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Bangkok river cruise, Khao San Road, Thai massage, Khao Sok adventure, Ko Pha Ngan, boat trip to Bottle Island, Farewell Dinner and Full Moon party (on some departures)
COUNTRIES : Thailand

This amazing budget introduction to Thailand includes sightseeing in Bangkok, adventure in the beautiful Khao Sok National Park, and sun, sea & sand on Ko Pha-ngan island, and is a cheap way to start off your travels in Thailand.

This 8-day adventure starts in Bangkok with a river cruise and visit to the most important temples of this famous city along with a chance to sample the city's legendary nightlife. You'll then head south on the overnight sleeper train for a jungle adventure in the beautiful Khao Sok National Park. Walk through the jungle or kayak on the lake and spend the night on floating bunglows before taking the ferry to the paradise island of Ko Pha Ngan. After time to relax and unwind on the golden sandy beaches you’ll enjoy a boat trip to the beautiful Bottle Beach, and if the time is right, a famous full moon party, where you can party till the sun comes up.

Private tour option

If our scheduled departure dates don't work for you, or you would prefer not to travel with a group, then we can also run this tour privately for you. Please contact us for more information and prices.

Upon arrival at Bangkok airport we'll meet you and transfer you to your guesthouse near the famous Khao San Road, where you'll spend the next couple of nights. The rest of the day is free to meet the others in your group and to explore the local area. If you would like to arrive early, we can arrange extra nights and will still pick you up from the airport.

In the evening we'll arrange to meet for dinner and maybe head over to the Khao San Road for drinks and your first experience of Bangkok by night.

    Bangkok guest house
    Single room supplement (THSHSH), Extra day in Bangkok guesthouse - pre-tour

Today we take to the water with a cruise along the Chao Phraya River. This is a fantastic way to see the sights of Bangkok and we'll stop to visit two of the most important temples in Thailand, Wat Arun and Wat Pho with its large reclining golden Buddha. You'll have a local Thai guide to explain a bit about the history and the Thai culture.

The rest of the day is free to explore, enjoy lunch and snacks at the traditional street stalls or a local restaurant and get a feel for the city.

In the evening we'll meet again and your tour leader will take you to some of the best places to eat and drink and if you wish you can experience the legendary Bangkok nightlife.

    Bangkok guesthouse

This morning we take a trip to a local spa for a traditional Thai massage. There are other treatments available if you don't feel like a massage and it is the perfect way to relax before the overnight train.

The afternoon is free for you to do some more sightseeing, shopping or to just relax by the pool with a beer, before we transfer you to the train station in the evening for the overnight train to Surat Thani.

    On board sleeper train

Leaving the hustle and bustle of Bangkok behind today we arrive at Khao Sok National Park. You'll arrive at your floating bungalow by long tail boat and the rest of the day is free for you to explore your jungle surroundings. You can enjoy kayaking on the lake or explore the local caves or just chill out with a beer and top up on your tan.

An unforgettable experience, and probably unlike anything you've seen before, the scenery of tranquil jungle and rocky limestone cliffs is just breathtaking. You’ll also get all your meals provided whilst in the national park.

    Floating bungalows
  • MEALS:
    Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast on the lake, we head back to Surat Thani and catch a ferry to the awesome island of Koh Phangan! When we get there, we'll transfer straight to the secluded paradise of Bottle Beach. This is a quiet and gorgeous beach, only accessible by boat and the rest of the day is free to relax or play volleyball on the beach, go for a swim, or just sunbathe. You spend the night in basic but comfortable beach bungalows, and we'll have our own little beach party this evening and can enjoy dinner and some cocktails with a camp fire, more music and a fire show on the beach. You spend the night in basic beach huts and wake to the sound of the sea breaking on the sand.

    Beach huts
  • MEALS:

Your morning is free today to chill out and make the most of your beautiful surroundings. There are some great short hikes up to nearby viewpoints, volleyball on the beach, kayaking or more sunbathing to enjoy. Early afternoon we are picked up by boat and head to a local gym to try Thailand's national sport, Muay Thai boxing. You can skip this and just watch if you prefer or take a hike to a local waterfall (seasonal). Later, we arrive at our final accommodation, Echo Beach backpackers and arrange a time to meet for dinner. We'll take a taxi to Haad Rinn home to the famous Full Moon Parties, which is full of more beach bars if you fancy a few drinks after dinner.

    Beach bungalows
  • MEALS:

We take a boat trip today, taking in the gorgeous island scenery from the water, with stops for snorkelling on some of the best reefs, and a seasona visit to Than Sadet waterfall. There are free drinks on board the boat, and food and music throughout the day.
Back in town, we head out to the best restauarnat in town for a great final meal. Here we can start to say our goodbyes to new friends, and discuss onward plans and our next adventures.

    Haad Rin resort
  • MEALS:

This morning your tour ends. You can add in extra days and spend more time on this wonderful island for just a few pounds/dollars per night to stay in the same resort or just head of on your next adventure. The tour leader and resort staff will be happy to help you arrange any onward travel, either back to Bangkok or elsewhere in Thailand.

  • Airport pickup and taxi to Bangkok
  • 7 Nights accommodation
  • All transport (taxi, tuk tuk, longtail boat, ferry & minibus)
  • River Cruise & Temple visits
  • Thai Massage
  • Overnight sleeper Train
  • Discover Khao Sok National Park & night in floating bungalows
  • Boat trip to Bottle Beach and overnight in beach bungalows
  • Snorkeling, Kayaking
  • Visit waterfalls (seasonal)
  • Services of a western leader and specialist guides throughout the tour 
  • Loads of travel tips & advice
  • Meet awesome friends
  • Experience Bangkok Nightlife & Beach Parties on Koh Phangan
  • Support from us and your Group Leader the whole time you are in S.E. Asia
  • Info and discounts on other things to do in Thailand
  • Meals as indicated in the itinerary

  • International flights (available on request)
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory, available on request)
  • Meals not indicated on the itinerary
  • Drinks, snacks and other personal expenses (e.g. laundry)
  • Tips for tour leader & guides
  • Any other items not mentioned above
The hotels and accommodations listed below are the ones we use most often on this tour. From time to time we may exchange these for similar properties at the same level. In general, specific hotels cannot be guaranteed on our group tours, but you may select your preferred options if you are booking a tailor-made trip.
Local rating
Our rating
Mango Lagoon Place
Bangkok, Thailand

Mango Lagoon Place is a 2-minute walk from Khaosan Road. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi in public areas. The property features a tour desk and luggage storage.

Mango Lagoon Place is a 2-minute walk from Khaosan Road. It offers air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi in public areas. The property features a tour desk and luggage storage.

It is a 5-minute walk to Chao Phraya River. The hotel is a 10-minute drive from Grand Palace. It is a 50-minute drive away from Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

Rooms are fitted with a cable TV. Shower facilities are included in an en suite bathroom.

Local rating
Our rating
Sleeper Train
Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand has one of the best metre-gauge rail systems in the world, and train travel is easily the best way to get around & see the country.

The sleeper trains in Thailand are of a good standard and are popular with tourists. Each carriage has its own steward who ensures the train is kept clean and tidy, and from whom meals and drinks can be ordered to your seat. There is also a separate restaurant car. Each carriage will sleep approximately 40 people. On either side of the carriage there are 2 seats facing each other, with a window and small table. In the evening, the steward will convert these seats into beds for you, with a pillow, sheets and a blanket as well as a curtain for privacy.

Local rating
Our rating
Raft Houses
Khao Sok National Park, Thailand

The raft houses and tree house accommodation in Khao Sok National Park is basic but comfortable and designed to bring you close to nature in an amazing and beautiful setting.

Note - some of our tours stay in both tree houses and raft houses, while others may only stay in one of these. Please check your tour itinerary for details.

Khao Sok Tree houses:
There are 7 individual tree houses and 1 tree house with 3 individual rooms. They are up quite high in the forest canopy complete with sturdy stairs and handrails. One of the tree houses is at a lower level for those with a fear of heights. Facilities are basic but comfortable with private toilet and cold water shower, double bed and mosquito net. Our backdrop is a limestone mountain with interesting caves to explore. About 100 metres away is the dining and relaxing area located in a classic Thai house.

Khao Sok Raft houses:
On the Raja Phraba lake, these floating bungalows have double and single beds and shared bathrooms. Each raft house has fans, mosquito nets and a balcony overlooking the lake. There are shared toilet facilities nearby. The dining and relaxing area located in a separate raft house. Electricity is not available during the day but is turned on in the evenings. Lanterns are lit at night. You should ensure you bring a torch.

Local rating
Our rating
Bottle Beach Resort
Koh Phangan, Thailand

Located in Koh Phangan, Bottle Beach 1 Resort boasts comfortable bungalows with en suite bathrooms and an outdoor pool. Guests enjoy two hours of free Wi-Fi during the stay.

Located in Koh Phangan, Bottle Beach 1 Resort boasts comfortable bungalows with en suite bathrooms and an outdoor pool. Guests enjoy two hours of free Wi-Fi during the stay.

Bottle Beach 1 Resort is a 40-minute boat ride from both Thongsala Pier and Haad Rin Pier. It is a 10-minute boat ride from Chaloklum Fisherman Village and a 20-minute boat ride from Thansadet Waterfall.

The resort offers a choice of fan or air conditioned bungalows. All bungalows have a private balcony and an en suite bathroom with shower facilities.

When not at the beach or the pool, guests can unwind with a massage. Sightseeing tours and activities such as fishing, snorkelling and diving can be arranged at the tour desk. Luggage storage facilities and a laundry service are available.

The resort's beach front restaurant serves a fine selection of Thai and western cuisines.

Local rating
Our rating
Moon Paradise
Haad Rin, Koh Phangan, Thailand

Moon Paradise Resort is a 3-minute walk to Haad Rin, a famous beach known for Full Moon Party. It offers clean and comfortable rooms with air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Guests can organise sightseeing trips at the tour desk.

Moon Paradise Resort is a 3-minute walk to Haad Rin, a famous beach known for Full Moon Party. It offers clean and comfortable rooms with air-conditioning and free Wi-Fi. Guests can organise sightseeing trips at the tour desk.

The property is a 2-minute walk to Haad Rin Pier and Haad Rin Center. It is a 25-minute drive to Thongsala Pier and a shopping centre.

Rooms at Moon Paradise Resort are fitted with dark tone wooden interior. Each room features a balcony and an en suite bathroom. Some rooms have a TV and a refrigerator.

For guests' convenience, the property provides laundry and shuttle services. Free private parking is possible on site.

A great variety of Thai and western food can be enjoyed at Moon Paradise Restaurant.

Our tours are designed to include all that you need to enjoy a really special time in the destination you're visiting. However, we do also offer some extra options to complement the tour and add some additional sightseeing or activities, or some extra time at either end of the tour.

All accommodation based options (e.g. Single supplements, extra nights, cruise upgrades) should be booked and paid for in advance so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Other options may either be booked and paid for in advance or while you are on the tour, though we recommend booking in advance to ensure there are no issues with availability.

Many options are priced the same throughout the year, but some may incur single or high season supplements - full details are given on the tour reservation form or on request.

Extra day in Bangkok guesthouse - pre-tour
Price from

per person

Extra day in Bangkok guesthouse - pre-tour
Min numbers: 1 person

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

This option adds an extra day to the start of your tour, staying in the same hotel as the main tour itself (subject to availability). Your airport arrival transfer is still included. Prices shown are per person and based on two people sharing.

Note: Single room and peak season supplements apply.

Thailand on a Shoestring tour notes

The detailed Tour Notes below have been written to give you some more detailed information about how the tour runs, what to expect, and how to prepare for your holiday. We recommend downloading an up to date copy of these shortly before you travel in case of any changes.

This tour aims to provide a balance of styles and locations of accommodation at a level up from the cheapest backpacker hostels but still budget friendly and not luxurious either. Accommodation is based on twin or double en-suite rooms with air conditioning in Bangkok and Haad Rin. All couples will stay in a private double room. Single travellers will be allocated a twin room with another group member of the same sex unless they choose to pay the single room supplement.  

We are happy to reserve extra nights in the Bangkok guesthouse before the tour starts if you wish. The price will be approx. GBP 15 / USD 22 per room per night, which is payable to the guesthouse on your arrival. 

Bangkok – Clean and comfortable guesthouse with en-suite, air conditioned rooms and a restaurant serving good food and cold drinks downstairs. There's also Wifi available and a travel shop and bar.
Koh Sok National Park – Floating bungalows. These quaint raft houses are newly renovated and sit perfectly amidst the beautiful and dramatic surroundings. Most have one or two simple bedrooms with a fan and balcony. Bathroomn facilities are shared, and you'll say goodbye to wifi and phone signal, with no electricity either until the evening time. All in all this is a fantastic place to escape the electronic age and enjoy being out in nature.
Bottle Beach, Koh Phangan  - Beach front bungalows. These are again quite basic but its a cool and fun resort and there's plenty of comfort for your one night on this beautiful beach. The bungalows have large beds and en-suite bathrooms, and are right on the beach with the ocean  just a few steps away; you can lie and listen to the waves softly hitting the sand. We normally enjoy a private beach fire, bbq and fire show here, to top off a real secluded beach adventure, giving a feel for what backpacking in Thailand was like 10 years ago.
Haad Rin, Koh Phangan – Moon Paradise or similar, approx 2 star resort. Haad Rin is home to the world renowned Full Moon Parties and is the final stop on the tour. We stay on 'Sunset Beach' which is on the opposite side of the peninsular to 'Sunrise Beach' where the infamous full moon parties are held. This provides an escape from the madness of the parties and means you can avoid them if you wish. Rooms have double beds, AC, Wifi, hot water and a fridge, and the resort has its own pool as well as being located on the beach.

Our trips feature a mix of different transport options. From We want you to feel like you’re really experiencing the country you’re travelling through, but at the same time we want you to finish journeys refreshed enough to enjoy the next stage of the tour.  With this in mind we use public transport where we think it offers a good local experience – this may include Tuk Tuks, taxis, boat/ferrys, longtail boats, train, bus, Songthew (Thai Taxi)

Sleeper trains:
The sleeper trains in Thailand are of a good standard and are popular with tourists. Each carriage has its own steward who ensures the train is kept clean and tidy, and from whom meals and drinks can be ordered to your seat. There is also a separate restaurant car. Each carriage will sleep approximately 40 people. On either side of the carriage there are 2 seats facing each other, with a window and small table. In the evening, the steward will convert these seats into beds for you, with a pillow, sheets and a blanket as well as a curtain for privacy.

We offer a 24 hour pick-up service up from either of Bangkok’s two airports up to two days prior to your start date. If you arrive before this time you will need to make your own way to the tour guesthouse from the airport.

The tour ends after check out from resort on Ko Phangan on Day 8. We can arrange transfers back to Bangkok if you wish; these can either be booked before you travel or arranged while you are on the tour. The nearest airport is on nearby Ko Samui which is easily accessible by local ferry; these can be prebooked at http://www.lomprayah.com/

We want to give you as much flexibility as possible when it comes to booking your holiday with us. So, to take account of people with varying travel plans, we don’t include your international flights in the main tour price. We are however very happy to book your flights for you, and our ATOL (UK flight sales license) covers all holidays booked together with a flight from the UK.

Please contact us with your preferred dates and departure airport and we’ll give you a selection of airlines, times and fares to choose from. Your airport arrival & departure transfers are included on the first and last days of the tour whether you book your flights independently or through us. Most of our Thailand tours start and finish in Bangkok, and include an arrival and departure airport transfer from/to Bangkok international airport (BKK). However, some tours also finish on one of Thailand's islands. Transfers back to Bangkok or to one of the nearby island airports can be arranged on request.

We are committed to being a small group operator, as we feel this gives everyone in the group the best chance to get to know their fellow travellers and to hear and make the most of their guide. There’s no point in us providing great guides if you’ve got to peer over 30-40 shoulders to see them! So, we set this Thailand small-group tour to have a maximum of 16 travellers.

We also provide a fully trained English-speaking guide for any sightseeing tours. A western group leader will accompany you throughout the whole trip.

At Encounters Travel we use western and local guides and reps. We feel this gives you the best experience of the country and the sites you are seeing.

The tour price includes entrance fees to all the tourist sites mentioned in the itinerary.  You will need to cover the cost of entrance to any other extra sites that you may wish to visit.

Tipping is not part of Thai culture but has become customary but not compulsory in the tourist and service industry. Tipping is always optional, and any amounts paid should reflect excellent service. You may therefore wish to tip your guide and driver at the end of the tour.  You should not feel obliged to tip any particular amount, and should consider your personal budget. We are often asked to provide a guide however, and can suggest that approx. GBP 5 / USD 8 per person per day would be appropriate.

Dress code
The Thai people consider dressing appropriately to be important and respectful, so please follow their example. This means covering up your swimwear while not on the beach or by the pool, and while shorts and T-shirts are fine, please try not to look scruffy. Remember to take your shoes off before entering local houses or any religious buildings.

Temple etiquette
When entering temples you should wear clothes that cover your knees and shoulders. Women may be asked to wear long skirts, not trousers, and shorts are not appropriate for either sex. You may wear a shawl to cover up and these are sometimes available to hire before entry. Again please take your shoes off before entering. 

Buddhist Culture
Thailand is a Buddhist country and Buddhism permeates nearly all aspects of society and culture, resulting in a country with different customs to much of the West. Rudeness and disrespect are frowned upon and you will be judged on your behaviour. Some tips for behaviour to avoid causing offence are; do not touch other people with your feet, point your feet at Buddhist statues or shrines (be careful of this when you sit), and don't touch the head of someone you don't know well. Public displays of affection are frowned upon, so save these until you are in private. You'll find being polite using a few Thai words will really pay dividends (thank you is Kawp Khun Kaa if you are female, and Kawp Khun Kraap if you are male. Your tour guide will provide more information and advice while you are on the tour; please don't hesitate to ask them any questions or for advice.

The Royal Family
The Thai people have huge respect for their Royal Family and this is enshrined in many laws as well. You should bear this in mind when speaking to Thai people and in simple things like remembering that Thai paper money has the King's face on and should therefore be treated carefully.

Drugs and Alcohol
Drugs are illegal in Thailand and heavy penalties including very large fines and jail time can be imposed. Don't think that because you are a tourist you are exempt or will be treated differently. Drinking is legal and you should not worry about having a few beers or cocktails while on tour. However remember to be respectful to your surroundings, fellow group members and the local population.

You should ensure you are fully insured for medical emergencies including emergency evacuation and repatriation.

Recommended vaccinations and other health protection measures vary according to the country you are visiting and where you are travelling from. We recommend you contact your GP/medical practitioner or a travel clinic for current information on vaccinations needed for your destination. You should ensure that you are up to date with vaccines and boosters recommended for your normal life at home, including for example, vaccines required for occupational risk of exposure, lifestyle risks and underlying medical conditions. In addition, additional courses or boosters normally recommended for the countries in this region are:

Thailand: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Vietnam: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.
Cambodia: Additional vaccinations: Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from or having transitted through an infected area.
Laos: Additional vaccinations: Diptheria, Poliomyelitis, Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Typhoid. Malaria map. Yellow Fever certificate: Required if arriving from an infected area.

The above information can change at short notice. For up to date health information & vaccination requirements we recommend that you contact your medical practitioner or a travel clinic.

Malaria: Vaccinations are not available against Malaria, which is a disease transmitted by mosquitoes that can be very serious and sometimes fatal. You should avoid mosquito bites by covering up bare skin with clothing such as long sleeves and long trousers and applying insect repellents to exposed skin. When necessary, sleep under a mosquito net. Mosquitoes are most active during and after sunset. You should consult with your GP/medical practitioner/travel clinic about the most appropriate malaria prophylactic medication to take for the regions you are visiting.

Yellow Fever: This disease is spread by infected mosquitoes that bite during the day. A Yellow Fever Certificate of vacinnation may be required as a condition of entry depending on which country you are arriving from, or that you have travelled or transitted through recently (including connecting flights with stopovers of over 12 hours). You can view a World Health Organisation map of areas where the virus is present in monkeys and therefore a potential risk to humans. Please ensure you have this certificate with you and to hand if necessary.

Please inform us of any pre-existing conditions such as diabetes or asthma and any prescription medicine you may be taking. We also need to know about any food allergies or physical disabilities that you may have.

Passports should be valid for at least six months after your departure from the country. Please do not bring an almost full or almost expired passport. Visa arrangements are the responsibility of the traveller, and requirements are subject to change by the local authorities.

Most foreign nationals (including UK, EU, USA, CA, AU, NZ, SA) are granted a visa exemption on arrival for stays in the country of up to 30 days. If you are looking to spend longer in Thailand then you will need to leave the country and re-enter to extend your stay. We strongly recommend arranging your visa in advance if you would like to stay longer than 30 days in Thailand.

Luggage: Suitcases, rucksacks or fabric holdalls are all fine to bring with you to Thailand, though if your itinerary has many stops and different travel included within it, we recommend packing light and not bring any large cases. You should also bring a small daypack/bag to take out during the day. Your main luggage will normally be left in the hotel during your sightseeing trips – you will not need to carry it far, and there are nearly always hotel porters to assist.

Luggage limits: There is no luggage limit for this tour. However, most airlines restrict you to between 20kg and 25kg for your hold luggage and between 5kg and 10kg for hand luggage. Please check with your airline before travelling to the airport.

Climate and Clothing: There are three reasonably well-defined seasons in Thailand, but unlike in Europe, where seasons are temperature based, Thailand is tropical and generally speaking warm all year round. Rains from the monsoon are the marker of seasons and the rainy season is from June to October. Pre-monsoon is from March to May, when the weather becomes progressively hotter. Post monsoon is from November to February when the weather is cooler. The range of temperature is more marked in the north where pre-monsoon can be very hot, though the heat is much drier than in the south. Winter in the north can feel cool, particularly in the mountains. Take light clothes with something warmer for the winter nights if you are travelling to the north. Some light raingear would be useful in the wet season.

Other items: We recommend you also bring:

  • Cool footwear (sandals are ideal). If you are interested in exploring the reefs, a pair of reef shoes is recommended to avoid injuries. If you are trekking, then bring comfortable and sturdy walking shoes or light walking boots.
  • Swimming costumes – rash-guards/t-shirts are recommended for snorkelling to avoid sunburn.
  • Sunscreens, after sun lotions and personal hygiene products – Please adhere to 100ml restrictions for anything you wish to carry on hand-luggage on flights.
  • Prescription medications (if required) – please bring supporting documents.
  • Power adapter for phones, laptops etc
  • Sunglasses and hats
  • Basic first aid kit and toiletries
  • Money belt
  • Small torch
  • Dive certification card and log book if you intend to participate in SCUBA diving.
  • Sleeping bag if your tour includes any hill-tribe or village trekking
Sockets are two round or flat pronged and 220 volts (Type A, B, C). Universal adaptors are available in most airport shops if you don’t have one already. Standard European adapters will work fine, though sometimes they may feel a little loose in the sockets. All hotel rooms have electrical sockets where you can re-charge cameras, phones etc. Hair dryers are normally available on request from the hotel reception if not in your room already.
If you have US appliances (110 volts) you will need a voltage converter as well as a plug adapter.
The time in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos is GMT plus 7 hours. Daylight saving adjustments are not observed.

The currency in Thailand is the Thai Baht (THB). You do not need to arrange to bring any Thai Baht with you to Thailand, as change facilities are readily available in the airport, hotels and banks. We recommend that you consider bringing both credit cards and some cash in a hard currency (e.g. GB Pounds, Euros, US Dollars).

ATMs are readily available in the arrivals hall of Bangkok airport and in most major towns. Many local shops in larger towns and resorts will accept VISA/Mastercard or Amex, but may charge fees of up to 10% - check before you pay. Travellers cheques are not recommended as they can not be changed in many places now, and can incur high fees.

For security we recommend that you use the safety deposit box in your hotel room or at the hotel reception if available. You should also be careful of pickpockets in crowded places, especially places like Khao San Road in Bangkok.

While in Thailand you will need sufficient funds to cover meals not included in the itinerary, drinks, snacks, souvenirs and personal expenses such as laundry. Check the Included/Excluded notes below the tour itinerary for more guidance. These should generally all be paid for in Thai Baht.

It is difficult to recommend a level of personal spending money which will suit everyone as this can differ greatly, but as a guideline, we would suggest allowing USD 15-25 per person per day as a minimum. Allow more if you plan on doing lots of shopping, or buying many alcoholic drinks.

We run regular small-group departures on this tour starting approximately every 2 weeks throughout the year. Start days vary to take account of full moon dates. All departures are guaranteed to run with a minimum of 4 travellers. Departure dates and prices are listed on our website and in our brochure (please check the website for up-to-date prices and special offers).

If you would like to book a place on this tour, please complete the online reservation form on our website (via the Dates & Prices tab on the tour page). You may make a deposit or full payment online, or just hold a reservation if you prefer (full payments are due 8 weeks before departure). We will then contact you with more details about how to complete your booking. Payments may be made by debit or credit card (subject to a card processing fee), or by making a bank transfer, or posting us a cheque/bank draft. Full details will be provided in your booking confirmation email. Please contact us if you would like any more information or have any questions before making a booking.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our tours and needs to cover personal accident & liability, medical expenses and repatriation, travel delay & abandonment. We also strongly recommend that you take out cover against cancellation and lost/stolen baggage. Personal medical insurance does not normally provide sufficient cover and is generally not suitable for travel on our tours. You will not be able to join your tour if you have not provided us with details of your insurance or if you arrive without cover in place (no refunds will be due in this event). More information...

You may arrange your own insurance, or you can take advantage of a comprehensive policy that we can arrange for you through Endsleigh Insurance which has been designed to be suitable for our tours. The policy is available to travellers of all nationalities and you do not need to live in the UK  to take out the policy. For full details of cover provided, prices and to apply for one of our policies, please complete travel insurance application form.

Note: Any country that borders the Mediterranean is considered as 'Europe' for the purposes of travel insurance (including Turkey, Israel, Egypt and Morocco). If you are doing a tour that visits one country in 'Europe' and one that is 'Worldwide' (for example, an Egypt and Jordan tour), then you need a 'Worldwide' policy. When completing the form you should enter your travel dates including any extra days involved in overnight flights or connecting travel between your home and the tour. Our policies are not able to cover any extra time or activities other than your tour and options booked with us and your travel to & from home.

If you plan to arrange a hot air balloon flight locally, or do some scuba diving during your tour, you should check the small print in your policy to make sure these are covered (these are covered in our policy). Please also check the maximum altitude that you will be reaching and that full cover including emergency evacuation is provided up to this altitude.

If you are taking expensive camera gear or other electronic equipment with you then please check the coverage and the fine print of your policy to ensure that you have sufficient cover.

IMPORTANT:  We must have your travel insurance details (policy number and type of insurance) before you depart or you may not be allowed to join the tour.  If you haven't told us already, please let us know the details when you can. You should take a paper copy of your insurance policy with you as you may be asked to show this at the start of the tour.

We are a UK registered company and an ABTA Member (Y4447) and you can be confident when booking with us that your money is safe and protected.
If you book a flight departing from the UK from us with your tour, or if you live in the UK and your tour includes domestic flights, then your entire package is ATOL protected by the Civil Aviation Authority. Our ATOL number is 10467.
Additional financial failure insurance is also provided through Affirma to protect all customers not otherwise covered by ATOL.
Please see our website or booking conditions for more information.

It is impossible not to have an impact on the local environment, cultures and eco-systems when you travel. However, it is very possible to try and ensure that these impacts are as limited, or positive as possible. We are committed to ensuring that we try to leave our host countries in a better state than we found them and encourage and assist our travellers to help us with this.
The following are a few simple tips that require very little effort on your part but which will help ensure that any effect you have on the locations you visit is positive rather than negative.

  • Don't prejudge: Things in different countries will almost certainly be different. That doesn’t make them worse or inferior, just different.
  • Communicate: Don't expect locals to speak your language. Take the trouble to learn a few words or phrases of the local language. Don't worry about sounding silly. Most locals are patient and accommodating and appreciate you making the effort to communicate in their language.
  • Conserve energy: Be careful not to waste valuable resources. Use local resources sparingly. Switch off lights, air-conditioning and fans when you leave the hotel room and don't waste water. Remove superfluous packaging. Many countries have far less efficient waste disposal systems than ours. Remove packaging from newly acquired items before leaving home.
  • Don't litter: No matter how untidy or dirty the country you’re travelling in may look to you, avoid littering, as there is no need to add to the environment's stress. Many of the countries we visit have a tough challenge dealing with rubbish and waste. Please consider taking home as much plastic waste as you can (e.g. water bottles).
  • Choose environmentally friendly products: By using environmentally friendly (bio degradable) sun creams, shampoos and detergents you can help reduce pollution.
  • Respect local customs and traditions: As you are a guest in these countries, you should also comply with the local customs. If you are friendly and well mannered, the locals will reciprocate and it will only enhance your experience. It's important to follow dress and behaviour guidelines especially when visiting religious or sacred sites (your tour leader will advise you how best to do this).
  • If a client commits an illegal act the client may be excluded from the tour and Encounters Travel shall cease to have responsibility to/for them. No refund will be given for any unused services.

All porters are employed and equipped following guidelines set by the International Porter Protection Group (IPPG).

You can stay in touch with us online by following us on Facebook and Twitter. We post updates on relevant travel news in our destination countries, special offers and discounts and other interesting travel related news and information.
www.twitter.com/encounterstravl (yes, without the 'e')

It is important when considering and preparing to travel anywhere in the world that you have a good understanding of the country you are visiting, its laws and customs, and the possible risks and situations that may occur. This includes specific risks related to your itinerary (eg. does it involve water & can you swim, are you fit enough for the activities included), as well as more general risks such as terrorism and natural disasters.

General details and links to more information about health risks, visa requirements, money, and travel insurance are given in these tour notes. We recommend that you re-read all these before your departure as well as the small print of your travel insurance policy so you know exactly what is covered and what is not.

You should take copies of your important travel documents with you and ideally also store them online securely as a backup. Make sure that you have given us your emergency contact details and told that person where and when you are travelling. Ensure you take enough money with you and that you have access to emergency funds.

Finally, you should read through and stay updated with the current official government travel advice for your destination. We are registered partners with the UK Foreign Office's 'Know Before you Go' campaign which provides further useful and invaluable information.

'Know Before you Go' campaign

Thailand on a Shoestring dates & prices

This tour is also available for booking privately for travel anytime through the year, and we can also customise the itinerary to fit your personal requirements. Please contact us for details and prices.
Start Date End Date Price (P/P) Offer Price Note
20 May, 2017 27 May, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
24 May, 2017 31 May, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
28 May, 2017 04 Jun, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
06 Jun, 2017 13 Jun, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
11 Jun, 2017 18 Jun, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
17 Jun, 2017 24 Jun, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
22 Jun, 2017 29 Jun, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
28 Jun, 2017 05 Jul, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
07 Jul, 2017 14 Jul, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
11 Jul, 2017 18 Jul, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
17 Jul, 2017 24 Jul, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
21 Jul, 2017 28 Jul, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
04 Aug, 2017 11 Aug, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
09 Aug, 2017 16 Aug, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
13 Aug, 2017 20 Aug, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
18 Aug, 2017 25 Aug, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
02 Sep, 2017 09 Sep, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
09 Sep, 2017 16 Sep, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
13 Sep, 2017 20 Sep, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
20 Sep, 2017 27 Sep, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
24 Sep, 2017 01 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
03 Oct, 2017 10 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
08 Oct, 2017 15 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
14 Oct, 2017 21 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
18 Oct, 2017 25 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
22 Oct, 2017 29 Oct, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
01 Nov, 2017 08 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
08 Nov, 2017 15 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
15 Nov, 2017 22 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
21 Nov, 2017 28 Nov, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
01 Dec, 2017 08 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
05 Dec, 2017 12 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
11 Dec, 2017 18 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
15 Dec, 2017 22 Dec, 2017 US$749 - - Book now
tripadvisor winner 2014 and 2015

Posted Oct 22, 2015
So easy to contact, if any have any questions or concerns I just email my personal holiday rep and they get back almost straight away. The booking process is so easy and I think the tours are the best value on the market considering what you do with your days. I can't wait to go to Thailand with them next year


Posted Oct 21, 2014
Service rating : Good response time to queries, booking process over email a little cumbersome

Product : Excellent trip, amazing sights and good crew


Posted Sep 11, 2014
Service rating : The company was excellent throughout booking to our arrival home. The staff members were very helpful and highly informative; although we encountered no problems during our trip, had we, I am sure this would have been sorted out swiftly. I would highly recommend Encounters Travel to anybody looking for a fun, well organised and reasonably priced tour.

Product : My friend and I went on the Thailand on a Shoestring tour in July and we loved every minute. Our tour guide, Tanya, was incredible and all of the activities were excellent. We particularly enjoyed staying in the floating bungalows in Khao Sok National Park, it was beautiful! I would definitely recommend this tour to those looking for either a quick whistle stop tour of Thailand or to those starting off their travels. 10/10, we had the trip of a lifetime and made so many fantastic memories and friends!