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Thai elephant playing in the water

Thailand and Laos

Example 13 Day Tour
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Immerse yourself in the mixed modern and historical culture in Bangkok, where you will visit the golden temples and Buddhas scattered all over the city. Travel to the northern part of Thailand to Chiang Mai where you'll have the opportunity to mingle with elephants. This trip also includes a visit to a UNESCO World heritage city, Luang Prabang, Laos. You will see structures that were built hundreds of years ago, and are still incredible today. Enjoy exploring the city with its many natural tourist sites like the Mekong River and the Pak Ou caves.

Day-by-Day Summary

Day 1 : Arrive in Bangkok
Day 2 : Bangkok Old Town Discovery Walk | Muay Thai Training in Bangkok
Day 3 : Bangkok to Khao Yai
Day 4 : Bangkok Countryside Biking
Day 5 : Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai
Day 6 : Sri Lanna National Park
Day 7 : Kanta Elephant Sanctuary
Day 8 : Chiang Mai Walking Tour
Day 9 : Fly to Luang Prabang
Day 10 : Pearl of the Mekong | Kuangsi Waterfalls | Buffalo Diary Farm
Day 11 : Pak Ou Caves
Day 12 : Luang Prabang | Optional Bike Tour
Day 13 : Depart Luang Prabang

Highlights

  • Explore the wonderful temples and Buddha sites in the city of Bangkok
  • Tour Thailand's countryside and experience the local culture
  • Visit an Elephant Sanctuary and the old city of Chiang Mai
  • Travel to Laos and visit the heritage city of Luang Prabang

Places Visited

  • Asia
  • Laos
  • Thailand
  • Bangkok
  • Chiang Mai
  • Khao Yai National Park
  • Kuang Si Waterfall
  • Luang Prabang
  • Nong Chok
  • Pak Ou Caves

Activities

Trip Type

  • Small Group

Activity Level

Relaxed

Trip Snapshots

Thai elephant playing in the water Traditional Thai architecture and decor Grand Palace in Bangkok Giving alms to a monk Pak Ou cave near Luang Phabang Kuang Si Waterfall Kayaking in Southeast Asia

Day 1 Arrive in Bangkok

Upon arrival at the airport, you'll meet your driver who will transport you to your hotel for the night.

Day 2 Bangkok Old Town Discovery Walk | Muay Thai Training in Bangkok

This morning your guide will pick you up from your hotel for an unusual walking tour in the old part of the buzzing capital. The tour starts with a fun transfer by local tuk-tuk to the city’s Giant Swing. You will then go to Lak Muang, Bangkok’s City Pillar Shrine, as Thai cities always house a pillar to host the guardian spirit or deity of the city. Next is Saranrom Park, a botanic garden and public park, and a walk along Trok Wisutbeside a khlong to end up at Wat Suthat Thepwararam. Walk from Dinso Road through several alleys to Tanao Road, cross Ratchadamnoen Klang and head towards a decades-old local restaurant, which offers great food and is virtually unknown by tourists. Continue to Wat Po, one of Bangkok’s oldest and largest temples. Next visit the Grand Palace Complex, which includes the Temple of The Emerald Buddha - unquestionably a "must" for every visitor to Bangkok. The Grand Palace - built in traditional Thai architecture mixed with European designs - was once the official home of the Kings of Siam. Your driver will pick you up at the meeting point to transfer you to your afternoon Muay Thai Training.

During the afternoon, you will learn about Muay Thai (2 hours class) from the home gym of Thailand’s most famous former fighter in Thailand, Sor Vorapin. Sor Vorapin Muay Thai Camp (Soi Suan Phak) is suitable for the guests who are seeking new experiences in Bangkok. This camp offers Thai Boxing training courses by serval professional trainers who are former Thai Boxing champions, themselves. Most of the trainers have over 15 years of experience in training Thai Boxing to foreigners and local Thai people. After you've finished your training at the famous Sor Vorapin camp, your guide will take you to Anantara Riverside or a similar restaurant for dinner.

Day 3 Bangkok to Khao Yai

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
Wake up at 07.00 AM and be ready to depart at 08.00 AM. Drive to the National park and stop along the way at a fantastic view point and the interesting visitor center. Go hiking through dry evergreen forest where gibbons, monkey, hornbills, are often seen. Next, drive up to "Haew Suwat" waterfall, have lunch nearby and can go swimming in a natural pool. In the afternoon you will drive to the second highest mountain of the park to go and relax on a superb viewpoint. In the evening you will go check for wild elephants that might come to the salt licks. Return to your hotel around 19.30 PM.

Day 4 Bangkok Countryside Biking

  • Hotel
  • 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch
This morning drive out of the city into the countryside for a day on bikes. Explore the Thailand of old in a land of gentle riverboats, rice fields, and tropical landscapes. See the temple of Phurt Udom Pol, Kamalulislam mosque, and the market town of Nong Chok. Visit a local women's cooperative, fish farms, working rice mills, traditional Thai wooden houses, and an old medicine shop. Stop for lunch before continuing on for a close-up view of Thai village life this afternoon before returning to Bangkok for a leisurely evening.

Biking Distance: 24 miles/ 40 km on easy dirt roads and field pathways.

Day 5 Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After breakfast, you will transfer to the airport for your domestic flight to Chiang Mai, the capital city of the north of Thailand.

Upon arrival in Chiang Mai, you'll transfer to your hotel with your guide and driver. This evening get a taste of the Chiang Mai nightlife. First join monks in a nightly chanting at a local temple. Here you may light some incense or burn a candle to participate as well. Next, enjoy dinner at 137 Pillars colonial house. After dinner, drive to the lively Waroros market, the hub of local life bursting with fresh flowers and local street food stalls. Sample some local Thai sweets before returning to your hotel for the evening.

Day 6 Sri Lanna National Park

Today, you're in for an exciting day of kayaking and cycling around the spectacular Sri Lanna National Park, located only an hour drive from Chiang Mai. First, cycle 20 km along beautiful rural roads set against the backdrop of bamboo groves, fruit orchards, and rolling rice fields. Next paddle kayaks out on Mae Ngat Lake Reservoir. Enjoy lunch at an exotic bamboo floating raft house on the lake and continue exploring the lake by kayak. Swim or find a spot to sunbathe as you relax this afternoon. Pack up the bikes and return to Chiang Mai early this evening.
Cycling: 2 hours
Kayaking: 2 hours

Day 7 Kanta Elephant Sanctuary

In the morning. you will meet with your guide and drive approximately 50 mins North of Chiang Mai through rolling hills, forest, and local farming areas. You will arrive at Kanta Elephant Sanctuary, where you'll change into traditional clothing. Prepare fruits for the elephants and meet them.  Feed, roam, touch, play with elephants. At the Sanctuary, you are allowed to spend as much time as possible with the elephants.
 
In the afternoon, you'll prepare and cook sticky rice mixed with herbs for the elephants. Learn about the background, health care and behavior of the elephants. Then, enjoy more time roaming, feeding and take an elephant walk to the river and enjoy bathing and scrubbing elephants. This time is focused on slowing down and allowing the elephants to enjoy each moment of their freedom, scratching, rubbing, throwing dirt, enjoying the view and take lots of pictures. You will also have a tea and coffee break before leaving Kanta Elephant Sanctuary and driving back to Chiang Mai, where you'll be dropped off at your hotel.
 
Note: You are only allowed to bring one small day pack per person. And you should bring a hat, sunscreen, sandals/flip flops, change of clothing (as you will get muddy or wet), towel, shoes suitable for walking, camera, and bug repellent. At the Sanctuary, you are allowed to spend as much time as possible with the elephants. Therefore, there is no formal schedule aside from pick-up times.

Day 8 Chiang Mai Walking Tour

After breakfast, set out to discover the charming old city of Chiang Mai on foot. The first stop is at Somphet Market, a daily fresh market selling fresh vegetables, spices, meat, fish and sweets. Next, walk to Wat Chiang Man, the oldest temple in Chiang Mai. Then, walk another 10 minutes to the Three Kings Monument. Learn about the history of the three kings, believed to be the founders of Chiang Mai. Visit the nearby Lanna Folk Life Museum (closed on Mondays). This renovated white colonial style building used to be the Municipal Court of Chiang Mai but has since been renovated inside to display the beauty of the centuries-old northern heritage. Continue your tour to the Chiang Mai Women’s Correctional Institution. Here, female prisoners are trained in Traditional Thai massage as part of the prison’s skills training and rehabilitation program. Enjoy a 30-minute foot massage and learn the story of this successful program. Continue walking to Wat Chedi Luang, which was built at the end of the 14th century. After your walking tour, venture out to try one of the infamous Chiang Mai dishes, Sirichai Khao Man Gai is popular for its tasty noodle curry and is a popular choice. Enjoy the rest of the afternoon freely. You may opt to take part in a Thai cooking class at Baan Thai Cookery School or continue to explore Chiang Mai on your own.

Day 9 Fly to Luang Prabang

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Chiang Mai Airport for your international flight to Luang Prabang.

Upon arrival, obtain your Laos visa if you haven't already obtained this prior to travel, then clear Immigration and Customs. You'll meet your guide in the arrival area and transfer to your hotel before having the evening free at your leisure.

Day 10 Pearl of the Mekong | Kuangsi Waterfalls | Buffalo Diary Farm

After breakfast, head out for a walking tour of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage City. Start with a visit to Wat Xieng Thong, one of the over 30 Buddhist temples and monasteries in town. This exquisite, 400-year-old, royal monastic complex is set on the banks of the Mekong surrounded by massive Banyan Trees that are nearly as old as the monastery. From here, explore small side streets, along back alleys and through temples—a city that could have been designed with slow travel in mind, the morning's walking tour will allow you to soak up the ambiance and appreciate the hidden charms of Luang Prabang. Through your guide, feel free to ask the locals questions as they go about their daily lives.
 
Continue wandering up the peninsula, stopping at temples and other sites as you wish. If interested, visit the National Museum, which is the former Royal Palace. Relics from Laos' royalist past remain here. Overlooking the palace is Phousi Mountain. If interested, venture up the hill and be rewarded with remarkable views of the area. During the day you will also visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, a nonprofit museum dedicated to the ethnic cultures in Laos.
 
In the afternoon, transfer to Kuang Si Waterfall. At the falls, crystal water cascades into idyllic turquoise pools. Bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim! You can also take time to visit the nearby Sunbear Refuge to learn more about the poaching of these endangered creatures.
 
On the way back to the town, you will stop to visit the Buffalo Dairy, known for its sustainable approach to local farming. An excellent way to finish your day. Definitely not only fun for kids but a real educational experience. This includes a guided tour of the farm & information on how they work with the local community, Buffalo feeding & bathing, milking demonstration, feeding chickens, pigs and rabbits, and bottle feeding calves. Relax in the café and enjoy the ‘cake of the day’ served with ice cream and tea or coffee before heading back to your hotel.

Day 11 Pak Ou Caves

Depart through Lao‘s scenic countryside to the Pak Ou Caves, a mystical pilgrimage site perched high above the Mekong River 27 miles outside of Luang Prabang.
 
On the way to Pak Ou Caves, you will stop at some local villages. One of the villages is a wonderful silk weaving village called Ban Sang Khong. The weaving techniques employed in Ban San Khong date back many centuries and are used to create some of Asia‘s most highly prized textiles. Some villagers are also engaged in Sa Paper production.
 
After a brief stop, continue your tour to Ban Pak Ou, where you will board a boat to reach the Pak Ou caves. Peering into dark corners, your eyes gradually adjust to reveal the serene faces and figures of more than 3,000 Buddha images, some inlaid with semiprecious stones. That these images remain undisturbed in this remote site in one of the world‘s poorest countries is a testament to the devotion of the people. Return by boat to Luang Prabang, cruising along the Mekong and enjoy the lush river life along its banks while sipping a drink and tasting some Lao snacks.
 
In the afternoon, enjoy free time at your leisure.

Day 12 Luang Prabang | Optional Bike Tour

Today is yours at leisure or you can join an optional bike trip.

The Small Chili mountain bike trip combines great cycling with the chance to discover authentic Lao rural life. Leave the beaten path and find your own adventure outside of town. You will be sized up early in the morning on quality mountain bikes and then ride out of town heading north along the Mekong River. After crossing the old communist bridge, make a stop to visit Xieng Lek Village, famous for its mulberry paper and weaving.  Next, turn up the Nam Xuang River going past villages and beautiful countryside scenery. The pavement ends and it’s then off-road into the countryside up and down hills past rice paddies and local villages.

You will ride through vast rice paddies and jungle dotted with Lao Leum, Hmong, and Khmu villages with locals tending to the daily activities of Lao agrarian life. The last leg of the day's ride will take you along the Nam Khan River.

The last stop before entering the Luang Prabang City is the beautiful Wat Phon Phao with its huge golden stupa and an incredible view overlooking all of Luang Prabang. Descend into the city and return to the Tiger Trail bike shop to complete this day ride from city to countryside and back.

The optional private bike tour is an additional charge and includes lunch.

Day 13 Depart Luang Prabang

  • 1 Breakfast
Early in the morning, you will transfer with your guide to the airport for your flight back home.

Chiang Mai - Hotels

Galleria 10

Luang Prabang - Hotels

Per person starting at
$2,584

Notes

Select a Date

Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

Included

  • 12 Breakfasts, 4 Lunches, 1 Dinner
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
    • 12 Nights Hotel
  • Both International Arrival and Departure Transfers are included.
  • Park Entrance Fee

Excluded

  • International Flights

Budgeting

  • $48 Optional Excursions
    • Small Chili Mountain Bike Tour
Payment & Cancellation Policies
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