9 days from £458 (was £539)
- Tube down the Nam Song River in Vang Vieng
- Give alms to the monks in dreamy Luang Prabang
- Travel down the Mekong River on a houseboat
- Homestay in Pak Beng with a traditional Baci Ceremony
- Grab a bargain at the Chang Mai night market
Often overlooked on an Asian adventurer’s itinerary, little Laos is an unspoilt delight. Discover the best of this diverse country on our extraordinary 9 day tour. Think river-tubing through lush landscapes, houseboats on the Mekong, homestays in rural villages, tours of golden temples, bartering at colourful night markets and of course, ice-cold Beerlao at sunset.
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Download more trip information and detailed itinerary
Day 1: Arrive in Vientiane. Dump your bags at the hotel and, depending on when you arrive, head into the laid-back capital. Wander the streets, taking in the charming mix of colonial and Asian architecture. Take a tuk-tuk tour, visit some temples, or enjoy a pastry in one of the French bakeries. In the evening, meet the rest of your group before grabbing some dinner and beers.
Day 2: Travel to Vang Vieng. Drink in the spectacular scenery on route to Vang Vieng. This really is authentic Asia and this town is set along the Nam Song river among rice fields and limestone karsts. You’ll arrive into the beautiful town, and enjoy a guided hike to Pha Ngeun - the town's best viewpoint.
Day 3: Free Day in Vang Vieng. You set the pace today. Rent a tube and spend hours drifting down the Nam Song River, stopping at bars and cafes as you go, set off into the jungled hills on foot, or hail a tuk-tuk and hit the Blue Lagoon – a beautiful swimming spot just outside of town. In the evening, there are plenty of bars to watch the sun set over the river from.
Day 4: Travel to Luang Prabang. We’ll jump on the bus early and make our way to Luang Prabang, considered by many to be the spiritual heart of Laos. It’s a romantic place, full of ochre-toned buildings, dusty streets and sacred sites. Your guide will take you on a quick tour round the peaceful centre. Later, enjoy an unforgettable sunset from the hilltop Wat Phousi temple, which gives 360 degree views of Luang Prabang and the Mekong river.
Day 5: Explore Luang Prabang. Get up early and watch the giving of alms to the monks – one of the most sacred rituals here. Then journey to the Kuang Si Waterfalls and take a dip in the azure waters of this tiered waterfall. Then the rest of the day is yours. Visit some of the many golden temples, rent a bike to explore the surrounding area, refresh yourself in the local waterfallsand try some of the amazing food, known for its unique fusion of French and Asian flavours.
Day 6: Houseboat on the Mekong and Pak Beng Home Stay. Embark on a 2-day journey along the magnificent Mekong River in a houseboat. Soak up the spectacular views. Tonight, stop in the little town of Pak Beng and stay with some of the locals. You’ll also take part in a traditional Baci – a celebration ceremony where you’re blessed for good luck in your travels.
Day 7: Houseboat on the Mekong and Thai Border Crossing. Get back on the houseboat for another leisurely day, meandering down the river. Cross the Laos / Thai border and stop at the sleepy town of Chiang Khong for the night.
Day 8: Arrive in Chiang Mai. Filled with ancient temples, wandering monks and frangipane blossom, Thailand’s second city is a tranquil affair. There’s plenty to do though, with high-quality cookery classes, Thai boxing matches, temple tours, and night markets. When the sun goes down on the final night of your Laos Experience, raise a glass with your travel buddies in one of the town’s many bars.
Day 9: Trip End. Your amazing trip has come to an end. Hug your mates and say your goodbyes before heading to the airport.
Travel before 21st January 2020
Please note, this itinerary is for start dates from 21st January 2020 onwards. If you are travelling before 21st January please download the trip notes for more details on your itinerary.
- 8 nights’ accommodation
- 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner
- Tour guide
- Orientation walk of Luang Prabang
- Giving of alms in Luang Prabang
- Slow boat up the Mekong
- Mekong River homestay & Baci Ceremony
- Kuang Si Waterfall visit
- All transport between destinations and to/from included activities.
- 24 hour emergency support
- Some meals
- Travel insurance
- Airport transfers
- Bike, tube and kayak rental
- Optional activities
All accommodation is included. You’ll be spending 4 nights in simple hotels with twin-share rooms, 3 nights in multi-share rooms in hostels and 1 night on a home stay.
Accommodation may be different to what you are used to at home. In some areas we may stay in basic guest houses. Rooms are small and simple but clean and comfortable and may have shared toilet facilities and showers.
For the Mekong River home stay, the group is usually split across two or more houses, depending on the size of the party. The houses are close to each other. Sleeping arrangements will be multi-share in the central living area of the home. Mattresses, blankets, pillows and mosquito nets are supplied. The bathroom is shared.
Please note: Where accommodation is multi-share, it will always be same-sex.
6 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 1 dinner are included in the package. The group tends to eat together for provided meals to allow everybody to taste a larger variety of dishes but there’s no obligation to so this. Included breakfasts are usually Asian style, featuring noodles or congee (rice porridge) or bread and eggs.
You will need to buy the rest of your meals yourself. This gives you maximum flexibility to decide where you want to eat. Food is a huge part of any travel experience, especially in Asia where it’s delicious and usually very cheap. Meals typically involve noodles and rice dishes and plenty of spices and fresh herbs. Asian street-food is a particular highlight and you can dine like a king from the street carts.
Fly into Wattay International Airport in Vientiane. No activities have been planned for day 1 apart from a welcome meeting in the evening, so arrive any time you like. You will need to arrange your own transfer from the airport to the accommodation.
Please note, we can also arrange an arrival transfer for you when you arrive at additional cost. Please contact a travel advisor for more information.
Leave any time you wish on day 9. The local team can help you arrange a transfer back to the airport locally. The nearest airport to Chiang Mai is Chiang Mai International Airport, which is 3.5km away.
Minimum age to participate in this programme is 18. This trip is designed for travellers aged between 18-39.
British passport holders require a visa in order to enter Laos. Most people choose to get this visa on arrival at the airport or land border. The visa allows you to stay for 30 days and the cost is approximately $35 USD.
British citizens get a free 30 day entry stamp upon arrival into Thailand.
You should also ensure that your passport will still be in date for six months after your return. All visa information is subject to change and you should consult the nearest High Commission or Embassy for the most up to date information.
How Much Money Should I Take?
Your accommodation is included in the trip price, but you’ll need to bring cash for most meals, drinks and any additional activities you might want to participate in. Food and drink are very affordable in Laos. Budget around £100 for meals, and between £100-150 for drinks. Extra activities, range in price, depending on what you want to do – it’s always best to look into costs before you travel. As a rough guide, £300 worth of local currency should be a good amount for the 9 days, depending on personal spending habits.
Do I Need Any Vaccinations?
We’re not qualified to offer you medical advice, so you should visit your GP well ahead of time to find out what inoculations you might need. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different Asian regions. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.
Do I Need A Visa?
See our info on visas under Eligibility.
I’m Travelling With A Friend. Can We Stay Together?
Of course! Let us know when you book, and we’ll make sure you get to stay in the same room.
What Is The Houseboat Like?
The boat is comfortable, spacious and clean and there are toilets on board. We’re confident you’ll feel very content.