Taking in the wonders of Southeast Asia shouldn’t be a hassle. We’ve made it easy for you to see all the main highlights plus this region's smaller hidden gems by putting together this handy trip beginning in Kuala Lumpur and heading north into Thailand. You’ll get a taste of history in Kanchanaburi, experience multi-cultural (and delicious) Penang, sleep in a traditional floating rafthouse, and roam the famous night market of Chiang Mai. Along the way, there’ll be plenty of chances to lounge on white-sand beaches and indulge in diverse and flavourful cuisine. Cross Southeast Asia off your travel destination list with this all-encompassing journey.
- Travel Style : Classic
- Service Level : Standard
- Physical Grading : 2 - Light
- Merchandising : New Trips
- Trip Type : Small Group
- What's Included:Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group
Your Local Living Moment: Chenderoh Lake Homestay, Chenderoh Lake
Your Local Living Moment: Overnight Rafthouse Excursion, Kanchanaburi. Kuala Lumpur city tour (half-day). Rainforest Expedition (Cameron Highlands). Homestay experience. Penang city tour (half-day). Beach time in Ao Nang. Bangkok city tour. Klong riverboat tour (Bangkok). Wat Po Visit. Erawan Falls and Bridge on the River Kwai visit (Kanchanaburi). Rafthouse stay. Temple ruins tour (Ayutthaya). Thai Burma Railway Centre visit. Doi Suthep temple visit (Chiang Mai). All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
- Highlights:Bargain hunt in bustling Kuala Lumpur, relax at the cool tea stations of the Cameron Highlands, lounge on white-sand beaches, go local with a Malaysian homestay, explore magnificent temples and palaces, sleep in a floating rafthouse
- Dossier Disclaimer:The information in this trip details document has been compiled with care and is provided in good faith. However it is subject to change, and does not form part of the contract between the client and the operator. The itinerary featured is correct at time of printing. It may differ slightly to the one in the brochure. Occasionally our itineraries change as we make improvements that stem from past travellers, comments and our own research. Sometimes it can be a small change like adding an extra meal along the itinerary. Sometimes the change may result in us altering the tour for the coming year. Ultimately, our goal is to provide you with the most rewarding experience. Please note that our brochure is usually released in November each year. If you have booked from the previous brochure you may find there have been some changes to the itinerary.
VERY IMPORTANT: Please ensure that you print a final copy of your Trip Details to review a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans.
- Itinerary Disclaimer:While it is our intention to adhere to the route described below, there is a certain amount of flexibility built into the itinerary and on occasion it may be necessary, or desirable to make alterations. The itinerary is brief, as we never know exactly where our journey will take us. Due to our style of travel and the regions we visit, travel can be unpredictable. The Trip Details document is a general guide to the tour and region and any mention of specific destinations or wildlife is by no means a guarantee that they will be visited or encountered. Aboard expedition trips visits to research stations depend on final permission.
Additionally, any travel times listed are approximations only and subject to vary due to local circumstances.
- Important Notes:1. LUGGAGE
As we use (sometimes crowded) local transport please note backpacks are much more suitable than suitcases for this style of trip. Train and bus travel means that bags have to be stowed either overhead or under beds, so travelling as light as possible is recommended.
Depending on the lunar cycle, Ramadan will fall between June 7th to July 7th, 2016. Please note that Ramadan is a month of fasting observed by Muslims throughout the world, during which time the followers of Islam should not eat or drink between sunrise and sunset. There may be some limitations to services and disruptions to schedules during Ramadan in Muslim areas, but generally our tours still operate effectively during this period and food is available to non-muslims throughout the day. It is very important to display increased cultural sensitivity during Ramadan. Please wear loose fitting clothes, that cover knees and shoulders, and try to avoid eating, drinking or smoking in public out of respect for those who can't at that time.
- Group Size Notes:Max 15, avg 12
- Meals Included:11 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 3 dinners
- Meals:Eating is a big part of traveling. Travelling with G Adventures you experience the vast array of wonderful food that is available out in the world. Generally meals are not included in the trip price when there is a choice of eating options, to give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat. It also gives you more budgeting flexibility, though generally food is cheap. Our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. There is no obligation to do this though. Your CEO will be able to suggest favourite restaurants during your trip. Included breakfasts will usually be asian style consisting of noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs. Vegetarians will be able to find a range of different foods, although in some areas the choice maybe limited. While trekking in remote regions food is included, plentiful and made of fresh local ingredients. For all trips please refer to the meals included and budget information for included meals and meal budgets.
- Transport:Train, local bus, private van, ferry, songthaew, walking
- Solo Travellers:We believe single travellers should not have to pay more to travel so our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and do not involve a single supplement. Single travellers joining group trips are paired in twin or multi-share accommodation with someone of the same sex for the duration of the trip. Some of our Independent trips are designed differently and single travellers on these itineraries must pay the single trip price.
- Accommodation:Hotels/guesthouses (11 nts), homestay (2 nts), rafthouse (1 nt), sleeper train (2 nt).
- My Own Room Exceptions:Night 11, sleeper train.
- Joining Hotel:For details of your joining hotel please refer to your tour voucher, G Account, the G Adventures App or contact your travel agent.
- Joining Instructions:My Hotel Bukit Bintang is a 45-minute drive from Kuala Lumpur International Airport and a 1-hour drive from Subang Airport. Berjaya Times Square and several transport links are a 10-minute walk away. Hang Tuah Monorail Station and Imbi Monorail Station are within a 7-minute walk away.
Taxis will range from 80-110 MYR.
Please note that Day 1 is an arrival day and no activities have been planned for that day other then your welcome meeting in the evening, so you can arrive at any time.
Your CEO will organize a short meeting soon after arrival, during which you will meet other tour participants and receive information about general and specific aspects of the trip. A welcome note will be left for you in the hotel so you have all the necessary information regarding the meeting time. If you arrive late, s/he will leave you a message detailing what time and where you should meet the next morning.
- Arrival Complications:We don't expect any problems, and nor should you, but if for any reason you are unable to commence your trip as scheduled, please refer to the emergency contact details provided in this dossier and contact us as soon as possible. If you have a pre-booked transfer, and you have not made contact with our representative within 30 minutes of clearing customs and immigration, we recommend that you make your own way to the Starting Point hotel, following the Joining Instructions. Please apply to your travel agent on your return for a refund of the transfer cost if this occurs.
- Emergency Contact:Should you need to contact us during a situation of dire need, it is best to first call either the G Adventures Local Representative (if one is listed below) or our G Adventures Local Office. If for any reason you do not receive an immediate answer, please leave a detailed message and contact information, so they may return your call and assist you as soon as possible.
If you have purchased an arrival through G Adventures please note that:
Your arrival transfer has been arranged based on flight information provided to us. If you are advised of a flight schedule change within 48 hours of your scheduled arrival time, we will do our best to rearrange your arrival transfer however we cannot guarantee this. If your arrival transfer does not arrive within 30 minutes after you have exited the arrivals area please take a taxi to your start point hotel.
EMERGENCY CONTACT NUMBERS
G Adventures Office Bangkok, Thailand
During Office hours (Weekdays, 9am-5pm Local Time)
From outside Thailand: +66 2 381 5574
From within Thailand: 02 381 5574
After hours emergency number
From outside Thailand: +66 87 049 6074
From within Thailand: 087 049 6074
If you are unable for any reason to contact our local office, please call the numbers listed below, which will connect you directly with our 24 hour Sales team, who will happily assist you.
Toll-free, North America only: 1 888 800 4100
Calls from UK: 0344 272 0000
Calls from Germany: 0800 365 1000
Calls from Australia: 1 300 796 618
Calls from New Zealand: 0800 333 307
Outside North America, Australia, New Zealand, Germany and the UK: +1 416 260 0999
- What to Take:You will be on the move a good deal, so pack as lightly as possible (try to stay under 10 kg /22lb). It is in your own interest as you are expected to carry your own luggage, though distances are never great. Most travellers carry their luggage in a pack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice. Suitcases are not recommended for G Adventures travellers! Travellers will need a day pack to carry water and a camera for day walks and excursions/
- Packing List:Conservative Dress:
• Modest clothing that covers knees and shoulders (Long pants, long skirts, shirts that cover shoulders)
• Shawl or scarf (for temple visits)
• Flight info (required) (Printouts of e-tickets may be required at the border)
• Insurance info (required) (With photocopies)
• Passport (required) (With photocopies)
• Required visas or vaccination certificates (required) (With photocopies)
• Vouchers and pre-departure information (required)
• Binoculars (optional)
• Camera (With extra memory cards and batteries)
• Cash, credit and debit cards
• Day pack (Used for daily excursions or short overnights)
• Ear plugs
• First-aid kit (should contain lip balm with sunscreen, sunscreen, whistle, Aspirin, Ibuprofen, bandaids/plasters, tape, anti-histamines, antibacterial gel/wipes, antiseptic cream, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, rehydration powder, water purification tablets or drops, insect repellent, sewing kit, extra prescription drugs you may be taking)
• Flashlight/torch (Headlamps are ideal)
• Fleece top/sweater
• Locks for bags
• Long pants/jeans
• Outlet adapter
• Personal entertainment (Reading and writing materials, cards, music player, etc.)
• Reusable water bottle
• Small travel towel
• Toiletries (Preferably biodegradable)
• Watch and alarm clock
• Waterproof backpack cover
• Windproof rain jacket
• Hiking boots/sturdy walking shoes
• Hiking pants (Convertible/Zip-off and quick dry recommended)
Sleep Sheet and Pillow:
• Sleeping bag liner/sleep sheet
• Travel pillow
• Shorts/skirts (Longer shorts/skirts are recommended)
• Sun hat/bandana
Note: During the colder months (Oct-Apr) the mountains can be very cold, so please make sure you pack warm clothes.
- Laundry:Laundry facilities are offered by some of our hotels for a charge. There will be times when you may want to or have to do your own laundry so we suggest you bring non-polluting/biodegradable soap.
- Visas and Entry Requirements:It is your responsibility to arrange visas before you travel.
MALAYSIA: Most nationalities including Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian, American, Belgian, Swedish, German, Dutch and Danish passport holders do not require a visa for a stay of 30 days or less. Please ensure you check with the appropriate embassy in your home country prior to arrival, especially for certain South American passport holders.
Please note that some nationalities (eg. Colombian) are not allowed to enter Malaysia overland and instead must fly to enter. If this is applicable to you please note that we can assist you with making flight arrangements for this tour for you but these costs would be additional and not included in tour costs.
THAILAND: Most nationalities including Australian, New Zealand, British, Canadian, American, Belgian, Swedish, German, Dutch and Danish passport holders do not require a visa for a stay of 30 days or less when flying into Thailand. We are crossing overland, so if you are staying in Thailand for more than 15 days, you will be required to obtain a tourist visa in advance.
Please note that certain nationalities (including: Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Czech, Estonia, Hungary, India, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Maldives, Oman, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Taiwan and Ukraine) may not be able to obtain visa at a land border. Please contact your nearest Thai embassy to receive the most up to date information for your country of origin.
- Detailed Trip Notes:English is widely spoken and transportation and infrastructure is good on this journey, but please remember that this is Asia- expect the unexpected! If you are able to bring with you a lot of patience, a great sense of humour and a willingness to try and interact with the local people, your travel experience wil be greatly enhanced.
- Spending Money:Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.
- Money Exchange:During this tour the local currencies you will use are the Malaysian Ringgit, Singaporean Dollar and Thai Baht. As currency exchange rates in South East Asia do fluctuate, we ask that you refer to the following website for the most up to date daily exchange rates: www.xe.com for each of the above mentioned currencies. The best way to carry your money is in debit cards, withdrawing cash in local currencies from ATM machines. ATMs are found throughout South East Asia and will generally accept cards on the Visa and Mastercard networks. It is a great idea to travel with both a Visa and Mastercard if at all possible in case of loss or problems with one card, you will have a back up. Please note, your bank will charge a fee for overseas withdrawals. USD Cash is recommended for times when ATMs are not accessible. You should bring some cash with you for emergency situations (please refer to our trip dossier) but carrying only cash is a high safety risk. ATM card/s and some cash is the ideal mix. Travellers cheques can be tricky, timely and expensive to exchange. While we do not recommend that you bring them as your primary source of funds, it is great to have one or two cheques in case of emergency. Thomas Cook or American Express travellers' cheques in US currency are the easiest to exchange. Cash advances can also be made with some banks but are time consuming and tend to have high fees attached.Credit cards can be used at some upmarket restaurants, and at some larger stores if shopping for big items. If you are bringing US Dollars, please make sure that the notes are new and in good condition. Notes older than 2003, or with any tears or blemishes may not be accepted. Be fussy with your bank when buying cash!
- Emergency Fund:Please also make sure you have access to at least an additional USD $250 (or equivalent) as an 'emergency' fund, to be used when circumstances outside our control (ex. a natural disaster) require a change to our planned route. This is a rare occurrence!
- Departure Tax:Departure tax is included in all domestic and international tickets.
- Tipping:It is customary in Asia to tip service providers such as waiters, at approximately 10%, depending on the service. Tipping is expected - though not compulsory - and shows an expression of satisfaction with the people who have assisted you on your tour. Although it may not be customary to you, it is of considerable significance to the people who will take care of you during your travels. There are several times during the trip where there is opportunity to tip the local guides or drivers we use. You may do this individually, or your CEO will offer to collect the money and tip as a group. Recommendations for tipping drivers and local guides would range from $1.5-$3.5 USD per person per day depending on the quality and length of the service; ask your CEO for specific recommendations based on the circumstances and culture. Also at the end of each trip if you felt your G Adventures CEO did an outstanding job, tipping is appreciated. The amount is entirely a personal preference, however as a guideline $20-25 USD per person, per week can be used.
- Optional Activities:Kuala Lumpur
- Petronas Towers Visit (85MYR per person)
- Islamic Arts Museum (15MYR per person)
- Lake Gardens Visit
- Penang Hill Visit
- Penang Peranakan Museum Visit
- Indian Street Visit
- Clan Jetties Excursion
- Bicycle Rickshaw Tour
- Khoo Kongsi Visit
- Railay Beach Visit
- Rock Climbing
- Wat Po Visit (3.50USD per person)
- Wat Arun Visit
- Massage (Southeast Asia)
- Jim Thompson's House Visit (4USD per person)
- Grand Palace Visit (15USD per person)
Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya
- Chan Kasem National Museum Visit
- Chao Sam Phraya Museum Visit
- Muay Thai Fight
- Night Market
- Cooking Class
- Health:Please note inoculations may be required for the country visited. It is your responsibility to consult with your travel doctor for up to date medical travel information well before departure.
There are no specific health requirements for this trip. However, you should consult your doctor for up-to-date medical travel information about before departure. We recommend that you carry a First Aid kit and hand sanitizers / antibacterial wipes as well as any personal medical requirements . Please be aware that we are in remote areas and away from medical facilities for some time during this trip, and for legal reasons our leaders are prohibited from administering any type of drug including headache tablets, antibiotics, etc.
- Safety and Security:Many national governments provide a regularly updated advice service on safety issues involved with international travel. We recommend that you check your government's advice for their latest travel information before departure. We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes, which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage. When travelling on a group trip, please note that your CEO has the authority to amend or cancel any part of the trip itinerary if it is deemed necessary due to safety concerns. Your CEO will accompany you on all included activities. During your trip you will have some free time to pursue your own interests, relax and take it easy or explore at your leisure. While your CEO will assist you with options available in a given location please note that any optional activities you undertake are not part of your itinerary, and we offer no representations about the safety of the activity or the standard of the operators running them. Please use your own good judgment when selecting an activity in your free time. Although the cities visited on tour are generally safe during the day, there can be risks to wandering throughout any major city at night. It is our recommendation to stay in small groups and to take taxis to and from restaurants, or during night time excursions.
Protests and Demonstrations- Protests and demonstrations, even those that are well intended, have the potential to turn violent with no warning. Counter protests can also turn violent. Action by security forces to disperse demonstrators and protesters may occur at any time. If you are in an area where demonstrators or protesters are gathering, avoid the temptation of staying for a good photo opportunity and leave the area immediately.
Water based activities have an element of danger and excitement built into them. We recommend only participating in water based activities when accompanied by a guide(s). We make every reasonable effort to ensure the fun and adventurous element of any water based activities (in countries with varying degrees of operating standards) have a balanced approach to safety. It is our policy not to allow our CEOs to make arrangements on your behalf for water based activities that are not accompanied by guide(s).
Swimming, including snorkeling, is always at your own risk.
We take all prudent measures in relation to your safety. For ways to further enhance your personal safety while traveling, please visit:
- Trip Specific Safety:We strongly recommend the use of a neck wallet or money belt while travelling, for the safe keeping of your passport, air tickets, travellers' cheques, cash and other valuable items. Leave your valuable jewellery at home - you won't need it while travelling. Many of the hotels we use have safety deposit boxes which is the most secure way of storing your valuables. A lock is recommended for securing your luggage.
- A Couple of Rules:Illegal drugs will not be tolerated on any trips. Possessing or using drugs not only contravenes the laws of the land but also puts the rest of the group at risk. Smoking marijuana and opium is a part of local culture in some parts of the world but is not acceptable for our travellers. Our philosophy of travel is one of respect towards everyone we encounter, and in particular the local people who make the world the special place it is. The exploitation of people in the sex trade is completely contrary to this philosophy. Our CEOs have the right to expel any member of the group if drugs are found in their possession or if they engage in any form of paid sex work.
- A Word of Warning:Please don't buy gems in Bangkok unless you know what you are doing. If you fall victim to a gem scam, we are unable to assist you.
The city centre of Kuala Lumpur has had several incidents of snatch thefts recently. If doing some exploring on your own during or after your trip, carry only the necessary minimum with you and use a well-hidden money belt. Valuables, including your passport, should be left in the hotel safe - organize this at reception. There is no need to be paranoid, just be cautious.
- Travel Insurance:Travel Insurance: Travel insurance is compulsory in order to participate on any of our trips. When travelling on a group trip, you will not be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance has been sighted by your CEO, who will take note of your insurance details. When selecting a travel insurance policy please bear in mind that all clients must have medical coverage and that we require a minimum coverage of USD 200,000 for repatriation and emergency rescue. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. If you have credit card insurance we require proof of purchase of the trip (a receipt of credit card statement) with a credit card in your name. Contact your bank for details of their participating insurer, the level of coverage and emergency contact telephone number.
- Planeterra-The G Adventures Foundation:The Planeterra Foundation planeterra.org is a Canadian non-profit organization that helps empower local people to develop their communities, conserve their cultures, and create humane and supportive systems for their endeavours. Planeterra provides capacity building and catalyst grants to get community social enterprises off the ground. These businesses address local challenges by providing benefits for indigenous people, empowering marginalized women, and granting disadvantaged youth access to education, employment, and brighter futures. Planeterra also works to ensure these businesses have a thriving customer base by integrating programs into G Adventures’ itineraries globally.
G Adventures is Planeterra’s largest corporate donor, covering all operating costs so 100% of your donation will bring opportunity to people in need.
G Adventures’ Dollar-a-Day Program provides travellers with the opportunity to give back to the people and places visited on our tours by donating one dollar for every day you are on trip. 100% of these donations go directly to support community development projects worldwide that are implemented by Planeterra.
- Local Dress:When packing be aware that dress standards are conservative throughout Asia. Loose, lightweight, long clothing is both respectful and cool in the predominantly hot Asian climate (suitable clothing can be purchased cheaply in Bangkok). Shorts should be knee-length. Singlets and tank tops (vest tops) are not suitable in many areas. Most of the areas visited on this trip are predominantly Muslim and therefore modest dress is suitable. Topless and nude bathing or sunbathing is not appropriate and is in fact illegal. In some places you should use a sarong or shorts and T-shirt for swimming rather than a swimsuit.
- Feedback:After your travels, we want to hear from you! Your feedback information is so important to us that we'll give you 5% off the price of your next G Adventures trip if your feedback is completed on-line within 30 days of finishing your trip. Your tour evaluation will be e-mailed to you 24 hours after the conclusion of your trip. If you do not receive the tour evaluation link in the days after your tour has finished, please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will send it on to you.
- Newsletter:Our adventure travel e-newsletter is full of travel news, trip information, interesting stories and contests. To avoid missing out on special offers and updates from G Adventures, subscribe at www.gadventures.com/newsletters/
Stay current on how our company invests in our global community through our foundation – Planeterra. Sign up for Planeterra's monthly news to learn more about how to give back and support the people and places we love to visit.
- Minimum Age:You must be 18 to travel unaccompanied on a G Adventures tour. For minors travelling with a guardian over 21 years old, the minimum age is 12.
- International Flights:Check-in times and baggage allowances/restrictions vary by airline and can change at any time. For the most up-to-date information for your flight, please contact your airline. We recommend checking in online in advance to avoid potential delays at the airport.
- Max Pax:
- Group Leader:Chief Experience Officer (CEO) throughout
Itinerary (17 days)
Arrive at any time.
Explore the city on a half-day city tour. With a free afternoon, opt to visit the Petronas Towers, the Islamic Arts Museum or Lake Gardens.
Kuala Lumpur/Cameron Highlands
Head to higher ground and enjoy the cooler air in the Cameron Highlands.
Enjoy a full-day rainforest expedition and a visit to a butterfly farm.
Cameron Highlands/Chenderoh Lake
Travel to a local island homestay in the middle of a scenic lake. Enjoy connecting with the locals and taking in the scenery.
Spend the day exploring the area. Learn about the local culture, environment, and life in the village. Head out for a walk and explore by kayak.
Chenderoh Lake/George Town
Travel to George Town, Penang and opt for a city tour before relaxing on the beach or shopping in town.
George Town/Ao Nang
Cross into Thailand and settle into the beachy vibe of Ao Nang. Opt to shop, eat or hang around the stunning beach.
Spend a full day exploring the area. Opt to visit idyllic Railay Beach, try the world-class rock climbing, go snorkelling or relax on the local beach.
Enjoy a last morning in paradise before boarding an overnight train to Bangkok.
Arrive in Bangkok in the morning and take a guided tour of the city. Opt to visit to the Grand Palace, Wat Po, the National Museum, or shop on Khao San Road.
Enjoy a klong boat tour of Bangkok including a visit to Wat Pho. Travel to Kanchanaburi and head to your floating rafthouse accommodation. Enjoy free time to explore.
Enjoy a day of sightseeing at Erawan Falls and the Bridge on the River Kwai.
Kanchanaburi to Ayutthaya
Explore the Allied War Cemetery and the Thai-Burmese Railway Centre to learn more about the area's history. Travel to Ayutthaya and visit the historical sites of the old capital city. Opt to visit Chan Kasem National Museum and Chao Sam Phraya Museum.
Ayutthaya to Chiang Mai
Spend a full day exploring Ayutthaya before boarding an overnight train to Chiang Mai.
Arrive in Chiang Mai and explore the city. Visit Doi Suthep in the afternoon.
Depart at any time.