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About your trip
This epic two-week journey embraces slow travel, as we take scenic routes via train and boat that allow you to really bathe in the natural beauty of Southeast Asia. It begins in the beating heart of Thailand, Bangkok. From here we’ll be boarding the train to Thailand’s oldest city, Phitsanulok, from where we’ll set out to explore the ruins of Sukhothai, an ancient Khmer-era city. Next, it’s on to Chiang Mai, where you’ll get to dive into authentic local street food and try your hand at Thai cuisine with a cookery class. We’ll meet some of Thailand’s most charismatic locals at an elephant sanctuary near Mae Wang, before crossing the border into Laos. Here, you’ll cruise down the Mekong River to learn about traditional village life, embark on a trek to Kuang Si Falls and explore Luang Prabang . Finally, we’ll take a sleeper train back to Bangkok – for a walking tour with a Local Insider.
- Explore Bangkok with a Local Insider
- Tuck into authentic Thai street food in Chiang Mai
- Get up close with Asian elephants at an ethical sanctuary
- See the atmospheric ruins of the Khmer city of Sukhothai
- Embark on a cruise along the Mekong River
- Experience local village life in Laos
- Kayak along the Namsong River
After arriving at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), you’ll be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. You’ll have some time to relax and settle into your surroundings before meeting up with the rest of the group for a welcome dinner.
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be picked up and driven to Bangkok train station to board the cross-country train to Phitsanulok. This small, historic city is the gateway to a number of significant archeological sites, including Sukhothai, the ancient Khmer-era city and once-capital. This is where we’ll be heading directly from the station – Sukhothai Historical Park spans a mind-boggling 70 km/sq, and features around 21 individual sites, including the central ruins of Wat Mahathat, with its lotus bud-shaped stupas and landscaped gardens. You’ll have a couple of hours to explore at your own pace, before we regroup to head back to the hotel for the evening.
Enjoy a laid-back breakfast in Sukhothai this morning before being picked up and taken to Phitsanulok station for the train to Chiang Mai. We’ll rattle through lush green countryside and peaceful rural villages before arriving in this dazzling city, an interwoven mesh of Thailand’s past and present. After dropping bags at your hotel, we’ll hit the streets on foot – to sample the city’s famous street food, and see the sights.
Ease into your stay in Chiang Mai with a leisurely start – after breakfast at your hotel, we’ll head over to a cookery school where you’ll learn how to whip up an authentic Thai dish for lunch. After paying your compliments to the chef (that’s you), take the rest of the afternoon to explore Chiang Mai at your own pace.
If yesterday was all about taking it easy, today is all-action. After breakfast we’ll pick you up and head over to an ethical Asian elephant sanctuary in mountainous Mae Wang. You’ll have the chance to get up close with the gentle giants, helping the team there feed them, take them for a walk and give them a mud bath. Afterwards, you’ll be taken on a serene trip along the Wang River on a traditional bamboo raft, before we regroup to head to your accommodation – a secluded glamping site surrounded by lush rainforest. When night falls, we’ll get together for a BBQ dinner and drinks beneath the stars.
After breakfast, we’ll be driving cross-country to Chiang Khong district, on the border with Laos. After arriving and checking into your hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day free to spend however you like.
Welcome to Laos! Today, after obtaining your visa to cross the border (with the help of our Local Insider), we’ll board a cruise boat for a float along the Mekong River. You’ll be treated to an authentic Laos lunch on board, before we disembark later in the afternoon to visit a traditional Khmu village (Laos’s indigenous population) to learn about rural life in Laos. Later, we’ll check into our accommodation where you’ll have the rest of the evening free to yourself.
After breakfast this morning, we’ll re-board the Mekong River cruise and continue on downstream towards Luang Prabang. Along the way you’ll enjoy an onboard demonstration on how to make authentic Lao drinks and desserts, which, of course, you’ll be able to enjoy as the lush green landscape drifts by. We’ll disembark enroute to visit Ban Baw, a rural village that specialises in the production of Lao-Lao rice whisky. We’ll also hop ashore to visit the Pak Ou caves, an important pilgrimage site for Lao people. Once in Luang Prabang you’ll check into your hotel and enjoy some free time before we regroup for dinner in the evening.
It’s time to lace up your hiking boots, as today we’re going to be heading out into Laos’s steamy green rainforest in search of paradise. The particular paradise in question? Kuang Si Falls – where turquoise water tumbles down over tiered, step-like sections of a forest stream. Once there, you’ll have a few hours to splash about in the gem-coloured waters before we head back to Luang Prabang, where you’ll have the rest of the day free to spend at your own pace.
A high-speed train, in laid-back Laos? That’s right – the Boten - Vientiane railway, opened in 2021, runs the length of Laos and makes today’s journey – to Vang Vieng newly doable as a day-trip. The city of Vang Vieng itself is a hotspot for adventurous travellers looking for adrenaline-fueled thrills in the mountainous landscape. For you today, however, it’s all about checking in (to your hotel for the night), and checking out your surroundings with a free afternoon and evening.
Fuel up at breakfast this morning, as today we’ll be burning some calories exploring the Nam Song River by kayak. This gentle river flows through the centre of Vang Vieng and through a landscape characterised by towering limestone karsts, cloaked in dense foliage. You’ll pass green-carpeted crop fields, locals doing their laundry on the rocky banks and shack-like bars that have opened up and down the river to serve cold beers to sun-kissed day-trippers.
Cameras at the ready as we get this adventure back on track with a train transfer back to Bangkok. The first leg sees you boarding the high-speed train from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, before transferring across the Thai border into Nong Khai and boarding the overnight sleeper train bound for Bangkok.
Your first glimpse of the Thai capital may have been fleeting, but this time you’ll have the opportunity to get to know it – with the help of our Local Insider, who’ll take you on an expert walking tour. Afterwards you’ll have the rest of the day free to explore at your leisure, before we regroup in the evening for a final farewell dinner – the perfect opportunity to toast an unforgettable adventure!
After a final breakfast at your hotel, make your way to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to catch your flight home.
- 11 nights boutique accommodation
- One night glamping accommodation
- One night overnight sleeper train
- 11 breakfasts
- Six lunches
- Four dinners
- Train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok
- Visit to Sukhothai Historical Park
- Train from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai
- Chiang Mai street food and city sights tour
- Thai cooking class
- Visit to an ethical Asian elephant sanctuary
- Bamboo rafting experience
- BBQ dinner and drinks
- Mekong River cruise
- Khmu village experience
- Ban Baw village experience
- Visit to Pak Ou Caves
- Trek to Kuang Si Falls
- High-speed train to Vang Vieng
- Kayaking on the Nam Song River
- Walking tour of Bangkok with a Local Insider
What's Not Included
- Travel insurance
- Flights to and from the destination
Riva Surya Bangkok
Elegant, understated and right in the heart of Bangkok’s main sights, this boutique hotel ticks a lot of boxes. Rooms are colonial-chic without the clichés, there’s an outdoor pool overlooking the Chao Phraya River, and the Riverside Bar makes the most of the twinkling waterside views.
Sriwilai Sukhothai Resort & Spa
Sensitively done, the elements of traditional Thai design incorporated into this impressive hotel feel genuine rather than gimmicky. Rooms are airy and generously-proportioned, and views across lush green fields are as soothing as the spa’s massages.
The Rim Resort Chiang Mai
The pagoda-like building design, the polished wooden floors throughout, the central courtyard swimming pool – this boutique hotel is a temple to rest and relaxation in the heart of the city.
Campiness Camping and Farmsook
Encircled by rainforest-blanketed hills, this glamping site will immerse you in the magical landscapes of Chiang Mai. Quaint and idyllic, this cosy retreat is most notable for the amazing countryside views you can enjoy from shared spaces like the patio, campfire and garden.
Fortune River View Hotel Chiang Khong
A contemporary, elegant hotel overlooking the mighty Mekong River. Rooms are simple yet stylish, with a neutral colour scheme enhanced with pops of red and gold, and balconies overlooking either the central outdoor pool or the river.
The Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge
The word ‘sanctuary’ gets bandied about a lot, but this sustainability-minded hotel earns the right to use it. Valley views of the snaking Mekong River, a lush botanical garden (where the hotel’s staff can grow fruit and vegetables for their families) and spacious rooms with hand-crafted furniture make this place truly special.
The Sanctuary Luang Prabang Hotel
This gorgeous urban oasis of a hotel is built around three listed buildings that date back to when Luang Prabang was a kingdom in its own right. Most of the rooms are split between these buildings – and come flooded with natural light, glossy wooden floors and beautiful views over the landscaped gardens and lotus pond.
Riverside Boutique Resort
We can’t decide what we like about this place more: the huge outdoor pool, surrounded by immaculate gardens, the views of the towering rocky karsts or the effortlessly elegant room decor. An unforgettable hotel for an unforgettable trip.
Your safety and wellbeing are our top priority, so we’ve put the following measures in place on all our TRIPS:
- Please check the entry requirements for the destination you are travelling to. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- We recommend you confirm all guidance on official government sites and check that you are able to travel with your travel insurance issuer. Your travel insurance may be invalidated if you travel against government advice. Our travel experts can assist you in finding this information.
- Remember, the trains in this part of the world are not the Orient Express – both train journeys and boat rides can be long and not luxurious – so be prepared for a proper adventure!
- You must be aged 25 years or over to join this trip.
- Please be sure to check whether or not you need a visa to enter the country you're travelling to. Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions for further information.
- If you have any pre-existing medical conditions or accessibility requirements, please notify our Customer Support team as soon as possible.
- We won't charge you extra if you travel alone – you'll be allocated a twin room with another traveller of the same gender.
- To upgrade to a private room, share a room with a friend, or book pre- and post-trip accommodation and/or airport transfers, please contact our Customer Support team.
- Please be aware that travel insurance is compulsory for all travellers.
- Please be aware that the itinerary, activities and hotels are subject to change. While unlikely, these changes can happen due to circumstances beyond our control. We will always do our best to ensure minimal impact on your experience.
- Please be aware images on this page are for illustrative purposes and may not reflect your itinerary exactly.
If you cancel 56 days or more before your scheduled departure date, you will receive a 100% refund. Otherwise, the total cost of your trip is: 100% payable if you cancel 29 days or less before your departure date. 50% payable if you cancel between 30 - 55 days before your departure date. Please note you can only book this trip in advance up to 14 days before the departure date. After this time the trip may be booked on request.
Terms & Conditions
Please refer to our Booking Terms & Conditions.