Green Jungles & Golden Towns
The day of your big adventure has arrived at last – hurrah! You’ll start off with a few days in Thailand; once you touch down in Chiang Mai you’ll be met by a guide and transferred to your hotel. You’ll spend your time in this charming city exploring the eclectic markets, authentic residential areas, and majestic foreign consulates. You’ll also enjoy a trip up a mountain to see Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, the most sacred temple in Northern Thailand. Thanks to its location you’ll also soak up panoramic views over Chiang Mai.
Chiang Rai & the Golden Triangle
You’ll finish up your flirtation with Thailand with an overnight stay in the quieter city of Chiang Rai. Here you’ll visit Wat Rong Khun – better known to travelers as the White Temple - one of the most recognizable temples in all of Thailand.
It’s time to say goodbye to Thailand and hello to Laos! You’ll hop aboard a longtail boat and cruise down the Laotian Mekong. You’ll stop at a traditional village to observe rural life on the Mekong before heading onwards to Pakbeng where you’ll stay overnight at the Luang Say Lodge. The lodge is surrounded by lush greenery with spectacular views of the Mekong River, and you'll stay in a wooden bungalow with a lined walkway backing onto the river. Simply wonderful!
The next day you’ll cruise towards Luang Prabang, stopping on the way to visit a hilltop tribal village where you’ll learn how they make Lao Whiskey. You’ll also stop at the Pak Ou Caves, which contain thousands of Buddha images, before arriving in the cultural and religious capital of Laos - Luang Prabang.
For your first full day in Luang Prabang, you’ll visit the Kuang Si Waterfalls, a cascading series of turquoise pools that have to be seen to be believed. Spend your time here exploring the falls and surrounding lush forest; hike to the top of the highest drop or bathe in the lower pools. You’ll enjoy a picnic of local dishes with a view of the falls before heading on to the Bear Sanctuary, which looks after 23 Asiatic Black Bears rescued from poaching. The next day you’ll see the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage site with a local guide, including the National Museum and plenty of Buddhist temples.
Today you’re off to the beautiful rustic riverside town of Nong Khiaw where you’ll discover the cave of Phathok which was once used as a war shelter. You’ll learn more about this secret part of Lao history during the guided cave exploration. You’ll head back to the town passing by village scenes and rice paddies before enjoying a sunset over the river.
Leave rural life behind and head to the capital city of Laos, Vientiane. During your time in the city, you’ll experience a hands-on Lao cooking class where you’ll learn how to recreate traditional dishes and discover alternative ingredients for those you can’t source at home. With full bellies, you’ll head to the forest temple where you’ll discuss Buddhism with monks before enjoying your own private meditation session. Then it’s time to hit up a local spa where you’ll be treated to a one-hour traditional Lao massage.
Champasak & the 4000 islands
You’ll spend your remaining days in Laos in Champasak; a great base for exploring nearby attractions. During your stay here you’ll visit Wat Phou, a magnificent pre-Angkorian temple which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You’ll also drive south to the 4,000 Islands Region which you’ll explore by boat, bike, and tuk-tuk. You may even be lucky enough to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin.
On Day 16 you’ll leave Laos with memories to cherish forever - and plenty of new meal ideas to try when you get home!