From £2,978 pp incl. UK flights
Perfect for anyone looking for simple holiday pleasures, exploring some of the most unspoilt and beautiful parts of South East Asia.
Day 1: Depart on your overnight flight to Bangkok.
Day 2: Met by private guide and transferred to your choice hotel for 2 nights. Rest of day free
Day 3: Private guided City Highlights tour. Alternatives can be offered
Day 4: Drive to Ayutthaya, ancient capital. Private tour. Overnight train to Ubon Ratchathani in east
Day 5: Check into beautiful Tohsang Khong Jiam Resort (3 nights) - stunning view over Mekong River
Day 6: Hike through Pha Taem National Park to see prehistoric cave paintings & enjoy Mekong boat ride
Day 7: Up early for monks' alms procession and visit the village school, market and animism shrine.
Day 8: Cross into Laos and visit Wat Phu Temple on way to idyllic River Resort for 1 night.
Day 9: Drive south with guide, visit Phou Asa. Boat to Don Khong Island for 2 nights
Day 10: Boat tour to beautiful 4,000 Islands, Khone Phapheng & Li Phi waterfalls & dolphin spotting
Day 11: Tour of Bolaven Plateau & Tad Fane Waterfall. 1 night Tad Fane Resort
Day 12: Fly to Luang Prabang for 2 nights in your choice of hotel
Day 13: Private guided Walking City Tour with Pak Ou Caves cruise
Day 14: Private transfer to airport in time for overnight flight home
Day 15: Arrive home.
Day 1: UK Airport / Bangkok
Depart on a choice of overnight flights to Bangkok.
Day 2: Bangkok
On arrival you will be met by your private guide and transferred to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. Depending on your arrival time we can arrange a choice of tours to introduce you to this exciting city.
Day 3: Bangkok - City Tour (B / L)
Start early with a visit to Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, at its most spectacular in the early morning as sunlight reflects off the river.
Then cross the river to tour the temples and palaces on Royal Ratanakosin Island. Here you’ll find the magnificent Grand Palace, Wat Pho - temple of the reclining Buddha, the largest Buddha in Bangkok and centre of the Buddhist religion in Thailand and Wat Phra Kaew, home of the Emerald Buddha, Thailand's holiest religious statue carved from jade.
Continue on to the Siam Discovery Museum, one of our favourites in Bangkok. Enjoy lunch by the river before spending the afternoon exploring Bangkok’s waterways by long tail boat. Return to your hotel in the late afternoon. Evening free to explore the city. If you have been to Bangkok before we can adapt today to visit somewhere new.
Day 4: Bangkok to Ayuthaya / Overnight Train to Ubon (B / L / D)
Ayutthaya was the 2nd Capital from the 14th to 18th Century and the crowning glory of Siam, when what we recognise as "Thai Style” was developed. Characterised by prangs (reliquary towers) and gigantic monasteries that point towards its past importance, today it’s a relaxed day out away from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok.
As soon as you arrive it becomes apparent why it was chosen and in turn became so successful. Built on an island at the confluence of three rivers, perfect for trade and protection, it become a melting pot for trading nations and swelled to over a million inhabitants to become the largest city in the world. Internal strife eventually weakened the kingdom and the end officially came when it was sacked and looted by the Burmese in 1767. The capital was moved to Bangkok.
This intriguing heritage and portrait of a developing world led UNESCO to declare it a World Heritage Site and archaeological park. Through painstaking work a lot of the city has been restored and although effectively still a series of ruins you get a real feel of the scale and splendour of its historical pomp. This morning your guide will show you the city. Because of its size and flatness you could explore by bike.
After lunch in a local restaurant you will have a day room in a hotel to freshen up. Late afternoon enjoy an early dinner before taking the overnight sleeper train to Ubon Ratchathani. You will have a private sleeper berth.
Day 5: Ubon Ratchathani / Mekong River (B / L)
You’ll have time to explore historical Ubon before travelling to the tiny town of Khong Jiam that sits on a picturesque peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and Mun Rivers.
Stop en route in a village that specialises in handcrafting gongs and large bells for temples as well as other local crafts.
Check into the beautiful Tohsang Khong Jiam Resort with its stunning views over the Mekong River and your base for the next few days. Go kayaking or cycling to explore the nearby area or relax by the pool.
Day 6: Pha Taem National Park - Mekong Cruise (B / L)
This morning hike in Pha Taem National Park up through a landscape of wild flowers, bamboo forests and eventually great views of the lush Thai countryside and over into Laos.
As well as the natural beauty, the main attraction are Thailand’s most extensive prehistoric cave paintings that depict life over 3,000 years ago, with scenes that include fishing, rice farming and elephants.
Enjoy a picnic lunch and then drive to the Mekong for a riverboat cruise. The river is narrow here, so you have good views of both banks. Return to the resort and enjoy late afternoon by the swimming pool.
Day 7: Alms Giving - Spirit Shrine (B / L)
Rise early to watch the Buddhist tradition of alms giving to local monks. After breakfast walk or cycle to a nearby tribal village to visit a local school (during their term time) and explore the tiny village, its market and the shrine to the local forest spirit.
In the shrine is a stone with ancient inscriptions in early Khmer or Siamese glyphs and your guide will offer an introduction to Animism.
This afternoon, depending on the season, you may like to take an optional excursion down the nearby Python Rapids (Feb / May) or enjoy a massage back at the hotel.
Day 8: Tohsang Khongjiam Resort - Cross into Laos (B / L)
This morning your guide will take you to the Laos border crossing where you say hello to your Laos guide who will take you on the River Resort (1 night) right on the Mekong River.
On the way you will be shown round the famous Khmer Temple complex of Wat Phu, which pre-dates Angkor Wat and may even be its blueprint. Climb through the complex and you’ll be rewarded with a great view down to the Mekong.
Day 9: Champasak to 4,000 Islands (B / L)
This morning you head further south to Si Phan Don, where the Mekong splits to create an archipelago of thousands of sandbars and where it gets its more familiar name of 4000 Islands.
En route you’ll have the chance to visit an elephant camp and get the chance to watch the mahouts in action before climbing aboard for a ride to the top of Phou Asa, home to a series of mysterious ruins and a great view across the wetlands.
Continue on to the island on Don Khong by car and boat. Check in to the Sensothxeune Hotel for 2 nights and enjoy dinner overlooking the Mekong and watch the twinkling lights of fishing boats as they float by.
Day 10: Si Phan Don - 4,000 Islands Boat Tour (B / L)
Today your guide will collect you for a day exploring the southern border. Start with a boat ride to the largest waterfalls in Asia on Cambodia’s border.
Khone Phapeng & Li Phi Falls were the major obstacles which thwarted the French in their efforts to open the Mekong River to navigation. Here also live some 50-100 Irrawaddy dolphins. If you’re lucky you'll see them. Lunch will be at a local restaurant.
This afternoon walk along the small gauge railway and Colonial Bridge that were built by the French to circumnavigate the falls and open up the region. Back at the hotel late afternoon.
Day 11: Si Phan Don - Bolaven Plateau (B / L)
This morning head north and take a detour away from the river up to the Tad Fane Resort for 1 night.
This is located high on the Bolaven Plateau, formed by an ancient volcano and one of the most scenic spots in the region, full of beautiful landscapes made up of forests, rivers and waterfalls. At an altitude of over 1,000 metres, the scenery is very different to that seen in most of the country and even at the hottest time it rarely rises above 27°C. Check-in, enjoy lunch and then your private guide will rejoin you for an afternoon tour that involves a leisurely 3 hour walk exploring the plateau. This hike goes through a local village, coffee plantations, over a hanging bridge and on to the plains. Huge boulders, epiphytes and wild orchids abound. Large pine trees grow here, giving it a wholly different character of landscape. One of the prime draws is Tad Fane Waterfall whose twin streams dramatically cascade into a 200m deep gorge.
Evening free and as you will be relatively high up you may need a jumper or light jacket in the evening.
Day 12: Bolaven Plateau - Fly Pakse / Luang Prabang
Morning airport transfer and short flight up to Luang Prabang. On arrival you’ll be met by your private guide and transferred to the city centre where you check in to your choice of hotel for 2 nights. The rest of the day is free. Don’t miss the superb night market that runs through the centre of town every night.
Day 13: Luang Prabang - Private Almsgiving, City & Pak Ou Caves Tour (B / L)
Today rise early for a dawn (6.00am) start to watch the traditional Lao rite of Almsgiving to the 300+ monks that occurs each morning.
Afterwards your private guide will take you back to the hotel via the Morning Market, a feast of local and somewhat unusual (to us) produce.
After a leisurely breakfast rejoin your guide for a private guided walking tour around this beautiful World Heritage town, visiting a number of Wats (temples), the Royal Palace and central market. Luang Prabang is best experienced by foot (we can arrange a car) and is home to a growing number of niche shops and galleries. The morning finishes with a climb up the 328 steps up Phousi Mountain for superb views of the area. Lunch will be in a local restaurant.
This afternoon your guide will take you on a boat ride up the Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves that rest high in the limestone cliffs and house thousands of Buddha statues that were hidden from the looting Chinese Haw. The caves were converted into Buddhist temples in the 15th century and are used as a site for old Buddha images that can no longer be venerated in a temple, either because they are damaged or the temple they were displayed in has been destroyed. Along the way stop at a riverside village to see weavers working on ancient looms before returning to town late afternoon.
Day 14: Luang Prabang (B) / Home
This morning time for some last minute shopping or sightseeing before being transferred to the airport for your flight home via Bangkok. Arrive back in UK the following morning.
Each featured itinerary is really a starting point from which to create your ideal holiday.
We can include as much or as little as you like, mix and match hotels, excursions and experiences, add extra nights and change the destinations you'd like to visit.
The common thread is that each is a privately guided holiday, allowing you to travel where and when you want, with your own private transport and dedicated guide.
- Return scheduled international flights (optional if you would like to arrange your own)
- English speaking, local guide & driver
- Choice of hotel accommodation
- Transport in private air-conditioned vehicles
- Domestic flights detailed in itinerary
- Admission fees to all attractions, temples and activities as mentioned in the itinerary
- All meals as detailed (B = breakfast, L = lunch, D = dinner)
- Entry visas International airport departure taxes if payable locally
- Optional Tours / Excursions
- Any meals not listed in the itinerary
- Personal expenses
- Tips for Guides / Drivers (discretionary)
- Travel insurance
- Any camera or video fees charged at sites
The hotels below are there as examples, designed to act as a starting point from which to create your holiday. There are plenty of alternatives to choose from and when we quote we will include other suggestions so we get to understand your likes and dislikes. Quite often clients mix and match hotel categories throughout their holiday.
Hotels in Bangkok
The bustling but beautiful city of Bangkok understandably provides a wealth of hotel choice.
Hotels in Nong Khai (Khong Jiam Resort)
Located on the banks of the Mekong River, enjoy the stunning panoramic views from this lovely resort.
River Resort (Champasak)
Set in the dramatic unspoilt south of Laos; you won't want to leave this beautiful, contemporary resort.
Hotels in Don Khong (Si Phan Don)
A beautiful unspoilt island south of Laos
Hotels in Bolaven Plateau
Set on an extinct volcano and overlooking the amazing Tad Fane waterfall this stop is not to be missed.
Hotels in Luang Prabang
Laid back and magical, this UNESCO World Heritage site is truly memorable.