Mother Mekong

Explore Buddhist temples in Laos
Bond with your local guide in Thailand
  • The mighty Mekong runs through China, Burma, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. It's the seventh longest river in Asia. We take a Mekong Cruise. It would be kinda rude not to.

    (Was Beyond the Mekong)

    Itinerary

    Day 1-2 - Bangkok

    After a little meet 'n' greet, grab your new mates and hit the city. Jump on the Skytrain or head to the floating markets for a bit of people watching. The overnight train to Chiang Mai will expose the snorers.

    Day 1

    Arrive in Bangkok and get to grips with this awesome city

    Day 2

    • Visit some of Bangkok’s most famous sights, including the Grand Palace and Emerald Buddha
    • Enjoy the rest of the day to further explore the city
    • Shop for bargains, eat in exotic restaurants and perhaps hit some bars or nightclubs
    Breakfast

    Day 3 - Chiang Mai

    Free time. Last one up the 300 steps of Doi Suthep buys the Chang beer.

    • Spend a free day exploring the northern city of Chiang Mai, with over 120 temples in the centre alone
    • Visit the Tribal Research Institute and gain excellent background information on the cultures and customs of the various inhabitants of the hill regions Thailand and Laos
    • Set off on an excursion to the top of Doi Suthep, with fantastic views over the city
    • Perhaps get a traditional Thai massage or even partake in a cooking class
    • Why not visit the Night Bazaar a great chance to practice those bargaining skills

    Day 4 - Huay Xai

    There's a bit of travel today, so charge your iPod. Tonight we arrive in Laos, and this chilled out little town on the banks of the Mekong. Tuck into some local whiskey and a bit of sticky rice (they love their sticky rice here).

    • Take a small boat across the Mekong River to Huay Xai, the first stop in Laos
    • Enjoy time to wander around this small place and perhaps ascend the Naga stairs to Wat Jom Khao Manilat
    • Perhaps visit a nearby minority village, where they make rice whiskey, noodles and handicrafts

    Day 5 - Mekong River - Pakbeng

    They don't call it a slow boat for nothing. Meander down the river to a little place called Pakbeng. It's back to basics tonight when we sleep in a local guesthouse.

    • Board a slow boat for a trip down the Mekong River
    • Arrive in the late afternoon at Pakbeng; a colourful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River

    Day 6-8 - Luang Prabang

    Stu, our favourite Destination Manager (he bribed us to say that) says when it comes to food you’re spoiled for choice. If you want to splash out head to L’Elephant or just grab a deckchair and lose track of time at Utopia bar on the river.

    • 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’
    • Trek to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls

    Day 9-10 - Vang Vieng

    Mountains. Villages. Lime karst cliffs. Caves. Kayaking. The end.

    • Transfer to a local fan cooled bus and head toward the village of Vang Vieng, located on a bend in the Nam Song River
    • Cross the river to explore the huge caves that line the West Bank
    • Enjoy plenty of time to make your own discoveries or partake in an optional kayaking day trip  along the Nam Song

    Day 11-12 - Vientiane

    Embrace a bit of pedal power in the capital of Laos. Buddha Park is pretty cool and you can't beat a tour of the Beer Lao Brewery followed by a cold one as the sun goes down.

    • Continue to the Lao capital, located on the banks of the Mekong River
    • Arrive in Vientiane and explore this small and laid-back capital on bicycle or on foot
    • Set off on a walking orientation tour takes you to the oldest remaining temple in Vientiane, Wat Si Saket
    • During free time, further explore Vientiane’s other historical sites, including Haw Pha Kaew

    Day 13-14 - Lak Sao - Vinh

    The term “really, really, super remote” might not cut it, because Lak Sao is about as far off the grid as you can get. Once we get to Vietnam, there's another chance to laugh at the snorers on the Reunification Express sleeper train.

    Day 13

    • Travel through stunning mountain scenery and a Stone Forest to the town of Lak Sao

    Day 14

    • Cross the border into Vietnam and head for the port city of Vinh, birthplace of Ho Chi Minh
    • Board the Reunification Express sleeper train for the 300-kilometre train journey to Hanoi

    Day 15-16 - Hanoi

    Make the most of your local tour guide in Hanoi, because it's nearly home time. Why not challenge them to find you the city's best bun cha?

    • Begin by visiting the One Pillar Pagoda near the Soviet-inspired mausoleum of Ho Chi Minh
    • Walk to the Temple of Literature - Vietnam’s first educational institute
    • Visit the Hoa Lo Prison, probably better known to most as the ‘Hanoi Hilton’
    • Enjoy a free afternoon to wander around town and check out the lifestyles of Hanoi’s people
    • Perhaps stop by the city’s Old Quarter, situated to the north of the lake
    • Board the Reunification Express in the evening for the trip to Hue
  • What's Included

    • An experienced local tour guide, and there will be the services of local site guides at some sites. All transportation, accommodation, meals and sightseeing as indicated.

    Not Included

    • International flights, arrival and departure transfers, departure and airport taxes, visas, all other meals, all optional tours or activities during free time, transfers outside of the tour program, travel insurance, tips and items of a personal nature.
  • Map Itinerary

  • Trip Dates and Prices

    Start Date – End Date Trip Status Price
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

    At the end of each trip, we ask our travellers to provide feedback. We publish the positive, negative and neutral feedback on this page to give you an overall idea of what to expect on this trip.

    Mother Mekong

    Juliet - , 14 Jan, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    Leave a bit of room in your rucksack if you intend to buy anything at the local markets! Lightweight sandals or shoes with good grip are handy too.

    Mother Mekong

    Rodney - Gilmore, ACT, 14 Jan, 2012
    5
    Overall Rating

    Had a blast , hill tribe meeting , mekong boat, tubing in vien veang , ha long bay, kings palace bangkok, definitely highlights for me.

     

 
16 days
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Nuts+Bolts

#GTBM
- 16
Boat, Local bus, Mekong slow boat, Mini-van, Overnight train, Pirogue (narrow canoe), Private aircon bus, Songthaew, Taxi, Tuk-tuk
2 nights Sleeper train, 11 nights Guesthouse, 2 nights Hotel
Bangkok
Hanoi

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