The very best of Lao and Chiang Mai in one amazing trip.
This trip is all about the journey as we travel from the capital Vientiane following the course of the great Mykong river via Lung Prabang the old royal capital and on to Chiang Mai in north of Thailand.
So many of you have asked me to do a trip where we get to stay at some lovely colonial hotels and this is for you. It will cost about $30 a day more than my normal trips and includes some amazing gems of places to stay.
I researched Lao in 2016 and immediately fell in love with the country and its people. Long a backpacker favourite, the difficulty of getting there, have kept those without unlimited time away. This has all changed in the last 3 years with Air Asia and other airlines flying into the country and is now at last possible to have an affordable 2 week adventure. This is the Asia of old and still retains much of its charm and a slower, more gentle pace than the rest of Asia.
Vientiane (2 nights)
We start our trip in what must be one of the most laid back capitals on the planet, Vientiane feels more like a country town than capital city. Here we explore the sites, and get to sample some truly fine French cuisine at a fraction of the prices in Paris. We head to the riverside in the evening, checking out the night markets, street life and aerobic classes on the riverfront along the Mekong.
Vang Vieng (2nights)
From Vientiane we take an air conditioned private minivan for our 4hr trip through lovely countryside into the mountains to Vang Vieng a small town with a sublime location in spectacular limestone cast mountains. We go tubing down the river and Kayaking (optional) our hotel has a view over the river and mountains and it’s truly a place to chill out with a beer and a book.
Luang Prabang (4 nights)
From Vang Vieng it’s an exciting overland trip over the mountains again with our private van and driver as we head to the UNESCO listed former Royal Capital of Luang Prabang, a true gem. Here we stay in a lovely hotel in the old city, perfect for heading out on foot to explore at your leisure. We get to visit the fabled waterfalls around Luang Prabang, enjoying some of the most beautiful Buddhist Wat's in the whole of Asia, whilst spending time with novice monks practising their English.
2 days river cruise up the Mekong river (1 night in a amazing eco lodge)
We take board our boat for a trip of a lifetime as we head up the Mekong river, stopping on the way to see the Cave temples and river villages whilst passing through some amazing scenery, as on this stretch of the river the banks are high and covered in native forest. Our overnight stay is in one of my favourite places in Asia and it will be yours as well when you see it. Our 2 day on night cruise is Full Board with dinner and lunches included.
Boarder Thailand (1 night)
At the end of our 2 day on the river, we will cross over the boarder to Thailand staying the night in a local hotel and after breakfast the next day our private Mini Van and driver will take us to our final destination, Chiang Mai, visiting the famed ''White'' and ''Black'' pagodas of Chiang Rai on route.
Chiang Mai (3 nights)
I have found some exceptional restaurants, the best places to enjoy an evening beer, and some superb massage spas to indulge and relax in during the hot afternoons. Chiang Mai has some fun, quirky Gay bars, and after Laos it’s nice to have some venues where we get to meet the locals, watch some shows, and enjoy evening time and each other’s company.
Accommodation is of western standard, some will be colonial gems, and all hotels are located in the heart of where we want to be, so expect to be able to walk out of the hotel and be in the middle of the action. All are 3-4* style all with ensuite and a swimming pool in some places. We have negotiated some great deals for this off-season trip and this is largely why the costs are so much less than you see elsewhere for the standard of accommodation you will get to enjoy on this trip.
As with all our trips let go of the concept you're signing up for a structured tour, you're not, you're joining us on a Thailand and Laos tour adventure , yes it’s a semi structured adventure with all the hard work done, but it is nevertheless an adventure. Things will go wrong some days, and changes will need to be taken in their stride, you will need your wits about you, and to expect to do some exploring on your own occasionally.
Proposed dates for 2019
Starting in Vientiane on the 29st September and finishing in Chiang Mai on the 12th October in northern Thailand.
A 13 night 14 day adventure. (Mixed)
Min 6 Max 10.
Expressions of interest in this trip are being accepted now .
On this trip we are staying in some very atmospheric colonial style hotels. I will have an accurate costing out about 6 months before we depart but as a guideline work on U$2400-2600.
Single supplement available at around U$590.
Exchange rate movements can play havoc with planning overseas trips but quoting in USD usually means less fluctuations.
This is a great trip to get a group of friends together.
Singapore, Bangkok, KL or Hong Kong are all good transit, or stopover cities for this trip.
Due to the nature of Adventure travel and the prices of the resources on which it depends, the published price of any trip is subject to change at any time, before or after booking confirmation, up to 30 days before the departure.
Example of the style accommodation we use in Cambodia, rooms are always centrally located and come with en suite. We have chosen places with local flavour and all will have free access to Wifi.
Lunch on the banks of the Mekong just outside our wonderful hotel in the old city.
Tropical rains sometimes hit mid afternoon in the monsoon season and last about an hour, great time to sip a beer or indulge in a massage and spa