Thailand Experience

From £1,179.00

Highlights

Island beach time

Trip Highlights

  • Explore Bangkok’s vibrant streets
  • Bathe (and rave!) on the shores of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan
  • Experience a legendary Full Moon or Black Moon party!
  • Volunteer in local renovation projects
  • Trek in tropical Sangkhlaburi
  • Visit Thai temples and practice Buddhist meditation
  • Learn to cook tasty Thai recipes
  • Relax and recharge on Thailand’s stunning islands

Trip Summary

Vibrant city streets, lush golden beaches and awe-inspiring temples. Thailand offers travellers the hedonistic mix of all this and more. Jump into our magical Thailand Experience, a 29 day adventure that will see you explore the bustling streets of Bangkok, take in the mystical mountains of Sangkhlaburi, shimmy beneath the shimmer of Koh Phangan’s full moon and more!

Enjoy the pull of Thailand’s culture, history and nightlife with your group of fellow travelers (you’ll soon find that waking up on a tropical paradise after that moon party is a brilliant way to cement new friendships!) and hop from city sights to island delights topping up your memories (and your tan!) with great friends. You’ll have plenty of time to discover the real Thailand and make your own mark on this dream-worthy tour of adventure and intrigue. Thailand is an amazing place to spend a Real Gap Experience and earn yourself some serious world wanderer kudos – so what are you waiting for? Get stuck in to tantalizing Thailand!

Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!

Trip itinerary

Day 1: Arrival

Upon arriving at Bangkok Airport (BKK) you’ll be met by your friendly guide team and transferred to your Bangkok accommodation. We advise you to arrive in the morning if possible so that you have plenty of time to recharge your batteries after your flight and get to know your fellow travellers. Once you’re settled, it’s well worth going for an early evening stroll down Khao San Road close to your accommodation to meet the locals and immerse yourself in the Bangkok bustle.

Day 2: Get to know Bangkok

You’ll meet with your group at 10:00am to begin your tour of Bangkok. Watch skyscrapers soar from a canal boat, on which you’ll journey through beautiful traditional communities for a unique glimpse of Bangkok and the people who call it home. Today’s tour will also include a visit to the ornate riverside Temple of the Dawn in Wat Arun, and a trip to Wat Pho to soak up the spiritualism of Bangkok’s Reclining Buddha. You’ll also get to see the dazzling Grand Palace, a stunning complex steeped in regal history. Please note that the entry fee to the Grand Palace is not included, and is currently 500THB per person, approximately £11.00.

Culinary connoisseurs will be excited to hear that once the tour is finished (usually around mid afternoon) you’ll head back to the guest house to freshen up and cool down before a ‘Welcome Meal’ in the evening. Bangkok food is known for its complex, mouth-watering flavours, so the ‘Welcome Meal’ will be sure to give you an impressive introduction to Thailand’s foodie fare!

Following your meal, you’ll have some free time. You may choose to head into the local area to check out a bustling Bangkok bar, and Khao San Road is a spot much loved by backpackers, so you’ve always got a chance to meet fellow explorers and share stories of your first days in Bangkok!

Day 3: Explore the ‘real’ Bangkok

Day 3 is your opportunity to explore the ‘real’ side of Bangkok on an adventure fuelled bicycle tour of the city. You’ll meet your bike tour guides (experienced navigators of Bangkok’s streets) at around 9:00am, and start by investigating the streets around your guest house. You’ll then head across the river for a laid back look at a more historical Bangkok, home to winding canals, markets and alleys. You’ll be on a comfortable high quality mountain bike and there’ll be plenty of time to disembark for those unmissable photo opportunities. If cycling isn’t for you, feel free to give it a miss and plan your own morning.

The tour will finish at around 1:00pm, and you’ll then have the afternoon to yourself. Revisit one of Bangkok’s thought provoking temples, take a tuk-tuk to the market or get another dose of that addictive Thai flavor with some Bangkok street food. For a relaxed afternoon, stay close to the guest house to sample Khao San Road’s covetable retail delights.

Please note that any activities you choose to do following your bike tour are optional extras, and you’ll be responsible for covering the cost of these yourself.

Day 4: Travel to Sangkhlaburi

We feel that your Real Gap Experience should take you to both central Thai locales and more remote destinations, and so the lesser known town of Sangkhlaburi is the perfect place to visit. The town is set on the banks of the 50km long Khao Laem Reservoir, and the panoramic views will provide you with a new look at Thailand, completely different from the Bangkok buzz.

You’ll be transferred by coach, or minivan for smaller groups. Within a couple of hours the mind-blowing metropolis that is Bangkok will plateau into undulating hills and emerald rice paddies – a varied tapestry of Thailand’s stunning views. There’ll be a brief stop, during which you’ll change coach/minivan and re-energise with a quick snack. The journey then takes you through winding roads lined by Sangkhlaburi’s rolling hills. We’ll pass lustrous foliage, lakes, and mountain ranges, so be sure to drink in the breathtaking terrain.

You’ll check into a simple yet comfortable guest lodge, the ideal relaxed setting in which to rest and recuperate after your journey. If the sights have whet your appetite, however, feel free to dodge the lodge and get out amongst the locals. Sangkhlaburi has so much to offer, and you’ll be happy to call it home for the next 7 days. (Providing you can pronounce it!)

Day 5: The sights of Sangkhlaburi

You’ll spend today uncovering the hidden gem that is Sangkhlaburi, enjoying the town’s highlights and settling into its laid back lifestyle. Your tour will take you to the Burmese border at Three Pagodas Pass, a location steeped in history and spirituality as the pass at which Buddhist teachings are reported to have reached Thailand from India!

Once out and about in Sangkhlaburi you’ll quickly note that the town is a beautiful beacon of diversity, where the population is composed of not only Thai, but Karen, Mon, Lao and Burmese residents. This diversity is evident in the range of languages you’ll hear spoken through Sangkhlaburi’s streets, as well as in the enticing range of food on offer at the local markets!

At the end of your introduction to Sangkhlaburi you’ll be able to take a dip in the expansive lake, or simply sit back and watch the stunning sunset.

Days 6 and 7: Project work days

Now’s the time to jump in to the unique opportunity to be part of a rewarding community project. You’ll be focusing on building and renovation, and previous projects have included the redecoration of village schools, the renovation of local residential homes for the elderly, and the construction of community kitchens.

These projects usually take place 30-45 minutes away from Sangkhlaburi town. Your transfer to the site will be included, and working on the outskirts of the town is a great way to get a feel for some different areas in the region. You’ll join a local team who will direct you throughout the project, and you’ll also gain a close insight to the daily lives and customs of the communities in this remote area.

All project work is decided by the communities themselves, and so may not be confirmed until shortly before your arrival. You can expect to leave your accommodation each morning at around 8:00am and return between 2:00pm and 3:00pm, depending on the weather conditions. During the evenings you’ll be free to explore the town.

Days 8 and 9: Tropical Trekking Adventure

Over the next couple of days you’ll be getting up close and personal with the surrounding tropical terrain. You’ll first be transferred to the starting point of your trek where your walk through the lustrous forest will begin. You’ll always be accompanied by your knowledgeable guide, an expert ranger with a comprehensive knowledge of the paths who’ll ensure that your safety is always central to the trek and that you get the best experience of the forest. You’ll stay overnight in a remote rural village.

The trek on day 8 takes around 4 to 5 hours, and will be taken at a gentle pace to ensure that it’s suitable for all fitness levels. You’ll also have time to explore the forest’s rivers and caves – weather permitting!

At the end of this trek you will reach a welcoming village where you’ll stay overnight in tents at the headman’s house. To ensure that you stay warm, dry and insect free, tents will be set up indoors. You’ll feel instantly at home in the village – it’s not uncommon for travelling groups to spend the nights singing and drinking with the local community!

On day 9 you’ll trek through local countryside for between 2 and 4 hours. By now you’ll be a seasoned explorer and will relish another chance to experience the dazzling terrain first hand. You’ll be back in Sangkhlaburi town by mid to late afternoon on Day 9, so rest and recuperate with a much deserved refreshing beer...or two!

Day 10: Bamboo Rafting

Today we’ll head to a local river to enjoy a morning of leisurely rafting through the forest on traditional bamboo rafts for a real jungle experience. Wear something comfortable that you don’t mind getting wet!

In the afternoon you’ll have the chance to dry off and spend some time in the town. For recommended authentic local food head to the Night Market, or try the nameless ‘Mon food shop’. Little English is spoken here; English speakers simply look into the pots on offer to take your culinary pick!

Day 11: Free day

Today you’ll have the chance to experience any Sangkhlaburi must-dos before you head to Kanchanaburi tomorrow. If you’ve enjoyed the local delicacies, arrange a Thai cookery class, or even take some Thai language lessons. Houseboat excursions often run from Sangkhlaburi, and these are a great way to get back on the river and experience those stunning views by boat. Please note that a houseboat excursion is an optional extra, so you’ll need to cover the costs yourself if you choose to participate.

Most groups enjoy a visit the Nature Club Resort, a local adventure activity centre on the edge of town. Activities can be arranged for anyone who wishes to visit the centre for the day, and visitors get stuck into thrilling quad biking adventures, zip line rides or scenic kayaking trips! Top attractions also include Saphan Mon (Sangkhlaburi’s iconic wooden bridge), the striking temple of Wat Wang Wiwekaram and the Sangkhlaburi Cultural Center, a place dedicated to teaching local children about Karen, Mon and Thai culture.

This day is designed with you in mind, it’s your opportunity to be flexible and to ‘go with flow’ of the town, so you’ll have to cover the cost of any additional meals or optional activities. Activities such as quad biking, zip lining and kayaking at the Nature Club Resort cost between 300 and 350 THB (£7 - £8).

Day 12: Goodbye Sangkhlaburi, hello Kanchanaburi!

Though we’re sure you’ll miss Sangkhlaburi, you’ll love Kanchanaburi, where waterfalls froth over rocks and the railway passes shimmering rivers.

The transfer from Sangkhlaburi to Kanchanaburi takes around 5-6 hours, and once you arrive you’ll be taken straight to your hotel for some rest and relaxation. There’s a swimming pool at your hotel so cool down and look forward to the days ahead!

In the evening you’ll have a tasty welcome dinner on rafts by the river, and your guide will go through the activities that are planned for the coming days.

Day 13: The waterfalls of Erawan National Park

Today you’ll fall in love with Erawan National Park’s ethereal waterfalls, named after the white elephant of Hindu mythology.  There are seven tiers of falls, and each runs into different pools – all of which you can swim in! How many tiers you walk up is up to you, and is of course dependent on weather conditions. A handy tip is that the best pool for swimming is on level 2, but due to its popularity it is usually the busiest, so you may like to seek out a lesser known pool for a more serene swim. The National Park is home to varied wildlife and beautiful caves and forests, and you’ll be surrounded by scenes of breathtaking natural beauty at every turn.

In the afternoon you’ll head back to the hotel to relax by the pool, or you may choose to take a 10-15 minute taxi ride to the town to grab a delicious Thai dinner or simply wander through Kanchanaburi’s vibrant streets.

Day 14: Free Day

Today you’ll have some time to build on your Kanchanaburi memories with a free day! A popular activity is a visit to a local elephant sanctuary committed to the rehabilitation of old, retired and rescued elephants. You can choose to watch the elephants bathe, and assist in the preparation and distribution of their meals. The elephant sanctuary in Kanchanaburi makes for a rewarding experience – and you’ll be pleased to know that the staff do not allow visitors to ride the elephants as their primary focus is on the health and wellbeing of these majestic animals. An excursion to the elephant sanctuary is an optional extra, so you’ll need to cover the costs. Expect to pay around £50 for this.

You may also choose to visit hilltop temple Wat Tham Sua, the centerpiece of which is an 18m tall Buddha decorated in gold mosaic! Stroll along Heritage Walking Street for a glimpse of the Kanchanaburi of a bygone age, home to a variety of architecture designed in Potugese, Thai and Vietnamese styles.

You can be as flexible as you like during this entirely free day, so it’s up to you to cover the cost of any meals and optional activities or excursions you might like to participate in.

Day 15: Temple sights, culinary delights, party nights

Today you’ll visit some local temples to learn about (and practice the art of) meditation. Mindfulness and tranquility are key to meditation, and it’s a great way to relax and get closer to Buddhist culture. You’ll then take part in a cooking lesson covering some of the real staples of Thai food, ready to wow your friends and family back home with your impressive recipes! The day will end with a party in town. Stunning temples, a lively cooking demonstration and a night of partying – a unique snapshot of diverse Thailand!

Day 16: Koh Tao here we come

Enjoy a leisurely start to the morning with a lie in and a dip in the pool. In the afternoon you’ll begin the overnight journey to Koh Tao – your very own slice of paradise. It’ll be a fairly long journey but it’ll give you the chance to sneak in one more nap after last night’s adventures!

Day 17: Koh Tao Arrival

Arriving on Koh Tao in the morning, you’ll be blown away by the natural beauty of this stunning island. Defined by crystal clear waters and lush green foliage, Koh Tao is an island paradise that you’ll have to see to believe.

You’ll check into your hotel (complete with pool!) and then have a free afternoon to explore or kick back and relax.

Days 18 – 21: Enjoy Koh Tao

You have the next four days to make yourself at home. Head out for a dive, explore the island, and take full advantage of the great nightlife – the opportunities are endless on this idyllic island. Make the ocean your playground with a dive or swim off the shores of one of the island’s many beaches and bays, or hike through the forest to take snaps of Koh Tao’s most incredible views. The island is renowned for its non-stop nightlife, so there’s always plenty to do after a busy day. Your guide will be on hand to advise you and help you to get the most out of Koh Tao.

Part of your time in Koh Tao includes a fun-filled snorkeling day trip, usually on Day 20, but this is subject to change if the weather isn’t ideal. You’ll take to the glittering waters as a group for a firsthand experience of the island’s magical marine life.

Koh Tao pulls in excited travelers from all over the world, so these four days will make for a once in a lifetime experience at a must-see destination. Apart from the snorkeling day trip, which is an included part of your itinerary, it’s up to you to choose and cover the costs of any optional extras you might like to experience.

Day 22: Koh Phangan – Island idyll

Another day, another island! After a relaxed morning you’ll transfer to Koh Phangan by boat and then be taken to your beachside hotel in a local taxi. You’ll arrive by mid afternoon, giving you plenty of time to hang out by the hotel pool and watch an awesome Koh Phangan sunset. The island has so much to explore, so make yourself at home and get ready for your second dose of beachside bliss!

Days 23 – 27: Koh Phangan – Paradise and parties

The next 5 days are for you to tailor-make your Koh Phangan experience. Our trips are planned to coincide with either the Full Moon party or Black Moon party, so at least one of your days (and nights!) will be spent experiencing the epitome of Thailand’s epic nightlife. There are also regular Jungle parties and Shiva Moon parties, so you’re likely to get more than one opportunity to dance the night away! Koh Phangan parties are a whirlwind of light, colour and euphoria, and you’ll be among the partygoers flocking to the beach to make the most of Koh Phangan’s stunning scenery and neon nightlife!

We will also arrange an Island Tour for the group, and the day we do this will vary depending on the timing of the Moon party. The tour will take you to some of Koh Phangan’s most unbelievable locations, including Bottle Beach, Haad Salad and Koh Ma.

Your guide will be on hand throughout your time on the island to give you advice on the best places to go and help you to organise any optional extras you’re interested in.

Day 28: Rediscover the Bangkok buzz

We’ll leave Koh Phangan early on Day 28 to head back to Bangkok via taxi, minivan, ferry and coach, so make sure your halo’s firmly on before heading back to the ‘city of angels’! After arriving in Bangkok somewhere between early and mid-evening you’ll check into your guest house with enough time to freshen up and wind down, and maybe take one last stroll around Khao San Road to bid farewell to this spectacular city.

Day 29: Farewell

Today your Thai Experience comes to an end, but we’re sure this is only the beginning of your love for this amazing country. Make sure you’ve swapped numbers with your fellow travellers – you could be planning your next Real Gap Experience together very soon!

Check out will be at 11:00am and your guide will be on hand to assist with any of your travel plans.

Please note that our trips dates are always designed to coincide with a Full Moon  party or Black Moon party, however in rare cases there may be unforeseen circumstances outside of our control that result in the party not going ahead.

NOTE: We aim for all trips to coincide with a Full Moon or Black Moon party, and for some trips the order of the visits to Koh Tao and Koh Phangan will be swapped to accommodate for this. (In this instance travellers will transfer from Kanchanaburi to Koh Phangan and then to Koh Tao from Koh Phangan.)  All trips will visit both Koh Tao and Koh Phangan!

Destination Information

If you’ve got the travel bug, Thailand is a must-see destination renowned for its varied landscape (the country combines dramatic mountain ranges with miles of uninterrupted beach, tangled city streets and stunning forests) and captivating collision of peaceful temples and buzzing party spots. This makes for a unique mix of the historical and the contemporary, and Thailand has earned a well deserved reputation as one of the most popular destinations for young travelers. It is the ideal location in which to spend a gap year, with an inexhaustible list of things to see and do, and enough uninterrupted terrain to ensure you’ll be able to beat the bustle and paint your own picture of Thailand.

Thailand has around 65,000,000 people and stretches more than 1,500KM from North to South, covering a range of landscapes and climates (although other than the mountain regions in the West and North it’s never very cold). Thailand’s currency is Thai Baht (THB) and the national language is Thai.

This trip will introduce you to Thailand with a magical spell in Bangkok, the captivating capital city. Established in 1782, the city has become the social, cultural and culinary capital of Thailand. Bangkok is home to glittering skyscrapers, colorful floating markets and dizzying nightlife, and has to be seen to be believed. With an approximate population of over 10 million people, you’ll be immersed in a whirlwind of hectic streets, so be ready to soak up the sights, sounds and sensations of non-stop Bangkok and its vibrant population. Culture vultures can visit inspiring temples to find their inner Buddha all while enjoying the irresistible lure of Bangkok’s cosmopolitan vibe. Bangkok has been dubbed ‘the city of angels’ by its inhabitants, and we’re sure you’ll find this incredible place to be a little slice of heaven!

You’ll spend 8 nights in Sangkhlaburi, a small town North West of Bangkok situated on the banks of a huge reservoir. This scenic town is home to rolling hills and lush forests, and the people living here are a diverse mix of Thai, Mon and Karen, so you’ll soon find the town to be a hub of culture and community. Although Sangkhlaburi is a region beloved by Thai people themselves, it is relatively lesser known and suitably off the backpacker’s beaten path. A fabulous place to trek and explore, and a must-visit destination for this once in a lifetime Thai experience.

Kanchanaburi is the capital town of Kanchanaburi province with around 30-40,000 people and is known to most overseas visitors as the home of ‘The Bridge over the River Kwai’. As the town is located at the point where two major rivers meet, it was the base for where the Japanese Army used local and POW labour to build the ‘Burma Railway’ during WWII. Because of this, Kanchanaburi is steeped in not only dazzling natural beauty, but a long and intriguing history. Kanchanaburi province is home to the beautiful Erawan National Park, where you can see crystalline waterfalls, and spot some of the wildlife the Park helps to conserve. The National Parks and forests are easily accessible from Kanchanaburi, making it the ideal base from which to explore.

Koh Tao – the blissful beach base you’ll be calling home for four nights. Fast becoming one of the most popular destinations for young travelers, and with an official population of only 2,000 people the island has a leisurely vibe and you’ll easily find your pace. Not only will this stunning island likely be one of the most beautiful places you’ve witnessed first-hand, but it will soon become your playground. Kick back on a strip of uninterrupted beach, or dive in the island’s glittering waters. Get the lowdown on the highlife and experience tropical living first hand at one of Koh Tao’s many laid back beach bars. With an array of activities ranging from trekking to vibrant nightlife, you’ll quickly put your stamp on Koh Tao.

Koh Phangan is Thailand’s 4th largest island with a population of around 12,000 people, though this increases depending on visitors and of course, party seasons! While it’s most famous for its legendary Full Moon parties, Koh Phangan has a host of other fantastic attractions for you to enjoy. Thousands of young thrill seekers flock to the island to party beneath the light of the moon, so get ready to don your day- glo paint and join them on the shores of Haad Rin beach. When not bathed in a sea of neon revelry, Koh Phangan is a serene spot in which to find some secluded bays, and there are plenty of small neighbouring islands to hop over to!

Trip Notes

What's Included

  • Airport pick up from Bangkok International Airport (BKK) and transfer to your Bangkok accommodation
  • Accommodation throughout your Real Gap Experience trip
  • All city to city and in country transfers
  • Breakfast throughout your Real Gap Experience trip and a Thai ‘Welcome Dinner’ on Day 2 of your trip
  • Lunch on Days 8 and 9 of your trip and dinner on Day 8
  • Guided canal boat tour of Bangkok
  • Guided bike tour of Bangkok
  • Guided tour of Sangkhlaburi
  • The guidance, supervision and materials required to participate in the volunteer project
  • A guided trek (water is included throughout the trek)
  • River rafting in Sangkhlaburi
  • Visit to the Erawan National Park waterfalls
  • Kanchanaburi temple and meditation visit
  • Thai cooking lesson
  • Snorkelling day trip in Koh Tao
  • Island tour day trip
  • The services of a fully qualified and registered Thai tour guide with you throughout your experience
  • 24/7 in-country emergency assistance phone line (staffed by native-English speakers)

What's Not Included

  • Flights and travel to and from Thailand
  • Visa
  • Travel Insurance, which is compulsory. We can provide you with some excellent policies to choose from
  • Meals unless specified otherwise
  • Transfer back to the airport and/or any onwards travel at the end of your trip
  • Entrance fees to the Moon Parties on Koh Phangan
  • Entrance fee to the Grand Palace during the Bangkok tour
  • Any optional extras, recreational activities and excursions not listed in the itinerary that you choose to experience during any free time

Additional Information & FAQ's

Minimum Age & Eligibility

The minimum age for this trip is 18 years. 

Accomodation & Meals

You’ll stay in a range of different styles of accommodation throughout your Real Gap Experience. When choosing your accommodation we always consider the feedback of hundreds of previous travelers, and your safety and comfort is always our main priority.

In Bangkok you’ll stay in twin or triple shared rooms in simple, clean and well run Guest House only 5 minutes away from the vibrant Khao San Road. All rooms will have air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms complete with western style toilets and hot water showers, and Wi-Fi access. Please note that the Wi-Fi is unlikely to be as quick and reliable as you’re used to at home.

Your Guest House is situated on a busy street with some fantastic bars and restaurants for you to enjoy, so you’re in the perfect position to immerse yourself in Thailand’s backpacker hub.

In Sangkhlaburi you’ll again stay in twin and triple shared rooms in a guest house or hotel located in the heart of this beautiful town. You’ll be within 3 minutes of local convenience stores, and very close to the local markets. You’ll find great bars and restaurants only a 5 or 10 minute walk away, so you’re never far from the action. This hotel is perfectly placed, and has accommodated a number of our Real Gap Experience groups. All rooms have air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms with Western style toilets and hot water showers, and there is complimentary Wi-Fi in the hotel reception, hotel restaurant, and hotel meeting area.

During your trek you’ll enjoy some authentic accommodation at a rural village. You’ll sleep in indoor tents at the headman’s house, complete with shared bathrooms and washing facilities. Please note that this night is very basic, but all the more fun for it! Wi-Fi isn’t usually available.

In Kanchanaburi you’ll be staying in a lovely hotel in shared twin or triple rooms, only a 10 minute local taxi ride from the centre of town. The hotel is situated on the banks of the river, providing you with a peaceful base for your activities. All the rooms have air-conditioning and en-suite facilities, and Wi-Fi will be available although the signal strength can vary. The hotel has a refreshing pool for you to enjoy after a fun day seeing the sights. The cost of local shared taxi’s from the hotel to the centre of Kanchanaburi varies  depending on the time of day and how many passengers there are, but you can expect to pay around 100-200THB each way, and your guide will help you to get the most reliable drivers and rates.

On Koh Tao you’ll stay in a great resort close to the beautiful Sairee Beach, the island’s main beach where you can enjoy a range of great bars and restaurants. All rooms are shared twin and triple, and have air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. The hotel has a lovely pool and often hosts pool parties! As with most other locations, Wi-Fi is available but the signal strength and reliability will vary.

On Koh Phangan you’ll be staying in the Ban Tai area in a fantastic resort right on the beach. This hotel has a restaurant where you can grab a tasty bite to eat, a swimming pool and direct access to the beach. Rooms will be on a shared twin, triple and quad basis, and all have air-conditioning and en-suite bathrooms. This is a superb base from which to enjoy and explore the island. To get from the resort base to Had Rin (home of the Full Moon Party) will take 15-20 minutes by local taxi (currently 100THB each way.) This location is very close to Had Rin, but relaxed enough that you can enjoy the island at your own pace. For those travelling during a Black Moon Party, you’ll be pleased to hear that it takes place right on your doorstep!

We will ensure that you share a room with a member of the group of the same sex and please remember to let us know if you are travelling with a friend, boyfriend or girlfriend and we will do all we can to ensure you are roomed together on the trip.

Meals listed in the itinerary are included. This covers breakfast during the majority of your experience, and some lunches and dinners. Any meals not included will be up to you to purchase, and this will be a fantastic opportunity to sample a range of Thailand’s culinary delights. Your guide will always be able to suggest different places to eat and we’d encourage you to be adventurous. Although food may look a little different to what you’re used to at home (and will be very different from any Thai takeaways you’ve had!) the flavours are phenomenal and it’s well worth eating some local authentic dishes.

You’ll find that eating out in Thailand is usually cheaper than eating out at home, but you’ll probably spend more if choosing Western dishes over local Thai cuisine. Noodle and rice based meals are easy to find and can be purchased from around 50THB – 75THB. Expect to pay around 75THB – 200THB for larger evening meals.

‘Western’ food in Thailand ranges in both price and quality. Usually you’ll ‘get what you pay for’, as cutting back on the cost of Western meals will usually compromise the quality. We suggest that you will be looking at anything from 150-200THB per meal up for Western style food.

We recommend some of these well-known (and more adventurous!) dishes to try during your stay:

  • Pad Thai: A well-known Thai noodle dish with zesty notes of lime. A must try for most travelers!
  • Khao Pad (fried rice): A rice staple that can be ordered with just about anything, from meaty chicken and pork dishes, to seafood and vegetable based dishes.
  • Massaman Curry: A mild yet rich, fragrant curry with complex and exciting flavours. Sangkhlaburi is famous for its tasty Massaman!
  • Moo Yang: Succulent grilled pork paired with a spicy dipping sauce
  • Gai Yang: A street food staple of perfectly marinated grilled chicken, often served with sticky rice.
  • Moo Gratha: This is the common term for Thai style BBQ eating. You can expect to pay anywhere between 150 and 250THB for delicious ‘all you can eat’ fare. Most places will offer a range of meats, shellfish, vegetables and more. As you cook everything yourself at your table, this is a fantastic and social way to experience Thai cuisine and culture.

We understand that everybody has personal food preferences and that some travelers may have allergies or intolerances, and our team in Thailand will always do their best to accommodate for this. Please do note, however, that not all preferences or intolerances are fully understood in Thailand, as Thai people tend not to suffer from the same set/level of allergies and intolerances that we do in the West. Of course, intolerances and allergies won’t hold you back from travelling, but while your guide will do all that they can to accommodate for this, we ask that you be patient and understanding of differences surrounding culture and food preparation. Please also be aware that foods may not be rigorously labelled.

Extra Notes

FLIGHTS

Your flight to Thailand should arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) on your programme start date. Your return flight or onward travel should be arranged on your programme end date.

To receive the included transfer from Bangkok airport to your accommodation your flight will need to arrive between 6am and 10pm on the programme start date.

To book your flights, please contact us on 01892 277037 to get you the best deal on the day.

It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your online account or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.

Please note: This programme requires a minimum number of participants to run. Please contact us to confirm whether the minimum numbers have been met for your start date, we recommend that you do not book your flights until we have confirmed these numbers and the programme will be running.

JOURNEY TRAVEL TIMES

Thailand is an amazing country and is very diverse with lots of different places to see. On this trip we take you to some of the highlights in all corners to Thailand to give you a varied view of the country. As such travel times between destinations can sometimes be longer than you would expect in the UK. Below is a list of approximate travel times between destinations. All times are approximate as nothing in Thailand is ever 100% on time!

Bangkok to Sangkhlaburi - 7-8 hours
Sangkhlaburi to Kanchanaburi - 3-5 hours
Kanchanacuri to Koh Tao - 11-13 hours
Koh Tao to Koh Phangan - 1.5 - 2.5 hours
Koh Phangan to Bangkok - 11-13 hours

WEATHER

Thailand’s ‘summer period’ is from March to June, where temperature hover around 34 degrees, and may reach heights of 40 degrees. Many travellers visit Thailand from November to February when the heat is punctuated with a cool breeze. Monsoon season is from July to October when Thailand sees most of its rainfall and can become very wet. During monsoon season, weather can be unreliable, however downpours are by no means constant, and the weather remains warm.

INTERNET

Other than during your trek, Wi-Fi is usually available at all the accommodation you will be staying at. However, please do note that at some locations you will need to pay a small fee, and the Wi-Fi internet service throughout Thailand can be a bit temperamental. Bandwidth is often limited so you may notice variations in speed and reliability. Face Time and Skype services usually take some time to buffer and may cut out, but accessing emails and social media sites is usually fine.

Please do let your friends and family know in advance that you will be out of contact for the couple of days you are trekking, as Wi-Fi will be unavailable.

If you do not have a phone, tablet or other mobile device with you, there are internet cafes in most locations (other than during your trek) that will enable you to keep in touch online. Costs usually start from around 30-50THB an hour.

TELEPHONE

The international dialing code to call a Thai number is +66, so if you’re calling a Thai number from a UK phone you’d simply put +66 in front of the Thai number.

To call the UK from Thailand you’ll need to put +44 in front of the UK number.

If you have a UK or other country mobile with you, you can usually get a signal throughout most of Thailand.  Please note that while you are trekking this can’t be guaranteed and from time to time signals may be relatively week. The costs of calls to the UK or other country will vary depending on your mobile phone provider – but be careful, charges are often GBP 1.50 and up per minute, so do check beforehand!

You can get a Thai SIM card very easily in Thailand (convenience stores such as 7-11 sell them) and it’s very easy to put credit onto these SIM cards. Your guide can help you to find somewhere selling Thai SIM cards and show you how to set it up. Do note however that some UK handsets that are tied into a contract are ‘locked’ and therefore won’t allow you to use a different SIM. However, you can pick up a basic mobile phone handset very cheaply (around GBP 15) which is a good way of keeping in touch via text / SMS and phone calls.

Do remember to let your family know that you’ve arrived safely – you’d be surprised at how many calls we get from families worrying when you’re busy making new friends and have forgotten to let people know you’ve arrived.

LAUNDRY

It won’t be possible to do your own washing at the accommodation you’ll be staying in unless you use your shower or sink. Everywhere you go (apart from during your trek) you’ll find reasonably priced washing services available. Please do note that during rainy season, which if roughly from June/July to September/October, it can take longer than usual for clothes to dry. Because of this, it’s best not to send clothes to be washed the day before you’ll be traveling to a new location.

ELECTRICITY

There are plug sockets at all accommodation so it’s simple and easy to charge your phone or devices. You’ll need to remember to bring a travel adaptor, and it’d be best to purchase one before travelling to Thailand as they’re much easier to find at home or at the airport. Do be careful not to overload sockets with too many devices! Sockets in Thailand accommodate plugs with two horizontally opposed flat or round pins, and the country uses 220V AC electricity.

Note: from time to time throughout rural parts of Thailand, and even occasionally in Bangkok, there are power cuts. Everything will be done to ensure the power is back up and running as soon as possible in the event of a power cut, but in the meantime there is nothing the hotels or your guide will be able to do about this!

LOCKERS

Some accommodation will have lockable drawers in your room, or a secure place to keep valuables at reception. However, we would advise you to leave very valuable items safely at home. Try not to carry too much cash with you as ATM machines are easily accessible throughout the country. If you are worried about any items you have please ask your guide for help in finding a safe place to store them.

LUGGAGE

We definitely advise you bring a backpack on your experience as they are often easier to carry to and from different modes of transport – and you will be in the backpacker’s hub of Thailand, after all! Do please note that irrespective of how much luggage your airline allows you to bring, there is a 20KG limit on most ferry services in Thailand. For each KG over this limit you should expect to pay a fee of at least 20THB. If you incur this fee it will be covered by you, and Real Gap Experience is unable to compensate for this additional charge. We strongly advise you to pack as lightly as possible and bring a lot less than 20KG in order to make travelling to and from different locales as easy as possible – and of course you’ll want to leave a bit of room for any purchases you’ll make during the trip!

TRAVEL INSURANCE

Please note, you must have adequate cover in place before your trip begins. Whether you’re travelling for two weeks or two years, insurance is an essential part of your adventure and will help you enjoy your travels, secure in the knowledge that you have the protection you need.

Of course you are free to buy insurance from any provider, however at Real Gap Experience, we have travel insurance that has been specifically designed to meet the needs of global travel that’s far from run-of-the-mill.

If you think you’re already covered by an existing policy, such as those provided by credit card providers, check the policy very carefully to ensure it covers you for your Real Gap Experience, specifically:

  • For the duration you require
  • For the activities you’re planning on doing

If you would like some further information about our insurance options please speak to one of our travel advisors.

MONEY MATTERS

The unit of currency in Thailand is the Baht (THB; symbol). There are 100 Satang to the Baht and coins come in denominations of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 Satang or 1, 2, 5 and 10B. Paper bills come in 20B (green), 50B (blue), 100B (red), 500B (purple) and 1000B (beige).

US Dollars are the other most widely accepted currency and credit cards can be used for a fee in most large cities or at resort hotels but are not often accepted by small locally run businesses. ATMs are found in all major cities and almost all provincial banks.
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant around $3
Domestic beer (from a local store) $2
Domestic beer (at a restaurant) $3
Coke/Pepsi (0.33 litre bottle) $0.53
Water (1.5 litre bottle) $0.5

(Prices quoted in US Dollar)

CULTURAL CONSIDERATIONS

Whilst parts of Thailand are developing very quickly and Bangkok can feel more modern than many Western cities, much of the country is still very poor and people have challenging lives. The accommodation you will be staying in is very basic and you will not have the luxuries that you may have in this country. Please respect that this is the way locals live and take the opportunity to experience this new way of life. The friendly people, the great atmosphere and beautiful location will more than make up for this. Most travellers enjoy this change in lifestyle. It is very healthy, refreshing and opens your mind to a new world.

RELIGON

Religion is an important part of Thai day-to-day life and the main religion is Buddhism. Around 4% of the country are Muslim (largely concentrated in the far south of the country) and there is a small Christian population.

CLOTHING

Note to all regarding clothes: Thailand is a very conservative country and, away from the beaches, people generally like to dress as smartly as possible and, even in rural areas you will see that most people are very conscious of being in clean and conservative clothes. Although no-one expects you to wear a suit and tie, and when at your project old t-shirts and shorts/jeans are totally appropriate, please do remember to cover up and try not to show too much flesh.

Boys – please note that wandering around without wearing a shirt/t-shirt is frowned upon (away from the beach) and in urban areas can draw the attention of the police.

Girls – please try not to expose too much flesh. Try to avoid t-shirts that expose too much and don't wear short shorts.

NOTE: When visiting a temple you are expected to cover up. Wear trousers or skirts and cover your shoulders, midriff and back.

There are plenty of opportunities to sunbathe and swim whilst in Thailand, so remember to take your bikini, swimsuit, swimming shorts etc. Flip-flops are the easiest and coolest footwear to take with you. Whenever you enter houses, temples, or home stays you will need to remove your shoes and leave them at the door. This will soon become habit and you won’t even realise you are doing it. Remember to take some trainers with you as well for the outdoor activities.

There are many opportunities to buy cheap clothes from markets. These are cool, cheap and ideal for the climate and social norms.

SMOKING, ALCOHOL & DRUGS

Smoking and drinking is acceptable in Thailand and readily available. However, please respect other people. Smoking is not permissible in volunteer apartments or the host families’ homes. Drinking is only permissible in moderation and must not impact upon any volunteer work you undertake. While we want you to have fun in your free time, antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated.

It is absolutely forbidden to carry drugs into Thailand. Being caught in possession of drugs can lead to at least a prison sentence and a hefty fine if you are lucky but remember there is still a very real threat of the death penalty for carrying drugs in Thailand. Always keep an eye on your luggage while travelling. Never bring anyone else’s luggage through customs.

BATHROOM FACILITIES

You will experience a range of different shower and toilet facilities. Unless you are staying in a hotel you will rarely have hot water. The cool water takes a little getting used to but we are sure you’ll find it refreshing after a hot and humid day. Toilets will be a combination of western and Asian. Remember to put all toilet tissue in the bin provided and not in the toilet.

You’ll find that many places don’t have soap or toilet/tissue paper in the bathrooms. Without going into too much detail, that’s what the water can be used for (as well as flushing) or often a small water spray pipe next to the toilet. It can be useful to carry a small bottle of antibacterial gel for washing hands and small packets of tissues.

VACCINATIONS & HEALTH

Travel health can often be something people forget about before going away, but a little preparation and knowledge can go a long way to help you stay fit and healthy while abroad. The risks to your health whilst travelling will vary depending on your general health and the type of activities you are going to be partaking in and the length of your stay.

Since we are not medically qualified, it is recommended that you consult with your General Practitioner or a recognised Travel Medical Advisory Service who will assess your particular health risks before recommending vaccines and/or anti-malarial tablets and advising you on what precautions you should take.

A useful website to visit in the first instance is http://www.fitfortravel.scot.nhs.uk

ZIKA VIRUS
Zika virus is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes and whilst the infection often occurs without symptoms it can cause an illness similar to dengue fever. There has recently been reported a  possible link between exposure to Zika virus (ZIKV) in pregnancy and microcephaly and other congenital malformations and investigations are ongoing.   We recommend you visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the latest travel advice prior to booking.

If you are already pregnant it is recommended you seek medical advice from your GP as The National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNac)advises  you should consider avoiding travel to areas where ZIKV outbreaks are currently reported.

SAFETY

As in most countries there are people who try to take advantage of tourists. The following advice is intended to help you keep safe:

  • Always keep your personal items such as passport, money and camera with you and in a safe place. You can buy mini padlocks to prevent people from going into your day sack without your permission.
  • Always walk around in groups, never go off with strangers and people that you have only just met
  • Never go out alone after dark
  • Stick with the escorted trips. If you do go out in the evening unescorted, you do so at your own risk. Please tell the co-ordinator or your home-stay family where you are going, what time you will be back and ensure you sign the release from.
  • Please do not get into fights, or arguments with local Thais. We cannot guarantee your safety and it could provoke future attacks on other travellers
  • As in this country there have been reports of drinks being spiked on the islands. Please do not leave your drinks unattended and do not accept drinks from strangers.
  • Most importantly of all, if you wouldn't do whilst your at home, then don't do it whilst you are away!

This information is not intended to scare you. Unfortunately, bad things can happen, as they can do in any country and we want you to be prepared. We want you to stay safe and have a good time.

We would like to add that the majority of the locals are friendly, warm and hospitable people who love meeting our travellers. Please be friendly, respectful and stay aware and you will have a great time.

We advise that you check your government’s advice before travelling abroad. For UK, American and Australian customers please see the relevant links below;

UK: www.fco.gov.uk

USA: www.travel.state.gov
Australia: www.smartraveller.gov.au

ATM THEFT

It is very likely that you will need to withdraw cash at some point during your travels. Please be cautious when withdrawing money from an ATM and ensure that you are vigilant of other people near the ATM, especially those that offer unsolicited assistance if your card is detained. It has been recognised that individuals are operating unlawful withdrawals by placing ‘traps’ in ATMs whereby personal bank cards are being detained, causing the victim to believe their card transaction has not been completed, and leaving their bank card in the ATM which is then later retrieved by the thief.

If your card is confiscated or you are concerned that your card has been tampered with, please report immediately to the bank or cancel your card.

Thailand Terrorist Threat

Thailand is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to Southeast Asia. Most visitors enjoy a trouble-free stay. However, Thailand does have a history of political instability and has experienced a number of military coups since 1932. The political future of the country remains uncertain, though the situation remains stable.

Over the past 3-4 years there have been a number of political demonstrations in Bangkok and some other urban areas. Tensions rise and fall but other than in 2010, most protests are usually peaceful and Thais still go out of their way to be hospitable to visitors. However, it’s always advisable to avoid large gatherings and listen to the advice of the team in country

LANGUAGE GUIDE

Here are some useful phrases to remember when you get to Thailand. We also suggest you obtain a Lonely Planet or language guide for the destination(s) you are travelling to.

Hello (Male speaker) - sawatdee krup
Hello (Female speaker) - sawatdee kaa
How are you? - sabai dee reu
Thank you - kop koon
I can’t speak Thai - phoot Thai mai dai
I don’t understand - mai kao chai
Do you understand? - kao chai mai
Where is the rest room? - hong nam yoo tee nai
How much does this cost? - nee tao-rai
What is this? - nee aria
Good-bye - la gon
Sorry/Excuse me - kor thoad
The bill please - Gep taang

SUPPORT & ADVICE

Your safety is paramount which is why all our programmes have been visited and assessments have been conducted to ensure any major risks have been minimised.

In addition, you will have access to a 24 hour emergency contact number so you can contact one of our UK staff at any time should you need to. In addition our overseas partners and coordinators are on hand in-country to assist you.

You may also want to consider our one day Gap Year Safety Course so you are well prepared for your overseas adventure find out more at www.realgap.co.uk/safety-course

Reviews

Overall Rating: (9/10)

54 Reviews

I've done this trip

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Dan Holmes

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

We did loads of amazing things on the trip, but a few that stand out for me have to be Elephant Haven Thailand where we were able to feed, walk with and wash a group of elephants, and also being able to play with a tiger cub at the Kanchanaburi Safari Park was a great experience! As well as these, I loved everything, including the Bangkok bike ride, jungle trek, Erawan National Park, Black Moon Party and Asia Blue Sea Safari trip - too many things to mention! I also made some true friends for life on the trip and am so glad I chose to do it!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Possibly just update the information to be more accurate i.e. you will need more than 500-600GBP than the itinerary states to do all that you want realistically. Maybe some more activities on Koh Phangan, although I know that these are expensive on the island.

Tips for other travellers?

1) Go alone like I did, then you can easily make new friends for life and are free to mingle with everyone in the group. Don't be nervous, you are all in the same boat - just be yourself! 2) Take more money than Real Gap suggest - I took 33,500THB (755GBP) and took part in the extra activities with everyone else 3) Don't overpack! You can buy clothes/toiletries/insect repellents over there and they are so much cheaper and accustomed to the country!

Any other comments?

Noina our tour guide was absolutely lovely and couldn't do enough to help our group. She is a credit to Real Gap and made it such a brilliant trip! On another note, there were two people that booked together on the trip but actually fell out halfway during the trip, making it quite uncomfortable for our small group of 7...we intervened to resolve this, but I think the best way forwards is for people to go alone on this sort of trip. I don't know what Real Gap can do to prevent this sort of thing from happening, just wanted to make it aware as it was a bit dampening on the trip!

Chanel Buckland

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Bee our tour guide was the best! Bike ride in Bangkok to see where the locals lives was good to see, and the palaces in Bangkok were amazing. Sangklabhuri was my favourite place, being with the locals and not surrounded by tourists allowed us to see another side to Thailand. The trek was challenging but was so worth it, definitely bring water shoes to trek the waterfall. Seeing different communities coming together in one area was sweet. Volunteering was so cute, definitely an experience to remember. There is also a nature park you can visit, zip lining was so good. Kanchanaburi had some free time, definitely go to the elephant sanctuary, amazing place to see the animals in a natural habitat and happy too. The waterfalls are beautiful at Erawan, highly recommend claiming to the 7th tier. The parties on the islands including full moon were a great end to the trip.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Maybe the nature club day out or the elephant sanctuary.

Tips for other travellers?

A suitcase is easy to live out of you don't need a backpack. Don't over pack like myself you'll want to buy so much at half the price. You don't need a mosquito net, you can buy great mosquito repellent in 7/11 in Bangkok which is better than ones from the UK and purchase tiger balm once you get there it will sort out any bites.

Harriet Luckhurst

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

So many highlights to chose from! loved every minute of my month in Thailand and I'm so sad I'm home. Bangkok was the craziest city I've visited and would of preferred a couple more days to explore, so make the most of the short time there! 9 days in Sangklaburi was a bit too long for my liking, being a remote local village there wasn't a lot to do so in the evenings or when you had any free time it could sometimes be a little boring. However on one of the free days we had, we went to the Nature Club Resort and went zip lining, which was amazing - a must do! Kanchanaburi was beautiful and spending the day playing with retired and rescued show elephants was the most surreal thing I've done, totally worth every penny and would happily of done it again the next day! The last week in Koh Phangan was the time to explore on our own and enjoy the island. Make sure you book the trip which includes the Full Moon party, so much fun and an amazing night out.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Only downside to the trip was spending a little too much time in one area, would of loved to of had some island hoping included in the trip.

Tips for other travellers?

bring a lot more money than you think you'll need. It was recommended to bring around £500/£600 but this was no where near enough. I spent around £800 and I did everything that was available! bring LOTS of mosquito repellant and after bite because trust me, you'll get eaten alive.

Any other comments?

ENJOY EVERY MOMENT AS THE MONTH WILL FLY BY AND YOU'LL BE HOME BEFORE YOU KNOW IT

Emily Hammans

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Everything on this trip was amazing. Bangkok was actually unreal. Think it helped that our group was such a crazy bunch and the nights out we had were amazing! Definitely suggest everyone try a scorpion (disgusting but you can say you've done it), get a Thai massage, and you also have to try the toasties from 7/11. A bit longer in Bangkok would have been good. Elephant sanctuary was also amazing and worth the money. Also make sure you book onto the month with the full moon party, you can't miss it! Make sure u go to jungle party night before too. Other amazing highlights were the total wipeout course, volunteering and snorkelling.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Chaing Mai and Phi phi islands.

Tips for other travellers?

Bring lots of mosquito repellent, bring a lot more money that you think you need and come with an open mind-travelling isn't going to be 5 star so expect flaws. Also real gal suggest bringing £500 spending money which is definitely not enough and wasn't for the majority of our group. I wanted to do everything and we went out a lot and I spent £750. However I could have spent a lot more

Any other comments?

Think we spent too much time in Sangklaburi, absolutely amazing place but 9 days was way too long. If we had a day or two extra in Bangkok and fitted in another destination it would have worked a lot better. The whole structure of the trip was amazing but I felt that the money paid for the trip wasn't exactly used as well as it could have been, flights to chaing Mai were really cheap so could have a few days there.

Poppy Thompson

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Volunteering in the Thai nursery in Sangkhlaburi, elephant sanctuary in Kanchanaburi, trekkin and going totally out of my comfort zone, full moon party!

Tips for other travellers?

Take lots of mosquito repellant with deet, it's just as easy to take a suitcase as a backpack and take part in anything offered to you!

Any other comments?

Take up any opportunity to do extra activities as you won't regret it! The island is the most expensive so make sure you save enough money for the last week, between 700-800 pound spending money should be more than enough! Staying up till sunrise at the full moon party is so,etching you have to experience!

Hannah Scholefield

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Looking after Thai children was amazing! Its one of the best things I've ever done. Zip wiring over a jungle was another and riding then bathing elephants.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Not at all. There was more than enough to do

Tips for other travellers?

Take a big bag Dont take too many clothes, buy them out there!! Be prepared for lots of bites

Ollie Foulger

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

Everything! Zip wiring across the jungle in Sangkhlaburi, Total Wipeout at Koh Phangan, and playing with the elephants are three which come to mind, but there are dozens of others. The contrasting locations that you cover make it even more memorable, from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok to the quiet and undeveloped jungle, and then a week partying on the islands! Oh, and having my own bungalow on the beach was a pretty good way to spend the last week!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Perhaps a more detailed guide of how much the optional extras cost? (just to budget properly)

Tips for other travellers?

- Do every single activity that is offered, they are all amazing, and far cheaper than you will find anywhere else. £700 for the entire trip was plenty (including EVERY activity and a fair bit of shopping/beer). - Bring old clothes, plenty of mosquito repellant, and pack lightly (suitcase) - you can do your laundry throughout the trip for next to nothing. - Talk to everybody in your group, and do everything together (far more fun) - don't just sit worrying about WIFI

Annie Warman

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

There are a lot!! Chang towers on Khao San Road, jungle trekking, the best food in Sangkhlaburi, volunteering, Erawan, Elephants World, cuddling lion cubs and feeding the giraffes in the safari, snorkelling by Koh Nangyuan, Full Moon party and all the beach parties on Koh Phangan, Bee and Wit and the friends for life I met on the trip.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

Another month.

Tips for other travellers?

1) Money! £700+ if you want to do as many of the optional activities as possible (well worth it), it's not great when you're running low with a week to go. Koh Phangan is where most of the money will go, food is much more expensive and buckets add up. 2) Bring clothes you're happy to get ruined, jungle trekking and swimming in lakes with elephants make your clothes brown forever! Suitcase is also as good as a backpack, if not better. 3) Make the most of every single day, create the best memories ever, enjoy the company of all your fellow travellers, and be prepared for serious post Thailand blues when you come home!

Lucy Mc manus

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

There were highlights at every stage of the trip- Bangkoks kao San road in general was brilliant for meeting other backpackers and they had the best shopping and cheapest massages! Lol sangklaburi was great for getting a real experience of rural Thailand- my highlight was the adventure park we went to where you could do zip lining, Zorbing and quad biking. The zip lining was absolutely terrifying (given my fear of heights!) but my favourite experience in sangklaburi. In kanchanaburi the elephant village was AMAZING .. Getting the chance to play in the water with the elephants was just incredible- and the elephants were so happy and playful! Then moving on to koh phangan there were so many highlights- SCUBA DIVING not to be missed! And the ang thong national marine park tour was great along with day trips to koh tao (great snorkelling), and of course the half moon party was simply not to be missed!!

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

I think I would have liked to have seen a few more islands- therefore just had more time in koh phangan to be able to visit some other places.

Tips for other travellers?

The biggest one- bring as many cans of mosquito spray as you possibly can! I was absolutely eaten alive by Mosquitos/ sand flies and the bites can be really itchy. When you do get bitten the tiger balm in 7/11 stores is the best thing to use! Try to get to know everybody in the group- when you make friends it's easy to just stay with the same people all of the time but the group dynamic is so much better when you try to integrate with everyone. Also do NOT sit on wifi at every opportunity! You will be wasting your chance to enjoy the experience! SAVE AS MUCH MONEY AS YOU CAN FOR THE ISLANDS! The islands are in the last week and it is the most expensive part of the trip by far so you need to have quite a lot of money left for the week. You don't want to miss out on anything so make sure you have enough to be able to participate in all of the amazing activities.

Any other comments?

The Chang beer in Thailand has no sell by date- keep this in mind when your drinking a beer because it could b lying in a cellar for 2/3 years and be a LOT stronger as a result!! Lol Be really careful about your buckets in koh phangan!Just don't let any alcohol you have out of your sight and if you do, then just leave it! Thank you to sugar for being a fantastic tour guide and also to smithy who came in half way through the trip. Met some of the most incredible people who absolutely made my trip, love you all!!! ??

Emma Harding

How would you rate your overall experience?

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How do you rate your arrival overseas and orientation (if applicable)?

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Would you recommend Real Gap Experience?

Yes

What were the highlights of your trip?

So many! Bike ride around Bangkok, zip lining, elephants, jungle trek and so many more but those are the ones that stick out the most.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have added to your itinerary?

It would of been nice to see some of the other islands as part of the trip, we did it ourselves but it definitely wasn't as good.

Tips for other travellers?

You CAN take a suitcase, I was adamant I needed a backpack despite the other reviews telling me I didn't but I wish I'd taken a suitcase so I didn't have to unpack every time I wanted a top. The rooms aren't massive so living out of a suitcase would have been a lot easier. Do everything, take more money than you think you'll need so money doesn't become an issue towards the end. We had a few issues with our guide not telling us exactly how much things cost and then getting there to find out it was a lot more than we thought, so just be prepared for that. It'll be worth it though I promise. Wear SO much sun cream, even if you don't normally need it. If you get burnt it'll ruin the next few days. Also don't expect 5 star accomodation, it's not luxury but that's all part of the fun!

Any other comments?

Everyone in the reviews said how amazing their tour guide was, unfortunately I think ours could of been more helpful. For example one girl got her bank card stollen and needed to get to a Western Union, and it took him about a week and a half to get her to it so she could get her money. I mean he was lovely and a great friend but not always the best at the job.

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Thailand Experience 12th Aug 2017 £1,179 Book Now
Thailand Experience 11th Sep 2017 £1,179 Book Now
Thailand Experience 14th Oct 2017 £1,179 Book Now
Thailand Experience 11th Nov 2017 £1,179 Book Now

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