Day 1: Arrive in Phuket
Arrive into Phuket airport and drive north (about 3 hours) to Kuraburi. Rest of the day is at your leisure. Stay overnight in your hotel.
Day 2: Community Village Experience
Working alongside a charity set up after the Tsunami that focuses on developing tourism and environmental awareness through community tourism you and your family will spend the next two days understanding more about Thai life by living amongst the locals. This hands on experience will be one that you will never forget and is the best way, not only to experience Thai life but also give something back during your holiday.
In the morning transfer to the Andaman Discoveries Office for a briefing with your guide before being taken to Ban Talae Nok, a local village which will be your home for the next two days.
Visit the beach and the site of the pre-tsunami village, where this area was one of the worst affected by the tsunami. Return to Ban Talae Nok and meet your host family and enjoy a walking tour of the village. You will see how different life is from life back home and there will be plenty of opportunities for photos with the local children. In the afternoon return to your ‘home’ for a local lunch with your host family and later learn the art of Nipa Palm weaving. Nipa palm leaves have a variety of uses in traditional Thai culture, including the use of roofing material. Try your hand or simply observe as the villagers weave these leaves together. Nipa palm roofing is cheap, durable, and waterproof, and can last up to three to five years. The fresh leaves are also used to wrap sticky rice desserts, or it can be cut, dried, and used as cigarette papers.
In the late afternoon play a fun game with your family called Poor Little Turtle. "Poor Little Turtle," involves blindfolding all participants and walking through an obstacle course to the beach — the object is to gain an appreciation for the journey a blind infant sea turtle makes to the sea. Enjoy a few hours at the beach at leisure, relax and watch the sunset or join the locals in a game of beach football. In the evening return to your host family for a delicious dinner. After dinner if you still have the energy, you can participate in joining the local children with some games. Overnight you will stay with your local family.
Day 3: Community Activities – Khao Lak
Wake up and enjoy breakfast with your host family. Spend the morning learning how to make soap with the local Soap Cooperative. Established after the tsunami, the group makes beautifully hand-crafted soap, using only the finest natural ingredients from the local area. Be invited to watch an informative demonstration given by the soap ladies. After the demonstration, try your hand at making the soaps, with the expert guidance of the soap group ladies. Return back to your homestay to help prepare lunch and learn how traditional Thai dishes are prepared before dining on your expertly cooked lunch! For those with a sweet tooth, you won't want to miss making traditional dessert or kanom, in the village. There are many varieties of kanom, usually made with flour, coconut and sugar. It is a fun and interactive activity and your host will guide you through the entire process of making kanom where you will be able to enjoy eating it at the end!
When your tummies are full its time to pack your bags and say goodbye to your host family (note that if you prefer to spend a few nights longer in the community we can arrange this with more fun and educational activities). Return back to the local office for a de brief session and enjoy an evening in Kuraburi Town.
Day 4: Kuraburi – Khao Sok
In the early morning you will be met and driven to your tented camp in Khao Sok for the start of your three day adventure! En-route glimpses of tropical rural life here in southern Thailand can be seen along the way. Arrive at the elephant camp, where here you can see, touch and find out about the life of Thai elephants and about the elephant project the company is running. Also the guide will explain about the mahout, the man who takes care of the elephant.
The morning is spent getting up close to and experience hands on these magnificent animals, where you will interact with them and learn the secrets of their mahouts. You must prepare and feed them one of their daily meals, scrub and clean and watch them bathe. Feed them their dietary supplements that help with digestion and overall well being and plant some of their food which will be ready for next year’s crop, you will not sit on or trek with our Elephants. Truly a once in a lifetime chance to experience the Asian Elephant, the largest land animal in this part of the world. Returning from the jungle with a huge appetite you will appreciate the buffet lunch that is served. After lunch take a jungle river canoe trip down the Sok River. The canoes are very stable and safe; life jackets are provided as well as a local river guide to paddle the canoe. Drift along the jungle river passing Limestone Mountains and cliffs covered with exotic tropical vegetation. You may even be lucky enough to see hornbills flying high overhead or reptiles basking in the sun on the riverbanks. From the canoe you can experience a world that has changed little in thousands of years, some of the last areas of primary rainforest.
Return to the camp and relax and enjoy the panoramic views of the surrounding jungle covered mountains. Afterwards its time for dinner in this unique location beside the rainforest, conjuring up the sounds and atmosphere making this a memorable experience. Overnight will be spent in luxury safari tents with comfortable beds, reading lights, hot water and western style toilets. The tents doors and windows are covered with mosquito netting as well as canvas flaps so insects and reptiles entering the tents are not a problem. Temperatures at night drops, the tents are well ventilated; blankets keep you snug in the cool of the night.
Day 5: Boat trip in Khao Sok National Park
Wake up to the sounds of nature and birds calling from the bushes close to the tent. When the sun comes up and clears the mist over the mountains and jungle to the south of Elephant Hills, the gibbons start to make their morning territorial calls that echo down the valley. Tea and coffee making facilities are available in the tent for early risers; breakfast is at your leisure. The activity planned for today is to explore a lake in the jungle by local boat. The lake is surrounded by limestone mountains and cliffs covered in tropical rainforest that rise up from the shore of the lake and disappear into the far distance. The scenery has been compared to Qualin in China or Halong Bay in Vietnam. Few people know of the lake and even less have visited it. There are over one hundred islands in the lake and covering over 60 km from north to south. We will then see some of the spectacular scenery from the boat and have time for a swim depending on the weather. A packed lunch will be provided. In the late afternoon return to Elephant Hills for dinner and overnight in your luxury tents.
Day 6: Jungle Walk – Krabi
After a good nights rest lulled to sleep by the back ground symphony of insects and frogs, its time for a wholesome breakfast before coming face to face with the jungle that awaits to be explored by foot. However even though it may seem like it at first, this is not an army survival exercise, and there are no prizes for the fastest, as well as snakes and spider do not jump out at you which can be at the back of peoples minds. It is merely just an opportunity to explore the ecology of the rainforest, to see a great variety of exotic plants, tropical hardwood trees with huge roots, orchids, palms, ferns, bamboos and mosses where the variety is unlimited. Birds such as the hornbill live high up above, gibbon can often be heard calling to their mates, a macaque or leaf monkey may be heard swinging through the branches, making every day different and adventurous in its own special way. It is truly wonderful to discover the great variety of life forms that co-exists together, and can only by experienced on foot, where take it slowly, look, learn and listen then you too will start to discover some of the secrets of the rainforest. Weather permitting lunch will be served in the rainforest cooked in bamboo, a tradition of jungle explorers for centuries past. In the afternoon its time to return to Elephant Hills then your onward transfer to Krabi.
Day 7: Krabi
Enjoy a day of relaxation and recovery on the beach or exploring Krabi Town.
Day 8: Andaman Islands Boat Trip
Today join a group tour by speedboat to Phra Nang Cave Beach secluded peninsular, inaccessible by car. This will allow free time for sunbathing, swimming, photography and exploring. Tub & Mooh Islands are exotic and tropical and ideal for easy snorkelling and exploring on foot. When the tide is down, you can walk along the sandy crossway joining the neighbouring island of the Chicken Island. Chicken Island local landmark is named after the shape of its unique limestone jutting out into the sea. Excellent snorkelling opportunities in warm, inviting water, rich in coral life. Poda Island is considered as a stunning jewel in the Andaman Sea with both lowland, picturesque plantation and majestic rocky cliffs, bordered by long, beautiful beach. After lunch you will arrive back at your hotel around 2pm where the rest of the day is at your leisure.
Day 9 – 11: Krabi
3 days at leisure in the beautiful Krabi.
Day 12: Depart Krabi
Check out at midday. Transfer to the airport for your onward flight