North and South Thailand Trip: 20 Days
JUNGLE, BEACHES & BANGKOK
We put together our 10-day Southern Thailand trip and our 10-day Northern Thailand trip to make one epic 20-day Northern and Southern Thailand trip!
Get-off-the-beaten-path and head north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. A cultural paradise with stunning temples, incredible food, and epic night markets. On the North part of the trip, we trek through the jungle to ethically interact with elephants. To top it off, instead of trekking back out of the jungle, we hop on bamboo rafts and float down the river with a couple of drinks in hand.
Heading south, we hangout on floating bungalows, experience one of the best beaches in the world in Railay, and try our hand at scuba diving and snorkelling in Koh Phi Phi. Experience the best of Thailand on this 20-day combo trip!
"I can’t speak highly enough about this trip and FnEZ! The company itself was super helpful with answering any questions I had and keep you very well informed in the time leading up to the trip; the leaders have so much knowledge on the areas and are always down to show you the best time. In between sucking back Chang’s, hiking jungles, and lazy beach time, I figured out pretty quick that Thailand is an incredible country with the happiest people, stunning scenery, and probably the best food I’ve ever had."
- Kaitlin, November 2019
South Thailand (10 Days)
Day 1-2 (Bangkok)
Group flight arrives late in the evening. Meet your group over drinks at the guesthouse. The following day we will venture to Wat Pho Temple for a guided tour (incl.) and then board the overnight train south toward the beaches.
Day 3 (Cheow Lan Lake Trip)
When the train arrives in Surat Thani in the morning, we will take a private bus to Ratchaprapha Pier. Continue by long-tail boat out to the floating bungalows deep in the wild of Cheow Lan Lake.
Enjoy lake living in a floating bungalow with a restaurant, bar, kayaks, floaties, and beverages all at your disposal. There are even nearby hikes to caves and waterfalls. This floating haven is consistently our top-rated destination.
Day 4-5 (Koh Phi Phi)
Take the long-tail boat back to the pier and continue by private A/C bus to the pier in Krabi. Transfer to a ferry to the Phi Phi Islands. Here you will find outstanding scuba-diving, a viewpoint hike, boat trips, snorkeling, and a selection of beach clubs pumping music until the wee hours of the morning.
Day 6-8 (Railay)
Take the ferry from Koh Phi Phi Don directly to Railay beach. Railay is home to two of the most beautiful beaches in the world and is completely surrounded by limestone cliffs, making it only accessible by boat. The same towering limestone cliffs are home to one of the top spots in the world for rock climbing
Day 9-10 (Bangkok)
Take a ferry to Krabi town, take a minibus to Krabi airport, then a speedy one hour flight to Bangkok. Arrive at the airport and take a minibus to the guesthouse. Enjoy the last days in Bangkok exploring, shopping, eating, drinking and countless other activities in this cosmopolitan city.
North Thailand (10 Days)
Day 1-2 (Bangkok)
Group flight arrives late in the evening. Meet your group over drinks at the guesthouse.
The following day we will venture to Wat Arun Temple for a guided tour (incl.) and then board the overnight train North towards Chiang Mai. *all transportation on this trip is private except for trains and planes.
Day 3-4 (Chiang Mai)
Arrive off the train and take a minibus transfer to our guesthouse. Our guesthouse is centrally located in the old part of the city and is the perfect base for exploring the many small streets, cafes, and markets in the area.
You'll never be bored in this city, as it offers no shortage of activities ranging from Thai cooking classes to bungee jumping.
Day 5-6 (Jungle Trek)
Take private transfer to the starting point of the trek. On our way, we'll visit a local market for last-minute supplies, have a swim underneath a waterfall, and even visit some hot springs.
We'll begin our hike into the beautiful jungle of Northern Thailand. Hike through villages and over mountainous terrain, float down the river on locally constructed bamboo rafts, give an elephant a bath, and sleep in the traditional long-houses of hill tribe villages that welcome us into their homes. All meals included on the jungle trek.
Day 7 (Floating Bungalows)
After finishing the trek and disembarking from the bamboo rafts, we'll take our private transfer to Mae Ngat Dam.
From here, a short long-tail boat transfer will take us to our private floating bungalows! With diving platforms, a full-scale restaurant, kayaks, floats, and a well-equipped bar, this is the perfect place to relax and refresh from the rigorous Jungle Trek. All meals included on the floating bungalows.
Day 8-9 (Chiang Mai)
Upon arrival at the pier, we'll take minivans back to our guesthouse in Chiang Mai. Our beautiful guesthouse offers a restaurant and a tropical garden with hammocks. Based in the old part of the city, everything is within walking distance; from late-night live music bars, to street food dining, Muay Thai boxing rings, and a variety of markets.
Optional adventures outside the city include ziplining, bungee jumping, massage schools, temples, cooking classes...you name it, Chiang Mai has it! ** Enjoy your last night with the group.
Day 10 (Bangkok)
Take minibus transfer to Chiang Mai airport and take a speedy one hour plus flight to Bangkok. Arrive at the airport and take minibus to the backpacker district in Bangkok.
Enjoy the rest of the day in Bangkok exploring, shopping, eating, drinking and countless other activities in this cosmopolitan city.
Trip ends. *** If you are booking your own flight, make sure your departure is in the evening of this day at the earliest. If you have any questions about this please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: The above itinerary is subject to change. A confirmed Free & Easy trip itinerary with exact routing will be provided at least 30 days prior to trip departure.
IMPORTANT: If you are doing a combo trip and booking your own flights, please contact us to confirm the start and end point of your trip.
- Accommodation for the duration of your Free & Easy experience
- All group travel between destinations
- If you are doing multiple trips, all travel & accommodations between combo trips is included in the price listed
- Return international flights and airport transfers*** (No surprise extra flight surcharges)
***Land Package prices do not include your international flight, airport taxes or transfers
- Knowledgeable and fun Free & Easy leaders
- 17 years of trip leading experience
- No commissions or gratuities required or accepted... ever!
- Preparations guidebook
- Trip Experience guidebook
Domestic Flight: Thailand South (10 Days)
- Flight from Southern Thailand back to Bangkok
Domestic Flight: Thailand North (10 Days)
- Flight from Chiang Mai back to Bangkok
Activities: Thailand North (10 Days)
- 3-day Northern Thailand Hill Tribe Trek (ethical elephant encounter, bamboo rafting)
- Lake House Trip (incl. kayaks, Jungle Temple, and caving)
- Transportation to a day of activities in Chiang Mai
- Wat Arun Temple Tour
- Doi Suthep Temple Tour
- Party on Famous Khoa San Rd
Activities: Thailand South (10 Days)
- Bangkok Temple Tour
- Party on Famous Khao San Rd
- Phi Phi Island/Maya Bay Sunset Boat Trip (incl. dinner, kayaking, snorkelling, and National Park Fee)
- Overnight Rainforest Lake Trip
- Kayaking while at the the lakehouse
- Long Tail Boat Ride in Khao Sok National Park
- Cave Hike w/ Local Guide
- Free & Easy sponsored beach cleanup
- Fire Show
Meals: Thailand North (10 Days)
- Traditional family style Thai dinner
- All meals included on the 3-day Nothern Thailand Hill Tribe Trek
- All meals included on the the Lake House trip
Meals: Thailand South (10 Days)
- All meals on the Overnight Rainforest Lake Trip
- Authentic Thai Style Welcome Dinner
Optional Activities: Thailand North (10 Days)
- Bungee Jumping
- Cooking Class
- Muay Thai Fight
Optional Activities: Thailand South (10 Days)
- Scuba diving
- Rock climbing
- Cooking class
- Muay Thai Lessons
- Viewpoint hike
- All meals and drinks (except those mentioned above)
- Activities outside of the ones listed above (optional activities are not included)
- Any Visa or Visa fees
Spend a Night in a Floating Bungalow
Drive deep into the jungle in Thailand’s Khao Sok National Park to arrive at the shores of Cheow Lan Lake. Tall limestone rocks jut out around the lake, massive trees poke through the surface and all around you is a lush jungle breathing with life. Your journey doesn’t end there though!
Hop onto a long tail boat and enjoy one of the most picturesque boat rides in existence as you go deep into the lake to arrive at your home for the night – cozy and rustic bungalows floating right on the lake! Here you’ll be greeted by an amazing Thai family who will take care of everything during your stay at the lake house.
Hike to caves, kayak to coves, swim in the clear freshwater or just lay back and enjoy the serenity of one of the most beautiful places we know of! After the sun falls, treat yourself to an array of adult beverages and dance the night away with your group and the Thai people living there who certainly know how to have a good time!
It’ll be hard to be hungover when you wake up to the calls of gibbons monkeys and tropical birds, then poke your head out the door to see the sun rising over the lake. You can go ahead and pinch yourself at this point because no matter how many times we experience this it’s hard to believe it’s real.
Wat Pho Temple Tour *
Enjoy the chance to explore Wat Pho alongside a knowledgeable local guide for a peek inside ancient and modern Thai culture. This Buddhist temple complex located in Bangkok is one of city’s oldest temples, having been established before Bangkok itself. It houses over 1000 Buddha images, making it the largest collection of Buddha relics in all of Thailand. This includes the statue that Wat Pho is most famous for: an enormous 49 meter-long golden statue of a Reclining Buddha. The Buddha’s feet alone are 3 meters high. It is probably one of the grandest sites you will behold in all of the city. On an interesting side note, Wat Pho is also known as the birthplace of traditional Thai massage, which is still taught and practiced at the temple. If you have the time, ask your guide to tell you Bangkok’s real name…it’s the longest city name on Earth! *****Please note: Not included on the following trips: A Backpackers Dream and The World's Greatest Waterfight
Ride a Bamboo Raft Down a River
Let us paint this scene out for you: You've just spent all day hiking through thick jungle and vegetation deep in the wilderness of Northern Thailand. You're almost ready to call it a day but there are still several miles between you and the nearest village and there's a massive river blocking your crossing.
There's bamboo everywhere so you pull out a machete, chop down some bamboo canes and tie them all together. Not only do you now have a raft, but all of your friends are also there and a beer cooler, too!
Your jungle trek has now become a raft party - you've still got to navigate the rapids but taking turns with that task while sipping some beers as the sun sets behind you will be a perfect way to end the day. And don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of help building a proper and safe raft!
Snorkelling is a great alternative for those looking to save a little money on diving costs or those who can’t dive for medical reasons. Floating along the surface of the water at any one of our incredible destinations around the world will give you a peek into a magical underwater world.
More confident snorkelers can even dive down to get a closer look at the fauna and flora found in our oceans. From glittering fish, to colourful anemone, and super cool sharks (don’t worry, the non-carnivorous ones), snorkelling is a wonderful experience for the non-diver. So snap on a mask and grab your flippers (and DON’T inhale while diving) and you’ll be all set for a little adventure under the sea.
Phi Phi Boat Trip
Join us on an epic boat trip that encompasses all of the reasons you came to Thailand: the culture and history, the amazing landscapes, and drinking on a boat! You'll join your fellow travellers on an epic day sailing around Koh Phi Phi in the Andaman Sea!
We depart in the early afternoon on a boat equipped with snorkel gear, tubes, and a large shady area. Bring some cold beverages for the ride and sit back, relax, and enjoy the trip! There is a Thai guide on the boat to deliver some awesome history of the area and Thailand in general.
We'll make a stop to go snorkelling among the giant sandstone cliffs. Snorkelling not your thing? Try kayaking or simply lounging in a tube. We'll end the day with a simple Thai meal while floating back to Koh Phi Phi as the sun sets and another day in paradise comes to an end.
Have One Night in Bangkok
There are a lot of incredible cities in the world, but there is only one Bangkok. The main jumping point for virtually every person traveling through Southeast Asia, Bangkok is full of people from all over the world and there is something for everyone in this massive, colourful city.
And the temples, markets and shopping are sure all nice and dandy, but most "memories" that come from Bangkok are created after you have that first Chang beer or Sangsom bucket set, because after that really anything is possible!
We won't get into the details of what all happens in Bangkok because everyone will have their own story to tell after a night of partying in a city filled with all-night clubs, street-side bucket stands and essentially an adult "playground" everywhere you look. It's a common feeling to wake up in Bangkok, have no idea what time it is and try to figure out if what you remember happening the night before was a dream or if it really did all happen!
Meet an Elephant
*This is an ETHICAL ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE* Its giant size and gentle nature make it one of the most powerful, yet loving animals in the world. But because of this, they are often captured in the wild and sold to the logging industry to be worked to death hauling trees through the jungle.
Many organizations have sprung up to rescue elephants from this horrible practice and keep them in protected camps, run by families that afford to keep them fed and healthy, by giving other people the chance to interact with the beautiful animals. Deeply rooted in Thai culture, caring for elephants is extremely sacred; a family that cares for elephants dedicates a great deal of their life to the one elephant entrusted to their care, as they are usually bound to one another for their entire lives.
Getting face to face with an elephant is an incredible experience and one that you'll likely never forget!
Twelve Tastes of Thailand
Step off the beaten path and into the lush jungle where a meal becomes an experience with 12 authentic, home-cooked Thai meals included in this adventure. Our food journey begins in the villages of the North Thai jungle and continues through to the lakehouse for four days of delicious family-style meals.
Traditionally Thai cuisine is centered on five essential flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Each meal includes a delicious rush of flavor and leaves you wanting more. Once we arrive at the first village our local guides work with the villagers to prepare the homemade meal, and there’s always room for an extra set of hands in the kitchen. Later we sit down to this fresh meal overlooking the rice fields and gardens where the food was grown.
Our second day in the jungle is filled with a delicious variety of meals! We start the day with the freshest of eggs, trek to our lunch spot to enjoy endless noodle soup, and finally, for dinner we dive into a meal of meat and veggie skewers with curry, which is presented to us on homemade bamboo plates. What a rush!
After a much-needed digestion break, we head to the campfire and top our night off with some local “Happy Water”. The following morning we hop on our bamboo rafts and head for a Pad Thai lunch stop on our way out to the lake house. Our flavour journey doesn’t stop there as our taste buds are in for a treat out at the lake.
Some highlights include traditional Chiang Mai sausage with sticky rice, fresh fish, tom yum, and pork chops. Vegetarian? No problem! All of our meals can be adjusted to accommodate a vegetarian diet. Take your taste buds on a flavour rollercoaster in Northern Thailand!
Authentic Thai Cooking Class
This must-do activity in Northern Thailand is a dream come true for any foodie, traveler, or just plain hungry person. Start the day by meeting up with your host at a local market where you will help pick up fresh ingredients among the bustling, laughing Thai people.
Then it’s off to your host’s home, a beautiful villa with a huge garden where more of your ingredients come from... you know it’s going to be good. Even though nothing is pre-made and you are actually preparing every part of the meal, this doesn’t feel like work. With nap time included, it’s an easy-going day of cooking, tasting, and enjoying with your FnEZ family.
Plus, with 5 meals in total (one of them is desert!) you’ll be stuffed, rested, and ready to show off your new skills in the kitchen to your family and friends back home.
Watch a Traditional Muay Thai Fight
You want authentic? You got it. Grab a cold one, take a seat, and come watch the national sport of Thailand in its hometown: Chiang Mai! With open-air stadiums surrounded by street food, street beers, and a ton of locals, you’ll be right in the middle of an ultimate part of Thai Culture.
The Thai People take Muay Thai quite seriously, with events ranging in age from young children to full fledged athletes who have been training all of their life. This is real, intense, amazing stuff that you won’t want to miss on your trip to Northern Thailand. Feeling gutsy? Place a bet with a local, or your TFF, and join the scene!
Rock Climb Up a Natural Cliff Face
Most of us have tried rock climbing, but it's usually been in a sweaty gym with an artificial climbing wall that is trying to mimic the outdoor experience of rock climbing. When you climb a natural cliff face, your body seems to know it and you almost feel like you're tapping into a core part of your humanity that is telling you that somehow, someway you have to scale this cliff - and most people surprise themselves with their ability to do it.
One of the best parts of outdoor rock climbing is that it's generally done in some of the most surreal places on this planet so when you get to the top of your climb you're rewarded with a breathtaking view. From Thailand to Peru and beyond, get your climb on in some of the most beautiful settings for an incredible experience and tremendous feeling of personal accomplishment.
Buy Everything in Bangkok
A trip to Thailand is not complete without a day spent shopping in Bangkok. Whether male, female, or a bit of both, there’s something for everybody in this crazy city! From the infamous street markets to the luxurious malls to the seemingly infinite amount of random market stalls, you can literally buy everything in Bangkok!
Get right into it and sift through boxes of knock-off designer jeans, check out the funky tee’s created by local artists, find piles and piles of rad shoes. Hit the electronics and find every movie ever made or cheap cellphones, computer software and old video games. Peruse the knick-knacks and score samurai swords, unique art, Buddha carvings, and homemade jewellery.
Wanna get fancy? Get anything you want tailor-made, from suits to jackets to shoes or hit up the gold jewellery stores and find that perfect piece! Or head to some of the nicest malls in the world and find every brand-name you want. The favourable exchange rate and generally cheap prices make shopping a fun, interesting and incredibly lucrative experience when in Bangkok!
Get Any Outfit You Can Imagine Tailor-made
For most travelers, shopping at home is an expensive and (for some) inconvenient chore, as we must troll through stores, malls, websites and our friends' closets in search of clothes that fit us properly and match our style. If only we could just go see some kind of person who makes clothes specifically for our size and preference… like a tailor?
Having your clothes tailor-made is something we shrug off as something only for the rich and people interested in suits and dresses, but in many parts of the world tailors are still very prevalent and surprisingly affordable - and there is perhaps no place where this is truer than in Southeast Asia.
Bangkok in Thailand is famous for its many suit and dress tailors offering great deals on a virtually infinite list of outfits. Likely the only place better than Bangkok is in the beautiful ancient capital of Hoi An in Vietnam, where you can find very cheap and very good tailors that make both western and traditional Vietnamese clothing.
And we mean they'll make you anything: suits, dresses, jeans, shoes, jackets and with any material from high-quality silk to denim to leather. It’s a dream come true for clothes lovers and an easy and cheap solution for those that detest shopping!
Trek through a Tropical Jungle
Now we don't want to fool you, a jungle is an unforgiving setting to hike through - there is thick vegetation, overwhelming heat, leeches and an untold amount of other creatures lurking around. But there is also an extreme beauty that lies within the power of a tropical jungle, a rainforest is full of life and every square foot is covered in something interesting and unique!
You'll experience true adventure when you trek through a jungle and even if you're tired, dirty and fending off insects when you're doing it, you'll be proud of yourself when you finish! On our LTC trip, we go on a 3-day jungle trek in Northern Thailand that includes an amazing array of activities (including ethically interacting with elephants and riding a bamboo raft down a river).
We camp in tribal villages at night - eating with them, seeing how they live and tasting their not-so-delicious-but-potent "happy water" (rice moonshine). We sleep in a massive hut that fits the entire group and each morning we wake up, eat breakfast, shake off the happy water cobwebs and continue on our adventure.
It's an experience that fully encompasses the trials and tribulations of trekking through a tropical jungle - from muddy uphill paths to utopian waterfalls!
Our Trash Hero beach cleanups are a great way to do good, feel good, and get some beach all at the same time. With thousands of tons of trash swirling around the oceans, the unfortunate reality is that some of it washes up onto the beautiful beaches we fall in love with around the world. So we thought ‘Let’s do something about this!’
Our partnership with Trash Hero began in Koh Lipe, Thailand, where they regularly organized beach cleanup days. Today, Trash Hero has gone viral and can be found operating in Thailand and Indonesia, and is spreading into dozens of more countries at a rapid pace. On our end, beach cleanup day quickly became one of the most fun and rewarding days on our Thailand trip. So we decided to spread the love, and have instituted a beach cleanup day into our regular itineraries across the world.
Through our sponsorship and partnership with Trash Hero, our travelers and others like them have since collected tens of thousands of kilograms of trash from the beaches we travel to… and really, there’s nothing more epic than saving the world! ** We will always strive to make a beach cleanup happen, but sometimes we may not be able to make it happen **
Party for Prosthetics
Party for Prosthetics is one of our newest initiatives that turns the aluminum tabs from beer cans into prosthetic limbs for people in need, such as those who have been dismembered from injury, disease, or landmines. We have partnered with a Thai organization called The Prostheses Foundation that has been doing this since the early 90’s - when we realized how much we could help out just by saving our beer tabs we thought this was a real win-win!
Through a combination of our beach bevvies, travel day sippy cups, and all-night ragers, we have been known to put away a few beers from time to time, and now we are turning these parties into prosthetic limbs! This initiative adds even more zest to each cheers, shotgun, and beer bong, and fills us with a sense of pride as we gather the tabs over the course of each trip and see buckets fill with valuable little pieces of metal that are going to change someone’s life!
Chill at a Lake House
What better way to end a days-long trek through the jungle than by retreating to a secluded lake house in the middle of the hills of Northern Thailand? Rinse off the jungle muck in the clear freshwater of the lake, crack open a beer (or five), and relax in your own private lake house.
Oh, did we mention that this lake house is also floating in the middle of the lake! We include all meals in this stay so there's no need to even worry about what you're going to eat. With one amazing meal after another served up to you right at the floating lake house, you can spend your days in a cool reclined position or roll into the water for a refreshing swim or hop on a kayak and paddle to an amazing local temple.
It's your place and it's smack dab in the middle of the lake so you can do whatever you damn well please! There's a rule that many of us already know: what happens at the lake stays at the lake!
Go Scuba Diving
Life under the water is silent and peaceful, everything is flowing and moving in a way that we land creatures are unaccustomed to. Despite all of our high tech equipment, we are extremely out of our element in the water and it is a humbling experience to watch and observe what life is like under the sea.
Fish come in all shapes, sizes, and colours and move together in a harmonious unison through beautiful coral and twisted sunlight. On our trips, scuba diving is a huge activity as we travel to countries that offer some of the best diving in the world. The Caribbean in Central America possesses the second largest reef in the world, the warm waters of the South Pacific in Southeast Asia are home to the largest diversity of sea-life in the world and the seas of the Mediterranean are full of rich history and beauty.
There is a whole universe under the ocean and experiencing what it's like to be in it is a must at least once in your life!