As it was the first time I have travelled on my own abroad, I thought it would be best to go on a tour to ease myself into travelling. Having read the previous reviews of the two tours in the "Total Thailand" package and reviews on TruTravels, this trip with the wide array of activities on the itinerary seemed the perfect tour for what I wanted to do.
When I arrived I was picked up from the airport and taken over to the accomodation in Bangkok for free, which was about a 30 minute drive. When we got to the hostel I was greeted by my first tour guide, Pompom. He was very helpful and accommodating, sorting everything out and taking me to my room. Later on we all met up and went over the Sky Tower, the second tallest building in Thailand, in downtown Bangkok for a buffet. The views from there were amazing, although it was quite expensive as it was an optional activity not included on the itinerary, but it was worth seeing. After this we went for a night out on Koa San Road, which was just round the corner from the hotel. The next day we went round some of the temples in Bangkok, with Pompom provided a detailed insight into the different sights.
We then left for the next places on the itinerary, which included Kanchanaburi, Erawan Waterfalls, The Bridge Over The River Kwai and Ayutthaya. Each location was visually stunning and it was fascinating to learn some of the history between the different sites, especially relating to the history of the Bridge Over The River Kwai in the war.
Next was one of many highlights of the trip, the Chaing Mai Elephant Sanctuary. It was great to spend the day here, creating food for and feeding the elephants before bathing and playing with them in the water. It was great to see how well they are looked after.
Chaing Mai and Pai were next on the list, and I loved both places. Chaing Mai was more of a busy city with a lot going on and plenty of places to see and go out with easy transport around the city. The cooking class was something I thoroughly enjoyed, and it was probably the best food I had whilst I was out there (if I do say so myself).
Pai was my favourite place from the Northern part of the Thailand Tour, it's a lovely town where you walk down the main Street and through food market in the evenings with plenty of options to choose from. There's also good places to go out, with a bar crawl going to different places in the town, as there was in Chaing Mai.
The final day finished the tour at the Grand Canyon, a massive water obstacle course. This was a great way to end the first part of the tour as it was so much fun! Unfortunately one of the members of the group fell off awkwardly and dislocated her shoulder, so she had to go to hospital, but everything was dealt very well with by Pompom, as he had with most things on the tour concidering there were a couple of difficult members of the group that you could clearly see were draining him.
When back in Chaing Mai, we said our goodbyes to the people who were only on the first 14 days of the trip, (most of whom were fantastic and were a great laugh), and got the night train back to Bangkok. While we were on the train, the new members of the tour did what we did on our first day and went over the Sky Tower. When we arrived, we met up with those who'd been out for dinner, as well as our new Tour Guide, Ali, and had pre-drinks at the hotel before going out on Koa San Road again.
The next day we went around some of the temples in Bangkok, as well as going on a long tail boat through the river and exploring Bangkok by Tuk Tuk. The next day, we got a Thai massage before catching the overnight train to the south, where we were picked up and taken to the dock to catch a boat to the next place. This was the beautiful Khao Sok National Park. Here we stayed on floating bungalows and kayaked round the various different routes in the national park. The next day it was off to Koh Phanang, where we spent out time learning Muay Thai and enjoying the day at the beautiful bottle beach. Here there was a full moon party which took place in the evening, before we then ordered taxis to the other side of the island, where the proper full moon party was held. The size of it was absolutely massive, and you definitely have to go if you're on the island!
The next day we had a boat trip around the island, stopping off at some fantastic spots for snorkeling and sites with lovely views.
After the couple of days in Koh Phangan, it was off to the next place, with was Koh Tao. This was one of my favourite places on the whole tour. It's a beautiful island was stunning views and the town and accommodation we stayed at was fantastic, with plenty to see and do including the bar crawl and diving in the seas around the island. It's definitely a place I really want to come back to in the future. Such a chilled and relaxed island where you really feel at home. During your time there, you go over to Koh Nang Yuan, which is. Alittle island just off Koh Toa, and again this is absolutely stunning. The boat tile round Koh Tao is amazing too, with so many great views and snorkeling sites, which were even better than the things I saw when I was diving! So many different species of fish and marine life in seeable sight from the surface.
As sad as it was to leave the island, it was off the the penultimate stop of the tour, the Phi Phi Islands. Definitely up there with Koh Tao as one of the very best parts of the trip. Unreal views from the viewpoints, loads of bars, shops and market places as well as great places to eat (especially Cosmos and it was very good value). We took out kayaks on our chilled day and went round the bay. The massive rocks we past were beautiful, but as we went round the bay, we saw the sorry and disgusting stay of one of the hidden, uninhabited beaches. All the plastic had wash up on the shore and some was still in the sea. It was an eye opening and quiet frankly shocking sight to see. One that really hit home and has made me think. Seeing it on the tele in no way prepared you for what you see in person. It makes you realise how bad the problem actually is and how much work needs to be done to reduce the damage already done.
We then went on a boat trip to see the different islands and beaches around Phi Phi, inuding Maya Bay, which was used in The Beach and has been subsequently closed to allow the damage done by tourists to time to recover. On our final day in Phi Phi we did a beach clean up along the main beach, just a few hundred meters from where we were staying.
After Phi Phi it was onto our final stop via an overnight boat to the mainland, before a minibus over to another boat to Phuket. When we arrived everyone was tired from the travelling, so we didn't go out on the final night as a group. I feel we should have had a full day in Phuket before the checkout day, as we just turned up and the tour was over. Fortunately I had another 4 days in Phuket so I could have a good look around the island, and I would recommend anyone doing the trio on doing the same or at least 2 extra days on the island before you leave.
The group for the second part of the tour was great! We all got along really well and unlike a couple of people in the first tour group, there wasn't anyone causing problems or constantly moaning.
A word on our tour guide, Ali (or Sexy Bitch Ali as he likes to call himself), he was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. He was full of energy, always up for a laugh, really helpful and very knowledgeable about everything on the tour. He quite clearly absolutely loves his job and its great to see the passion he has for it. If you're lucky eniught to get him for your tour, you're very much in a safe pair of hands.
The tour its self was absolutely fantastic, and took completely all the worry about booking everything out of the equation. Wait for when TruTravels do their sales, because £1,725 is quite expensive. I got mine for £1,325 when it was on sale so it's definitely worth waiting until they come around! All the accomodation used throughout the tour was to a good standard, but I did find a few of the beds a bit hard and struggled to sleep. All the activities were great and well worth doing and seeing. I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone looking to go to Thailand.