Days 1-2: Bangkok :
Welcome to Thailand!. Included transfer to your hotel in the pulsating capital of Bangkok. Evening Welcome Meeting held. The next day we embark on a city tour beginning with the impressive Grand Palace housing the Jade Buddha. We continue to Wat Pho, the original Thai Massage School and the 24hr Flower Market. Afterwards we board longtail boats for a trip along the city’s canals gliding past stitled houses, pretty temples and locals going about their daily business. We disembark a short walk away from backpackers’ favourite haunt – Khao San Road, where cafes, bars, buskers, tailors and market stalls line the virbant streets.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 3: Bangkok –Chiang Mai
Today we transfer to the airport for our flight to Chiang Mai, blessed with a temperate climate and lush vegetation. After time to freshen up we set off for Doi Suthep temple and the Hilltribe Museum. Later this evening our trip to the night market offers the chance to sample many delicious regional dishes.
Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Day 4: Chiang Mai –Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong
Today we set out for Chiang Rai, passing through spectacular mountain scenery and hill tribe markets along the way. We make a stop at the unconventional White Temple, known locally as Wat Rhon Khung, which displays scenes from modern day movies. We then visit a hill tribe community site where you have the chance to learn more about how five of the most prominent tribes in the area live, including their traditional costumes and homes. We continue our journey to the Thailand’s ‘Golden Triangle’ for a trip to the Opium Museum. We then follow the Mekong River to Chiang Khong – our base for the night before crossing the border into Laos tomorrow morning.
Overnight in Chiang Khong.
Day 5: Chiang Khong –Pakbeng
Bright and early we head to the immigration & customs office to exit Thailand. Bidding farewell to our Thai guide we cross the river by longtail boat. Meeting up with our Lao guide we attend to immigration formalities before we’re back on the water, cruising by traditional long boat down the Mekong River. Serene and timeless Laos is often overlooked by travellers. A peaceful nation of people offering legendary hospitality, resilience and friendliness, Laos is old Asia preserved. As we travel downstream we stop off at a number of minority villages such as the Hmong, Yao and Khmu to get an understanding of their culture and way of life. Upon arrival in Pakbeng, we visit the local market to watch the colourful hill tribe trade their wares before retiring for the night.
Overnight in Pakbeng.
Days 6-7: Pakbeng –Luang Prabang
. We continue our cruise arriving to the golden city of Laung Prabang mid afternoon. Tomorrow, opt for an early start early to see the daily ritual of saffron-clad monks and their procession down the streets of Luang Prabang collecting alms from the residents. Then a morning tour, takes in the highlights of Luang Prapang – the fabulous UNESCO Listed former royal capital. Sightseeing includes the ancient temples of Wat Visoun and Wat Aham, Ock Pop Tok weaving centre and the beautifully ornate former Royal Palace. In the afternoon we stop at ethnic minority villages before arriving at the beautiful Khouangsi waterfall.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 8: Luang Prabang
This morning we head out of town to a local farm to learn about the production of rice. After lunch we cruise up the Mekong River to visit the incredible Pak Ou caves crammed with Buddha images of all shapes and sizes, stopping Ban Xanghai village en route to sample local rice wine. Later we return to Luang Prabang stopping along the way at Ban Phanom village – known for its hand weaving, before boarding our last night in Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 9: Luang Prabang
Today marks the end of our holiday. Lap up the hotel facilities this morning before hotel check out and included departure transfer to the airport.