Thai Intro is the most incredible way to experience Thailand. On this 9-day adventure tour you depart from Bangkok and end in Koh Phangan. You'll discover Bangkok's crazy nightlife, visit ancient temples, become a booking 'pro' at a Thai cooking class, stay overnight in floating bungalows at the incredible Khao Sok National Park, experience local culture, snorkel in pristine oceans, get up close and personal with elephants, explore tropical beaches, enjoy a traditional Thai massage, party on the beach, and much more!
All about the The Lot Freestyle Tour of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
This is the tour in Asia you have been waiting for. It has it all Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.
Discover the sights, sounds and smells of Bangkok, travel north via amazing Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, before crossing the border to Laos at Houay Xai for a journey by boat through lush farmland and rugged mountains to the riverside village Ban Pak Nguey. Experience mountains and vibrant cultures in Northern Laos and amazing wilderness and wildlife in the South; follow narrow mountain roads to scenic rivers and waterfalls, UNESCO World Heritage sites, friendly remote villages, underground rivers and caves. Head into Cambodia to explore ancient temples, pagodas and palaces, snack on fried spider or enjoy a Khmer BBQ. Chill out on the beach sanctuary of Koh Tunsay, visit the infamous Khmer Rouge S21 prison and Killing Fields. Cycle or trek the Bokor National Parks and get to know the locals in a remote village homestay. Explore Vietnam's buzzing cities, travel through stunning mountain scenery, experience Vietnamese hospitality and stay in a local ethnic homestay and secluded fishing village on the coast. Explore newly discovered caves, cycle through rice paddies, visit National Parks, swim in secret swimming spots, traverse tunnels from the Secret War; and relax on some of Asia's finest beaches.
You might want to hop off and explore the beautiful French colonial towns of Luang Prabang (Laos) and Hoi An (Vietnam), the ruins of Angkor Wat in Siem Reap (Cambodia), and the trekking and hippie home of Pai around Chiang Mai (Thailand). Minimum days is 38 for Tuesday departure, 41 for Saturday departure. Recommended days (including some hop-off time) is 59 for Tuesday departure, 62 for Saturday departure.
Ayutthaya: Explore the incredible UNESCO World Heritage temple ruins by bicycle and boat.
Chiang Mai: An adventure seeker’s paradise. Zipline with Flight of the Gibbon, take a cooking class, trek in the jungle, get a massage, do Muay Thai training, and shop at the weekend night market.
Chiang Rai: Home of the elaborate White Temple.
Ban Pak Nguey: Experience village life, attend a Baci (welcoming) ceremony and stay in a remote village homestay on the banks of the Mekong River.
Luang Prabang: UNESCO World Heritage City and the cultural gem of Southeast Asia. Swim the in spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall; bathe with elephants in the Khan River, visit a bear sanctuary, and get hands and learn how to cultivate and harvest rice from a rice farmer.
Vang Vieng: Stunning karst rock formations and plenty of outdoor activities other than tubing. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife or get away from it all in a river view bungalow.
Vientiane: Visit the COPE Centre where you’ll learn about the on-going effects of the Vietnam War.
Kong Lor Cave: Zip through the mighty 7 km cave by boat on an underground river. Considered a highlight of Laos, it’s not easy to get here on your own.
Xe Champhone: Stay in a remote southern village homestay near the sacred ‘Monkey Forest’.
Bolaven Plateau: Love coffee? You’ll visit a Lao coffee plantation and learn all about coffee.
Don Det: Relax in a hammock on the Mekong in the 4000 Islands. Spot rare Irrawaddy Dolphins.
Siem Reap: Explore Angkor, the UNESCO World Heritage Site – an impressive, never ending complex of temples and ruins.
Battambang: Experience local family and community life in a remote village homestay, with its seasonal farming, fishing, temple gatherings and festivals.
Kompong Chhnang: Explore the bustling market and floating villages.
Sihanoukville: Enjoy the many water sports or kick back and relax at this popular beach destination.
Kampot: Cycle the countryside past the famous pepper and salt farms, eat delicious seafood and trek through the Bokor National Park.
Koh Tunsay: Relax on the pristine beaches, and enjoy fresh seafood in this island hideaway.
Phnom Penh: Learn about Cambodia’s history at the S21 Prison and Killing Fields and explore the Royal Palace and Silver Pagoda.
Da Lat: Get off the tourist trail; meet friendly locals, mountain bike in stunning scenery and sample delicious locally grown coffee and wine.
The Haven, Bai Xep: Discover a secluded fishing village and learn to paddle a traditional round boat.
Hoi An: Explore life in the old town of this picture perfect Vietnamese riverside town; listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Get some tailoring done; join a motorbike tour, scuba dive, or cycle to the beach.
Dong Hoi (Phong Nha): Swim in pristine rivers and explore impressive caves, including the recently discovered Thien Dong Cave, one of the largest caves in the world.
Ninh Bihn: Come face to face with monkeys, gibbons and other endangered species at the Primate Centre.
Hanoi: Discover an eclectic blend of East and West, old Asia and new, in a tangled web of streets buzzing with masses of motorbikes.
NB. Cambodia and Vietnam departures subject to availability
The Lot Freestyle Tour of Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam
Tour itinerary - 40 Days
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
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
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.
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).
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 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 Meals included: Dinner
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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 marvelling 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
Don Det to Siem Reap (Express Day)
Say goodbye to Laos – it’s an early start for the journey into Cambodia. A short drive will bring you to the Don Kralor Border where you will complete the immigration process and continue into Cambodia. Today your destination is the small, but vibrant city of Siem Reap, best known as home to the UNESCO World Heritage listed Angkor Temple complex. Arriving in Siem Reap in the late evening there will be time to freshen up before dinner and drinks with your group along the iconic Pub Street. Accommodation included: Guesthouse in the centre of town
After your first night on Pub Street, you’ll probably enjoy a free day to sleep in and relax at your accommodation. If you’re up for it, get out and explore more of the downtown area, which tends to be a bit quieter during the day when most visitors are out at the temple complex. You’ll find the heart of the city fairly easy to navigate by foot or bicycle. Finish the day by sampling traditional Khmer food and visiting the Angkor Night Market that’s open every night. Accommodation included: Guesthouse in the centre of town Optional Paid Activities: Angkor Night Market
Siem Reap to Battambang (Homestay)
Today you depart Siem Reap early enough to arrive in Battambang for a late lunch. After lunch, we’ll visit a whiskey making village and learn about the local tipple, before checking out a village where they make a staple (but smelly) ingredient in most Khmer and Southeast Asian cuisine - fish sauce! Tonight, we’ll stay in another little village, outside of Battambang, located in the picturesque countryside. You’ll stay in a Cambodian family’s home, experiencing rural community life. You can wander through the village and nearby rice paddies and finish the day by enjoying a delicious traditional meal with your host family. Accommodation included: Homestay in a Cambodian family’s home Meals included: Dinner Activities included: Whiskey making village, Paa Hok (fish sauce) making village
Battambang to Siem Reap
After waving goodbye to your hosts we’ll head into the city of Battambang. Despite being the second largest city in Cambodia, Battambang manages to avoid an overly touristy vibe, allowing you to experience a more local side of urban Cambodian life. Wander through the central market alongside the river and grab a coffee at one of the cafes. On the way back to Siem Reap we’ll stop to take a ride on the Bamboo Train, a rail system that was built by the French and destroyed by the Khmer Rouge, but is still used by the locals as a simple form of transport. Tonight’s activity is up to you, but we recommend finishing the day with the unforgettably unique Phare Circus, a locally run non-profit troupe that provides disadvantaged young people from the community with a place to learn the skills needed to earn their livings as professional performing artists. Accommodation included: Guesthouse in the centre of town Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: Bamboo Train Optional paid activity: Phare Circus
No trip to Siem Reap is complete without a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Angkor temples, a crucial part of the Cambodian national identity and one of the world’s most iconic landmarks. Ranked at the top of many ultimate travel bucket lists (including Lonely Planet’s), this awe-inspiring architectural wonder is the largest temple complex in the world. Embrace your inner Tomb Raider as you spend the whole day on a guided tour that will take you to highlight sites including the famous Angkor Wat and Ta Prohm. Accommodation included: Guesthouse in the centre of town Meals included: Lunch Activity included: Full day Angkor temple tour
Siem Reap to Phnom Penh
Next up, we head for the bustling Cambodian capital Phnom Penh. With an edgy blend of harrowing history and modern development, Phnom Penh is incredibly important place for a number of political, economic and cultural reasons. You’re free this afternoon to get your first taste of this energizing capital city. Set out to explore the Royal Palace, Silver Pagoda and Wat Phnom, take a river cruise, shop for souvenirs at the huge Russian Market or see a living art performance at the National Museum. Accommodation included: Guesthouse near the main tourist area Optional paid activities: Learn a Cambodian art at Backstreet Academy, half day cycling trip, river boat cruise, city tour, Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda tour, Russian Market, National Museum.
Phnom Penh to Kampot
Today, Cambodia’s history is bought to life with a tour of two of the most infamous attractions: the Khmer Rouge’s Killing Fields and the Tuol Sleng S21 Prison. While it is a very sobering experience to learn more about the country’s harsh recent history and the atrocities of the Khmer Rouge, these are among the most recommended things to do in Phnom Penh. Afterwards, an afternoon drive brings us to the little riverside town of Kampot, where we’ll go on a relaxing sunset boat cruise on the Kampot River. Reflect on your day while absorbing the spectacular views of Bokor National Park and the Elephant Mountain as the sun sets over the calm waters. Accommodation included: Guesthouse with private rooms Activity included: Killing Fields, S21 Prison, sunset river cruise
You have a full free day to explore quaint Kampot. Visit the fascinating salt and pepper farms, go cycling or trek in the Bokor National Park or take a day trip to nearby Koh Tunsay (Rabbit Island) for some beach time. Tonight, we recommend sampling the exceptional regional seafood dishes at one of the many restaurants on the riverfront –the fried shrimp with green pepper corns is an absolute must try! Accommodation included: Guesthouse with private rooms Optional paid activities: Tour of the pepper & salt farms, bicycle hire, day trip to Koh Tunsay.
Kampot to Phnom Penh
After a relaxing morning in Kampot, we return to Phnom Penh, where you’ll have the evening free. For something different, why not join the locals at dusk for an aerobic workout along the riverfront. Here you’ll find local ladies garbed in Western-style pyjamas, getting their groove on to Khmer techno music in order to burn a few calories. It may not be your most coordinated moment but will be good for a giggle (even if you’re just laughing at yourself)! Accommodation included: Guesthouse near the main tourist area Optional paid activities: Learn a Cambodian art at Backstreet Academy, half day cycling trip, river boat cruise, city tour, Royal Palace & Silver Pagoda tour, Russian Market, National Museum.
Phnom Penh to Ho Chi Minh City (Express Day)
This morning you’ll board an unguided public bus organised by your Cambodia Tour Leader and head to Moc Bai on the Vietnamese border, where you will be processed through immigration (you must organise your Vietnam visa in advance for this land border crossing) and then drive on to Ho Chi Minh City, arriving mid-afternoon. Spend the afternoon exploring the narrow streets on foot or choose a restaurant teeming with locals for your first taste of the best Vietnamese cuisine. Accommodation included: Centrally located hotel or guesthouse
Ho Chi Minh City
Today is a free day to explore the hot and lively Ho Chi Minh City. Learn about the history of the American and Vietnam War at the War Remnant Museum, visit the French Colonial Saigon Opera House, browse the surrounding shopping plazas or see a cultural show. Ho Chi Minh even has its own Notre Dame Cathedral, which is said to be a connection between the physical and spiritual life for the Ho Chi Minh people. We recommend taking a trip out to the famous Cu Chi Tunnels, a complex of over 200kms of tunnels used by the Viet Khong in the war against the US. Discover how the people lived and survived in these tunnels, built schools and hospitals underground and eventually gained victory. This evening enjoy a traditional performance at the Water Puppet Theatre, or dine out on delicious street food at one of the city’s many restaurants or bars. Accommodation included: Centrally located hotel or guesthouse Optional paid activities: War Remnants Museum, Old Presidential Palace, Ben Thanh Market, guided city tour, tour of Cu Chi Tunnels, Water Puppet Theatre.
Ho Chi Minh City to Da Lat
Leaving behind the chaos and heat of Ho Chi Minh City, we head for the refreshingly cool climate of Da Lat, known as the ‘honeymoon capital of Vietnam’. Our journey today takes us through fertile farmlands that specialise in rubber, coffee and tea, locally produced wine, vegetables and flowers. Da Lat vaguely resembles a French town with sprawling old villas and towering pine trees. It is not on the main tourist trail, so locals are curious and very friendly to Western visitors. Spend the afternoon checking out the large market near the guesthouse or sample a glass of locally made Da Lat wine at one of the local restaurants. Accommodation included: Local guesthouse in the centre of town
Today is a free day so fuel up on an excellent locally sourced coffee at one of the friendly cafes that seem to occupy every corner, and then head out to discover the notable city sights on foot, by bicycle or the popular option of a guided motorbike tour. Must see sights include the Emperor’s Art Deco-style Summer Palace, the surrealist Hang Nga ‘Crazy House,’ the French Quarter and railway station, as well as the never ending local coffee or strawberry plantations and the aptly named Paradise Lake that lie outside the city. Accommodation included: Local guesthouse in the centre of town Meals included: Breakfast Optional paid activities: Grab a bargain at the local market, rock climbing, see Crazy House, tandem bike cycling, cycling tours, motorbike tours, coffee & tea plantation tours, abseiling and rappelling.
Da Lat to Bai Xep
Leaving behind the cool climate of Da Lat we’ll head for the Vietnamese coast, stopping for refreshments at the coastal city of Nha Trang, a popular beach destination to hop off for those who have the time. Driving on your destination is the tiny fishing village of Bai Xep located along a stretch of sandy white beach. Kick back and relax in this peaceful village setting well off the beaten tourist track and as yet untouched by rampant tourism. Don’t be surprised when the locals wave and greet you with welcoming smiles. Accommodation included: Accommodation right on the beach Meals included: Breakfast
Today you are free to enjoy this remote coastal location and all it has to offer. Swim, snorkel and take long walks on the beach, learn to paddle a traditional round boat, go fishing and cook your catch for tea, wander the village and get to know the friendly locals or just relax at your comfortable seaside guesthouse. Accommodation included: Accommodation right on the beach Meals included: Breakfast Optional Paid Activities: Hike to a waterfall, go swimming or snorkelling, relax on the beach or feast on all-you-can-eat BBQ and beer!
Bai Xep to Hoi An
A coastal drive takes us to the popular tourist spot and UNESCO World Heritage town of Hoi An. Before arriving in Hoi An, we’ll stop along the way to visit the My Lai Memorial, a site that commemorates an event that marked a turning point in the American War. Hoi An is a must-see destination, with beautifully restored and preserved French Colonial architecture, funky bars, outstanding restaurants, art galleries, souvenir shops and countless tailor shops. With glorious beaches so close nearby, this is paradise! A great spot to hop off and enjoy the local nightlife, try local delicacies (and beers), then meander home through the motorbike free streets. Accommodation included: Centrally located, family run hotel Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: My Lai Memorial
Take time today to explore this charming town’s many offerings. When the sun goes down is when Hoi An really turns on its charm. Paper and fabric lanterns are lit throughout the streets, bathing the historical French Colonial architecture in a warm glow. Take a sunset stroll through the old town, and try a local delicacy called the ‘White Rose’ - a dumpling stuffed with shrimp or pork bunched into the shape of a rose. Apparently, the recipe is a family secret, held by only one family who supply all the restaurants around town. Accommodation included: Centrally located, family run hotel Meals included: Breakfast Optional paid activities: Tailoring, bicycle tours, scuba diving, cooking classes, sunrise or sunset cruise, countryside tours, motorbike tours, fishing trips.
Hoi An to Hue
Surrounded by rolling hills and located on the Perfume River, Hue is regarded as the cultural and spiritual centre of Vietnam and is the former home to the Vietnamese emperors. Here you’ll see many elaborately decorated temples and beautiful pagodas, including the seven-storied Thien Mu Pagoda (where the most famous Vietnamese monk is buried), the intricate Citadel and Forbidden Purple City. Jump on the back of a motorbike and discover a little bit of the ‘real’ Vietnam with a local guide. Motoring through quaint villages and lush rice paddies, you’ll see the historic and picturesque Japanese covered bridge, find out your future from a local fortune teller, have a go at making incense sticks and learn about the rice growing process at the Rice Museum. Visit the home of a conical hat maker and explore an Emperor's Tomb and the Citadel's Forbidden City. Accommodation included: Local guesthouse Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: Motorbike tour Optional paid activities: Dragon Boat Cruise, historic Citadel & Forbidden Purple City tour (former seat of the Vietnamese government), Thien Mu Pagoda.
Hue to Phong Nha
This morning we head for the fascinating Vinh Moc Tunnels, an impressive underground complex that was used by more than 90 families to live and work during some of the heaviest bombings in the American War. From there it’s on to Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, passing through the provincial town of Dong Hoi on our way to the charming hotel in Phong Nha town that will be our base for exploring the park. Accommodation included: Comfortable private hotel room Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: Vinh Moc tunnels
Today we visit the spectacular rural area of Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, 45km from Dong Hoi. This area has pristine rivers (perfect for a refreshing dip or kayak) and boasts a number of impressive caves, including the recently discovered Thien Duong Cave. Inside you’ll find glittering limestone walls, impressive stalagmites and stalactites and a limestone waterfall. This afternoon you have the option to go on a guided tour of the ‘Dark Cave’, suitably named as such because the rock is black. This is an exciting adventure where you’ll explore the cave’s darkness with the help of a head torch, discover ancient fossils and slide down muddy ridges, all while Asian bats fly overhead. Afterwards, back at the mouth of the cave you can wash off all the mud by spending the afternoon swimming and playing in the river. Accommodation included: Comfortable private hotel room Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: Entrance to Thien Duong Cave (Paradise Cave) and Phong Nha-Ke National Park Optional paid activities: Cycling, caving, kayaking, Dark Cave Adventure.
Phong Nha to Ninh Binh
Our journey today takes us through beautiful countryside and stunning limestone karst mountains. We’ll stop along the way for a chance to stretch your legs before continuing our express journey to Ninh Binh. We arrive late in the afternoon, but you have time to wander around and acquaint yourself with the tiny town before dinner. Nestled amongst rice paddies, rural plains and massive mountains, Ninh Binh is almost overwhelmed by the spectacular landscape surrounding it. The best way to take it all in is hire a bicycle and explore the countryside at your own pace. Accommodation included: Locally run hotel with excellent restaurants nearby Meals included: Breakfast Optional Paid Activities: Hire a bicycle, hop off and explore the surrounding limestone mountains, multi-day trekking options
Ninh Binh to Hanoi
This morning we venture out in traditional canoes to discover the Trang An Grottoes. Sometimes called the ‘Halong Bay on land’, we’ll coast through caves in the mountains to view stony outcrops and dramatic karst formations towering above flat tranquil waters and rice paddies. After lunch in Ninh Binh, we jump back on the bus bound for the chaotic streets of Vietnam’s capital. Hanoi is an exotic city full of excitement and energy, and thousands of motorcycles that make the simple task of crossing the road seem like a real achievement! There’s an excellent culinary scene. We recommend dining at Restaurant 69, which is said to be over 300 years old, or trying some of the delicious street food available on every corner, where the saying goes “the lower the chair, the cheaper the beer.” Accommodation included: Local guesthouse or hotel Meals included: Breakfast Activity included: Trang An Grottoes
This is where your journey with Stray comes to an end, but there is plenty to see and do in and around Hanoi. If you have some extra days to spend here, we highly recommend booking a cruise around breath-taking Halong Bay or making a trip inland to visit the hill tribes of Sa Pa. Both of these excursions can be organised for you by your Tour Leader. We hope you’ve had a blast on your great Stray adventure! Meals included: Breakfast Optional Paid Activities: Halong Bay cruise, trip to Sa Pa
Departs from Bangkok
All year round: Tuesday or Saturday
3 December to 31 March: Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Important NotesThings you need to know about this tour
Itineraries are seasonal and subject to change. For timetables and full terms and conditions please ask us.
Please note: Given the spontaneous nature of our trips, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
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.
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