Winter Adventure Getaway - 9 Exciting Island Hopping Days in Thailand! - 20s & 30s Going Out Group
Saturday, February 11, 2017 at 12:00 PM - Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 5:00 PM (ICT)
San Francisco, California
London, United Kingdom
UPDATE #7: If you have not already submitted your traveler information (see "Traveler Information" section of the trip posting), please get that to me as soon as you can!
UPDATE #6: The travel company has passed along further and better clarification re: luggage. Luggage on the in-country flight on Day 2 (Sun. Feb. 12th) includes a checked bag (to a maximum weight of 20kg or ~44 lbs). Travelers can have one carry-on with maximum weight of 7kg (~15 lbs). Generally fees for excess luggage can be quite high, and would be communicated by the authorized agent when we are checking in. Suitcases are not recommended. Most travelers carry a backpack or rolling bag of small to medium size (no XXL ones please) as they need to fit under the beds when traveling on the train back to Bangkok at the end of the trip.
UPDATE #5: Some people have informed me that they are currently unable to find any more flights that land in Bangkok on Day 1 (Sat. Feb. 11th) in time for our 6pm welcome meeting without requiring an overnight stay the night before. For those that need / want to stay an extra night overnight on Fri. Feb. 10th, the travel company is able to offer our group a discounted rate at our hotel for $50. This would still include the arrival transfer from the airport to the hotel gratis. Please send me a message through my Meetup profile (please do NOT post a comment on the trip posting) and I'll pass along the information.
UPDATE #4: The $1395 price has ended and the ticket price is now $1495.
UPDATE #3: There are fewer than 10 early bird spots left and the price will increase from $1395 to $1495 when the early bird spots are gone or BEFORE Sat. Aug. 20th (whichever comes first). To be fair to those who want to join in and are ready to make payment, I'll be removing those that haven't paid at least the deposit by Sun. Aug. 14th. So make payment to *truly* lock in your spot (see "Payment" section of the trip posting for full details). If you've already made payment, the Paypal email you received is confirmation that we've received your payment (no need to email me asking for payment confirmation). I hope to see you there!
UPDATE #2: We have more than 10 people that have signed up and made payment... so this trip is confirmed! If you've made payment or deposit for this trip, feel free to book your flights per the "Flights, Days Off, & Airport Transfer" section of the trip posting. I look forward to seeing you there!
UPDATE #1: I've announced the Thailand pre-trip dinner. If you've already made payment for the Thailand trip and can make the dinner, please go ahead and RSVP but do NOT make payment, as that's included as part of joining the Thailand trip itself (please do so by Sun. July 24th. After that date, payment will be required for joining the dinner). If you've made payment for the Thailand trip, and you'd like to RSVP for the dinner after that date, send me a message through my Meetup profile, and I'll manually add you to the dinner event. I hope to see you there!
Natural beauty abounds in Thailand!
Tropical beaches, white sandy coastlines, crystal clear waters, natural hot springs and waterfalls, amazing limestone rock formations, stunning caves, scenic mountain ranges, and sacred temples. This action-packed island tour of Thailand's highlights is perfect for the adventurer with limited time who wants to explore the region's diversity. We'll spend time island-hopping through the best of southern Thailand's islands. We'll snorkel the crystal-clear warm waters, relax under swaying palm trees, meet the friendly locals, unwind on the islands’ beaches (and much more) while enjoying this tropical paradise. Our Adventure Tour Leader will help us find the secluded spots only the locals know. Does this sound like a fun and relaxing vacation to you?
Seven Reasons to Book This Trip:
1. Affordable Adventure - Did you know that this trip INCLUDES a rainforest and hot springs tour, a ferry boat ride to a secluded island, a marine life snorkeling boat trip, an exploration of the stunning Emerald Cave, a visit to the sacred Tiger Cave Temple, a swim in the natural bath of the Emerald Pool / Crystal Lagoon, free time on spectacular beaches, an Adventure Tour Leader for the full duration of our adventure, 7 breakfasts, a picnic lunch, a beach barbecue dinner, a transfer from the airport upon arrival, all in-country transfers between cities, 7 nights in a hotel, a scenic overnight sleeper train journey, 3 events in DC (2 dinners and 1 Embassy visit), plus a Thailand book discussion (book included) during the trip... all for less than $160 a day??
2. Shared Photos - As with all of our events, we can all upload our pictures to this website to share the best of our photos and multiply the memories!
3. Make New Friends - We are the ONLY Meetup group that offers us the opportunity to travel abroad with other globally-minded people from the DC area, PLUS arrange 3 more events for the group that take place in DC to make sure that we will make friends that we will continue to see in DC!
4. Leadership - I (J.T., your organizer) will be there every step of the way, making sure that the trip goes as smoothly as possible.
5. Book Discussion - We will each receive, read, and discuss sections of "Travelers' Tales Thailand: True Stories," a collection of place-specific tales previously scattered far and wide that best capture the experience of Thailand.
6. Unforgettable Memories - Thailand is truly is a beautiful and adventurous place. Let's experience it together and make some wonderful memories!
7. Escape the Cold Winter - Let's get away from the cold DC winter and the occasional Snowpocalyptic storm that comes through our area.
This 9-day exciting expedition through the islands of Thailand is crammed with all the energy and activities deserving of our group. We'll begin our journey in DC with a fabulous dinner at I-Thai restaurant in Georgetown. Then, before departing on our trip, we will have a private visit at the Embassy of Thailand featuring diplomats who will teach us about their country. Shortly after we return stateside, we'll reunite at DC's popular Bangkok Joe's restaurant with an evening of Thai food and a recap of our travel experience for our reunion dinner!
To help us pass the time while traveling and to learn even more about this culture-rich society, we'll read the book "Travelers' Tales Thailand: True Stories" by James O'Reilly and Larry Habegger during our trip. At certain points during the trip, I (J.T., your Meetup organizer) will lead discussions of the book for anyone who wants to participate!
Please note this is a joint trip with the 30s & 40s Going Out Group, and the Global Adventurers Traveling Group. Our traveling group will likely consist of members with an average age in their 30s.
Questions? If you have any questions not answered on this page, please post a comment in the comment box below, message me through my Meetup profile, or call / text me at 703.470.4848.
We've got an early bird special for this trip of $1395! The first 25 paid sign-ups, or those who pay before Sat. Aug. 20th (whichever comes first) get the early bird price! After that, the trip price will go to $1495, then $1595, then $1695. Our past trips have always sold out early! We have a LIMITED number of spots so make sure to RSVP early AND make payment to secure your spot and get the early bird price! To make payment, please follow the steps in the "Payment" section of the trip posting.
Also please know that your RSVP is not guaranteed unless we receive payment. When you pay, your online receipt is confirmation that we have received your payment.
I hope you can join us on this amazing adventure!
Mon. Aug. 8th 2016: Pre-Trip Dinner at I-Thai
This delicious Thai meal at I-Thai restaurant (or similar) in Georgetown is open to other group members as a paid event, but is FREE for those attending the trip. It is wonderful way for all trip-goers to meet each other for the first time, and it's a perfect time for those who haven't yet signed up to ask any questions related to the trip. I will even refund the cost of the dinner to anyone who signs up and makes payment for the Thailand trip AFTER our dinner!
(Embassy of Thailand)
Thurs. Jan. 12th 2017: Pre-Trip Embassy Visit
We will meet with Thai diplomats and receive an official country briefing including the history, geography, culture and tourism of Thailand. This event is organized exclusively for trip-goers and will NOT be open to other members of our group.
Sat. Feb. 11th 2017: Day 1, Bangkok
Arrive at any time in Bangkok, then check in and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where we'll meet with our Adventure Tour Leader and other group members.
Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, is a sprawling metropolis known for its ornate shrines and vibrant street life. The boat-filled Chao Phraya River feeds its network of canals, flowing past the Rattanakosin royal district, home to the opulent Grand Palace and its sacred Emerald Buddha temple. Nearby is Wat Pho with its enormous reclining Buddha and, on the opposite shore, Wat Arun with its steep steps and Khmer-style spire.
(Wat Arun Buddhist temple)
Bangkok welcomes more visitors than any other city in the world and it doesn’t take long to realize why. Bangkok is a city of contrasts with action at every turn; marvel at the gleaming temples, catch a tuk tuk along the bustling Chinatown or take a longtail boat through floating markets. Food is another Bangkok highlight, from local dishes served at humble street stalls to haute cuisine at romantic rooftop restaurants.
Luxury malls compete with a sea of boutiques and markets, where you can treat yourself without overspending. And no visit to Bangkok would be complete without a glimpse of its famous nightlife – from cabarets to exotic red-light districts, Bangkok never ceases to amaze.
Overnight: Centra Central Station Hotel Bangkok or similar
Sun. Feb. 12th 2017: Day 2, Krabi / Ao Nang
We'll transfer to the airport for the flight to Krabi, and then take a ride to nearby Ao Nang. Ao Nang is a beach town in southern Thailand's Krabi Province. It's known for it's beautiful, palm-lined stretch of sand, dominated by the large cliffs at its southern tip. Optional activities in this area abound. We can spend the day here swimming, snorkeling, kayaking, or scuba diving; getting a traditional Thai massage; or enjoying a drink in a nearby beach cafe; most people use Ao Nang as a jumping off point for long-tail boat day trips to the nearby beaches of limestone islands (such as Ko Hong, Ko Poda, and Ko Gai) and Railay Beach, a well-known destination for rock climbers.
After sunset—which is often a spectacular show seen from the beach—the beachfront comes alive as people return from the islands and set off, freshly showered and dressed up for a night out. Shopping, eating and drinking are what is done best here. There’s a large choice of restaurants. Shops sell everything from souvenirs to fake Rolex watches and DVDs (buyer beware!) and bargaining is a must. Massage shops, spas and beauty parlours stay open late, so we can indulge after a hard day island-hopping. Alternatively, we can sit in a roadside bar and people watch, or sip a pina colada under the stars at a beach bar on the sand.
Overnight: Emerald Garden Resort / Deevana Krabi Resort or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 1.5 hours. Approximate Distance: 500 miles
(Tiger Cave Temple)
Mon. Feb. 13th 2017: Day 3, Ao Nang
In the morning, we'll set off on a rainforest and hot springs tour, with a picnic lunch included. We'll enjoy trekking through the jungle in Krabi and admire the stunning scenery of caves, limestone rock formations, and the Ao Luk Thanu mountain range. On this full-day tour, we'll visit the Tiger Cave Temple to pay homage to "The Goddess of Compassion and Mercy," swim in the natural bath of the Emerald Pool (not to be confused with the Emerald Cave later in our trip), and relax in the natural hot springs (known to be good for our health).
Tiger Cave Temple (Wat Tahm Suea) is aptly named because of the rock outgrowth nearby resembling a tiger’s claw. The temple is known as a center for meditation and its spectacular setting in the Ao Luk Thanu mountain range provides the necessary quiet atmosphere for meditation. 250 monks and nuns live in the temple compounds at the moment. The main vihara (sanctum sanctorum) is inside a small shallow limestone cave, where the walls are lined by cells. The area is well lit and very well maintained to preserve the serenity of the environment.
(Summit at Tiger Cave Temple)
Here we can venture up the hills by taking 1 of 2 passages. One passage takes us up 1,200 steps to the hill top and the other is only 130 steps up to reach a place where monks live in their small cottages. The commanding 360 degree view all around is worth taking the strain to climb the hill. The whole area is full of caves and limestone rock formations. Archaeologists have found remnants of ancient habitations as old as from the Stone Age. Stone tools, shards of pottery and beads, and idols of clay have all been unearthed which bear testimony to the cultural heritage of the area.
(Emerald Pool / Crystal Lagoon)
The Emerald Pool / Crystal Lagoon (Sra Morakot) is a freshwater pool inside the Khao Phra Bang Khram Nature Reserve. The waters of this 120-square-meter pond take on a green hue thanks to an abundance of minerals from the surroundings limestone hills. The crystal clear water is unsuitable for drinking and feels thick due to its high calcium carbonate content which can cause gallstone. Here we can go for a swim to escape the heat of the day and admire the stream, one of the sources of the pool, which tumbles in at one end over rock made smooth by mineral deposits.
(Klong Thom waterfall / hot springs)
Another natural wonder we'll see is the natural hot springs in Krabi. Out in the forest about 25 miles south of Krabi Town is Klong Thom waterfall (Namtok Ron). Though the falls itself is just a cascade tumbling gently but 10 feet or so, it is unique in that the spring water that feeds it bubbles up from the earth at temperature of more than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It cools a bit as it flows to the cascade and you can swim in the calm stream below for a much cooler bath.
Overnight: Emerald Garden Resort / Deevana Krabi Resort or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 3 hours. Approximate Distance: 100 miles
Tues. Feb. 14th - Wed. Feb. 15th 2017: Day 4 - 5, Ko Lanta
We'll take a ferry to the secluded island of Ko Lanta, and spend free time here before enjoying a beach barbecue dinner on day 4.
Ko Lanta is a large island 4 miles wide and 20 miles long, 9 beaches lie from north to south along the sunset coast. The island boasts stunning scenery; fantastic white sandy beaches; coastlines dotted with more than 70 small islands and plenty of forest; an intricate system of reefs, islets, and underwater caves are teeming with vibrant sea life. The dive sites surrounding Ko Lanta are considered to be some of Thailand’s finest. The geography of the island is typically mangroves; coral rimmed beaches; and rugged tree covered hills.
(Ko Lanta diving option)
Of all Thailand's islands, Ko Lanta is one of the best all-rounders. It has nature reserves and beaches where you won't see another soul; the waters are calm and the island safe. If you want to have it all - suntanning on beautiful beaches, a bit of world-class diving, a great massage, fun beach bars, kayaking through a mangrove forest, eating mouthwatering seafood Tom Yum (freshly caught and spicy enough to make your tongue tingle) with the locals in friendly fishing villages - then Ko Lanta is where you get it.
We can also opt for a day trip to nearby Ko Rok where we can snorkel at Ko Rok's national park, trek to a stunning view point, and enjoy a picnic lunch. Our Adventure Tour Leader can secure any of these options for us. We'll need to secure diving on our own (with our Adventure Tour Leader's guidance).
Overnight: Andaman Lanta Resort or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 2.25 hours. Approximate Distance: 45 miles
Thurs. Feb. 16th 2017: Day 6, Ko Ngai
We'll get on a ferry and travel to tiny Ko Ngai and experience more of Thailand's pristine paradise.
Sitting quietly amid a scenic patch of the Andaman Sea, Ko Ngai is a tiny island measuring 2.5 miles long and 1.25 miles wide, and hosts a long sliver of blondish-white sand with views to distant limestone karsts and the mainland. Mountainous and covered by tropical forest, much of the coastline is indented with rocky headlands, while the eastern part has some beautiful sand beaches, and in the south coconut plantations and more beautiful smaller beaches. The island has crystal clear water and is surrounded by plentiful and magnificent corals.
(Monkeys in Ko Ngai)
Don't be surprised to see crab-eating monkeys and monitor lizards coming down from the mountains. In the uninhabited western and northern parts of the island, bird watchers should have a field day looking out for migrating birds. Snorkeling is easy along the western and southern coasts, where some reefs can be accessed directly from the beach.
Overnight: Koh Ngai Resort or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 1 hour. Approximate Distance: 40 miles
(Snorkeling Ko Chuek)
Fri. Feb. 17th 2017: Day 7, Ko Chuek / Ko Mook / Ko Kragan
We'll get to know the local marine life with an included full-day snorkeling tour of the islands of Ko Chuek, Ko Mook, and Ko Kragan. We'll board a boat and hop over to Ko Chuek to experience the idyllic waters, and explore the amazing Emerald Cave (not to be confused with the Emerald Pool earlier in our trip) of Ko Mook.
We'll snorkel the crystal clear turquoise waters of Ko Chuek, a small karst islet with sea caves and unmatched small white sandy beaches between Ko Mook and Ko Ngai. The island is known to have beautiful and colorful corals.
We'll then later visit Ko Mook, the largest island on this tour. It is best known for its Emerald Cave (Tham Morakot) and secret hidden lagoon in the center of the island. The entrance to the cave is located on the western side of the island and is only accessible during low tide. The cave itself winds for about 250 feet to its other exit, onto a white beach with an emerald pool surrounded by steep cliffs.
Finally, we'll enjoy beach time at Ko Kradan, an island that boasts a gorgeous white-sand beach stretching between fluffy green hills and the cerulean blue Andaman Sea. Ko Kradan is among Thailand's more visually spectacular islands.
Overnight: Koh Ngai Resort or similar. Estimated Travel Time: 2 hours. Approximate Distance: 20 miles
(Scenic train ride)
Sat. Feb. 18th 2017: Day 8, Trang / Bangkok
We'll take a ferry to Pak Meng Pier, and continue on to Trang in a private transfer. From there, we'll stretch out and get some well-earned rest aboard a scenic sleeper train ride en route back to Bangkok. No trip to Thailand is complete without spending time on the rails, it's a genuine Thai experience which makes the journey as much a part of our trip as the destination. The trains are comfortable, the hosts are charming, the views are stunning and the journey takes us through amazing patches of land that would be impossible to see from the major highway routes. We'll get to see the sun set in the country mountainside at night, and wake up to views of the bright and bustling city of Bangkok in the morning upon arrival.
Overnight: Sleeper train. Estimated Travel Time: 17 hours. Approximate Distance: 555 miles
(Chatuchak market in Bangkok)
Sun. Feb. 19th 2017: Day 8, Bangkok
We'll arrive at Bangkok train station in the morning. Depart anytime after 3pm (do not book onward travel until after this time in case of train delays).
TBD: Post-Trip Reunion Dinner at Bangkok Joe's
Dates and details TBD. We will feast on a sumptuous Thai meal at Bangkok Joe's (or similar)! Dinner attendance will also be open to non-trip goers in our group.
Price below reflects double occupancy. For single occupancy, please add $600.
$1395 if booked before Sat. Aug. 20th (or whenever early birds sell out)
$1495 if booked before Mon. Oct. 17th
$1595 if booked before Thurs. Dec. 15th
$1695 on or after Thurs. Dec. 15th*
* Starting Thurs. Dec. 15th, spaces are subject to availability. If booking on or after Thurs. Dec. 15th, do NOT purchase your airline ticket until you have been confirmed on the trip by the Organizer.
Non-refundable deposit of $450 due at booking, full payment due by Thurs. Dec. 1st or at booking, whichever is later. This deposit locks in a price per the "Price" section.
The travel company needs the following information for final booking: 1. Full name as it appears on passport 2. Passport number 3. Passport issue date 4. Passport expiry date 5. Date of birth 6. Nationality 7. Existing medical conditions 8. Meal requirements 9. Emergency contact / next of kin. 10. Will you take advantage of the transfer to the hotel upon arrival? Please send me a message (through my Meetup profile, click "Send Message") with this information once you've secured your spot by making payment.
Price is based on double occupancy. If you have a preference for a roommate, please let me know full first and last name. Otherwise, you will be assigned a roommate (same sex). Single supplement is $600 to stay in your own room for all nights, with the exception of night 8 on the sleeper train journey.
REMAINDER BALANCE PAYMENT
Paypal account not required. If you've already paid the initial non-refundable $450 deposit, please follow the instructions below for making the balance payment (if payment by smartphone doesn't work, please try your computer). Balance payment must be made by Thurs. Dec. 1st, otherwise you will lose your deposit and your spot on the trip.
1. Click on the appropriate link below
• To pay the balance ($945) for the $1395 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Sat. Aug. 20th), please click here.
• To pay the balance ($1045) for the $1495 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Mon. Oct. 17th), please click here.
• To pay the balance ($1145) for the $1595 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Thurs. Dec. 15th), please click here.
• To pay the balance ($1545) for the $1995 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Sat. Aug. 20th), please click here.
• To pay the balance ($1645) for the $2095 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Mon. Oct. 17th), please click here.
• To pay the balance ($1745) for the $2195 price (to qualify, you must have made deposit before Thurs. Dec. 15th), please click here.
2. If you don't have a Paypal account, click "Pay with a Debit or Credit Card"
3. If you have a Paypal account, simply log in, and pay as you normally would via Paypal
• Pre-trip dinner at I-Thai restaurant (or similar)
• Pre-trip Embassy of Thailand visit with diplomats
• "Travelers' Tales Thailand: True Stories" paperback version and book discussions during the trip
• Accommodations as stated above (hotels 7 nights, sleeper train journey 1 night, based on twin-share rooms)
• Seven breakfasts, 1 picnic lunch, 1 beach barbeque dinner
• Rainforest and hot springs tour
• Ferry boat ride to a secluded island
• Marine life snorkeling boat trip
• Exploration of the stunning Emerald Cave (not to be confused with Emerald Pool also on our trip)
• Visit to the sacred Tiger Cave Temple
• Swim in the natural bath of the Emerald Pool / Crystal Lagoon (not to be confused with Emerald Cave also on our trip)
• Free time on spectacular beaches
• Arrival transfer from the airport
• All transfers between destinations and to / from included activities (internal in-country flight, local bus, air-conditioned bus / minivan, longtail boat, ferry, train)
• English speaking travel guide
• Meetup group facilitation with book discussion by J.T. (Organizer)
• Local guides / representative assistance
• Post-trip reunion dinner at Bangkok Joe's restaurant (or similar)
• Entrance fees not listed
• International airfare
• Applicable tourist visas
• Airport taxes
• Tips or gratuities (typical tip for tour leader is $10 per day per person)
• Meals not mentioned above
• Excursions and activities listed as optional or suggestions
FLIGHTS, DAYS OFF, & AIRPORT TRANSFER
You are required to purchase an all-inclusive insurance policy that covers emergency repatriation, medical, and evacuation for a combined minimum amount of $200,000. Trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage loss and accidents should also be included. Costs vary by age, travel dates, and when you purchase, but an approximate quote is $100 for a 30-year-old. You should extend the insurance to cover your entire journey if you are arriving before or departing after our trip. I also recommend getting full coverage vs. coverage for covered reasons. You will need to book your air flights first before getting insurance coverage. I used a company that specializes in this kind of thing. If you'd like to use the same, please call Mia at 866.925.1796 and they can give you a quote.
If you have any questions not answered on this page, please post a comment in the comment box below, message me through my Meetup profile, or call / text me at 703.470.4848
Since we paid in advance for this trip, all sales are final unless the trip is canceled or rescheduled. Thanks for understanding. =)
SUGGESTED ITEMS TO BRING
1. Passport (with photocopies) 2. Travel insurance (with photocopies) 3. Airline tickets (with photocopies) 4. USD cash 5. Credit and / or debit card 6. Any entry visas or vaccination certificates required 7. Alarm clock 8. Flashlight 9. Sunblock / sun hat 10. Sunglasses 11. Insect repellent 12. Water bottle 13. Small towel and swim wear 14. Toiletries (biodegradable) 15. Sturdy walking shoes / sport sandals 16. Money-belt 17. Shorts 18. Long trousers 19. Shirts / t-shirts 20. Warm clothing 21. Fleece jacket or warm layer 22. Windproof rain gear 23. Rain jacket or poncho 24. Gloves 25. Hat 26. Umbrella 27. Cover for backpack or plastic bags to keep clothes dry 28. Clothes for temples – long pants or sarongs (knees should be covered) 29. Sleep sheet for trekking, train, or sea safari trips 30. Thermarest or sleeping mat and travel pillow for train or sea safari trips 31. Snorkel gear – optional (also available for hire) 32. Camera and film 33. Reading / writing material 34. First-aid kit (should contain lip salve, Aspirin, Band Aids, anti-histamine, Imodium or similar tablets for mild cases of diarrhea, re-hydration powder, extra prescription drugs you may be taking).
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20s & 30s Going Out Group
We are the ORIGINAL 20s & 30s Group, and the 2nd largest Meetup group in the world! This Meetup is for people mostly in their 20s and 30s, in the Washington DC metro area, who enjoy dancing, dining, pubs, clubs, outdoor activities, road trips, dinner parties, and other local activities.
This group is for married people, single people, new-in-towners, and people who have been in the DC area for a while and are simply looking for a new group to go out with. Membership is FREE, and you only have to be friendly and fun to join!
We have a happy hour each month where we raise money for various local charities (all voluntary donations).