Xtreme Vietnam Experience

Take an epic three week road trip throughout Vietnam from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. New friends on new adventures along the way, in truly one of the most breathtaking Southeast Asian countries. Fully guided full on bring it on! Insanely good value as well.

Discover Vietnam’s epic highlights on this exciting 3 week group adventure from North to South! Hang out in Hanoi, learn about the war torn history of Vietnam, get to know Vietnamese culture, go trekking enjoy a cool beach week checking out the world famous Halong Bay. Finish up with an all-encompassing road trip south to Ho Chi Minh city via Hoi Ann and Na Trang.

 

Xtreme Vietnam Experience

Vietnam experience SapaVietnam Experience Highlights Include:

  • Fancy going somewhere completely different? You will love Vietnam.
  • Explore the vibrant 1,000 year old of historic city of Hanoi during the first week.
  • Learn about Buddhism and Meditation, explore interesting Vietnamese places including Pagodas and temples in the second week.
  • Go trek the amazing Sapa mountain and learn about the culture here, visit markets.
  • Discover Ho Chi Minh City
  • 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!

Incredible Experiences In An Incredible Country

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.

Group Sizes

Our group sizes for Vietnam are small, and an average age between 18 to 22 years old, this is the ideal trip to book if you are dead keen on seeing Vietnam and want personalised action and intimate groups.

 

 

Photos

Details

The 3 week Itinerary

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 lowdown 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

Meals

Only breakfast is included throughout the programme. But you can get a nice (and cheap) meal on every corner of every street. Meals are about 1 to 3 GBP per meal.

Vietnamese meals consist of rice or noodles accompanied by fish or meat and a vegetable dish or soup. But in many places, you can also get Western food like pizza!

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

The winter months are December, January and February. It can be quite cold as you also go up to the north is Sapa, which is in the mountains. In January, there is no start date but in December there is. Be aware that you can not sunbathe.
Vietnam is a very safe country to travel in. You will also have a co-ordinator with you at all times.

No! You can get away with taking about 100 per week, and that will go a long way! A beer on the street in Hanoi is about 7p.

Duration Option Price  
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Included

  • Pre-departure information
  • Airport transfer on arrival to make it easy for you!
  • Fully guided with local knowledgeable English speaking Guides
  • Trip to the Water Puppet Theatre
  • Visit Ho Chi Minh Memorial
  • 21 nights’ accommodation
  • Most Breakfasts
  • Meals in Halong Bay (on the boat)
  • Overnight in rural village homestay
  • Black H’Mong hill tribes and scenic waterfalls
  • Guided jungle trek in Cuc Phuong National Park and visit to Muong ethnic community  (Optional extra)
  • Boat trip in Tam Coc
  • Stunning boat trip in Halong Bay
  • Experience a Vietnamese floating village
  • Adventure Kayaking in Lan Ha Bay
  • Hanoi city tour
  • Overnight Train to Hoi An
  • Walking tour of Hoi Ans beautiful waterways
  • Cham dynasty  temples in My Son
  • Adventure Trek to Cat Cat Village
  • 2 Glorious days by the beach in Nha Trang
  • Tour of Ho Chi Minh City
  • Vietnamese cooking lessons
  • Vietnamese language lessons
  • Access to buddy lists before you go

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Extra activities not on itinerary
  • Tourist Visa
  • Travel Insurance
  • Return airport transfer
  • Drinks
  • Lunch and Dinner
  • Breakfasts during travel days
  • Extra night if needed at the end of the trip in Ho Chi Minh

Dates

Starts on a Sunday ends on a Saturday

2017
12 February 2017 – 04 March 2017
19 March 2017 – 08 April 2017
16 July 2017 – 05 August 2017
13 August 2017 – 02 September 2017
10 September 2017 – 30 September 2017
22 October 2017 – 11 November 2017
19 November 2017 – 09 December 2017
24 December 2017 – 13 January 2018

2018

14 January 2018 – 03 February 2018
18 February 2018 – 10 March 2018
18 March 2018 – 07 April 2018
15 April 2018 – 05 May 2018
17 June 2018 – 07 July 2018
15 July 2018 – 04 August 2018
12 August 2018 – 01 September 2018
16 September 2018- 06 October 2018
11 November 2018 – 01 December 2018

COMBINE WITH THE 4 WEEK THAILAND EXPERIENCE STARTING THE SUNDAY AFTER

Xtreme Thailand Experience 2017

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thailand-ex-promo001

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

The Xtreme Thailand Experience

4 AWESOME THEMED WEEKS!

ExplorationXtreme Thailand Experience (12)

Adventure

Island Action

Action Week

Beach & Eco

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. 

Choose the perfect action week activity!

Get the perfect beach body with Crossfit. Learn Muay Thai, increase your well-being with a jungle yoga package. Learn free diving or learn how to dive, its up to you! PLUS: Take part in an action-packed adventure day!

Top off the tan with well-earned beach time.

Laze about on amazing tropical beaches. Hit the beach parties and don´t miss out on the Full Moon party. Discover a paradise island by our discover scuba dive & stand up paddle day. Also help conservation efforts with the beach clean up and join the free Barbecue party night! Party on the beach and munch on some delicious Thai food.

Xtreme Thailand Experience 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
  • Adrenaline Action on Koh Tao like diving and freediving, kickboxing or cross fit. If you prefer to chill out a little, you can with a yoga course.
  • Koh Tao adventure day with longtail boat, snorkelling, paradise islands and view points.
  • Try Out Scuba with an Xtreme trial Scuba Experience
  • SUP! Stand Up Paddle try out.
  • Become a conservation hero! We have partnered with the leading conservation organisation so you too can do your part. Beach clean ups and conservation talks included. Plus free sunset barbecue at the end of the day
  • 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 4 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 waterways 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 histories 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 splendor 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.

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

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

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

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

Day 15: ARRIVAL IN PARADISE KOH TAO

Xtreme Gappers (58)On arrival, you will have a full introduction from our resident rep who will settle you into the island life and it will go like this:

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

Day 16-28: ACTION WEEK & BEACH WEEK

Up on booking your Thailand trip you can choose from a range of activities depending on how adventurous your feeling.

With multiple options available to you on Koh Tao we have created the following brochure to help clarify some of the exciting activities you can do. All of these are exclusive to Xtreme Gap Year. Online Brochure with activities on Koh Tao.

IMG_1904The Koh Tao Action and Beach week itinerary are flexible because it depends on the option you choose for the action week and the weather, but in general you have 13 days to check out the amazing beaches, get involved in some cool adventures with your new friends and enjoy the epic sunsets and nightlife.

You will also have your Xtreme Adventure Day so there will be plenty to do and certainly never a dull moment!

TROPICAL ISLAND PARADISE…WOW!

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

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

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

FOOD & EATING OUT

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

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

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

THE ADVENTURE DAY

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

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

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

Beach For Sunset

On arrival at Sairee beach, we will pull up to a pool bar so you can grab a sundowner and watch a spectacular sun set into the ocean.

Want even more action? you can book the following speedboat adventure day locally for an additional fee, please talk to our rep:

FINAL 2 WEEKS IN DETAIL:

ACTION OPTIONS, BEACH TIME, BEACH CLEAN UP DAY, XTREME DISCOVER SCUBA, STAND UP PADDLING, BOAT TRIP TO KOH NANG YUAN AND BEACH PARTIES.

We have lined up some really exciting activities for your final 13 days. This is one of the things that sets the Xtreme Thailand Experience apart from other gap year tours. With the sheer volume of inclusions you will never be bored. Pick one of the activities below for your final week.

Some are Xtreme and really get the blood pumping, others are devoted to health, fitness, and well-being and you can even be involved in a hands-on conservation project to try and help with the preservation of Koh Tao. There is truly something for everyone.

Available Included Xtreme Activities On Koh Tao

Unlike the adventure week you do need to choose which option you will take at the time of booking (some options are cheaper than others)  so please refer to the prices section to see how this influences the price of the trip.

Koh Tao cross that
So when you are lying on a dreamy white sandy beach, in a paradise setting wouldn’t it be nice to have the body to match. With our cross fit package you can! Four full on cross fit sessions, with professional accredited Cross fitness trainers will whip you into shape so you will not feel guilty about lazing on the beach, and dipping into the Gulf of Thailand will be so much more rewarding.

If you are not familiar with the concept of cross fit, you can join the 4 Foundation classes. These 4 classes will teach you all the basic movements and techniques for CrossFit, so that they are able to do the movements safely and effectively. These classes are similar to personal training as our coach will spend lots of time helping them with the movements.

We run the Foundation classes every day at 10.15am and so they can easily do the Foundation classes in a week.

Please also check out the video below it is the latest fitness craze that has become huge. It’s highly effective high-intensity WODS (work out of the day) mixes hundreds of different techniques and every day is always different. With this option is the perfect way to get into excellent physical shape and get that perfect beach body!

Thailand Muay thai Training (7)
The fit package is the most popular option. It includes 5 Muay Thai sessions taken over five days. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never done it before, learning the national sport of Thailand in a cool jungle gym is an awesome experience. It is a great way to try something new, get really fit and learn much more about the culture of Thailand.

You will under go a modified non-contact training regime in the camp that host monthly Muay Thai fights, a really authentic and cool experience!

Some like to do it in the morning and then hit the beach others like the cooler evening training times.

Koh Tao yoga option
Probably one of our most chilled out options, you have five sessions working on your well-being, and flexibility with a fantastic yoga package. Set in landscaped gardens surrounded by coconut groves there’s a special feeling about the place.

Just a short stroll from the ocean, you will find a gorgeous yoga Sala, where we have included five sessions are you to get into yoga spirituality and hopefully find Nirvana.

Even if you’ve never tried yoga before this is the perfect place to do it, as everyone is welcome to come and give it a go and it is the perfect activity to take if you want to turn your Koh Tao experience into the ultimate chilled out beach time.

This is a full blow open water course worth over £200. The course lasts 3/4 days and includes 4 dives in the beautiful Gulf of Thailand. Afterwards, you have your PADI Open Water license and can dive anywhere in the world! Not sure about this option? You can always add it on while you are out there with us in Thailand.

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This is probably the most Xtreme option, and one of the most rewarding! Our professional freediver instructors will teach you the basics of Freediving, and accompany you down to depths of 12 metres!

The actual course itself lasts 2 days and included theory and water based instruction. Free diving is about breath holds diving, so no use scuba equipment. This means you are not limited by nitrogen in your blood or depth limits. It takes mental and physical training to become an expert free diver, but our course will certainly get you well on your way there. With beautiful Marine life, soft and hard corals it’s a great way to train yourself to experience the best that the underwater environment has to offer in Koh Tao.

If you’re really lucky you may even get a free diving the whale shark!

NIGHTLIFE & BEACH TIME & ACTIVITIES

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

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

Other Activities included? Yes, there are more…

Beach Clean up day

Ecodave Xtreme GapAt 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 this 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.

Xtreme Discover Scuba Dive & Stand Up Paddling

With crystal clear waters, water sports on Koh Tao are amazing! Included as part of the programme you get to try out scuba diving! Safely guiding you in a swimming pool, in a controlled environment. We will let you try out breathing underwater from scuba gear. It’s a great way to get a feel for diving, and an incredible experience is never done it before. If you do like it, you can always upgrade to doing an open water course and take full advantage of the fact that Koh Tao is one of the best places to learn to dive in the world. If diving really is not your thing, don’t worry you don’t have to do it but most people who try and not going for a full-blown ought course afterwards. It’s an amazing experience to explore and breathe underwater. This is just one of many extra additional inclusions we throw into the trip, where other companies would leave you to go “snorkelling”.

You can upgrade locally to do a full diving course, or pre-book it with us.

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.

Flexible 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.

The accommodation in the resort in Koh Tao is the basic fan option at a great resort, perfect for your stay in paradise. 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. 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.

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

Why is this important?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 28 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 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 22. 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 22. 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.

HOW THE XTREME THAILAND EXPERIENCE WORKS

Duration Option Price  
28 (Days)Lite Option 23rd July 2017USD 1269Book Now
28 (Days)Lite Option (See Exclusions)USD 1269Book Now
28 (Days)Muay Thai Yoga Xfit 23rd July 2017USD 1299Book Now
28 (Days)Muay Thai Yoga XfitUSD 1399Book Now
28 (Days)Free DivingUSD 1599Book Now
28 (Days)Open Water DivingUSD 1699Book Now

Pricing Feedback

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Book 16 or more weeks up front to secure these deals.
Duration Option Price
28 (Days)Lite Option 23rd July 2017USD 1269 USD 1206 (Early Bird)
Enquire here
28 (Days)Muay Thai Yoga Xfit 23rd July 2017USD 1299 USD 1273 (Early Bird)
Enquire here
28 (Days)Muay Thai Yoga XfitUSD 1399 USD 1371 (Early Bird)
Enquire here
28 (Days)Free DivingUSD 1599 USD 1519 (Early Bird)
Enquire here
28 (Days)Open Water DivingUSD 1699 USD 1614 (Early Bird)
Enquire here

Book today with a deposit and travel after 12 - 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.

What makes this trip different from other companies tours in Thailand? A lot. Literally: we include way more in our trips than other companies.

Xtreme Gap began on Koh Tao, and we are one of the only gap year companies to actually have a base and staff located there. We know the island we know the country and we know how to squeeze the most amount of fun out of 28 days. Compare this to other trips you will quickly discover that we have way more inclusions, and budget a lot more to make your trip as exciting and fun as possible. We can do this because we are an online company, we keep our overheads low enabling us to include more about trips without having to increase the price of our packages.

INCLUDED

The 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 during the first 2 weeks
  • 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
  • Overnight Transfer to Koh Tao

On Koh Tao

  • 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
  • Koh Tao Extra Activities Included
    • Beach BBQ after beach Clean up day
    • Beach Clean up day
    • Stand Up Paddling
    • Xtreme Discover Scuba Dive
  • Koh Tao activity option Week inclusions (pick one option):
    • Get fit pack: 5 Muay Thai Sessions (5 hours), all equipment (for rent included) and training one on one with a Muay Thai Trainer
    • Get ripped pack: 4 Crossfit sessions. These 4 classes will teach you all the basic movements and techniques for CrossFit
    • Xtreme Freediving Pack: a 2 day beginner free diving course
    • Relax With Yoga: 5 yoga sessions spread out over 5 days
    • The learn to dive course includes a full PADI open water course, course materials, instruction and 4 dives
  • Full moon party
  • All Accommodation
  • Breakfast on arrival on Koh Tao
  • 12 nights accommodation in standard fan room in Koh Tao at our luxury resort
  • Free Wi-Fi at the accommodation
  • Pick up from the boat and transfer to the resort in Koh Tao by taxi
  • 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 Euro 30 for a 60 day visa)
  • Insurance
  • Return transfer from Koh Tao (but can be arranged locally for approx Euro 15)
  • Most meals  (Approx £6 – 15 per day)
  • Entrance Grand palace in Bangkok (around 12 GP)
  • Entrance Fee for Koh Nanguang (100 Baht approx £2)
  • On the Lite Option we exclude the Muay Thai, Yoga, Crossfit or Freedive or Dive option. The itinerary is the same, just missing out on your action option on Koh Tao.

Dates

Start day is Sunday end day is Saturday

2017

16 July 2017 – 12 August 2017 (Fully Booked)
23rd July – 19th August (Includes Full Moon)
13 August 2017 – 09 September 2017 (Limited)
10 September 2017- 07 October 2017
12 November 2017 – 09 December 2017
10 December 2017 – 06 January 2018

2018

14 January 2018 – 10 February 2018
04 February 2018 – 03 March 2018
11 March 2018 – 07 April 2018
08 April 2018 – 05 May 2018
06 May 2018 – 02 June 2018
03 June 2018 – 30 June 2018
08 July 2018 – 04 August 2018
05 August 2018 – 01 September 2018
02 September 2018 – 29 September 2018
30 September 2018 – 27 October 2018
28 October 2018 – 24 November 2018
25 November 2018 – 22 December 2018

Combine with 3 weeks Vietnam before

Xtreme TV

Learn more about this trip on video

video

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Discover The Best Parts  of South East Asia

backpacking in south east asia (1)Backpacking in South East Asia´s incredible Laos, Cambodia and Thailand!
Discovering mountain villages, with incredible views and a country set back in time in Laos. Find out why people rave about Luang Prabang and Vientiane on our blog and not forgetting there is the awesome tubing experience, drifting down a river in an inner tire stopping off at bars and rope swings all the way down.
Cambodia will amaze and horrify you with an incredible history and people. See the horrifying S21 Genocide museum in Phnom Penh, relax on an undeveloped island in Koh Tunsay and speed down an abandon railway on a bamboo cart.

 

Backpacking in South East Asia Highlights:

  • backpacking in south east asia (5)Trek to mountain villages, see a way of life less known, and most of all be greeted by a heart warming “Sabaidee”
  • Travel on trains, buses, longboats and tuk tuks up Thailand and around Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, the friendliest and least discovered country in Asia!
  • This is the first guided bus travel network in Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam! Connect from Thailand on trains and traverse Laos from north to south to Cambodia and then on to Vietnam, or choose a section that appeals to you.
  • We have an extensive range of South East Asian bus tours and travel passes for all time frames.
  • Your pass is valid for 12 months so take your time to explore!
  • ´Jump-on´ and ´jump-off´ the trip anywhere that you want along the way around our comprehensive route.
  • Go further off the beaten track and save money with unique down-to-earth stops, local culture and amazing activities.
  • Travel with like-minded people, and get guidance from our legendary guides and local drivers.
  • Our guides organise your accommodation at each overnight stop from guest houses, backpacker hostels, budget hotels, ecolodges and camping.
  • Backpacking in South East Asia trip time depends on the pass you take you can do it in 10 days or 3 weeks or even longer if you need. Starting in Bangkok, you can travel to Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, enjoying a free day in Chiang Mai, before meeting Xtreme Gap crew private boat in Huay Xai, Laos. A superb combination with any of our Thailand programs you can experience a whole different side to Asia.

Want more?

Make it a bigger trip!

By combining exciting programmes like the Xtreme Thailand Experience at the start and finishing with the Vietnam Experience you can turn these trip in to an epic adventure!

Add Vietnam!

Did you know you can add Vietnam to your itinerary with our South East Asia Xplorer? Check it out!
Vietnam is an assault on all the senses, breath in the amazing smell of the coffee plantations in Da Lat, Taste amazing Pho, see incredible locals at the Ban Ma Thout home stay, hear the incredible story of the Ho Chi Minh trail in Vin Moc and touch beautiful golden sand beaches and the finest silks in Hoi An.

Photos

Hop On Hop Off  Backpacking Passes In Laos, Cambodia and Thailand

Discover why people are starting to discover Laos as an incredible backpacking destination. From tubing in Vang Vieng, to the stunning Luang prabang, sublime water falls, national parks, epic scenery. Fair warning though, this will make you want to book your flight and leave immediately!

backpacking in south east asia (23)Minimum Trip Times

  • Mekong Pass – min 36 days
  • Full Moon Pass – min 30 days
  • Dtui Noy Pass – min 17 days
  • Tom Yum Pass – min 16 days

 

Mekong Pass

DEPARTS:

  • Wet Season / Jun – Oct,  TUESDAYS, SATURDAYS,
  • Dry Season / Nov – May  TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS, SATURDAYS

A comprehensive trip through northern Thailand, Laos and Cambodia with the option to end in Bangkok, Siem Reap, Phnom Penh or Ho Chi Minh City.
For travellers who have 4 weeks or more and want to see as much of these amazing countries as possible.

Experience the sights, sounds and smells of Bangkok, travel north via the amazing Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, before meeting the  Bus at the Huay Xai border crossing in Laos.
Experience mountains and vibrant cultures in Northern Laos and amazing wilderness and wildlife in the South; follow narrow mountain roads to scenic rivers and waterfalls, hidden archaeological sites, communist caves and friendly remote villages.
Head into Cambodia to explore ancient temples, pagodas and palaces, snack on fried spiders or enjoy a local Khmer BBQ. Chill out in the beach sanctuary of Koh Tunsay, see the rare Irrawady Dolphins and visit the infamous Khmer Rouge S21 prison and killing fields. Cycle or trek the Bokor National Parks and get to know the locals in a remote village homestay.

backpacking in south east asia (15)Pass Highlights and Inclusions

  • Ayutthaya Temples
  • Pha Tok Cave
  • Pak Ou Cave
  • Tham Jang Cave
  • National Park Entry
  • Kong Lor Park Entry
  • Mahaxai Cave
  • Turtle Lake
  • Hotay Pitok Library
  • Tad Ngeuang
  • Wat Phu
  • S21 & Killing Fields
  • Udong
  • Bamboo Train

Mekong pass itinerary

Bangkok to Chiang Mai (Via Ayutthaya)

Your adventure kicks off 8am at the  Bangkok shop where you meet your guide and group. After a brief induction to how the pass works we depart for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya. We arrive mid-morning, giving you plenty of time to explore the fascinating historical park by bike or enjoy a boat journey through the “Venice of the East”. We leave late evening to Chiang Mai.
Overnight train or bus (price included)
Non Travel Day: Arrival in Chiang Mai
We arrive into the train station between 8:00 11:00am. Chiang Mai is an amazing city with endless activity options. Some of our favourites are a tree top adventure with Flight of the Gibbon, trekking, rafting, and traditional cooking classes. For those looking for adrenalin try the down-hill mountain biking and traditional Muay Thai Boxing training! There’s also the famous night market, the Night Safari (Asia’s largest) and easy access to Pai village.
Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20
Non Travel Day: Chiang Mai

You have a full day to enjoy this historically rich city, or partake in one of the many adventure activities on offer. We suggest spending time to take in the ancient sights, including the old walled-city and the Tapae Gate, and some of the magnificent 300 Buddhist Temples.
Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20
Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong

Meet your group and guide at the Xtreme  preferred accommodation, before kicking off your Xtreme  journey. We leave at midday to visit the famous and intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), and then continue on to the border town of Chiang Khong to enjoy our last night in Thailand.
Guesthouse with views across the Mekong River USD20
Chiang Khong to Pakbeng

A short boat ride across the Mekong River whisks us away towards Huay Xai, Laos. This is where we clear customs before boarding the boat to Pakbeng. Sit back and soak up the incredible journey as the river winds through lush farmland, rugged mountains and jungle. You will spot water buffalo, mountain-side rice paddies, local fishermen, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in the remote village of Pakbeng late afternoon and stay overnight by the river.
Guesthouse near boat ramp USD8 15
Pakbeng to Ban Lad Khammune (homestay)

Leaving Pakbeng early, we continue our journey down the Mekong to the secluded village of Ban Lad Khammune. Here you will experience traditional village life by staying with a local family in their home. Attend a Baci (welcoming) Ceremony and have a chance to wander around the village, watch the women weaving or try your luck in a friendly game of petanque in the square!
Homestay including accommodation, traditional Baci ceremony and meals USD $17
Ban Lad Khammune (homestay) to Luang Prabang

We wave goodbye to the village and jump back aboard our private boat downriver to the famous Pak Ou Caves. Here you will see thousands of Buddha images that were placed throughout the caves over a period of hundreds of years. A short trip takes us into the stunningly beautiful Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage town with a fusion of French colonial architecture and traditional Lao buildings. This is home to the famous Kuang Si waterfalls, a bear sanctuary, ancient Buddhist temples and many sacred sites.
Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD12-40
Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

It´s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain, taking in the breathtaking views. Upon arrival into Vang Vieng there is plenty of time to go tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, start partying or even kick back and watch re-runs of old TV shows playing at the bars around town!
Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action USD8-30
Vang Vieng to Vientiane

Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos and take a tour of the city´s main attractions: Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to get a massage, go shopping at the night market, or watch the action from one of the local restaurants by the river.
Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast USD20
Vientiane to Kong Lor (7 Km Cave)

An early escape this morning takes us away from the crowds and south to Kong Lor, and the Phu Hin Bun National Park. About an hour into the journey we visit Wat Prabat Phonsone, the “Buddha´s Footprint” temple, which has become an important pilgrimage site for local communities. There is time before sunset to explore the Kong Lor village and take in the stunning scenery of the surrounding rice paddies and limestone Karst Mountains.
Comfortable guesthouse with spectacular views and just a short 10 minute walk from the cave USD10
Non Travel Day: Kong Lor (7 Km Cave)

This morning you´re free to head down to the Cave (or Tham Kong Lor to the locals) and venture deep into the 7km abyss! Ride in a traditional motorised canoe and take in the amazing rock formations, swim in the cool waters of the cave entrance. There may also be the option to travel to Ban Tabak village, to take a ride in a ‘bomb boat´ made from the metal fuel casings of B52 bombers, dumped on Laos during the Secret War (this is subject to availability on the day).
Comfortable guesthouse with spectacular views of the Karst Mountains and just a short 10 minute walk from the cave USD10
Kong Lor (7 Km Cave) to Thakek

Today is a short travel day and includes a stop to view the “Great Wall of Tha Kek” before heading into town to check into our hotel on the banks of the Mekong River. This afternoon we´ll head out of town towards the Khammouane Protected Area, home to the Mahaxai Caves scattered amongst rugged limestone cliffs and pristine jungle scenery. We will stop at Tha Farang for an afternoon swim before returning to town to relax and enjoy a sunset over the Mekong River.
Mekong riverside Guesthouse USD12

Thakek to Xe Champhone (village stay)

This is what Xtreme is all about, getting totally off the beaten track! We head into Xe Champhone wetlands – an area so remote that occasionally our  buses can’t access it, so we have to jump on board an off-road truck! Along the way we visit Old Wat Taleow, a beautiful temple bombed in 1969, then onto Turtle Lake where you might spot soft-shell turtles. Our last stop for the day is the 200-year-old Hotay Pidok Buddhist library. Once here we spend the night with the friendly locals in the Monkey forest, a sacred place and home to hundreds of wild Rhesus Macaque monkeys.
Basic village stay including accommodation and meals USD17
Xe Champhone to Pakse

Driving south this morning we head for the bright lights of Pakse. From here, you can check out the Bolaven Plateau with its cool climate, coffee and tea plantations, and spectacular waterfalls. Paske is a great place to hop off the bus and experience the unforgettable Tree Top Explorer adventure. This an amazing experience that includes trekking though jungle, tree house accommodation, wildlife, thundering waterfalls, and a zip- line system that will have you flying through the tree-tops and across ravines.
Guesthouse with fan or air-conditioned rooms in the centre of town surrounded by everything you need USD8-10
Pakse to Don Det (4000 Islands)

An early start takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer temple. We´ll explore the site and climb to the mountain top temple, before heading south to the 4000 Islands area to experience its laidback lifestyle and natural beauty. We arrive around lunchtime giving you time to cycle across to the neighbouring Don Khone Island and visit Li Phi waterfall or take a boat trip for a chance to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins.
Rustic style guesthouse USD5-15
Don Det to Phnom Penh

Saying goodbye to Laos, we make an early start to join the public bus for the journey to Cambodia. A short drive will bring you to the Don Kralor Border where you will complete immigration procedures, then continue the journey into Cambodia, once again following the mighty Mekong River. We arrive in the majestic capital of Phnom Penh late evening, and you´ll get a chance to freshen up before meeting your new tour leader for dinner and drinks along the iconic waterfront.
Guesthouse near the main tourist area USD20
Phnom Penh to Koh Tunsay (Rabbit Island)

After a tour of the infamous Khmer Rouge S21 Prison and Killing Fields we head for the Cambodian coast, passing through the river town of Kampot. Kampot is famous for its pepper and salt farms and delicious seafood – your local guide will show you the best spot to taste some! From Kampot we head to the old French resort town of Kep where we board traditional Khmer wooden fishing boats for a 30 minute voyage to the island sanctuary of Koh Tunsay. Once on shore you can check out the island or just relax on the beach, and watch the sun go down.
Bungalows on the beach (sleep 4 people) USD25 per bungalow
Koh Tunsay (Rabbit Island) to Kampot

Tearing ourselves away from the beach, a short drive takes us back to the town of Kampot where you will have a free afternoon to visit the pepper and salt Farms, do some cycling or trekking in Bokor National Park or take a sunset cruise up the river.
Highly Recommended: Hop off here to head to Sihanoukville to enjoy the beach; local seafood and nightlife!
Guesthouse with dorm beds or private rooms USD6-15
Kampot to Battambang (homestay)

A full day today will take us to our village homestay near the provincial town of Battambang. En-route we will visit the 18th Century Khmer stronghold of Udong, where you can hike to the mountain top pagoda or relax in a hammock and enjoy a local Khmer BBQ! We pass through Kompong Chhnang (pronounced kom pong ch nang) with its bustling local market and floating villages along the river and delta area. Our homestay tonight will give you a taste of local family and community life in the village with its seasonal farming, fishing, temple gatherings and festivals.
Homestay in local village including meals USD18
Battambang to Siem Reap

After breakfast with our homestay family we drive into Battambang where we will take a ride on the Bamboo Train before an early lunch and drive to Siem Reap home of the incredible Angkor Temples. We recommend a free day to explore the magnificent Angkor Temples and take in some of Siem Reap´s vibrant markets and nightlife. Your guide will show you the best one to head to first!
Guesthouse with dorm beds or private rooms USD8-20
Non Travel Day: Siem Reap

Today is a free day for you to explore the magnificent Angkor Temples and take in some of Siem Reap´s vibrant markets and nightlife. Your guide will show you the best ones to head to first!
Guesthouse with dorm beds or private rooms USD8-20
Siem Reap to Bangkok or HCMC (via Phnom Penh)
If you are traveling to Bangkok you will be driven to the border town of Poipet. Here you will process through Thai immigration and change buses for the drive to Bangkok, arriving in the evening. Alternatively if you are travelling to HCMC you´ll board the bus from Phnom Penh and head to Moc Bai on the Vietnamese border, where you will be processed through immigration (you will need to organise your Visa in advance) and then driven on to Ho Chi Minh City arriving mid-afternoon.

 

Fullmoon Pass

backpacking in south east asia (21)Pass Highlights and Inclusions

  • Ayutthaya Temples
  • Pha Tok Cave
  • Pak Ou Cave
  • Tham Jang Cave
  • National Park Entry
  • Kong Lor Park Entry
  • Mahaxai Cave
  • Turtle Lake
  • Hotay Pitok Library
  • Tad Ngeuang
  • Wat Phu

DEPARTS:

  • Wet Season / Jun – Oct:  TUESDAY, SATURDAYS
  • Dry Season / Nov – May  TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS, SATURDAYS

A comprehensive trip through Northern Thailand and Laos, for those travellers who have two and a half weeks or more. By joining us in Bangkok, you can travel to Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, enjoying a free day in Chiang Mai, before meeting the  bus in Luang Prabang, Laos. Experience Laos from the mountains and vibrant cultures in the north to the islands and Mekong falls in the south. Return to Bangkok via local bus or train from Pakse to Ubon Ratchathani and train from there. We will get you closer to the action the whole way.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai (Via Ayutthaya)

Your adventure kicks off 8am at the  Bangkok shop where you meet your  guide and group. After a brief induction to how it works we depart for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya. We arrive mid-morning, giving you plenty of time to explore the fascinating historical park by bike or enjoy a boat journey through the “Venice of the East”. We leave late evening to Chiang Mai.

Overnight train or bus (price included)

Non Travel Day: Arrival in Chiang Mai
We arrive into the train station between 8:00 11:00am. Chiang Mai is an amazing city with endless activity options. Some of our favourites are a tree top adventure with Flight of the Gibbon, trekking, rafting, and traditional cooking classes. For those looking for adrenalin try the down-hill mountain biking and traditional Muay Thai Boxing training! There’s also the famous night market, the Night Safari (Asia’s largest) and easy access to Pai village.
Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20

Non Travel Day: Chiang Mai
You have a full day to enjoy this historically rich city, or partake in one of the many adventure activities on offer. We suggest spending time to take in the ancient sights, including the old walled-city and the Tapae Gate, and some of the magnificent 300 Buddhist Temples.
Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20

Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong
After a chilled out morning, we depart after lunch and visit the famous and intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), then continue on to the border town of Chiang Khong to enjoy our last night in Thailand.
Guesthouse with views across the Mekong River USD20

Chiang Khong to Pakbeng
A short boat ride across the Mekong River whisks us away towards Huay Xai, Laos. This is where we clear customs before boarding the boat to Pakbeng. Sit back and soak up the incredible journey as the river winds through lush farmland, rugged mountains and jungle. You will spot water buffalo, mountain-side rice paddies, local fishermen, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in the remote village of Pakbeng late afternoon and stay overnight by the river.
Guesthouse near boat ramp USD8 15

Pakbeng to Ban Lad Khammune
Leaving Pakbeng early, we continue our journey down the Mekong to the secluded village of Ban Lad Khammune. Here you will experience traditional village life by staying with a local family in their home. Attend a Baci (welcoming) Ceremony and have a chance to wander around the village, watch the women weaving or try your luck in a friendly game of petanque in the square!
Homestay including accommodation, traditional Baci ceremony and meals USD17

Ban Lad Khamoune to Luang Prabang
Our boat journey this morning takes us to the Pak Ou Caves where you will see thousands of Buddha images placed in the caves over hundreds of years. From the caves we have a short trip to Luang Prabang, arriving around midday into this world heritage town with French colonial architecture, temples and sacred sites.
Accommodation: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms clost to night market $12-40

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
It´s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain, taking in the breathtaking views. Upon arrival into Vang Vieng there is plenty of time to go tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, start partying or even kick back and watch re-runs of old TV shows playing at the bars around town!
Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action USD8-30

Vang Vieng to Vientiane
Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos and take a tour of the city´s main attractions: Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to get a massage, go shopping at the night market, or watch the action from one of the local restaurants by the river.
Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast USD20

Vientiane to Kong Lor (7km Cave)

A comprehensive trip through Northern Thailand and Laos, for those travellers who have two and a half weeks or more. By joining us in Bangkok, you can travel to Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai in Northern Thailand, enjoying a free day in Chiang Mai, before meeting the  bus in Luang Prabang, Laos. Experience Laos from the mountains and vibrant cultures in the north to the islands and Mekong falls in the south. Return to Bangkok via local bus or train from Pakse to Ubon Ratchathani and train from there. We will get you closer to the action the whole way.

This morning you´re free to head down to the Cave (or Tham Kong Lor to the locals) and venture deep into the 7 km abyss! Ride in a traditional motorised canoe and take in the amazing rock formations, swim in the cool waters of the cave entrance. You also have the chance to travel to Ban Tabak village and take a ride in a ‘bomb boat’! These are made from the metal fuel casings of B52 bombers, dumped on Laos during the Secret War.
Comfortable guesthouse with spectacular views of the Karst Mountains and just a short 10 minute walk from the cave USD10

Kong Lor (7 Km Cave) to Thakek

Today is a short travel day, which includes a stop to view the “Great Wall of Thakek” before heading onto Pha Tam Kam, home of some of Southeast Asia´s best rock climbing and amazing lush, jungle scenery. For the adventurous crowd, there is the option to try out slack-lining or rock climbing, before heading back into town.
Mekong riverside Guesthouse USD12

Thakek to Xe Champhone (village stay)

This is what we are all about, getting totally off the beaten track! We head into Xe Champhone wetlands – an area so remote that occasionally our  buses can’t access it, so we have to jump on board an off-road truck! Along the way we visit Old Wat Taleow, a beautiful temple bombed in 1969, then onto Turtle Lake where you might spot soft-shell turtles. Our last stop for the day is the 200-year-old Hotay Pidok Buddhist library. Once here we spend the night with the friendly locals in the Monkey forest, a sacred place and home to hundreds of wild Rhesus Macaque monkeys.
Basic village stay including accommodation and meals USD17

Xe Champhone to Pakse

Driving south this morning we head for the bright lights of Pakse. From here, you can check out the Bolaven Plateau with its cool climate, coffee and tea plantations, and spectacular waterfalls. Paske is a great place to hop off the bus and experience the unforgettable Tree Top Explorer adventure. This an amazing experience that includes trekking though jungle, tree house accommodation, wildlife, thundering waterfalls, and a zip- line system that will have you flying through the tree-tops and across ravines.
Guesthouse with fan or air-conditioned rooms in the centre of town surrounded by everything you need USD8-10

Pakse to Don Det (4000 Islands)

An early start takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer temple. We´ll explore the site and climb to the mountain top temple, before heading south to the 4000 Islands area to experience its laidback lifestyle and natural beauty. We arrive around lunchtime giving you time to cycle across to the neighbouring Don Khone Island and visit Li Phi waterfall or take a boat trip for a chance to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins.
Rustic style guesthouse USD5-15

Don Det to Bangkok

We leave Don Det early by local mini-van towards Pakse and then on to the Thai border and Ubon Ratchathani, where you board the overnight bus. Your bus journey finishes when you arrive in Bangkok early the next morning.

 

Full moon pass

Dtui Noy Pass

DEPARTS:

  • Wet Season / Jun – Oct,  TUESDAYS, SATURDAYS,
  • Dry Season / Nov – May  TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS, SATURDAYS

Finishes Pakse (for Thailand) or Don Det (for Cambodia)

A comprehensive trip through Laos, for those travellers who have 2 weeks of more. Meet your  guide and group and head on the slow boat to Luang Prabang and experience Laos from the mountains, ethnic cultures and monastic traditions in the north to the natural beauty and laid-back lifestyle of the south. Hop off the  bus in 4000 Islands and continue on your own to Cambodia. Or hop off the  bus in Pakse and take a local bus to Ubon Ratchathani in eastern Thailand, where connections to trains, buses or planes are available to other Thai destinations.   You’ll want to hop-off and explore… the waterfalls, caves and jungles of Laos, and chill out on the idyllic island of Don Det)

Pass Highlights and Inclusions

  • Pha Tok Cave
  • Pak Ou Cave
  • Tham Jang Cave
  • National Park Entry
  • Kong Lor Park Entry
  • Mahaxai Cave
  • Turtle Lake
  • Hotay Pitok Library
  • Tad Ngeuang
  • Wat Phou

 

Dtui Noy pass itinerary

Chiang Khong to Pakbeng

A short boat ride across the Mekong River whisks us away towards Huay Xai, Laos. This is where we clear customs before boarding the boat to Pakbeng. Sit back and soak up the incredible journey as the river winds through lush farmland, rugged mountains and jungle. You will spot water buffalo, mountain-side rice paddies, local fishermen, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in the remote village of Pakbeng late afternoon and stay overnight by the river.Guesthouse near boat ramp USD8 15

Pakbeng to Ban Lad Khammune (homestay)

Leaving Pakbeng early, we continue our journey down the Mekong to the secluded village of Ban Lad Khammune. Here you will experience traditional village life by staying with a local family in their home. Attend a Baci (welcoming) Ceremony and have a chance to wander around the village, watch the women weaving or try your luck in a friendly game of petanque in the square! Homestay including accommodation, traditional Baci ceremony and meals USD $17

Ban Lad Khammune (homestay) to Luang Prabang

We wave goodbye to the village and jump back aboard our private boat downriver to the famous Pak Ou Caves. Here you will see thousands of Buddha images that were placed throughout the caves over a period of hundreds of years. A short trip takes us into the stunningly beautiful Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage town with a fusion of French colonial architecture and traditional Lao buildings. This is home to the famous Kuang Si waterfalls, a bear sanctuary, ancient Buddhist temples and many sacred sites.
Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD12-40

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng

It´s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain, taking in the breathtaking views. Upon arrival into Vang Vieng there is plenty of time to go tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, start partying or even kick back and watch re-runs of old TV shows playing at the bars around town!
Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action USD8-30

Vang Vieng to Vientiane

Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos and take a tour of the city´s main attractions: Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to get a massage, go shopping at the night market, or watch the action from one of the local restaurants by the river.

Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast USD20

Vientiane to Kong Lor (7 Km Cave)

An early escape this morning takes us away from the crowds and south to Kong Lor, and the Phu Hin Bun National Park. About an hour into the journey we visit Wat Prabat Phonsone, the “Buddha´s Footprint” temple, which has become an important pilgrimage site for local communities. There is time before sunset to explore the Kong Lor village and take in the stunning scenery of the surrounding rice paddies and limestone Karst Mountains.
Comfortable guesthouse with spectacular views and just a short 10 minute walk from the cave USD10

Non Travel Day: Kong Lor (7 Km Cave)

This morning you´re free to head down to the Cave (or Tham Kong Lor to the locals) and venture deep into the 7 km abyss! Ride in a traditional motorised canoe and take in the amazing rock formations, swim in the cool waters of the cave entrance. You also have the chance to travel to Ban Tabak village and take a ride in a ‘bomb boat’! These are made from the metal fuel casings of B52 bombers, dumped on Laos during the Secret War.
Comfortable guesthouse with spectacular views of the Karst Mountains and just a short 10 minute walk from the cave USD10

Kong Lor (7 Km Cave) to Thakek

Today is a short travel day, which includes a stop to view the “Great Wall of Thakek” before heading onto Pha Tam Kam, home of some of Southeast Asia´s best rock climbing and amazing lush, jungle scenery. For the adventurous crowd, there is the option to try out slack-lining or rock climbing, before heading back into town.
Mekong riverside Guesthouse USD12

Thakek to Xe Champhone (village stay)

This is what we are all about, getting totally off the beaten track! We head into Xe Champhone wetlands – an area so remote that occasionally our  buses can’t access it, so we have to jump on board an off-road truck! Along the way we visit Old Wat Taleow, a beautiful temple bombed in 1969, then onto Turtle Lake where you might spot soft-shell turtles. Our last stop for the day is the 200-year-old Hotay Pidok Buddhist library. Once here we spend the night with the friendly locals in the Monkey forest, a sacred place and home to hundreds of wild Rhesus Macaque monkeys.
Basic village stay including accommodation and meals USD17

Xe Champhone to Pakse

Driving south this morning we head for the bright lights of Pakse. From here, you can check out the Bolaven Plateau with its cool climate, coffee and tea plantations, and spectacular waterfalls. Paske is a great place to hop off the bus and experience the unforgettable Tree Top Explorer adventure. This an amazing experience that includes trekking though jungle, tree house accommodation, wildlife, thundering waterfalls, and a zip- line system that will have you flying through the tree-tops and across ravines.
Guesthouse with fan or air-conditioned rooms in the centre of town surrounded by everything you need USD8-10

Pakse to Don Det (4000 Islands)

An early start takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer temple. We´ll explore the site and climb to the mountain top temple, before heading south to the 4000 Islands area to experience its laidback lifestyle and natural beauty. We arrive around lunchtime giving you time to cycle across to the neighbouring Don Khone Island and visit Li Phi waterfall or take a boat trip for a chance to see the rare Irrawaddy dolphins. Rustic style guesthouse USD5-15

 

Tom Yum Pass

backpacking in south east asia (4)Pass Highlights and Inclusions

  • Ayutthaya Temples
  • Pha Tok Cave
  • Pak Ou Cave
  • Tham Jang Cave

DEPARTS:  

  • Wet Season / Jun – Oct  TUESDAY, SATURDAYS
  • Dry Season / Nov – May  TUESDAYS, THURSDAYS, SATURDAYS

A comprehensive trip through Northern Thailand and Northern Laos for those with 10 days or more. Start in Bangkok, visit the ancient capitals of Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai enroute to the northern Laos. Once in Laos, join the  bus and encounter the magic of the northern provinces; Luang Namtha, trekking central (dry season); Pak Beng and Ban Lad Khammune riverside villages (wet season); Luang Prabang remote river villages and the monastic capital of the same name; Vang Vieng with its tubing and night life, and Vientiane, the country´s capital. Hop off the  bus in Vientiane for the overnight train or bus back to Bangkok.

Bangkok to Chiang Mai (Via Ayutthaya)
Your adventure kicks off 8am at the  Bangkok shop where you meet your  guide and group. After a brief induction to how it  works we depart for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya. We arrive mid-morning, giving you plenty of time to explore the fascinating historical park by bike or enjoy a boat journey through the “Venice of the East”. We leave late evening to Chiang Mai.
Overnight train or bus (price included)

Non Travel Day: Arrival in Chiang Mai
We arrive into the train station between 8:00 11:00am. Chiang Mai is an amazing city with endless activity options. Some of our favourites are a tree top adventure with Flight of the Gibbon, trekking, rafting, and traditional cooking classes. For those looking for adrenalin try the down-hill mountain biking and traditional Muay Thai Boxing training! There’s also the famous night market, the Night Safari (Asia’s largest) and easy access to Pai village.
Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20

Non Travel Day: Chiang Mai
You have a full day to enjoy this historically rich city, or partake in one of the many adventure activities on offer. We suggest spending time to take in the ancient sights, including the old walled-city and the Tapae Gate, and some of the magnificent 300 Buddhist Temples.
Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20

Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong
After a chilled out morning, we depart after lunch and visit the famous and intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun), then continue on to the border town of Chiang Khong to enjoy our last night in Thailand.
Guesthouse with views across the Mekong River USD20

Chiang Khong to Pakbeng
A short boat ride across the Mekong River whisks us away towards Huay Xai, Laos. This is where we clear customs before boarding the boat to Pakbeng. Sit back and soak up the incredible journey as the river winds through lush farmland, rugged mountains and jungle. You will spot water buffalo, mountain-side rice paddies, local fishermen, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in the remote village of Pakbeng late afternoon and stay overnight by the river.
Guesthouse near boat ramp USD8 15

Pakbeng to Ban Lad Khammune
Leaving Pakbeng early, we continue our journey down the Mekong to the secluded village of Ban Lad Khammune. Here you will experience traditional village life by staying with a local family in their home. Attend a Baci (welcoming) Ceremony and have a chance to wander around the village, watch the women weaving or try your luck in a friendly game of petanque in the square!
Homestay including accommodation, traditional Baci ceremony and meals USD17

Ban Lad Khamoune to Luang Prabang
Our boat journey this morning takes us to the Pak Ou Caves where you will see thousands of Buddha images placed in the caves over hundreds of years. From the caves we have a short trip to Luang Prabang, arriving around midday into this world heritage town with French colonial architecture, temples and sacred sites.
Accommodation: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms clost to night market $12-40

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
It´s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain, taking in the breathtaking views. Upon arrival into Vang Vieng there is plenty of time to go tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, start partying or even kick back and watch re-runs of old TV shows playing at the bars around town!
Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action USD8-30

Vang Vieng to Vientiane
Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos and take a tour of the city´s main attractions: Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to get a massage, go shopping at the night market, or watch the action from one of the local restaurants by the river.
Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast USD20

Vientiane to Bangkok
You´ll be collected from your guesthouse in Vientiane mid-afternoon and be taken by tuk tuk to Thanaleng Train Station. Here you clear Lao customs, pay your departure fee then board a connecting train which takes you over the Friendship Bridge to Nong Khai in Thailand. You complete Thai Immigration at the train station and have time for a meal or drink across the road before boarding the overnight train to Bangkok where your  adventure will end: until next time.

 

 

With our partners , you travel on trains, buses, longboats and tuk tuks up Thailand and around Laos and see the parts most people miss!

Connect from Thailand on trains and traverse Laos from north to south, or choose a section that appeals to you.

  • Jump-on’ and ‘jump-off’ the bus anywhere that you want along the way around our comprehensive route.
  • Go further off the beaten track for unique down-to-earth stops, local culture and amazing activities.
  • We have an extensive range of Thailand – Laos travel passes for all time frames.
  • Your pass is valid for 12 months so take your time to explore!
  • Travel with like-minded people, our legendary guides and local drivers
  • We can organise guest houses, hostels, budget hotels, ecolodges and camping accommodation options enroute.

 

Trip Frequently Asked Questions

Accommodation

Actually there is none with this trip! The passes do not include accommodation because you can choose how long you want to stay in one place and where. If you want the tour leaders to book you a bed, it is no problem, you can do it on the bus as you travel. This way we make it easy for you and you do not have to look around in the hot sun to check out accommodation options and haggle on prices.

Light clothes for the wet season (May Oct) and something warm for the dry season (Nov Mar), especially for the north of Laos and Thailand; a good travel medical kit supplied by a doctor (for any inconveniences, dietary or otherwise); your travel insurance details; sunscreen; bug repellent (at least 30% deet content); girls – a sarong for swimming in remote areas, Lao culture requires modesty; a poncho or light raincoat (it can rain even in the dry season in the north), shoes/trainers for walking and a good sense of adventure!
The best (and easiest) way to carry gear around Laos is in a sturdy backpack. You can bring a suitcase with wheels but you may find yourself dragging it down a dirt track! Bring a smaller day pack so you can carry bug repellent, a camera, sunscreen and water.
things may change depending on the group, driver, season and local conditions. On our bus routes you can break your journey and spend longer anywhere along the way.
We pick up from selected locations in each town (specific accommodation places and our offices). You need to advise us before 5pm the day before you want to depart where you want to be picked up. Please login to your bookings to confirm your departure time and place. Please note we do not visit all departure points every day, only if we have confirmed pickups, so please ensure you let us know where you will be waiting.
Western food is sparse outside the main centres of Laos so be prepared and open minded about eating local food. At our stops we recommend tasty restaurants but when you get into local villages and home stays be prepared to eat simple local fare, with maybe the odd wildcard ingredient (which is part of the fun). Supermarkets are not the norm but we will point out places where you can stock up on food for the day. Please note vegetarian meal options are not always available but excellent fruit and vegetables are plentiful at the local markets.
Duration Option Price  
16 (Days)Tom YumUSD 755Book Now
17 (Days)Dtui NoiUSD 895Book Now
30 (Days)Full MoonUSD 1155Book Now
36 (Days)Mekong PassUSD 1655Book Now

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Duration Option Price
16 (Days)Tom YumUSD 755 USD 740 (Early Bird)
Enquire here
30 (Days)Full MoonUSD 1155 USD 1132 (Early Bird)
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36 (Days)Mekong PassUSD 1655 USD 1622 (Early Bird)
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Book today with a deposit and travel after 12 - 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.

Included

  • Pre departure information
  • Pick up at different locations in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia
  • Reservations for extra tours and accommodation will be made by the guide
  • Flexible hop on hop off Tour Pass
  • All Transportation
  • Services of the Tour Leader

Excluded

  • Flights
  • Visas
  • Accommodation
  • Meals
  • Activities

A guide to inclusions

So what’s included in your backpacker bus pass? The following inclusions listed below explain many of the activities involved on most of these passes. Please refer to the individual pass itinerary to see which inclusions are valid for that particular pass.

Thailand

Ayutthaya Temples The ancient former Thai capital of Ayutthaya was founded in the early 1300s and quickly became one of world´s largest trading ports. History tells of a lavish city, laden with golden palaces, huge monasteries and temples. The city was burnt almost to the ground in 1767 when the Burmese invaded, and today only a fraction of the impressive city remains. In 1991 the significant cultural value of this historic city´s ruins were recognised when it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Laos

  • Pha Tok Cave– The Pha Tok Caves were used by the Laos people as a secret stronghold and hideaway from the America bombings during the second Indochina War in the 1960s and 70s. The cave was accessed by a long bamboo ladder, of which the remains can still be seen today.
  • Pak Ou Cave – Located on the convergence of the Mekong and Ou Rivers north of Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Cave is an ancient pilgrimage site containing thousands of Buddha images placed there over hundreds of years.
  • Tham Jang Cave Tham Jang Cave is one of many limestone caves located near Vang Vieng in central Laos. The cave was used as a bunker during the war in the early 1900s and is now a popular sacred site for the locals. A crystal clear spring is located deep inside the cave, which is a popular swimming spot.
  • Tad Leuk Waterfall – Tad Leuk Waterfall is a popular but uncrowded swimming spot situated inside a national park. The picturesque flat, sandstone waterfall is surrounded by native flora and fauna and lots of bush walks.
  • Kong Lor Cave Situated underneath tall karst mountains, the 7 kilometre long Kong Lor Cave is lined with beautiful limestone stalic tights and stalic mights. Travel through the pitch black, windy cave by guided narrow boat using headlamps to see. The river is also popular for swimming in.
  • Mahaxai Caves – located 12kms west of the town of Thakek in southern Laos, Mahaxai is a complex of caves in the surrounding limestone mountains. This is also a popular mountain climbing region and eco tourism site.
  • Turtle Lake or Hong Dao – Located on the Xe Champhone Wetlands in south, central Laos is a large lake important in local mythology because of the many turtles that live in the lake. These turtles are considered sacred.
  • Hotay Pitok Library – located on the Xe Champhone wetlands is an old Buddhist Repository where thousands of Buddhist manuscripts written on reeds and bamboo are stored.
  • Tad Ngeuang – This waterfall is located on the Bolaven Plateau in southern Laos. It is one of the highest waterfalls in the region and you can take a refreshing swim in the pools.
  • Wat Phu – located in Champassak Province in southern Laos was the capital of the Khmer Empire before it was moved to Angkor Wat in Cambodia.
  • Vieng Thong Hot Springs – located in western Laos these natural hot springs are popular with the locals for the treatment of all sorts of ailments. You can take a bath with the locals or cook an egg in the boiling waters at the spring source.
  • Vieng Xai Caves – located in western Laos near the Vietnamese border this complex of caves was the stronghold and head quarters of the Phathet Lao during the Secret War during the 60’s and 70’s.
  • Plain of Jars – located around Phonsavanh in western Laos, these giant stone jars litter the countryside around the township. No one really knows their origin or use but there are a number of local legends shedding light on the story of the jars.

Cambodia

  • Preah Vihear – located on the Thai/Cambodia border in northern Cambodia, this ancient temple is a source of ongoing territorial disputes between the two countries. Located on the top of a mountain it has stunning views across both countries.
  • S21 & Killing Fields – these two sites located in and around Phnom Penh were used during the Khmer Rouge era to imprison, torture and kill anyone who was considered a threat to the regime. They have become a museum and shrine in modern day Cambodia.
  • Udong – located just northeast of Phnom Penh, ancient Udong was a Khmer stronghold when Cambodia was under siege from Thailand in the 16th century. Today it is a popular sacred site for the locals who come to make offerings at the mountain top pagodas and picnic at the hammock restaurant at the base of the mountain.
  • Bamboo Train – located outside Battambang in eastern Cambodia the bamboo train is what is left of the rail system built by the French and destroyed by the Khmer Rouge. Locals use it as simple form of transport between villages and tourists are welcome to take a ride.

Dates

Starts 2 times per week. Mostly Tuesday and Saturday.