Only got 2 weeks but want a "real" Thai experience? Then this is for you! Combining a great first weekend in Bangkok with the choice of a week living in an elephant village or teaching in a rural school, and then finishing with a week on Koh Phangan - home to some of the best beaches and best parties in the world!
Arrival in Bangkok
Arrive at BKK airport and transfer to your Bangkok accommodation (arrivals must be between 06:00 and 22:00). Alternatively ‘make your own way’ to the arrival accommodation after 14:00pm where the Guest House staff will have your name and be able to check you on.
Once all travellers arrive, the group usually head out for dinner / drinks together and to explore the lively Khao San Road area.
A relatively early start and during the tour you’ll cover most of the ‘must see’ highlights of Bangkok. Starting with a boat / canal trip – seeing how Bangkok used to be! – you’ll also visit Wat Arun, Wat Pho and end up at Wat Phra Keaw and The Grand Palace (note – entry to The Grand Palace is not included in the costs).
The tour will normally end between mid and late afternoon – much depends on how hot / wet it is!- and the evenings always spent enjoying the buzz of Khao San Road and the local area.
Transfer to Surin
Another relatively early start, leaving Bangkok straight after breakfast and heading to Surin. You will usually travel by train – a pleasant 6-7 journey initially through the sprawling Bangkok suburbs and then into the edges of Khao Yai National Park and finally the Isaan plateau (think paddy fields for as far as the eye can see!). The transfer is accompanied by a full-time Surin staff. On occasion you will transfer by coach – a similarly pleasant journey taking around 6 hours.
On arrival in Surin all the group will transfer to the ‘Volunteer’ Houses in Surin. Shared rooms (4-6 people per room) with fans in two lovely houses in a great location. There are cooking facilities but even better within 3-5 minutes walk you have myriad great Thai food choices!
This is where the group will split depending on the volunteer programme chosen – Teaching or Elephant village.
For those who are teaching, you will be picked up around 07:45 – 08:00 by the team and transported to the school you’ll be working at. You can expect to teach around 4 hours of classes a day either on your own or with another traveller (depending on numbers). One of our partner’s staff members will be with you throughout to assist and give you advice / suggestions and all the schools are very friendly and welcoming. You will usually be working with Primary / Elementary age students but on occasion will be asked to help with early Secondary / Junior High School age students. All are very keen to learn and have found that they benefit hugely from having overseas visitors assisting them with English conversation. You will be transferred back to the Surin Volunteer House around 2:30 – 3:00pm and then have the rest of the afternoon and evening free to explore Surin and of course plan your lessons for the next day.
For those who are going to the Elephant village, you will be picked up by the team at around the same time in the morning and transfer for around 60 minutes to the elephant village. The village is a typical rural Thai settlement with a difference – amongst the famers and small shop owners are also a large number of mahouts who have had elephants living with their families for generations! For the next 3.5 days you will spend all your time living and learning about the village and getting as much time as you can up close to the wonderful elephants. Activities you’ll participate in during your time in the village include:
• Walking with the elephants to the local river and helping bathe them
• Kayaking on the local river
• Learning how to make elephant ‘dung’ paper
• Helping the villagers plant / harvest crops for the elephants
• Learning how to make basic Thai dishes
INCLUSUIONS – TEACHING (NOT APPLICABLE FOR 2019)
• Transfer to and from the school location - +/- 30 minutes
• Staff support and assistance throughout your time at the school
• Accommodation: Shared fan cooled rooms, hot water showers, wi-fi in our ‘Volunteer’ Houses in Surin town
Please be advised that you need to present an up to date Background / Police Check when you choose the teaching before arrival in order to participate
in this volunteering project!
INCUSIONS – ELEPHANT VILLAGE (this will be the only option to volunteer for departures in 2019 - no Police Check required for this tour then!)
• Transfer to the elephant village (and back to Surin town on Day 7)
• Activities as listed in the itinerary
• Accommodation: basic but clean shared rooms (mattresses on the floor) in the village leaders home, fan cooled, cold water showers – no WIFI.
• Food – lunch and dinner on Day 4
As per day 4 – except for the elephant village you will already be in the village so no transfer necessary!
NOTE: Those in the elephant village will have breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
As per previous – except for the elephant village you will already be in the village so no transfer necessary!
NOTE: Those in the elephant village will have breakfast, lunch and dinner provided
Teaching - as per days 4-6
Elephants - towards the middle of the afternoon you will transfer back to Surin town and stay at the `Volunteer` House. Groups often stop at a local weekly market en route to Surin - a great opportunity to try some real rural delicacies, including of course fried insects!
Return to Bangkok
Leaving Surin around mid / late morning you’ll transfer by coach to Bangkok and then onwards to your accommodation on Khao San Road. From now on you’ll be unaccompanied but the team in Surin will have given you all the information you need regarding the next few days and their 24/7 English speaking help line is always available to you.
You should arrive late afternoon / early evening on Khao San Road giving you time to check in and head out to explore in the evening.
Free time and transfer to the beach
You have most of the day free to explore Bangkok, catch up on sleep (?), head for a Thai Massage or shop to your heart’s content.
In the evening check out and assemble at the coach pick up point (2-3 minutes walk from your hotel) to take the overnight transfer to Koh Phangan and the beach! The team in Surin will have given you all your ticket details and information on what you need to do.
Make sure you stock up on snacks / drinks to while the night away on the coach heading South.
You’ll arrive at the pier on Koh Phangan in the morning and your accommodation providers will be waiting there to pick you up and transfer you the short journey (15 minutes or so) to your accommodation.
The hotel is right on the beach (with a pool as well) and is a great location for either relaxing and soaking up some sun or experiencing the famous hedonisitic nightlife of Koh Phangan - home of the original Full Moon Parties.
On The Beach
The next 3 days are your to do what you wish. There are lots of hidden bays and beaches to explore - for the adventurous - cafes and bars for those looking for a wild night out and also more relaxing pursuits like Yoga retreats and Massages dotted around the island. To misquote Samuel Johnson - if you’re bored of Koh Phangan, you’re tired of life!
Check out in the early morning, transfer to the pier and take the ferry and then coach back to Bangkok arriving early / mid-evening. You will have all relevant information from our staff before you head to Koh Phangan but the hotel manager will also assist you with any questions/queries you have.
You’ll get back to Bangkok, check back into your Khao San Road accommodation and have one final night to enjoy your time in the City of Angels.
End of Tour
Check out is 11am and then it’s time for further travels / returning home!
Bangkok: Twin share in a basic guest house with air-con
Elephant Village project option: basic but clean shared rooms (mattresses on the floor) in the village leaders home, fan cooled, cold water showers - no wifi
Koh Phangan: twin share rooms, air-con, en suite
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Trip Name: Thailand Voluntour
Duration: 15 Days
From Price: £688
Supplier Tour ID: THISTA/208733
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