For an experience that’s altogether different from the norm, look no further than this northeasterly adventure across to Vietnam. You’ll head deep into the lush highlands of Thailand before crossing the border into Laos where you’ll spend a week falling in love with everything this little landlocked country has to offer. Cruise the mighty Mekong River and while away the hours in sleepy traditional towns. Things finish up amongst the kaleidoscopic and sensual highs of Hanoi, where you’ll have two full days of exploration with the group. A perfect end to a perfect trip.
Visit the busy streets of Bangkok and the tranquil Vientiane, an ideal tour for everyone who is longing to understand what the Lao and Thai cultures are all about. Travel via the golden temples and saffron-robed monks of dreamy Luang Prabang, the craggy limestone karsts of Vang Vieng and the mysterious golden triangle near Chiang Mai. Meet hill tribe villagers, taste the delicious cuisine and enjoy warm hospitality in a traditional setting.
Ko Tarutao is one of the 51 islands that belong to the Tarutao National Marine Park archipelago in southern Thailand. One of Tarutao’s greatest attraction is its wildlife: sea turtles, whales, monitor lizards, crab-eating macaques, mouse deer and more all call the island and its surrounding waters home. Compared to other Andaman islands the waters of Ko Tarutao are to murky to snorkel, but for most, the unspoilt beaches, waterfalls, great hiking and views more than compensate for this.
Ayuthaya was founded in 1350 AD by King U Thong as the second capital of Siam after Sukhothai. Throughout the centuries, the ideal location between China, India and the Malay Archipelago made Ayutthaya the trading capital of Asia. By 1700 Ayutthaya had become one of the largest cities in the world with a total of 1 million inhabitants. In 1767 the city was destroyed by the Burmese army, resulting in the collapse of the kingdom. The city was re-founded a few kilometers to the east of the ruins, which now form the Ayutthaya historical park. Most of the remains are temples and palaces, as those were the only buildings made of stone at that time.
The Vieng Xai caves are an extensive network of caves that served as hidden city during the Vietnam War. The area was home to the Communist army, who were fighting the royalist forces based in Vientiane and was bombed by the US army. Up to 23,000 people lived in the caves, which contained a hospital, military barracks, bakeries, shops, and even a theater. The Lao government hopes to promote the caves as a tourism destination, similar to the Củ Chi tunnels in Vietnam.
The Pak Ou Caves are located north of Luang Prabang on the Mekong river and can be reached by road or river boat. The caves are famous for their miniature Buddha sculptures. Hundreds of very small and mostly damaged wooden Buddhist figures are laid out over the wall shelves. They take many different arrangements, including meditation, teaching, peace, rain, and reclining (nirvana).