Laos Discovery Trip Notes

At Imaginative Traveller we always aim to provide accurate information for our travellers. Unfortunately information such as the price of optional activities is occasionally subject to change, and this means that we are constantly revising our trip notes. In order to ensure that you have the most up to date information for your trip we suggest that you check the trip notes for your tour around one month before departure.

  • Trip code : ITLRK
  • Trip length : 15 Days
  • Trip starts in : Hanoi, Vietnam
  • Trip ends in : Bangkok, Thailand
  • Maximum group size : 16
  • Ages : Min 15
  • Meals : 6 breakfasts
  • Accommodation : Guesthouse (9 nts), Hotel (4 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)
  • Transport : Boat, Bus, Plane, Private minibus, Songthaew, Tuk-Tuk

 

daily-itinerary1

Day
1

Hanoi

Xin chao! Welcome to Vietnam.

Your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6pm on Day 1.

Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask the hotel reception where it will take place. If you can't arrange a flight that will arrive in time, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please ensure you have all these details to provide to your leader.

The capital of Vietnam is a charming city with a population of over six million. Hanoi is famous for its beautiful lakes, shaded boulevards, verdant public parks and its thriving Old Quarter, which is an architectural museum piece with blocks of ochre buildings retaining the air of a 1930s provincial French town. As Vietnam develops to compete with other South-East Asian countries, the beautiful Hoan Kiem Lake reflects the contrasts of modern office buildings, old Buddhist temples and the tangle of ancient streets in its still surface.

If you arrive early, why not get your first taste of Vietnam exploring the lovely, laidback capital. You can stroll the tree-lined boulevards to get a sense of the old days, wander the Old Quarter to uncover ancient temples and a rich, religious culture or head to the Temple of Literature, an oasis of calm right at the heart of Hanoi.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

Days
2-3

Vientiane

We have a free morning to take in the sights of Hanoi before a short afternoon flight to Vientiane (approx 1 hour)

Possibly Asia's most laidback capital, Vientiane is a city where daily affairs are conducted at a relaxed pace. Hardly touched by the modernisation that has completely changed the face of other cities in South-East Asia, Laos still has a wealth of cultural delights to discover - on foot, or for the less energetic, by jumbo (tuk tuk).

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. A great way to round off the day is to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Mekong.

Take to the streets on foot to visit Wat Si Saket, perhaps the oldest temple in Laos. Close by, and once home to the 'Emerald Buddha', visit the former royal temple of the Laos monarchy, Haw Pha Kaew, with a vast array of Buddhist style sculptures. Continuing on to a symbol for Vientiane, Patuxai, or Victory Gate, head to the top for an unsurpassed view of the city.

Visit COPE, an organisation dedicated to assistance those who have been injured by the multitude of unexploded ordinance across the country.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (2 nts)

Days
4-5

Vang Vieng

Take a beautiful local bus ride through roadside villages to Vang Vieng (approx 4 hrs).

Situated on the Nam Song River, Vang Vieng offers limestone karst scenery, local markets and riverside walks.

There is plenty to do in and around Vang Vieng. The area is renowned for its many caves, many of which are easily accessible from the town, perhaps the most famous is the cave of Tham Chang, a beautiful cavern fed by a natural spring making it a perfect spot for a refreshing swim. Hire bicycles to explore further afield, or a tour of an Organic Mulberry Farm is also an option.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 nt)

Days
6-8

Luang Prabang

Take the bus through dusty villages and winding mountain roads to Luang Prabang (approx 7 hrs).

The atmospheric World Heritage-listed city of Luang Prabang is a favourite of many. Nestled in the hills of northern Laos on the confluence of the Mekong and Khan rivers, it's studded with ornate temples and French colonial architecture.

Join our local guide on a walk of the local area, learn more about Lao culture at the temple of Wat Pha Mahathat and 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. The lovely pool at the base of the falls is perfect for a refreshing afternoon dip.

There's plenty to explore here from the Royal Palace and many temples to the sacred caves of Pak Ou a short distance outside the city. You can also make the steep climb up Mount Phousi, the spiritual and geographical heart of the city, and a great spot to watch the sunset over the Mekong.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (3 nts)

Day
9

Pakbeng - Mekong River

Board our private boat for the two-day journey down the mighty Mekong River. While our boat is basic in nature, the journey is relaxed - a great way to experience the slow pace of village life and the breathtaking scenery along the river. Dock at the small trading port of Pak Beng to spend the night (approx 8-9 hrs).

Prior to the boat departure, ask your leader if you need help to purchase food and drinks for the journey. It can also be quite cold from November to February so make sure you have some warm gear packed. Due to dam construction upstream water levels are not as reliable as in previous years. When the river is at its lowest (Feb-Apr), groups may need to take a bus to Pak Beng instead of the boat. This is due to safety reasons and is advised by our local operators.

Stay overnight in a basic guesthouse.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 nt)

Day
10

Chiang Khong

Reboard our boat and cruise leisurely upriver further to Huay Xai before crossing the border into Thailand and our overnight in Chiang Khong (approx. 8-9hrs).

Sitting on the Mekong, Chiang Khong is a quiet town on the Thai side of the Thai-Lao border with beautiful countryside and a relaxed atmosphere.

Formerly known as 'Juon', peaceful riverside Chiang Khong remains an important market town for the surrounding hill tribes and trade with Laos.

Stay overnight in a basic guesthouse.

Accommodation: Guesthouse (1 nt)

Days
11-13

Chiang Mai

Take a private minibus to Chiang Mai (approx 5 hrs).

The most vibrant city in northern Thailand, Chiang Mai has many famous temples and an interesting old city area. This 'Rose of the North' is also known for its beauty and the friendliness of the local people.

There are so many things to do here - spectacular temples, delicious food, an enormous night market, picturesque river-front and fantastic shopping. Join your leader on a walk through the old city, or undertake the many optional activities available. Chiang Mai is a great place for hiring a bicycle, climb to Doi Suthep temple, sign up for a Thai cooking class or loosen those muscles with some traditional Thai massage.

Board an overnight train for Bangkok (approx 13 hrs).

Accommodation: Hotel (2 nts), Overnight sleeper train (1 nt)

Days
14-15

Bangkok

Arriving early in the morning, we make our way to our hotel in Banglamphu.

There is plenty to see and do in the bustling city of Bangkok. 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. Life along these canals seems a world away from the chaotic streets of the capital.

There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Accommodation: Hotel (1 nt)

 

included1

  • Vientiane - Walking tour
  • Vientiane - Wat Sri Saket
  • Vientiane - COPE visit
  • Luang Prabang - Walking tour
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep transport (minivan for group)

 

optional-extras

  • Hanoi - Revolutionary Museum - VND15000
  • Hanoi - Temple of Literature - VND20000
  • Hanoi - Museum of Ethnology - VND40000
  • Vientiane - Tuk Tuk to Buddha Park - USD25
  • Vientiane - Vientiane temples - USD1
  • Vang Vieng - Bicycle hire - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Cooking demonstration - USD30
  • Luang Prabang - National Museum - USD4
  • Luang Prabang - Wat Xieng Thong - USD2
  • Luang Prabang - Royal Theatre - USD20
  • Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls - USD2
  • Chiang Mai - Doi Suthep temple - THB50
  • Chiang Mai - Bicycle tour - THB750
  • Chiang Mai - Thai cooking course - THB800
  • Chiang Mai - Urban Adventures - Mind & Soul - THB2300
  • Bangkok - Thai massage - THB250
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok by Bike - THB1500
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Bangkok Chinatown Food Discovery - THB1870
  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House - THB100
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Temple & River of Kings - THB2200
  • Bangkok - Urban Adventures - Tuk Tuk city tour - THB1400

 

not-included1International flights, 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.

 

tripgrade1

Basic

Our Basic tours offer superb value and are ideal for those who are happy to forgo some creature comforts in favour of an authentic and fun experience. Under the leadership of a fully trained tour leader, you will enjoy all the highlights and freedom of independent travel with the convenience, security and companionship of a small group.

Style Facts

  • Plenty of free time to explore independently
  • Optional activities to suit your budget
  • Freedom to choose your own meals
  • Simple family run hotels
  • Mostly public transportation
  • Fully trained and experienced leader

This tour is operated by our partners Intrepid.

 

visa1A necessary bugbear of adventure travel, visas can appear complicated, costly and confusing to apply for. Imaginative Traveller recommend applying for visas with a professional visa service who can guide you though the process and take care of lodging and collecting your passport with multiple embassies, so we have teamed up with The Visa Machine.The Visa Machine ‘live and breathe’ visas and have the expertise to provide current and accurate information and arrange the correct visas for your trip, quickly and at a good price.Please click here for more information.

 

medical-preparation1We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations. In some places anti-malaria medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow yourself plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental check up is also highly recommended.

 

Money1Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.

You will need to take cash to cover all additional expenses not included in your tour cost. These include food, drinks, optional sightseeing, tips, laundry, souvenirs and possible delays. If in doubt, bring more than you think you will need. It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the time; providing your claim falls within the scope of your policy, your insurance company will make reimbursement later

 

travel-insuranceYou must have extensive travel insurance as a condition of booking with us, and without evidence of a valid policy you won’t be allowed to start your trip. Please click here for more information.

 

responsible-travel1Responsible tourism is at the heart of Imaginative Traveller. For 20 years we have taken customers to places around the world in social and environmentally responsible manner, ensuring everyone involved respects and maintains the natural and often delicate balance of the destination.As travellers ourselves we are well aware of the impact that tourism can have and whilst economic gain from tourism is often fundamental to a country, it should never be at the expense of its culture or the environment. It is our aim to provide journeys that have minimal negative and maximum positive impact on the places we visit. We do not believe that, as visitors, we should impose our own cultures on others; rather that we should experience foreign cultures and appreciate them for what they are.We believe giving something back is essential. We therefore work with our customers and the people we visit to ensure the benefits go directly to contribute to local cultures and environmental conservation. This is not only good the communities we visit but it also gives our travellers more enriched adventures.For further information about responsible travel please click here.

search

299 holidays


need help & expert advice?
01728 862230


Sign-up for our newsletter

tailor-made adventure trips

Our tailor made adventure holidays will truly inspire and delight the senses and will live in your memory for ever.

more info

Last Minute Specials -  Up to 20% Off

Join us on one of our worldwide adventures coming up over the next few months – all guaranteed to depart, all at up to 20% off.

more info