Southeast Asia Experience
31 or 33 days from £1,469
- Feed, walk with, and bathe Thailand’s incredible elephants at a sanctuary in Chiang Mai
- Travel through Laos by slow boat along the beautiful Mekong River
- Go on a caving adventure in Laos and swim in the Blue Lagoon and try river tubing in Vang Vieng
- Visit the Cu Chi Tunnels and a floating market on the Mekong Delta in Vietnam
- Witness the natural light display of bioluminescent plankton in the sea at night on a desert island
Spend an immersive 33 days in some of Southeast Asia’s most magical destinations. You’ll get to travel through Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, and Cambodia, and on the way you’ll be trying a range of different activities. You’ll bathe elephants, explore historic sites, go jungle trekking, stay on a desert island, swim through bright blue lagoons in national parks, try out some delicious food, party on paradise beaches, and travel the length and breadth of Southeast Asia by plane, sleeper train, night bus, and boat for an all-round backpacking travel adventure on a budget.
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand
Your adventure begins today, as you arrive in Bangkok! If you arrive in morning, check out the giant reclining Buddha at Wat Pho, the Grand Palace or head out and explore the klongs by traditional long tail boat. At 5pm, you'll meet your tour leader and the rest of your group over a drink at the roof top bar at your hotel. Afterwards, we'll catch the overnight sleeper train or bus to Chiang Mai.
Please note, as the welcome meeting is at 5pm, after which you’ll leave for Chiang Mai, you should arrive into Bangkok no later than midday on day 1. If you would like to include an extra night in Bangkok before the trip begins (as well as an extra night in Bangkok when the trip ends, please select the ‘Southeast Asia Experience- with pre/post night’ option when booking the trip.
Day 2-4: Chiang Mai, Thailand
In Chiang Mai we'll get to visit an incredible elephant jungle sanctuary to spend time feeding, walking with, and washing the resident elephants. Afterwards, take an optional Thai cooking class before dinner, and enjoy a few drinks in the evening listening to live music. The next day is a free day, so head out and see the temples, go rafting on the Mae Taeng River, or go quad biking (all from £25 per person). In the evening, choose to head out and explore the night market before enjoying a night out.
Day 5-6: Chiang Dao, Thailand
We’ll cycle through the beautiful little villages that make up the region of Chiang Dao, and then make our way to Mae Mae, to find our unique tree top accommodation for the night. The following morning we’ll wake up in time to watch sunrise before enjoying a short hike through the jungle to an untouched natural waterfall. We’ll head back to Chiang Mai to take the bus to Chiang Khong; we’ll arrive in the evening in time to check in to our hotel on the Thai/Laos border for the night.
Day 7: Mekong River, Laos
Crossing the border into Laos today, we’ll enjoy a gentle ride down the Mekong River to get to our next destination. We'll be staying in the village of Pak Beng tonight, so take a look around and try out some local food – the buffalo curry is a real treat.
Day 8-9: Luang Prabang, Laos
Making the remainder of the journey along the Mekong to Luang Prabang, we'll arrive late afternoon and spend some time at the Hmong Market before taking in the sunset by the river's edge. The next morning or choose to roll up your sleeves at a rice farm and learn the process that creates the staple food throughout Asia. In the afternoon, we’ll head to Kuang Si Falls for a splash and swim in the stunning cooling waters.
Day 10-11: Vang Vieng, Laos
Making our way to Vang Vieng, we’ll break up the journey with a stop at the beautiful Blue Lagoon 2 to cool off, before arriving in the late afternoon in time to take a walk around and enjoy some delicious food in the evening!
The next day is a free day, so why not try out your rock climbing skills, cycle up to an amazing local view point or spend a leisurely afternoon tubing down the river – the choice it yours!
Day 12-14: Hanoi, Vietnam
We'll catch a flight to Vietnam and head out for a night of fun on a bar crawl through the city's old quarter. Over the next few days of free time, you can visit to the infamous Hoa Lo Prison (formally known as the infamous Hanoi Hilton) where you will learn about Vietnam’s harrowing past along with the history of communism in the country. Afterwards, choose to visit the serene Hoan Kiem Lake before finding some lunch and trying some delicious local food.
Day 15-16: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
Back on the road, we'll make our way to Halong Bay to enjoy an afternoon boat cruise with the opportunity to go kayaking too. We'll spend the night at the beach with a bit of a party around the campfire, next morning we’ll watch the sunrise with the resident monkeys on the beach, head out on kayaks this morning if you like, before catching the night bus to Phong Nha.
Day 17: Phong Nha, Vietnam
Catch up on some sleep after the long journey before we take a late morning cycle ride to Bong Lai village to take a look around and admire the scenery. The riding continues into the afternoon with a stop off at a little place called Pub (yes, really), where you can relax with a beer in the sunshine (it'd be rude not to) and enjoy a few rounds of volleyball before showing off your vocal skills with some karaoke with the group!
Day 18: Phong Nha, Vietnam
Today's all about the great outdoors and having fun, with a free day to explore Phong Nha! Why not spend the day exploring the coastal caves of Ke Bang National Park, or try lots of amazing optional activities and choose to spend your time kayaking in the beautifully clear lakes, floating in mud, or getting an aerial view as you whizz through the air on a zip line. You'll have the evening to yourself to chill out.
Day 19-20: Hoi An, Vietnam
Catching the sleeper bus with an early 4am start, we should arrive in Hoi An around midday, in perfect time to find some lunch before going on a tour of the charming old town and river front. The next day is a free day; you could fish for crabs on a traditional basket boat (£20 per person), or visit a local farm for a lesson in agriculture (£20 per person), or simply wander around the pretty streets.
Day 21-23: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
This morning we’ll head head to Da Nang to take our short flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Take a look around Ho Chi Minh City’s busy streets and try out some delicious street food. Afterwards, go on a fun group bar crawl, starting at our hostel in the rooftop bar. The next day is free for you to explore, choose a tour of the incredible Cu Chi Tunnels in the morning, then discover War Remnants Museum and learn even more about the harrowing events of the Vietnam War.
The next day is a little more laid back as we head to the famous Mekong Delta with a visit to the Can Tho Floating Market, followed by a boat ride through the Tra Su Forest, arriving in Chau Doc in the evening.
Day 24-26: Koh Rong, Cambodia
Crossing the border into Ha Tien, Cambodia, we’ll drive through some spectacular countryside on route to Sihanoukville. We’ll then board a ferry across the dazzlingly blue water, to our island paradise of Koh Rong for a couple of days of sun, sea, and sand. Chill and relax on this stunningly beautiful island or try your hand at some optional scuba diving. The following day, we’ll head out on a boat trip to check out the surrounding islands and go snorkelling. Before sleeping under the stars on a deserted beach and look out for the incredible luminous plankton that lights up the sea at night!
Day 27-28: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
We’ll make our way back to the mainland and onto Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh. Arriving in the evening, unwind before heading out into the city centre for food and drinks. The next day we’ll visit the S21 Prison for a history lesson you’re unlikely to ever forget, before lightening the mood with an optional visit to the Grand Palace. In the evening, try some of Cambodia’s tasty yet ‘unusual’ local delicacies – insects and beetles anyone?
Day 29-31: Siem Reap, Cambodia
After a seven-hour bus ride to Siem Reap, reward yourself with a dip in the pool with the rest of the group. It’s an early start the next morning as we head to Angkor Wat to see the sunrise over the temples before taking a tour for an up-close look at Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm. In the evening, we’ll visit the night market and enjoy an almighty night out on the town. Next day, we’ll be up bright and early for the 6:45am bus to Bangkok, arriving back in the city in the late afternoon it’s time to say goodbye to your group after your epic Southeast Asia Experience!
Please note that accommodation is not included for the night of day 31 when you arrive back in Bangkok. If you would like to include accommodation for this night, as well as an extra night before the trip begins in Bangkok, please select the ‘Southeast Asia Experience- Pre/Post night’ option when booking the trip.
- 30 nights accommodation
- Experienced tour guides in each country
- All transport from one destination to the next including 1 internal flight
- Elephant jungle sanctuary visit
- Cycle tour and jungle hike in Chiang Dao
- Halong Bay Boat trip
- Mekong River cruise
- Kuang Si Falls visit
- Blue Lagoon 2 visit
- Halong Bay boat cruise and kayaking
- Can Tho Floating Market visit on the Mekong Delta
- Koh Rong boat tour and snorkelling
- Angkor Wat, Bayon Temple, and Ta Prohm trip
- Some meals
- 24/7 emergency support
- Airport transfers
- Travel insurance
- Some meals and drinks
- Optional activities
- Pre and post night accommodation- unless booking the 'pre and post night' option
You’ll stay in a variety of different accommodation throughout your trip, each having been selected with location, comfort, and convenience in mind. The majority of places you stay at will be based on shared accommodation with a maximum of 12 people sharing a same-sex dorm. Some nights will be spent travelling via sleeper trains and night buses to make the most of your trip. You’ll even get to spend the night in a hammock under the stars on a deserted island in Cambodia.
19 breakfasts, 9 lunches and 5 dinners are inlcuded in the trip. For non-included meals, you’ll need to buy your own from shops, restaurants, and cafes in each destination. It’s a great opportunity for you to try a range of different food in each country, and there will be lots of places and types of food to choose from. You can always ask your tour guide to suggest the best places to eat at or recommend specific dishes and explain what they are.
You'll need to arrange your flights to arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi International Airport (BKK) on your programme start date. The welcome meeting for the trip is at 5pm on day 1, so you’ll need to arrive in Bangkok at midday at the latest on day 1. Airport pick ups are not included, however please ask a Travel Advisor for more information about transfer options available.
Your tour will also finish in Bangkok at around 4pm, depending on traffic. We strongly recommend that return flights or onward travel should be arranged for the following day. If you wish to arrive a day early, and also have a extra night included at the end of the trip, then please select the Southeast Asia Experience (pre and post night) option when booking the trip.
The minimum age for this trip is 18 years.
British passport holders arriving by air can enter Thailand for 30 days without a visa. Please ensure your passport is valid, with six months’ remaining on the date of your planned return, and that you hold a valid return flight ticket.
You will need a tourist visa to enter Laos, which can be purchased on arrival for approximately 35USD – please bring a passport photo with you for this.
You will need a visa to enter Vietnam, which you should obtain before travelling. Most UK Passport Holders will qualify for a 30 day e-visa, which can be applied for online, or may be able to enter visa free for up to 15 days. You should check with the Vietnamese Embassy if you are eligible for this. You must have at least six months’ validity remaining on your passport from the date you plan to return home.
You will need a visa to enter Cambodia. Due to the border crossing used on this trip, e-visas for Cambodia are not an option for this trip. British passport holders are able to purchase a visa at the border at a cost of approximately US$35, payable in cash. All other nationalities should consult their nearest Cambodian Embassy for the latest information.
Please be aware that rules and regulations for visas are subject to change, so it's a good idea to check the relevant embassy websites for the latest information.
What's The Average Age Range Of People On This Trip?
This trip welcomes travellers of all ages, so it's difficult to put an average age to a group. You might have a mix of people your own age or some much older or younger than you.
Do I Need To Bring A Mosquito Net?
You can do if you like as nets won’t be provided at most places we stay in. Although if you keep windows and doors closed in your room you shouldn’t be bothered by mosquitoes. An insect repellent with a high DEET percentage will be just as effective as a mosquito net, especially when you’re out and about.
What Should I Pack?
Besides your usual travel checklist of things like passport, spending money, and camera, we recommend you bring sunglasses, sunhat and sun cream (high factor), small torch, water bottle for daily use, hiking boots or sturdy trainers, sensible loose fitting outdoor clothing (with full length arm and leg cover for cooler mornings and evenings), casual clothes and flip flops for weekends, swimwear and beach towel, bath towel, waterproof jacket. A full list of suggested items will be sent to you once you have booked on this trip.
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 regions. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.
How Much Spending Money Should I Bring With Me?
Southeast Asia is relatively low-cost as far as food and drink is concerned, so a rough budget of around £150-£200 per week should be plenty to keep you fed and watered, but you’ll more than likely want to try out a few optional activities and have some extra cash for souvenirs, so make sure you budget for this.