Days
12
Price from
€756EUR

Kick off in old Bangkok, wind through fun-times Chiang Mai and hoon over the border into Laos where the real adventure begins. Peaceful Huay Xai’s up first, then river times on the mighty Mekong, lazing in beauty queen Luang Prabang, nature lovin’ in Vang Vieng and finish up in sleepy Vientiane.

You know they’re a welcoming bunch when you cross something called the Friendship Bridge. Take a leaf out of the Laotians book and make a few new friends in this part of the world.

In 2015 this trip was named  "Laos - Rhymes with Wow"


Start
Bangkok, Thailand
Finish
Vientiane, Laos
Countries
Laos, Thailand
Code
GTLS
Physical rating
Traveller’s rating
24 reviews
Ages
Min 18 , Max 39
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why we love this trip

  • Laos means laaaid-back. This is one of the most chilled-out countries going around

  • Two days of cruising down the Mekong River in a traditional-style boat is one Southeast Asia's classic trips, with more photo-ops than you can shake a bamboo cane at

  • Travel just like a local on an overnight train in Thailand. When in Rome...

  • The UNESCO-listed city of Luang Prabang is a serious slice of exotica. Between the French villas and the blazing sunsets over the Mekong, you won't know which way to look

  • You know those pictures of Laos you always see on the internet, the ones of cascading turquoise pools drenched in gorgeous rays of sun? That's Kuang Si Waterfalls and you get to swim there

Is this trip right for you?

  • Accommodation is basic, but clean and comfortable. The simplicity of life in Laos is one of its many, many charms.

  • There's a lot of travelling on local transport, with some long travel days. Things take time in Laos. But you're on holidays, right?

  • Some activities and meals are included, but most are optional. The good thing about this is you have loads of free time and can choose how to spend it.

Itinerary

This itinerary is valid for departures from 01 January 2016 to 31 December 2016. View the itinerary for departures between 01 January 2017 - 31 December 2017

Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city. Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have these ready for your leader.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Chinatown Food Discovery Urban Adventure - THB2149
  • Bangkok - Temple & River of Kings Urban Adventure - THB2465
  • Bangkok - Tuk Tuk Experience Urban Adventure - THB1790
  • Bangkok - Bangkok by Bike Urban Adventure - THB1904
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Kick things off by visiting Bangkok’s most famous sight, the Grand Palace. The rest of the day is yours to do what you like: shop and haggle for bargains or check out Chinatown. Head north to Chiang Mai in the evening on an overnight train (approximately 13 hours), sleeping in an air-conditioned berth. Multi-share compartments are air-conditioned and have bunk beds with sheets and a pillow provided. Your baggage travels in the carriage with you. There's also a food and drink service available on board (they don't let you go thirsty here).

Accommodation
  • Overnight sleeper train (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Bangkok - Grand Palace
Optional Activities
  • Bangkok - Thai Massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB150
  • Bangkok - Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) - THB50
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Arrive in Chiang Mai in the morning. The day is yours – see how many activities you can pack into 24 hours. There are over 120 temples in the city centre alone. You can set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep. There's a few hundred steps to climb, but the views are well worth it. Maybe treat yourself to a traditional Thai massage, or even partake in a cooking class so you can impress your friends in the kitchen when you get home. The night bazaar is a great chance to practice those ever-important bargaining skills.
Accommodation
  • Hotel (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Chiang Mai - Flight of the Gibbon zipline - THB3999
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple - THB50
  • Chaing Mai - Baan Thai Cookery School Half Day Course - THB800
  • Chiang Mai - Thai massage - THB200
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
You'll feel like a real traveller today when you catch the local bus to Chinag Khong via Chiang Rai (approximately 6.5 hours). Get through the border formalities, cross the Friendship Bridge to Huay Xai, and boom! You're in Laos. Huay Xai is a peaceful little town where you’ll have loads of free time. This is a good place to get stuck into your holiday reading, or get into a friendly argument with your new friends about the merits of the book versus the kindle. Some things to do out and about include climbing the Naga stairs to Wat Jom Khao Manilat, and visiting a minority village nearby where they make rice whiskey, noodles and handicrafts (ask your leader about it).
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Board a slow boat for a trip down the Mekong River (approximately 7 hours). This is where the real relaxtion starts, as you ease into proper holiday mode. Read a book, play cards, swap travel stories or just watch the amazing scenery pass by. Arrive in Pakbeng late in the afternoon and have a wander around this colourful village. This place is at the junction of the Mekong and Beng rivers. Remember, 'nam' means 'river', so if you say 'Nam Beng River', you're saying 'river' too many times.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Continue on the private slow boat, stopping to stretch your legs and explore the Pak Ou Caves, which contain hundreds of Buddha statues. Arrive in Luang Prabang in the evening and wander the streets of ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’ (ie really, really old and exotic and beautiful). Get a load of those French villas. And that sunset over the Mekong...
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy free time for optional activities today. There are many on offer. A trip to Kuang Si Falls is highly recommended if you feel like a swim in nature (and when you see these waterfalls, you probably will). Or visit a Buddhist temple. Afterwards, we think you deserve a rest. Find an herbal steamroom or maybe play some pentanque with the locals (it's a bit like boules). Don’t expect them to go easy on you.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Laos Red Cross sauna - LAK10000
  • Luang Prabang - Lao Red Cross massage - LAK40000
  • Luang Prabang - Mt Phu Si - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre - USD2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Enjoy some free time. Whether it's cruising around town or heading to those waterfalls that an Instagram filter couldn't even make more pretty, this is another day in paradise. By now you may have discovered the delicious (and amazingly inexpensive) night market food, which is always a great excuse to mingle with locals and dine with other travellers. For lunch, before the market opens, you might want to try some delicious noodle soup at one of the top-notch French cafes along the main drag.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Transfer to a fan-cooled local bus and head to the village of Vang Vieng (approximately 6–7 hours). This beautifully located adventure gateway lies on a bend in the Nam Song (that's a river, remember). Take in the views of mountains, rivers and big limestone cliffs that are so close you'll feel like you could reach out and touch them. Cross the river and explore the huge caves that line the West Bank. There will be plenty of time to make your own discoveries.

Notes: The mountain scenery on the way to Vang Vieng is spectacular, but the roads are pretty winding. Travel medication may be a good idea if you're prone to motion sickness.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Spend your day checking out the caves, lagoons and forests as you please. There are more outdoor activities on offer here than you could poke a stick at, so just ask your leader for a recommendation. A solid option is the Tham Nam (water cave). It's a short trip from town, and has a cool spot to swim if you're not game to enter the cave itself. If you are game, rent a torch and let the exploring begin (season depending).
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Optional Activities
  • Vang Vieng - Kayaking on the Nam Song River - USD12
  • Vang Vieng - Bicycle hire - USD2
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
It's almost over, red rover. But first it's time to enter the heart of modern Laos' French heritage – Vientiane, the capital city. You'll take a bus there this morning (approximately 4 hours). When you arrive, you'll visit Wat Si Saket, an extremely old and beautiful temple. Afterwards, enjoy some free time. This town is famous for its diverse, world-class array of cuisine, from French to Laotian and everything in between. So don't let yourself get too... lean. Start with a croissant. You know you could use a break from all of that rice.
Accommodation
  • Guesthouse (1 night)
Included Activities
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket
Optional Activities
  • Vientiane - That Luang - USD1
  • Vientiane - Laos National Museum - LAK10000
  • Vientiane - Aerobic class - LAK3000
  • Vientiane - Pratu Xai - USD1
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Your trip finishes after breakfast and you are free to depart anytime.
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

2 breakfasts

Transport

Boat, Local bus, Mekong slow boat, Mini-van, Songthaew, Tuk-tuk

Accommodation

Guesthouse (8 nights), Hotel (2 nights), Overnight sleeper train (1 night)

Included Activities

  • Bangkok - Grand Palace
  • Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Cave
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket

Reviews

Our Discover Laos trips score an average of 4.83 out of 5 based on 24 reviews in the last year.

Discover Laos, July 2016

Lizzie Fletcher

Discover Laos, August 2016

Mariah Dailey

Dates & availability

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Important notes

A single supplement is available on this trip please contact your sales agent for more information. On the following nights a single room is not available: Day 2 Overnight train and Day 5 Pakbeng

Essential Trip Information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.