Elephants & Colonial Cities – Thailand & Laos

Prices from £1,625 pp

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View day-by-day

Duration13 days / 12 nights (flexible)

ItineraryChiang Mai - Elephant Nature Park - Chiang Khong - Pakbeng - Luang Prabang - Plain of Jars - Vientiane

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Care for elephants in Northern Thailand, take the slow boat along the Mekong into Laos and meet the welcoming hill tribes. This trip will take you into the heart of Laos, where you’ll puzzle over the Plain of Jars and watch tawny-robed monks file into the temples of Luang Prabang at dawn. Along the way, you’ll get close to the local community, learn about daily life in the hills and soak up the real spirit of Laos.

What's included

  • Accommodation – price based on 2 people sharing
  • Breakfast
  • Transfer on arrival in Chiang Mai
  • Visit to Elephant Nature Park in Chiang Mai
  • Boat Excursion along the Mekong
  • Pak Ou Caves Excursion in Luang Prabang
  • Excursion to Plain of Jars
  • Food tour by tuk-tuk in Vientiane
  • Transport as described

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Location map

Your day-by-day itinerary

Elephant Encounters in Chiang Mai

When you arrive in Chiang Mai, you’ll make your own way to your hotel in the centre of the city. With a laid-back, spiritual atmosphere, Chiang Mai is a walkable city scattered sacred temples and shrines. If you have time, it’s worth stopping at the night market, packed with souvenirs and aromatic street food stalls.

Thailand Chiang Mai elephant feeding


Next you will learn all about these gentle giants at the Elephant Nature Park. You’ll be collected from your hotel in Chiang Mai and transferred to the park an hour away. You will learn all about the issues faced by elephants in Asia and the personal stories of those rescued by the park. You will have the chance to observe these majestic animals and aid in their rehabilitation before returning to Chiang Mai in the early evening for another night in the city.

Cruising the Mekong to Laos

Over the next 3 days you’ll travel along the Mekong on a comfortable boat from Chiang Mai to the former capital of Laos; Luang Prabang. On the first day you’ll stop off at the Mae Kachan hot springs and the Golden Triangle where the borders of Laos, Burma and Thailand meet. After crossing the border on the second day you’ll step on board a boat and enjoy 2 days of cruising on the river; make yourself comfortable and sink into the colourful cushions, with magnificent views of the Mekong and the lush Laos countryside as your backdrop. During this trip you’ll spend 1 night in a comfortable hotel in Chiang Khong and 1 night in a simple guest house in Pakbeng. On the last day you’ll make a stop at the famous Pak Ou caves before arriving in Luang Prabang.

thailand transport travel boat rive mekongr

Experience Luang Prabang

Step into a heady, spiritual world of golden spires, saffron-robed monks, frangipani flowers and crumbling French mansions. Prepare to be instantly caught in the spell of Luang Prabang, a heartwarming place slung along the banks of the Mekong River. You’ll spend four days getting lost in the magic of Luang Prabang, watching monks file into the temples at sunrise and floating down the Mekong at sunset.

luang p customer

Plain of Jars

Puzzle over the ancient mystery of giant stone jars scattered across hilly plains and visit an inspiring community project dedicated to educating young people in north eastern Laos. Nobody knows how, when or why the huge jars appeared, making the Plain of Jars a truly mind-boggling place. During this trip you’ll wander across the bizarre and beautiful plains on a guided tour and meet the spirited students of the Buffalo Foundation, committed to improving opportunities for young people with English classes and football coaching.

local women carrying wood

Vive Vientiane

Explore Vientiane, a sleepy, scenic capital curled around a bend in the Mekong River, packed with tuk-tuks, French bakeries and friendly monks. Marvel at temples crammed with thousands of Buddha statues, watch daily life unfold over a croissant in a pavement cafe and stroll along the riverfront. Vientiane feels more like a village than a capital city, with laid-back locals and a languid pace of life. During this trip, you’ll explore the city’s cuisine on a food tour through the colourful markets.

two monks next to a tuk-tuk

Speak to our Laos specialist, Miles

“Laos is a real winner for anyone looking for a mix of culture, nature and tasty cuisine. Visiting the falls outside Luang Prabang is my favourite excursion - it’s a ‘must do’ experience and my customers highly recommend it too!”

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