- Explore Laos and Thailand at your own pace with a flexible travel pass
- Be the guest of honour with a welcoming ceremony and traditional homestay in Ban Pak Nguey
- Discover the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang and get to enjoy some free time in your beautiful surroundings
- Cruise down the Mekong River on our private slow boat and visit the legendary Pak Ou Caves
- Stay in Laos’ capital Vientiane and spend time seeing the sights and tourist attractions
Take an amazing travel adventure through northern Thailand and Laos with our totally flexible travel pass, which gives you the freedom to experience this incredible country at your own pace. With our hop on hop off style travel itinerary, you’re free to pick and choose from a multitude of intriguing and beautiful locations and great activities both on and off the beaten track. With the minimum travel time being 12 days, we recommend spending at least two weeks to take the journey to really make the most of your adventures; but if all that sounds like rather a lot to pack into a short space of time, don’t worry because your pass will be valid for twelve months, so you can spend as long as you wish exploring this incredible part of south east Asia.
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Arrival in Bangkok
Kicking the tour off in Thailand’s capital, you’ll have the opportunity to explore the busy streets, markets and old quarter of Bangkok if you arrive during the day before meeting your tour leader and the rest of your group at our Welcome Night Introduction on Khao San Road at 6pm. You’ll get the full lowdown on how your travel pass works, get to ask any questions you might have, and make sure you’re all set for your adventure. The this evening, hop on an overnight sleeper train to Chiang Mai!
Arrive in Chiang Mai
Arriving early in the morning, you’ll have the whole of today and tomorrow to explore this historically rich city at your leisure, or take part in the optional activities on offer. Try out the Flight of the Gibbon zipline course, where you’ll swing through the trees, zip lining, climbing, and crawling through an amazing jungle playground, bathe an elephant at the Elephant Nature Park – a rescue and rehabilitation camp where the staff will educate you on these incredible animals before letting you loose with a bucket and sponge, learn how to make delicious Thai food at a local cookery class, take a tour of Bo Sang Handicraft Centre and get to see how beautiful traditional paper umbrellas are made, or explore the beautiful Buddhist temple of Wat Chedi Luang situated right in the centre of Chiang Mai, within the city walls. In the evenings enjoy a huge selection of fantastic restaurants, peruse the wares of the famous night market, take in a ladyboy show, or watch a Muay Thai boxing match.
Chiang Mai to Houay Xai
In the morning we’ll make our way to the Thailand-Laos border, stopping near Chiang Rai on the way to take a look at the intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). Wat Rong is a unique Buddhist temple, created by local artist Chaloemchai Kositpipat, that features some unconventional additions including images from Star Wars and Disney movies, Freddie Kruger’s head hanging in the trees, and a giant Predator emerging from the garden! After taking our fill of the sights, we’ll continue our journey to the border crossing into Laos to take a short tuktuk ride to the laidback town of Houay Xai.
HouayXai to Ban Pak Nguey (homestay)
Leaving Houay Xai, we’ll board a private slow boat to cruise past the beautiful mountain scenery, dense jungle, and farmland on the banks of the Mekong River. We’ll drift past bathing water buffalo, local fishermen, and children enjoying a splash about in the shallows, arriving at the secluded little village of Ban Pak Nguey in the afternoon. You’ll get your first taste of traditional Lao village life with a Baci (welcoming) ceremony before being introduced to your local host family. Afterwards, swim in the river, play a game of football with the children, help out with an English class at the local school, go fishing, or try out the local whiskey!
Ban Pak Nguey to Luang Prabang
Bidding a fond farewell to our lovely host families, we’ll jump back on the boat to head downriver to the famous limestone Pak Ou Caves – a beautiful tucked away shrine crammed with thousands of Buddhist images and figurines that have been placed in the caves over hundreds of years by pilgrims visiting the site. Back on the boat, we’ll continue our trip to LuangPrabang – a pretty UNESCO World Heritage town dappled with picturesque French colonial architecture and Lao design set against a gorgeous backdrop of misty mountains and lush green jungle.
Luang Prabang free day
Enjoy some free time in your beautiful surroundings by visiting the National Palace Museum, taking a wander around the golden 16th century Wat Xieng Thong monastery, heading out to the tranquil turquoise waters of the Kuang Si waterfalls, taking a local cooking class, simply exploring the area by bike, or try your hand at organic farming on the Rice Experience. In the evening head to the colourful night market, or enjoy some mouthwatering local food and a few drinks with your travel buddies.
Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
An early start to the day sees us travelling through incredible mountain terrain through some of the most spectacular scenery you’ll see in Laos. On our way we’ll see hill tribe villages, deep green valleys, and tumbling countryside before making a special pit stop at the ‘loo with a view’. Arriving in the small riverside town of Vang Vieng, for two nights, you’ll have the opportunity to try out plenty of riverside activities including tubing and kayaking – even pulling up at the riverside bars for a sunset cocktail or two. Party with the locals and take in your breathtaking surroundings.
Vang Vieng to Vientiane
Today we’ll be making the journey to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, stopping on our way to visit the impressive Tham Jang Cave that was once used as a bunker in the 19th century during a Chinese invasion. Once in Vientiane you’ll have an orientation of the area where your tour guide will point out the main attractions to you including Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE Centre – a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. The rest of the day is yours to explore the city, so stroll along the broad boulevards and take it all in, spend time in the silk shops or at the bustling street markets, take a Laos cookery class, get a massage, or chill out in one of the numerous riverside restaurants or cafes.
Vientiane to Bangkok
We’ll be making our way back to Thailand from Vientiane, so on your final full day you’ll be collected from your guesthouse in the afternoon and be taken to Thanaleng Station by tuktuk. Going through customs and paying your departure fee, you’ll then board a connecting train to take you over the friendship bridge to NongKhai in Thailand to complete immigration checks before grabbing a bite to eat and making the rest of the journey by overnight train to Bangkok, where you’ll arrive early the next day and your tour will come to an end.
How your travel pass works
A travel pass offers you the assurance of pre-paid transport with an English-speaking guide, as well as the complete flexibility to hop on and off whenever you like. Once you’ve booked your travel pass, you’ll be set up with an online passenger account where you’ll have instant access to the trip itinerary and each destination’s transport timetables – so you’ll be able to plan your own travel schedule with all the information you need for getting to and from each place. It’s a good idea to book at least five days in advance as transport can get booked up quickly and spaces are reserved on a first-come-first-served basis. Once availability has been confirmed, you’ll receive confirmation and trip details via your online passenger account, or by email. You’ll also be able to ask your tour guide to book accommodation ahead of your arrival – just let them know and then pay locally when you reach your accommodation.
Please note that we will book the pass as open dated, so you can decide the date that you want to start the pass- please contact us for more details
Please note: The start dates advertised on our website are approximate only, start dates may vary depending on bus timetables.
Please note all activities, itineraries and routes are subject to change
- A 12 month travel pass for Thailand and Laos
- All transport between destinations, including bus, boat, train, or tuktuk
- An experienced tour guide
- Welcome meeting
- Reserved accommodation where requested, payable locally
- Total travel flexibility
- White Temple entrance fee
- Pak Ou Caves entrance fee
- Tham Jang Cave entrance fee
- Vientiane orientation
- 24/7 emergency support
- Airport transfers
- Optional activities
Your accommodation and meals aren’t included in the cost of your travel pass, but your tour guide can recommend and reserve accommodation ahead of your travel to each location, so all you need to do is ask your guide to book a space for you and then pay for each locally as you go. Accommodation options are listed below:
Chiang Mai: Guesthouse located near the historic old quarter (12USD-20USD/£10-£16 pp/per night).
Houay Xai: Guesthouse with Mekong River views (20USD/£16 pp/per night).
Luang Prabang: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market 12USD-40USD/£10-£32 pp/per night).
Vang Vieng: Family-run guesthouse (8USD-30USD/£6.50-£24 pp/per night).
Vientiane: Hotel with modern facilities including Wifi and breakfast (20USD/£16 pp/per night).
During the Ban Pak Nguey homestay, you’ll be staying with a local family in their home which will be fairly basic but clean and comfortable. Your stay here will also include the Baci Ceremony, dinner, breakfast, and activities in the village. You will be asked to make a contribution of 17USD/£13 towards the village fund for this, which is payable locally. Two nights will be spent on overnight trains, which is included in the cost of your trip.
If you fancy having your accommodation for the first night in each location, as well as a number of great activities during you trip, taken care of before travelling, you can upgrade to a flexi tour – ask us for more details when you get in touch.
Your flight to Thailand should arrive at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) in good time to make your welcome meeting at 3pm on your programme start date. Your return flight or onward travel should be arranged in the afternoon or evening on your programme end date. Please note accommodation is not included in your pass so you will need to arrange your own accommodation and airport transfer in Bangkok.
To arrange your flights, contact our fantastic flights team on 01892 277037 or email them at [email protected] They will be able to search for the best flight offers to your chosen destinations, so you can plan and organise your trip in one place. Just make sure you give them your full name, as stated in your passport, along with your chosen departure dates, return dates, and any other details you want to include.
It is important that once you have booked your flights you add these details to your online account or alternatively you can contact us with your departure date, the flight number and arrival time at your destination.
The minimum age for this trip is 18.
It is your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. Travellers of all nationalities must carry a passport valid for the duration of the trip, and at least six months beyond the intended departure date, some countries require longer. We have outlined some basic information below to help you, however it your responsibility to check the latest information and requirements for your nationality with the nearest Embassy or High Commission of the countries that you will be visiting.
Thailand: Citizens of the UK will automatically receive a 30 day tourist visa when entering Thailand.
Laos: British citizens can obtain a visa on arrival for $35 USD. This will allow stays of up to 30 days.
Do I Have To Keep To The Itinerary, Or Can I Miss Out Sections That Don’t Tie In With My Plans?
Your travel pass is completely flexible, so you can hop on and hop off at any stop listed. If you want to skip an area, that’s fine, or if you want to start or end at different points during the trip, that’s completely your call.
How Far Ahead Do I Need To Confirm My Place On Each Section?
You can book right up until the bus departs, but it’s worth booking five days in advance during peak season (December – February), as the buses can fill up quite quickly and seats are allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.
When Is My Pass Valid From?
Your pass is ready to use as soon as you book – you’ll need to start your travels within twelve months of initial booking and will have twelve months to complete your travel pass route from the first day of travel.
How Many People Will Be Travelling At The Same Time As Me?
The majority of our hop on hop off travel passes consist of between 10 and 15 people, with a maximum of 24 travelling together.
How Long Does It Take To Travel This Route?
You can take up to twelve months to travel the entire route, but if you’re not doing any travelling of your own between locations you can do the entire trip in a super speedy twelve days! Although we recommend you allow at least sixteen days to get the most from your travels.
What Do I Do About Accommodation?
Your tour leader can help you arrange and reserve accommodation on route if you like, which you can pay for as you go, otherwise you’re free to make your own bookings.Accommodation costs vary from place to place, but generally you can expect to pay 5USD-8USD/£4-£6 for a shared room, around 28USD/£22 for a twin or double room, and up to $60/£46 for a top end private room. If you’re purely travelling to do this route, you might want to consider upgrading to a flexi tour, where all your accommodation is included for the number of days specified – contact us to find out more information.
How Much Spending Money Should I Bring With Me?
Thailand and Laos are both pretty budget-friendly countries, but as a general rule allow for around 40USD-65USD/£30-£50 per day (with a bit extra if you’re planning on doing a few different optional activities or want to buy a few items from markets etc).
Due to Covid-19, many of our partners and suppliers across the globe are putting in place new procedures and policies regarding health and safety in response to the outbreak. These new measures will adapt and change as the state of travel evolves, and the policies and procedures will vary depending on each trip. Some changes that you may experience on our trips are:
Updated safety & hygiene procedures
Health and safety measures will be adapted by our partners and suppliers, dependent on local laws and restrictions.
Different transport & accommodation
You may find yourself on transport or in accommodation that would not typically be used, such as hostels that are more secluded, or on more private transport. This may vary by trip, or even by individual departure dates.
Most trips include a meeting on arrival with the guide or local team to discuss the trip, and this is an opportunity for you to ask any questions. You should arrive in time to attend these briefings.
Emergency support 24/7
We have a UK based 24/7 emergency phone line if you have a genuine urgent matter that you need attending.
Knowledgeable & Trained Staff
We can help answer any questions or concerns you may have before you depart. Whilst travelling the guide or local team on our trips are there to help, and to ensure the smooth running of our trips.
Should you require medical assistance whilst travelling, the local team or guide will be able to help you get to a point of care. Medical facilities and standards can vary across the glove, so you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place.
Varying group sizes
To begin with, many trips will run with amended group sizes, so you may find smaller groups than would be typical. This may vary by trip, or even by individual departure dates.
Whilst there may be changes on our trips, it is vital that you make travelling safer for yourself, your travel companions, the local staff and guides, and the people of the country you are visiting. You should follow all local laws and restrictions, and follow the guidance of the local team. In addition, you can help make travel safer by bringing and using your own face coverings/masks and hand sanitiser, social distance where appropriate, wash your hands frequently, and cover your face when coughing or sneezing.