ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Arrival Bangkok
Upon arrival at Bangkok airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 2: Bangkok
After breakfast, meet your guide and begin a tour of Bangkok, with a visit to two of the city's most celebrated temples: Wat Trimitr, which houses a massive Buddha statue made of solid gold, and Wat Pho, which is famous for its giant reclining Buddha. Then, visit the Grand Palace, considered by many Thai people to be one of the most sacred places in Thailand, and the Temple of the Sacred Emerald Buddha. Lunch will be provided at a local restaurant.
After lunch, take a walk through Chinatown and experience the hive of activity in this historic area. Browse through the black market at Saphan Lek, famous for cheap electronics, and wander through narrow streets filled with vendors selling everything from replica watches to DVDs. End the tour at Pak Klong Talad, the biggest wholesale flower market in Bangkok.
Day 3: Bangkok – Chiang Rai
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Chiang Rai. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and brought to your hotel.
After freshening up, begin your exploration of the region with a visit to colourful Akha and Yao hill tribe communities. Gain fascinating insight into the lives of the Akha, who originated in Tibet and are among Thailand's most striking ethnic minorities. The Yao migrated from southern China and still retain many of the ancient traditions they brought with them.
Next, head to Chiang Saen, a small crossroads town on the banks of the Mae Khong River. From a viewpoint in the town, enjoy panoramic view of the Golden Triangle.
To end your day, make a stop at the Thai-Burmese border in Mae Sai, the northern-most town in Thailand with strong Burmese influences. Explore the bustling flea market here before heading back to your hotel for a well-deserved rest.
Day 4: Chiang Rai – Houei Say Border & Cruise to Pakbeng
Early in the morning, meet with your guide and cross over the Khong River into Houei Say, on the Laos side of the border. From here, board a boat and cruise down the Mekong River to Pakbeng, stopping to observe rural life on the river along the way. Enroute, enjoy a tasty buffet onboard the boat, arriving in Pakbeng just before sunset. Check into your hotel and relax. Dinner will be served on a terrace with scenic views overlooking the Mekong River.
Day 5: Pakbeng – Cruise to Luang Prabang
Enjoy a hearty breakfast at your hotel and spend some time to either relax or walk around the nearby Pakbeng market for a look at local life in the area before boarding your boat to Luang Prabang. On the way, make a short stop to visit a village which is home to one of the region’s colourful ethnic minorities. Here, you can watch the traditional process of Lao whiskey production before returning to the boat for a buffet lunch. Continue on your river journey and stop at Pak Ou village, which is located at the mouth of the Nam Ou River. Here, you will visit the magical Tham Ting Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. Finally, arrive in the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang just before sunset. On arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel for a good night's rest.
Day 6: Luang Prabang
Today, enjoy a tour around the atmospheric town of Luang Prabang. Visit Wat Xieng Thong, one of the finest examples of Luang Prabang's distinctive architecture, as well as the gilded and carved façade of Wat Mai. Then visit the National Museum -the former Royal Palace, and discover relics from Laos’ royal past and their fascinating history. It is said that those who do not climb the 328 steps up Phousi Mountain have not truly explored the town. Venture up the hill and be rewarded with remarkable views of the surrounding area.
Day 7: Luang Prabang
Get an early start and head out to observe and participate in the traditional Lao rite of Almsgiving. Some 300 monks silently pass through the town's streets just after sunrise collecting alms from the faithful who contribute portions of rice and food as a means of "merit-making". It's an amazing sight, and your guide will be on hand to demonstrate and explain the significance of this important ritual.
In the late morning, travel to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, a private museum recently opened to educate visitors on the traditions of the country’s many ethnic minorities. Enjoy lunch in the adjacent Le Patio Café. After lunch, move on to the Living Crafts Centre.
Spend the afternoon in a stunning Mekong riverside garden preparing natural dyes and producing your own silk scarves. The workshop shows the whole process from the silkworms to the natural dyes and weaving techniques. The afternoon’s program is interactive and full of fascinating information; a unique and entertaining opportunity to learn about silk weaving.
Afterwards, enjoy a cocktail as you watch the sun dip behind the mountains behind the Mekong, and transfer back to you your hotel for a good night's rest after a long day of incredible experiences.
Day 8: Depart Luang Prabang
After breakfast, head south of the town to Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most spectacular natural wonders in Southeast Asia. At the falls, crystal water cascades into idyllic turquoise pools. Bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim. You can also take time to visit the nearby Sunbear Refuge to learn more about the poaching of these endangered creatures and subsequent conservation efforts that are under way. Later in the day, you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.