Don't Stop Me Laos

Mekong slow boat cruise
Vietnam's northern capital Hanoi
Vientiane
Chiang Mai's Night Bazaar - Lanna handicrafts and traditional wares of the hilltribes
The monks of UNESCO World Heritage-listed Luang Prabang
Vang Vieng's river
  • Swing into Laos from Hanoi and see all the good stuff - sleepy Vientiane, nature lovin’ Vang Vieng, good-lookin’ Luang Prabang, and the mighty Mekong. Then on to Thailand for temple-y Chiang Mai and Bangkok.
     
    It's like every cafe, restaurant and bar in Vang Vieng was handed the box set of Friends and told to play it on repeat. Don't panic if you find yourself humming, "I'll be there for you" and asking perfect strangers, "How you doin?" It's inevitable.

    Itinerary

    Day 1 - Hanoi

    Pay your respect to Uncle Ho then hit the cobblestone streets for exploring.

    • The adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.
    • If arriving early, why not get your first taste of Vietnam exploring the lovely, laidback capital
    • Perhaps stroll the tree-lined boulevards, wander the Old Quarter or head to the Temple of Literature, an oasis at the heart of Hanoi

    Day 2 - Vinh

    Get your street food fix at the Central Market. There's pho bo, bun bo and pho ga aplenty.

    • Enjoy time for a bit of last-minute shopping or sightseeing before leaving Hanoi
    • Board a private bus bound for Vinh and enjoy the diverse countryside on the drive to the birth place of Ho Chi Minh (approx 7 hrs)
     

    Day 3-4 - Vientiane

    Riverside calm, gorgeous temples, fab food and charming locals. What more could you want?

    Journey through spectacular mountain scenery by minibus on the Ho Chi Minh trail, before crossing the border into Laos and heading for the capital, Vientiane. It's a long day (approx. 12 hours)

    • Follow dusty tracks along the river to find villages full of friendly children, dogs and chickens
    • Vientiane's vibrant, colourful morning market (which incidentally is open all day!) is full of local treasures
    • Perhaps round off the day by watching a spectacular sunset over the Mekong
    • Take to the dusty streets on foot to visit Wat Si Saket, perhaps the oldest temple in Laos
    • Once home to the 'Emerald Buddha', visit the former royal temple of the Laos monarchy, Haw Pha Kaew
    • Continue on to a symbol for Vientiane, Patuxai, or Victory Gate, and head to the top for an unsurpassed view of the city
    • Visit COPE, an organisation dedicated to assisting those who have been injured by the multitude of unexploded ordinance across the country

    Day 5-6 - Vang Vieng

    Bikes are a great way to check out the limestone karsts, caves and cliff faces.

    • Take a beautiful local bus ride through roadside villages to Vang Vieng (approx 4 hrs)
    • Perhaps visit the local markets, enjoy some riverside walks, explore the many nearby caves, or take a swim at Tham Chang
    • Why not hire bicycles to explore further afield
    • Optional tour of an Organic Mulberry Farm

    Day 7-9 - Luang Prabang

    No modern buildings and nothing higher than two floors at this UNESCO World Heritage site town.

    • Take the bus through dusty villages and winding mountain roads to Luang Prabang (approx 7 hrs)
    • Join a local guide on a walk of the local area
    • Learn more about Laos culture at Wat Pha Mahathat
    • Explore the local market where the variety of local produce will amaze
    • Head out to the beautiful Kuang Si Falls, where pale turquoise waters cascade over limestone formations - perfect for an afternoon dip
    • Other sites to explore include the Royal Palace (National Museum) and many temples
    • Perhaps make the steep climb up Mount Phousi - a great spot to watch the sunset over the Mekong

    Day 10 - Mekong River

    Let the Mother Mekong show you her part of the world

    • Board a private boat for a relaxing two-day journey down the mighty Mekong River - a great way to experience the slow pace of village life and the breathtaking scenery along the river including a visit to the sacred caves of Pal Ou (approx. 8 hrs)
    • Dock at the small trading port of Pakbeng to spend the night (approx 6 hrs)
    • Stay overnight in a very basic guesthouse

    Day 11 - Chiang Khong

    Temples, markets and food. In April there's a Giant Catfish Festival.

    Reboard the boat and cruise leisurely upriver to Huay Xai (approx 8 hrs)

    Disembark at Huay Xai and crossing the river (border) into Thailand

    Spend the night in Chiang Khong - an important market town for the surrounding hill tribes and trade with Laos

     

    Day 12-13 - Chiang Mai - overnight train

    Try local favourite khao soi (yellow noodles in thick coconut milk curry), topped with crispy fried noodles, wedges of lime, pickled cabbage and shallots).

    • Take a private minibus to Chiang Mai (approx 6 hrs) - the 'Rose of the North' is known for its beauty and the friendly local people
    • Visit spectacular temples, night markets, the picturesque river-front and eat delicious food and enjoy fantastic shopping
    • Take a leader-led walk through the old city
    • Optional activities include: hiring a bicycle, climbing to Doi Suthep temple, signing up for a Thai cooking class or loosening those muscles with some traditional Thai massage
    • Board an overnight train for Bangkok (approx 13 hrs)

    Day 14-15 - Bangkok

    Check out the Grand Palace on an optional visit, then hit the shops

    • Arriving early in the morning, head towards the hotel in Banglamphu
    • Perhaps relax and indulge in some Thai massage, or travel by longtail boat down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous 'khlongs' (canals) of Bangkok
    • Tour finishes after breakfast on Day 15
  • What's Included

    • An experienced local tour guide, 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
    22 Jan 2015 - 05 Feb 2015 Available US $1,440 Book Now
    12 Feb 2015 - 26 Feb 2015 Available US $1,580 Book Now
    26 Mar 2015 - 09 Apr 2015 Available US $1,330 Book Now
    02 Apr 2015 - 16 Apr 2015 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    14 May 2015 - 28 May 2015 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    15 Oct 2015 - 29 Oct 2015 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    19 Nov 2015 - 03 Dec 2015 Available US $1,535 Book Now
    17 Dec 2015 - 31 Dec 2015 Available US $1,595 Book Now
    21 Jan 2016 - 04 Feb 2016 Available US $1,595 Book Now
    11 Feb 2016 - 25 Feb 2016 Available US $1,535 Book Now
    24 Mar 2016 - 07 Apr 2016 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    31 Mar 2016 - 14 Apr 2016 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    12 May 2016 - 26 May 2016 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    13 Oct 2016 - 27 Oct 2016 Available US $1,475 Book Now
    17 Nov 2016 - 01 Dec 2016 Available US $1,535 Book Now
    15 Dec 2016 - 29 Dec 2016 Available US $1,595 Book Now
  • Past Travellers' Ratings & Comments

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15 days
$1390
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Nuts+Bolts

#GTDS
- 16
Boat, Bus, Private bus, Songthaew, Tuk-tuk
1 night Sleeper train, 7 nights Guesthouse, 6 nights Hotel
Hanoi
Bangkok

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