morning you’ll board your private long-tail boat from outside the hotel and head to the canals of Old Bangkok. Here you’ll sail past a riverside community that still buzzes on, as it has done for hundreds of years, where floating markets thrive and modest wooden shacks rise up along the water. The most special moment comes next, however, when you’re taken to a small local temple that lies off the tourist trail. Here you’ll be able to make a traditional Buddhist offering amongst the quietly worshipping locals. Afterwards you’ll enjoy a lunch of street food from local stalls and visit some architectural marvels, including Wat Pho and the reclining golden Buddha. Tonight, you’re off on a different adventure: an overnight sleeper train. Passing through rural villages, rice paddies and verdant countryside, you’ll get a glimpse of everyday Thai life as you speed south to Surat Thani. 

  • Day 03 Krabi street food safari

    Card image

    A private minibus will be waiting at the train station to transfer you to the white sands of Krabi. You’ll be staying a little away from the main action amongst lush jungle landscapes. Having had some time to make use of the infinity pool and watch the sunset from Ao Nang Bay, you’ll be picked up for this evening’s immersive street food safari. Led by a local foodie that knows their stuff, you could be sampling anything from BBQ seafood to papaya salads, deep-fried…well…everything, to fragrant, spicy soups. You’ll be led to real local haunts, like the Muslim quarter, where you’ll find colourful, sticky, sweet delights and be encouraged to try things you might usually pass up. With the camaraderie of your group, anything is possible…even chowing down on insects. Top tip: opt for crispy grasshoppers over juicier grub if you don’t want anything to ooze…

  • Day 04 Kayaking & cuisine

    Card image

    Pure magic will be the order of the day today as you kayak through a flooded forest to Nong Thale Crystal lake. Your guide will take you to a secret spot, paddling through narrow gorges between huge limestone cliffs. Hidden away with this gnarled otherworldly waterscape, the lagoon’s cool, clear water is a perfect spot for swimming. Back at your hotel, you’ll have the option to visit Railay Beach and go rock climbing on the limestone cliffs. Looking forward to dinner, you’ll be treated to an incredible cooking class where you’ll learn all about Thailand’s fragrant ingredients at a small, family-run restaurant. Led by a lovely couple (whose children will be on hand to help and hand out refreshments), this is sure to be a veritable feast.

  • Day 05 A night atop a glassy lake

    Card image

    Today you’ll be taken by private long-tail boat to Khao Sok National Park. With its rainforests, caves and limestone islands, this vast national park is yet more proof that so much of Thailand’s beauty remains untouched. Upon arrival on Khao Sok Lake, you’ll pull up to your unique floating raft house, surrounded by limestone mountains, and look out from your room’s private landing towards a mirror-still lake. Once settled, you’ll be welcomed with a delicious Thai lunch on the lake before an excursion out to the surrounding landscapes. What you do will be dependent on the time of year and the weather, so you might be visiting a roaring waterfall or taking a private boat to a majestic cave. Back at your beautiful abode, you’ll have some free time before dinner, so make use of the kayaks, enjoy a cocktail or two and swim in the perfect water.

  • Day 06 Sunrise Wildlife & Koh Samui

    Card image

    If you’ve never experienced the stillness of a picturesque lake at dawn, this is the time to do it. Wake early and embark on a private wildlife safari as the mist slowly evaporates and the sounds of gibbons calling echoes across the water. Back at the raft house with the sun firmly risen, you’ll enjoy breakfast and some more time to make the most of the kayaks and swim, before you’re taken by long-tail boat back to the pier for the next part of your adventure. Your Pack Leader will help you choose a good spot for a local lunch before your transfer on to sparkling Koh Samui. Upon arrival at your beachfront hotel, you’ll look forward to three glorious nights sleeping in the same spot.

  • Day 07 Island exploring by private boat

    Card image

    This might just be your most exciting day yet. After breakfast, it’ll be time for your private speedboat adventure to the protected Ang Thong Marine Park. During your hours out at sea, you’ll explore amongst the park’s 42 pristine isles. Islands you’ve likely not heard of before, like Mae Ko and Koh Wua Ta Lap, where you’ll get a chance to experience real island perfection. You’ll find true freedom today as you zip amongst limestone monoliths, pull into secret bays to snorkel, stop off at a deserted beach for a private lunch and have the opportunity to trek to an incredible viewpoint. Only the setting sun will be your cue to turn back towards Koh Samui. And what a journey back that will be, racing across the ocean, your silhouette contrasting against the reddening horizon.

  • Day 08 Sunset drinks

    Card image

    From the adrenaline of speedboats to the luxe serenity of a cool beach bar; today the pace slows and the high life ensues. Spend a much-needed day enjoying the hotel facilities, swimming in the turquoise sea (it never gets boring, trust us) or exploring the rest of the island. Late afternoon, you’ll be heading to one of Koh Samui’s coolest venues to finish your trip off in style. Here, on the pristine sands, you’ll enjoy a farewell dinner of exquisite Thai dishes – the perfect end to a fantastic holiday. With your toes in the sand and a cocktail in hand, you’ll watch the land and waterscapes transform with the changing colors of the sky one final time. Dancing the night away with a group of new friends as the sun sinks into a Thai horizon? We’ll take that.

  • Day 09 Farewell, Thailand

    Card image

    One final breakfast at your hotel and it’ll be time to say goodbye. New experiences, new friendships, and a newfound love for a destination that, despite its popularity, keeps on giving. Be sure to spread the word: Thailand most certainly isn’t ‘done’ yet.

Our Favourite Hotels

Browse a selection of our favourite hotels, for a flavour of where you may stay on this trip.

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HOTEL RIVA SURYA BANGKOK RIVERSIDE

A self-proclaimed luxurious modern oasis, Riva Surya offers a beautiful reprieve from the frenetic energy of Bangkok. Sitting right on the Chao Phraya River, you can expect Thai-inspired yet modern light-filled rooms with fantastic views. The pool overlooks the river and there are plenty of spaces to relax and enjoy a drink or two. An ideal introduction to this buzzing city.

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PULLMAN PANWA CAPE, PHUKET

Of all the accommodation on this adventure, you’ll stay here the longest, and how happy you’ll be to do so. A beachfront infinity pool surrounded by luxurious daybeds, an outdoor bar to enjoy sunset cocktails, lush greenery at every turn. This is the sort of place we were all dreaming of at the height of lockdown. Your own slice of sunny serenity. 

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UNIQUE RAFT HOUSES, KHAO SOK

A unique, otherworldly experience – your time at the floating raft houses of Khao Sok will feel like a dream. Wake up each morning and look out to limestone cliffs being reflected by the still water right outside your bedroom. You’ll have kayaks at your disposal during your stay, so you can head off across the lake whenever you wish; and the Thai food you’ll be treated to on your return is simply delicious.

Card image

HOTEL RIVA SURYA BANGKOK RIVERSIDE

A self-proclaimed luxurious modern oasis, Riva Surya offers a beautiful reprieve from the frenetic energy of Bangkok. Sitting right on the Chao Phraya River, you can expect Thai-inspired yet modern light-filled rooms with fantastic views. The pool overlooks the river and there are plenty of spaces to relax and enjoy a drink or two. An ideal introduction to this buzzing city.

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UNIQUE RAFT HOUSES, KHAO SOK

A unique, otherworldly experience – your time at the floating raft houses of Khao Sok will feel like a dream. Wake up each morning and look out to limestone cliffs being reflected by the still water right outside your bedroom. You’ll have kayaks at your disposal during your stay, so you can head off across the lake whenever you wish; and the Thai food you’ll be treated to on your return is simply delicious.

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Banana Fan, Koh Samui

A pool overlooking the ocean, bright, beautifully minimalist rooms with private terraces and a location on the best part of Samui’s famous Chaweng Beach makes this hotel choice a no-brainer. We recommend a Thai Massage here, right by the beach, to really sink into that tropical adventure feeling.

Important Notes

Which airport do I need to fly in and out of? Plus airport code

For October to January departures:

Fly into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK). We suggest you fly out of Phuket Airport (HKT), as it is the nearest airport to where we finish the adventure.

For May to September departures:

Fly into Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and depart from Koh Samui Airport (USM), not Phuket.

What time do I need to arrive?

Please try to arrive before 3pm on day 1, although we will arrange an airport transfer for you regardless of when you arrive.

What time should my flight depart on the last day?

Depart at your own leisure any time on day 9.

Will the itinerary change?

Please be aware that the itinerary, activities, and hotels are subject to change. These changes are rare but can happen with little notice due to availability, poor weather, seasonal changes, or other circumstances beyond our control – but we’ll always do our best to ensure it has little impact on your experience. From time to time, we may also make changes to your itinerary to try out new ideas and keep things fresh and exciting which we will always try and communicate to you.

Do I need a visa?

Most nationalities are issued with a 30-day visa upon arrival. Please do check that your citizenship qualifies for this before you depart.

How much should I budget per day for extras?

Excluding alcohol, we’d suggest budgeting the equivalent of £30 (40 USD). That said, if you’re willing to eat like a local it can be a lot less. It is still possible in Thailand to buy a plate of food for 1-2 GBP.

OUR PROMISE

Joining the Flash Pack comes with a few special guarantees

THE PEOPLE

Our mission to create 1 million friendships so we obsess over the group dynamic. Everyone is aged 30-49, 98% travel solo & 80% stay friends. Want to know more about your group? GET IN TOUCH

THE SECURITY

We operate using a 3rd party trust bank account meaning we guarantee refunds in 14 days if your trip has to be cancelled BOOK WITH CONFIDENCE

THE TRIPS

Our trips are made up of ‘can’t-do-by-yourself’ experiences – think staying on your own private island in the Arctic and glamping in Land Rovers on the Serengeti SEE TRIPS

THE GUIDES

We only work with trusted local guides who know their destinations better than anyone. We include guide and driver tips to make sure that our team are well looked after

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