Thailand & Laos Express

10 Days, from AU $3,328

Laos Moped

Wat Arun, Bangkok, Thailand

Death Railway, Kanchanaburi, Thailand

Elephants, Chiang Mai, Thailand

Haw Pha Bang Temple at Royal Palace, Luang Prabang, Laos

Xieng Khuan Buddha Park, Vientiane, Laos

Jetset through Thailand and Laos visiting the must-see attractions of Bangkok and Chiang Mai in Thailand, then Luang Prabang and Vientiane in Laos. If you’ve got less than two weeks and you want to be whisked around without any fuss, this is the itinerary for you. Our guides and support staff will do all the hard work to ensure that you get the most out of Thailand and Laos in this fast paced trip.

Our Jetset itineraries cover the must-see attractions with a priority on enjoyment and convenience. Jetset itineraries can be customised to suit your personal tastes. Discuss itinerary options and extensions with our Asia Travel Experts.

Suggested Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok

You will meet your guide on arrival, transfer and check-in to your hotel. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Bangkok, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the first day.

Situated on the banks of the Chao Phraya River, Bangkok, also known as the City of Angels, is a vibrant city with many and varied charms. From grand historic buildings to peaceful temples, from exciting markets to ritzy shopping malls and from towering skyscrapers to Chinese shop-houses, Bangkok is cosmopolitan and full of sharp contrasts.

Explore the streets by tuk-tuk, view the city by Skytrain or take to the water and cruise the river and its canals to experience traditional riverside life. Bangkok is never dull. Orange robed monks mingle with shoppers and businessmen, tuk-tuks weave in amongst limousines and fish is unloaded from wooden boats as the river flows through the centre of the city. In the evenings the streets are transformed into bustling markets and outdoor restaurants. The food choices are endless and range from fine dining in stylish contemporary restaurants to snacking with the locals at street hawker stalls.

Bangkok has many great restaurants, night markets and bars. Ask your guide for personal recommendations. It is also possible to unwind from your flight with a traditional Thai massage. Again your guide can advise you of options.

Itinerary Option: If you’re arriving to Bangkok in the morning, discuss additional day 1 activities with our staff.

Day 2: Bangkok

Accompanied by your guide explore the sights of the city. The day starts with a drive to Wat Po in time to experience the monks’ morning chanting ritual. One of the oldest and largest temples in Bangkok, Wat Po is home to the famous reclining Buddha, over 45 metres (150 feet) in length, covered in gold leaf with ornately inlayed mother-of-pearl feet. The temple also houses the original school of traditional Thai massage. From here, experience a tuk-tuk ride via Pak Klong Taland Flower Market towards the Grand Palace or Wat Phra Kaeo, the most important and spectacular royal palace in Thailand. Built in 1782, the palace was the official residence of the Kings of Siam for 150 years and also housed the Royal Court and the administrative seat of government. Within the Grand Palace complex, Wat Phra Kaeo Royal Chapel houses the famous jade Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand, dating back to the 14th century. Thai people believe that as long as they remain keepers of the Emerald Buddha, their country will be safe.

Continue with a walk to the pier for a long-tailed boat ride along the “klongs” (canals) of Thonburi to get a flavour of local life. Stop at Wat Arun, also referred to as the Temple of Dawn, one of the most striking riverside landmarks of Thailand and once the grand royal temple to King Rama II. Constructed between 1809 and 1851, the Buddhist temple is decorated with pieces of porcelain previously used as ballast by boats coming to Bangkok from China.

Lunch is served at one of the riverside restaurants. Cross the river for the drive to Chinatown to get a first-hand look at old Bangkok. Walk along Yaworat Road with its many interesting shops selling everything imaginable. Enjoy a cup of Chinese tea with the locals at an ancient teashop before exploring the bustling Talad Kao market, where a variety of food, fresh and dry fruits and Chinese herbs are on offer.

Return to your hotel in the late afternoon.

Day 3: Kanchanaburi

After breakfast, leave Bangkok and head to Kanchanaburi province. The provincial capital of Kanchanaburi is set in a lush landscape on the banks of the river and framed by limestone hills.

On the way, drop into the vibrant floating markets to see the traditional way of selling and buying goods in Thailand. Board a boat with your guide, and row around the canals in amongst the many small boats laden with colourful fruits and vegetables, paddled by Thai women wearing bamboo hats. Enjoy the light hearted entertainment as the various vendors offer their wares from fruit and vegetables to snacks, hats, shirts and handbags.

On arrival at Kanchanaburi, visit the infamous Bridge over the River Kwai and the Death Railway, built by Allied Prisoners Of War (POWs) under brutal Japanese occupation. After lunch at a riverside restaurant, continue to the Second World War Cemetery, the final resting place of nearly 7,000 Australian, British and Dutch POWs who lost their lives during their incarceration and forced labour. Afterwards visit the Thai-Burma Railway Museum to gain an insight into their daily hardship experienced by the POWs. Take a historic one hour train ride through the thick jungle on the infamous Death Railway before returning to Bangkok this evening.

Itinerary Option: Your itinerary can be altered to include the Buddhist Monk Tiger Temple. Discuss options with our staff.

Day 4: Chiang Mai

This morning fly from Bangkok to Chiang Mai and meet your guide on arrival. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Chiang Mai.

Located in the north of the country, Chiang Mai is the ancient walled provincial capital. It has been an important Buddhist centre since the 14th century and is home to over 300 temples. Surrounded by mountains it offers spectacular scenery for trekking on foot and by elephant, with opportunities to raft on jungle rivers and meet the colourful hill tribe minorities that inhabit the area. Many visitors come to Chiang Mai to attend meditation retreats, massage classes or yoga lessons. For those interested in handicrafts there are centres which specialise in silverwork, wood carving, pottery making and weaving.

Start today’s trip with a transfer to Wat Suan Dok, just outside the ancient city walls of Chiang Mai. The temple was built in the 14th century by King Keu Na of Lanna to accommodate important priests visiting from Sukhothai, as well as a place for local monks to shelter from the rain. There is a 48 metre (157 feet) high Sri Lankan style bell shaped chedi or pagoda and an open sided prayer hall. Continue to Wat Chedi Luang where the Emerald Buddha was once enshrined. This impressive temple was built between the 14th and 15th centuries and nowadays houses a replica of Thailand’s most important Buddha relic.

Wat Phra Singh, with its impressive prayer hall, is the next stop, perhaps the largest and most interesting of the temples in Chiang Mai. Built over 600 years ago, it was carefully restored in 2006 and now houses a very sacred 1,500 year old Buddha image. The prayer hall has an intricately carved front and there is a small library built on a high stone base with beautiful carvings. End the trip with a visit to Wat Phrathat on Doi Suthep Mountain, which was founded in 1383 AD, and which is probably Chiang Mai’s most well known temple. Built as a Buddhist monastery in 1383, it is still a working monastery today. Funds raised by donations support the monks and the maintenance of the temple buildings. The temple is crowned by an elaborate golden chedi and is reached by climbing the 309 steps of the Naga Serpent Staircase or by taking a cable car for a small surcharge. The climb to the top is rewarded with a superb panoramic view over the city. Return to the car park for the drive back to your hotel in Chiang Mai. Your guide will assist you with check-in and make arrangements for the following day.

With an abundance of restaurants and bars as well as the renowned Night Bazaar that comes alive in the evenings and is a great place to sample the distinctive northern Thai cuisine, Chiang Mai has plenty to see and do. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.

Day 5: Chiang Mai

Today the focus is on elephants, Thailand’s most loved animal. Travel north of Chiang Mai to the Chiang Dao Elephant Training Camp, passing through the spectacular mountainous scenery that surrounds Chiang Mai. Arrive at the camp and watch the elephants taking their morning bath in a mountain stream, before seeing a demonstration which shows how elephants work in the jungle nearby and the kinds of tasks they undertake. Next it is time to enjoy a one hour elephant ride through the jungle that surrounds the camp, followed by lunch.

In the afternoon climb aboard the bamboo raft trip and float down the river taking in the tranquillity and beauty of the area. Set foot again on the mainland and transfer back to Chiang Mai.

Itinerary Option: Optionally upgrade to a visit to the Elephant Conservation project for the day where you spend time learning about the elephants, including bathing and feeding them.

Day 6: Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang

Enjoy free time in Chiang Mai until your afternoon flight to Luang Prabang in Laos. You will meet your guide on arrival and be given an introduction to Laos and Luang Prabang, as well as checking into your hotel. Luang Prabang has many great cafes and restaurants and also night food stalls which emerge at dusk. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.

Nestled in a mountain valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers is the enchanting World Heritage town and former royal capital of Luang Prabang. It's a magical and captivating place with stunning colonial architecture, ornate monasteries and colourful markets. Rise early to witness the ancient dawn ritual of saffron robed monks collecting alms, discover the hundreds of Buddha sculptures in Pak Ou Caves, see the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall and climb Phou Si hill to take in the view.

Day 7: Luang Prabang

Wake before dawn to witness the offering of alms to the hundreds of saffron robed monks who walk barefoot through the streets of Luang Prabang carrying their begging bowls. This early morning ritual of monks leaving their monasteries to accept alms from the Buddhist devotees dates back generations. The ceremony enables the monks to demonstrate their vows of poverty and humility, and for the Lao people to gain spiritual merit by their charity. It is an inspiring sight that you are unlikely to forget. Watch the town as it comes to life before returning to your hotel for breakfast.

You have the opportunity to participate by offering sticky rice balls to the monks. Please let your guide know so that they can organise the offering the day before.

After breakfast, set off with your guide to one of Luang Prabang’s most impressive and picturesque waterfalls, Tat Kuang Si. On the way stop off at Phosy market where you can observe locals trading in fresh produce. Across the street is Ock Pop Tock weaving centre which produces its own naturally dyed Lao silk and cotton textiles.

Kuang Si is a multi-tiered waterfall, the falls beginning in shallow pools on top of a steep hillside, with the various cascades falling into clear turquoise pools. Walk through the National Park to the waterfalls and if you're feeling energetic, climb to their source and go for a swim. After a picnic lunch in the tranquil surroundings of the park, return to Luang Prabang.

In the afternoon accompany your guide on a two hour Mekong River cruise to visit the mysterious and sacred Pak Ou Caves. As you journey by long-tail boat, typical Laotian villages are barely visible behind thick foliage. Wooden canoes attached to bamboo poles bob by the shore while floats mark the location of fishing nets.

The Pak Ou Caves are dramatically located in a limestone rock formation opposite the mouth of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. The sanctuaries of Pak Ou consist of two large caves cut into the limestone cliff, revealing hundreds of Buddha effigies of various sizes and styles, from the tiny to the colossal and spanning many centuries.

From the caves continue to Ban Muang Keo village where you can see local weavers and whisky distillers honouring their ancient traditional crafts. Return to Luang Prabang by river.

Day 8: Luang Prabang

This morning, accompanied by your guide walk around the beautiful ancient town of Luang Prabang taking in all of the sights. Enjoy a leisurely walk to the magnificent stupa of Wat Visoun, one of Luang Prabang’s most historically important temples, built in the 16th century and serving as a small museum for religious artefacts.

Next stop is Wat That Luang, traditionally the cremation site for Lao royalty and housing the ashes of King Sisavang Vong and his brother, interred inside the large stupa, erected in 1910. Wat Mai, beside the Royal Palace, is Luang Prabang’s oldest Pagoda, and one of the city’s most sumptuous monasteries. It is home to Sangharat, the head of Lao Buddhism.

Your walk takes you next to Wat Xieng Thong, a 16th century temple which epitomises the elegance and grace of Luang Prabang architecture and showcases classic Lao style roofs. This temple was one of only two temples spared by the Black Flag army in 1887, and it was then used as the leader’s headquarters during the invasion.

The day ends with a climb to the top of Mount Phousi. The 100 metre (328 feet) hill is crowned by a gilded stupa, That Chomsi, which dominates the old city centre. Enjoy the views of the town across the Mekong and Khan rivers, as well as the surrounding mountains.

This afternoon fly from Luang Prabang to Vientiane and meet your guide on arrival. During the drive your guide will provide an introduction to Vientiane, answer any questions you have, and make arrangements for the following day. Enjoy free time for the remainder of the day.

Set on a sweeping bend of the Mekong River, Vientiane is the tranquil and timeless capital of Laos with a kaleidoscope of architectural styles and influences ranging from traditional Lao to Thai, Chinese, French, Soviet and American. Discover crumbling French mansions, the golden spires of Pha That Luang, ancient atmospheric temples, bizarre sculptures and the Patuxai Monument, the Arc de Triomphe of Laos. From steaming noodle bars to riverside cafes, Vientiane will surprise and delight you with its quaint placid charm.

Vientiane has many great restaurants with Lao, Thai, French, Italian, Mexican and Chinese cuisines available. Ask your guide for personal recommendations.

Day 9: Vientiane

Accompanied by your guide, drive southeast of the city to the Buddha Park, built in 1958 by Luang Pu, a yogi-priest shaman. The park is a fanciful garden full of Buddhist and Hindu religious sculptures which appear to be centuries old. They include statues of Shiva, Krishna, Buddha and many other deities. Of particular interest is a giant pumpkin shaped concrete monument, with three levels joined by interior stairways. The three levels are said to represent hell, earth and heaven. The cement statues are ornate and many are bizarre in design.

With your guide, discover the essential landmarks and iconic sights that the small and charismatic city of Vientiane has to offer. Vientiane remains a tranquil laid-back town, a world away from the frantic capitals in Asia, and most attractions can be reached on foot. Start at Wat Sisaket, believed to be Vientiane’s oldest surviving temple, left intact after the Siamese invasion of 1828. The interior walls of the cloister are covered in niches containing over 2000 silver and ceramic Buddha images. Next is a visit to Wat Phra Keo, built originally to house the famed Emerald Buddha and now a religious museum that displays a collection of art representing Lao and Khmer artefacts. Continue with a visit to the most popular Wat in town, Wat Si Muang before visiting Patouxay monument, Laos' version of the Arc de Triomphe and its most prominent monument. End your tour at the golden spired Pha That Luang, constructed in the 16th century and regarded as the holiest site in Laos.

Day 10: Vientiane

On your last day enjoy free time until your departure transfer.

Personalise Your Trip

Phone now to discuss options to personalise your itinerary.

Ideas to upgrade or extend your itinerary:

  • Bangkok: Options include cooking classes, street food tour, meditation class, Thai kick boxing show, cycling, hiking & rickshaw outskirts tour, visits to specific museums, and Vimanmek Mansion and Jim Thompson’s house.
  • Kanchanaburi: Extend your trip to overnight in Kanchanaburi staying in a riverside hotel surrounded by jungle.
  • Chiang Mai: Visit Chiang Rai and the Golden Triangle in a day trip from Chiang Mai.
  • Chiang Mai: Enjoy a traditional Khan Toke evening meal with Northern Thailand cultural dancers providing entertainment.
  • Chiang Mai: Other options include cooking classes, visiting a tiger zoo where you can get up close with the tigers, a guided shopping tour, ancient ruins of the Wieng Kum Kam city and surrounds, and a tour of Chiang Mai's handicraft villages.
  • Luang Prabang: Cruise upriver to Pak Ou caves with the option of extending to an overnight stay at Pakbeng and on to Houeixai, and then transfer to Chiang Rai in Thailand.
  • Luang Prabang: Visit a museum to learn about the dangers still facing the people of Laos.
  • Luang Prabang: Other options include hill tribe visits, cooking classes, farm visit with traditional agriculture demonstrations, elephant rides and bamboo raft trips, elephant mahout experience, cycling and kayaking trips.
  • Vientiane: Visit the Phou Khao Kway National Park (Orchid Park) home to exceptional flora and fauna, including wild elephants and over half of Laos’ wild orchid species.
  • Vientiane: Visit Nam Ngum Reservoir including a boat trip and stops at villages and the Vang Xang archaeological site.
  • Vientiane: Visit the Houey Hong Vocational Training Centre for Women.

Travel Styles

All Get About Asia trips have been designed to make sure you have an unforgettable travel experience. We have developed several trip styles to cater for our diverse range of travellers. Read what your ideal Get About Asia experience might look like here.

Standard:from AU $3,328
Superior:from AU $3,915
Deluxe:from AU $4,796

All GetAboutAsia prices are based on twin share and depend on availability and season. All our itineraries can be customised including international flights and extra nights. For questions or further information, Enquire Now!

Important Information

Accommodation:

Hotels each night of the itinerary (excluding your departure day). All GetAboutAsia accommodation is handpicked by us. Upgrades are available for this itinerary.

Inclusions:
  • All breakfasts at your hotel each morning.
  • All airport transfers.
  • All internal airfares and transport on tour.
  • All itinerary attractions including fees or permits.
  • Professional tour guides for all airport pickups, day tours and activities.
  • Lunch and dinner as indicated on trip notes. We do not include lunch or dinner where it is practical for you to make your own choices, as we find that GetAboutAsia customers prefer the freedom of eating what they want, which is one the of joys of travelling.
Notes:

This trip package includes 3 internal flight (Bangkok - Chiang Mai, Chiang Mai - Luang Prabang and Luang Prabang - Vientiane) which retail at about 200AUD per flight.

Price Dependent:

Availability of accommodation and season.

Trip Information

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"The recent holiday with Thai Hill tribes and Laos Mekong cruise was very good. City accommodation was excellent, and accommodation in mountain lodges was basic. It all went well and various guides and drivers were up to the usual high standard. The Mekong river cruise was very special as there were only 10 other people on the boat, and they were all very nice people. The Captain did say he had never seen a group of strangers get on so well together. We did drink the Bar dry a couple of times !! We found Laos to be a fascinating country with delightful people. " — Mr and Mrs Clark, Bribie Island, September 2018

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