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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 $2570

Alternative Thailand

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

Alternative Thailand

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 Phuket’s stunning beaches.

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 travelers 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
  • 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 must 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. Please note that single supplements are not available for the overnight train. More details can be found in our FAQs, below.

Itinerary

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  • Day 01 Sawadee, Bangkok

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    Your Thailand vacation 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 markets. The contrast between old and new is obvious here, which is, perhaps, its 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 boutique 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 with drinks 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, with modest wooden shacks rising up alongside 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 to Surat Thani. This is a local (rather than luxury) experience and you’ll get a real insight into authentic Thai life, as you pass through rural villages, rice paddies and verdant countryside.

  • Day 03 Green living in Krabi

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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. Take time to relax and enjoy your luxe eco-retreat, making use of the inviting pool, booking in for an exclusive spa treatment or strolling down to stunning Ao Nang Bay to watch the sun sink into the Andaman Sea. After a day of blissful relaxation, tonight you’ll head out for a dinner with your group at an atmospheric local restaurant. Hidden down a side street away from the main strip, here you can sample authentic Thai cuisine, from spicy papaya salad and fragrant soups to BBQ seafood and colorful sticky, sweet desserts.

  • 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. The accommodation may be basic but the location is simply stunning: on a mirror-still lake backed by limestone mountains. Once settled, you’ll be welcomed with a delicious Thai lunch, followed by time to swim in the perfect water and make use of the free kayaks. You’ll then set off on a private boat excursion to hike to a roaring waterfall and explore the surrounding landscape. As the sun starts to set, you’ll cruise back to your abode ready to enjoy dinner washed down with an ice-cold beer.

  • 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 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. Riding in pairs and taking turns to drive, 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 (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 turquoise sea or gorgeous 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 vacation 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, its 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 boutique 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 with drinks 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, with modest wooden shacks rising up alongside 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 to Surat Thani. This is a local (rather than luxury) experience and you’ll get a real insight into authentic Thai life, as you pass through rural villages, rice paddies and verdant countryside.

  • Day 03 Green living in Krabi

    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. Take time to relax and enjoy your luxe eco-retreat, making use of the inviting pool, booking in for an exclusive spa treatment or strolling down to stunning Ao Nang Bay to watch the sun sink into the Andaman Sea. After a day of blissful relaxation, tonight you’ll head out for a dinner with your group at an atmospheric local restaurant. Hidden down a side street away from the main strip, here you can sample authentic Thai cuisine, from spicy papaya salad and fragrant soups to BBQ seafood and colorful sticky, sweet desserts.

  • 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. The accommodation may be basic but the location is simply stunning: on a mirror-still lake backed by limestone mountains. Once settled, you’ll be welcomed with a delicious Thai lunch, followed by time to swim in the perfect water and make use of the free kayaks. You’ll then set off on a private boat excursion to hike to a roaring waterfall and explore the surrounding landscape. As the sun starts to set, you’ll cruise back to your abode ready to enjoy dinner washed down with an ice-cold beer.

  • 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 

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    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 Favorite Hotels

Here's a taste of the hotels we sometimes use on this adventure. The hotels you'll stay in for your departure will be shared with you one month before you go.

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RIVA SURYA BANGKOK

A modern oasis, Riva Surya offers a reprieve from the frenetic energy of Bangkok. Located by the Chao Phraya River, the Thai-inspired rooms have fantastic views and there’s plenty of space by the pool to kick back with a drink. An ideal introduction to this buzzing city.

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DEWA PHUKET RESORT

Just a few steps from beautiful Nai Yang beach, on the edge of Sirinath National Park, this upscale resort has a laidback tropical feel. Unwind by the lagoon pools, sip cocktails by the beach or sign up for a treatment in the onsite spa, complete with hot tub and steam room.

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KHAO SOK RAFT HOUSES

A unique, otherworldly experience – your time at the floating raft houses will feel like a dream. Wake up each morning to limestone cliffs reflected by the still water outside your door and take advantage of the free kayaks at your disposal to head off across the lake and explore.

Card image

RIVA SURYA BANGKOK

A modern oasis, Riva Surya offers a reprieve from the frenetic energy of Bangkok. Located by the Chao Phraya River, the Thai-inspired rooms have fantastic views and there’s plenty of space by the pool to kick back with a drink. An ideal introduction to this buzzing city.

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KHAO SOK RAFT HOUSES

A unique, otherworldly experience – your time at the floating raft houses will feel like a dream. Wake up each morning to limestone cliffs reflected by the still water outside your door and take advantage of the free kayaks at your disposal to head off across the lake and explore.

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EXPLORAR, KOH SAMUI

Just steps from Mae Nam beach, this indulgent adults-only resort is a haven of island calm. Take a dip in the infinity pool, unwind in the hummingbird garden or work your way through the Thai menu at the glass-walled sea-view restaurant. Oh, and did we mention the happy hour cocktails?

Important Notes

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

For October to April 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 (in time for the welcome meeting)?

Please try to arrive before 3 pm 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.

Are airport transfers included?

If you arrive on Day 1 of your adventure, or you book pre-tour accommodation with us, your airport arrival transfer will be included. If you book alternative pre-tour accommodation or are arriving by another mode of transport you must arrange your own arrival transfer.

Arrival transfers are private to Flash Pack and will be in groups depending on flight times. Sometimes this means waiting in the airport for a short while until other flights have arrived.

We don’t offer a departure transfer as Flashpackers leave at different times of the day and many stay for extra nights. However, your Pack Leader will offer you support with finding a local taxi.

Are tips included?

Please note that tips are not included in the cost of this adventure. Suggested amounts per person are:

  • Pack Leader: 11 USD per day
  • Driver: 3.5 USD per day
  • Local tips: your Pack Leader will be able to advise on how much to tip local guides, porters, waiters, etc. Some Pack Leaders will collect a tipping kitty at the welcome meeting to take care of local tips.

However, all tips are at your discretion depending on what you feel comfortable with.

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?

You do not need a visa if you’re visiting as a tourist from the EU, UK, USA, Australia or Canada for up to 30 days. Please check with your local consulate/embassy if the country you are travelling from requires a visa. 

We recommend that you have at least six months validity remaining on your passport and can show a return ticket.

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 (1-3 USD).

 

Will I need any special equipment?

For the waterfall hike, we recommend that you wear good-quality water-shoes or waterproof sandals, preferably with the heels covered. You’ll be sent a detailed packing list upon booking your adventure.

What is overnight train like? Can I request a private cabin?

Travelling by train is a local rather than a luxury experience, but it’s one of the best ways to experience the real Southeast Asia. Here are some notes to help prepare you for the experience:

  • The cabin we are using is a 2nd class sleeper train with 20 bunk beds (maximum 40 people). If you’re a light sleeper, it’s a good idea to bring ear plugs as the cabins can be noisy at night.
  • Private cabins are not available and there is no single supplement option for this part of the trip. You will be sharing your cabin with local people, however, we will try to put all Flashpackers in the same cabin, along with your guide.
  • The train bathrooms are shared and although showers are available on board, these consist of a toilet with a shower head, so it’s better to wait to freshen up at your hotel upon arrival in Krabi.
  • Please also be aware that Bangkok station is very large and busy. You will be travelling to the station during peak rush hour, which can feel chaotic. You won’t be able to board the train until an hour before departure. Overnight trains are often subject to delays and may stop unexpectedly to let other trains go past.
Will I get to drive the jet ski?

The jet ski experience will be shared, so two Flashpackers will ride one jet ski taking turns to drive. There will be a full safety briefing and the operator will assess your experience and skills on a jet ski to ensure you enjoy this activity safely and have a great experience.

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.

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