IN & AROUND BANGKOK

PMGY volunteer in Thailand participants are based in the suburbs of Bangkok, Thailand’s bustling capital city. It’s a city of contrasts. Modern yet cultural, chaotic, traditional and bizarre – you will never get bored in Bangkok we can assure you of that!

 

Here air conditioned megamalls sit side-by-side with 200-year-old village homes; gold-spired Buddhist temples share space with neon-lit, bar lined strips; slow-moving traffic bypassed by long-tail boats plying the royal river; and streets lined with food carts are overlooked by restaurants on top of skyscrapers.

 

The great thing about Bangkok is although it is pretty vast, getting around is simple, fast and affordable with the BTS (inner city rail network). Which also means the great nightlife is easy to get to too whether its backpacker central on Koh San Road or catching some great live music at one of the cool bars near Victory Monument.

Grand palace and Wat phra keaw at sunset bangkok, Thailand

GRAND PALACE

The Grand Palace was once the official home of the Kings of Siam. It is unquestionably one of Thailand’s major tourist must-sees. The complex houses a number of top attractions including Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha). This 45 centimetre Emerald Buddha carved from just one piece of jade is the holiest and most revered religious object in Thailand.

WAT PHO

Wat Pho is another amazing 8 hectare compound incorporating a host of superlatives: the city’s largest reclining Buddha (46 metres long – genuinely impressive!), the largest collection of Buddha images in Thailand and the country’s earliest centre for public education.

Bangkok's largest reclining Budda, housed in Wat Pho
The colourful 15,000 stalls in one of the world's largest markets, Bangkok

CHATUCHAK MARKET

Chatuchak Market is among the largest in the world and seems to unite everything buyable, from used vintage sneakers to baby squirrels within its 15,000 stalls. It is well worth a full day here as there’s a plethora of things to see and do, but make sure you’re there early to beat the crowds and the heat.

Volunteer Abroad

FURTHER AFIELD

KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK

Cool and lush, Khao Yai National Park is Thailand’s oldest reserve and an easy escape into the jungle. The 2168-sq-km park, part of a Unesco World Heritage site, spans five forest types, from rainforest to monsoon. The park’s centrepiece is Nam Tok Haew Suwat, a 25m-high waterfall that puts on a thundering show in the rainy season.

 

Around 200 elephants tramp the park’s boundaries. Other mammals include tigers, leopards, bears, gaur, barking deer, otters, various gibbons and macaques and some rather large pythons. The bird list boasts 392 species, and one of the countries largest populations of hornbills lives here.

A herd of elephants trek around boundaries of Khao Yai National Park
The temple town of Aytthaya, formely Thailand's capital

AYUTTHAYA & BANG PA

The temple town of Ayutthaya, formerly Thailand’s capital, and the nearby Summer Palace compound of Bang Pa-In are both popular day trips from Bangkok and easily accessible.

 

Ayutthaya’s temples are magnificent — both Khmer and Thai-style ruins lie along the rivers here, in what was once Thailand’s greatest city. It’s also an excellent place to rent a bicycle (the terrain is flat) and worth an overnight, in conjunction with an enjoyable one day boat trip. Nearby Bang Pa-In is home to some wonderfully whimsical mid-19th-century royal palaces, set amid splendid gardens with topiary elephants.

FLOATING MARKET AT DAMNOEN SADUAK

The most famous of Thailand’s floating markets, Damnoen Saduak is the one you’ll have seen photographed thousands of times. This 100-year-old market is full of sampans laden with colourful fruits and flowers with vendors dressed in traditional costume.

 

You can hire your own boat to get a birds eye view and beyond the chaos and colour of the main market, you can explore the peace and quiet of the residential canals.

The colourful vendors of Damnoen Saduak, Thailand's most famous floating market
Volunteer in Vietnam

ISLAND GETAWAYS

A beautiful Ko Samui palm fringed, white sand beach

KO SAMUI

Popular Chaweng has dazzling aquamarine water and five-star resorts; find a quiet cove between Lamai’s striking granite boulders; escape the crowds on palm-fringed Bophut, or snorkel on secluded Mae Nam and Bang Po. When you tire of these beaches, you’re just steps away from others.

 

To really get away from it all though, head to the south or the west of the island where you’ll find authentic Samui family-run seafood restaurants, tourist-free towns buzzing with descendants of the original Chinese merchant settlers and long stretches of refreshingly wild and shaggy coconut palms.

KRABI

The remote beaches of Krabi are considered to be some of the most gorgeous beaches in the world. This lush region is studded with limestone massifs, velvety beaches and the warmest waters imaginable. Paddle out to nearby islands in search of secluded stretches of beach, coral reefs and ethereal bays just perfect for swimming.

 

For the more adventurous you can see some of Thailand’s exotic wildlife while canoeing through mangrove forests, eerie, ancient caves and magnificent hongs. Be dazzled by luminous schools of fish while snorkelling in the crystal-clear waters or work up an appetite by clambering up jungle hillsides for amazing views over this tropical wonderland.

A remote Krabi beach backed by limestone massifs
Azure seas lapping on a pristine white sand beach in Phuket

PHUKET

Phuket is most definitely a party island with Patong its biggest town and busiest beach. It has morphed in recent years into an artsy, culturally rich capital, while Rawai on the island’s southern tip remains blissfully laid-back, despite development.

 

The good thing is you don’t have to be an heiress to tap into Phuket’s style-packed to-do list. With deep-sea diving, high-end dining, luxury shopping, fabulous white beaches and some of Thailands swankiest hotels at your fingertips, you might forget to leave.

Thai women on the river markets

PMGY ORGANISED WEEKEND TRIPS

PMGY operate a number of amazing weekend trips in Thailand. Everything is planned for you and the group is accompanied by a PMGY member of staff who knows the country inside and out, which is the ideal way to travel. As with everything in life though it pays to be organised, so if you have your heart set on any of the trips below and would like to be guaranteed a place please book well in advance of travel.

 

If you’ve already signed up to one of our programmes and would like to book, click the book button below. If you haven’t signed up already, you can add the weekend tour onto your trip during the online application form. Please note places on weekend tours are non-refundable and non-transferable.

KANCHANABURI R&R WEEKEND TRIP - $190pp

INCLUDES - PUBLIC TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES

Kanchanaburi’s World War 11 memorials and museums tell the harrowing story of how prisoners of war were used to build a rail route to Myanmar. Made famous in the book and movie ‘The Bridge Over the River Kwai, you’ll get a chance to take a train ride on the famous Death Railway as well as overnight in an elephant camp, float downriver on bamboo rafts and bathe in beautiful waterfalls in Erawan National Park.

 

This seven-tiered waterfall is a beautiful, popular spot where you can swim with fish that will nibble you in the ethereal blue waters. You’ve got to watch out for the cheeky monkeys though that might take a fancy to your belongings while you relax!

ULTIMATE FULL MOON PARTY TRIP - $220pp

INCLUDES - PUBLIC TRANSPORT, ACCOMMODATION, MEALS & ENTRANCE FEES

Join the ultimate, world famous party celebrating the Full Moon at its most beautiful. Set along the crescentshaped beach of Haad Rin in Koh Phangan, up to 40,000 people from all over the world will be there. So this is one major celebration you don’t want to miss.

 

The party begins at dusk when the round yellow moon makes its star appearance over the white sandy beach, lit up with thousands of twinkling candles.

 

The scene soon explodes into party central as different DJs take their turn on the decks. From trance to techno, drum and bass to reggae, it’s a music and entertainment feast with jugglers, fire-eaters and fireworks displays fuelling the atmosphere.

DUBAI RETURN STOPOVER TRIP (INDEPENDENT) - $300pp

INCLUDES - PRIVATE AIRPORT TRANSFERS, ACCOMMODATION, BREAKFAST & ACTIVITIES

If your flight itinerary includes a stop in Dubai, then grab an opportunity to spend 4 days and 3 nights in this powerhouse of a city with both hands.

 

Your trip includes a city tour, so you don’t miss any of the best bits as well as an exhilarating 4×4 excursion across the deserts of Dubai. You’ll be sandboarding down huge dunes, taking a camel ride and getting a henna tattoo! The day is topped off with a delicious barbecue dinner under the twinkling Arabian stars while watching a traditional tanoura dance performance.

 

The PMGY team will arrange your city tour, desert safari, transfers and accommodation but please note this trip is unaccompanied and is an opportunity for some independent travel.

PLAN MY GAP YEAR

                   

DUKE OF EDINBURGH

PMGY Foundation Charity Logo

100% FINANCIAL PROTECTION

PMGY Financial Protection

OUR CHARITY

PMGY Foundation Charity Logo

© 2018 Plan My Gap Year - Company No. 07693913 & Charity No. 1169415

Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy | Site Map