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Grand Loop Thailand, Laos & Vietnam - 21 days

An epic journey through the incredible destinations of Indochina. From bustling Bangkok to colorful Chiang Mai, slow down at enchanting Luang Prabang in Laos and on through Vietnam’s spectacular Halong Bay.

You visit many ancient sites of great cultural significance, doing great care of animal welfare, mark your “bucket list” with cross the border from Thailand to Laos at the infamous ‘Golden Triangle’.

Itinerary

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day 1
ARRIVAL IN BANGKOK

You are greeted at Suvarnabhumi Airport and transferred to your hotel.

Today is a free day to relax and explore the city as you like. We recommend you explore the night-life and shopping areas which are located in every nook and cranny of Bangkok.

Meals: Nil

Accommodation: Nouvo City Hotel – Superior Classic Room

day 2
BANGKOK – CITY AND KLONGS TOUR BY PUBLIC TRANSPORT

After breakfast, the first stop is Wat Pho – Bangkok’s oldest and largest temple. Arriving early you can listen to the morning chants of the monks. In this temple, a huge statue of reclining Buddha is enshrined. Next, we visit the Grand Complex which also encompasses Wat Phra Kaeo, one of Thailand’s most revered shrines, housing the statue of Emerald Buddha made entirely from jade.

Afternoon transfer by tuk tuk to the Tha Chang Pier where you will board a classic longtail boat for a nice introductionary view of Bangkok’s other side in about 1 hour, you will have a great impression of how much of the city’s life revolves around the river and its network of ‘klongs’ (canals). In some ways it is a voyage through the past where you’ll see wooden houses on stilts, locals doing their laundry/washing up/taking a bath in the klong, monitor lizards suddenly swimming by, and lots of other fascinating sights.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Nouvo City Hotel – Superior Classic Room

day 3
BANGKOK – BANG PA IN – AYUTHAYA

Today you’ll start early, with a pick-up at 07:00 at your Bangkok Hotel for a full-day excursion to see the ancient capital of Ayutthaya. Ayutthaya was the capital of Siam from the 15th to the 18th century after which it was destroyed by the invading Burmese. The Thais then moved their capital to Bangkok (Krung Thep) in the 1770’s. Before reaching Ayutthaya, you visit Bang-Pa-In, the old royal summer residence. From here you take an amazing trip on longtail boat to Ayuthaya and visit Wat Phanachoeng, Baan Hollanda, Wat Yai Chai Mongkol and Wat Mahathat, the ruin of Ayuttaya is so beautiful even many sites has been destroy with time.

Come back and check in to your overnight train to Chiang Mai.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Overnight train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai

Note:

Baan Hollanda opens on Wed – Sun only

day 4
CHIANG MAI

Upon your arrival at Chiang Mai airport, the guide will take you to the riverfront Warorot market where you will have the traditional Thai breakfast with the real local atmosphere in the morning.

From the market, take a ride in a samlor (a three-wheeled rickshaw) along Thapae Road down through the city wall, passing important residential and government buildings around the city.

Then visit a couple of Chiang Mai’s most revered Buddhist temples and shrines including Wat Phra Singh, and Wat U mong, a forest monastery where you have the chance to visit with a local monk.

Continue to What is probably Chiang Mai’s most famous landmark: Wat Prathat Doi Suthep. The temple is located at the summit of 5,000-foot-high Doi Suthep Mountain, which towers over the city. Climb the 300-step staircase, flanked by Nagas, or take the cable car up. The cool air and spectacular sunset views make the trip worth the effort.

Transfer to the hotel and relax at your own leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Ban Thai Village – Superior Room

Optionally: Not far from the hotel is Chiang Mai’s bustling Night Market, well worth a visit tonight or any of your nights in Chiang Mai.

day 5
REFORESTATION AND ELEPHANT DAY CARE

The expert guide and driver will pick you up at the hotel and depart Chiang mai by local truck at 09:30am. Your guide will bring you to the pergola market and buy your own tree for reforestation.

On the way to the camp, you can enjoy the views of villages, temples, beautiful scenic of mountain and farms around Chiang Mai countryside.

Visit waterfall before taking a short walk into the forest to afforest nearby the Karen village. Walk around the village to perceive the simple life of the local hill tribe people. After that, continue driving to the camp.

Arriving at the camp with warm hospitality from the Karen tribe staff. You will be given the backgrounw and general instruction about elephants. Learn how to make some herbs and make your own herbs to feed your elephant at the camp.

Picnic Lunch at the Elephant camp.

Meet with your elephants and mahouts. Feed some foods and herbs to your elephant, training in basic mahout course with easy commands and get along with elephant by walking to the beautiful trail in the forest with them about 45 minutes.

Play and enjoy mud spa with the elephants and bath with the elephants.

Enjoy Bamboo rafting along Mae Wang River (about 40 minutes) and return to Chiang Mai.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Ban Thai Village – Superior Room 

day 6
CHIANG MAI – THATON – CHIANG RAI

Meet with the guide and make your way to Thaton, first stop is Thaton temple, the temple of crystal pagoda. Then stop for lunch with the view of Kok river before continue by long tail boat along Kok river to enjoy the scenery of the nature for 1.30 hours before meeting up with the driver again at where you get off the boat for your transfer to the hotel in Chiang Rai.

Rest of the day is free at leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Laluna Hotel & Resort – Garden Bungalow Room

day 7
BLUE TEMPLE – WHITE TEMPLE– GOLDEN TRIANGLE – OPIUM HOUSE

Meet with the guide at the hotel lobby and head to Blue temple before continue to White Temple and then Baan Dam. These 3 places are the reflection of how much the Northern artists have influence on the locals and how they boost the artistic interest to the locals and to the tourism industry.

Continue to Golden Triangle, the area where the 3 countries meet (Thailand, Myanmar and Laos). You will get to take long tail boat to witness the area closely with the stop Don Sao (Laos side) for a short time before moving on to Hall of Opium. The Hall of Opium museum is a combination of multimedia and exhibition to make learning more fun. Aiming to educate people about opium, starting from the history of the Golden Triangle, the origin of opium, the opium war, opium warlords, opium effects, the battle against opium and poppy growing, to rehabilitation of living conditions of the people who live in the central of the Golden Triangle, the former worldwide infamous drug trading zone.

Transfer back to the hotel and relax at your own leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Laluna Hotel & Resort – Garden Bungalow Room

day 8
TRANSFER TO CHIANG KHONG – HOUAYXAI – CRUISE TO PAK BENG, LAOS

Meet with the guide at the hotel lobby for your transfer to Chiang Khong Border checkpoint.

From here, you will go through the immigration passport checkpoint then receive the internation bus ticket from the guide with 1 baggage ticket before get on the bus and cross the border to Laos side where the Laos guide will be waiting to welcome you.

Sabaidee, welcome to Laos. Upon arrival at Thai-Lao border, you will be greeted by your guide and driver then transfer to pier at Houy Xai where you will board on the boat and enjoy your cruise downstream on the Mekong River to Pak Beng.

A stop will be made to visit a local hill tribe village, where a stroll around the village will provide a firsthand look at the traditional rural life of these people. A delicious lunch is served on board.

Arrive in Pak Beng for the evening. Halfway between Houay Xay and Luang Prabang, Pak Beng is an ideal stop for slow boats on their way to Luang Prabang. The town is built with wooden houses along a steep street on the hillside and has a peaceful atmosphere. Relax and watch the sunset along the Mekong.

Dinner at the hotel.

Meals: Brekfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Sanctuary Pak Beng Hotel -Superior Room

day 9
PAK BENG – PAK OU – LUANG PRABANG

Depart around 0830 for the second part of the journey. While cruising along the Mekong, stop at Ban Baw village to observe the processing of traditional rice alcohol, called lao lao. Rubboard the boat to enjoy a delicious lunch on boat.

Before reaching Luang Prabang, stop to visit the Pak Ou Caves, which contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The statues range in size from a few centimeters tall to the size of a human, and the views from the mouth of the cave provide sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers.

After visit the caves, we continue cruise to reach Luang Prabang in the late afternoon.

Left of the day is free leisure.

Meals: Brekfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Sala Prabang Hotel – Riverside (with balcony) Room

day 10
LUANG PRABANG – CITY TOUR & KHUANGSI WATERFALLS

After breakfast, you first visit to the National Museum. Housed in the former Royal Palace, uninhabited since the royal family was deposed in 1975, the museum showcases many treasures of Laos’ royal past and allows visitors to glimpse the private and public quarters of Lao royalty. Also, displayed here is the Prabang, the sacred Buddha image for which Luang Prabang was named.

Then visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre. Showing you more about Laos’ Ethnic group especially, minorities around the country.

Following by Wat Xieng Thong, the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang dating back to the 16th Century. Located at the end of the peninsula close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is decorated with ornate carvings and mosaics.

In the afternoon, drive west to Khuangsi Waterfalls. Once arrive at Kuangsi, enjoy taking a short walk through the beautiful forest to the waterfalls where you will enjoy a picnic lunch and have the chance to go for a swim in one of the nearby clear pools. While there, you will also have opportunity to visit the Asian Black Bear Rescue Center. a conservation centre that rescues animals from the wildlife trade. Meet the cute furry residents and learn about the efforts to protect Sun Bears in the wild.

Back to Hotel to relax.

Meals: Brekfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Sala Prabang Hotel – Riverside (with balcony) Room

day 11
LUANG PRABANG – VANG VIENG

Option: An early wake-up call possible to join the locals giving food to hundreds of Buddhist monks returning from morning prayers. Take a stroll through morning market and take part in this everyday ritual.

This morning is free at leisure so make most of it by visiting the morning market of Luang Prabang.

Today we travel by road to Vang Vieng, taking us through stunning landscapes of steep terraced fields and hill villages. We stop at some villages to interact with the friendly Khmu and Hmong people.

Arriving in Vang Vieng in the afternoon, take a short rest then board a local longtail boat and cruise upstream for an one hour on the Nam Song River. Enjoy some nice scenery and see the daily life of the local people.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Silver Naga Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 12
VANG VIENG –CAVE EXPLORER AND VISIT LOCAL VILLAGES

Today you drive to the famous Tham Jang Caves, once used by the local people as a hideout from Chinese invaders. They are considered sacred by the Lao people and popular largely due to the lagoon in the cave. The beautiful green-blue waters are perfect for a dip after the stiff climb.

The main cave chamber contains a Thai bronze ­reclining Buddha, and from here deeper galleries branch off into the mountain. To get there, travel on a scenic but unpaved road to the village of Ban Na Thong. From Ban Na Thong follow the signs towards the cliff and climb a steep 200m through scrub forest. There are some great viewing points along the way!

Return to Vang Vieng in the afternoon, free time at your leisure.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Silver Naga Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 13
VANG VIENG –VIENTIANE

After breakfast, you leave for a drive to Vientiane,  the capital and largest city of Laos. The city’s central located on the bank of the Mekong Rive, a nature borderline with Thailand. As the heat of the day descending, you can head to the river bank for a great sip of beer Laos and watch the sun sunken in Thai’s land at the other bank.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Chanthaphanya Hotel – Superior Room

Note: 

Suggested activities for the evening include; a stroll along the Mekong River,  & visit the Night Market and taste some amazing street food.

day 14
VIENTIANE CITY TOUR – FLIGHT TO VIETNAM

In the morning, you will visit COPE Educational Centre, a heartbreaking but compelling place that teaches us about Laos’ Hidden War.

Afterwards you continue on to Wat Sisaket, the city’s oldest temple. Dating back to 1818, Wat Sisaket is the most important heritage temple now standing in Laos. It houses thousands of Buddha images from many countries, long lost architectural styles, sculptures and paintings. Wat Prakeo, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy, originally built in 1565, is home to the Emerald Buddha image and Buddhist sculptures are displayed along the perimeter wall, including a 6th to 9th century Dvaravati-style stone Buddha and several standing and sitting Buddhas.

En route to Lao’s national icon, That LuangStupa, stop at the Patuxay Monument, an irresistibly photogenic structure which is known as Vientiane’s Arc de Triomphe.

This afternoon, you will fly to your next destination, Vietnam.

Xin chao! Welcome to Hanoi, Vietnam! You are greeted at Noi Bai Airport for your transfer to the hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure to reboots your energy

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hanoi Boutique Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 15
HANOI CITY TOUR

Skip your Hotel breakfast today and join your guide for a local breakfast and sample local coffee while you touring the Old Quarter in the morning. Hanoi is buzzing with color, sound and taste and its very best time to explore the city is in the early morning when the local hurriedly catching up with the day before their office time at 8:30AM. Walk to the central lake, located at the heart of the city, Hoan Kiem Lake is a historical site and one of the symbols of Hanoi, with Tortoise Tower and Ngoc Son Temple on the lake’s two islands.

Next is a visit to the Temple of Literature, dedicated to Confucius, built in the 11th century. It was the first university in Vietnam and students still come here to burn incense. You will find a peaceful atmosphere tinged with incense smoke, and sunken lotus ponds populated by fish and turtles.

Lunch at at KOTO, a well-trained restaurant, with the slogan “Know One, Teach One”. KOTO is a non-profit center where disadvantaged youths are given job training.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Hanoi Boutique Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 16
HANOI – HALONG BAY – OVERNIGHT ON BOARD

After breakfast, you will be transferred to Halong Bay, one of the most stunning natural wonders of Vietnam, a picturesque blend of harmonious transition between the mountains and the sea.

On arrival, board a traditional junk and head out into the Gulf of Tonkin amongst the huge limestone outcrops and emerald waters.

Afternoon, disembark to visit a cave or a fishing village; time to relax on a beach. Back to the boat and you will spend the rest of the day cruising around the myriad of tiny islands and many grottoes created by the wind and the waves.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Accommodation: Overnight on Halong Cruise

day 17
HALONG BAY – HUE

Today you continue our cruise in the bay. Brunch is served while the boat sails back to port. You will reach the pier before noon and transferred to Hanoi airport for your flight to Hue, where, upon arrival you will be picked up and transferred to your hotel.

Meals: Brunch

Accommodation: Cherish Hotel – City View Deluxe Room

day 18
HUE CITY TOUR – DA NANG – HOI AN

Breakfast at hotel. Morning visit is calm and slowly as the lifestyle of Hue city. You start with the visit of The Imperial City, the remnant of a vast citadel. Here you can see the ravages of time and war on what was the carefully designed capital of the Nguyen Dynasty. Take a boat ride up the romantic Perfume River, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the river until you reach the Thien Mu Pagoda. This 7-storey octagonal tower is a symbol of Hue, here the guide of Sens Asia will explain you the reason why Thien Mu is one of the most important pagoda of Vietnam. Behind the pagoda are peaceful gardens and, somewhat incongruously, the old Austin car which transported Thich Quang Duc to Saigon in 1963 for his self-immolation.

Leaving Hue in the afternoon, you head out to Hoi An. The route south from Hue hugs the coast before climbing Hai Van Pass. Stop to admire stunning views over Lang Co Beach and Da Nang City and continue along My Khe Beach to Hoi An.

Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Vinh Hung Riverside Resort – Superior Garden View Room

day 19
HOI AN

Hop on a bike and cycle to a local farm in Tra Que Village. This small village is well-known for supplying many restaurants and hotels in the Hoi An area with tasty fresh herbs and vegetables. Walk through the vegetable gardens and see how the local farmers work the land, learn about village history and the importance of herbs in Vietnamese medicine and cuisine.

Walk Hoi An’s ancient streets lined with old wooden houses reincarnated as restaurants, cafés and retail outlets. Hoi An’s unique architecture is well displayed in what is arguably Vietnam’s most tourist-friendly town.

The rest of the day is free at leisure to enjoy the shopping in Hoi An – a paradise for custom made silk, fashionable clothing and accessories.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Accommodation: Vinh Hung Riverside Resort – Superior Garden View Room

day 20
HOI AN – HO CHI MINH CITY

Transfer to the airport for your morning flight to Ho Chi Minh City. Upon arrival at Tan Son Nhat Airport, you are picked up and transferred to your hotel. Formerly Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest city in Vietnam. It is the bustling economic capital and cultural trendsetter of the country, yet still holds the timeless traditions of an ancient culture.

The War Remnants Museum contains countless artefacts and photographs graphically representing the American War and its devastating impacts. Built between 1877 and 1883, Saigon’s Neo-Romanesque Notre Dame Cathedral is a major centre of Catholicism in modern Vietnam, and one of the city’s major landmarks. The Saigon Post Office, a classic French colonial structure, is still a functioning post office today and features huge ceilings, a giant portrait of Uncle Ho, and many beautiful details.

The rest of the day is free at leisure, varied shopping centers or night entertainment activities await you.

 Meals: Breakfast

Accommodation: Muong Thanh Hotel – Deluxe Room

day 21
HO CHI MINH CITY DEPARTURE

The morning is free at leisure till we take you to the airport for your onward flight.

Meals: Breakfast

Note:

The trip ends here but if your holiday allow more time to make some good free days please let’s us know to customize it to your need.

Tour Price Includes:

  • 17 nights’ accommodation in twin or double room with daily breakfast (check in and check out around noontime)
  • 01 night on train Bangkok – Chiang Mai
  • 01 Night on cruise in twin or double cabin in Halong Bay
  • Daily Breakfast, 14 lunches, 2 dinner
  • All transfers with air-con vehicles
  • Local English speaking guides (except on free days and free time)
  • All entrance fees as program
  • 02 bottles of mineral water per person per day on bus on days of transfer and sightseeing only
  • Complimentary visa letter to Vietnam (applied for some specific citizens from US, AUS, HKG,… )

Tour Price Excludes:

  • Domestic and regional airfares: Vientiane – Hanoi; Hanoi – Hue; Da Nang – Ho Chi Minh city
  • Single supplement
  • Visa stamping fees to Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Cambodia (if visa is required)
  • Pre and post arrangements (transfer, tour, accommodation and other services)
  • Meals & Drink (other than mentioned in the program)
  • Tipping Etiquete for tour guides and drivers which is an entirely personal gesture however we recommend you allow US$ 3 – US$ 6 per day per traveler)
  • Early check in or late check out
  • Travel Insurances
  • Additional transfer required due to any emergency situation
  • All not mentioned above