Day 1: Leave Bangkok towards Samut Songkram, stopping at the “Umbrella Market”, a coconut plantation and Amphawa riverside market. Learn how villagers produce coconut sugar, a key ingredient in Thai cooking. You will see the whole process, from climbing the tree to stirring coconut juice over a wood fire and taste some fresh authentic desserts.
After lunch continue to Bang Phlap, famous for its pomelo orchards and the community’s profit sharing system, which funds their children’s education. It is a great place to learn about organic agriculture and traditional methods of food preservation. Round off the day by hopping in a local boat down the Mae Klong river, cruising past tropical fruit orchids and rare old-style Thai houses. (L/D)
Day 2: Visit Ta Kha village to explore Thai canal life and a traditional floating market aboard a small sampan (paddling boat). Then travel the ‘salt road’, passing vistas of salt farming, local food stalls, dried fish and the strange multi-storey homes of swifts used to make bird's nest soup.
After lunch you'll visit Ban Thamrong village, famous for its many sugar palm trees that are used for a huge variety of things from fresh juice to palm-leaf hats and containers. Learn about cultivation, vocational training in traditional skills run by the community and even have a go at palm-leaf weaving. Finish with a delicious dinner at your hotel, set amongst tropical forest by the Phetchaburi River. (B/L/D)
Day 3: After breakfast, drive to Kaeng Krachan dam and reservoir. There are some wonderful nature walks where you can experience the Thai countryside up close and plant a tree to offset the carbon footprint of your holiday.
Continue to Hua Hin and the stunning Maruekatayawan Palace, a wooden palace on the beachfront built by the King in 1923. Hua Hin is a popular seaside spot for Thai people but few international tourists come here. The rest of the day is yours to enjoy the town and beach and perhaps visit the night market in Hua Hin. (B/L/D)
Day 4: Morning at leisure, then after lunch depart for Bangkok to continue your adventure around the this incredible country. On the way back you also have the chance to visit the Center for Mangrove Forest Studies, dedicated to rehabilitating threatened mangrove ecosystems. The conservation centre is also a nursery for marine aquaculture and educates Thai people how to live in harmony with the forest. (B/L)