Thailand Entourage 2017

This is the shorter version of our 4 week Thailand trip Xreme Thailand Experience our top-selling trip! The Thailand entourage is a 3 week trip through Thailand giving you a taste of culture, adventure, and stunning tropical beaches. An amazing itinerary showcasing the best this amazing country has to offer. Perfect for young solo travelers who love to travel Thailand in a fun group, with excellent guides.

The 3 Week Thailand Entourage

3 AWESOME THEMED WEEKS!

ExplorationXtreme Thailand Experience (12)

Adventure

Beach

Beach Week

Settle in and discover Thailand.

Easy arrival with an airport pickup. Make new friends as you meet other people in the group. Learn about Thailand its culture and history. Stay on the mainland and visit lots of different temples, cultural heritage sites and cities.

Elephants. Unforgettable National PArks & More.

Includes an awesome ethical Elephant experience. Go bathing with Elephants, and get up close and personal with these majestic animals. Visit waterfalls and stunning rural towns. 

 

Top off the tan with well-earned beach time.

Laze about on amazing tropical beaches. Hit the beach. Discover a paradise island. join the adventure day! Party on the beach and munch on some delicious Thai food.

Thailand Entourage Highlights Include:

  • Safe & Fun! Fully guided Xtreme Gap Reps.
  • Discovering Thai culture, temples & cuisine on a mind-blowing cultural  experiences
  • 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 longtail boat, snorkelling, paradise islands and view points.
  • Lots of chill time on Koh Tao and beach parties to remember
  • Meet and chat to other Xtreme Gappers with an online Buddy list before you travel too!

PHOTOS

ITINERARY

Just about everything you could want out of a trip to Thailand in 3 weeks!

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 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 night life.

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

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. You might see some caves and even 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 today on the water! After your epic 3-hour river kayaking journey, 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: YOU CHOOSE: HISTORY, NATIONAL PARKS OR BAR CRAWL!

You can do whatever your heart desires, sun tan, sleep in or… go off in search of more adventure. Loads of our Xtreme Gappers take this opportunity to visit the sanctuary for retired elephants near to Kanchanaburi, which our guides can help you sort out.

Today is a free day but that doesn’t mean sitting around doing nothing – unless of course that’s what you want to do.

There are loads of things to do in and around Kanchanaburi and your guide is always on hand to help you book activities, give you suggestions and help you find the coolest places and activities.

Why not head to Elephant Haven? This is a sanctuary for retired elephants and offers a great day trip to allow you to get up close and personal with these lovely animals. Rightly, no riding is allowed – this is a place where elephants are the boss! – but you can help feed them and even bathe with them in the river. Day trip prices start at around 2,500THB for the day and your guide can sort this out for you.

Alternatively why not explore some of the history of Kanchanaburi and walk across the famous ‘Bridge on the River Kwai’, explore the war museum and cemetery or even take the picturesque train up to Hell Fire Pass.

Whatever you choose to do, your guide is there to help you sort everything out and at the end of the day we all meet up in Kanchanaburi’s infamous Sugar Member Bar. Looking like something transplanted from the beach – plus Wrecking Ball  – this is Kanchanaburi’s very own backpacker hangout and always delivers a lively night out.

Inclusions:

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

Day 7: 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 minivan and while the journey is around 8 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, rice paddies and occasional elephant you pass by.

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 8-9:  ELEPHANTS & CULTURE!

thailand elephantLooking after Elephants is on the cards for the next two 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 two 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.

Day 8 We will have lunch and dinner in the elephant village. You can try out your cooking skills and cook alongside the local team and learn a few new tricks, which is great to take home and show off to friends and family back home.

Day 9 We will have breakfast and lunch in the village too. Late 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 7.

Inclusions

  • Transfer to and from the elephant village
  • Elephant activities listed
  • Day 8 – breakfast at the hotel in Surin, lunch and dinner and the elephant village
  • Day 9 – breakfast and lunch at the elephant village
  • Day 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: TEMPLES, RICE FIELDS AND LOCAL CUISINE

Another well earned free-day. You will need a break, trust us. You can use this opportunity just chill or do a bit more exploring. Surin town is a super friendly place with a population of around 50,000 people. There are loads Khmer temples,  which means they will look very different to the ones you saw in Bangkok and Kanchanaburi. Surin is also famous for its really cool coffee shops to hang out in. If you are just looking for some fun in the sun, one of the local hotels lets you use their pool for a small fee for the day and for those with a bit more energy. There is a waterpark and a shopping mall if you want to do some souvenir shopping.

There are also some awesome restaurants in Surin and we recommend you have at least one visit to a huge ‘moo gratha’ buffet. For less than 150THB you cook your own food on a charcoal grill at your table and it’s as much as you can eat. Different meats, fish, prawns, vegetables, noodles and all sorts of other bits and pieces – and ice cream!  The best value in town and a great night out – food baby anyone?

Your guide and our local team in Surin will be able to help you plan what you want to do and be on hand whenever you wish!

Inclusions

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

Day 11: KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK 

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 12: TREKKING AND FOREST ENCOUNTERS

Khao Yai is absolutely stunning and one of Thailand’s most famous National Parks, but is often lost 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 of 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 13:  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?

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 our 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:
  • A ‘behind the scenes’ bike tour exploring the backstreets and riverside communities of Bangkok – a great half day trip costing from 1,150THB
  • 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.

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. 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!

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:

    • IMG_1904You 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

Koh Tao! Here you can enjoy some serious beach time. 7 days/ 6 nights to 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!

Xtreme Gappers (38)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 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.

Changes to Itinerary

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.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

One of the benefits of booking your trip on Koh Tao with Xtreme Gap Year is not only do you get to do this awesome activity, but you will become part of the Xtreme gap family on Koh Tao. We will pick you up from the pier and give you a warm welcome at our stunning resort. On your first night, our resident representative will take you out for a gorgeous Thai meal annual get to know all of the other members of the group. When you are booking a trip with us it is not just about the activity so please bear this in mind if you are comparing prices to other companies. No other company has such a big presence in Koh Tao, runs groups of like-minded travellers so booking a trip with us is as much about the friends you make as well as the experiences you will have.
We offer airport pick up’s between 06:00 and 22:00 on arrival day and would encourage you to try to arrive at the airport by mid-afternoon so that you have time to freshen up, relax and then enjoy your first night in this amazing city. If you are arriving outside these times or are already in Thailand, then, of course you are more than welcome to ‘make your own way’ to the Bangkok accommodation.
We have a private minivans or coaches for the majority of the trip. Super comfortable and much faster than taking public transport.

No, most of our travellers are solo travellers. You will meet lots of people on the different weeks. With group start dates and lots of group activities, you will make new friends really easy.

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.

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 30 days and cannot be extended in Thailand. If you are planning on being in Thailand longer than 28 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.

Some of our customers prefer a bigger room or an aircon room. We can arrange this, but it needs to be done at the time of booking, as the resort often fills up. If you are on the programme and still want to arrange it, you would have to arrange that with reception at the resort, and pay for accommodation again. So best to let us know at time of booking.

This is a hard question as age range does vary. On the groups that join the intro and culture weeks the average age is between 18 and 25. On Koh Tao with the Koh Tao Adventure (which are the last 2 weeks of this programme) the average age tends to be in the twenties.

Is this trip suitable for you? The average age on this trip is between 18 and 25. Although it is open to all. The makeup of the groups is usually 75% female to 25% male, just going to show, girls really are braver than boys! So come on lads, what are you waiting for? Prove us wrong!

The final week finishes on the Saturday morning, so you can arrange your transfer back to Bangkok with Miss Jai via boat and Bus (12 hours) or book a flight from Koh Samui to Bangkok (2 hour boat and 45 minute flight). This is the preferred option for most of our travellers as this gets you straight in to the international airport for a smooth flight connection back home.

Remember lots of details are in pre-departure pack you receive after booking. You will also be hooked up with your buddy lists then.

FINALLY

We can also send you loads of information on this trip and the locations so get trip notes for more details!

Full details on your options to get back to Bangkok are included in a very detailed pre-departure pack, which we send you after booking. You will also be set up with an online buddy list so you can chat to other members of the group in Koh Tao. The trip ends on the Saturday morning in Koh Tao. Check the FAQ section for details on how to get back to the airport.

Please do book early

This can be a very popular trip so make sure you get booked up ASAP! You can secure your spot for only £100 by submitting a booking form. Do it now! So now you have read about the trip, you might want to check out where you will be staying or a breakdown of everything included.

Duration Option Price  
21 (Days)23rd July 2017 start dateUSD 1109Book Now
21 (Days)USD 1159Book Now

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Book 16 or more weeks up front to secure these deals.
Duration Option Price
21 (Days)USD 1159 USD 1124 (Early Bird)
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Book today with a deposit and travel after 13 - Sep - 2017 to lock in the early bird price. "Hurry only limited early bird spots available !"

Terms: $250 USD deposit required on booking. Full payment 12 weeks prior to trip start.

 

The First 2 weeks

INCLUDED

First 2 weeks

  • Personal meet & greet at the airport
  • Transfers to your hotel in Bangkok
  • Meet your other adventurers: Access to online buddy lists before you leave!
  • Unforgettable Bangkok city tour
  • Wat Arun, Wat Pho & Reclining Buddha
  • 13 nights total accommodation in high standard guesthouses and homestays
  • Breakfast
  • Some delicious meals included
  • A 2 day elephant experience with food  included
  • River rafting experience.
  •  2 days of trekking in a stunning national park
  • Night markets & Nights Out
  • Cookery class
  • 24 hour emergency support
  •  Maximum group size 26

Week on Koh Tao

  • All Accommodation
  • Breakfast on arrival on Koh Tao
  • Overnight Transfer to Koh Tao
  • 6 nights accommodation in standard fan room in Koh Tao at our luxury resort
  • Free Wi-Fi at most of the accommodation
  • Pick up from the boat and transfer to the resort in Koh Tao by taxi
  • Koh Tao adventure day which includes:
    • Boat around the island
    • Snorkelling in crystal clear waters round a tropical paradise island
    • Spectacular trek up to an incredible view point
  • Back up & support second to none. Services of our tour leaders and English-speaking reps who are available and based locally  24/7.

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas (if staying longer than 30 days this will cost approx GBP 40 for a 60 day visa)
  • Insurance
  • Return transfer from Koh Tao (but can be arranged locally for approx Euro 15)
  • Meals  (Approx £6 – 15 per day)
  • Entrance Grand palace in Bangkok (around 12 GP)
  • Entrance Fee for Koh Nanguang (100 Baht approx £2)

Dates

2017 Start on Sunday end on Saturday
16 July 2017 – 05 August 2017 (Fully Booked)
23 July 2017 – 12 August 2017
13 August 2017 – 02 September 2017
10 September 2017 – 30 September 2017
12 November 2017 – 02 December 2017
10 December 2017 – 30 December 2017

2018 Start on Sunday end on Saturday
14 January 2018 – 03 February 2018
04 February 2018 – 24 February 2018
11 March 2018 – 31 March 2018
08 April 2018 – 28 April 2018
06 May 2018 – 26 May 2018
03 June 2018 – 23 June 2018
08 July 2018 – 28 July 2018
05 August 2018 – 25 August 2018
02 September 2018 – 22 September 2018
30 September 2018 – 20 October 2018
28 October 2018 – 17 November 2018
25 November 2018 – 15 December 2018

Easy to combine with Vietnam; starting 3 weeks before.

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Learn more about this trip on video

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Vietnam & Thailand Unleashed!

This is awesome! Discover 2 amazing Asian countries in an unforgettable 7 weeks. Joining to group trips you will travel the entire length of Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh making new friends and experiencing a mind-blowing country. Then fly to Thailand. A completely cultural immersive experience, hang out with elephants, trekking the jungle experience Bangkok and then soak up the sun on a tropical island during the last week. Amazing value under £1999

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 4 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!

    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 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!
  • 4 Weeks Thailand  Highlights:

    Squeeze out the most fun! This 4-week trip has been tailored for you: Introduction week, Adventure week (chose your favourite option), Cultural immersion week and a week on in a stunning beach resort with lots of beach time!

  • You can relax knowing that you will settle into the travel swing easily with comprehensive orientation including a Thai language and cooking lessons.
  • Have adventures on the Adventure week you will never forget with Elephants, go trekking or stay at a temple learning more about Buddhism.
  • You can discover a deeper side to Thailand with exciting cultural exchange projects, join either the Muay Thai training or help us out at a local school.
  • Do you want to see some incredible beaches as well? You can! in the last week, we will take you to a different beach each day where you can relax and unwind amidst white sand and crystal-clear blue waters.
  • 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!
  •  

Photos

Vietnam

Thailand

 

 

Starting In Vietnam

Vietnam is blessed with natural beauty. It has it all. Mountains, lowlands, a huge coastline blessed with 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

The trip is broken down into 4 different themed weeks so you arr always experiencing something new and exciting!

  • Intro & Culture Week
  • Adventure Option Week
  • Cultural Immersion Week
  • Beach Week

This what happens on the Thailand Adventure:

Check Full Itineraries

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

Xtreme Gap Vietnam experienceTo 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 has 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

Halong BayToday 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)

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 advise 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

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

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

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

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

WEEK ONE – INTRO WEEK & SIAM CULTURE

The first week is designed to introduce you to Thailand and it’s people, culture, language, attitudes and customs. It’s a great way to meet fellow travellers and to make new friends. To ensure you have fun and to make it easy for you to meet all the groups, we have arranged some fun social nights including a welcome party, a Thai-style BBQ and a dinner at a gorgeous bar / restaurant with Karaoke for those that like to sing!

ORIENTATION

When you arrive at the eco house in Singburi, you will be shown to your rooms. All rooms are shared with the same sex. While staying at the eco-house, males and females are not allowed to stay in the same rooms. There will be time to relax, take a shower and unpack. There will be an informal meeting after dinner to welcome you and to inform you of things like what time breakfast is served. The orientation meeting will be the following day.

There are two co-ordinators at each house. The co-ordinators are friendly local Thais. They are there to show you around, introduce you to Thailand, answer any of your questions and ensure you have a good time. They make this programme a special and unique one.

Programme Introduction:  money, rules and appreciated behaviour, food, safety advice, cultural differences and social information.

THAI LANGUAGE:

During this week, you and your group will have a Thai lesson. You will learn enough phrases to get by on.

PROJECTS:

An explanation of the work places, projects underway and information on what has been achieved in the past (volunteers that have chosen extra weeks only)

VISIT LOCAL PLACES:

You will be shown the village, markets, temples and monuments in the local area. You will have several opportunities to go to the local town called Singburi. Here you can check your e-mails, go shopping and get a Thai SIM card for your mobile. There is also a pool in Singburi where you can go swimming, relax and sunbathe.

GAMES, COOKING LESSON, DISCUSSIONS:

Done in groups to help you make friends with fellow volunteers, project leaders and programme staff. This is an excellent way to learn the language and a fun way to experience the new culture.

LEISURE TIME:

You will have a chance to explore the local area. There are plenty of opportunities for free time. You can relax around the eco-house, read, go swimming, shopping, etc. The project co-ordinators are happy to show you around and point out the beautiful and amazing highlights that Thailand has to offer. Your weekends are your free time so feel free to arrange extra excursions if you´d like.

THIS WEEK IN DETAIL

WEEK TWO: ADVENTURE OPTIONS WEEK – TAKE YOUR PICK!

The second week is options week where you can choose from one of the following activities:

  • Elephant conservation
  • Trekking in the jungle
  • Buddhism and culture

You do not have to decide which option you pick when you book; you can wait to see what takes your fancy when you are in Thailand.

WEEK TWO OPTION ONE: ELEPHANT WEEK

Elephants are the symbol of Thailand and are held as sacred in Thai Culture. Training along side the Mahouts, the Thai Elephant keepers, this week is all about hanging out with the elephants!

Your role this week will be the caring for and feeding the elephants, bathing them, taking the older female elephants for walks, and generally helping out.

Then you will actually get to learn how to ride the Elephants, heading off through forests and around the camp. This week is an unrivalled opportunity to learn about Elephants and connect with your very own! Take it for baths, feed it and get to know him, but just be warned you can ´t take it with you when your week is up.

According to World Wildlife Fund estimates, only 2,000-3,000 elephants remain in the wild in Thailand. The numbers of these majestic animals are gradually shrinking as elephants and villages compete to survive on the land. Sadly, domesticated elephants roam through Thailand´s cities with their mahouts, begging for food and performing tricks for tourists.

During this elephantine adventure of a week you´ll learn about the importance of elephants in Thai culture, their needs and the social problems. Be prepared to get down and quite literally dirty. Daily chores include cleaning (that´s mucking out to you and me) and feeding these majestic animals. You´ll also learn gardening skills to impress the folks back home!

Don´t miss out on the chance to experience the thrill of white water rafting in the nearby river over the weekend. Don´t worry, if you prefer calmer waters, there´s always the swimming pool. Please note, Thailand´s tropical climate does give way to the occasional violent thunderstorm, torrential rain and flooding so the schedule may be subject to change during that time.

WEEK TWO OPTION TWO: TREKKING OPTION

During the second week you and other participants have the option to go trekking in Khao Yai National Park, a lush park not often visited by other tourists. This again will be a unique experience. You will be roughing it, but in beautiful surroundings. After this experience, you will have a lot to boast about when you go home as you will be sleeping in tents and surviving with the basics – we´re sure you will have a lot of fun!

The guides are very friendly and you will really enjoy yourself! Khao Yai National Park highest mountain is about 1,351 meters above sea level.

The tropical moist evergreen forest covers the central area of Khao Yai National Park. There is a rich diversity of plants (about 2,000 species), towering trees draped in mosses, tangled trunks of the strangling figs, drooping lianas, spiny rattan palms and delicate ferns. There is always something new to discover in the forest.

Please note that the trekking is not for the faint-hearted and the itinerary is subject to change depending on seasons, weather conditions, group size etc. so please be flexible.

WEEK TWO OPTION THREE: BUDDHISM AND CULTURE OPTION

The Buddhism and Culture programme below is written to give you an idea of this week: The day order may change, however the full programme will still be experienced.

It is quite a ride to get here from the location of the introduction week, but totally worth it! Your time will be spend in the Forest Resort, a luxury new resort and in a newly built dorm accommodation next to the ancient Thai temple.

If you choose the Buddhism & Culture week you will get to know a lot more about Buddhism and Thai culture. During this week you will visit temples, you have the opportunity to ask your questions about Buddhism to the monks, we will teach you about practising meditation and chanting in a quiet and spiritual environment. Our guide is very knowledgeable and will tell you all you need to know. If you have a real interest in Buddhism & Culture, this is the programme for you!

WEEK THREE

WEEK THREE OPTION ONE: CULTURAL IMMERSION PROJECTS

During this week you will have opportunities to help the local community:

  • Help out in a School
  • Build Clay Houses
  • Looking after kids in a local orphanage
  • Boxing Option

If you want to try something different instead then we have the boxing option:

WEEK THREE OPTION TWO: MUAY THAI BOXING OPTION

During this week you will train in elements of Muay Thai the exciting national sport of Thailand. This is geared for complete beginners so no need to feel intimidated. It is lots of fun and there is no better way to immerse our self in the local culture

CHANGING OPTIONS

If you think that you may decide to change your option for week three from boxing to the teaching option, or that you may add extra cultural immersion weeks you can do this locally.

WEEK FOUR – BEACH TIME (6 NIGHTS)

It is not just the beach we will take you to in this last week in stunning Thailand. The Beach week combines cultural activities and several visits to Buddhist temples to learn about Thai Buddhism. Also, we take you to several local markets to do some souvenir shopping, eat local food. And yes! Every day we bring you to one of the paradise beaches to top up your tan!

We also visit the rural community and spend time with the kids there. You can try and help out with some classes. English or sports.

Your stay during the beach week is in our center, located in the hilly countryside of Prachuap Khiri Khan province amidst green surroundings. The accommodation consists of luxury tents with a fan, private hot water showers and Western style toilets attached to the tents. Its really fantastic!

All tents are single gender and have a maximum capacity of four people per tent. There is free Wi-Fi available throughout the center.

Frequently Asked Questions

Return transfer is not included in the price of the trip, please budget about £15 to cover this, our rep can help you organise a ticket. It is a busride of about 4,5 hours and the bus will bring you to the centre of Bangkok. From here you can get a taxi to the airport which will (depending traffic) take about 1 hour.

 

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 homestay, 1 night in a shared cabin on a cruise boat in Halong Bay and 2 nights on overnight trains. 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

During the first three weeks you will be staying in Eco houses. Normally you share your ensuite room with 1 or 2 others of the same sex. The rooms have a good sized bathroom with western toilet end shower.

To relax you can chill in the gardens or in the communal area where you can hang out with the others. Here also your meals are served.

During the Intro week (week 1), Muay Thai or Cultural Immersion week (week 3) your accommodation is situated about 10 km from the town of Singburi. In Singburi you will find all the amenities you could need i.e. internet, shops, swimming pool, hospital, pharmacy, banks and restaurants. There are plenty of trips into Singburi or you can easily take a taxi (about 15 minutes).

The doors and windows are screened (to protect you from mosquitoes). There are fans in the room. For your valuables, we have lockers available. We strongly encourage you to use them, even if our centres are generally very safe. There are limited laundry facilities so expect to wash your clothes by hand. All participants are expected to be environmentally aware and to use all resources with restraint, especially water, paper and electricity. You will be expected to clean up after yourself, and to play your part to keep the accommodation neat and organised. All food is included during your stay. The meals will be typical Thai fare, including plenty of rice dishes. All meals (Thai style) are included.

Hua Hin beach week accommodation

Your stay during the beach week is in our center, located in the hilly countryside of Prachuap Khiri Khan province amidst green surroundings. The accommodation consists of luxury tents with a fan, private hot water showers and Western style toilets attached to the tents. Its really fantastic!

Meals

That’s a real budget saver. 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 all meals are included except for a few times lunch on beaches and lunch at the weekend. Also at the accommodation water, tea and coffee are included for free.

Trip timings

Depending on your dates, then maybe an overlap of time between starting Thailand and finishing in Vietnam. If this is the case we will happily book your few extra nights in Vietnam (at your own expense) before flying on to Thailand. Of course we will help you arrange any accommodation that is required.

 

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 in Thailand all meals are included, also included is all accommodation, most transfers, airport pick up and loads of activities and adventures along the way are already paid for.

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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.
Duration Option Price  
7 (Week)USD 2699Book Now

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Great Value
Well Priced
Can´t Afford it right 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
  • Orientation including a Thai language and cooking lesson
  • One week to learn all about elephants
  • Cultural Exchange projects or try some Muay Thai Training!
  • 6 nights on our resort in Hua Hin
  • All food during your weeks in Thailand
  • All accommodation through the four weeks
  • Transfers between weeks
  • Access to online buddy lists to chat to other members of the group

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks
  • Meals after the first 3 weeks
  • Extra spending money for souvenirs etc.
  • Airport drop off (but its cheap and we help you!)

Dates

2017
SUNDAY 15 JAN –
SUNDAY 12 FEB –
SUNDAY 19 MAR –
SUNDAY 16 JULY- 2 SEPT
SUNDAY 13TH AUG – 1 OCT

New trip dates will be under Vietnam and Thailand unleashed 2017

The Thailand Bucket List 18 Day Tour

An unforgettable 18 day Thailand tour in the land of smiles. All transport, accommodation and activities are included in your epic Thailand trip of a lifetime, so you do not need to worry about anything. Simply get yourself here and we will take care of the rest! This trip takes in all of the major islands that you need to see.


A great value arrival into Thailand, jam packed with exciting activities and excursions. Timed perfectly to give you a 18 day introduction, helps you meet people and get to know your surroundings and gives you a further 12 day ´s on the same 30 day visa (free upon arrival) to explore on your own steam if you want.

 Thailand Bucket List  18 Day  Tour

Untitled-10Thailand is the dream destination for any adventure-loving traveller itching to get out and see the beauty of the world, experience the kindness of people and have one of the most epic trips of a lifetime.

Thailand ticks all the boxes; sun, sea, sand, islands, adventure, nightlife, shopping, culture, history and friendly people. This tour is the perfect first-time trip for anyone looking to travel with a group of like-minded, similar aged people. Fully guided by English-speaking, Western guides, you´ll always feel safe, comfortable and at ease with the people around you.

Imagine yourself traveling through the bustling streets of Bangkok on a shaky tuk tuk, diving headfirst into crystal clear emerald water, partying on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, or riding an elephant through lush tropical rainforest. The exotic smells, breath-taking sights, mouth-watering tastes and new sounds of traveling through Thailand will live long on in your memory after the trip is over. The Xtreme Gap Thailand Bucket List takes in the very best of Thailand in 18 amazing, adventure-filled days, including plenty of down time on some of the most famous and beautiful beaches in the world!

So make memories to last a lifetime; visit Thailand and have the time of your life. There´ll never be a better time than now; Thailand is waiting for you!

Highlights Include:

  • 18 days in the land of the smiles for a price that will keep you grinning!
  • The excitement and hedonism of Khao San Rd
  • Tuk Tuk ride through Bangkok
  • Temples, palaces and markets and cruising down the Chao Praya river
  • Go Xtreme in the stunning Khao Sok National Park with bamboo rafting, kayaking tubing and cliff jumping.
  • You get to spend the night on amazing unique floating bungalows in an off the beaten track beautiful destination
  •  Amazing longtail boat trips and boat parties
  • Stay overnight on Bottle Beach one of the most secluded paradises in Thailand
  • 4 days on stunning Island Koh Tao
  • Eating some of the most amazing Thai food with the rest of the Xtreme Gap group in Koh Phangan
  • Stay a few nights on Koh Phangan. the party Island
  • Visit the famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island
  • Kayaking in Railay Beach, Krabi
  • Snorkelling boat trip in Phi Phi
  • Visit the little locals on Monkey Beach
  • Party Tuk Tuk in Patong, Phuket
  • Wicked laughs and fully guided with a trip leader
  • All accommodation, activities and transport included

 

Photos


The Thailand Bucket List 18 Day Tour Itinerary

Tropical beaches? Island paradises? Amazing adventure? Welcome to the trip of a lifetime; the ultimate bucket list journey through Thailand! If you love beaches, nature, adventure and a healthy dose of partying, then this is the trip for you!

Amazing value, and perfect for first-time or solo travellers, you´ll instantly make a bunch of new friends in your travel group who will share amazing travel experiences with you.

From the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, to the remote hidden beaches and islands made famous by legend and movies, this tour packs in so much epicness and adventure in just 18  days!

Day 1: Arrive to the Land of Smiles!

You´re getting closer and closer to the greatest adventure of your life. Just 10 minutes from landing in Bangkok airport, you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach. A new friend is waiting for you on the other side, ready to take you through the crazy streets of Bangkok to your accommodation and a group of fellow travellers who will soon become close friends. Once you´ve taken some time to relax and unwind in the guesthouse after your flight, you´ll head out for dinner and drinks with your new friends and travel buddies on the iconic Khao San Road.

Welcome to the first day of your amazing Thai adventure! It only gets better from here!

Day 2: Exploring the In´s and Out´s of Bangkok

Bangkok is known as the ´Venice of the East´, so what better way to explore the city than taking to the rivers. Cruising along the Chao Phraya River, you´ll experience one of the most epic skylines in Asia, seeing how the modern metropolis has merged with the ancient temples to create one of the most fascinating cities in the world.

After the river cruise, you´ll visit two of the most important temples in Thailand, where you´ll get your first experience of the beauty and intrigue of Thai history and culture. Next, we´ll jump on a Tuk Tuk for a whirlwind ride through the city back to Khao San Road. If you´ve never been on a Tuk Tuk before, you´ll be laughing (and possibly screaming) all the way, as it swerves and dodges all sorts of traffic and obstacles imaginable. Who knew driving could be so adventurous!

Finish the day with an amazing lunch and dinner in one of the best eating spots in Bangkok, Khao San Road; cheap, authentic and delicious!

Day 3: Preparing to head South

Your final day in Bangkok sees you getting ready to head to the tropical south of the country. After checking out of your accommodation, you´ll have an opportunity to relax with a traditional Thai Massage in a local spa. This should keep you sufficiently chilled out during your overnight train journey to the south of the country. You´ll probably be so relaxed that you´ll fall asleep on the train. If not, make sure to check out the awesome views of the Thai countryside.

Don´t worry though, as you´ll have plenty of time to pick up some souvenirs and do a little shopping in the awesome Khao San Road before you depart from Bangkok.

Day 4: Visiting Paradise in Khao Sok National Park

Prepare to be in awe of the beauty of Khao Sok National Park. Arriving bright and early at 7am, after the overnight train, you´ll be taken direct to the stunning park. Your accommodation here just so happens to be floating on the Cheow Larn Lake. Yep, you read correctly! These cute wooden bungalows are situated on a beautiful turquoise lake, surrounded by mountains covered in lush evergreen rainforest. You can even sit right outside your bungalow door, cooling down by dangling your feet in the lake!

Swimming, kayaking, tubing, bamboo rafting and cave exploring are just some of the awesome adrenaline-pumping activities that can be enjoyed in the park, while surrounded by some of the most gorgeous scenery you´ll ever see. We´re sure you´ll never want to leave your temporary home floating on the lake. However, Thai beaches are waiting:and that´s a pretty good excuse to keep moving!

Day 5: Beaches, Waves and Cocktails

Today we leave Khao Sok National Park via ferry to Koh Phangan, one of the most iconic and beautiful areas in Thailand. You´ll spend the day on Bottle Beach, a postcard-perfect beach with bright white sand and turquoise blue water, often regarded as one of the best beaches in Thailand!

Swim, sunbathe, relax or snorkel during the day, while in the evening we´ll prepare an awesome private beach party for you and your travel buddies. Cocktails, a campfire, lanterns and music will make this evening one of the most memorable during your travels in Thailand.

After a few drinks and dances around the campfire, you won´t have very far to go for a good nights sleep. In fact, you´ll still be able to hear the sounds of the ocean as you stay in your own private beach bungalow just a few metres from the waves. Not a bad way to spend a day!

DAY 6: MUAY THAI TRAINING LESSON

Wake up in paradise and step out onto the soft sand of Bottle Beach. Today, you can spend the morning sleeping, swimming, getting your tan on, or taking selfies with the world´s best backdrop!

The afternoon is reserved for your Muay Thai boxing experience! Hopping in a taxi boat, we´ll head towards the fishing town of Chaloklum, where you´ll get picked up by open air taxi and travel back through the heart of Phangan to Haad Rinn. It is here where you will try your hand at a bit of Thai boxing. Over the course of an hour your will learn about the sport of Muay Thai, techniques of the national sport and experience a training session with a local fighter. After building up a sweat we check into our accommodation in Haad Rinn just in time for a shower and some sunset drinks in one of our favourite beach bars.

DAY 7: EXPLORING THE PHANGAN ISLANDS

Koh Phangan is one of the best snorkelling and diving spots in the world, and at 11am you´ll be on your way there to explore the water and island for the day. From bathing in a waterfall like a boss, to enjoying lunch on the beach and watching the sunset from the boat, your day in Koh Phangan will definitely be one for the scrapbook!

In the evening, back at the resort we´ll enjoy a dinner courtesy of the tour organizers. Of course no event is finished without some celebratory drinks to commemorate your first amazing week in paradise! On the beach, you´ll party, enjoy a famous Thai bucket or two, and dance the night away, preferably in your bare feet!

DAY 8-12: LIVING IT UP ON KOH TAO

The next four days will be spent on the beautiful Koh Tao Island just north of Koh Phangan. Here is where you can tailor make your adventure by adding in some optional activities.

You will be staying on the gorgeous Sairee beach where you can relax into laid-back island life and choose how you spend each day. If you want to experience the best adrenaline-pumping adventure, you can add in additional activities (at an extra cost) like scuba diving, rock climbing, abseiling, water skiing, wake boarding and free diving. You do not have to pre-book. Decide what you want to do when you arrive. The included activity during the four days will be a boat trip to Koh Nangyuan, one of the most picturesque spots in the world where you can take in the surroundings, top up the tan and even enjoy a spot of snorkelling.

This is Koh Tao:

Day 12-15: Heading West

You´ve come to the end of your stay on Koh Tao, but don´t worry; there are lots more beautiful beaches and islands waiting to be explored in Thailand. One of those beaches is Railay on the west coast of Thailand; one of the most remarkably beautiful beaches on earth.

Although Railay is on the mainland, it is only accessible by boat so you´ll still feel like you´re on a remote tropical island, surrounded by scenery that looks like it´s been taken straight from a postcard.

Here you can relax, play, drink, eat and enjoy your surroundings, in between more intensive activities such as snorkelling, sea kayaking and rock climbing. Make sure to climb up to the lagoon viewpoint for some of the most fantastic views in the country.

The nightlife in Railay is always buzzing, with fire shows a regular fixture of the nightly entertainment around the many bars and restaurants.

Day 15-17: Island Bliss

We´re sure you´ve heard about your next location; the absolutely beautiful Maya Bay; so good it even stole the limelight from Leonardo DiCaprio in the film The Beach!

You´ll get to spend two glorious days on Phi Phi Island, taking a sunset boat trip around the other islands including Maya Bay, Monkey Island and the Viking Caves. Free lunch will be served on the boat before continuing on for more snorkelling and swimming back in the emerald waters of Phi Phi Island.

In the evenings, hang out with the group, enjoy some drinks and the nightlife, or do some amazing night swimming among the ´glow in the dark´ plankton.

Day 17-18: Final Days in the Land of Smiles

In the morning, we take a trip to Thailand´s largest island; Phuket. Phuket is as you would expect of any of the Thai islands; beautiful and laid-back with lots of things to do. It´s the perfect place to spend your final night in Thailand before leaving the next day for home, or the next part of your journey.

Party all night in Patong town, the party capital of Phuket, experiencing the nightlife through amazing Party Tuk Tuks; the ultimate crazy way to end your epic 18-day trip through the most beautiful country on earth!

On day 18, we´ll help you organize everything you need to make it back to Bangkok for homeward bound flights, or whether you´re continuing your journey through Thailand and Southeast Asia.

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.

Accommodation

During the trip you will stay in a variety of gorgeous cosy guesthouses, backpacker hostels and even in a floating resort. You share your accommodation With one other person of the same sex. We really go to town on the quality of accommodation as well for instance on the final night you will stay in a luxurious resorts.

 

Koh Sok National Park

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

It depends how long you are travelling for or if you are moving onto another country after but you will not need to pack much for SE Asia. The climate will stay the same all year round which will be in the mid 30´s so light clothing will be best. It will also help if you use a backpack rather than a suitcase as it will be more comfortable for you to travel around with.
Can I speak to other group members before I go? Yes of course you can. We will put you in touch with other group members shortly before your tour. You can also join our Facebook page to interact with your group and others, see pictures etc.
It is recommended that you do take malaria pills in some parts of Thailand and the surrounding countries. The areas that we visit during the tour are generally considered malaria free however this can change so always speak to your GP before you travel and if you are going to other areas of Thailand and S.E. Asia it is very likely that you will need some. You can also consult the CDC website for more info
If you are susceptible to motion sickness then you may experience symptoms during a cruise/ferry, although symptoms tend to disappear as you adapt to the conditions in one or two days. Your Group Leader can help you pick up some medication that will help with this or you could look into getting some sea sickness bands which are now commonly available
Some meals are included so please make sure you let us know in good time if you have any special dietary requirements. Please click here to see the itinerary in full which will tell you what meals are included.
The Centre for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) does recommendations vaccinations such as hepatitis A & B and Typhoid as well as being sure you are up to date on routine vaccinations. For more information, you can visit the CDC website but please remember that information surrounding vaccinations changes on a regular basis so always consult your GP before you travel.

The first day of your tour is mainly a check-in/meet and greet. It gives you the chance to chill out after a long haul flight. Day two is the start of your activities. Do I need to pay for any transport? All transport is included with the Experience within the week.

(Please note: If you arrive in Bangkok 3 days or more prior to your start date, you may have to arrange and pay for your own airport transfer.) and if you choose to go out in the evenings or take part in activities not included in the itinerary then you will need to pay for your own cabs etc…

Any time is a good time. The climate is relatively steady throughout the year and it depends where in Thailand you are going. It can rain more down South during October and November and there are some fluctuations in temperature but in most of the country it is guaranteed to be hot all year round! See our Weather page for more info. When will I meet my group leader? Your tour leader will greet you off your flight at Bangkok airport and take you to your guesthouse. If you have already arrived in Bangkok prior to your start date, then we will put you in touch and your Group Leader will arrange to meet you at the guesthouse when you arrive.
It differs from city to city but very rarely drops below 25 degrees Celsius. Bangkok is always around 35c and tends to have the odd down pour. Do not pay attention to the iphone weather app as it will always say thunderstorms in Bangkok. Not the case! On the islands it is less humid and averages around 33c all year round. They do have a brief rain season between October and November, however it usually only rains for about an hour or two with sunshine for the rest of the day. Check out our country info page for more info.
 Yes. The media has a tendency to report only the very worst news, which means that we can get quite a negative impression of a country and quite often we don’t hear anything about the very friendly, helpful people and extraordinary cultures in these amazing destinations.
Nearly 95% of Thailand’s population is Buddhist of the Theravada school, though Buddhism in this country has become integrated with folk beliefs such as ancestor worship as well as Chinese religions from the large Thai-Chinese population. Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterized by tall golden stupas, and the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos, with which Thailand shares cultural and historical heritage.
You will automatically be granted a 28 day tourist visa on entry to Thailand if you are from one of the countries on the exemption list (see our Visa page). If you are considering staying in Thailand for longer then you may need to arrange your own visa. Visit the Visa Info page on our website to find out all you need to know.
Book your flights to land on your start date if you can. Do not book your flights until you have booked with us and received a confirmation invoice. Generally people will arrive on that date or one or two days before hand. If you land much before or are already in Thailand just let us know and we will help you arrange a transfer and to meet at our accommodation.
Yes. Let us know via email if you are arriving early and your group leader will reserve a room for you at your guesthouse. All you would need to do is pay for the additional nights. Once your group starts,we will cover the rest.
Duration Option Price  
18 (Days)USD 1459Book Now

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Included

All transport, accommodation and activities are included in your epic Thailand trip of a lifetime, so you don´t need to worry about anything. Simply get yourself here and we´ll take care of the rest!

What else is included?

  • Airport pick-up
  • 17 Nights´ accommodation
  • Bangkok River Cruise
  • Visit two historical temples
  • Experience Bangkok nightlife
  • Tuk Tuk ride
  • Thai massage
  • Overnight train
  • Visit Khao Sok National Park
  • Go kayaking and explore caves
  • Stay in floating bungalows
  • Boat trip around Koh Phangan
  • Snorkel at some of Thailand´s best spots
  • Spend a day and night on Bottle Beach
  • Muay Thai Training lesson
  • Waterfall visit
  • Three evening meals and several lunches
  • Beach BBQ
  • Beach parties
  • 10 days of island hopping
  • Boat trips to Maya Bay (The Beach), around Phangan and Koh Tao
  • Viewpoint treks
  • Party Tuk Tuk night life tour of Phuket
  • All transport around and accommodation in Bangkok, Khao Sok, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, Railay Beach, Koh Phi Phi & Phuket
  • Optional upgrades – scuba diving, rock climbing & water skiing/wake boarding (additional cost)

Excluded

  • Travel Insurance
  • Most Meals
  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Return transfer to Bangkok

Dates

Start Dates 2016

Start Dates 2017

03 Jan – 21st Jan
19th Jan – 5th Feb
9th Feb – 26th Feb
23rd Feb – 12th Mar
8th Mar – 25th Mar
25th Mar – 11th Apr
8th Apr – 25th Apr
23rd Apr – 10th May
8th May – 25thMay
24th May – 10th June
6th June – 23rd June
22nd June – 9th July
7th July – 24th July
21st July – 7th Aug
4th Aug – 21st Aug
13th Aug – 30th Aug
2nd Sept – 19th Sept
13th Sept – 30th Sept
3rd Oct – 20th Oct
14th Oct – 31st Oct
1st Nov – 18th Nov
15th Nov – 2nd Dec
1st Dec – 19th Dec

Spain Horse Whisperer

Do you love horses? Learn to understand and manage them, as you never have before while you get under the skin of the real Mallorca. Imagine the waving reeds, the mountain views in the distance, brilliant blue skies and spending your days learning how to be a horse whisperer, working on a new level with horses, expanding your skills and riding out into mountains.

Love horses? Learn to understand and manage them, as you never have before. Get under the skin of the real Mallorca and learn new skills and gain new experiences. Get out of the house this summer and immerse yourself in waving reeds, the mountain views in the distance, brilliant blue skies! and spending your days learning how to be a horse whisperer, working on a new level with horses, expanding your skills and riding out into mountains. You can relax on the stunning beaches on your time off. This is a totally unique and awesome experience that you must not miss!

Spending your days learning how to be a horse whisperer, working on a new level with horses, expanding your skills and riding out into mountains. You can relax on the stunning beaches on your time off. This is a totally unique and awesome experience that you must not miss!

Spain Horse Whisperer

 Highlights

  • All inclusive pack, meals, accommodation and transfers
  • Stunning weather on a beautiful island
  • Learn how to make the best tapas yum!
  • Get to know this stunning island by horse
  • weekends off for some serious beach time
  • Accommodation in a lovely house in the nicest town in Mallorca
  • During your weekdays spend time at a Spanish Ranch with pool next to the stables
  • Cheap and short flights to Mallorca
  • Ride on the edge of a natural wildlife reserve on the unspoilt plains of North East Mallorca
  • Work with horses every day
  • Instruction on natural horse care
  • Hands-on experience with your horse

PHOTOS

Full Details

Your 2 week programme will be on the stunning island of Mallorca, Spain. Only a 2 hours flight from the UK, so cheap flights, short journey time, and the ultimate island life! Mallorca has nice weather year round, but just to make sure you can enjoy the best weather in Europe, visit the beaches and ride some amazing treks under blue skies, we have selected 2 summer start dates during which you will spend most of your time at a Spanish Ranch overlooking the horses, and yes of course there is a pool to chill at during your down time.

Your Itinerary

Week 1: introduction

You’ll sleep in a Mallorcan town house in the nicest town of the island just 10 min from the best beaches, with free transfer to the stables. The whole group will spend their days at the stables where there is a swimming pool and outdoor and indoor kitchens for cooking and eating together. Lorenzo will share everything he knows with you about Mallorcan life and about horses. You will learn to speak some Mallorquine (Catalan) and about the true culture and traditions of the island.

Xtreme Gap Year Horses Spain (17)During the first week you will be given your own horses for your two-week stay and there will be instruction on natural horse care and hands-on experience with your horse in the mornings.  This will include:

  • How to create a natural paddock
  • How to build strength in a hoof and get rid of horseshoes
  • Horse nutrition and how to judge a horse’s needs
  • Trimming and caring for bare hooves
  • Teeth inspection and knowing a horse’s age
  • Massage and stretching for horses
  • Horse communication and horse coaching
  • Working in the round pen and horse control

At lunchtime there will be cooking demonstrations of authentic dishes on an island where food is valued above all else – no food is wasted and every part of an animal is eaten. You will be cooking the vegetables, the rice and potatoes which you see growing around you. (vegetarian options are available!) Learn to make paellas that are to die for! As well as soups, roasted meats, tapas, empanadas, and breads then eat them together for lunch. At the same time you will be learning some conversational Mallorquine, particularly around ordering and discussing food.

In the afternoon there will be bitless riding in the arenas and out into the countryside, using and demonstrating the skills you have learnt.

Week 2

Xtreme Gap Year Horses Spain (8)For the first 4 days of week 2, you will be working at the stables using your new skills in the morning. Then cooking your personal favourites of the dishes you have learnt for lunch. In the afternoons depending on your abilities you can go out for longer rides exploring the area, ride to town for coffee or work one to one in the arena with your horse increasing your horse communication skills with Lorenzo’s help.

Three days before you leave this horse paradise, you will take an amazing two-day trail into the Tramuntana Mountains on your horse. You will stay overnight in an ancient monastery – a truly unforgettable experience. You must order your own food and drinks in Mallorquine along the way.

On the last day it’s up to you to show off what you’ve learnt. You’ll have a different horse to examine, communicate with and make a presentation about to Lorenzo and the rest of the group. Then a celebration lunch and a last ride out together before we declare you a horse whisperer too.

ACCOMMODATION

accommodationWe have a great place to stay on this trip. A traditional Mallorcan Town house located in the gorgeous town of Pollenca (nicest town in Mallorca with stunning buildings, plaza´s (market squares), little bars and just 10 min from the beach.), seconds from the Calvario steps and the town square. It has completely unspoilt cool whitewashed interiors and is a quiet haven in the centre of the bustling town. All of the rooms are shared by two people and the bathrooms are shared too. There are large communal spaces inside and out for get-togethers and chilling out. Everyone will spend their days, weekdays that is, at the stables and in the gardens and kitchen of the Ranch.

All transfers to the ranch are included, daily!

MEALS

Cooking and eating Spanish food with Mallorcan specialities will be part of the experience. The basis of the Mallorquine cuisine is good bread and olive oil, there are several different oils from different parts of the island which are delicious. Lorenzo will teach you to make fantastic Aioli using local garlic! The secrets of authentic rice dishes like Paella and Arroz Brut, will be revealed and you can learn how to make authentic Coca – which is like a pizza, spicy meat, vegetable or fish empanadas (small pasties) and almond and fruit cakes. You will hone your barbecuing skills, cooking fish, lamb and chicken and there will be fresh fruits and vegetable for side dishes and salads. by the end of two weeks you will be tapas expert, throwing together patatas bravas, tortillas, croquettes and fritos. We’ll take time out for a pizza or a burger too!   No worries if you don’t eat meat or fish because all of these dishes have vegetarian options!

SAFETY

The accommodation is completely safe. Our Spanish (but English speaking) host , our English programme manager Rosemary and Mallorquin guide Lorenzo will all be there to guide you and make your trip one to remember. If there are any issues they are there for you.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

 

All dietary needs will be cared for. Special foods are widely available in Mallorca.

No, you will learn everything you need to know and more if you want to, during your stay

No, the stable’s philosophy is around improving skills and building confidence, any level of riding ability including beginners are welcome

No there are no single rooms available

Yes there is wifi at the accommodation and at the stables

Yes, there are always insects in Mallorca in the summer and particularly around horses. None of them are dangerous but being bitten is annoying and makes you itchy. Insect repellent is strongly recommended

Mallorca can be very hot in the summer and riding will be organised to avoid the hottest times of the day for the sake of the horses and the people. Some riding may be early in the morning or late in the evening allowing time for long lunches and siestas. Sun tan creams are essential to avoid burning

Very casual and comfortable clothes including tea shirts, shorts, thin trousers or summer dresses and swimwear. Bring strong comfortable shoes, boots or trainers for riding and working with the horses and a waterproof just in case because it can  rain in the summer

 

Towels for washing will be provided but please bring your own beach towel for swimming and sunbathing

Yes, you will be able to buy wine, beer and other drinks in local supermarkets and keep them in the fridge where you are staying

The stable minibus will go into town most days for groceries and other necessities and guests will be welcome to go along in small groups to do their own shopping

 

There are washing machines in both sets of accommodation and things dry very quickly

Make sure you have an EHIC with you and a good travel insurance policy. Should you become ill unexpectedly we can call an English speaking doctor or take you to the walk in centre in Sa Pobla, where you will be treated immediately. Pharmacies are well stocked and have expert staff on hand for everyday ailments and we have basic first aid facilities at the stable

Usually 220 gbp is enough

Duration Option Price  
2 (Week)USD 3199Book Now

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INCLUDED

  • Accommodation in a shared room
  • Linen and towels
  • Room Cleaning
  • Introduction
  • Activities as per itinerary
  • Transfers from and to the airport
  • Transfers to town and the ranch
  • All meals, water, soft drinks, fruit and snacks
  • Guides
  • Cooking classes
  • Basic Mallorquin language lesson
  • Overnight stay at the monastery at Lluc

EXCLUDED

  • Alcoholic drinks
  • Any travel that guests choose to make for independent sightseeing or shopping
  • Drinks or snacks in cafes or restaurants taken whilst out riding
  • Personal items such as soap and shampoo

Dates

Saturday 3rd September to Saturday 17th September.

 

Xtreme South Africa Experience

The Xtreme South Africa experience, taking the best parts of a South African gap year experience and boiling it down into 5 weeks of non-stop group travel, action and adventure. All different weeks at different locations, focusing on different incredible activities. Adrenaline adventures in Cape Town, hands-on conservation and community projects covering the first two weeks. Then an unforgettable adrenaline tour up the coast featuring safaris, bungees and epic scenery before finally finishing on a two-week big 5 conservation project. Fly into Cape Town and out of Port Elizabeth.

The Xtreme South Africa experience, taking the best parts of a South African experience and boiling it down into five weeks of non-stop group travel, action and adventure. Different weeks, focusing on four different incredible activities. Adrenaline Adventures in Cape Town, hands-on conservation and community projects covering the first two weeks. Then an unforgettable adrenaline tour up the coast featuring safaris, bungees and epic scenery before finally finishing on a two-week conservation project. Fly into Cape Town and out of Port Elizabeth.

Xtreme South Africa Experience

What you experience now will change your life in the future. This trip with its massive highs, adrenaline shocks, and humbling insights into real issues will grow you as an individual. This trip combines it all; it will be the best five weeks of your life join our groups and kick off an amazing South African adventure.

Week One

Adrenaline Week

  • Arrival into Cape Town transfer to backpackers
  • Five-day Cape Town Adrenaline Week
  • Paragliding
  • Surfing
  • Cape Tour
  • World’s Highest Abseil
  • Free Weekend With Beach Time

Week Two:

Xtreme Hero Week

  • Choose either  Xtreme marine conservation hero great white shark project option or
  • Xtreme Kite Surf Qualification or
  • Or the Xtreme community superhero option in a township

Week Three:

Adrenaline Tour Garden Route Road Trip

  • Cape Town / Gaans Bai to Cape Aguilas
  • Cape Aguilas to Oudtshoorn
  • Face Adrenaline
  • Monkey / Elephant Park Night in Sedgefield
  • Jeffreys Bay via Tsitsikamma
  • Addo Game Drive – Jeffreys Bay
  • Hang out in Jeffreys Bay With Surf Lesson
  • Weekend in Port Elizabeth with city tour, Jazz club and Donkin Trail

Week Four & Five:

Big 5 Wildlife Conservation

  • Wildlife conservation Game Park
  • Transfer to Port Elizabeth
  • Trip ends

Highlights

  • Make friends from all over the world, as you discover, learn party and chill in some incredible locations all throughout southern Africa.
  • Experiencing the site sounds and colonial vibe of Africa’s most beautiful city: Cape Town
  • Revelling in the epic landscape of where to oceans meet at the Horn of Africa: the Cape of Good Hope
  • Pitting yourself against the world’s highest abseil of Table Mountain
  • Insane views of Cape Town on the Table Mountain cable car
  • Chilling on white sandy beaches with incredible views of Table Mountain with optional kite surf lessons
  • Picking between two adventurous and worthwhile projects. Helping to report scientific research aiding in the conservation of the great white shark, or immersing yourself in a community project to give something back to the poorest and most vulnerable in South Africa
  • Experiencing one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world en route to the shark conservation project
  • An incredible garden route adrenaline tour, covering 1000 km of action and adventure!
  • Testing your bravery. Facing the world’s highest bridge bungee: Bloukrans at 216 m (optional).
  • Mount up and ride an ostrich Cango Ostrich Farm!
  • Discover the true beauty of the garden route as you drive through the Hops Valley experiencing its mind blowing scenery
  • Discover the gateway to the Otter Trail in South Africa’s third most popular National Park Tsitsikamma. A feast for your eyes as steep wilderness gives way to a beautiful stretch of coastline.
  • Go on safari in Addo National Park and search for the big five.
  • Chill on the golden sands and get proper beach time in Jeffreys Bay. Ultra cool beach-side surf hostel, with epic nightlife and chilled out vibes.
  • Get hands-on on a wildlife conservation project for an entire week. Loads of interaction with nature, in a beautiful environment.


PHOTOS

Full Details

Cape Town Adrenaline Week One

On Arrival

You stay here.
You stay here.

Arrange your flights to land in to Cape Town International airport. We will pick you up from the airport and transfer you to our base in Cape Town. A stress free way of arriving into Africa. When you book with Xtreme gap year you get access to a Facebook group buddy list prior to arrival, so you can already start chatting to fellow Xtreme Gappers is who will be joining you on your trip.

Check in, kick back and relax. On Monday morning you will be given a full comprehensive introduction and then start your week-long adventures in and around Cape Town.

Your accommodation for the week is located in Table View its near the beach, and its a nice chilled out place to relax when dipping in and out of Cape Town. The views of table Mountain are spectacular as well.

Cape Town

DJI00013For the first week Cape Town will be your playground. It’s an amazing destination with a distinctively European feel yet African flair. You have loads of activities arranged for you for the week, but also plenty of free time to explore and check out some of the site sounds and highlights of the mother city.

As some of the activities are weather dependent the days you complete the activities might change, but we will aim to complete the following:

Table Mountain National Park & Abseil Africa

Take a trip to the top of table Mountain and check out the stunning scenery surrounding you. Awarded natural wonder of the world status, it’s easy to see why from the top. On a clear day you have impressive views of not only Cape Town but the Cape of Good Hope and the stunning scenery surrounding the mother city.

Table Mountain Drone (1)When you’re at the top, we are going to take full advantage of the altitude, because you are going to abseil of the world’s highest abseil from the top. Over 100 m in distance, and the thousand metres above sea level you will learn the true benefits of adrenaline travel with Xtreme. If you do not have a head for heights or want to back out you will not be forced to participate in this activity, but you will miss out on one of the best experiences of your life.

Please note the cable car ticket is not included in the trip price and you must purchase this locally (or this can be done online the night before) allow approximately £25 per person for the return journey.

Xtreme Cape Peninsula Tour

We will take you off to check out the Horn of Africa, on a mission to see the Cape of Good Hope. Along the way we will show you a thing or two about the history of Cape Town and show you things that most tourists miss. Check out the penguins at boulders Beach, have lunch with the locals in Kalk Bay and of course taste some of the local wine which is spectacular. We will take you through Clifton, camps Bay and then the stunning coastal road to Hout baai. It’s a scenic drive and then some with the final destination being the Cape of Good Hope. Prior to reaching the Cape there is a 40 minute hike, surrounded by baboons, seabirds and all forms of exotic wildlife. This is an entire day out, and will take around eight hours.

Surfing

During the first week we will hit the beach and do a three-hour surf session!

Paragliding

When we look at table Mountain, we just want to jump off it . So as part of the Cape Town adrenaline week we will take you tandem paragliding. The views are insane from up there!

Please note this activity is wind and weather dependent so there is some flexibility as to when this happens. If we are unfortunate with the local conditions we will substitute this activity with something more appropriate.

Food Included

For the first two weeks breakfasts and dinners are included in the price of the programme (unless you are on the shark conservation option, in which case breakfasts and dinners will be included for the first week in Cape Town).

Week 2: Hero Week Pick An Option

  • Xtreme marine conservation hero great white shark project option or
  • Xtreme Kite Surf Qualification or
  • Or the Xtreme community superhero option in a township

On your second week you have two different projects you can choose. Please note both projects are located in different locations. If you choose the community hero option, you will be located in table view in Cape Town. The shark conservation project takes place in Gansbaai approximately two hours from Cape Town. The group will be split depending on which activities you have picked and be reunited on the road trip one week later.

Great White Shark Option

And Xtreme Gap your exclusive we have partnered with one of the leading great white shark conservation projects in the world.

Every day (weather permitting) boats go out to monitor great white shark numbers in one of the world’s top great white shark hotspots.

Your role as an Xtreme reporter will be to get in the water with the sharks (in a cage) and observe the sharks in their natural environment. There are various research projects and data collection needs that you will get involved with, and you will be briefed on arrival as to what research tasks need to be completed.

Important scientific data collection work… That just happens to be bloody exciting.

DJI00125For one week you will be going out on the boats, examining and interacting with great whites, collecting and collating data on their movements and markings.

You will also fulfill the role of an Xtreme reporter, by contributing to the Xtreme marine shark conservation blog with the aim of raising awareness of issues surrounding threats to the great white shark. The database and bloggers running conjunction with white shark projects, one of the world’s leading white shark conservation projects, and the work you do will be accessible to marine biologists throughout the world.

Now this is important work, because you will be located in the worlds number one hotspots the great white sharks. Very little is known about them, so the data that you collect is very important. Scientists from all over the world can use the data collected in Gansbaai to further their understanding of great white sharks, and help assist in the conservation of these magnificent animals. Sharks are under threat, this is common knowledge now is your opportunity to help do something about it.

Xtreme South Africa Experience (9)We will aim to get you in the water as much as possible, but please note the activity is weather dependent, so there may be some non-sea days. During these days your focus will be on writing up the article that you are working on, or nonacademic activities like visiting some of the incredible hotspots in the area.

During the week you will be accommodated in a volunteer house, located in Klein Baai, a stones throw from the launch site of the shark conservation projects boats. After one week you will have gained an incredible insight into the issues surrounding great white sharks, and we hope got to know them a little bit better! Not only that you will come face-to-face on multiple occasions with a top apex predator and probably crapped your pants in the process!

Breakfasts Included

Please note breakfast is included during this week and lunches and dinners you have to pay for locally however there are cooking facilities at the volunteer house, and volunteers usually take turns to cook together.

Kite Surf Option

The third very exciting option in your second week is our learn to  Kite Surf option. You will be located a short stroll from one of the best kite surf beaches in the world. Cape Town is well known for its perfect kite surf conditions, warm temperate waters reliable steady wind and some of the top kite surfers in the world choosing this is the number one destination.

If you pick this option we will enroll you on an IKO beginner kite surfing course. As this option is wind and weather dependent, you have a week to complete your course, which should provide ample time to complete the necessary hours and modules.

What you will learn:

The kite surfing course will take you through the theory of kite surf, everything from wind conditions to the equipment and safety checks. You will learn how to fly the kite on land prior to getting in the water to start body dragging. (Controlling the kite in the water without the board). Finally you will get onto water start where you are up on the board under power from the kite. How far you progress is really up to how quickly you pick it up.

During the week you will be accommodated in the same backpackers hostel as in week 1.

All meals are included during this week and you get a total of 12 hours of instruction split throughout the week.

Breakfast and dinner included with this option

 Township Community Work. The community superhero project option.

Skandal Camp Xtreme Gap Foundation (8) (Copy)For those not doing the white shark conservation project, you have an amazing opportunity to help some of Africa’s most vulnerable communities. Partnering with the save foundation, you are able to get involved in a series of different project to help benefit local impoverished communities. You will be visiting some of the most unfortunate and impoverished people in South Africa. There are significant social problems which need addressing with the help of overseas volunteers. Helping volunteer your time in community creches, playing with the children and being involved in construction projects like building classrooms can make a real difference to the local community.

Some of the work is heartbreaking, and some of it incredibly rewarding. You will be under the stewardship of very capable coordinators, who have been successfully running community projects in South Africa for many years. Nikki the project leader, comes from an NGO background whose drive and enthusiasm is infectious. Under her guidance hopefully you can give something back and contribute to the well-being of some of Africa’s most needy.

During the week he will stay in a shared volunteer house, located a couple of minutes from the beach in dormitory accommodation. The house is in one of the most picturesque parts of Cape Town, table view and each day you will be transported to the projects and set tasks.

Breakfast and dinner included with this option

 

Week Three Adrenaline Tour Garden Route Road Trip.

tAFELBERG 2 EN oUDTSHOORN 249 (Copy)The third week involves an epic 1 ½ thousand kilometre road trip along one of the most beautiful drives in the world: the Garden Route. This is a fully guided adventure stopping off in some of the best places in South Africa.

This will be a non-stop quest for adventure with some seriously awesome activities in the itinerary:

What you can expect

  • Opportunity to go shark cage diving (if you are on the community township option)
  • Safari and game drive in the legendary Addo Elephant Park
  • Two night stay in Jeffreys Bay with surf lessons
  • Optional bungee jump at the legendary Bloukrans (Or cheer on your mates from the clifftop bar!)
  • Tsitiskamma National Park the gateway to the otter Trail
  • Ostrich riding and cango caves
  • Cango Wildlife Park to see rare breeds and leaping crocodiles
  • Option to do some crocodile cage diving
  • Epic scenery of mountains, coastal roads and two amazing oceans
  • Chilling out on the golden sands of Jeffreys Bay
  • A breathtaking view from the top of Knysna Heads

Adrenaline Tour Garden Route Road Trip

Day 1 ǀ Cape Town to Struisbaai:

One of the most scenic coastal drives in the world optional shark cage dive,  ending at the bottom of continental  Africa.

It’s an early start from Cape Town at 8.30. It’s going to be a hell of the road trip. Today we head East, as we leave behind table Mountain and the glorious Cape Town, we had along the N2 to the coast. We will be joining the famous Whale route which is one of the most scenic coastal drives in the world. Mountains descend into the Indian Ocean, which is loaded with whales and sharks.

If you did not pick the great white shark option in the second week you have the opportunity to go shark cage diving today. This will mean you leave even earlier than the main group to get out on the boat to see the sharks. You will then meet up with the main group directly after your shot cage dive.

Make sure your camera is fully charged because you’re going to be snapping away like a lunatic, we can have a stop in a craft beer brewery to quench your thirst before heading to Cape Agulhas National Park.

Despite most people believe the Cape of Good Hope holds this title, it is actually Cape Agulhas that is the most southern geographical point of Africa.

After a visit to the lookout point we make our way to the harbour where there is an option to embark on an exciting ski-boat cruise to search for dolphin and whales (June to November).

After our cruise we take a walk back to our accommodation along “Die Plaat”, the longest beach in the Southern Hemisphere. This day is designed to be a relaxing one for you to get to know your fellow travellers, to get used to travelling in our vehicle and to settle into the comfortable routine of life on tour.

  • Meals: Dinner
  • Accommodation:  Backpacker dorm -Cape Agulhas Backpackers
  • Facilities Shared ablutions, bar, internet, swimming pool
  • Route: Cape Town to Struisbaai ±260 km
  • Travel time: ±4 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Land Based Whale Watching in Hermanus / Shopping
    Beer/wine tasting at Birkenhead Brewery
  • Optional Activities: Shark cage diving

Day 2 ǀ Cape Agulhas to Sedgefield: Canoeing & Hike

Goodbye whale route hello garden route. Day two brings beach time, kayaking and waterfalls.

Not such an early start this morning, enjoy your breakfast After a relaxing breakfast we start driving inland again, this time towards the famed Garden Route!

After a scenic drive we begin a beautiful canoe trip down one of the many tranquil rivers in the area, followed by a short hike to a stunning waterfall.
We finish off the day with some beach time down at Myoli Beach.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Cape to Addo Backpacker dorm: Sedgefield
  • Facilities: Shared ablutions, internet, pool, entertainment areas
  • Route: Struisbaai to Sedgefield ± 340 km
  • Travel time: ±4 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Canoe trip & hike to waterfall

Day 3 ǀ Oudtshoorn:

Driving through the desert Little Karoo. Exploring underground caves. Riding ostriches and swimming with crocodiles!

We begin the day with a drive over the picturesque Outeniqua mountain range into the semi desert region of the Klein Karoo and Oudtshoorn. Today you’re going to see more ostriches than you will probably ever see for the rest of your life. Originally not native to Oudtshoorn, settlers discovered that the ostrich thrives here. So you’re going learn a lot about them. If you’re up for it you can ride one one as well (don’t worry it doesn’t hurt the ostrich and it is really very silly).


Prior to that we are going to explore the amazing Cango Caves. Think massive caverns and a wonderland of stalactite and stalagmite formations, millions of years old. Cango Caves is a world heritage site and one of the great wonders of the natural world.

If you enjoy spelunking (yes that’s a real word we didn’t make that up) and don’t mind trying to squeeze through some smaller gaps then you are also welcome to take the 1.5 hour adventure tour!

Finally you can go see endangered wildlife act can go wildlife Ranch. This is the only place in the world we can go crocodile cage diving! They also have a big cat Sanctuary, where you can interact with cheetah as well.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Accommodation: Cape to Addo Backpacker dorm in Sedgefield
  • Facilities: Shared ablutions, internet, pool, free shuttle service to PiliPili Beach bar
  • Route: Sedgefield to Oudtshoorn day trip ±190 km
  • Travel time: ±3 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Standard or adventure guided tour of Cango Caves

Optional Activities:

  • Tour of a working Ostrich farm + riding (weight restriction apply to riders)
  • Cango Endangered Wildlife ranch

Day 4 ǀ Sedgefield – Jeffrey’s Bay:

Learn all about monkeys and Elephants. Throw yourselves down canyons and take on the mighty bloukrans Bungee. Hike through a national Park. Finish in one of the worlds top surf spots. Not a bad afternoon.

This morning we drive through Knysna on our way to the Crags where you have a number of options to choose from. This is an action packed itinerary today so you will not get to pick every single option, so pick the one that you would most like to do.

  1. Elephant Sanctuary where you learn about, and interact with orphaned elephants.
  2. Monkey Sanctuary where rescued monkeys roam free in a large jungle area.
  3. Kloofing trip through a spectacular gorge with jumps, abseils and swimming.

Bloukrans bungee

Bloukrans Face Adrenaline bungee jumpOur next stop is the World’s highest commercial bridge Bungee Jump at 216 meters.  It is really bloody scary. If you cannot face the jump, you can face a pint, from the clifftop bar where you can watch the jumpers on a live video feed.


For those that have successfully completed the jump they are going to need a serious wind down. There is no better place to do this than the Tsitsikamma National Park. It’s like something out of the lost world, with an ancient rainforest descending down beautiful cliffs into the sea.  We will go for a hike over the suspension bridges to check out the scenery and stop for lunch in an amazing beach-side lodge. Make sure you try the stake it is to die for.

If we have time we will head to Storms river swing bridges before we reach the world-famous surfing Mecca Jeffreys Bay. We will be staying right by the beach in an awesome Surf Lodge. The Surf Lodge will be your home for the next couple of days, although we will be doing road trips up to the Addo national elephant Park.

  • Meals: Breakfast, Dinner
  • Accommodation Backpacker dorm; Island Vibe Backpackers, Jbay
  • Facilities: Shared ablutions, bar, restaurant, internet
  • Route: Sedgefield to Storms River/Jbay
  • Travel time: ±2-3 hrs
  • Included Highlight: Tsitsikamma Forest
  • Optional Activities: Elephant Sanctuary, Monkeyland, Bloukrans bungee jump (216m), Bloukrans Bridge walking tour

Day 5 ǀ Jeffrey’s Bay – Addo National Park – Sedgefield: Game Drive (Addo), Surfing, shopping time (Jeffrey’s bay)

Wake up early and head to Addo Elephant National park where we go on a morning game drive to view the multitudes of wild animals. Addo is home to the Big 5 and it also has the highest concentration of African Elephants in the world!

Addo Game Drive

The Addo elephant Park is immense. It’s also one of the top elephant game reserves in South Africa. Miles and miles of endless African bush, will have surprises around every corner. We will go for a 3 to 5 hour game drive in the elephant Park so have your camera charged in your memory card is empty!

Jeffreys Bay With Optional Surf Lesson

In the afternoon we had back to Jeffreys Bay, where you will set up for the next couple of days, learning to surf and getting some much-needed beach and chill time.

This is your opportunity to relax, take in the white sandy beaches and hang out with other backpackers. The week after we are heading into the African bush, so it’s nice to spend some time by the ocean.

No meals are included in Jeffreys bay so please budget and additional £30 to cover these expenses for the next couple of days

Weekend in Port Elizabeth

P.E for the weekend. You will be based in a hostel near the center and have serveral activities planned. An interesting city tour (Donkin trail ) combined with township tour finally dinner at a Jazz Club in the township (New Brighton Township).

When we depart from the Jazz club after dinner we stop at the beer shack for beer tasting (beers own cost).

This section is guided from Jbay all the way through PE until the wold life section of the trip. You will have free time at the weekend. You can shop, explore or if you thirst for some more adventure: Rent a bike from the hostel and do a few kilometres cycle to a SAMREC penguin rehabilitation centre and or you can do  a 9 km hiking trail of the Cape Nature Recife/light house.

Week Four & Five Wildlife Conservation & Safari

Week four and Five are all about the animals of Africa. Staying in the big five wildlife reserve near Port Elizabeth. Guided by expert game rangers you will have access every day to Africa’s wildlife. Early in the mornings and in the afternoons you will head out in modified land cruisers, looking for wildlife and getting involved in conservation activities.


It is spectacular as it is adventurous, but more than that you will gain a deeper understanding of the issues African wildlife is facing. For example the exploitation of the rhino, or combating poaching from elephant ivory poachers. There are so many different projects and tasks that need your assistance you can really contribute something back. But it’s not all hard work out on the reserves, its incredible experiences as well. Face-to-face with raw African wildlife, you will track lions, buffaloes leopards and more.

During these weeks you will stay on the reserves, in a shared volunteer house, all food is provided for you, although there is the opportunity to purchase extra snacks and soft drinks. With days full of wildlife interaction, your nights around the campfire will be filled with incredible story swapping as you relive the moments of the day.

Car Chasing (2) - CopyYou also have the option to contribute to our wildlife conservation database, and write reports on your findings, a great way to show future employers or university tutors what you got up to with your time off.

At the end of the weeks you will be dropped off in Port Elizabeth (Monday 11 am) where you can catch your flight home. If you wish to travel further on through South Africa, we can also help organise Baz bus tickets, a hop on hop off bus network so let us know all about your travel plans.

Which reserve will you stay at?

We use several different reserves depending on the groups sizes and availability at the game reserves. All reserves are highly rated (5 star game reserves). Sometimes it is necessary to split the group, but we endeavour to keep the group together. The game reserve selected will be confirmed to you at the time of booking and we do reserve the right to change game reserves at any time depending on what is best suited to group size. All game reserves are located in the Port Elizabeth Malaria free zone.

ACCOMMODATION

On this trip you stay multiple locations. Accommodation is mainly in dorms or twin to triple share single sex rooms.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

What are the group sizes

Group sizes do vary but expect up to 12 people per group. We keep it nice and intimate because this ensures the road trip section is truly unforgettable. You will make good friends with other Xtreme Gappers and have some incredible experiences along the way.

What spending money should I take

South Africa is very cheap, the exchange rate is very favourable so if you are on a tight budget you should only need around £80 per week. Most of your food is included in the second and fourth weeks, and there are cooking facilities available as well.

What are the average ages?

The majority of people on this trip are between 18 and 30, but it is popular with people of all ages.

As a first-time traveller as the suitable for me?

Yes absolutely. The majority of people on this trip book on their own, and you are well looked after throughout. It’s a great introduction to travelling, and you will be with other people in a similar position. You also get access to our online Facebook buddy lists prior to travel so you can make friends with other people on the same trip prior to leaving.

Is South Africa safe?

Yes it is. Throughout the trip you have assistance from our guides and coordinators, you will be well looked after.

Advise about vaccination

No need to really worry about a rabies vac – highly unlikely that you will need it. Most hospitals have this in stock and they could definitely get this within 24 hours (they don’t keep stock but can get in very quickly).  Our pharmacist in Kenton also said that they can order the rabies vac should someone wants to get vaccinated once here.  Most good pharmacies should be able to do this. We always suggest to our volunteers to get a tetanus jab before coming out – if possible but also not to stress if they haven’t (in case you stand in a rusty nail, hurt yourself with a machete whilst chopping out alien plants on the last 2 weeks.

Great White Shark option

Our great white shark project is closed for volunteers from the 15 Dec- 15th Jan but our kite surfing and community volunteering will still be running then.

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Duration Option Price  
5 (Week)Xtreme CommunityUSD 2429Book Now
5 (Week)Kitesurf 5 Week OptionUSD 2609Book Now

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INCLUDED

Cape Town Section, Week 1:

  • Pickup from Cape Town International airport
  • All accommodation at an awesome hostel close to the beach
  • Fully guided in country support and predeparture support
  • Walking tour of Cape Town
  • 3 hour surf lesson
  • Breakfast and Dinner
  • Table Mountain abseil
  • Cape Peninsula tour
  • Paragliding in Capetown or Lions Head Trek  (weather dependent)
  • Wine tasting
  • Hop on hop off bus tour of Cape Town (with optional Signal Hill sunset)
  • Blouberg Beach the perfect place for a sunset

The Xtreme Hero Week 2 :

  • Meals (dinner is excluded in shark option)
  • Breakfast and Dinner (on the Kite Surf and Hero Options)
  • Accommodation
  • Transfers to the projects
  • Xtreme Gap Year coordinators
  • Guidance on the various activities

Road Trip Section, Week 3:

  • All transport
  • All accommodation
  • Xtreme Gap Year guide
  • Entrance to Addo Elephant Park and game drive
  • Entrance to Tsitikamma National Park
  • Cango Caves
  • Cango Wildlife Ranch & Ostrich Ranch
  • Jeffreys Bay Surf lesson

 Wildlife Reserve Section Week 4&5:

  • Transfers to and from the reserve
  • Accommodation in a secure gated compound
  • All meals
  • Game Ranger supervisors
  • Game drive vehicle for 2 weeks
  • Drop off to Port Elizabeth

EXCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Some meals unless stated and all meals during the road trip Jbay section
  • Snacks & Drinks
  • Cape town cable car
  • Activities listed as optional on the road trip

Dates

More dates

 

Xtreme South America Experience

Adventurous group gap travel at its best in South America. Join us on the 4 week Xtreme South America. Featuring two of the most epic backpacking destinations in the South American continent: Ecuador and Peru. Brush up on your Spanish and trek to Machu Picchu before getting involved in the jungle animal sanctuary.

South America Xplorer Xtreme Gap (8)

Adventurous group gap travel at its best in South America. Join us on the 4 week Xtreme South America.  Featuring two of the most epic backpacking destinations in the South American continent: Ecuador and Peru. Brush up on your Spanish and trek to Machu Picchu before getting involved in the jungle animal sanctuary. All the while you will be immersed in ancient Incan culture.  90% of our travellers travel alone so this is a great way to join a group travel programme in South America.

XTREME SOUTH AMERICA EXPERIENCE

South America Xplorer Xtreme Gap (6)Start your 4 week South America adventure with intensive Spanish lessons, this makes it easier to understand the culture and communicate with the locals. Then we challenge you on  a 4 day trek to the infamous Machu Picchu. Next spend a week travelling along the Northern beaches of Peru before entering Ecuador, where we spend a week at our animal sanctuary, an experience you’ll never forget.

 

Highlights:

  • Discovering hidden lost cities
  • Learning Spanish
  • Hanging out in the cool backpacker city of Cuzco
  • Living in the Amazon with the tribe for a week
  • Hanging 10 on awesome surf breaks in the Pacific Ocean
  • Trekking high in the Andes
  • Backpacking through Peru and Ecuador with an awesome group of new friends
  • Fully guided awesome fun and full on adventure

PHOTOS

THE XTREME SOUTH AMERICA EXPERIENCE ITINERARY

The Xtreme South America Experience is divided into different phases and they go like this:

On arrival

You need to fly into Cuzco airport in Peru.  This is the gateway to the Inca Trail as an incredibly beautiful old colonial city located high in the Andes.  On arrival an Xtreme Gap representative will meet you and transfer you to your accommodation.  You will then meet the rest of the group and be prepared for your welcome briefing and orientation.

Part 1: Learn Spanish and hang out in Cuzco

Location: Cuzco, 1 week 

South America Xplorer Xtreme Gap (1)The first part of the Xtreme South America Experience is a week in Cuzco. The perfect way to acclimatise and settle into the laid-back, South American way of life.
Set high in the mountains, Cuzco is a stunning location with an incredible blend of Spanish colonial and ancient Incan cultures.  It was the old capital city of the Incan empire, so as you would expect it’s pretty impressive.  In your first week you will have plenty of time to explore Cusco (and its great nightlife) plus learn some much-needed Spanish!

Spanish Lessons: 

We include loads of activities in your first week, and you will also have Spanish lessons for 4 hours per day, usually in the mornings, with plenty of time to practice what you’ve learned in the fantastic and quirky markets and many tourist sites around Cuzco.

A fantastic student teacher ratio will ensure you learn the essentials quickly and easily.  If you already have an understanding or even advanced level of Spanish it will certainly improve as all lessons are tailored to you.

Free Time:  

Throughout your first week, your afternoons will be free to explore the fascinating city streets, museums and local ruins with the rest of the group.  Cusco has incredible night life as well, as the main travellers hub to people about to start having completed the Inca Trail it attracts people from all over the world.  Nights out in night clubs like Mama Africa or even hanging out at the Cross Keys pub in the Placa De Armas you are sure to meet interesting people from all over the world.

Part 2: The trek to Machu Picchu

Peru Xtreme Gap (44)After the first week it’s time to begin trekking!  We leave early from Cusco by bus to the start of our trek, Mollepata.  This will be an incredible mind blowing experience.  The views of the Andes Mountains, with the associated steep valleys and jaw-dropping landscapes will remain with you for ever.  It’s no walk in the park however, you will be trekking at altitude for about 5 to 7 hours a day.

Snow-capped mountains, waterfalls, llamas and condors.  On the fourth day we will take the train to Aguas Calientes overnight.

Early in the morning, we take the bus to Machu Picchu, following steep mountain paths eventually arriving at the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu.  You can explore the site, and there is a lot to explore!  You will be surprised how advanced culturally the Incas were and there is plenty of evidence still left in the city.

You can visit the sun gate for the postcard picture and also an option to climb the famous hill of Huayna Picchu should you wish to (must be pre-booked in advance). In the afternoon, we return to Aguas Calientes where we catch the train back to Cusco.

Part 3: Northern Beaches Cuzco to Puyo 

Leaving Cuzco and the Andes mountains behind we set off on an exciting overland journey along the northern coastline of Peru into Ecuador! Our first stop will be the bustling Peruvian capital of Lima to discover the city’s streets, parks and plazas and get a feel for the rich history of the country.

Next we depart Lima and follow the coastline until we reach Huanchaco, once the capital of the ancient Peruvian Moche civilisation. Huanchaco is a small town with epic surf beaches. There are also a number of fascinating ruins to explore in the local area. Onward to Punta Sal for pure  beach chill time  where there are a number of optional activities to chose from or just kick back and relax  and hang out with the group.

From Punta Sal we cross the border into Ecuador for our first stop in Cuenca, Ecuador’s third largest city.  It’s a global heritage site and a great place to explore.  From there we continue our journey inland past stunning scenery to the start point of your next phase of the expedition, Puyo.

Part  4: Amazon Rainforest  and wildlife conservation project

South America Xplorer Xtreme Gap (16)During this part of the programme you spend 1 week at the animal rescue centre in The Amazon. You get to interact with some of the incredible indigenous wildlife in South America.  Our Animal Rescue Centre helps wild animals that have been rescued from mistreatment and abuse and focuses on saving lives, helping them to recover and, if possible, letting them return to the wild.

You can expect the following types of animals there:   Capuchin, Wooly, Spider and Tamarind monkeys.  Ocelots and Margays, Kinkajous, Coatis and Tayras. Ant Eaters and Porcupines, White lipped Peccaries, Macaws and various parrots, Spectacled Caiman and Boa Constrictors.

There are different areas in need of help and the exact work you will be doing will depend on your personal interests but could include:   Preparing animals’ food, daily feeding and cleaning, assisting in construction and maintenance work to improve animal living conditions, providing care and support to animals, monitoring behaviour and reporting any unusual situations you notice regarding the animals to one of the supervisors.

ACCOMMODATION

Due to the diverse nature of this trip, the accommodation will vary throughout. For example, in towns and cities we use local hotels and guesthouses, camping on the Trek, in the Amazon we use a volunteer guesthouse and traditional stilted huts in the Shuar community.  In the Galapagos (optional)  you will be staying in hostels.

Meals

You will be provided with 3 meals a day and the food is typical South American fare. In towns and cities we eat at the guesthouse or local restaurants, cooks provide hearty meals on the trek and in the animal sanctuary volunteers go together to purchase groceries and take it in turns to prepare evening meals. Please note only breakfast is included on Galapagos.  Typical South American fare includes lots of rice, meat, beans, vegetables and fruit, regional dishes vary and local specialties will always be made available!

Support

Throughout the expedition you will have an Xtreme Gap representative and trip leader. On each project there will also be a dedicated project co-ordinator and team of staff who will work with the leader and volunteers to assign tasks. We also have a team of staff based in Quito to provide further back up.

Transportation

Transport to and from the airport, to each phase and for all tours on the itinerary will be included. Transport can vary from taxi, minibus and local buses depending on the journey. Any extra trips not included on the itinerary will be at each volunteers own cost.

Flights

Flights are always arriving to Cusco (arrive in the morning) and from Quito (leave in the afternoon)

Flights to Galapagos (for when you book the Bolt-on)  are from Quito – there is a flight around 9/9:30 am to Galapagos so to get that one.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

The majority of foreign nationals do not require a visa for Peru or Ecuador. However, those with criminal records in Ecuador may still be denied entry. On arrival in the country, the immigration police will normally allow a stay of up to 90 days

There is a National Park entrance fee to the Galapagos Islands of $110 for all foreign nationals. This fee is not included.

If possible, it would be best to get the flight arriving at 11:00.(Iberia/LAN from Lima to Cusco) So arrive on the start date of the trip at 11 am, or earlier in the morning, in Cusco.

You can arrive 1 day early if that’s more convenient, the price is £30 for an extra night (incl food)

The arrival airport is Cuzco (CUZ) and departure airport is Quito (UIO) You are responsible for booking your own flights/transport to the start point of the expedition (at the in-country airport). Information and advice about booking flights will be provided upon booking but please do not hesitate to contact us if you need further assistance. Do not forget to upload your flights details on your personal pages before you go! Call us if you have any questions or need any advice.

You will also need to book return flights from Quito to the Galapagos Islands. These flights are approximately $450 USD and although not included, we can help you can book these flights for you.

Weather Ecuador: The highland dry season is June through until the end of September. In the Oriente, it rains during most months, but August and December through March are usually the driest. In the Galápagos, the wildlife is there year-round. The dry season (June to December) is also cool and often misty. On the coast, the wet season (roughly January to May) sees sunny days with daily afternoon downpours, but it’s the best beach weather. The dry season (roughly June to December) is cooler.

Peru: From June to August is the dry season in the mountains and altiplano (Andean plateau); the wettest months are from December to March. It rains all the time in the hot and humid rainforest, but the driest months there are from June to September. However, even during the wettest months from December to May, it rarely rains for more than a few hours at a time.

Even though you will be provided with food and accommodation in-country, you will need money to do your own travelling if you wish and for any activities not on the itinerary. There will be plenty of things do! Depending on the duration of your stay, we advise you to budget for $60 – $80 or £40-£50 a week.

Upon booking you will be provided with a recommend kit list. You will also have a kit briefing before you go out on expedition and you are welcome to call us with any kit related queries before you go!

Don’t be! By joining our group you will be meeting loads of like-minded adventurers so don’t be put off travelling if you don’t have any mates to come with you.  You’re guaranteed to make loads of friends and have an incredible time on this adventure!

Option Add On Galapagos

DAY 1 BALTRA / SANTA CRUZ ISALAND / ISABELA ISLAND

You take a flight from Quito to the Airport of Baltra Island.

Our guides will take you over to Isabela Island.

Flamingo Lagoon which is the largest coastal lagoon found in the Galapagos and is one of the main reproductive sites for the grand majority of flamingos. Dinner and accommodation.

Highlights:           Flamingos, svelte birds.

Activities:            Hiking, walking

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Difficulty:             Moderate

DAY 2 ISABELA ISLAND

After breakfast our destination is the rim of Sierra Negra Volcano.

The Sierra Negra Volcano boasts the largest basaltic caldera in Galapagos at 9 x 10 km. The site offers impressive views and the opportunity to observe up to 7 species of finch and a rich display of vegetation. The north side of the caldera provides evidence of its most recent volcanic activity in 2005.

Highlights:           Basaltic caldera, stunning views, finches

Activities:             Hiking, horseback riding, walking

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Diffilcuty:             Moderate

Concha de Perla 

This is the perfect spot for those who love swimming or snorkeling! Concha de Perla is a shallow, calm bay with crystal clear water that allows you to enjoy the fascinating marine life of Galapagos. If you are lucky you will be able to swim with sea lions and penguins. Dinner and accommodation.

Highlights:           Sea lions and penguins.

Activities:             Snorkeling

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Diffilcuty:             Moderate

DAY 3 SANTA CRUZ ISLAND (After breakfast Navigation to Santa Cruz)

Charles Darwin Station

The Charles Darwin Research Station is home to turtles ranging from 3-inches (new hatchlings) to 4-feet long. Sub-species of turtles interact with one another and many of the older turtles are accustomed to humans, stretching out their heads for a pet. The babies are kept until they are about four years old and strong enough to survive on their own.

Tortuga Bay is another destinations to visit on your own on Santa Cruz with baby powder white sand, magic blue waters, marine iguanas, and sometimes flamingos. It is only 2.5 Km from Puerto Ayora on a nice brick path (about 30-45 minutes walking).

Highlights:           Giant Tortoises in captivation, marine iguanas.

Activities:             Walking

Type of Landing: Dry landing

Diffilcuty:             Easy

DAY 4 FLOREANA ISLAND

Post Office Bay is one of the few visitor sites that is visited for its human history. Whaling Captain James Colnett established the wooden post barrel in 1793. At this time whaling was a big industry, ships were typically gone for 2 years at a time. Floreana was a frequent stop for these ships. Outbound ships would drop off letters after rounding the cape and the ships returning home would pick the up and delivered in time by hand. Near Post Office Bay, we explore the north shore of Floreana along narrow channels teeming with life. Rays, turtles and sea lions can be seen gently swimming next to the panga.

Mirador de la Baronesa is a vista point on the northside of Floreana, in La Olla Bay. It is a basaltic rock formation between Cormorant Point and Post Office Bay. You will take a panga ride to reach this point. On the panga you can observe several marine species such as golden eagle rays, sea turtles, sea lions, mullets and eventually Galapagos penguins.

Mirador de la Baronesa is a good place for understanding the mangroves. The red mangrove is characterized by a hanging elongated fruit, which in reality is a new daughter plant that grows from the parent plant, a rarity in the plant kingdom. The red mangrove is a pioneer in the coasts and has a very hard and resistant wood.

This location has a history. It was known to be loved by Baroness Eloisa von Wagner, where she would spent hours watching ships and acquiring knowledge of vessels approaching the island. Within walking distance (30 m) are the ruins of what is known as the House of the Baroness. Dinner and accommodation.

Highlights:           Post office barrel, nice sandy beach. View, sea turtles, history and          

                               Mystery…stories of the first inhabitants on Floreana

Activities:            Short hike, snorkeling

Type of Landing: Wet landing

Diffilcuty:             Easy

DAY 5 SANTA CRUZ ISLAND

Los Gemelos, or the Twin Craters, are located opposite each other on both sides of the road leading from Puerto Ayora to Baltra. The name is only figurative; not real craters, these formations were created by the collapse of surface material in underground fissures and chambers. The view is breathtaking.

Transfer to the Baltra Airport

Highlights:                Pit craters, Scalesia forest

Activities:                Short hiking

Type of landing:       Dry landing

Difficulty:                  Moderate

NOTE: This itinerary is subject to change without notice due to seasonal changes, inclement weather conditions, and adjustments of Galapagos National Park policy.

INCLUDED: transfers, tours, Complete Meals, Accommodation (private bathrooms – air conditioner – hot shower), Bilingual naturalist guide (Spanish-English); Transportation.

NOT INCLUDED: Entrance fee 100.00 usd; ingala immigration control card 20.00 usd, Fee port on Isabela Island $ 5 per person, tips. Water taxi $3, Snorkel equipment $ 5 (mask, tubing and flippers), Additional drinks and Personal expenses.

Duration Option Price  
4 (Week)USD 3249Book Now
5 (Week)Plus GalapagosUSD 4209Book Now

Pricing Feedback

Great Value
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Can´t Afford it right now

INCLUDED

  • Pre-departure briefing and support (in London)
  • Airport pick-up
  • Welcome and orientation briefing
  • All accommodation
  • Spanish lessons
  • All tours on itinerary
  • Project donation
  • 3 meals per day
  • In-country support staff
  • Social activities
  • 24/7 UK emergency backup
  • Please note that due to the nature of expeditions, prices, dates and itinerary may vary.

EXCLUDED

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Spending money
  • Galapagos Bolt On

Dates

Start Dates and End Dates without Galapagos
17th Sept 2016 – 15th October

14th Jan 2017 – 11th Feb 2017
01st April 2017 – 29th April 2017
08th July 2017 – 05th August 2017
16th Sept 2017 – 14th October 2017

The Galapagos tour starts on a Monday after and ends on the Friday

 

Xtreme Marine Conservation & Dive Hero Belize

Hang loose and protect the world’s second-largest barrier reef clearing it of lionfish. Staying on an idyllic tropical island, join the Xtreme marine team to protect Whalesharks, Queen conch, lobster and eradicate invasive species. The perfect Caribbean Marine conservation and diving getaway.

Diving in Belize (4)

Get a PADI qualification, Become a diver and help protect the world’s second largest reef system. Staying on an idyllic tropical island, in the middle of the Caribbean you will be diving 12 times a week taking part in valuable and exciting Marine conservation initiatives.  The perfect place to disconnect from the world and live life to its fullest.

 

 Xtreme Marine Conservation & Dive Hero Belize

Become a true Marine conservation hero in Belize. Diving in Caribbean seas, submerged in turquoise waters you will find the second-biggest reef system in the world.  Belize a former English colony has the ultimate Caribbean tropical island vibe.  But like all complex and beautiful reef systems it is under threat.  Invasive species like the lionfish, not native to Caribbean waters are raging rampant all over the reef system and they need to be stopped. These beautiful but menacing little critters can hatch eggs in two days and a single fish can release up to 15,000 eggs.

Highlights

  • Explore stunning Belize and But, hey Marine conservation hero on the world’s second-largest barrier reef.
  • Learn to scuba dive and gain a PADI qualification.
  • Dive 12 times a week and discover new addiction in an underwater paradise.
  • Disconnect from reality and stay in paradise on an idyllic private island in the Caribbean Sea.
  • Live on an unspoiled island, contributing to Marine conservation and becoming a legendary diver In a Marine Park.
  • Hunt these evil Lionfish Critters. The other fish will thank you for it.
  • Get involved with Marine conservation efforts from other species such as lobster, conch and whale sharks
  • Contribute to the global Coral watch and reef check initiative
  • Cut your dive teeth in the dark with a night dive.  This will completely change your perspective of the underwater environment.
  • Let loose at the weekends on the mainland with some incredible extreme adventure activities!

 

PHOTOS

Belize Island (7)Imagine living on a tropical island helping protect the reefs by day and seeing 1 million tropical stars by night.  Learn to dive, get involved in conservation efforts and have the time of your life with the group of fellow Xtreme Marines! Beautiful beaches with white sand that will spoil you. Turquoise waters that will take your breath away. So let’s check out what happens on this program

 

On arrival

Arriving on Sunday you will be met at the airport by our representative and transferred to your accommodation. We recommend you meet up with the fellow course participants in a local restaurant that evening.  The introduction and orientation session takes place first thing Monday morning at 830.

Then half an hour later we hop on a boat for a two-hour ride out to your new home from home on a tropical paradise island surrounded by the world’s second-largest barrier reef.

 

The Adventure Begins!

Diving in Belize (2)If you do not have a PADI open water course or equivalent you will begin your dive training.  Contact us the details  of what happens during the section.  If you already have an open water course qualification, you are welcome to begin the Marine conservation section straightaway.

Once you are dive trained you will take part in 12 conservation dives per week.  We include most of the equipment but there is some that you will need to bring with you:

Bring your own wetsuit (a full 3mm suit is recommended) and booties, a dive mask and snorkel. You will also be required to purchase the relevant PADI Open Water manuals for training purposes if you are undertaking the PADI training. If you wish to take part in night dives you must also bring a dive light or waterproof torch with you. You cannot purchase these on the island so please bring these from home.

 

The Xtreme Marine conservation project in detail

IMG_4363Once you have completed your diving qualifications it’s time to get down to business. The Marine conservation programme focus on five core activities.  All of which take place in a protected area the Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park (SCMR) area.

Please note: In order to support the marine conservation projects and the local area, each participant will need to pay extra marine Park fees of USD25 per week or USD75 per month.

You will take part in several different activities during your stay, depending on the season and the needs of the project of the time.

 

Lionfish Population Control

Lionfish huntingThe seas around Belize are currently under threat from an invasion of the non-indigenous Lionfish.

Not native to Belize they eat the local fish, and degrade the reef.  They are outcompeting all the local fish population as well is killing them because they can release 15,000 eggs every four days.  The region is overrun by these beautiful yet perilous fish so they need to be eradicated.

As part of the Xtreme marine conservation dive team, you will be responsible for diving down and removing Lionfish using a special spear gun, and then analysing and collecting data on the local Lionfish population.  If you think that killing fish species is contradictory to conservation, then you do not understand the impacts of the lionfish on the native species.  If you ask squirmy wish about hunting fish this is not the programme for you.

But this is not just about eradication.  Surprisingly lionfish taste delicious, and you’ll no doubt get to try your catch once you return to your island hideaway.

Working closely with local partners we have been able to get the lionfish onto many of the local menus.  This provides a sustainable great alternative to the overfished fish stocks so you are actually contributing to conservation efforts in more than one way. Every fish you spear means others will live!

 

Whale Shark Monitoring

Diving in Belize (17)The whale shark population in Belize is exceptionally good.  Whalesharks the world’s biggest fish, our incredible to be in the water with.  The reef in Belize attracts some of the largest concentrations of Whalesharks in the world.  But with their food supplies dwindling the conservation project aims at sustaining the food supply for these impressive creatures.

It is widely known that whale shark numbers are in decline and unless action is taken they are under threat from extinction. Whalers who target them for their fins and meat prize Whalesharks this is your chance to give something back. When we encounter Whalesharks we do data collection and log their movements.

Please note: The main whale shark season runs between March-June, although sightings have been recorded throughout the year. We cannot guarantee a sighting of a whale shark. You must abide by the whale shark code of conduct when diving which means no touching!

 

Protecting lobsters

While lobsters are very tasty they are overfished.  It is important during the breeding season is that they are not finished so as part of the programme you will help monitor the population of lobsters underwater.  You also check out on local restaurants to make sure that lobster is not on the menu during the off-season.

Many Caribbean countries now have open and closed lobster seasons, with the closed season being when the female lobsters are ready to release their eggs. Belize’s closed season usually runs from February – June, and during these months, fishing for lobsters is banned, as is serving them on restaurant menus.

How does this help?  Well by identifying the male to female ratio of lobsters as well as locating females carrying eggs. By protecting the key areas where the female lobsters lay eggs, we can help protect lobsters in their own native habitats.

The underwater lobster survey is conducted using a ‘rover diver’ technique, with groups of six divers spaced along a line, with two divers carrying slates and a measuring stick. Divers move slowly along, allowing time to coax the lobsters out of their holes using the measuring stick, checking its sex, measuring its length and seeing if female lobsters are carrying eggs.

 

Queen Conch Monitoring

The queen conch carries a high commercial value and as a result it has become a victim of overfishing in Belize. This large, shelled mollusc takes around 3-5 years to reach maturity and in this time it can grow up to two pounds in weight and up to 8 inches long. If left undisturbed, a conch can live for up to 40 years.

Each year between July-October each year the female conch lays huge egg masses, and as part of the marine conservation diving team you will be responsible for locating and recording conch breeding grounds. Some conchs are being forced to breed further out in deep water due to overfishing.

In order to monitor the migration patterns of the conch, a number of individually-numbered plastic cable ties have been placed around each conch, so that every subsequent observation can be recorded. Divers will go down in pairs to measure and/or tag the conch and to record the lip thickness, which determines the age and maturity of each conch, as well as the size of spiral, habitat, depth and tag number. Follow up survey dives are then undertaken each week. Help to protect this unusual and rare creature and do your bit for marine conservation in Belize.

 

Coral Reef Conservation

Southern Belize has a unique marine ecosystem, and as part of the marine conservation dive team you can take part in a comprehensive assessment of the health of Belize’s beautiful coral reefs. This will include monitoring the number of species including Parrot fish, Groupers, Surgeon fish, Butterfly fish, Grunts, Snappers and Lionfish. You will also record signs of coral bleaching, damage or disease as well as mapping the composition of the reef.

Working along a 100m transect line, divers will be divided into three sub-teams, one focusing on fish, one on invertebrates and one for substrates. Divers will count the species in a specific area for a set time, and records will be taken as you go.

The Belize Coral Watch Programme was set up to monitor coral bleaching and health using a non-invasive method. Divers are trained to recognise the difference between coral bleaching and coral disease using the ‘rover diver’ technique. You will record and submit your research into an international database, contributing to a much-needed central overview of coral reef health across the world.

Day to Day Itinerary

An Xtreme Gap representative or a taxi will meet you at Placencia airstrip and take you to your  accommodation. Sunday night we suggest that all of our gappers get together and meet at a local  restaurant for dinner.

  • 8.30am – Monday morning – meet, greet and breakfast at the snack shack.
  • 9am – Monday morning – transfer from mainland to the island (expect a 2 hour boat ride).
  • 11am – Island briefing, accommodation allocation and equipment allocation.
  • 12.30pm – Lunch.
  • 1.30pm – Dive briefing.
  • 2.30pm – First dive, boat fun dive or refresher dive.
  • 6pm – PowerPoint presentation about the programme and the marine environment.
  • 7pm – Dinner.
  • Relaxation

Typical itinerary Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • 6am – Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit available.
  • 7am – Dive briefing.
  • 7.30am – Dive 1 – Conch or Lobster survey and Lionfish hunting
  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10.30am – Fish Identification training session
  • 11.30am – Dive 2 – Fish Identification dive, Commercial fish survey and/or Lionfish hunting.
  • 1pm – Lunch
  • 2pm – Coral Identification training session.
  • 3.30pm – Dive 3 – Coral identification dive, Coral watch bleaching survey and/or Lionfish hunting.
  • 5pm – Lionfish presentation, dissection and data collection.
  • 7pm – Dinner
  • Relaxation

Typical itinerary Thursday

  • 6am – Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit available
  • 7am – Dive briefing
  • 7.30am – Dive 1 – Conch or Lobster survey and Lionfish hunting
  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10.30am – Briefing for ReefCI check survey
  • 11.30am – Dive 2 – ReefCI check survey
  • 1.30pm – Lunch
  • Relaxation 3.30pm – Guided free dive to spear Lionfish and look for Lobster and/or Conch (seasonal) for dinner!
  • 7pm – Dinner
  • Relaxation

Typical itinerary Friday

  • 6am – Tea, coffee, biscuits and fresh fruit available.
  • 7am – Dive briefing
  • 7.30am – Dive 1 – Conch or Lobster survey and Lionfish hunting
  • 9am – Breakfast
  • 10.30am – Leave island to return to the mainland

There is one night dive per week planned to fit into the above itinerary.
The above itinerary is subject to change and weather conditions. The survey participation is dependent upon the length of the trip. For example, week 1 will be mostly learning species, doing Lobster and Conch surveys and Lionfish hunting.

Week 2 will be actual Commercial fish surveys and Coral watch surveys.

Location

Belize Island (4)Tom Owens caye is a 1½ acre island situated 36 miles from mainland Belize. It is surrounded by turquoise coral seas and situated on the continental shelf; dive sites are 5-10 minutes away! This is the ultimate place to learn to dive and contribute to Marine conservation.  While there is Internet access on the island, it’s the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy this beautiful planet.

Most of the dives take place in Sapodilla Cayes Marine Park (SCMR), an unspoilt ocean landscape only 5-10 minutes away from your island base.

Additional Activities

During the weekends there are plenty of options available to you if you want a bit of adventure.  The additional activities are not included in the price and payable locally.  You could visit Mayan ruins explore the jungles by kayak and interact with the indigenous Mayan population.  You can check out water fall underground cave systems go zip lining water tubing and so much more.

Accommodation

Belize Island (9)Living on a tropical island is pretty idyllic but you do have to make some sacrifices. Accommodation is basic but very clean and comfortable as for the location, it would make someone a five-star resort envious. Even Without a TV you will feel right at home. Programme participants stay in individual cabanas with shared bathrooms or twin shared rooms with bath. Couples are guaranteed their own room with bathroom.

Quirky, stone, individual cabanas surround the island. Every Cabana has incredible views of the Caribbean! Imagine waking up to the sound of waves lapping against  the shore and a spectacular Belizean sunrise! Guests staying in cabanas use the shared bathrooms.
For groups, friends and couples, there are twin, family and double en-suite rooms in  the main building. We never have more than 3 people in one room.  Hammocks are scattered around for that chill out moment with a cold rum cocktail.

During weekends accommodation is hostel style.  If you wish to upgrade, you can do so but will have to pay the difference in price locally.

Arrival Info

Please ensure your flight arrives on Sunday and you will need to arrange your own arrival into Placencia in Belize. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your accommodation in Placencia. If you would like help booking the flight from Placencia to Belize let us know and we can help you book it at a better rate.

Recommended method of getting there:

There are no direct flights from the UK to Belize. Our recommendation is to combine this program with a stop off in Mexico flying via Cancun and spend a week in Mexico.

Xtreme Gap Year owns a hostel in Playa del Carmen where you can stop off on the route. You then have the option to fly on to Belize or take an overland bus. You can also then take the advantage of completing a free diving course in Mexico should you wish which will come in handy on this program. Please ask us the details.

Other routes for getting to Belize are to fly from London Gatwick to Cancun in Mexico and hop on a safe and comfortable first-class overnight bus service into Belize City and then travel onwards to Placencia (using one of the methods listed above). Buses depart Cancun at around 10pm and arrive in Belize City before 8am (approx cost USD47).

An alternative is to fly via the US:

Then take a connecting flight onwards to Belize International Airport (BZE).

Please note that most connecting flights will require you to make a stopover overnight in the USA so you allow for this extra time when booking flights. Accommodation is not included for any USA stopovers so please factor this into your flight planning. Once you have arrived at Belize International Airport you then have two options to travel onwards to Placancia:

Internal Shuttle Flight:

If you wish to fly directly from Belize International Airport to the airstrip at Placencia our partner company in Belize can book these flights for you (but at your own cost). The internal shuttle flight takes around 1 hour and costs approximately £100 one-way or £175 for a round trip.

Please note that there are only around 5 internal flights per day so you will need to factor this in when planning your previous flight times. You will then be met at the Placencia airstrip by a representative and taken to your local accommodation.

 

 

End of the programme:

Friday is the last day of the programme and accommodation for this final night is included.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

Simply put they kill the other fish.  And they breed so successfully and so quickly they hijack the native habitats of other fish. The Lionfish is also an invasive species, originally from the Indian and Western Pacific oceans. It was brought into Florida as an aquarium fish, and after a hurricane broke some of the aquariums containing the fish, they started to appear around the lower coast of Florida. They have now spread all the way up to Long Island, New York and throughout The Central American continent.

When scientists do dives to study the lionfish, sometimes they capture one, and trace it’s DNA. The odd thing lately, is that all the fish trace back to an original six or seven Lionfish from the ocean in which they came.

As you will be living on an island everything has to be imported so we take care of your meals.  You will eat well!

Typical Menu:

  • Breakfast: Flour tortilla or Fried jacks, bacon, eggs and refried beans
  • Lunch: Island chicken pasta salad
  • Dinner: Fresh fish filets baked in coconut milk, garlic, lime and cilantro with carrot
  • salad and yellow ginger rice.
  • Homemade chocolate rum cake with rum butter sauce
  • Purified water and fresh juices

We will do our best to complete further education courses such as PADI Rescue and Speciality courses Should you wish to participate in these (local payment).  However please be aware that the Xtreme Marine Hero Programme is primarily a conservation initiative.

We can guarantee the PADI Open water and mostly you should be fine for the Advanced Open water.

Weekend activities.

Mayan Ruins

Nim Li Punit (the big hat) sits atop a hill with amazing views of the surrounding forests and mountains. It is easily accessible by bus from Placencia, and quite often our guests are the only visitors. Lubantuun is about 45 minutes drive from PG and is the largest Mayan site in Southern Belize. The famous yet controversial crystal skulls was supposedly found at this site back in 1926.

Mayan Villages and Homestays

You can step back in time and visit the picturesque Maya villages of Southern Belize .  Surrounded by beautiful jungle and countryside you can experience how life is for the  indigenous communities of Belize. The experience can include Mayan home stays, local  story telling, dance, eating the local food and even having a lesson how to prepare  homemade corn tortillas.

Garifuna drumming lessons – www.warasadrumschool.com

Warasa Garifuna Drum School is a locally owned business that offers hands-on interactive experiences in Garifuna culture, including drumming, drum-making and  dancing. You can sit back and relax under our traditional thatch while watching our professional drummers and dancers to all the hard work (and when you see how fast the hands drum and how fast the hips shake, you’ll see it really is hard work!), or you
can try it yourself. Lessons in are available one-to-one or for groups of up to 20, and service comes with a very big white smile from our Director the one and only Ronald Raymond McDonald (yes, that is his name!).

Adventure tours

For those who like climbing, jumping off cliffs, exploring, getting dirty, going fast and getting wet an adventure tour in Southern Belize is meant for you! A short trip from Placencia you will find yourself surrounded by dense jungle, unusual creatures, stunning waterfalls, zip lining, tubing through the jungle and unexplored caves!

Rio Blanco Waterfalls

A tiny reserve, Rio Blanco National Park is as remote as it is beautiful! The nearby villages of Santa Elena and Santa Cruz organised the Rio Blanco Mayan Association in 1994 to protect the waterfall and 104 adjacent acres of sub-tropical forest. Jaguar, ocelot, margay, river otter and many species of birds and fish live in the part. Men from Santa Elena and Santa Cruz rotate ranger duties at the small visitors centre and local
women will open the craft co-operative shop when tourists arrive.  It is only a 15-minute walk on a gentle gravel trail to the falls. Benches provides spectacular views and a photographic opportunities. Thrill seekers can step out to the 20’ cliffs and jump into the swimming hole (if they dare!) Limestone pools above and
below the falls are perfect for swimming and wading. A great place to cool off!

San Antonio Waterfalls

Tucked away in the hilly Mayan village of San Antonio are the beautiful San Antonio falls. Smaller than Rio Blanco, you can wade or swim and those that want to challenge themselves may climb the boulders around the falls to the pools at the top and maybe even jump off the ledges here.

Blue Creek Caves

This trip is one of our ‘must do’ trips for our guests. Towering karst limestone hills, offering challenging hiking, surrounds the village of Blue Creek and a network of dry and wet caves. The Mayan name for Blue Creek Cave is Hokeb Ha, or where the water enters the earth!

To reach the cave, you’ll hike approximately twenty minutes over mostly easy terrain through the jungle and upstream along the banks of the green-blue river. As you approach the cave, the river breaks into small waterfalls and beautiful clear pools for swimming. The last 100 yards of the journey are the most challenging, climbing over roots and rocks.

You will be provided headlamps, life jackets and a trained guide to assist you as you step into the water and swim upstream towards the cave’s interior and the river’s source.  After you turn the first corner, all natural light disappears! You will see stalactites, stalagmites and other unique rock formations as you swim and hike upstream.

Tiger cave

The ancient Maya believed that the caves of Toledo marked entrances to Xibalba – the Mayan underworld! Caves were amongst the most sacred places and used for rituals, sacrifices and communication with the spirits. When you enter Tiger cave, it is easy to imagine the ancient Maya holding their  ceremonies here. The entrance chamber is strewn with shards of broken pottery other  evidence of Maya presence. As you explore the cave, you will see stalactites, stalagmites and other unique rock  formations. The cave has topography of narrow passageways, huge chambers and  underground rivers. Each turn a new challenge. The final chamber, more than a mile  into the cave, is filled with spectacular rock formations and well worth the effort.

This excursion is only recommended for people who are very physically fit. From the  road to the cave, visitors must navigate a steep drop down a dirt path. Inside the cave,  expect to walk on slick cave floors, climb boulders and navigate loose gravel slopes.  Also available are Chocolate tours, Zip-lining and tubing, River and sea kayaking.  Guests also have the chance to visit neighboring Guatemala or go to the beach town of Placencia.

Duration Option Price  
1 (Week)USD 1229 USD 1106 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now
2 (Week)USD 2199 USD 1979 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now
3 (Week)USD 2849 USD 2564 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now
4 (Week)USD 3739 USD 3365 (SALE! 10% Off!)Book Now

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INCLUDED

  • Incredible tropical island accommodation with Caribbean sea views.
  • Tasty and fresh Island meals
  • Xtreme Marine conservation activities guidance and training
  • All diving, typically 12 dives a week, subject to weather conditions and including at least one night dive
  • Diving equipment: BCD, regulator, fins, weights and tanks
  • Unfortunately as many lionfish as you can spear
  • 3-5 days PADI Open water course. * $50USD admin fee applies to be paid cash in country upon completion.
  • 1 week trip: weekend accommodation includes:
  • Sunday and Friday night prior to departure.
  • 2 + weeks trip: weekend accommodation includes:
  • Sunday, weekends Friday, Saturday and Sunday and Friday night prior to departure.

EXCLUDED

  • Mainland meals
  • Mainland activities and tours
  • Internal flights with Tropic air – $186.25USD one way, $264.25USD round trip
  • Internet access on the island – $15USD per week
  • Marine Park fees – $25USD per week, $75USD per month
  • Beers, sodas, rum drinks – typical price:
  • Beer: $2.50USD
  • Mixed rum drink: $4USD

Dates

You can start any Sunday through out the year. Check availability with us.

Closed in September each year.
The following dates are currently full:
Sunday 26th March.
Sunday 21st May.
Sunday 25th June.
Sunday 2nd July.
Sunday 16th July.
Sunday 23rd July.

 

Cape Town to Victoria Falls Overland Adventure

20 days of stunning scenery, to many highlights to even start mentioning and exploring South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. the best overland trucks and local guides with tons of knowledge making the trip even more special. From Cape Town to tribes to Victoria Falls! Join in on this adventure.

Cape Town To Victoria Falls Overland Tour one of Africa most spectacular 20 day adventures. Taking in national parks, deserts, coasts, wildlife, cultural excursions and a whole heap of adventure on this Africa tour. White water rafting anyone?

Cape Town to Victoria Falls Overland Adventure

Visit some of Africas greatest spectacles!

This is an epic trip through South Africa into Namibia and Botswana. It will leave you speechless as you discover the timeless beauty of the desserts and Deltas. Mixing with Himba tribes and indulging your passion for adventure eventually you will make it to Victoria Falls following in the footsteps of Livingstone, to discover what he described as the most beautiful sight in Africa. There are plenty of opportunities to do some insane adrenaline travel activities on this trip. Including the world famous Victoria Falls bungee jump & Whitewater Rafting! There are also opportunities to go skydiving, sand boarding and Quad biking in Namibia. This trip lasts just under three weeks and is one of the best value, and easiest ways to cover many of the must see places in Africa.

Xtreme Gap Cape Town to Victoria Falls Africa (36)Countries Visited

  • South Africa
  • Namibia
  • Botswana
  • Zambia

Trip Highlights

  • Orange River,
  • Namib-Naukluft Nationaal Park (NP),
  • Okavango Delta,
  • Fish River Canyon,
  • Sesriem Canyon,
  • Spitzkoppe,
  • Himba Tribes,
  • Masai Village,
  • Chobe NP,
  • Victoria Falls NP.

Activity Pack Upgrade Includes

The activity pack is a bolt on pack including what we consider to be the must to do activities on the trip. You do not have to purchase this at the time of booking, and all activities can be purchased locally as well.

  • Wine tasting & traditional dinner South Africa
  • Guided desert walk with local expert – Naukluft National Park Namibia
  • Himba Tribe Visit Namibia
  • Okavango Delta Excursion (camping) Botswana
  • Chobe National Park Boat Cruise Botswana
  • Chobe National Park Game Drive Botswana
  • Vic Falls National Park Entry Zimbabwe

Optional activities (prices can change)

  • Half-Day Canoe Trip South Africa From ZAR250 to ZAR300
  • Dinner Out Swakopmund Namibia From ZAR80 to ZAR150
  • Dolphin Cruise 4/5 hours Namibia From ZAR550 to ZAR650
  • Sky Diving Namibia From ZAR2300 to ZAR2600
  • Sandboarding Namibia From ZAR350 to ZAR550
  • Quad Biking (2 hours) Namibia From ZAR600 to ZAR700
  • Dinner Out Windhoek Namibia From ZAR80 to ZAR150
  • Bushman Walk Botswana From BWP80 to BWP90
  • Tips for Polers Botswana Clients Discretion
  • 3 hour photographic Boat Safari Botswana From $120
  • Zambezi Sunset Cruise Zimbabwe From $50 to $70
  • Cape Town to Victoria Falls – North 2015 20
  • Dinner Out Victoria Falls Zimbabwe From $20 to $50
  • Bungee Jump – Solo Zimbabwe From $145 to $165
  • Helicopter Flights Zimbabwe From $150 to $170
  • White Water Rafting Zimbabwe From $150 to $160

Why should you go on an overland tour?

An African overland truck tour is definitely the most exciting and authentic way to see Africa. If you go on a private tour or trying to buy yourself there is absolutely no way you will see as much. The trucks are really robust, and they can go into areas that you would never be up to get to buy your own means. The areas you go to our absolutely phenomenal.

Why should you visit Africa?

Africa is one of the most beautiful places in the world, they call it the cradle of humankind because Africa is where humanity started, there are beautifully rich diverse countries, with raw African wildlife all around you. Where else can you experience lions and elephants walking right past you? Imagine lying under the stars at night seeing the whole the whole Milky Way open to you.  Exploring the African Savannah, and checking out the incredible coastline surrounded by different oceans.

Africa in South Africa is very diverse in nature and culturally as well, with the animals you will see and the experiences you will have.

Loads of cultural interaction

You will definitely experience lots of cultural interaction on these trips. You get to meet the locals, share meals with them and open your mind to completely new experiences.

Visiting Himba Tribes in Namibia,  and Maasai Tanzania. even though you will not speak the language you will have interpreters with you, so you can really get into the minds of the people you meet. It will open your eyes to a completely different way of living and thinking, and you will grow personally from the inside from having these experiences.

Are the tours fully guided?

Yes they are, you have a guide and the cook but you do have to chip in and help out. It’s very much an interactive experience, it’s an adventure after all.

Photos

Full Details

DAY 1 SOUTH AFRICA, CEDERBERG MOUNTAIN REGION:

After a short stop to view Table Mountain, we drive north to the Cederberg region. In the afternoon (weather permitting) we go on a guided walk to see Bushmen paintings and learn about the native fauna and flora. Meals: Lunch, Dinner

DAY 2 NAMAQUALAND & ORANGE/GARIEP RIVER

Today we travel to the Gariep/Orange River. We spend the night under the stars and sit at the campfire getting to know each another. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3 NAMIBIA, ORANGE/GARIEP RIVER ” FISH RIVER CANYON

You can choose between a morning on the riverbank or the half day canoe on the river. After lunch, we travel north to the Fish River Canyon. Optional Activities: Orange/Gariep River Half-Day Canoe Adventure. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 4 NAMIB-NAUKLUFT NATIONAL PARK

From the Fish River Canyon we continue into the remote hinterland. We arrive at camp in the afternoon and enjoy a short hike at Sesriem Canyon. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 5 SOSSUSVLEI DUNES ” NAMIB-NAUKLUFT NATIONAL PARK

We wake before dawn so we can hike up Dune 45 and watch the sunrise. After breakfast we join a local expert on a guided tour explaining the desert ecosystem. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6 / 7 SWAKOPMUND

Today we cross the Tropic of Capricorn (where we stop for a photo) on our way to Namibias Atlantic coast. In Swakopmund you will be briefed on the optional activities available here. Day 7 is free for you to explore the town or try one of the many adventure activities. Optional Activities: Quadbiking, Sandboarding, Sky Diving, Dolphin Cruise, Scenic Flights, Fishing etc. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner (Dinner on day 7 only)

DAY 8 SPITZKOPPE

We leave all the trappings of modern life behind us and drive inland to the mysterious Spitzkoppe. Tonight we camp in the wild. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

9 HIMBA TRIBES

After some early morning exploration we continue inland and drive towards Kamanjab. The Himba are a pastoral people and predominantly breed cattle or goats, they are easily recognisable by their unique style of dress. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 10 / 11 ETOSHA NATIONAL PARK

Etosha NP is the venue for some of the most unique game viewing experiences in Africa. We will go on various game drives, and spend our evenings at the abundant water holes for some excellent game photography. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12 WINDHOEK

After an early morning game drive we set off towards Windhoek in the centre of Namibia. On the way we stop at a popular craft market. In the afternoon we go on a short city tour. Optional Activities: Dinner out at Joes Beer House. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 13 BOTSWANA, GHANZI

It is a scenic drive to the Buitepos border, where we cross into Botswana. Once at camp we will meet with a local Bushmen community and experience some traditional Tribal Dancing. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 14 / 15 / 16 MAUN AND OKAVANGO DELTA

Another early day! Our journey takes us from Ghanzi towards Maun. We spend the night here and prepare for our two night bush-camping experience. Your guides will provide you with a briefing about the next few days activities and the community run tourism operation. From here we will enter the Delta using local transport. If the water level allows we will take a mokoro (traditional canoe) trip a well as a nature walk with the local people. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 17 GWETA

We leave the Delta behind us and travel east to Gweta, which is located halfway between Maun and Nata, near the Makgadikgadi Pans NP. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 18 CHOBE NATIONAL PARK

When we arrive at Kasane we set up camp on the bank of the Chobe River. The afternoon is spent game viewing from a boat in the Chobe NP. This is an excellent opportunity to view Africa´s spectacular wildlife. You will have the chance to experience an early morning game drive the following day. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 19 ZIMBABWE, VICTORIA FALLS

On arrival in Victoria Falls we have time to plan the next days adventure activities before we visit the spectacular Victoria Falls NP and experience the thundering of the mighty Zambezi. The popular optional sunset cruise includes dinner and drinks. Optional Activities: Chobe morning game drive, Zambezi Sunset Cruise Meals: Breakfast, Lunch AFRICA OVERLAND TRUCK TOUR

Day 20 VICTORIA FALLS

Officially your tour finishes after breakfast but most people will spend the day White Water Rafting, a not-to-be-missed experience of a lifetime! Vic Falls offers many exciting alternatives such as a walk with lions or a bungee jump from the bridge that joins Zimbabwe with Zambia. Optional Activities: White Water Rafting, Bungee Jump, Elephant Excursion, Walking with Lions, Horse Riding, Dinner out.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation

On our camping tours you will be staying in two-man dome tents. We supply a mattress and you supply your own sleeping bag. The accommodated tours stay in traditional huts, permanent tented camps and hostel-style rooms.

Food and Meals

Included are three hearty meals a day, (unless otherwise specified). Vegetarians are easily catered for and they´re always impressed by our varied menu. Our guides can produce miracles on a camp-stove. Special dietary requirements can be catered for, but only by special request. In East Africa it is more difficult to cater to certain requirements.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

The Africa Overland Truck Tours are open to all ages and nationalities.
All people who join an adventure tour need to be in good health. Medical facilities are not always available. If you have a specific medical condition it is compulsory for you to advise us before departure.
Malaria is a real concern in many areas of Africa, especially during the rainy season. Our advice is simple, prevent getting bitten by using an insect repellent and use an effective prophylactic. Speak to your doctor before selecting your Malaria medication.
Please ensure you have the relevant vaccinations. Proof of inoculation is required on certain tours. The best is to contact your GP.
This is covered comprehensively in the pre-departure dossier. South African Rand and Credit Cards work in Southern Africa. In East Africa (incl. Zimbabwe and Zambia) USD cash is best
Passengers under the age of 18 must have signed permission from a parent or guardian. Passengers over the age of 65 require a medical clearance certificate from their doctor stating they are fit enough to travel.
A sense of fun and a flexible attitude! A full checklist of essential items is included in the pre-departure info document.
Your watch, cellphone, laptop, work, stress, concept of time, pre-conceptions about anything and any attitude that is not pure adventure.
Although we will do our best at all times to ensure that the tour remains on schedule we want to make it very clear that this is not always possible. There is always something unexpected on a tour, sometimes the truck gets stuck in mud, or sand, sometimes it rains… Anything can happen, but nothing that a good sense of humour cannot overcome.
Yes! Make sure your insurance covers being airlifted in case of serious illness/injury as good hospital facilities are often a long way from where our tours travel. Free credit card insurance is often insufficient, so a separate policy is recommended. As travel insurance is compulsory, you will be asked for the policy number before being allowed to board our vehicle.
The average number of passengers on a tour is 18. On the camping tours there is a maximum of 24 and minimum of 4. On the Accommodated tour the minimum is 4 and the maximum is 18. The maximum number on Gorillas, Serengeti and Masai Mara tours is 18. Single Supplements are limited to 4 per tour on all tours.
Of course not, but you will not make many friends! On our tours our guides do most of the work. On a camping tour your participation in camp chores is limited: taking turns to assist with washing-up duties, putting up and taking down your tent and loading your bags. On some of our accommodated tours we include a camp assistant.
You are responsible for your own visas. Please check the itinerary of your tour carefully and if you need a multiple entry visa be sure to get one. Your passport needs to be valid for 6 months after your departure date from Africa and you must have at least 3-4 blank pages available. Some countries will not allow you to enter without 2 blank pages in your passport
All of our tours are priced on twin share accommodation. The single supplement is not compulsory on our camping tours but if you want your own tent you need to pay the single supplement. If you are booking one of our accommodated tours alone you have to pay the single supplement. There are a maximum of 4 single supplements available on all tours.
All travellers will be required to sign our indemnity form on departure. Any person refusing to do so will not be allowed on the tour.
Duration Option Price  
20 (Days)No Activity PackUSD 1179Book Now
20 (Days)With Activity PackUSD 1999Book Now

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Included

  • All transport by Adventure Vehicle
  • All Accommodation (Camping and hostels
  • All Camping Equipment
  • Support 24/7 with 2 driver guides per vehicle
  • Detailed predeparture packs covering all essential need to know details
  • Support information covering Visas
  • All activities as per itinerary (not including activity pack activities).
  • Services of a tour guide
  • Most meals
  • Side Trips as per Itinerary

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Pre and post accommodation
  • Visas
  • Travel Insurance

Dates

We have multiple departures per month. Please contact us for specific dates & availability.

 

Oktoberfest Party Munich

You may be wondering why Oktoberfest is held in such high regard by your previously well travelled friends. “What’s the big deal?” You say, “it’s just old fat drunk men singing unintelligible songs on tables and hugging each other.” Sounds like your best nightmare, or your worst high school sleepover, right? To you I contend that it is both, and much more, and also not quite that.

Be afraid, Bavaria-fraid of our favourite Xtreme festival and the most favourite public festival in the world. In Munich you arrive at the exact time beers will be served! When we arrive you can soak in the glory of our beautiful campsite for a few moments but then it´s time to get to business. Here´s the details: All accommodation, unlimited beer for only £10 a day, guides breakfast and a massive hangover. hmm?

Oktoberfest With Xtreme £65 a Day

Unlimited Beer | Accommodation | The Biggest Parties | Breakfast Included | Dinner Every Other Night.

 Free Unlimited Beer For Only €10 Per Day

You may be wondering why Oktoberfest is held in such high regard by your previously well-travelled friends. “What’s the big deal?” You say, “it’s just old fat drunk men singing unintelligible songs on tables and hugging each other.” Sounds like your best nightmare, or your worst high school sleepover, right? To you I contend that it is both, and much more, and also not quite that.

No camaraderie is as strong and breaks as many barriers as that of beer, that destroys whatever divides a drunken German man from singing with a proud androgynous teenage adult. Welcome to the rainbow of the human condition, amplified by ridiculous rides, slurring, good mateship and, I really just can’t emphasise this enough, singing on tables with beers while thousands watch you in good spirits. Lo, this be the good times.

The Book Of Oktoberfest a little history…

In the beginning, there was a wedding. And lo, this wedding, it was between Prince Ludwig and Princess Theresa. And they made a festival to celebrate and the festival happened in Theresa´s Field. And lo, did they bang in the field. Probably. And then, so it was. And on the next day there was an agricultural fair and they added some fair rides and beer stands: And lo, did Ludwig say, let there be beer and there was beer. And they said “lo damn. There be a lot of beer. And they looked upon their work and they saw that it was good, and it was good. And lo, Ludwig sayeth, “Let this henceforth be the Oktoberfest , though it´s day not be in Oktober and they were in September but they had drunk more than a few good German beers. “And let it be the party where the fat old drunk men are lo, the coolest guys in the party. And then they brought in some more beer tents: And lo, there be much more beer now. And on the seventh day they rested because they were pretty hungover. And now it´s the biggest festival in the world and more than 6 million people go. Lo, goddamn.
Be afraid, Bavaria-fraid of our favourite Xtreme festival and the most favourite public festival in the world. In Munich you arrive at the exact time beers will be served! When we arrive you can soak in the glory of our beautiful campsite for a few moments but then it´s time to get to business. Here´s the details:

PHOTOS

First Things First. Aint No Party Like An Xtreme Oktoberfest Party.

Every year we pack out the festival. Last year our partners partied with over 8000 people at Oktoberfest. We had by far the largest groups Oktoberfest, because we offer the best deal on the best parties there. Unlimited beer at the accommodation for only next £15 a day. How good is that?

All you have to do is turn up, after booking we will provide details of how to get there.

So what makes the Xtreme Ocktober fest so  special?

Oktoberfest Party Germany Xtreme Gap Year (7)Tentertainment. We really go to town to make sure you have the best Oktoberfest ever! That includes a massive party tent, ( Just so you know what to expect, last year the entrance was a massive hairy vagina. This year well you’ll have to wait and see.

When the Festival shuts down at the end of the day it continues with us. The campground exclusive to us has a capacity for several thousand, and we pack it out frequently. It’s only 20 min away from the festival so you know you’re going to party with people from all over the world and have the most incredible Octoberfest experience ever.

Be under no illusion know, this festival is all about drinking, so we look after you as well it’s nice to know you have a team who are experts in herding  drunk morons to and from the festival and ensuring everything goes swimmingly. We have lunatic guides who will look after you, and make sure you don’t end up in the back streets of Bavaria, but we cannot guarantee you wont be horrible offended    by some of the antics going on.


Oktoberfest Party Germany Xtreme Gap Year (1)

 

ACCOMMODATION

Oktoberfest Party Germany Xtreme Gap Year (8)While sleeping will not be on your priority list during the Oktoberfest  it’s always good to know you have a place to pass out. We include all of your accommodation in pre-erected twin share tents, don’t worry about bringing any of the gear you need, we have it all for you. Ground mat sleeping bags it’s all there. Yes you can bring your hair dryers as well. This is Germany after all.

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

Fly, take the train or car or jump on your beer  scooter that’s up to you we will provide the address and details of the booking.

You can travel by bus to Munich from London, Paris and many other European cities. The largest bus operator from the UK to the continent is Eurolines, operating out of London’s centrally located Victoria Coach Station. In Paris, Eurolines is located on rue Malmaison, a 35-minute Metro ride from the centre. In Munich, bus services usually terminate at the Zentraler Busbahnhof, which you will find on the north side of the Hauptbahn

Coming from London?
We have buses coming from London to Munich every weekend of Oktoberfest, leaving Thursday evening and returning Monday morning.

Itinerary

ThursdayAnytime from 18:00: We meet for drinks at The Slug in Fulham.

  • 20:00: The bus leaves Fulham Broadway, then goes by London Bridge on the way.
  • 20:20: People should be at London Bridge for pickup.
  • Friday12:00 noon: We arrive in Munich.
  • Sunday18:30: The bus leaves Munich on Sunday afternoon arriving back in London for 9am.
  • Two drop off points, London bridge, then Fulham Broadway (approximately9.30am back in Fulham depending on traffic)

Coming from Amsterdam?

We have buses coming from The Hague via Amsterdam to Munich every weekend of Ofest, leaving Thursday evening and returning Monday morning.

Itinerary

Thursday 22:00: Festival Party Bus leaves from The Hague
Address: Waldrop straat (HS train station tunnel entrance)
Via Amsterdam to Munich. Estimated pickup time in Amsterdam: 23:00

Pick up address in Amsterdam: Amsterdam Amstel trainstation Julianaplein, Amsterdam

  • Friday08:00 Arrive at the awesome Munich toberfest Camping
  • Sunday 22:00 Leave back to the Hague via Amsterdam
  • 08:00: Arrive in The Hague, Waldorpstraat HS train station tunnel entrance.
Coming from Barcelona?
We have buses coming from Barcelona to Munich every weekend of Ofest, leaving Thursday evening and returning Monday morning.

Itinerary

  • Thursday  19:00: The buses leave from Plaza Catalunya in front of the Hard Rock Cafe.
  • Friday  12:00 noon: Arrive at camp
  • Sunday  12:00 noon: Depart campsite for Barcelona and arrive Monday morning around 7am.
If you haven’t already seen our Xtreme Passport check it out as this is one of the options on it.

 

Duration Option Price  
2 (Days)With unlimited beer and twin share tentUSD 199Book Now
3 (Days)With unlimited beer and twin share tentUSD 299Book Now
4 (Days)Weekend Trip From LondonUSD 381Book Now

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Can´t Afford it right now

INCLUDED

On the standard trips (no transport)

  • Breakfast every morning
  • Dinner every other night
  • camping accommodation in pre-erected twin-share tents with sleeping bag and mattress
  • On camp supermarket / showers / bathrooms
  • Guide from Camp to Festival
  • Parties at night and night bar for socializing
  • A once in a life time experience!
  • Crazy loose party internationals from all across the world!
  • Unlimited beer & sangria (optional extra 10€/day payable locally)

On the transport inclusive trips:

  • Cooked Breakfast  Each day
  • Saturday night BBQ dinner
  • 2 nights camping accommodation in pre-erected twin-share tents with sleeping bag and mattress
  • On camp supermarket / showers / bathrooms
  • Guide from Camp to Festival
  • Parties at night and night bar for socializing
  • A once in a life time experience!
  • Crazy loose party internationals from all across the world!
  • Unlimited beer & sangria (optional extra 10€/day payable locally)

EXCLUDED

  • Drinks at the festival
  • Travel insurance

Dates

Meet Us There:
14th September – 3rd October
Travel With Us From London:

14th – 18th September
21st – 25th September
28th September – 2nd October

Travel With Us From Amsterdam:
14th – 18th September
21st – 25th September
28th September – 2nd October

China Xplorer 18 Day China Backpacking Tour

An awesome 18 day loop around China starting and ending in Beijing. Shorter than the 27 day Xtreme China Experience put packs a punch of all the best locations. Mixing the old China with the new in the perfect cocktail of adventure and culture.

18 day china gap year trip (1)

18 Day China loop starting in Beijing. An awesome round trip in the best part of China in 18 days. Join our groups to discover the real China. Loads of inclusions and plenty of optional extras. Bamboo rafting, panders, Kung Fu temples, ancient Chinese temples and some of the worlds largest and most modern cities.

 

 

Xtreme China Xplorer  – Guided China Group Tour

china-XplorerHighlights

  • Visit Shanghai, the biggest city in the world, with a population larger than that of Australia
  • Experience the largest bar crawl in China – the Drunken Dragon Pub Crawl
  • Explore beautiful karst scenery in Yangshuo
  • Visit Amazing sights like Tianfu Square to see the colossal statue of Chairman Mao, and visit the world’s largest statue of Buddha
  • Take an exhilarating bike ride atop the ancient city walls
  • Bamboo Rafting the Li River
  • See pandas at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding
  • See the Terracotta Army and stay on a mountain farm in Xi’an
  • Watch Kung Fu at its highest level at the Shaolin Temple
  • Hike the Great Wall then Camp on the Wall, watch the sunrise the next morning
  • Destinations connected by night train with fully flat beds, so no time is wasted travelling

PHOTOS

 

China Xplorer Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in Beijing

reflection-off-lense.jpg.1340x450_0_240_8224Get ready for an exciting 18 day China Xplorer that starts in the amazing city of Beijing. It is up to you when you arrive but you must be in the bar of Beijing´s Leo Hostel at 4.30 pm. The hostel is easy to find being just 10 minutes from Tiananmen Square. After some introductions your guide will give you a brief explanation of the itinerary and you can meet your fellow travellers. The group will then head off to the Beijing South Railway Station to board the overnight train to Shanghai. Over the next 14 or so hours you will cover a distance of 1100 miles.

Day 2-5: Shanghai

Xtreme Gap Year China Xplorer (7)After a good night´s sleep, hopefully, on the overnight train you will arrive in Shanghai feeling refreshed and raring to go. You can start your stay in Shanghai with an optional Former French Concession walking tour. This is a guided tour and gives you a brief introduction to this cosmopolitan and modern city and includes entry to the Propaganda Museum. After that there is plenty of free time to explore.

People´s Square is a great place to start and it is from here that all distances in Shanghai are measured. Built over what used to be Shanghai Racecourse this green lung with a mix of lakes, pagodas and gardens is a pleasant surprise in this densely populated city. Gambling and horseracing were made illegal in Shanghai in 1949 so an alternative use for the space was found.

The Huangpu River winds its way through Shanghai and on the east side is the financial district of Pudong with its distinctive Oriental Pearl Radio & TV Tower. On the opposite side of the river the embankment known as the Bund makes a pleasant place for a walk and to admire the modern and classical buildings fronting the river.

For shopaholics Nanjing road is one of the busiest shopping streets in the world. Three and a half miles of glittering shops, punctuated with bars and restaurants is mind-blowing in the daytime but at night it becomes a kaleidoscope of neon lights and flashing signs.

Shanghai is not called the ´new New York´ without reason. The skyscrapers just get taller and taller and an optional tour to the top of a skyscraper makes a superb trip out. You can relax in a hot tub and sip champagne as you admire the almost 360 º view of the city across the Bund and the Shanghai skyline. Until recently the Shanghai World Financial Centre and Jin Mao Tower were the tallest buildings but they have been dwarfed by the Shanghai Tower. Due to be opened in 2015 the Shanghai Tower will be the second tallest building in the world after the Burj Khalifa in Dubai.

Maybe there will be time for a quick visit to the Shanghai Museum before going out for dinner. If you are up for it a great way to see the city by night is to join in the Shanghai Pub Crawl. This is an optional trip but for a negligible cost you can discover some of the best bars and clubs with a knowledgeable guide. Helped by a few free shots on the way of course!

Please note, the China Xplorer is a variation of the Xtreme China Experience. From Day 1 – 4 you will be with one group and a different one from Day  4– 18. Occasionally, you may have a journey from Beijing to Shanghai on your own on the first evening but we will let you know if this is the case.

Day 5-8: Yangshuo

img-30381Today you catch the coach to Yangshuo. Enjoy the ride through the ever-changing scenery until the karst mountains appearing in the distance mean you are nearly at your destination. This is a back-packing and climber´s paradise and some of the crags have some interesting names; Wine Bottle Cliff, Twin Gates, The Egg, Baby Frog, Low Mountain and Moon Hill. If you have a 20 yuan note handy the picture on the back was taken in Yangshuo.

Your first free activity in the afternoon is a ride down the River Li on a bamboo raft. As you drift down the river with the soaring mountains above you and the sun setting what could be a better introduction this beautiful place. Yangshuo is famous for its stunning scenery and there are some exciting optional activities.

Accommodation in Yangshou is at Monkey Jane´s Hostel which has a super terrace with great views of the surrounding mountains and river. It is the highest roof-top bar around so definitely the place to go for a few beers while the sun goes down. If you are feeling brave the bar sells snake liquor at 10RMB a shot.

The Li River is where some of the optional activities take place. Kayaking is something everyone knows about but what about deep water soloing. All you have to do is climb up a really high crag, no ropes, and jump off into deep water!

For more relaxing classes try learning Chinese or taking instruction in calligraphy. For a fun group activity the Golden Water caves are great. Cover each other in oozing river mud until you all resemble chocolate biscuits and then jump in the hot springs to rinse it off. This is great fun and great for your skin at the same time.

Forget fishing with rods or nets. Fishing in Yangshuo is done is a slightly different way as the men use birds to catch the fish. Specially trained cormorants dive from boats and catch the fish and come back and spit them out. A snare is placed round their necks so they can only swallow the smaller ones!

For a more unusual activity but relaxing at the same time opt for some Hot Cupping treatment. Heated bamboo or glass cups are placed on your back and as they tighten the impurities and tensions are drawn out of the skin. The Yangshuo farmers love it after a day at fields and who cares if you have up to 30 dark circles on your back for few days!

There is plenty of free time in Yangshuo right up until it is time to board the night train to Chengdu.

Day 9 – 10: Chengdu

Xtreme Gap Year China Xplorer (6)Around 14 million people live in the City of Brocade or City of Hibiscus as Chengdu is also known. Today there is time to get to know the city and maybe try the famous Sichuan Hot Pot. Pots of bubbling and spicy oil surrounded by a selection of meats and vegetables mean you can select your own and then cook them in the boiling pot. Beware the Sichuan Peppercorns, they can be mind-numbingly hot!

On the second day in Chengdu it is an early start and a ride out to the Panda Breeding Research Centre. Panda´s don´t do much but look adorable and search for food. Panda breakfast time is the best time to catch these black and white cuddly creatures tucking into their daily ration of about 20kg of bamboo.

When you get back to Chengdu there is the chance to try out a massage. The masseurs here are blind, or supposed to be, and as their touch is more sensitive than a sighted person they give some great massages. It might be better to avoid anywhere that offers you a ´happy ending´ though.

Once you are suitably relaxed it is time to get on the overnight train to Xi´an. The train ride is 500 miles and takes about 15 hours.

Day 11: Xi´an

In the morning you will be taken on a guided tour to see the number one attraction in Xi’an which has to be the Terracotta Warriors. Discovered by farmers in 1974 this is one of the most unforgettable sights of any trip to China. Only a few of the many thousands of the buried soldiers have been completely recovered so far along with 40,000 weapons. Each soldier has unique features and buried alongside them were their horses and chariots.   The First Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, died in 210 BCE and the soldiers were to protect him in the after-life.

It takes a lot a top off the sight of all the Terracotta Warriors but if you fancy some exercise there is an optional bike ride round the city walls.

There are many homeless people in Xi´an and tonight there is the chance to give something back to this amazing country by helping out at a soup kitchen. Not just soup but pots of tea, noodles and steamed buns are provided by the volunteer organisations come rain or shine.

Day 12:Free Time

Today is free time for exploring by yourself or with your new-found friends.

The Muslim Quarter in Xi´an is a lively bustling place where you can find the Beiyuanmen Muslim Market which is great place for some lunch and to find some souvenirs of Shanghai. There are ten mosques in the area but the most famous is the Great Mosque with intricate carvings, colourful decorations, courtyards and gardens. The main Prayer Hall of the mosque can hold up to 1.000 people and is lavishly and ornately decorated. The grounds are open all day to people of all beliefs but non-Muslims are not allowed in the Prayer Hall.

For some night time entertainment check out Big Wild Goose Pagoda and sit and watch Asia´s biggest sound and light show. Afterwards find one of the many karaoke bars and maybe have a group singsong. Karaoke or KTV as it is known is incredibly popular in China and even more so in Xi´an with nearly all the venues being night clubs combined with karaoke bars.

Day 13: QinLing Mountains18 day china gap year trip (9)

Today you will head out into the QinLing Mountains by minibus. On the way there is time to stop for some fun in the river, maybe tubing for the adventurous or grab the chance to top up your suntan. Your accommodation for the night is in traditional farmhouse and on arrival it is your chance to choose what you want for dinner later on. Once you have made your choice the farmers goes and catches it!!!

While the farmer is off hunting for food you go off on a hike, hopefully in the other direction, to see a series of beautiful water falls. On your return dinner will be ready and it is a chance to get to know your companions better while sitting under the stars drinking the local Hans beer.

Day 14: Dengfeng

Shaolin kung fu TempleUp early and you leave the QinLing Mountains behind and go back to Xi´an to catch the bus to Dengfeng. This is the closest town to the home of Kung Fu and the Shaolin Temple.

The afternoon is spent at a local market before going onto an orphanage where all the children are trained in Kung Fu. Visitors to the orphanage usually buy gifts for the children at the market. If the group contributes about 60RMB each it is possible to take rice, sweets, oil, maybe half a pig and some paper and pencils for their education.

At the orphanage there is an optional display of Kung Fu by the children who love nothing better than playing ball games with their visitors afterwards. Helping the children practice their English is great fun as well and if you are up to it there are optional Kung Fu lessons from the teacher. All proceeds go towards the orphanage.

Day 15: Shaolin Temple

Another early start as we head northwest of Dengfeng out into the thickly wooded mountains. Reputed to be the ´Number One Temple Under Heaven´ not only is the temple the home of Shaolin Kung Fu but it also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Established in 495AD the temple takes its name from the nearby Shaoshi Mountain and as well as Kung Fu it is where Chan Buddhism originated. The complex of the Shaolin Temple has 7 main halls and there are many interesting photo opportunities.

After another exciting day it is time to catch the overnight train back to Beijing. The journey this time is about 750 miles and takes around 12 hours.

Day 16: Beijing

Xtreme Gap Year China Xplorer (9)The morning is for relaxing before heading off to the Great Wall for an overnight camping experience and to see one of the world´s most impressive feats of engineering. The journey out to the Great Wall of China is by bus and this takes about two hours, depending on the traffic out of Beijing. Once the bus is clear of the suburbs the scenery changes to mainly forests and mountains stretching as far as the eye can see.

Nothing can prepare you for the reality of the Great Wall of China. The sheer scale of this iconic structure snaking off into the distance will take your breath away as you stroll along the fortifications and wonder just how it was constructed. The locals call it the Wild Wall and after hiking a short distance you will find a deserted place to set up camp. Watching the sun go down over the Great Wall is a magical experience and one you will never forget.

Day 17-18

18 day china gap year trip (2)Up early in time to catch the sun rise across the Great Wall and after some memorable photos it is time to return to Beijing. The rest of today and tomorrow are at leisure in Beijing to get to know the city better.

For dinner Beijing style find the Night Market. There are food stalls with many recognisable dishes to try and some not quite so! Many of the offerings are on skewers and while strawberry-on-a-stick sounds delicious some of the more exotic ones might have the odd beetle, silk worm or scorpion on! The signs are in Mandarin Chinese and English so if you are not sure if it is a lizard or lamb kebab hopefully the signs will help. The skewers are displayed raw and then deep fried in large woks to order. This is a great fun activity in a group and will certainly sort out who has the strongest stomach!

If you are not feeling too queasy after all the weird and wonderful foods you have seen, and maybe eaten, there is an amazing acrobatic display at the Chaoyang Theatre. The award winning Beijing Acrobatic Troupe will astound you with their contortions, twists, turns and balancing acts.

Tiananmen Square is a must-see. Chairman Mao died in 1976 and has lain in state in his crystal coffin in the Mausoleum here ever since. He wanted to be cremated but his final wishes were ignored and he is visited everyday by thousands of people. On the eastern side of Tiananmen Square is the National Museum for anyone that wants a whistle stop tour of Beijing history.

A few streets from Tiananmen Square is the Forbidden City which was home to many Emperors and there retinues from the 15th century onwards. Surrounded by a high wall and a deep moat the city is a fascinating place with about 9,000 rooms spread across 1,000 or so wooden buildings. The Palace Museum is also here with stunning treasures and works of art on display.

To see how the other half live escape from Beijing city to the edge of the beautiful Kunming Lake to visit the Summer Palace. Spread over acres and acres of beautiful gardens there are pavilions, towers, bridges and other man-made ancient structures numbering well over 3,000. Two of the most interesting are the Marble Boat and the Seventeen Arch Bridge.

Other notable places in Beijing are the Bird´s Nest Stadium from the 2008 Olympics and the Water Cube. They are both interesting to look at through the day by probably better viewed at night when they are lit up.

At the end of day 18 you will have covered 3800 miles together and shared many experiences which will stay with you for a lifetime. But it is time start saying goodbyes as your group departs for home or maybe onto other exciting countries.

Optional Activities

This tour is designed to allow you lots of freedom to explore and see the sights, and there are plenty of exciting optional activities on offer in each location along the route. These include:

  • Entrance to the Great Wall: 45CNY (approx £4.40)
  • Cable car at Great Wall: 55CNY each way (approx £5.35)
  • Toboggan at Great Wall: 45CNY (approx £4.40)
  • Beijing: Forbidden City: 60CNY (approx £5.85)
  • Beijing: Temple of Heaven: 35CNY (approx £3.40)
  • Beijing: Summer Palace: 50CNY (approx £4.85)
  • Beijing: Legend of Gongfu performance: 100CNY (approx £9.70)
  • Beijing or Shanghai: Acrobatic Performance: 100CNY (approx £9.70)
  • Beijing: Opera Performance: 180CNY (approx £17.50)
  • Beijing: Hutong Cycle Tour: 100 CNY (approx £9.70)
  • Shanghai: Yuyuan Garden: 40CNY (approx £3.90)
  • Shanghai: Jinmao Tower: 100CNY (approx £9.70)
  • Shanghai: Huangpu River night cruise: 70CNY (approx £6.80)
  • Shanghai: Oriental Pearl View deck 100 CNY (approx £9.70)
  • Xi’an: Terra Cotta Warriors Museum: 150CNY (approx £14.60)
  • Xi´an: Bell & Drum Towers: 40CNY (approx £3.90)
  • Xi´an: Great Mosque: 25CNY (approx £2.45)
  • Xi´an: City Wall South Gate: 40CNY (approx £3.90)
  • Xi´an: Big Wild Goose Pagoda: 50CNY (approx £4.85)
  • Xi´an: Dumpling Banquet: 80CNY (approx £7.80)
  • Yangtze River: Three Lesser Gorges: 220 CNY (approx £21.50)
  • Yangtze River: Three Gorges Dam: 120 CNY (approx £11.70)
  • Yangshuo: 40 min Calligraphy class: 30 CNY (approx £2.90)
  • Yangshuo: Chinese Language lesson: 40 CNY (approx £3.90)
  • Yangshuo: Impression Light Show: 188 CNY (approx £18.30)
  • Yangshuo: 1 hour Gongfu Lesson: 50 CNY (approx £4.85)
  • Yangshuo: Cooking School & market tour: 150CNY (approx £14.60)
  • Yangshuo: Bike rental: 20CNY (approx £1.95)
  • Yangshuo: Kayaking: 130CNY (approx £12.65)
  • Yangshuo: Li River Cruise: 80CNY (approx £7.80)

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

We include all of the accommodation during this China group tour. We usually use hostels based on shared rooms. There is the option to upgrade your own room at a cost of about £25 per night. Please give us a couple of weeks notice if that is your intention.

We regularly do check Hostels to Make Sure They Are Clean and Secure.

The idea of accommodation in China can send a shiver down your spine, but each hostel has modern showers washing facilities and Internet  access.

Some of this trip is spent camping on the great Wall of China, you do not need to bring camping equipment it is all included for you. We spend one night on a traditional organic farm and you will also get the opportunity to sleep in a roundhouse as well.

We sleep on sleeper trains during some sections, this is a great way to travel because you wake up somewhere new without spending  your days on the move. Sleeper trains all have flat beds, and there are a lot of fun. If you wish you can upgrade to first class sleeper cabin on some routes.

Please note this trip does not include food. So you will need to budget approximately £10 per day to cover your meals. The guide will always suggest good places to eat, usually most people eat together. An average meal will cost around 30RMB (approx £3) per person.

If you want to go exceptionally cheap, you can always grab a bowl of noodles or fried rice for as little as 10RMB (approx £1).

You can also get Western food and most of the hostels where you stay and this will cost about three pounds, but hey you are in China take full advantage.

You will need a VISA for this trip. A tourist VISA can be obtained at the Chinese embassy relatively easily. You will need a letter of invitation, which we will send you after you have paid your final balance so we advise you to book early so you can arrange your VISA  in good time.
We usually run groups between 10 and 18 people,the minimum group size is 5.
This trip is most popular with people between 18-25 but we get all ages travelling with us.
Please note, the Beijing to Beijing Loop is a variation of the 25 day HK to HK circuit. From Day 1 – 4 you will be with one group and a different one from Day  4– 18. Occasionally, you may have a journey from Beijing to Shanghai on your own on the first evening but we will let you know if this is the case. 
The group meets up at 4.30pm at the accommodation on the start day. You can arrive anytime before this. If you would like to arrive a day early we can help you book your extra nights accommodation.
The trip finishes at 10pm on the last day and most people spend an extra night before flying home. You will be in Beijing for the last two days so it is possible to fly out earlier but you will miss out on some activities.
Duration Option Price  
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INCLUDED

  • All transport
  • Detailed predeparture pack
  • Services of English-speaking local coordinators  &    guides
  • All accommodation
  • Fully guided group tour
  • bamboo rafting the Li River
  • Overnight trains
  • Propaganda Museum in Shanghai
  • Shop till you drop in the Nanjing Road
  • Stroll through the Bund checking out Shanghai skyline
  • Wallow in Chinese mud baths
  • Entry to the Panda breeding research centre
  • Entry to the terracotta Warriors
  • Qin ling Mountains excursion
  • A visit to the Shaolin Temple
  • Camping out on the great Wall of China
  • Tiananmen Square and  the forbidden city

EXCLUDED

  • Transfers to and from the airport (although this is very easy)
  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Spending money
  • Optional activities
  • Meals

Dates

Dates 2017

May: 7; 28
June: 4; 9; 18; 25; 30
July: 16; 21;
August: 4; 6; 13; 20; 27
September: 3; 10; 17; 24
October: 1; 6; 8; 15; 22; 29