14 Days Thailand and Laos Culture and Heritage Tour

Destinations: Bangkok – Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai – Pakbeng – Luang Prabang – Bangkok


Highlights of this 14 Days Thailand and Laos Culture and Heritage Tour:

  • Care for the gentle giants of Asia – Asian Elephants.
  • Visit the Golden Triangle region of Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos.
  • Relax at the beautiful turquoise Kuang Si Waterfalls.
  • Adventure to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves.
  • Trekking in the Shan Highlands to visit minority hill tribes.
VIEW ITINERARY

14 Days

Includes internal flights, twin shared accommodation, English speaking guides, private cars, sightseeing and meals listed.
Excludes visa and travel documents, travel insurance, international flights, local tipping, etc.

This itinerary is to give you a flavor of what is possible. We can tailor this trip to suit your specific needs and expectations. You may alter any aspect of the itinerary from excursions to accommodation.

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Akha ethnic people on the tea plantation at Mae Hong Son area in northern Thailand.
alms giving, Laos
The Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok, Thailand.

ITINERARY

 

Day 1: Bangkok | Arrive at Bangkok

International Flight: Excluded

Welcome to Thailand – The Land of Smiles! Upon arrival, our guide will cheerfully greet at the airport welcome area and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. The evening is at your leisure to relax from your long international flight. You may ask our guide if you would like any dinner suggestions.

Accommodation: Grande Center Point Hotel


Day 2: Bangkok | Ayutthaya Ancient Civilization | Chao Phraya River

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Ayutthaya City, Thailand

Ayutthaya used to be the flourishing and prosperous capital of Siam. During it’s 417-year reign, there arose a great deal of construction. Among them were numerous palaces and temples. As more than 30 monarchies ruled over Ayutthaya, innumerable events occurred, some of which were recorded in history, while others became exciting legends. Time-worn and tattered in war, the ruined temples and palaces are no doubt ancient relics reflecting a golden and glorious past.

The full day tour will commence in the morning. Please be ready at the hotel lobby at 7 AM. Transfer to Ayutthaya – the Ancient City. Receive a guided tour through the ruins. Then go to visit the Bang-Pa-In – Summer Palace. It is the vacation place for the Thai royal family. You will then commence on Grand Pearl Cruise.

At embarkment, you’ll enjoy a full menu of Thai and European cuisines, desserts, seasonal fruits, coffee and tea for a buffet lunch on the Chao Phraya River. While taking your lunch onboard the cruise, you may enjoy the exotic flora and sites along the banks. Both air-conditioned and open aired seating is available, depending on your preference. Either view, you will get an amazing view of the daily life of the inhabitants that dwell along the river. Arriving at the city, you will pass the Grand Pearl, followed by Wat Arun – (the Temple of Dawn) the temple was the former palace when the Thai capital of Ayutthaya was replaced by Thonburi.

As the sun is setting, you’ll arrive at the River City Complex, Si Phraya. Then return to your hotel for the evening.
Note: Today is a join in tour.

Accommodation: Grande Center Point Hotel


Day 3: Bangkok – Chiang Mai | Bangkok Impressions | Flight to Chiang Mai

Flight: Included
Meals: Breakfast
In the morning, the first destination is Wat Phra Kaew, the chapel of the Emerald Buddha, which houses the world’s most famous image of Buddha. The 75cm statue of jade sits atop an 11m golden pedestal surrounded by lavish murals and richly decorated pavilions. Next, you’ll visit The Grand Palace which encompasses several major buildings. The most prominent include The Throne Hall, The Reception Hall, and The Coronation Hall.

Then, you’ll visit Wat Traimit, the temple of the golden Buddha. It weighs 5.5 tons of solid gold and was sculptured in the Sukhothai style. Return to the hotel for check out.
Note: The tours from this day on are mostly all private tours with your own guide and driver unless the meeting time is specified. The meeting times will not be specified for private tours but will be discussed with the guide on a daily basis. You will be provided with an emergency mobile phone with our company contacts and guide contacts programmed in. If there is ever any doubt as to when you are to meet the guide on a day, you can call the guide or us at any time during your trip to clarify.
Then take an afternoon flight to Chiang Mai. Upon arrival, our guide will greet you at the airport and transfer you the hotel for check in.

Accommodation: The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel


Day 4: Chiang Mai | Befriending the Gentle Giants of Asia

Meals: Breakfast
Morning is at leisure for you to explore the surrounding old Chiang Mai town, take a stroll along the Mae Ping River, or relax at the hotel.

In the afternoon, you will join in a tour to an elephant sanctuary in the jungles near Chiang Mai.  First, you’ll learn about the project and hear the amazing stories of each rescued and orphaned elephant. Learn how they became a proud herd free from abuse and misuse. Then have an opportunity to feed them. Enjoy a picnic break. Then take a stroll with the herd to the nearby river. Here you will have the opportunity to observe or participate in bathing the elephants with the sanctuary staff.

After you have said your farewells, return back to the hotel for some leisure time.

Northern Thailand elephants

Accommodation: The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel


Day 5: Chiang Mai | Hmong Hill Tribe and Doi Suthep Mountain Temple

Meals: Breakfast
Up the snakey road to Wat Doi Suthep with its sky-piercing golden chedi (Pagoda). Then on to the Hmong Village at Pui Mountain. Here you will see the Hmong hill tribe people in their colorful costumes, selling their wide range of antiques, curious decorative ornaments, and fabrics. Return back to the hotel by noon for the afternoon at leisure.

Accommodation: The Imperial Mae Ping Hotel


Day 6: Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai | Mountain Road Trip to Chiang Mai | Chiang Saen Ancient City and Golden Triangle

Meals: Breakfast
In the morning you’ll transfer to Chiang Rai. On the way, you’ll stop at Wat Rong Khun(the White Temple). This unique and modern temple features Hindu and Buddhist architecture along with very contemporary and peculiar art and sculptures. You’ll continue to your hotel for check-in.

In the afternoon, we will drive to visit the Opium House at the bent of the mighty Mekong River and witness the scenic views of three countries(Thailand, Myanmar, and Laos). Then visit the ancient city of Chiang Saen, where ruins of numerous temples, stupas, and Buddha statues are still to be seen. You’ll also see artifacts and archaeological finds exhibited at the National Museum. Return to the hotel for leisure time

Accommodation: Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa


Day 7: Chiang Rai | Doi Mae Salong Mountain | Yao and Lisu Hill Tribes

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
In the morning, transfer to Mae Salong mountain, a scenic peak in the Shan Highlands. First, stop at a tea plantation to try some fresh hot tea in the morning while taking in the splendid views. Learn about the Chinese military KMT village that resettled at Mae Salong and their interesting story. Have lunch at a Yunnanese restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Akha, Yao and Lisu hill tribe villages. Then return to the resort for leisure time.

Doi Mae Salong Hill Tribe People

Accommodation: Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa


Day 8: Chiang Rai | Royal Project at Doi Tung Mountain | Northern Border Town with Burma

Meals: Breakfast

Today, take a trip to Doi TungDevelopment Project of her Royal Highness the Queen on Doi Tung Mountain. Drive up to admire the temple of Wat Phra That Doi Tung, about 2,000 meters above sea level. The temple and surrounding gardens and orchards are special for all the people of Chiang Rai. The queen built the project to help ween the hill tribes off of their dependency on Opium cash crops. Continue North to Mae Sai to visit the border town at the furthest North point of Thailand. Visit the local market. (*Day pass into Myanmar side can be arranged for an additional fee – Please inquire if interested for most up to date daily visa cost.) Returning to the hotel, en route visit hill tribe villages.

Accommodation: Katiliya Mountain Resort and Spa


Day 9: Chiang Rai – Pakbeng | The Gateway to Laos – Journey Down the Mekong

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Transfer early in the morning to the Friendship Bridge. Here our guide will drop you off and bid you farewell. You’ll go through Thailand exit customs. Then board a local government operated shuttle across the bridge($1 per person is the current shuttle rate and this is not included in the tour rate as we cannot pay them). On the other side, go through Laos immigration(visa available on arrival – see visa section).
Upon exiting Laos immigration, our representative will greet you with a sign of SHOMPOO CRUISE in front of the Lao immigration office. Then transfer to the Houay Xay boat pier by tuk-tuk. Embark on the cruise down the Mekong. On the way, the boat will take its first stop at Pak Tha to have the boat documents signed. The second stop will be to visit a Tai Lue minority hill tribe village along the banks. Our guide will explain the way of living and the origins of these rural populations. Lunch is served on board. During the afternoon, leisure time to enjoy the scenery while trying local bites and drinks. The boat will arrive in Pakbeng before sunset. Overnight at the Pakbeng Lodge. Enjoy a sumptuous dinner at the terrace restaurant.

Mekong River in Laos

Accommodation: The Pakbeng Lodge


Day 10: Pakbeng – Luang Prabang | The Gateway to Laos – Mysterious Pak Ou Caves

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
After breakfast, the boat leaves Pakbeng. Free time in the morning for asking some questions about Luang Prabang and Laos to our guide. Lunch is served on board. At the afternoon, we will make one stop to visit the famous Pak Ou Caves (Tham Ting) and its thousands of Buddha images. We will arrive in Luang Prabang around 5:00 PM. Our guide will then meet you at the pier and transfer you to the hotel for check-in.

Accommodation: Luang Prabang View Hotel


Day 11: Luang Prabang | Khmu Ethnic Village | Jungle Trek to Kuang Si Waterfalls

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch
Transfer in the morning to Ban Long Lao village – a Hmong and Khmu ethnic village who live simple lives off the land in a self-sustained community. After exploring the village and mingling with the locals, you’ll begin the hike to Kuang Si Falls. Along the way are lush green forests and clear streams. Visit a cave along the way that once acted as a bomb shelter. Arrive at Kuang Si Waterfall – one of the most turquoise waterfalls in the world. The afternoon can be spent swimming in the waterfall and visiting the Bear Rescue Center where several Sun Bears and Malayan Black Bears are being cared for after being rescued from bile farms and wildlife traffickers. Then you’ll return to Luang Prabang and climb up mount Phousi to enjoy a superb panoramic view of Luang Prabang, the surrounding hills, and the Mekong River.

After sunset, feel free to visit the sprawling night markets where ethnic tribes come to sell their textiles and curios to visitors.

Accommodation: Luang Prabang View Hotel


Day 12: Luang Prabang | Alms Giving | Luang Prabang Highlights

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

In the early morning, you can join in the alms giving ceremony where a procession of monks pass as participants solemnly give sticky rice and other objects into their bowls(if you would like to arrange this, please let the guide know before). Then start your full day tour with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum (closed on Tuesday), which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. We then enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. In the morning, we also visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham.

Following lunch, we visit the Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures before we head out of town to see the weaving villages of Ban Xiengkhong and Ban Xienglek. We then return to the city for a visit to Wat Mai. We then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city at sunset and the Mekong River.

The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.

Xieng Thong Palace Temple

Accommodation: Luang Prabang View Hotel


Day 13: Luang Prabang – Bangkok | Flight to Bangkok

Flight: Included
Meals: Breakfast
Transfer by flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival, you’ll be escorted to the hotel for overnight.

Accommodation: Grande Center Point Hotel


Day 14: Bangkok | Farewell!

Meals: Breakfast
Transfer to the airport today and our guide will bid you a fond farewell. Thank you for traveling with us!

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ACCOMMODATIONS

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