Thailand & Laos: Off the Beaten Path

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Availability : March 18 - 28, 2019

Thailand & Laos: Off the Beaten Path

Highlights Include:

  • Biking the backroads of Bangkok, Thailand
  • Overnights at a traditional hill tribe lodge
  • Kayaking down a Mekong River Tributary in Luang Prabang, Laos
  • A two-day boat trip up the Mekong River
  • The chance to learn how to cook delicious Thai food
Tour Details

From: $3,850 per person | Single supplement $675

11 days

Tour Dates:
March 18 – 28, 2019

Angkor Temples of Cambodia Extension
Optional Pre- or Post-tour

From: $690 per person |Single supplement from $360

4 Days

Join Borton Overseas and our Destination Specialist EJ Gurley on this exciting adventure through the highlights of Thailand and Laos! On this Signature Journey you will experience the bustle of Bangkok, the lush beauty of Luang Prabang, the flow of the Mekong River and its tributaries, and the adventure of Chiang Mai.

This is a Borton Overseas Signature Journey – a premier, small-group tour hosted by our Destination Specialists.

Sunday, March 17Departure from US

Borton Overseas can assist with arrangements for departures – please inquire!

Monday, March 18Arrive Bangkok, Thailand

Upon arrival at Suvarnabhumi Airport, transfer to hotel. Overnight in Bangkok

Tuesday, March 19Bike Historic Bangkok | Meals: B D

After a morning to ourselves, we will meet up and take an afternoon bike ride. Staying off the main roads, we will wind our way through small lanes, passed ancient temples and canals, to see the heart and soul of Bangkok. We start the ride along the Chao Phraya River and then cross the river using Rama 8 Bridge. From here we visit ancient temples and experience urban street life. Bangkok Noi is the name given to a large canal of the Chao Phraya River. We’ll ride alongside the canal, then crossing over a bridge, we will follow the canal back the other way, this time passing Buddhist temples – seeing the diversity of the city up close. After using a local ferry to cross back over the river, we ride close to the Grand Palace and take a walk through a public park that once was exclusively used by the royal family. Peddling through more twisting alleyways and a food market, we end up at the Giant Swing. The Giant Swing is one of the landmarks of the city and was once used for important Hindu ceremonies. We will make our way back to the hotel to enjoy a group welcome dinner and hear a briefing on the further adventures to come. Overnight in Bangkok

Wednesday, March 20Bangkok - Luang Prabang, Laos | Meals: B D

After breakfast, we will check-out, meet our guide, and visit the Grand Palace, where an English governess tutored a young prince and may have influenced his powerful father. The highlight of this mind-and-eye boggling spectacle is the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the most revered shrine in the Kingdom. Located next to the Grand Palace, we pay a visit to Wat Po, one of Bangkok’s oldest and largest temples. The temple houses the gigantic gold-plated Reclining Buddha and is the headquarters for the Traditional Medicine Practitioners of Bangkok. We will then transfer to Bangkok Airport for our flight to Luang Prabang, Laos.

Upon arrival, we will transfer to our hotel and enjoy dinner at Coconut Restaurant. After our meal, we will visit the night market before returning to our hotel. Overnight in Superior room at Sanctuary Lodge, Luang Prabang

Thursday, March 21World Heritage Town | Meals: B

This morning, we will continue to explore this historic and charming World Heritage Town on foot, including Wat Xieng Thong, an exquisite 500 year old temple and the best example of the classic Luang Prabang style. From here, we’ll explore small side streets, back alleys, thoroughly allowing us to soak up the ambiance and appreciate the hidden charms of Luang Prabang. We’ll stop at the National Museum, the former Royal Palace containing relics from Laos’ royalist past. Overlooking the palace is Phousi Mountain (those who do not climb the 328 steps up have not really made it to the city). We will venture up the hill and be rewarded with remarkable views of the area. Then, we continue to Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, a museum dedicated to the ethnic minorities of Laos. The group will have lunch at Khai Paen Restaurant, a training restaurant powered by Friends International NGO. Here Lao youth receive hands-on training in Hospitality, Food & Beverages, English, and will prepare a delicious meal for us using local ingredients and flavors. The afternoon is free, or take an optional (extra cost) excursion to Kuang Si Waterfall and the Living Crafts Center and/or a Mekong River Dinner cruise. This evening, the group will gather together and take part in a private Baci ceremony. Overnight in Superior rooms at Sanctuary Lodge, Luang Prabang

Friday, March 22Morning Market, Waterfalls, and Kayaking | Meals: B L

For early risers, you can get up at dawn to witness alms giving. Lines of monks silently walk down the street to receive their morning rice from the townspeople. Afterwards, visit the Morning Market and see an array of meats, vegetables, and spices the locals use in their cooking. After breakfast, we will drive about 25 minutes to a camp on the banks of the Nam Khan River. We will cruise upriver to the Tad Sae Waterfalls, which flow directly into the Nam Khan River. The large natural pools are great for a refreshing swim and there’s a good chance you’ll see elephants at the falls. We’ll then push off downriver to enjoy paddling through stunning panoramic views of green jungle mountains and Lao life by kayak. We will lunch along the river and continue kayaking on the flowing water through sections of moderate rapids. Overnight in Superior room at Sanctuary Lodge, Luang Prabang

Saturday, March 23River Cruise | Meals: B L D

This morning we will pack up, check out, and transfer to the pier to start our two-day cruise on the Mekong River. On this first day, the boat will stop at the mouth of the Nam Ou River to visit Pak Ou caves, where there are thousands of Buddha images in two caves: “Tham Thing” & “Tham Phoum .” A buffet lunch will be served on board. A second stop will be at Ban Baw village to observe the process of making traditional rice alcohol, Lao Lao. We arrive at Luang Say lodge before sunset for an overnight stay and a dinner served on the terrace overlooking the Mekong River. Overnight at Luang Say Lodge in Pak Beng

Sunday, March 24Friendship Bridge | Meals: B

After an early breakfast on the terrace, the boat leaves Luang Say lodge. Along the way, we will stop to observe rural life at Ban Houy Phalam, a Kamu village. Upon arrival in Houay Xai, we will transfer to the Friendship Bridge (Lao/Thai border) for our return to Thailand. We will meet our guide and transfer to our Chiang Rai hotel. The rest of the day is free to explore on our own. Overnight in Chiang Rai

Monday, March 25Chiang Mai Village | Meals: B L D

Another early morning has us headed to Lisu Lodge, just north of Chiang Mai. When we arrive, we’ll enjoy a traditional welcome drink while getting briefed on the lodge, and then have a walk through the village. We will start from the Ton Lung temple to view the herbal garden and visit some local families, with a stop for a cup of tea and a spot of traditional medicine at the shaman’s house. Then back to the lodge for a Thai Lunch. During the afternoon you have a choice of activities:

• Guided bike tour around the Lisu Lodge area

• Steam bath

• Massage

• Ox-cart ride through farmlands and orchards to the Thai village of Baan Pang Mai Daeng for approximately one hour ending up back at Lisu Lodge.

This evening we’ll have a Thai dinner with a traditional Lisu dance show. Overnight at Lisu Lodge

Tuesday, March 26Biking and White Water Rafting | Meals: B L

This morning, we’ll have an easy, eight-mile bike ride to Muang Guert. Along the way, we’ll stop at the Araksa Tea plantation, to relax and enjoy a magnificent landscape and to introduce us to the process of growing and harvesting tea. We’ll hop back on the bikes to head to the rafting station. After a picnic lunch on the bank of the river, we will go white water rafting. The river will take us to a traditional Thai country village. Then, we’ll head back to Lisu Lodge. The rest of the afternoon is free to rest before our authentic Thai cooking class. We will learn about the authentic Thai meal (four dishes) and the major ingredients, along with the concept of balancing the five flavors commonly found in many Thai dishes. We’ll also get a Thai Recipe Book that explains the recipes with information about local herbs and their nutritious benefits. Overnight at Lisu Lodge

Wednesday,March 27Blessing Ceremony | Meals: B L

This morning, after checking out from the lodge, we head to the riverfront Worarot Market in Chiang Mai. From the market, we go to Thapae Gate, one of the four original city gates, where we continue with a “Samlor,” or rickshaw. The last temple we’ll see today is Wat Suandok. We will enjoy lunch at a restaurant near the Huay Kaew Waterfall before driving up to Wat Prathat Doi Suthep, and experience a blessing ceremony. Enjoy the scenic views before returning to our hotel. Tonight we will gather as a groups one last time for a farewell dinner at the Tamarind to reminisce about our fantastic adventure! Overnight in Chiang Mai

Thursday, March 28Depart Bangkok, Thailand

This morning, after breakfast at the hotel, we will make our way back to the airport. Subject to your international flight schedule, Borton Overseas can also arrange for an overnight stay near the Bangkok airport and a local flight if required (not included). We highly recommend staying an extra night and including a trip out to the Elephant Nature Park (extra cost). Let us know if you would like to extend your trip in Thailand or to other countries in Southeast Asia!

Angkor Temples in Cambodia Extension
Optional Pre- or Post-tour

Day 1Arrive Siem Reap, Cambodia

On arrival, your tour guide will meet you at the airport and transfer to hotel for check-in. The rest of the day is at leisure on your own. Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 2Angkor Exploration | Meals: B L

Start your visit at the Southern Gate of Angkor Thom (Great City). The last capital of the Khmer Empire, it contains the famous Bayon Temple, the Baphuon, Terrace of Elephants, and Leper King Temples. Continue on to visit Phimean Akas, Preah Palilay, and Ta Prohm Temple. After lunch, explore the spectacular Angkor Wat, considered to be the world’s largest single religious monument in the world. Bas-reliefs surround Angkor Wat on four sides, each telling a story. End the day with a panoramic sunset view from the summit of one of the temples. Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 3Citadel of Women | Meals: B L

This morning, visit the intricately-carved thousand-year-old Banteay Srei, also known as the Citadel of Women, the birth place of Khmer classical style architecture. Built largely of red sandstone, it has elaborate decorative wall carvings. You will then continue on to Banteay Samre, one of the most complete complexes at Angkor, due to restoration. After lunch, choose an activity:

• Tonle Sap and the Floating Village – Transfer to Tonle Sap, a massive freshwater lake, to visit the Vietnamese floating village. The majority of the lake’s inhabitants are fishermen, mostly stateless ethnic Vietnamese who have been here for decades. The village rests along the shores of Tonle Sap and, depending on the monsoon rains, the village is constantly moving. You will board a boat with your guide and glide through this fascinating town of houseboats and pontoon structures, each unique, some with colorful folk craft decorations. You will see a floating school house, church, and peoples homes.

• Bike Tour through the Countryside, 4-5.5 flat miles, 3-4 hours – Transfer from your hotel to Phsa Krom market, located in the outskirt of Siem Reap, to see local farmers selling their crops and fishmongers selling the catch of the day. Cycle though the villages along the riverbank to visit the vegetable garden in Chreav village as well as a cattle, chicken or duck farm before heading back to your hotel.

Overnight in Siem Reap

Day 4Depart Siem Reap, Cambodia

Transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

Thailand & Laos: Off the Beaten Path
  • Transfer from airport to Bangkok hotel
  • Two nights’ accommodation in Bangkok
  • Bike Tour in Bangkok
  • Welcome dinner in Bangkok
  • Visit to Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Po
  • Airfare in Economy class, Bangkok to Luang Prabang including government taxes & fuel surcharges
  • Transfer from airport to Luang Prabang hotel
  • Three night’s accommodation in Luang Prabang
  • Welcome dinner in Laos
  • Visit to night market
  • City tour of Luang Prabang
  • Lunch at Khai Paen Restaurant
  • Private Baci ceremony
  • River Cruise to Tad Sae Waterfalls
  • Kayak excursion including lunch
  • Cruise on the Mekong River including one lunch
  • Visit to Pak Ou caves and Ban Baw village
  • One night accommodation at Luang Say Lodge including dinner
  • One night accommodation in Chiang Rai
  • Transfer to Thailand via the Friendship Bridge
  • Two nights’ accommodation at Lisu Lodge including welcome drink, one lunch, and activities
  • Walking tour of Chiang Mai village
  • Thai dinner and Lisu dance show
  • Bike ride to Muang Guert including picnic lunch
  • White water river rafting 
  • Thai cooking class and recipe book
  • Visit to Worarot Market and Wat Suandok including lunch
  • Blessing ceremony at Wat Prathat Doi Suthep
  • Farewell dinner at the Tamarind
  • Transfer to airport in Chiang Mai
  • Meals as indicated (B-Breakfast, L-Lunch, D-Dinner)
  • Entrance fees for listed sites
  • English speaking local guides
  • Assistance of Borton Overseas staff member throughout itinerary
Angkor Temples in Cambodia Extension
  • Three nights’ accommodation in Siem Reap including breakfasts
  • Visit to Angkor Thom and Angkor Wat including lunch
  • Visit to Banteay Srei and Banteay Samre including lunch
  • Entrance fees for site visits
  • Choice of visit to Tonle Sap and the Floating Village or Bike Tour through countryside
  • English speaking guide
Not Included
  • Flights to/from US and related taxes
  • Travel insurance, highly recommended
  • Fees for passports and Laos (or Cambodia extension) visas
  • Transfers, sightseeing, activities, meals, and beverages not specified
  • Luggage handling at airports and hotels
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature such as laundry, spa services, internet, phone, etc.
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