Vietnam & Thailand Unleashed!

Perfect trip for first-time travellers who would love to see 2 fantastic Asian destinations. You do not need a huge budget and it is a great way to meet people as you join our groups! Don’t worry about being alone, 85% of travellers travel solo. You will be joining a group of like minded travellers, once you book you have an online buddy list to chat to others before you go!

 

If this is your first set into travelling. Make it an awesome trip! Enjoy the best of  Vietnam and Thailand on this superb combined group travel adventure! Starting of in Vietnam for a 3 week experience followed by 3 weeks in stunning Thailand!

Vietnam & Thailand Unleashed

Perfect trip for first-time travellers who would love to see 2 fantastic Asian destinations. You do not need a huge budget and it is a great way to meet people as you join our groups! Don’t worry about being alone, 85% of travellers travel solo. You will be joining a group of like minded travellers, once you book you have an online buddy list to chat to others before you go!

    3 Weeks Vietnam  Highlights:

  • Fancy going somewhere completely different? You will love Vietnam travel through the entire country and soak it in!
  • Explore the vibrant 1,000 year old of the historic city of Hanoi during the first week, stay outy on Halong bay. Epic!
  • New fun and new friends. It´s about the journey with superb landscapes, mountains and coastlines
  • Go trek the amazing Sapa mountain and learn about the culture here, visit markets
  • Discover Ho Chi Minh City and dwell on the history of Vietnam
  • No worries about going it alone, this trip has a buddy list so you can chat to other people on the trip before you go!
  • 3 Weeks Thailand  Highlights:

    Squeeze out the most fun! This 3-week trip has been tailored for you: Introduction in Bangkok, visiting temples and other cultural sites, live among elephants, bathe in waterfalls, trek through national parks, adventure day on a paradise island,  beach parties and lots of beach time.

  • Trekking through national parks & discovering cool waterfalls
  • Volunteering with Elephants and Mahouts
  • Exploring exciting Bangkok and stay in a fun backpackers hostel near the backpacking Mecca Khao San Road
  • Koh Tao adventure day with boats, snorkelling, paradise islands and viewpoints
  • Lots of Chill time on Koh Tao and beach parties to remember
  •  

Photos

Vietnam

Thailand

Starting In Vietnam

Vietnam is blessed with natural beauty. It has it all. Mountains, lowlands, a huge coastline coated in beaches, national parks that are the envy of the world like Sapa and Halong Bay, and a culturally rich and troubled history that makes visiting Vietnam such a unique and interesting experience, it will be more than your average holiday.

This trip is about showing you all the best sites and attractions in Vietnam, whilst offering you lots of cultural interaction in a group and leaving you happy in the knowledge that you will be well looked after during your stay.

After 3 weeks Vietnam it´s time for Thailand

This is our top-selling trip! Loaded with activities there is never a dull moment. A great way to travel Thailand safely in a group, you have a jam packed itinerary showcasing the best this amazing country has to offer. An intro week, an adventure week, and a beach week. You will be checking out Thailand in the best possible way and fully guided! Let the good times roll.

This is what happens: Check Full Itineraries

Please note this is a flexible itinerary. Due to local conditions, changes can and often do happen at local level,  which means the above itinerary, and things listed in the included section,  is meant as a reference guide as to what might happen not as a contractual obligation as to everything included. Sometimes we add additional things into the itinerary, sometimes we do not do all the things listed due to group members wanting to do other activities instead.

FIRST WEEK

Day 1, Arrival Day

Arriving on Sunday or start your adventure in the all some ancient capital of North Vietnam Hanoi. This is it! The beginning of your 3-week adventure that is full of excitement, culture, history, a road trip and great times with new friends. With an airport pick up included you settle into your accommodation in Hanoi, you´ll get a chance to meet up with your fellow backpackers and find out about everyone you´ll be spending the next few weeks with.

Most people on our Vietnam Experience are in the same boat, i.e. they are travelling solo, so there is no need to be nervous. You´ll be far too busy to worry about that!

Day 2 Hanoi old quarter

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (70)To new visitors, Hanoi is a fantastic city bustling with crazy drivers, overloaded bicycles, colourful markets and street food stalls selling local dishes, some of which aren´t always identifiable (and yes, they are partial to chomping on a bit of Fido!).

Luckily you have a guide to help you through that initial culture shock, allowing you to absorb it with a bit of help. You´ll visit the 12th century Temple of Literature, see a local music performance and have lunch in the Old Quarter when your guide will take the opportunity to tell you all about what the next four weeks have in store. In the evening, you´ll have dinner and see a performance at the world famous water puppet theatre.

By the end of today, the sensory overload will either have you sleeping like a log or wide awake with wonder! Check out this gallery on our blog for more photos!

Day 3

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (63)Today we are heading to Halong City gateway to the world heritage site of Halong Bay.

Halong Bay, which means ´Bay of the Descending Dragon´, is approximately 170km north of Hanoi and is famous for its surreal and somewhat eerie landscape of over 3000 limestone monoliths that rise imposingly from the ocean.

Just make sure that you get those all important emails addresses from your trip mates so that you can swap photos and keep each other up-to-date with any more adventures you do. Believe us, this trip will leave you wanting more. There is no vaccination for the travel bug!!

Day 4 and 5

Vietnam is full of epic landscapes, Giao Xuan is a stunning little village that will not disappoint. Today we’ll learn everything there is to know about Vietnamese culture. You will be learning some basic trying your hand Vietnamese cooking, and we will even take you to a local market where you can haggle for some ingredients for a major feast later that day.

Day 6 Quintessential Vietnam paddy fields caves and temples

Vietnam gap yearToday involves a relaxing boat trip around Tam Coc and Dinh Cac Pier, which has a stunning landscape of towering karst islets and vast expanses of paddy fields. You´ll also float through three impressive natural caves, which is what the name Tam Coc means, ´three caves´. This whole area epitomizes rural Vietnam, and you´ll want to make sure your camera is charged.

After lunch, you can cycle to the village and onto Thai Vi Temple and Bich Dong Pagoda, which dates back to 1428 and is located on Ngu Nhac Mountain.

Day 7 and 8 (Sat & Sun)

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (66)Its weekend! You have a couple of days ´off´ at this point in the trip – that is you are free to explore at your own pace and see what you and your adventuring friends can find. Meet up in the evenings and swap stories and photos with the whole group, while soaking up the atmosphere and thinking about everything you’ve seen and done so far. Typically the groups head out to Cuc Phuong National Park, the picturesque waterfall, and temples of the 11th c former capital, Hoa Lu. Our guides can offer you advice on what’s best to see in the area.

SECOND WEEK:

DAY 9 (MON) SAPA

A local village, hill tribes and beautiful scenery are on the agenda today. Cat Cat Village is about 1km from Sapa, located at the bottom of the Muong Hoa Valley and as you walk there you´ll see the breathtaking mountains, over 3000m high, and the green rice terraces that drop almost 1000m below. You´ll also pass the sparkling Cat Cat waterfall. The village itself is home to the H´Mong tribe, who retain many of the old customs and traditions, some of which you can see, such as hand weaving and dying of materials to make textiles. Have you still got room for souvenirs?!

Locals and villages

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (115)We hope you´re feeling well rested for today as there is a 10km trek through the hills, past the streams and into the valley of Muong Hoa to visit Ta Van village, where you’ll stay overnight with a local family. This gives you the chance to experience firsthand the lifestyle and culture of the people living in this area. After the long trek, the pool is bound to look appealing to soothe those aching muscles! You also have the chance to pitch in and help to cook dinner (you might even get to use some of the skills you learnt in your cookery class) before settling down for a peaceful night with your local hosts.

Day 10 (Tue) trekking
Bring your trekking boots because we are going on an epic journey. 10 hours of trekking through hills, paddy fields and classic Asian scenery until we hit Ta Van village. Take a dip in the pool there because you have deserved it.

Day 11 (Wed) Waterfalls and landscapes and trekking

You´ll have been glad for a peaceful night as today is an amazing seven hour round trip trekking to a waterfall and passing through some stunning landscapes along the way something that you´ll probably be getting used to now, given how beautiful the country is. Anyway, you´re young and fit so no slacking, you can handle it!

Day 12 (Thu) Sapa

Back to Sapa and a well-earned rest. Kick back and sip a 666 Vietnamese beer. Super cheap and very tasty!

Sapa town

Sapa  is perfect for a well-earned rest. You´re more than halfway through your adventure so you can sit back, chill out and reflect on all the places you’ve been, things you see and people you´ve met so far. We reckon by this point you´ll realize this is one of the best things you’ve ever done!

If you are up for it check out the beautiful orchid gardens on the Ham Rong Mountain. Located in Sapa town, you don´t have far to travel to admire the panoramic views, gardens and unusual rock formations. It is well worth the effort of walking to the top as once you get there, and along the way, you´ll be rewarded with some great photo opportunities.

Day 13 (Fri) Market

Today you’ll visit the beautiful local market and beautiful old Sapa church in the morning.  You’ll have free time for the rest of the day until your bus back to Hanoi.

Day 14 and 15 (Sat & Sun) Hanoi craziness free time

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (146)Yes weekend again :). You’ve had quite a number of days admiring the beautiful Vietnam countryside and now it´s back to crazy Hanoi. You have a couple of days to explore more of the city, after which time you can decide whether you love it or hate it, it´s a bit like Marmite! Your guide will be able to give you the low down on the best places to visit and where to eat and drink.

You then have two days to explore the incredible city of Hanoi – our guides can give you some great suggestions of places to go, although often the group will have their own ideas there is only things you can see and do it will be hard to cram it all in. Stock up on snacks and charge your smartphone batteries because the following night you will be doing a very long bus trip which takes us to Hoi an.

THIRD WEEK 3: DAYS 16 – 21

Day 16 Hoi An is awesome

You will arrival to Hoi An in the afternoon and have time to visit Hoi An Old Quarter.  It has a distinctly French colonial flare, and it’s also an awesome place to get any type of clothing tailor-made for you!

You could spend time exploring the town and its many alleyways of cute shops, cafes and extensive food market or maybe hire a scooter and head out to the gorgeous local beaches.

Day 17 Ancient Ruins

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (143)You will visit the ancient ruins of the Cham dynasty in My Son. Ancient ruined temples two massive towers a really special place.

We will join the bus to transfer to Nha Trang tonight.

Day 18 & 19 Beach time

Na Trang has fantastic beaches and great nightlife. Nha Trang’s golden beaches are yours for the taking, alternatively, take a boat trip to nearby islands or sample sumptuous seafood.

Day 20 Saigon/ Ho Chi Minh

It’s been a huge epic journey but finally, we’ve made it to Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Sai Gon)! Arguably one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam, it has a distinctively different feel to Hanoi.

Day 21 (Sat) Saying goodbyes

Vietnam Backpacking Xtreme Gap Year (23)On day 24 you will stay in Sai Gon where it will be time to say goodbye to your travel buddies. Lifelong friendships will have been formed, incredible time is had by all, in a truly stunning country. At the end of an amazing trip before continuing with your onward travels

This evening we travel to Koh Tao by bus and boat, arriving on Koh Tao the next morning.

Day 1: WARM WELCOME ON ARRIVAL

Arrival day the moment you have been waiting for! The start to an awesome life changing Thailand trip! First off, if you have not been travelling before… it will be ok. We make it a a hassle free arrival, the Xtreme Team will collect you from Suvarnabhumi Airport (the international airport in Bangkok) and take you to your super convenient Bangkok accommodation, which is a stone’s throw from the famous Khao San Road. The accommodation has a movie room, 2 pool tables, free WIFI and lots of Xtreme Gappers awaiting to join the adventure.

You will have the rest of the day/evening, depending on when you arrive, to relax after a long flight and meet the rest of your group. If you arrive in time we head out for a delicious Thai meal (local payment about £3-8) and explore the buzzing Bangkok area!

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 2: WELCOME ORIENTATION AND EXPLORE BANGKOK

We will take it easy and all meet up at around 10:00 am to start a “real exploration” of Bangkok. This will be lead by our group leader, who will be with you for the next 2 weeks.

Prepare to see incredible things as we include an awesome boat trip through the ancient water ways of Bangkok. Not only will you get to experience stunning traditional communities off the backpacker trail, but we will also take you to the majestic Wat Arun – The Temple of the Dawn, Wat Pho, which is home to the most important reclining Buddha in the whole of Thailand and Wat Phra Kaew –  The Grand Palace.

watt arun thailandExpect an authentic look into traditional Bangkok and lets you see some of the most beautiful temples Thailand has to offer. The tour will last about 4 hours.

In the afternoon we head back to our guesthouse, just in time to freshen up and chill out before your ‘Welcome Dinner’ in the evening. After dinner, we are off to the infamous and exciting Khao San Road, the backpacker area of Bangkok,  where you will get a taste of the Thai nightlife.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Guided tour of Bangkok
• Welcome Dinner
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 3:  KANCHANABURI RIVER ADVENTURES!

After a relaxing morning, and hopefully a full recovery from a fun night out in Bangkok, we arrange a private minivan to gorgeous Kanchanaburi north of Bangkok, which usually takes about 3 hours, depending on the Bangkok traffic!

Kanchanaburi is where the Kwae Yai and Kwae Noi rivers meet and is as picturesque as Thailand can get, with a magnificent backdrop of forested mountains stretching all the way to the Burmese border.

It’s famous for the film location of the movie ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’ where thousands of prisoners of wars and local Thai’s were forced to build the ‘Burmese Railway’ during WWII, it is a historic setting, but today it has transformed into a fun, chilled-out riverside town and your path to some great activities and experiences.

There´s lots to do here. Visiting museums and temples, swimming in pools by waterfalls, kayaking the rivers, and checking out temples

Once we have arrived, we check you into the hotel, freshen up and there is time to explore the area, see the sights and learn about the history – and of course enjoy a Singha beer or two while trying out some more traditional Thai food.

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Private transfer to Kanchanaburi
• Overnight accommodation in twin / triple shared rooms with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 4: BATHE IN STUNNING WATERFALLS

waterfallToday you’ll visit the exquisite waterfalls in the Erawan National Park. These waterfalls are considered one of the most beautiful places on earth, the waterfalls are truly made of absolute wonder! You will get to explore the several levels of these magnificent falls, each filtering into the different pools below, which you can swim in. How high you go, is of course up to you. The highlight here is a natural water slide that shoots you several metres down smooth stone into the emerald coloured water, so remember to have your GoPro’s and cameras charged! You are most definitely going to need them.

After your morning of photo shoots and an insane amount of fun and relaxation, you will head back to the hotel for the afternoon where you will have the chance to head into town and explore. Our guides are super knowledgeable of the area, so be sure to ask where all the best spots to eat, chill or party are.

Inclusions
• Breakfast
• Erawan Waterfall day
• Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 5: KAYAKING ON THE RIVER KWAE AND EXPLORING THE LOCAL AREA

The river Kwae is a real paradise for Kayaking! After breakfast at our Guest House, we will take you out for a fun-filled day of adventure, where you will get to go kayaking on the river Kwae and also explore some of the highlights of the local area. You might even see some monkeys on the way! Don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional for this, in fact, no prior experience is needed, the river is pretty easy to navigate, you will get to see and experience the surroundings from a completely unique perspective.

Don’t forget sun cream, you will get a tan when you’re out and about today! After your epic day of kayaking and exploring the local area, we will head back to the Guesthouse to freshen up and get ready for dinner, a chilled evening at the cool laid back bars and enjoy a few cold ones as we watch the river go by.

Inclusions:

  • Breakfast
  • Kayak trip on the river Kwae
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 6: EXPLORE THE HEART OF THAILAND

Today we take you into the ‘heart’ of Thailand, the North East, known in Thailand as Isaan (Surin). If you ever wondered why Thailand is known as the ‘Land of Smiles’ wonder no more, you are now surrounded by one of the friendliest groups of people on the face of our planet. Surin is by far, one of the more ‘off the beaten track’ areas of Thailand and by the time you arrive you will have experienced the overwhelming and humbling friendliness from the local villagers.

The area is renowned for the best rice and you will be an absolute expert by the time you leave. They are also well known for its mixture of Thai, Khmer and Gwi people, it’s insanely awesome food (loads of chilli) and it’s elephants, who have played a major role in the communities here for centuries.

Once again, we have arranged a private vehicles and while the journey is around 8-9 hours, we will stop for lunch and we make the odd stop to stretch your legs. Tip: take some music with you, as nothing is better than to listen to good music, gaze out of the window and see the palm trees and rice paddies.

When you arrive, we check into your hotel for tonight, a fantastic place in Surin town, where you can freshen up before we take you out to the night market to find the best places to eat. The food in Surin town is so delicious, so don’t be afraid to get out there and explore, our recommendation, foodie lovers, is the night market – Best chow in town.

Inclusions:

  • Breakfast
  • Private transfer from Kanchanaburi to Surin
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Days 7-9:  ELEPHANTS & CULTURE!

thailand elephantLooking after Elephants is on the cards for the next three days. After a bite to eat in the morning, we will leave Surin Town and make our way to a rural ‘elephant village’ about 50km’s away. The main highlight of this trip and also a really unique opportunity is not only to spend time with elephants, but also to live in a small rural Thai community, which is something which is fast becoming more and more difficult to experience. This is what backpacking and adventure is all about. Living like the locals and truly immersing yourself in the culture of the people and the land.

Our project has been vetted to ensure it is ethically run. There is absolutely NO elephant riding by our guests.

During these three days, you will get to:

  • During these three days, you will get to:
    • Walk with the elephants to the local river and help the mahouts bathe them
    • Help the mahouts clean the elephant areas
    • Harvest / plant crops (depending on the season) for the elephants
    • Kayak on the local river
    • Learn how to make simple but great Thai food

     

    In the elephant village, you will get the awesome opportunity of living in a homestay, with the village headman and the members of his family, this is an Absolute honour and is something that you will truly take back with you. And…you will be sleeping just a few metres away from elephants.

    Note: On day 7 we’ll have lunch and dinner in the elephant village, on day 8 we’ll have breakfast, lunch and dinner in the village and on day 9, breakfast and lunch. All a great opportunity to cook alongside the local team and learn a few new foodie tricks – great to take home and show off to friends and family.

    Day 9 In the afternoon we will have to say goodbye to the elephants and new friends and head back to Surin town, staying overnight at the same hotel as on Day 6.

    Inclusions

    • Transfer to and from the elephant village
    • Elephant activities listed
    • Day 7- breakfast at the hotel in Surin, lunch, and dinner and the elephant village
    • Day 8-  breakfast, lunch and dinner at the elephant village
    • Day 9- breakfast, lunch and dinner at the elephant village
    • Day 7 and 8- basic accommodation in the elephant village, shared dorm style rooms with mattresses on the floor, mosquito nets, fans and shared toilet and washing facilities
    • Day 9 – Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 10: KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK DAY

Today we leave for Khao Yai National Park, this is the 3rd largest national park in Thailand. This rainforest is a World Heritage Site declared by UNESCO. The journey (by minivan or train, depending on the group size) will take roughly 3-4 hours and once you arrive in Pak Chong (the gateway to the National Park). We will check you into your base for the next 2 nights.

Inclusions

  • Breakfast
  • Transfer by minivan / coach or train to Pak Chong (depending on group size)
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning , en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 11: TREKKING AND FOREST ENCOUNTERS

Khao Yai is absolutely stunning and one of Thailand’s most famous National Parks, but is often left off of travellers itineraries in their anticipation to just head to the beach. But you won’t miss out! Khao Yai boasts ancient and majestic towering forests, wild elephants and tigers, a colourful array of bird life and a number of different species of monkeys. This is a fantastic place to get a feeling of how much of Thailand really used to be. You will get to experience more beautiful waterfalls, one of which Leo Di Caprio jumped off (or pretended too!) for the making of The Beach.

You will spend the day exploring the National Park with a specialist guide, where you will hopefully get to see wildlife, like the herds of wild elephants. A bit of simple forest trekking is also on the menu for today. It’s superb fun, and again, don’t forget your camera and GoPro’s, but also don’t forget to just enjoy this day of splendour in this impressive natural landscape.

Inclusions

  • Khao Yai Adventure day and all park entry fees
  • Lunch during the Adventure Day
  • Services of specialist National Park guide
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin / triple shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

 

Day 12:  R & R IN BANGKOK       

Today we start heading back to Bangkok (by train, minivan or coach depending on group numbers) arriving back in the buzzing city of Bangkok around mid-afternoon if traffic is not too hectic.

You will check back into the same accommodation as at the start of the trip and you can have the evening to enjoy some shopping, exploring or partying …or why not just do all three?

Inclusions:

  • Transfer to Bangkok (usually by train)
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

 

Day 13:  BANGKOK CYCLE TOUR

One of Bangkok´s most unforgettable experiences. Experience local life and Thai culture by bike. After winding our way through the back alleys and streets of Bangkok’s backpacker district we head across the river and through some of the oldest communities in the city.

Passing by ancient temples, fascinating communities that seem so far removed from the rest of the city and all the while following the course of the river and canals this really is a spectacular opportunity to see a side of the city that is so often missed by travellers.

The tour takes around 3 hours – but times can and do vary! – and in terms of distance is not very far (+/-10km). And with Bangkok being totally flat it’s perfect for anyone and everyone, whether you’re a regular rider or not!

Inclusions:

  • Behind the Scenes Bangkok Bike Tour
  • Overnight accommodation in a twin shared room with air-conditioning, en-suite bathrooms and hot water

Day 14: BANGKOK, IT IS ALL YOURS!

Today you have a free day to spend with your new friends. There are plenty of options to keep you busy with the rest of the group. Ask your guide for suggestions! As this is the perfect place to go shopping prior to hitting the islands be sure to spend some time at the MBK shopping mall! It’s an experience and a great place to hunt for bargains! If you are feeling a little bit tired from all the fun and travelling, maybe a traditional Thai massage is the perfect antidote.

  • You’ve got most of today to do your own thing and explore a bit more of this fantastic city – just ask your guide for inspiration and they’ll help you see what you’d like to see.
  • Lots of people enjoy a lazy day today – we’re pretty sure you’ll have hit the bars and clubs last night – but if you want to get out and about why not do one of the following:
  • Give your body a treat and have a 2 hour Thai massage – trust us, you won’t regret it. There are loads of massage shops all around the Guest House with prices starting at +/- 250/300THB
  • Jump in a taxi and see the ‘other side’ of Bangkok – if you like a bit of retail therapy or even just window shopping then have a look at Siam Paragon, Siam Centre and Central World. All huge fancy shopping malls, great for people watching and even better if you’re craving a bit of comfort food from home. A taxi from your Guest House to Siam will cost around 150THB depending on the traffic!
  •  If you’ve not had enough of boats and the river, then taking one of the boat ‘buses’ up the Chao Phraya is a brilliant way to spend a few hours. The ferry pier is only 10 mins amble from your Guest House and for the princely sum of between 15 and 19THB you can head all the way to Nonthaburi pier taking in all the sights and sounds of the city. Once you’re at Nonthaburi, have an explore and take a look at Bang Kwang Prison (the infamous Bangkok Hilton) and get lost in the local markets. Then simply hop back on a ferry back to where you started. Probably the cheapest day out possible in Bangkok!

All these trips and more can be arranged by your guide – just tell then what you’d like to do and they’ll help you get everything sorted. Just make sure you’re back at the accommodation by 6pm to meet back us with your group and begin the journey to the beach.

Whilst your guide from this part of the trip won’t be travelling to the islands with you, don’t worry, they will ensure that you know exactly what the plan and that you have all the contact numbers you need. They will then walk with you all to the check in for the transfer to Koh Tao and stay with you until you’re all safely aboard the overnight coach heading to the islands. Not long now until you see one of the most stunning islands in South East Asia!

Inclusions:
• Breakfast
• Late check out from the accommodation – meaning you can store your bags and freshen up before you head on the coach
• Overnight transfer from Bangkok to Koh Tao (arriving the morning of Day 15)

This evening we travel to Koh Tao by luxury coach and fast boat, arriving on Koh Tao the next morning.

Please note the guide will not accompany you to Koh Tao, the group will be put on the bus and met at the other end by our rep in Koh Tao.

Day 15: ARRIVAL PARADISE ISLAND KOH TAO

On arrival, you will have a full introduction from our resident rep who will settle you into the island life and it will go like this:

    • You arrive by night bus and boat on Sunday morning where you will be picked up and taken to your accommodation where breakfast is served!
    • Once you are checked in, you have time to relax, jump in the pool at your resort and freshen up.
    • In the afternoon around 4, our Rep Miss Jai will meet you and the rest of the group at the bar and give you an intro to Koh Tao. She will show you around, tell you the essentials and show you where everything is, like ATMs, pharmacies, beaches and activity locations. She is on hand throughout the week if you need her too.
    • You will then go out for dinner (on us) with the rest of the group, expect a tasty Thai curry! The next day you will be taken by miss Jai to start your activity, depending on the option you have picked.
    • Your Koh Tao itinerary will be explained to you locally. Where and when you have to be will be put up on the Xtreme Gap notice board at the resort.

Day 16-21: BEACH WEEK

IMG_1904The Koh Tao Beach is there so you can enjoy some serious beach time. 6 full days to chill and party and chill and party. You will also have your Xtreme Adventure Day where we take you snorkelling and we visit Koh Nang Yuang by longtail boat, a stunning little island of the coast of Koh Tao.

TROPICAL ISLAND PARADISE…WOW!

Koh Tao has some of the best beaches in Thailand, it is also one of the most popular backpacker hubs in South East Asia, but not ruined like some of the other islands, there is a great community and vibe to the place you are going to love spending time here.

We have many Xtreme Gappers resident on the Island as we run lots of different trips there so there is lots going on. It is also a great place to learn to dive as well, so you can take advantage of getting your PADI Open water while you are there as well.

This part of the trip is all about being social and having fun, you can take long tail boat trips round the island, enjoy amazing Thai food and stay up all night in some of the best beach clubs and bars in Asia. After a few days of chill, you will want to pick up the pace again, so we finish the trip with the action week! The Koh Tao adventure day is the perfect end to the week.

FOOD & EATING OUT

Please note we include 1 breakfast and 2 meals on Koh Tao. There are plenty of restaurants serving delicious and healthy Thai food as little as one pound per meal and there is a restaurant the resort also.

We do not include food because it’s such a sociable atmosphere with so many great places to eat and explore you will want to go off and eat out with lots of new friends. Including food would really limit your options and detract from the whole experience. Bear in mind though we do include food for the first two weeks of this programme (Most other gap year companies ´s Thailand programmes do not) so you have already saved over £250 worth of spending money by booking with Xtreme.

You will receive a welcome breakfast, a lovely Thai meal on your first evening in Koh Tao and a BBQ after the Beach Clean up day though.

THE ADVENTURE DAY

The adventure day is just that an adventure, so sometimes we mix it up. But below is a summary of what you can expect.

Everyone meets at the Xtreme Gap Resort for a breakdown of the days activities.  Expect to be taken to a pretty amazing viewpoint on the neighbouring paradise island of Koh Nangyuan. Even the ride itself is a lot of fun, open air on a longtail boat with spectacular views of Sairee beach.

There will be plenty of time to explore the island, swim with tropical fish and chill on in this piece of perfection.

NIGHTLIFE & BEACH TIME & ACTIVITIES

Koh Tao Adventure (6)
Koh Tao is not only famous for its great diving and beautiful beaches, there is quite a party scene there too! Picture cool beach bars, fire shows, awesome night clubs like Fizz bar within easily stumbling distance to your accommodation. If you want to have some serious fun after the sun sets, you will not be disappointed.

This is a great way to finish up on your trip, after experiencing the culture its time to party. Speaking of which…

Beach Clean up day: Not on all departure dates.

Ecodave Xtreme GapWe do not control the dates, but if you are lucky you can join our beach clean up. At Xtreme Gap year we strongly believe in leaving a positive impact on the locations we visit. Mass tourism does take its toll on the environment. This is especially true on small tropical islands like Koh Tao. We strongly feel  it is everyone’s responsibility to make a contribution to maintaining, and improving the places that we visit. We have partnered with Koh Tao’s leading conservation organisations and every trip we run makes a financial contribution to Eco-conservation efforts.

So as part of our trips to Koh Tao trip, we co-host an eco-day. This is split into two parts. A lecture by leading conservationists, on marine conservation, and a hands-on beach clean-up so you can make a physical real difference during your trip. The aim is to provide you with information so you can make people aware of the issues. As well as physically helping out with marine conservation efforts.

It’s a fun day out, it’s a great way to see lots of out of the way beaches on Koh Tao, and feel good about yourself whilst making a positive difference on the island. In the evening we finish up with a barbecue, in one of Koh Tao’s hotspots by way of saying thanks for your efforts.

If you have completed your open water is part of this program, you can be involved in underwater clean-ups, if not its land-based conservation which is just as, or if not even more vital to marine conservation efforts. 80% of trash entering the waters comes from land-based sources.

End of your trip> Transfer Back to Bangkok

We do not include the transfer back in the price as there are a few options. Some of our travellers stay on the island or travel on in Thailand and Asia, some will take the boat and bus service back to Bangkok and some will prefer to go by plane from the next door island Koh Samui. read about the options in the frequently asked questions section below. Most will take the boat and bus option which our rep can arrange for you. Its super easy and will costs about 20 GBP.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

The trip ends in Koh Tao on Saturday, please note return transfer is not included in the price of the trip. This is because many people choose to travel onwards to other locations or stay in Koh Tao to do further programmes.

Returning back to Bangkok to meet your flight is very easy, transfers can be arranged on Koh Tao through rep and the cost is approximately £15. If you’re flying out straight after the trip ends, you have two options to meet your flight in Bangkok.

Our recommended option is to fly from Koh Samui directly to Bangkok airport, rep can organise your bus tickets to Samui airport, this will involve catching the boat late Saturday morning and arriving in Koh Samui at around three o’clock. Transfers are provided from the pier direct to the airport and are complimentary.

Please ensure that your flights are not booked any earlier than this and do allow for delays, so we would recommend not booking a flight back to Bangkok until the afternoon which also allows time to check in at the airport as well. Check Bangkok Airways the cheap flights booked ahead this should not cost you any more than £30 the flight time is approximately 40 min.

Option two would be to get the morning boat from Koh Tao back to Bangkok via bus and boat, the transfer time between six and eight hours typically you will get back into Bangkok about 10 o’clock in the evening. This would require an extra night stay in Bangkok, and if you are to pursue this option we do not recommend you do not organise your international flight until Sunday. Again the cost for this transfer is about £15.

Most of your transfers on this trip are in private vehicles (ie just for you and the group). Exactly what sort of vehicle depends on the group size.

Why is this important?

Whilst there is lots of public transport available in Thailand, much of it is very uncomfortable, there are very few regulations about safety (it’s not uncommon for drivers to be on the go for 18-24 hours plus) and also it’s almost impossible to guarantee to get a group of travellers together (with their bags) all in the same vehicle. On some routes you’re able to buy tickets in advance but on many other routes it’s a matter of hoping there is room on the bus or simply waiting for another.

Not the best way to spend your precious time.
By using private transfers we can:
• Guarantee the safety standards of the companies we use
• Ensure that drivers are assessed, do not drive too far in one go, are not drunk etc
• Ensure that all the group are in the same vehicle and that we’re not waiting ages for another bus to come
• Plan our trips to fit in what’s best for the traveller – rather than what’s best for a transport company!
What transport do we use?
For groups of 10 or less we use ‘luxury’ minivans. With comfortable seats, air-conditioning, good experienced drivers – and a decent sound system if you want to listen to some tunes – these are perfect. Of course they leave when we ask them to, we can stop en route where we want to and the whole travel experience is far better, far more comfortable and far safer than any ‘public’ minivan.

Additionally, as there’s no random stopping to drop people off / pick people up they are far quicker – even though we can ensure that speed limits are obeyed!
For long distances with larger groups we use private coaches. These have the same benefits as the private minivans along with, of course, more space. Depending on the size of the group we use either 30 or 40 seater coaches (we always make sure there’s enough room for baggage!) giving you great room to spread out a bit and relax.
The journey from Kanchanaburi to Surin in particular is a horrible one by public transport. As a group we would need to travel to either Ayutthya or Bangkok, then change to another bus or minivan (with all the waiting around that entails) and then head to Surin – not only adding a whole load of wasted time but also a whole load of elements that are then unplanned (what time with the minvan leave, will we all be able to get into the same minivan etc).
The journey from Surin to Pak Chong may, on occasion with smaller groups, use the train. Whilst the train is slower than a private minivan or coach, it can be fun and gives a very different travel experience to the group, provides different scenery and of course allows to you wander around.

All our guides are Thai, bi-lingual (Thai and English) and fully licensed and trained – as is required by Thai law. In fact it’s illegal to be a tour guide in Thailand if you’re not Thai and quite right too – after all Thai people know their own country better than anyone else, tend to speak much better Thai than anyone else (!) and also are simply the best people at making sure anyone in Thailand has a great time.

Thai’s are also some of, if not the world’s best problem solvers. Growing up in a country where the unexpected can and does tend to happen makes Thai people absolute experts at anything anyone can throw their way. And they still manage to sort out any issues with a smile on their face, not an easy thing!
After all, why come all the way to Thailand to be led around the country from someone from home? Thai’s do and will always know their own country best and understand everything about what’s going on as opposed to those from elsewhere who often think they understand, but don’t really!

Our guides know the locations you’re travelling to like the back of their hand. They know the coolest places (not necessarily the place that the guidebooks think are the coolest!), they know the places to avoid (not always easy to spot when you’re not from here) and they know how to have the most fun.

They’ve not just travelled here for a few months – they’ve lived here all their lives and you just can’t replace that sort of insider knowledge. They all work full-time with us and are constantly updating their knowledge from our network of guides (bars and clubs are always changing and why waste your time heading to a bar that is oh so last season?) and making sure they keep their fingers on the pulse of what’s going on.

Full-time guides are quite a rarity in Thailand – lots of companies prefer to use freelance guides to make sure they aren’t paying salaries in between tours – but we believe passionately in full-time employment for our team. This means that they can plan their lives and support families, they know that we will always look after them and, equally importantly, we can run on-going training and support programmes for our team. Simply put – full-time guides are way better at delivering tours than those who jump between different companies and different styles of travel.
We run on-going training for all of our guides to ensure their skills are top quality and they manage to combine huge amounts of laughs and fun with keeping everyone fit, healthy and safe. 

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Accommodation & Meals

Vietnam accommodation

In Vietnam 21 nights’ accommodation is included. Most nights, are spent in guesthouses where you share with doubles or triples. You will also spend 1 night in basic, shared accommodation in a rural village homestayand 2 nights on overnight busses. Where you stay is all part of the adventure!

During this programme you will be located in 3 different locations to get to know about different parts of Vietnam. All transfers will be taken care of (arrival transfer is also included providing your arrive on set start dates).

Thailand Accommodation

Because you stay in various different locations throughout the trip accommodation does vary, however, expect to stay in comfortable and clean and secure accommodation. On the islands, you will stay in a luxury resort, with a swimming pool set in beautiful Thai Gardens just a short walk from the beach and bars and restaurants.

It’s the main resort Xtreme Gap uses in Thailand, Xtreme Gappers to hang out with and share adventures. Accommodation is shared on a twin share in a Fan Room. Upgrades to Aircon rooms are only possible on Koh Tao and only upon booking.

The accommodation in the resort in Koh Tao is the basic fan option at a great resort, perfect for your stay in paradise. A short stroll through a lovely street with little shops and some restaurants and just 5 min from the beach will get you to this perfectly located resort. A beautiful and laid back resort with a swimming pool, bar and restaurant set in tropical Thai gardens. The fan rooms are spacious, clean and comfortable, have an en-suite and there is a maid service twice a week and a laundry service (approx. £1.50 per big bag load) located next door.

 

Meals

In Vietnam you get all breakfast included. You will have to pay for your own meals for the rest of the time but don’t worry, there are plenty of cheap and great places to eat in Vietnam. The food is delicious! For Thailand no meals are included, but during your days with the elephants and on your arrival in Koh Tao. Again meals are cheap, and delicious.

 

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

For Vietnam you will certainly need a Visa please arrange this in good time prior to travel. The cost is around £50. You can arrange a Visa at the Vietnamese Embassy.

If you are planning on travelling to Thailand for 30 days or less and you have British, Dutch or USA passport you can get a Visa exemption on arrival. This is valid for 28 days and cannot be extended in Thailand. If you are planning on being in Thailand longer than 30 days you will need to pre-arrange a Visa. You can prearrange a visa for 60 days which you can extend to 90 days in Thailand.

There are two ways of arranging your visa. When you are from the UK. You can either go in person to the Thai embassy in London, or you can post your passport along with the necessary documentation and fee to one of the Thai Consulates. In general this works the same for the other countries like The Netherlands and United States too, but please contact the nearest Thai Consulate for visa inquiries.

Please note that you are responsible for arranging your own visa. Xtreme Gap cannot be held responsible if you fail to travel with the correct visa. So please check with your local embassy personally. The previous information is meant as a guide, but visa rules change often and frequently. So do not take this as the current law.

Take £100 a week and you will be living very well. Remember that a lot is included on this trip. Breakfast in Vietnam and also included is all accommodation, most transfers, airport pick up and loads of activities and adventures along the way are already paid for.

The groups are not massive, so you can experience the culture to the max! Usually, there is an average of 6-15 fellow travel mates on the trip, but it can be more or less on the Vietnam part.
The Vietnam trip ends on a Saturday. The flight from Vietnam to Bangkok is not included in the trip. Most people add on an extra night in Ho Chi Minh and fly on the Sunday to Bangkok (BKK Airport). That way you have your airport collection included when you arrive in Bangkok. The extra night costs around £20 and usually people share and split the cost.
Duration Option Price  
6 (Week)GBP 1739Book Now

Included

Vietnam

  • Breakfasts and accommodation throughout programme
  • Airport transfer on arrival, to make it easy for you!
  • Fully guided
  • Activities as per itinerary
  • Orientation by our rep
  • Vietnamese cooking lessons
  • Vietnamese language lessons
  • Jungle trekking or cultural immersion at local schools. Let us know at time of booking!
  • Access to buddy lists before you go

Thailand:

  • Airport pick up in Bangkok
  • All activities as per itinerary
  • Meals during your days with the elephants, dinner out on arrival in Koh Tao
  • Breakfast during the first 2 weeks
  • Learn all about elephants
  • All accommodation through the tree weeks
  • All transfers (except transfer back to Bangkok)
  • Lots of fun stuff and amazing activities
  • Access to online buddy lists to chat to other members of the group

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks
  • Meals (included are breakfast in Vietnam and first 2 weeks in Thailand)
  • Extra spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Airport drop off (but its cheap and we help you!)

Dates

2017 start dates
Start Vietnam Sunday 22 Oct. 2017 End Thailand Saturday 02 December 2017
Start Vietnam Sunday 19 Nov. 2017 End Thailand Saturday 30 December 2018

2018 start dates
Start Vietnam Sunday 14 January 2018 End Thailand Saturday 24 February 2018
Start Vietnam Sunday 18 February 2018 End Thailand Saturday 31 March 2018
Start Vietnam Sunday 18 March 2018 End Thailand Saturday 28 April 2018
Start Vietnam Sunday 17 June 2018 End Thailand Saturday 28 July 2018
Start Vietnam Sunday 15 July 2018 End Thailand Saturday 25 August 2018
Start Vietnam Sunday 09 September End Thailand Saturday 20 October 2018
Start Vietnam Sunday 11 November 2018 End Thailand Saturday 22 December 2018