Explore the Treasures of Thailand and Laos
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  Duration: 17 DAYS/16 NIGHTS STYLE: Classic Travel

Explore the Treasures of Thailand and Laos

Overview
Tour Program
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Explore the treasures of Thailand and Laos on this thrilling tour that offers a wide variety of experiences in these two engaging and intriguing countries. Thailand and Laos share many similarities but offer something very different in their own rights. Enjoy the history, culture and thrill of the larger cities of Thailand where you will be able to see many national treasures from the extraudinary Buddha statues to magnificent, ornate buildings. You will also have shopping opportunities where the most enthusiastic shoppers can explore a totally different type of treasures. 

You will cruise along what is recognized as the most beautiful part of the Mekong River from Thailand into Laos. Explore and breathe in the beauty and wonder of the 4000 islands area of Southern Laos en route to the smaller but no less magnificent and interesting cities of this charming country. Explore many treasures of the delightful cities of Luang Prabang and Vientienne in Laos. The cities are totally different and equally engaging. 

'Explore the Treasures of Thailand and Laos' offers the ideal opportunity to visit cities large and small and to visit some of the most beautiful countrysides in SE Asia. Perfect for those who love variety and adventure.

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WHY YOU SHOULD BOOK THIS TOUR WITH US?
  • Personal attention to detail by all HGH from the time of your initial enquiry through to the end of your tour
  • 24 hour support available during the tour
  • Enjoy the degree of historical and cultural information throughout your tour from our local and knowledgeable tour hosts to the degree that you and your group are interested.
  • We focus on sustainable tourism by creating the very best experience for you as the tourist while supporting our local environment and local people
Itinerary Highlights
Day 1: Arrival Bangkok

Your arrival at Suvarnabhumi International Airport in Bangkok marks the start of your tour. Our guide is waiting to welcome you and take you into the centre of Bangkok to check into your hotel. The rest of the day is free to your leisure to explore Bangkok.

Hotel in Bangkok.

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Day 2: Bangkok Sightseeing

Today we will take you on a full-day sightseeing tour starting with a visit to the spectacular Royal Grand Palace, where among other things, you will see the Emerald Buddha Temple and Wat Pho (Reclining Buddha). The buildings, courtyards and walkways in the grounds of the Palace are a delight of architecture and decoration. We then visit Museum of Siam (The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday and closes on Monday). After which we take a  'tuk-tuk' to the colorful Flower Market.

After lunch (on your own), we board a long-tail boat along the intriguing Bangkok Noi Canals (East of Venice) before visiting Wat Trimit (Golden Buddha). Return to the hotel in the evening where you are free to spend your time as you choose.

Hotel in Bangkok.


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Day 3: Bangkok – Ayuthaya – Bangkok

Today we drive to Ayutthaya (the former Capital of Thailand). Our first stop is to visit the Bang Pa-In Summer Palace. That was once used as State Banquet Hall.  Further highlights of the old capital are Wat Chai Wattanaram also known as Khmer temple, Wat Phra Sri Sanpetch & Viharn Mongkol Borphit, the former Royal Temples. A short drive takes us to Wat Chong Lom Pier for us to board a boat to cruise down the Chao Phraya River back to Bangkok. We can enjoy a typical Thai buffet lunch onboard. The boat arrives at the River City Pier in Bangkok. Later in the day, we will go to MBK Hall otherwise known as the Siam Parago shopping mall.

Hotel in Bangkok.

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Day 4: Bangkok – Chiang Mai

And so we leave the capital and take a flight north to Chang Mai, “the Rose of the North”. You will be picked up and taken to check into the hotel (early check-in is subject to hotel’s availability).

In the afternoon, we can see the sights of Chiang Mai City. The old city Of Chiang Mai abounds with historical and cultural heritage. We visit 3 important temples, Phra Singh (the most beautiful architecture in northern style Chiang Mai), Jedi Luang (Temple of the Big Stupa), and Chiang Man (the oldest temple in Chiang Mai). Then a visit to the Chiang Mai City Arts & Cultural Centre offers an understanding of Chiang Mai’s history, customs, art, culture, and way of life.

If you choose, you can join us at the optional Khan Toke Dinner at night, where you will be treated to traditional northern cuisine. Dine in classic Thai style at this communal meal. You sit on a raised platform in front of a toke, a low circular table made of lacquered wood or rattan. During the dinner, you will be entertained by a cultural performance which includes the candle dance, sword dance, drum dance and more.

Hotel in Chiang Mai.

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Day 5: Chiang Mai Sightseeing

A picturesque drive takes us north to visit the Mae Sa Elephant Camp. You see the elephants taking their daily bath in the river before they are ‘put to work’ with a demonstration of their skills and abilities. As well as seeing the elephants playing football and painting, you will also see how they worked in the logging trade in the past. Although some of the activities are more frivolous than other activities, they are all included to keep these intelligent animals occupied and happy and demonstrate the amazing relationship and communication between rider and elephant.

After the demonstration, you will get to experience an elephant ride for 30 minutes through the jungle and into the water. We then visit the Orchid Farm to see the variety species of the orchids in Chiang Mai.

In the afternoon, we continue our tour to Doi Suthep Temple, located on the top of a mountain and about 15 km from the heart of the city. The 14th Century temple has been a holy place for more than seven hundred years under King Geu Na. The temple is located over 3,500 feet (1,053 meters) above sea level and offers a fabulous view of the city and the Ping Valley beyond. Nowadays, Doi Suthep Temple attracts many pilgrims and tourists, both local and international throughout the year.

In the evening, you can go shopping on your own at the famous Night Bazaar that has all kinds of products displayed for sale along the sidewalk. You will spend the night in Chiang Mai.

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Day 6: Chiang Mai – Mae Hong Son

After having an early breakfast, we drive up hill to Mae Hong Son “The City of Three Mist”. Along the way, you will get to see the beautiful panoramic scenery. Stop and take a break at Pai District, one of the most beautiful places in Thailand before visiting a small village to see the way life of the villagers. In the afternoon, we continue to drive to Mae Hong Son to visit Wat Chong Kham & Wat Chong Klang, the twin Burmese temples and Wat Phrathat Doi Kong Moo, which is seen as the the spirit centre of local people and Tai Yai. This last temple is located on the summit of the hill where you can have a 360 degree panoramic view of Mae Hong Son town.

Hotel in Mae Hong Son.

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Day 7: Mae Hong Son – Chiang Mai

An early start takes us to the morning market to see the traditional way of life of the local people. Here you will see the colorful costumes of the Shan and other tribal people, who come here to buy foods and fresh vegetables. Next, we take a long-tail boat trip along Pai River from Ban Huay Due Pier to visit Karen Long Neck Village. A tradition of the women of this tribe is to have a bronze ring around their neck. And finally, we head back to Chiang Mai by road.

Hotel in Chiang Mai.

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Day 8: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai

Day 8 of the tour takes us to Chiang Rai,the most Northern province of Thailand. We stop en route at the Mae Kha Chan Hot Spring to relax. Then we visit Wat Rong Khun or White Temple. This is the most beautiful Buddhism temple in the world and was created by Mr. Chalermchai Kositpipat, the famous Thai artist, who has dedicated his entire life to Buddhist art. Next we will visit Phra Kaew Temple where the Emerald Buddha used to be before it was moved to Bangkok. The evening is free for you to explore the town.

Hotel in Chiang Rai.


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Day 9: Chiang Rai – Golden Triangle – Chiang Rai

The day starts with a visit to Chiang Saen Ancient City, where the first king who built Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai was born. We then continue to the Golden Triangle where the three borders of Thai - Laos - Myanmar meet. Here we visit the Opium Museum. This is a private museum with artifacts and stories about the opium trade in past years. Next on the agenda is a visit to Mae Sai Border Market, which also forms the gateway to Ta Chi Leik in the mystical country of Myanmar (Burma). This ends of tour for the day and we head back to the hotel in Chiang Rai. 

Hotel in Chiang Rai.

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Day 10: Chiang Khong Pier (Chiang Rai) – Houei Say – Pakbeng (By cruise)

In the early morning, we drive to the pier for the immigration procedure and customs clearance to cross the Khong River. Your luggage will be taken by local boat to the Laos border village of Bann Huay Xai.

After crossing the border, our local guide will take you to a traditional boat that leaves Houei Say pier (at about 08:30AM) for a cruise down the Mekong to Pakbeng on the most beautiful section of the Mekong river. We make one stop en route to a village to see the rural life along the Mekong and meet the ethnic minority groups who live there. Lunch onboard. After a relaxing and sensual cruise, we arrive in Pakbeng before sunset, check-in to the hotel where we have dnner on the terrace overlooking the Mekong River.

Hotel in Pakbeng.

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Day 11: Pakbeng – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang (By cruise)

After breakfast, there is an optional walking tour to Pakbeng market where people from the surrounding minority villages exchange their goods. You can also take the opportunity to buy some souvenirs for yourself or as gifts.

At 08:30, we board the boat for the second leg of the cruise making a short stop to visit some H’mong villages before having lunch onboard.

En route to Pak-Ou village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River, we make a brief stop to visit Tam Ting “Cave of a thousand Buddha's” and see the traditional processing of local rice alcohol. The boat arrives at the pier in Luang Prabang before sunset. A short drive takes you to your hotel when you are free at leisure to have dinner on your own at one of the many restaurants.

Hotel in Luang Prabang.

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Day 12: Luang Prabang – City Tour & Kuang Si Water Fall

Our first stop in this beautiful town is to see the National Museum, formerly the King’s Palace. Built by French architects in 1909, the current building was based on older Palace foundations. Here you see a blend of French's and Lao's art such as paintings and murals of the royal family. In the reception area, you can see busts of all the past Lao kings. After seeing the Museum, we cross the road to climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an unmissable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa. It also offers a magnificent panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River.

We then go to Wat Aham, built in the 19th century. This temple houses two guardian figures at the foot of the steps, which represent two characters from the Ramayana – Hanuman, the Monkey god and a fierce Yaksa. And finally, we go to the Wat Xieng Thong, built in the 16th century. The Wat Xieng Thong surpasses any other temples in the Luang Prabang in elegance and grace and is a perfect example of Luang Prabang architecture. The beauty and wonder of this temple is a must see offering many photo opportunities.

In the afternoon, we will take an excursion by car to the spectacular waterfalls of Khouang Sy. The waterfalls are hidden away in the lush jungle and are the "must see" views for anyone who enjoys nature and scenery. On the way to the waterfalls, we stop and visit some of the hill tribe villages such as the H’Mong village of Ban Thinkeo and the Khmu village of Ban Thapaene. On your return to Luang Prabang, you can explore the night market on your own.

Hotel in Luang Prabang.

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Day 13: Luang Prabang - Vientiane & City Tour

A short flight takes us from Luang Prabang to the capital city of  Vientiane.  Vientiane is a charming and fascinating capital with an interesting mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and American influences. It has a cosmopolitan character with a remarkably small town feel about it that only adds to the charm.

The first stop on our city tour is the gorgeous 200-year-old Wat Sisaket temple which was the sole surviving temple during the Thai invasion of 1828. Next then go to see the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Finally, experience the breathtaking Patouxai & That Luang Stupa, a spectacular monument to Buddha.

Hotel in Vientiane

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Day 14: Vientiane - Pakse – Wat Phu – 4000 Islands

Your morning is free to explore on your own until it is time to go back to the airport to travel south to Pakse. At Pakse, you go directly to the pier to board for your cruise down the Mekong River to Champassak. Here you visit the fascinating pre-angkorian ruins of  Wat Phu, one of Southeast Asia's most dramatically situated temples. We have time to explore these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. The Wat Phu was classified as a World Heritage Site in 2002. This wonderful archeological site of Khmer civilization dates back to the 10th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We will continue our journey by land to Don Khong, the largest island in this South Mekong river region known as the 4000 islands. It is one of the most scenic areas in Laos.

Hotel on Don Khong Island

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Day 15: 4000 Islands – Full day Surrounding

The day starts with a trip on a long-tail riverboat through the maze of waterways and into the tropical paradise of Siphandone “The 4,000 Islands”. During the rainy season, the Mekong River reaches a width of 14km. When the water recedes, it leaves behind a myriad of islands and islets. We visit the Det and Som Islands for a glimpse of the way of life of the fisherman. Afterwards, you will arrive in Khone Island where you can discover some of the colonial vestiges. One of the sites to see is an old railway, which was built by the French in 1897 to bypass the powerful rapids that disrupt the navigation along the Mekong River. Next we will continue on to see the Liphi Waterfall, home to a pod of fresh water dolphins. These dolphins are an endangered species known as the Irrawaddy Dolphins.

After Liphi Waterfall, we cross the Mekong River and continue to the famous and gorgeous Waterfalls of Khone Phapeng. This is the largest cascading waterfall on the 4,350 km journey of the Mekong River as it travels from the Tibetan Plateau to the South China Sea.

After an enchanting and exciting day, we return to Khong Island.

Hotel on Khong Island

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Day 16: 4000 Island – Tadlo Bolaven Plateau – Pakse

From Done Khong Island, we continue our journey towards Tadlo, through the Boloven plateau. The Boloven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Rivers run off this high plateau in all directions and then plunge out to lush forests in a series of spectacular surging waterfalls. A trip to the plateau provides a refreshing break from the heat and allows you to observe the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that are grown in this area. This trip gives visitors the chance to venture off the beaten track and to discover some of the lesser-known areas of Laos, exploring the wild beauty of this southern region. Upon arrival at Tad Lo waterfall, we visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu, populated by ethnic minority groups. We arrive in Pakse by late afternoon.

Hotel in Pakse


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Day 17: Pakse – Departure

On the day of your departure, you are free to shop, relax, whatever you choose until it is time to transfer to Pakse Airport for your departure flight.

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