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Introducing Laos & Northern Thailand

(11 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakbeng, Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai

 

Combining cities, river journeys, temples and hill tribes, this tour starts in the unassuming capital of Vientiane. From here you take in all the main sights in Laos before crossing the border to Thailand’s Golden Triangle region.

 

** All our tours are Exclusive Private Tours, so you will not be put together with other guests **

 

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Day 1: Welcome to Vientiane

Fly to Vientiane, LAOS

 

Welcome to Laos. Upon arrival at Vientiane Airport, obtain your Laos visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Vientiane’s major attractions are the serene Buddhist monasteries that dominate the center of town. The city has kept its timeless charm with tree-lined avenues, brightly painted temples and quaint French architecture.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Vientiane

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Salana Boutique Hotel, Ansara Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Green Park Boutique Hotel, Settha Palace Hotel

 

Day 2: Vientiane

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day tour of Vientiane: After breakfast, you'll head out with your guide and spend the morning visit Morning Market and nearby Ethnic Handicraft Market. The Morning Market (Talaat Sao) is known for its superior silk weaving, metal work, and woodcarving. We continue to explore Vientiane capital by visiting the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. En route to Lao's national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane's own Arc de Triumph. The final visit of the morning will be the excellent COPE exhibition center, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War era.

 

Later this afternoon we visit the quirky yet impressive Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow. They were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. Upon returning to Vientiane we have the optional of stopping at the Lao Disabled Womens Centre, which provides valuable training and schooling for disabled women in Laos. Finish the day with the spectacular view of the Mekong River at sunset.

 

Day 3: Vientiane – Luang Prabang

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Luang Prabang.

 

Fly Vientiane to Luang Prabang on Laos Airlines QV101, departing 11:30, arriving 12:15

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, Luang Prabang, is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East Asia. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City.

 

After getting settled, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon visit the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and visit to Luang Prabang’s most beautiful temple, Vat Xiang Thong. Once a royal temple where Laotian kings were crowned, it is still home to the royal funeral chapel with the 12-meter-high funeral chariot and funeral urns for each member of the royal family. Remodeled in the 1960s, the temple features a gilded entrance, walls covered in black lacquer and decorated with gold figures and symbols and the impressive “tree of life” mosaic of stained glass, which is one of the best-known images in Laos, visit the Wat Mai temple; and take an orientation tour of the city and finishing with a hike up Vat Phousi hill in the late afternoon to see a sweeping view of Luang Prabang and watch the sunset. The temples on the slopes of Phousi are all recently constructed and located at the summit of the sacred hill. Phousi is reached by climbing 350 steps.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Luang Prabang

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Burasari Heritage, Mekong Riverview Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 4: Alms in Luang Prabang & local rural life

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Shortly after dawn in Luang Prabang, a gong announces the end of morning prayers and the beginning of a procession of monks emerging from the temples to seek alms; rise early this morning to experience this extraordinary ritual. After breakfast, stroll through the lively Central Market where the ethnic minorities of the surroundings come daily. Explore the National Museum, preserved from its days as a royal residence at the turn of the 20th century and depicting day-to-day life for the rich and royal, and take an orientation tour of the city. Next, you’ll continue to the Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts Center located on the Mekong River surrounded by a garden and artisans on the outskirts of town. Enjoy the early afternoon relaxing or walking around before you continue your tour, visiting the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Museum, a small private museum about minority groups where you can learn about ethnic cultures and traditional arts. The exhibits contain text, photographs and objects from villages throughout the north of Laos.

 

Spend the afternoon on a community based living rice farm situated in the idyllic countryside, surrounded by mountains and rice paddies. You’ll have an opportunity to experience the life of local rice farmers and try your hand at some of their daily activities, or view them from the comfort of a traditional Lao rice house balcony, surrounded by rice terraces and an organic vegetable farm. There will also be time to visit local handicraft workshops featuring crafts including bamboo weaving, blacksmithing, and sugar cane processing. And a tour of an organic garden offers insights on how natural herbs are used in traditional medicine. Returning to your hotel in Luang Prabang for an evening spent at leisure.

 

Day 5: Life in the Laotian countryside

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and drive to visit to Elephant Village for a delightful morning spent learning about Laotian elephants: Welcome greeting by our camp manager and participate in a short briefing about elephants. Enjoy the impressive experience of a 3 km elephant ride on the howdah (elephant seat) or on your elephant’s neck. From here enjoy boat trip to the Tad Sae Waterfall: Ride in a traditional Lao long boat to the Tad Sae Waterfall. After lunch, a scenic drive through the countryside leads to the multi-tiered cascades of the Khouang Si waterfalls. The distance is about 30km and takes approximately 1 hour passing through very scenic Laotian countryside. The waterfalls tumble over multi – tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. On the way to the waterfalls, visit small villages of Ban Na Oune, Hmong village and Khmu minority village of Ban Thapane for a glimpse into their lifestyle. Continue to the waterfalls. Return to Luang Prabang. On the way, visit Ban Ou, a lowland Lao village known for its cotton production. Continue to see silk production at Ban Phanom, a weaving village that become famous as the ‘weavers of royalty’, producing items for the Royal Palace of the last King of Laos.

 

Later afternoon, you'll be returned to your hotel for free to relax or explore independently.

 

Day 6: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – Pakbeng

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Private transfer: After breakfast at the hotel you will be transferred to Auberge Calao Pier where you will board the Luang Say Cruise upstream to Pakbeng.

 

Luang Say Cruise on the Mekong River: Luang Say cruise up the Mekong to Pakbeng and the Luang Say Lodge. A continental breakfast is served while the boat is cruising to Pak Ou Village, at the mouth of the Nam Ou River, where you will visit the Tam Thing Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. Enjoy a buffet lunch on board then stop at a Hilltribe village where you can watch the traditional process of Lao whiskey production. Arrive at Pak Beng around sunset and check in at Luang Say Lodge. Dinner on the terrace, overlooking the Mekong River.

 

Accommodation: Stay 1 night at the Luang Say Lodge (Standard Room)

 

Day 7: Pakbeng – Huay Xai – Chiang Khong – Chiang Rai

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

 

Luang Say Cruise to Huay Xai: Full breakfast at the Lodge. At 7.00am board the boat for the second leg of the cruise. En route one stop is made to observe rural life along the Mekong and observe minorities. Buffet lunch on board and then continue to upstream to Huay Xai. On arrival in Huay Xai you will be met and transferred to Chiang Khong Pier where you will cross the Mekong River into Thailand and heading to Chiang Rai where you will check into your hotel late afternoon.

 

Accommodation: Stay 1 night at the River House Resort (Deluxe Room)

 

Day 8: Chiang Rai – Dazzling White Temple – Chiang Mai  

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Breakfast and farewell to the camp, then meet with transportation and guide for transfer to Chiang Mai.

En-route, visit the unique Wat Rong Khun (White Temple), a beautifully crafted contemporary, yet unconventional Buddhist and Hindu Temple unlike any other in Thailand. Coffee break on the way at the excellent Jarin Garden Resort famous for its homemade pies operated by the Population and Community Development Association to serve and assist the rural people. And also be made at Mae Krachan hotsprings before arriving in Chiang Mai. Later continue to Chiang Mai and check into your hotel.

 

Thailand’s second city and capital of the north, Chiang Mai has a great cultural heritage and is a charming place to spend a few days learning the art of Thai cooking, browsing through colourful markets or relaxing by the river after a trek. The city has a tradition for making handicrafts and the expertise here makes it a good place to pick up silk, silver, lacquer and wooden souvenirs. Chiang Mai is also famous as a religious centre and there are a number of interesting wats to visit as you wander around the city’s streets. Outside Chiang Mai lies a region of mountains, valleys and rivers where the hill tribes live and the city has long been a base from which to go trekking or start an exploration of the beautiful north of the country.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Chiang Mai

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: U Chiang Mai, Tamarind Village, Ping Nakara Boutique Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Anantara Chiang Mai Resort, 137 Pillars House, Dhara Dhevi Chiang Mai

 

Day 9: Life in the hill tribe villages and scenic Doi Suthep

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Your guide will meet you at your hotel at 8:00am and taken to the White Hmong tribal village of Khun Chang Kien is located in the vicinity of Doi (=mountain) Suthep. Here you see the Hmong in their colorful costumes selling their wide range of antiques, decorative ornaments and fabrics. The villagers now earn their living by planting vegetables and growing fruit, having replaced their traditional cash crop – the opium poppy. Afterwards you will be driven up a serpentine road to the magnificently situated Wat Doi Suthep. Perched on a forested mountain, this most sacred Chiang Mai temple (3,280ft above sea level) provides a superb view over the city, as well as a wealth of Buddha statues made of jade and bronze as well as some frescos.

 

After lunch, you'll head out with your guide and spend the afternoon explore the local fresh market and visit four of the most important temples: Wat Phra Singh. This 14th century Lanna style temple has been one of Chiang Mai's most important sanctuaries. Opposite is Wat Prasat, one of the oldest unreconstructed temples in the city, and after looking around here you will visit Wat Chedi Luang which is one of Chiang Mai's most famous, and ancient, temples and houses a stupa that dates back to the 15th century. From here head to the city walls on to one of the most beautiful viewpoints for sunset – Wat Suan Dok where the ashes of former kings of Chiang Mai and the Royal Family are kept. Here at this fourteenth century temple you will witness evening prayer as the monks and local people come together at the end of the day.

 

Day 10: Elephant owner for a day. Makes unforgettable stay.

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

 

After an early breakfast you will drive out to Patara Elephant Farm where you will ‘own' and elephant for a day. On arrival at the farm you will register and get changed into your training outfit. You will then be trained in the ways of elephant handling, elephant farm management and the farm's breeding program. The training includes: hiking to find elephants in the bush; learning about approaching elephants; observing elephant temperament and an introduction to each of the farm elephants. You will also learn about the morning feed and daily health care for elephants. Later you will unchain and walk your elephant to the river. Learn about elephant skin care and bath your elephant in the river. You will be instructed on how to get on the elephant neck, sitting on the elephant, basic riding skills and spoken commands. Practice getting on and off your new friend. After the training you will attempt bare-back riding. Practice on an easy ride within the farm and a short trip to visit local temple. During the morning you will also learn about elephant in Buddhism and the beliefs that Thais have about elephants. Mid-morning set off on a long uphill trip to visit a waterfall where you will have a picnic lunch and bathe in the water with your elephant. Later ride your elephant back to the farm for the evening feed. At the end of the day bid your elephant farewell and then set off back to your hotel. Please note this tour will be shared with other participants.

 

Day 11: Depart Chiang Mai

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Today free at leisure until transfer to the Chiang airport in time for your flight to the next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $1,885*per person, based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room.

 

*Please note this price is subject to change at the time of booking, and depends on the date of travel and the availability of accommodation.

 

Our price includes (Private tour): 

• Accommodation base in a shared double or twin room throughout

Daily buffet breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.

Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary.

Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced, safe driver.

Private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.

Meals included as indicated as in program: B: breakfast, L: lunch & D: dinner.

Domestic flight tickets: Vientiane – Luang Prabang on Economy Class.

Boat cruise as specified in the programmed.

Entrance fees according the above program.

Local bottled water while sightseeing and transfers.

VAT and all taxes and service charge.

 

The price does not include

International flight tickets and Visas

Any items of purely personal nature such as laundry and telephone calls

Personal, travel and health insurance

Early check in and late check out

Drinks during meals

Meals that are not specified

Gratuities/tipping to tour guide, driver and hotel staff and restaurant’s staff

 

 

All of our itineraries can customized as you wish, add extra days, change a hotel, and see different sights. For information on this or our other tours please email us at: info@globaltravel-asia.com