Explore the best of Northern Thailand and Laos on this extra-special 13-day tour. Tour vibrant cities; see towering mountains, dense jungle, waterfalls, elephants, and bustling markets. Learn to cook delicious Laotian cuisine. And have plenty of time to just relax amid some of the most beautiful scenery in the world!
Day 1: Bangkok
Arrive into bustling Bangkok and transfer to your hotel.
Day 2: Bangkok
Visit the Jim Thompson House and Textile Museum to see the art and textiles of a man who was credited with reviving and revitalizing the Thai silk industry. Continue to the golden Grand Palace, former home of the Thai kings, and the royal barge museum. Relax with a soft drink while you cruise Bangkok’s myriad canals, passing vendors who sell spices and freshly-prepared Thai delicacies from their boats.
Day 3: Bangkok – Chiang Mai
Fly to Chiang Mai, a charming city nestled in the northern mountains. Visit some of the beautiful and historic Buddhist Wats (temples) that give Chiang Mai its character. In the evening, explore the busy Night Bazaar, full of Thai and Lao textiles, silver, and much more.
Day 4: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai
Head east through stunning mountainous scenery to the quiet and scenic mountain city of Chiang Rai. In the evening, you’ll have time to explore the town.
Day 5: Chiang Rai – Pakbeng
Cross the border into Laos for a boat cruise on the Mekong River to Pakbeng. Stop for a picnic lunch on the riverbank, then, visit a village of the Yao or Lu tribes along the way. The evening is free.
Day 6: Pakbeng – Luang Prabang
In the morning, visit Pakbeng market, where people from surrounding villages exchange their goods. Next, the second leg of your cruise takes you to Pak Ou Village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River. Visit the Tam Ting Caves, containing over a thousand images of the Buddha. Observe the traditional process of producing local rice alcohol. End your day in the beautiful city of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Day 7: Luang Prabang
Enjoy a tour around the atmospheric town of Luang Prabang. Visit Wat Xieng Thong, the finest example of Luang Prabang architecture, as well as the gilded carved façade of Wat Mai. Also visit the National Museum, the former Royal Palace, where relics from Laos’ royalist past remain. It is said that those who do not climb the 328 steps up Phousi Mountain have not really made it to the city. Venture up the hill and be rewarded with remarkable views of the area. Journey back down the southern slope to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, a private museum displaying interesting information on the tribal peoples of Northern Laos.
Day 8: Kuang Si Waterfall
Travel south of town to the Kuang Si Waterfall. Stop along the way to visit the Living Crafts Centre, a place where you can meet weavers and learn about textiles, while helping keep these traditions alive. At the falls, crystal water cascades into idyllic turquoise pools. Bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim. Also take time to visit the nearby Sunbear Refuge to learn more about the poaching of these endangered creatures.
Day 9: Luang Prabang
After breakfast, meet the chef at the cooking school. Travel together to visit the colorful and vibrant Phosy Market, where you will make your guided food selections. Continue onward to an exotic jungle garden and prepare the ingredients for. The chef will explain to you the differences of South East Asian cuisines and distribute printed recipes providing you with the possibility to cook Lao food for your friends at home. Enjoy the lunch that you prepared.
Day 10: Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng
Take a six-hour drive along picturesque winding roads to Vang Vieng. There are stunning vistas of towering limestone karst hills around every turn. The afternoon is free for you to relax or explore this lovely town.
Day 11: Vang Vieng
Enjoy the scenic wonders of Vang Vieng at your leisure. You can go inner-tubing in the cool, lazy river, try your hand at kayaking or caving, or just relax and enjoy the amazing views from your balcony.
Day 12: Vang Vieng – Vientiane
After breakfast, check out and drive to Vientiane (about 3 hours). On arrival, enjoy a city tour of Vientiane, the quietest Asian capital. Visit the historical sites of Wat Sisaket and Hor Pha Keo, which houses a fine collection of Lao art. Continue on to Patouxai, the Victory Monument, with panoramic views of town. Finally end up at That Luang, the holiest site in Laos and its national symbol.
Day 13: Depart Vientiane
Explore sleepy, friendly Vientiane on your own until it’s time to transfer to the airport for your flight.