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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 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 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.
Traditional Thai architecture and decorGrand Palace in BangkokGiving alms to a monkPak Ou cave near Luang PhabangKuang Si WaterfallKayaking in Southeast AsiaThai elephant playing in the water
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
Activity Level: Relaxed
Involves minimal physical effort and is typically associated with leisurely activities. Activities are low-intensity or last less than a few hours each day.
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Full Itinerary

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Day 1: Arrive in Bangkok

Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, please head towards the meeting point sign near Gate B. A representative/driver bearing a sign with your name is waiting for you opposite door 6.

The Association of Thai Travel Agents (ATTA) desk at Door 6 can assist you should you have any problems.

Day 2: Stroll the Old Quarter on Foot | Personal Muay Thai Training

After breakfast, set off on a morning walking tour with an expert insider to uncover the city's Old Quarter, where hidden sights, local artisans, intriguing Buddhist temples, and breathtaking views from Bangkok's only hill await.

Immerse yourself in the stories of this vibrant city, both past and present, as your knowledgeable guide shares insights. Begin at the Giant Swing, where you'll learn about its original use in Brahmanic ceremonies. Visit the Prison Park, once the site of an overcrowded penal facility, now a popular spot for locals to exercise. Take a moment to admire the City Pillar Shrine, erected during the capital's shift to Bangkok.

Meander through small alleys, explore an authentic fresh market and discover traditional wooden houses and guardian spirit signs. Engage with the stallholders at the fascinating Amulet market, where you can learn about ancient Thai superstitions and beliefs deeply ingrained in Thai culture. Find trinkets and good luck charms that catch your eye.

Enjoy lunch at Rongros Restaurant, a riverside establishment offering authentic Thai cuisine. Indulge in the flavors of the region and savor a memorable dining experience.

Experience Muay Thai, the ancient form of martial arts, through a personal training session guided by a master.
Immerse yourself in the rich traditions of Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, as you learn fundamental skills and uncover the techniques of this combat-style sport. Discover how the entire body is utilized as both a weapon and a shield in this dynamic practice. Witness the rituals performed before a match and gain a deep appreciation for the symbolism behind the armband, shorts, and headpiece.

Day 3: Khao Yai National Park Tour With Ranger

After breakfast, depart from Bangkok this morning and spend the day exploring Khao Yai National Park with an expert Park Ranger privately. It is Thailand's 3rd largest park and home to the Asian black bear, the Asian elephant, gibbons, deer, wild pigs, and not to mention 320 species of bird. The sounds of the jungle canopy envelop you as your ranger speaks to the unique flora and fauna that populate this remote region. Explore the evergreen forest, grasslands, and relax at one of the many waterfalls. 

Trek miles of crocodile trail and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.

After trekking in Khao Yai, head back to your hotel in Bangkok.

Day 4: Bangkok Countryside Biking

After breakfast, embark on a captivating cycle ride in Bang Krachao, often referred to as Bangkok's green lung, and discover a side of the city that few travelers get to experience. Get ready to meet the families who call this area home and delve into the local culture.

Join your fellow riders for a briefing, select your bike, and let the thrilling bicycle adventure unfold. As you pedal along, you'll pass by new townhouses and have the opportunity to meet some of the neighborhood's residents. Take a fascinating glimpse into the local community by visiting a kindergarten sponsored by a trusted local partner. Make a stop at a sweatshop for a well-deserved treat and refreshment.

Hop on board a longtail boat for a short journey to Bang Krachao, where you'll continue your cycling adventure along paths that wind through lush vegetation, shaded by towering coconut palms and banana trees. Take your time to soak in the serene surroundings and appreciate the natural beauty of the area. Pause at a community Buddhist temple and gain a deeper understanding of Buddhism, an integral part of Thai culture.

As you continue cycling, you'll eventually reach the pier for a short boat ride back to the vibrant energy of Bangkok's hustle and bustle. The total ride covers approximately 30 kilometers, providing you with an immersive and rewarding experience.

Remark: If your traveling date falls on a weekend, this program operates as Colors of Bangkok by Bike (weekend), and the surcharge is charged automatically.

On the other side of the river lies the "Jungle" or "Green Lung" of Bangkok, known as the city's greenest area. Cycling through Bangkrachao takes place on elevated pathways amidst lush vegetation, shaded by coconut palms and banana trees.

After a while, the bicycles are parked, and the journey continues through the park on samlors, traditional Thai rickshaws, or "bicycle taxis." The samlors make a stop at an authentic Thai market held only during the weekends. Explore the market filled with handicrafts and indulge in local delicacies available for purchase. Stroll around and taste some snacks provided by the guide.

Midway through the Bangkok biking experience, there is a lunch break at a local restaurant, where a small Thai meal, such as Pad Thai (Thai noodles) or Khao Pad (fried rice), is served. Following lunch, a visit to an ancient, non-touristy Buddhist temple takes place. The guide shares insights about the temple and Buddhism in general.

Unfortunately, it is time to return to the pier for a short boat ride back to the bustling city of Bangkok. Before reaching the office/lounge, a final stop is made at an open-air Muay Thai school. Muay Thai, also known as Thai Boxing, is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand, with roots dating back several hundred years.

Day 5: Fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

After breakfast, 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: Chiang Mai Pedal and Paddle Adventures

After enjoying breakfast at the hotel, explore the day trip from Chiang Mai to Sri Lanna National Park by bike. Discover the best of this national park with a mix of land and water. Witness unusual landscapes as you pedal along peaceful country roads. Sample Thai cuisine at the floating restaurant and spot monkeys by kayak.

Next, walk up to the iconic Buatong Waterfall, a popular climbing spot known as the "sticky waterfall." Put on your helmet and ride your bike down county roads through teak and fruit forests, surrounded by fresh air and mountain backdrops. Spot countless streams as you approach Sri Lanna National Park, where a water adventure awaits after crossing the Mae Ngad reservoir dam.

Then hop on a longtail boat and venture to a floating restaurant to recharge with a lunch of fragrant Thai specialties. Swap the bike helmets for life jackets for the kayak portion of the trip. Paddle around Buffalo Island for a chance to spot monkeys or the colorful kingfisher bird.

This active 20 km bicycle day tour from Chiang Mai takes place on good quality roads with a few small undulations. This family-friendly trip is suitable for all levels of riders, with plenty of stops, an exciting itinerary, and an air-conditioned support van. This cycle tour is the perfect choice for those who have already explored Chiang Mai's iconic elephant nature park and ancient temples and are looking for a truly unique and off-the-beaten-track experience in northern Thailand.

Day 7: Kanta Elephant Sanctuary

After your breakfast at the hotel, spend time with these amazing animals, as you listen to stories shared by park ranger guides about the individual rescued elephants. You have the opportunity to assist with feeding and bathing, while learning how the sanctuary offers positive change.

Embark on a journey to the outskirts of Chiang Mai, passing through rural landscapes and deep into the forest to reach the acclaimed Kanta Elephant Sanctuary (approx. 45 kilometers / 28 miles). Established by a local Not for Profit Organization, the sanctuary provides an education-focused home and rehabilitation center for rescued animals, predominantly from the tourism and logging industries. During your visit, professional and passionate ranger guides enlighten you about the ongoing issues facing wild elephant populations across Southeast Asia.

Change into traditional clothing and join in the preparation of the special daily diet of sticky rice and fruits for the elephants. You have the opportunity to meet these incredible animals, take part in the feeding process, and spend time observing them from a safe environment. Afterward, enjoy a sumptuous buffet of Asian and International dishes. Before heading down to the river for the elephants' afternoon scrubbing, the guides provide a safety briefing. Get ready to get wet as you lend a hand in scrubbing the elephants clean, utilizing the skills you've newly acquired.

Day 8: Explore the Old City on Foot

Enjoy your breakfast at the hotel. Then step out with your local insider and let them take you on a behind-the-scenes exploration of the Old City on foot. Along the way, you have the opportunity to listen to stories about Buddhism, sustainable Thai food, and rehabilitation programs for women prisoners.

Engage with the local vendors setting up their stalls with fresh produce and local trinkets at one of the city's main markets. Discover the new breed of chocolate makers and coffee roasters who use locally sourced sustainable beans. Take a peek inside the oldest temple, Wat Chiang Man, which was built in 1297 by the first king of the Lanna Kingdom. Continue your journey to the Three Kings Monument, a sculpture that represents the founding fathers of Chiang Mai. Immerse yourself in the fascinating Lanna Folk Life Museum and learn about the culture and history of the ethnic group from Northern Thailand.
Indulge in a 30-minute foot massage offered by female prisoners from the Chiang Mai Women's Correctional Institution. Witness firsthand how this rehabilitation program trains inmates and equips them with the necessary skills for their future release. Admire the imposing chedi (pagoda) of Wat Chedi Luang, which dates back to the 14th century but was reduced in size after an earthquake in the 16th century.

After your walking tour, venture out to try one of the infamous Chiang Mai dishes. Sirichai Khao Man Gai is a popular choice known for its tasty noodle curry.

After your local lunch, join a renowned chef and former TV personality at their home for a hands-on cooking workshop. Gain skills in creating Thailand's favorite dishes, packed with spicy, salty, sweet, and sour flavors.

Under the expert guidance of your masterchef, turn age-old family recipes into tantalizing dishes that you savor at the end, alongside your fellow cooks. Leave with the ability to identify different Thai herbs, prepare your own chili paste from scratch, and a selection of more than six dishes.

Day 9: Fly to Luang Prabang

After breakfast and check out, transfer to Chiang Mai Airport for your international flight to Luang Prabang.

Welcome to Laos! Upon arrival, obtain your Laos visa on arrival if you haven't already obtained it prior to travel. After that, clear Immigration and Customs. Proceed into the arrival area, where you meet your guide and transfer to your accommodation for check-in. You can then enjoy your leisure time.

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. As you explore, soak up the ambiance and appreciate the hidden charms of Luang Prabang. Feel free to ask the locals questions about their daily lives through your guide.

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 and holds relics from Laos' royalist past. Phousi Mountain overlooks the palace, and if you're interested, venture up the hill for remarkable views of the area. During the day, you'll 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. Crystal water cascades into idyllic turquoise pools at the falls. Bring a bathing suit if you'd like to swim! Also, take time to visit the nearby Sunbear Refuge to learn more about the poaching of these endangered creatures.

On the way back to town, make a stop to visit the Buffalo Dairy, known for their sustainable approach to local farming. It's an excellent way to finish your day, not only fun for kids but also a real educational experience.

This includes:
Join a guided tour of the farm and learn about their collaboration with the local community. Participate in feeding and bathing buffalo, witness a milking demonstration, and feed chickens, pigs, and rabbits. Don't miss the opportunity to bottle-feed calves and experience their adorable company.

After the farm activities, take a well-deserved break in the café. Indulge in the delightful "cake of the day" served with a generous scoop of ice cream. Enjoy a cup of tea or coffee, savoring the moment before returning to your hotel, refreshed and satisfied.

Day 11: Visit the Pak Ou Caves

Ater breakfast, depart through Lao's scenic countryside towards the Pak Ou Caves, a mystical pilgrimage site perched high above the Mekong River, located 27 miles outside of Luang Prabang.

During the journey to Pak Ou Caves, you'll have the opportunity to make stops at local villages. One of these villages is the captivating silk weaving village known as Ban Sang Khong. The weaving techniques used in Ban San Khong have been passed down for centuries and are responsible for creating some of Asia's most highly prized textiles. Additionally, some villagers are engaged in the production of Sa Paper.
After a brief stop, your tour continues to Ban Pak Ou. Here, you'll board a boat that takes you to the Pak Ou caves. As you peer into the dark corners of the caves, your eyes gradually adjust to reveal the serene faces and figures of over 3,000 Buddha images, some of which are adorned with semiprecious stones. The fact that these images remain undisturbed in such a remote location, situated in one of the world's poorest countries, is a testament to the devotion of the local people. After exploring the caves, you'll return to Luang Prabang by boat, cruising along the Mekong River. Take in the lush river life along the banks while enjoying a refreshing drink and sampling some delicious Lao snacks.

In the afternoon, you'll have free time to spend at your leisure.

Day 12: Luang Prabang | Optional Bike Tour

Enjoy your breakfast at your hotel.

The entire day is free for you to spend at your leisure.

Optional: The Small Chili Mountain Bike Ride.
Experience the Small Chili Mountain Bike Ride—an exhilarating adventure through rural Laos. You'll meet early in the morning to size up on a quality mountain bike. Explore off the beaten path, discovering local villages and scenic landscapes. Ride along the Mekong River, visit Xieng Lek Village, and navigate hills, rice paddies, and jungles. Witness daily rural life and enjoy panoramic views at Wat Phon Phao. Conclude the journey in Luang Prabang. This 50 km circuit combines on- and off-road biking for an unforgettable experience.

Day 13: Depart Luang Prabang

  • 1 Breakfast
After breakfast, you are accompanied by your guide to the airport for your onward flight.

Accommodations

Bangkok - Hotels

Chiang Mai - Hotels

Luang Prabang - Hotels

Dates & Prices

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Per person starting at
$2,568

Notes

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Rates may vary based on current exchange rate.

Included
  • 12 Breakfasts, 6 Lunches, 1 Dinner
  • 12 Nights Accommodations
  • 2 Days Locally Hosted Guide Service
  • Accommodations as listed
  • Ground transportation as listed
  • Activities as listed
  • Meals as listed
  • Access to a 24-7 Emergency line while traveling
  • Park Entrance Fee
Excluded
  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Flight costs (please request a quote)
  • Additional excursions during free time
  • Fuel and transportation surcharges (when applicable)
  • Optional Excursions - Small Chili Mountain Bike Tour

Map

When to Go

Jan
Feb
Mar
Apr
May
Jun
Jul
Aug
Sep
Oct
Nov
Dec
Good to ideal period to travel, and many people choose to visit at this time.
Chance for unpredictable weather but with fewer visitors.

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Kate was great to work with in the planning stage. She was prompt, helpful, and efficient. Our tour guide, Edwin, was knowledgeable and passionate. We were very happy to have traveled with Adventure Life, it made the trip easy and a true pleasure. We could concentrate on enjoying the experience rather than the details of travel.
Lisa Bridge

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