Historical routes of Siam, Lanna and Lane Xang kingdoms

ITINERARY: Bangkok – Ayutthaya – Phitsanuloke – Sukhothai – Lampang – Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai – Chiang Saen – Golden Triangle – Chiang Khong – Houay Xai – Pakbeng – Luang Prabang

DURATION: 12 days and 11 nights on the spot

Day 1

Arrival in Bangkok

Arrival at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport, meet and greet with your guide and transfer to your hotel. Check-in from 2pm. Any (free) early check-in subject to availability on the spot. Free time at leisure to recover form the journey.

Overnight in Bangkok.

Day 2

Bangkok (B/L)

Breakfast at hotel.

Full day sightseeing with the Royal Grand Palace and Temples tour

The Royal Grand Palace, with its collection of pavilions and golden spires can only be described as an Oriental masterpiece. Inside the Royal Chapel is the Emerald Buddha, which has been carved from a solid piece of jade.

Next follows Wat Pho which is famous about its Thai Traditional Massage School and the Big Reclining Buddha. We then proceed to Wat Trimitr where we have the 5 tons solid Golden Buddha, and Wat Benjamaborphit, the Marble Temple.

Lunch at local restaurant en route.

Night in Bangkok.

Day 3

Bangkok –Ayuthaya – Phitsanuloke (L)

Depart from Bangkok to Bang-Pa-In, visit the former Summer Palace of the Rama Kings, then continue to Ayutthaya, the ancient capital of Siam, to visit the ruins, 3 temples (Wat Yai Chai Mongkhon, Wat Phra Mahathat, Wat Phanang Choeng). Continue to Lop Buri.

Lunch en route at a local restaurant.

Visit to Phra Prang Sam Yot and San Phra Kan “Money temple” and then proceed to Phitsanulok.

Overnight in Phitsanuloke

Historical routes of Siam, Lanna and Lane Xang kingdoms

Day 4

Phitsanuloke – Sukhothai - Lampang (B/L)

Breakfast at hotel. Check out of the hotel.

Visit the ancient city of Sukhothai, the museum and Si Satchanalai.

Lunch en route at a local restaurant.

On the way stop at a local village. Continue to Lampang for overnight.

Day 5

Lampang – Chiangmai (B/L)

Breakfast at hotel. Check out from Lampang to Chiang Mai, visit Wat Phra That Lampang Luang and continue to visit Wat Haripunchai in Lamphun.

Lunch en route at a local restaurant.

After lunch continue to visit handicraft villages Bo Sang and San Kamphaeng, which are the center of cotton industries, traditional local products, antiques from Burma and hill tribe handicrafts, hand-woven silk and cotton and wood carving.

Arrive Chiang Mai, transfer to hotel.

Day 6

Chiang Mai (B/L)

Breakfast at hotel.

Visit an elephant training camp to see a demonstration of elephant at work (elephant ride is optional and not included in this program).

Visit the orchid farm and lunch at local restaurant.

In the afternoon, visit the one of most revered temples in Chiang Mai: Wat Phra That Doi Suthep located high in the mountains, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the whole Chiang Mai area.

Overnight in Chiang Mai

Historical routes of Siam, Lanna and Lane Xang kingdoms

Day 7

Chiang Mai – Chiang Rai (B/L)

Breakfast at hotel. Check out of the hotel. Enjoy the scenic ride to Thaton.

Take an exciting long- tail boat trip from Pha Tai to Chiang Rai along the way and visit the various hill tribe villages.

Lunch at local restaurant.

Proceed to a small trading town of Mae Sai, visit the historical city of Chiang Saen and the “Golden Triangle”, the area where Thailand, Laos and Myanmar meet.

Overnight at hotel in Chiang Saen

Day 8

Chiang Saen – Chiang Khong - Houay Xai – Pakbeng (B/L/D)

Early wake-up. Packed breakfast to enjoy en route.

Morning transfer (1 hour) to the immigration office in Chiang Khong. Crossing of the Mekong by the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge, recently opened. You will take by yourselves the public shuttle that will take you across to Laos, and you will have to carry your luggage during this short transfer. Allow 30 THB per person (about 1 USD) for the shuttle. Once in Laos, entry requirements in the country and welcome by your Lao English-speaking guide.

Note: Please arrive at the Lao border not later than 0830 AM.

Note: Upon your arrival at Houay Xai International border check point, it is possible to obtain your visa on arrival (VOA). Simply bring 1 passport picture along with between USD 30 and 45 / person in cash, visa fees varying from one nationality to another. Make sure your passport is valid at least 6 months beyond your return departure date. Visa on Arrival forms are available before immigration counters.

Welcome by your Lao English-speaking tour guide past Lao immigration counters and transfer to your boat for your 2-day cruise down the Mekong River to Luang Prabang.

Your cruise will stop for one night in Pakbeng. It is a town located half way between Houay Xai and Luang Prabang. Today, you will visit some minority villages along the cruise.

Lunch will be served on-board.

Arrive in Pakbeng in the late afternoon before sunset.

Check-in at your lodge with welcome drink and free time at leisure.

Dinner at the lodge.

Accommodation in Pakbeng.

Note: Departure every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday during the “high season”, from November to March for the Shompoo Cruise (join-in). Any day if private.

Day 9

Pakbeng – Pak Ou Caves – Luang Prabang (B/L)

Eventually, before breakfast, opportunity to explore the local fresh food market to meet local people and experience the life of a market in a small Lao town.

After breakfast at the hotel, re-embark on your boat and continue your second leg of the cruise down to Luang Prabang.

Lunch is served on-board.

Enjoy the scenery along the Mekong River until you reach to the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves. In Pak Ou, thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crowded into the two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. They range in size from a few centimeters to the size of a human.

You will arrive at Luang Prabang’s pier before sunset.

Before directing to the hotel, visit to the beautiful Vat Xieng Thong, one of the most emblematic temples in Laos. It is located at the top of the peninsula, where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers meet.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang.

Historical routes of Siam, Lanna and Lane Xang kingdoms

Day 10

Luang Prabang - Tours (B/L)

Breakfast at the hotel,

This morning begins to explore the historic town of Luang Prabang. We ride along Sisavangvong St, the heart of the old quarter and explore the National Museum, set in the former Royal Palace. Built in 1904, the palace is a blend of Laotian and French influences and houses many royal treasures. The most important item is the solid gold Pha Bang Buddha, a gift from the Khmer King to his son-in-law, Fa Ngum, founder of the Lao Kingdom. Visit Vat Mai, the former royal temple, Vat Visoun where you will see the famous Watermelon Stupa, shaped like the fruit it takes its name from. This temple was destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from China, and was restored in 1930 by Buddhist monks and local people and Vat Aham. And the Heritage House, being a perfect example of Luang Prabang traditional building made of wood on poles, at the back of Vat Xieng Muane.

Enjoy your lunch at Tamarind restaurant.

This afternoon, take a few minutes away from the town and after a short boat ride to cross the Mekong is located the beautiful pottery village: Ban Chan, this small village still uses the old tradition pottery knowledge. Followed by Ban Xieng Mene, a part of the World Heritage Site and offers a glimpse into Lao village life. There are several temples worth visiting in the village, including Vat Long Khoun, Vat Chomphet (visible up on the hill) which offers a spectacular view of Luang Prabang Town and the Mekong.

Return to Luang Prabang and free at leisure.

7pm – head to Hive Bar and enjoy the Ethnic Fashion Show with snacks and soft drinks

Accommodation in Luang Prabang.

Day 11

Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfalls – Luang Prabang (B/L)

5.40 am: Rise early and head by Tuk-Tuk to the peninsula to witness and attend alms giving. Long lines of monks and novices stroll the street of the town center to collect their daily food subsistence from the worshippers. This ancient ritual is locally known as “tak bat.

Continue with a visit to the open-air food market that is held daily in the streets nearby the former Royal Palace. Lao people still like buying fresh food. While fridges are widely spread in households, people prefer going to local markets and returning home with fresh ingredients.

Return to the hotel for breakfast.

If time allows, you will stop by Phosi market to complete the market experience.

Then, visit TAEC, the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, that depicts Laos‘ rich ethnic diversity with themed rotating exhibits. It is hosted in a former French colonial times judge’s mansion and take a short visit of the Ock Pop Tok traditional weaving center to better understand the richness of textile pattern in Laos and its role in the local economy.

Then take an excursion to Kuang Si waterfalls, 32 km south-west of Luang Prabang. Kuang Si is a good place to get more familiar with endemic and it is also possible to hike to the top of the falls via a steep trail, and if the weather is good, you might enjoy a swim in the crystal clear water ponds at the foot of the falls.

Picnic lunch at the waterfalls and enjoy the views.

You will also have the opportunity to visit the Asian Black Bear Rescue Center.

Return to town and play Petanque with local residents. Another French legacy here. This balling game is extremely popular with Lao gentlemen. Civil servants and retired people are numerous to gather in the late afternoon and evening to share some happy moments together. Bottles of Beer Lao are often around and chit-chat playing with friends is another opportunity to cheer on any occasion!

As the day comes to an end, visit to Phou Si hill. The hill commands great views over the town, the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers and the mountainous ranges. It takes you 328 steps to reach the top, and at sunset set, the changing colors of the sky are particularly spectacular. The light reflecting on the golden spire of the temple at the top is also beautiful. The stairs are lined up with flamboyant and frangipani trees providing a deserved shade as you walk up and down.

Once back to ground level, stop at the awakening Hmong minority people Night Market. It is held daily in the streets around the National Museum. Villagers come here to sell their handicrafts.

Accommodation in Luang Prabang.

Day 12

Luang Prabang - Departure (B)

Breakfast at hotel and free at leisure until transfer out to the airport for onward flights back home.

End of services.

Historical routes of Siam, Lanna and Lane Xang kingdoms

Each program is absolutely customizable in terms of duration, itinerary, stops, types of accommodation, inclusions and activities. Anything actually! In line with your wishes and budget constraints.