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All about the Little Mekong Freestyle Northern Thailand and Laos Tour

Feel the excitement of Bangkok and go on a jungle adventure in Chiang Mai, before crossing the border into Laos. Take a private slow boat through lush farmland and rugged mountains to a remote riverside village where you'll get to know the locals and experience rural Lao life in a Stray exclusive homestay on the banks of the Mekong River.

Head to the beautiful UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang and visit the spectacular Kuang Si waterfalls and bear rescue centre. Travel through mountainous terrain to Vang Vieng for tubing, cycling, kayaking or rock climbing; and visit country’s capital Vientiane.

In the South of Laos you'll explore giant caves, the cooler climate of the Bolevan Plateau, and chill out in the 4000 Islands before taking an overnight bus to return to Bangkok, Thailand.

Little Mekong Freestyle Northern Thailand and Laos Tour
Tour itinerary - 17 Days

  • Day 1 Bangkok
    Welcome to Stray! Your adventure kicks off in the buzzing Asian metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand. If you arrive early in the day, feel free to check out the vibrant markets and ancient temples that make up only a small side of this multifaceted city. Be at our Stray Shop at 3pm to meet your Tour Leader and your new travel mates for a Welcome Meeting introduction. We’ll cover how Stray works and answer any questions you have before heading to the train station to board the overnight train to Chiang Mai. The overnight sleeper train is an experience within itself for those who have never been on one before, complete with lie flat beds and a restaurant carriage. It’s the most fun way to travel to Chiang Mai and get to know your new travel mates! Accommodation included: Overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai Activity included: Welcome Meeting with Stray Tour Leader and group
  • Day 2 Arrival in Chiang Mai
    We arrive into Chiang Mai train station around midmorning. As the largest city in Northern Thailand, Chiang Mai is a popular place to hop off for many travellers and an amazing city full of endless activity options, such as Thai cooking classes, bike tours or Muay Thai kickboxing to name a few. Once a kingdom unto itself, there are over 300 Buddhist temples to discover and it is worth visiting the old walled city to see the Tapae Gate. In the evening, don’t miss browsing the famous night market to score a bargain or you can check out the lively music scene. Accommodation included: Guesthouse close to the city centre
  • Day 3 Chiang Mai
    Seize the day by exploring this historically rich city or venturing outside the city to discover the natural beauty of northern Thailand. Chiang Mai is the perfect base for some of Thailand’s best guided hikes and treks, as well as the top spot for adventure activities like mountain biking, abseiling and whitewater rafting. Tonight, enjoy dinner at one of the many great restaurants, then take in a ladyboy show, Muay Thai boxing or head out for a few drinks with friends. Accommodation included: Guesthouse close to the city centre Meals included: Breakfast Optional paid activities: Elephant Nature Park, Thai cooking course, Muay Thai boxing, bike tour, trekking, kayaking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting, abseiling
  • Day 4 Chiang Mai to Houay Xai
    This morning we depart Chiang Mai to head for the Thailand-Laos border. We’ll make a stop near Chiang Rai to check out the famous and intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). Wat Rong is a unique modern Buddhist temple that features some curious statues and murals that include images from Star Wars and The Matrix, Freddie Kruger’s head hanging in the trees and a giant Predator emerging from the garden. We stop here long enough to grab a snack, stretch our legs and take a few photos before we continue on to cross the border into Laos. Once in Laos we take a short tuk-tuk ride to the small town of Houay Xai, our stop for the night. Accommodation included: Guesthouse with views across the Mekong River Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) Optional Paid Activities: Visit an ethnic lantern village near Chiang Rai (must hop off)
  • Day 5 Houay Xai to Mekong River Homestay
    Leaving Houay Xai you’ll board our private slow boat to cruise down the Mekong River to the secluded village that will host you for an overnight homestay experience. Sit back and soak up this incredible journey as you wind your way through lush farmland, thriving jungle and rugged mountain scenery, drifting past water buffalo, locals fishing, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in the village in the late afternoon. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to become immersed in Lao culture, where you will get a taste of traditional Lao village life by staying with a family in their home and experience a special Baci (welcoming) Ceremony, a true highlight of the trip. Accommodation included: Remote village homestay along the Mekong River Meals included: Dinner Activities included: Private slow boat cruise, village orientation walk, play a game of football with the kids, go fishing, traditional Baci Ceremony, try the local whiskey
  • Day 6 Mekong River Homestay to Luang Prabang
    We wave goodbye to the village and jump back aboard our private boat to head downriver to the famous limestone Pak Ou Caves. Pak Ou is an important pilgrimage site for Lao people, and here you will see thousands of Buddhist images that have been placed throughout the caves over hundreds of years. Back on board our boat a short trip takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage town, Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang has an old world feel that gives you the sense you’ve stepped back in time into a picturesque postcard setting. The fusion of French Colonial architecture with traditional Lao design set against a backdrop of misty mountains and lush green jungle makes this a truly majestic place. Accommodation included: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: Pak Ou Caves
  • Day 7 Luang Prabang
    Today you’ll visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls, where the turquoise water and calm pools offer the perfect chance to cool off. The lower pools are especially perfect for a refreshing swim. If you’re feeling fit, climb up to the very top of the falls to take in the view from the above. At the base of the falls, you’ll also find a rescue centre for the native Asiatic moon bears where you can watch them happily living in a safe environment. If you’re planning to hop off the bus, Luang Prabang is a great place to do so, with options to discover rural villages by cycling or trekking the area, take a traditional Lao cooking class, kayak the Mekong River, shop at the night market or, for culture buffs, visit one of the many beautiful temples. Accommodation included: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market Meals included: Breakfast Activities included: Kuang Si waterfall tour Optional paid activities: Rice Experience, cycling, trekking, traditional cooking class, kayak the river.
  • Day 8 Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
    It’s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain on one of the most scenic journeys you’ll experience on the Laos travel route. Travel past hill-tribe villages, vast green valleys and rolling hills. Our journey today takes us to the little riverside town Vang Vieng, formerly known as the best place to take tubing trips down the Nam Song River to visit riverside bars and indulge in cheap booze. These days you can still go tubing, but now you get to enjoy the beauty of Vang Vieng's landscape without the sound of pounding bass in the background. Accommodation included: Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9 Vang Vieng
    With its stunning natural scenery, Vang Vieng offers ample outdoor activities to choose from. We recommend hiring a bike to explore the town and visiting the Blue Lagoon, one of the best natural swimming holes in Laos. There are also great rock climbing and kayaking options. The fun doesn’t stop after an adventure filled day either! This evening check out one of several international restaurants for a taste of home or head to one of the bars to really get the party started. Accommodation included: Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action Optional paid activities: River tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, caving, visit the Blue Lagoon
  • Day 10 Vang Vieng to Vientiane
    Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos. On arrival in Vientiane your Tour Leader will point out the city’s main attractions, including Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre – a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check-in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to explore the city, get a massage, go shopping or people watch at one of the local restaurants by the river. Accommodation included: Modern hotel Activity included: City highlights with your Tour Leader, COPE centre
  • Day 11 Vientiane to Kong Lor
    An early escape this morning takes us away from the crowds and south to Kong Lor in the Phu Hin Bun National Park. About an hour into the journey we visit Wat Prabat Phonsone, the ‘Buddha’s Footprint,’ a popular and important pilgrimage site for local communities. Arriving in remote Kong Lor with the afternoon sun, you’ll feel a sense of peace as you drive through the sleepy rural villages lined with crop fields and rice paddies and surrounded by stunning limestone karst mountains. Relax after the drive by popping down to the river for an afternoon swim, swinging in a hammock at your accommodation or sampling a delicious Lao meal at one of the little restaurants in the village. Accommodation included: Comfortable garden view bungalows with spectacular views and a short drive from the cave Activity included: Wat Prabat Phonsone
  • Day 12 Kong Lor
    Today, you’ll get the chance to explore the underground river that winds its way through a mountain, venturing deep into the abyss of the stunning 7km long Kong Lor Cave on a motorised canoe! Discover impressive columns, stalagmites and stalactites illuminated and protruding from the limestone rock as you travel by motorboat through this colossal cave system. This area is also a photographer’s paradise and a great place to get out and go trekking or just kick back to soak up the views over a cold Beer Lao. Accommodation included: Comfortable garden view bungalows with spectacular views and a short drive from the cave Activity included: Guided Kong Lor boat trip
  • Day 13 Kong Lor to Savannakhet
    We’ll break up the drive today by stopping in the small town of Thakhek, where there’s time to grab some lunch before we continue south. Before arriving in Savannakhet, we’ll stop to visit the Buddhist holy site Wat Ing Hang, reportedly built in the 16th century to honour Buddha’s visit to the area and housing one of Buddha’s bones. Set on the Mekong River as a border town with neighbouring Thailand, Savannakhet historically served as a key transit and trading post and is now the largest town in Southern Laos. The best things to do are wander along the waterfront and check out the fossil collection at the odd but intriguing Dinosaur Museum, then settle in a nice riverside restaurant for dinner. Accommodation included: Comfortable hotel Activity included: Wat Ing Hang
  • Day 14 Savannakhet to Pakse
    Driving south this morning we head first for Pakse, then carry on to explore the refreshingly cool climate of the Bolaven Plateau. The Plateau features a lush green landscape, fertile coffee and tea plantations, and many spectacular waterfalls, including the stunning Tad Ngeuang Waterfall where you can go for a swim. Pakse sits where the mighty Mekong River and Se Don River meet, so take advantage of the many restaurants along the riverfront for a meal served up with unbeatable river views. Accommodation included: Guesthouse in centre of town Activity included: Tad Ngeuang waterfall
  • Day 15 Pakse to Don Det (4000 Islands)
    From Pakse, we’ll carry on south to the backpacker mecca of Si Phan Don, otherwise known as the 4000 Islands. Here you can experience the laidback lifestyle and impressive natural beauty of Laos’s landlocked islands. The island of Don Det serves as a great base to hire a kayak or tube for floating down the river, taking a boat trip to spot rare Irrawaddy dolphins, cycling across to the neighbouring Don Khone Island to discover the remnants of the only steam engine railway in Laos, and marveling at the thunderous Li Phi waterfall. Accommodation included: Rustic style guesthouse Optional paid activities: Bicycle or tube hire, boat trip to spot Irrawaddy dolphins, fishing
  • Day 16 Don Det to Bangkok (Express Day)
    Say goodbye to Laos – it’s an early start when we leave Don Det by local mini-van towards Pakse and then carry on to the Thai border and Ubon Ratchathani, where you board the overnight bus that will carry you the rest of the way back to Bangkok. Accommodation included: Overnight bus to Bangkok
  • Day 17 Arrival in Bangkok
    Your Stray journey officially finishes when you arrive back in Bangkok in the early morning. We hope you had a blast!
Real Adventure Group Real People
Real Aussie Says:
See Northern Thailand and Laos. Think spectacular rainforest, turquoise blue waterfalls, staying in a remote village with the locals and relaxing in the 4000 Islands.

Little Mekong Freestyle Northern Thailand and Laos Tour Price information AUD per person

Price

Description

Tour code: LITTLEMEKONG
  $2139
Multi-Share. For travel from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021
  $2327
Twin Share. For travel from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021
  $2675
Single Room. For travel from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021

Departure information

Starts

Departs Tuesdays or Saturdays from Bangkok

Ends
Bangkok


More information

Important Notes

Things you need to know about this tour

VISA ON ARRIVAL - Eligibility for every nationality is different, so we recommend you to check before you depart! You'll need between US$ 30 and US$ 45 in cash, plus a passport-sized photo for the immigration officials on entry.

WHAT TO BRING - Light clothes for wet season (May - Oct) with an extra layer and light jacket for dry season (Nov - Mar); clothes to cover your shoulders and knees for visiting Temples; a good travel medical kit; travel insurance details; sunscreen; mosquito repellent with deet; girls - sarong for swimming as the local culture requires modesty; trainsers for walking; a roll of toilet paper and hand sanitizer is useful, and ofcourse, a sense of adventure!

FOOD - Western food is sparse outside the main centres so be open-minded about eating local fare. Vegetarian meal options may be limited but there is always rice, noodles and soups, and excellent fruit and vegetables are plentiful at the local markets.

TRAVEL INSURANCE - Adequate valid insurance is compulsory to travel on Stray, and it is not included in the price of your pass.

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