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Thailand & Laos Discovery

Thailand & Laos Discovery

PATDC
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Description

Thailand and Laos are two of South East Asia’s most exciting locations, thanks to a thrilling mix of bustling cities, natural splendour and historic intrigue. This 23-day trip begins in Bangkok and delves in-depth to the diverse Thonburi neighbourhood, before swapping the urban jungle for the incredible prehistoric forests of Khao Sok National Park. Based in unique boutique rainforest accommodation, explore the spectacular landscape of waterfalls and wildlife-laden trees of the park. Get acquainted with locals at a nearby village, then cross to the sublime Andaman Sea to cruise between isolated islands and feast on fresh fish. End on the extravagant island of Phuket, discovering the unique Old Town and farewelling this adventure with a dinner at a restaurant with an unbeatable location. This luxurious adventure offers just the right mix of city, beach, jungle and culture.

Trip Name
Thailand & Laos Discovery
Last Updated
2018-10-24
Days
23
Capacity
12
Highlights
  • Support an important animal welfare initiative and get close to incredible creatures at the Elephant Nature Park
  • Visit the home of the infamous ‘Bridge over the River Kwai’, learn about its dark history and the construction of the railway during the war
  • Enjoy lunch on board a slow trip down the Mekong River observing the stunning scenery and remote village life, while visiting a cave crowded with shrines is all done at a relaxed pace.
  • With a visit to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, immerse yourself in the wonders of an ancient tribal culture without compromising on creature comforts
  • Unwind in the laid-back jungle town of Luang Prabang. Watch as orange-clad monks gather offerings of rice, fruit and sweets from locals before sunrise in a daily alms giving ceremony
  • Hike through the world’s oldest evergreen rainforest in Khao Sok NP, then retire to your feature stay consisting of unique luxury tents overlooking the jungle – complete with private bathroom, air con and a viewing platform
  • Spend some time with our friends in the Ban Talae Nok Village – from seeing how they are recovering from the devastating Tsunami to learning locals handicrafts and sharing lunch with a local family, this is a memorable and enlightening visit
  • Included flights on this trip makes travelling easy and allows for maximum time in each destination

Itinerary

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes that affect your plans. If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff. We are here to help you! Please note that while we operate successful trips in this region throughout the year, some changes may occur in our itineraries due to inclement weather and common seasonal changes to timetables and transport routes. This can happen with little notice so please be prepared for modifications to the route. The order and timing of included activities in each location may also vary from time to time.

Day 1 - Bangkok
Welcome to Thailand. One of our transfer representatives will collect you from the airport and take you to your hotel. After settling into your room, your journey begins with an important meeting at 6 pm. Please check for the Peregrine noticeboard in the reception area of the Hotel. Please advise your flight details at the time of booking so we can arrange your airport transfer. With free time, acquaint yourself with this frenetic city of tuk tuks, street food and traditional khlong boats winding down the Chao Phraya River. Tonight you'll enjoy a welcome dinner at a great local restaurant.
Day 2 - Bangkok
Enjoy a day of sightseeing and activities in lively Bangkok. Visit Wat Po, a larger-than-life temple complex in the city. This is the home of the Temple of the Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is among the six officially recognised highest calibre temples in Thailand, and it's certainly one of the most impressive. Also visit the majestic Grand Palace, which has been the official residence of the kings since the 1700s, and enjoy a boat tour of the city's khlongs (canals) to see another, more tranquil, side of Bangkok. The afternoon is free to do as you wish, perhaps visiting Jim Thompson house or enjoying a Thai massage. You’ll have a BTS day pass so you can use the sky train to help you get around.
Day 3 - Kanchanaburi
Travel by private transport to Kanchanaburi (approximately 3.5 hours). While the township may appear modern, it holds a dark past. Many Allied prisoners of war and conscripted Asian labourers were engaged here to help build a rail route to Myanmar (Burma), including the passage infamously known as Hellfire Pass. Visit the memorial museum of the pass to learn more about this chapter in history, and take a historical train journey along a portion of this 'death railway'.
Day 4 - Kanchanaburi
Make the short drive to the Erawan National Park and waterfall. Its radiant emerald green ponds, named after the three-headed white elephant of Hindu mythology, make for a lovely photo opportunity. On the way back to Kanchanaburi, stop in at the World War II cemetery and museum and spend some time there. This cemetery is the main resting place for the prisoners of war who laboured suffered under Japanese rule in building the Thai-Burma Railway.
Day 5 - Uthai Thani
Depart Kanchanaburi in the morning and drive to Hup Pa Tat (approximately 3 hours). Spend an hour or so exploring this beautiful green area surrounded by limestone mountains. Legend has it that centuries ago this valley was a gigantic cave, until the ceiling caved in; massive chunks of limestone lying on the valley floor support the theory. Next you continue to Uthaithani town (approximately 1 hour) and enjoy some lunch there. Afterwards, visit nearby Wat Tha Sung (Crystal Hall). In the evening, sit down to dinner while cruising on a traditional rice barge, watching village life along the riverfront stream by, as the sun sets over the beautiful countryside.
Day 6 - Sukhothai
Travel by private transport from Uthai Thani to Sukhothai (approximately 3.5 hours). In the afternoon you have the option to visit the Organic Culture Project and spend a couple of hours joining in on traditional Thai farm activities. Check out the organic vegetable garden and attend a demonstration out in the rice fields. 
Day 7 - Sukhothai
Sukhothai, established in the 13th century, was one of the first ancient capitals of Siam. Famed for its World Heritage listed historical park, which captures the Golden Age of Thai civilisation, the capital's name literally means 'Dawn of Happiness'. Today we visit the historical park, which spans the ruins of the town. You will rent a bicycle and take part in a cycle tour. As you ride around, you'll learn more about the history of this former metropolis and its fascinating structures. Enjoy a home-cooked picnic lunch in the beautiful grounds of Sukhothai Park. The rest of the afternoon is free, you might want to simply read a book by the pool back at your resort.
Day 8 - Chiang Mai
Travel from Sukhothai to Chiang Mai by private minivan (approximately 4 hours). In the afternoon, embark on an exciting culinary tour around town. Hidden down the back alleys of the city’s old town district you will sample dishes like khao man gai and khao kha moo from many local shops unknown to the tourist eye. Chat with street food vendors who have been serving the same dishes for more than 20 years and understand the influences that Isan and Shan have had on the Northern Thailand’s culinary scene. Your local guide will also suggest many other places you can eat throughout your time in Chiang Mai.
Day 9 - Chiang Mai
Head out and visit the Elephant Nature Park not too far from Chiang Mai (approximately 1 hour). Spend time at this important institution, learning about the various projects dedicated to rehabilitating and protecting elephants and other animals. There is many viewing platforms around the park that will get you up close with these wonderful creatures and you can even help out with feeding them. Banquet style lunch will also be included with the visit.
Day 10 - H'Mong Lodge
Start the morning with a visit to a local market to pick up an offering to take to Wat Suan Dok Monastic temple. This temple not only has one of the oldest stupa built in 1371 but also has the most beautiful cemetery for family members of the King of Chiang Mai. At the same location you will find Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University - a specific University for Buddhist Monks. Here you have a very unique opportunity to chat with some monks and learn the basics of Buddhism and you can ask them more about their schooling and lifestyle. Later, drive through rolling green countryside (approximately 2 hours) to the Hmong Hilltribe Lodge, your quarters for the night. The Hmong are an ethnic minority in Thailand who originated in the south of China. Today they comprise the second largest hilltribe group in Thailand. After a barbeque dinner in the lodge's open-air dining area, the day concludes with a cultural performance by the Hmong people. You'll gain an insight into the traditional lifestyle of the tribe, with a wedding ceremony enactment, shamanic ritual and makong (cotton ball) throwing.
Day 11 - Luang Prabang
Drive back to Chiang Mai for your flight to beautiful Luang Prabang, the jewel in Laos' crown. Spend the afternoon on your own exploring this charming, French-infused riverside town. Today you are also welcomed to the country with a Baci ceremony, which aims to bring the 32 souls (khouan) that look after you back to your body and attract beneficial influences. This ceremony is traditionally performed at all important events in a person's life.
Day 12 - Luang Prabang
Wake early to participate in the giving of alms, a daily ceremony between the monks and local folk. Alms giving takes place daily as the sun rises, beginning on the main street of Luang Prabang before spreading out to side streets. Follow the locals as they kneel down, ready to give offerings to the monks. Common gifts include rice, fruit and sweet snacks. The idea of the alms giving is for the Buddhist monks to make merit and to collect food for their one meal of a day. Later that morning, enjoy a visit to the Traditional Art Ethnology Centre before starting a boat trip on the sun-kissed Mekong River. This is an essential activity in Luang Prabang, as the river has a such a strong and central presence in the city. It's also a great chance to see the riverside from a different angle, with all its stately French villas, trees, and slow-paced two-wheeled traffic. Further along the stream, outside of town, you visit the Pak Ou Caves, located at the confluence of the rivers Mekong and Ou. Enjoy lunch on the boat along the way.
Day 13 - Luang Prabang
In the morning, visit Ock Pop Tok, a social enterprise dealing in local weaving and handicrafts. Later take a short ride out of town to visit Kuang Si Waterfall. Its glorious blue-green cascades make for one of Laos' most photogenic attractions, and the pool at its base is great for swimming in. There is time to visit the nearby Bear Rescue Centre here also.
Day 14 - Vientiane
Fly to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, in the early morning. Though not as visually impressive as Luang Prabang, this city is renowned, among other things, for its food. Its main streets are awash with a remarkably diverse variety of high-calibre restaurants, a great span of cuisines from across the globe. Embark on a sightseeing tour of the city. This stops in at Wat Si Saket, Hor Prakeo, Patuxai (Victory Gate) & That Luang. Also visit COPE, local providers of prosthetic, orthotic and rehabilitation services (and friends of Peregrine). In the evening, sit down to dinner at Makphet Friends restaurant, a Friends-International enterprise dedicated to the welfare of local street kids.
Day 15 - Bangkok
Today you'll leave Vientiane and fly back to Bangkok. Please note you will be unescorted on this flight. One of our transfer representatives will collect you from the airport and take you to your hotel, where you can settle in before meeting up with your next group at 6pm. Please check for a welcome notice on the Peregrine noticeboard located in the hotels reception area. With free time, reacquaint yourself with the city and explore places you may have missed on your first visit.
Day 16 - Bangkok
You will begin the day with a walking tour of the district of Thonburi, which covers the west bank of the Chao Phraya River. Start from the Flower Market and take the ferry across the river to Wat Kalayanamitr pier. People come to this temple, whose name means ‘true friend’, to receive a blessing of good luck before a journey. Walk from the short distance from the river towards one of the canals and towards a Muslim community. Here you will visit the Bangluang Mosque, which was built in the reign of King Rama I (1785 AD) and is the only Thai-style mosque in the world. The mosque was built as the centre for Muslims in an area that was predominantly Chinese. Navigate through small alleyways for a few more minutes until you reach Santa Cruz Church. This is where a small Portuguese catholic community settled over 200 years ago. Wander through the Kuthi Jeen community and maybe fuel up with a taste of original Portuguese cake. Continue along the riverside, passing a Chinese shrine, then visit the amulet market of Thonburi. Here you can find small Buddha images that are used to ward off evil. The next stop is Princess Mother Memorial Park, formerly the childhood home of the Princess Mother. Continue to a hidden mosque, then finish at the Tha Din Dang Market, where you may want to try the local signature dish of Stewed goose and Pork Sateh. The afternoon is free to do as you wish, perhaps visiting the Grand Palace, What Pho, or Jim Thompson house. You’ll have a BTS day pass so you can use the sky train to help you get around.
Day 17 - Khao Sok
After a leisurely morning, take a flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani (approximately 1 hour 15 minutes). From the airport, travel to Khao Sok Boutique camp, with a stop for lunch along the way. You will arrive around 3 pm, with the rest of the day free to relax in this incredible setting. Your accommodation for the next two nights is in one of the most beautiful parts of Southern Thailand, surrounded by forest, wildlife and mountains. You will sleep in a boutique tent, a luxury style of camping where the tents have a private bathroom, air conditioning and twin beds. The raised platforms of the tents give a wooden deck to perch on and look out over the rainforest below. There’s also a great restaurant and mountain view coffee shop. This is unlike any camping you may have ever experienced.
Day 18 - Khao Sok
Established as Thailand’s 22nd national park in 1980, Khao Sok is home to the oldest evergreen rainforest in the world, along with deep valleys, numerous caves, and a significant wild animal population. This paradise includes elephants, exotic Hornbills, water-loving Langur Monkeys and even the occasional tiger deep inside the park. The flora is also incredible, with the rare Rafflesia Kerri, one of the world’s largest flowers, only found here. Today you will take a trek through the park along the dirt trails and riverbed tracks that snake through the forest of the quiet park. Look out for wildlife along the way and perhaps take a cooling dip in one of the numerous waterfalls that dot the park. Take the short drive back to the boutique camp and spend the rest of the day relishing in your surroundings. Note - Hiking boots or shoes with a good grip and a rain jacket are recommended today. Rain is quite common in the National Park so the dirt tracks can get slippery after a down pour.
Day 19 - Khao Lak
Leave Khao Sok this morning and travel to Ban Talae Nok Village. A bilingual guide will give you a quick briefing and cultural orientation, then you will be welcomed into the village and get an insight into the daily lives and history of the village on a walking tour. See first-hand an area of the village that was destroyed by the 2004 tsunami and learn from survivors how they have recovered. For lunch, enjoy authentic Southern Thai food with a local family. Then you will learn a new skill at the local handicraft workshop. The women’s group, established after the tsunami, makes beautifully hand-crafted soap, using only the finest natural ingredients. Watch an informative demonstration and then make soap for yourself with the expert guidance of the soap ladies. Or you could try your skill at making a local specialty desert – grilled coconut wrapped in a leaf – and then enjoy the delicious snack hot of the fire. After an enlightening day travel through verdant forests and hills to the sublime Andaman Sea and the laid-back beach town of Khao Lak. Spend the rest of the day relaxing on the beach at your resort.
Day 20 - Khao Lak
Famous for the likes of Memories Beach, Bang Niang Beach and the aptly-named White Sand Beach, Khao Lak is one Thailand’s quieter beach destinations and a great place to unwind and explore. Today you will take a full day boat tour that will travel to Koh Ra and Koh Khai. Climb aboard at Kuraburi pier and cruise out to Koh Khai (‘Paradise Island’), passing vast mangrove forest and crab and fish farms. Strap on a snorkel and swim between the colourful reef and fishes. Relax on the beach of Koh Khai, then sail across to Koh Ra. See the locals squid fishing, then choose some fresh produce straight from the fisherman and enjoy a seafood BBQ on the beach. After digesting, continue snorkelling in the waters surrounding Koh Ra. Return to Khao Lak and make the most of this wonderful beach side location.
Day 21 - Phuket
Take a private minivan from Khao Lak to the tourist haven of Phuket, Thailand’s largest and most visited island (approximately 2 hours). The island is one of the brashest, more extrovert of the Thai islands. When you arrive you’ll take a walking tour of the streets of Old Phuket (approximately 1-1.5 hours). The old town has a distinctive architectural style in Thailand, thanks to the mix of different nationalities living there and the once strong links with Penang. Rich tin mining barons brought in architects and builders from the island to fashion their opulent houses. Walk though the beautiful restored architecture of Sino-Portuguese, Sino-colonial and Chinese style buildings of Baan Chinpracha, Thalang Road, Soi Rommanee, Yaowarat, Deebuk, and Krabi Roads and get an insight into the area’s history. Perhaps pick up some sweet snacks along the way, then enjoy a local Phuket-style lunch. Finish at the Khao Rang View Point with coffee and a spectacular view of Phuket Town. The rest of the afternoon is free. Phuket offers something for everyone so there’s a lot to do – or a little if you’d prefer to remain at the resort right on the beachfront of Kamala beach.
Day 22 - Phuket
The island is ringed with beaches, each with their own distinct personalities, so perhaps use your free today to explore the beautiful sands and curving coast. Your leader will be able to recommend a variety of beaches to suit your needs. Alternatively spend some time by the pool with a good book, your resort is right on the beach front so it;s the perfect place to relax. Tonight you will travel by private mini to a fine dining restaurant located on a beautiful stretch of Patong Beach. The views are stunning and the food is delicious. It's a lovely way to finish your Thai journey.
Day 23 - Phuket
There are no activities planned for the final day and you are able to depart the accommodation at any time.

Trip Dates

StartEndPrice FromRoom Type

Accommodation

Hotel (13 nights),Lodge (1 night),Resort (6 nights),Permanent Boutique tents (2 nights)

Transport

Plane,Train,Tuk-Tuk,Private Van,Boat,Bicycle

Map