Thailand and Laos adventure holiday, Bangkok to Vang Vieng

“Bangkok and Chiang Mai to Luang Prabang and Vientiane, with hill tribes, jungle treks and river rides in between; if you're looking for an adventure, this is just the start.”

Highlights

Bangkok | Ayutthaya | Chiang Mai | rock climbing or Thai cooking class | Mae On Valley | mountain biking in Doi Suthep National Park | Golden Triangle | Mekong River | Nam Tha River | Luang Nam Tha | Nong Khiaw | Hmong and Khmu hill tribes | Luang Prabang | Pak Ou Caves | Kuang Si Waterfall | Vang Vieng | kayaking on Nam Lik River | Vientiane | Optional activities include: cycling to Lanten and Lisu villages and tubing in Vang Vieng |

Hello. If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. Rosy & team.

01273 823 700

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Check dates, prices & availability

Date
Price
Basis
19 Feb 2017
£ 2250
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Feb 2017 departure
22 Oct 2017
£ 2250
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 22 Oct 2017 departure
19 Nov 2017
£ 2250
excluding flights
Departure Guaranteed
Click here to enquire about or book the 19 Nov 2017 departure
Our top tip:
Bring a note pad to write down words in Thai and Laos to learn as you travel. A waterproof day pack, hand gel, insect repellent and a torch are also well worth adding to your kit list.
Trip type:
Small group. Max 12. Min age 18.
Activity level:
Leisurely/Moderate. Jungle treks and grade 2/3 rapids kayaking.
Accomm:
11 nights guesthouse, 4 nights hotel (both en-suite), 3 nights homestay (shared facilities), 2 nights 1st class sleeper trains.
Included:
Accommodation, transport, listed entrance fees and activities, bike rental, English-speaking guide
Meals:
4 brks, 7 lunches, 7 dinners.
Solos:
Solo travellers welcome to share rooms. Single room fees apply.
Vouchers
Accepted
Holiday type
Small group holidays
Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.
What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Simplicity
Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
Mythbuster
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
No.
Meet a group leader
As well as taking care of all the day-to-day practicalities, your group leader is the one who will turn your trip into an adventure. Leaders are extraordinary characters – the kind of person who has spent 14 Christmas days on the slopes of Mount Everest, runs marathons wearing tiger suits to raise funds for their conservation and thinks nothing of leading an overland trip in Sudan or Afghanistan. Fearless and inspiring, group leaders are as important as the destination itself.

Meet a local guide
No matter how experienced your group leader, they can never make up for the knowledge gained from a lifetime in the destination. That’s why many of our trips work with local guides around the world – who invite you into their homeland with pleasure. As well as doing crazy things like climbing Kilimanjaro 100 times, they also donate their time to local projects supported by travellers – such as rebuilding Sri Lankan villages following the 2004 tsunami.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Thailand and Laos adventure holiday, Bangkok to Vang Vieng

Environment

Leave Nothing But Footprints…
We stand by the adage of “leave nothing but footprints, take nothing but photos” and encourage clients to do the same. This trek travels through remote, fragile eco-systems and their preservation is of the utmost importance.

Take in What You Take Out
We always dispose of our rubbish in an eco-friendly manner and ‘take out, what we put in’. We encourage our clients to take batteries back to the UK to dispose of properly.

Bottled Water
Bottled water has an immensely negative impact on the areas we visit, as they are not recyclable. We recommend purchasing water-purifying tablets or a water filter to treat your drinking water whilst in Nepal and to bring a reusable water bottle. Many of the places we stay also offer boiled/treated/filtered water - perfect for refilling your bottle!

Bio-friendly & Biodegradable Detergents, Soaps & Shampoos
Our guides only use detergents that are environmentally friendly and biodegradable. This practice is also recommended to our clients whilst on holiday and before their trip departs. We recognise that it is difficult to find some of these products whilst in the countries we visit, which is why we communicate to our clients before departure the importance of minimizing our environmental impact.

K.E.E.P. (Kathmandu Environmental Education Project) – Nepal
We support K.E.E.P.

K.E.E.P. is a not-for profit, non-governmental organization based in Kathmandu, Nepal. The mission of K.E.E.P. is to ensure the future ecological and cultural prosperity of Nepal and its people by maximizing the benefits and reducing the negative impacts associated with tourism.

Their objectives are to:
- Promote sustainable tourism and provide environmental and cultural education to travelers and the tourism industry through free, impartial information and training programs
- Enable sustainable development through outreach projects, training and resources in order to seek a more equitable distribution of the economic benefits of tourism for the people of Nepal
- Conduct research and development activities on environmental and associated social issues

We keep our clients informed and encourage a visit to their Visitor’s Centre in Kathmandu whilst on tour. The Visitor’s Centre provides unbiased and invaluable local knowledge of the areas we visit and is an excellent resource for information and insight into the environmental and ecological issues in Nepal.

At Work in the UK
- We only use energy efficient light bulbs in our offices
- All paper, cardboard, plastics, and tins are recycled
- Our employees are encouraged to only print what is absolutely necessary and reduce/reuse materials whenever possible
- We do not have any printed brochures and aim to keep printing of paper materials to a minimum. We encourage our clients to do the same.
- Our office printer has a 3* energy rating and is energy efficient
- Our staff walk or cycle to work
- Paper is sourced from sustainable forests and is 100% recycled
- Ink used in all of our materials are eco-friendly, vegetable based inks.

Community

SAELao Project
SAELao Project is a community-based project based in Vang Vieng, Laos. Clients on our South East Asian Odyssey tour are encouraged to visit the project’s farm, restaurant/café and community centre. SAELAO’s primary purpose is to set an example of sustainable development in Laos, by using environmentally friendly methods (e.g. biogas, permaculture) and minimizing the use of natural resources.

Local Guides and Suppliers
- We employ local suppliers and guides.
- We only use reputable suppliers that adhere to the same high standards as ourselves.
- We use suppliers that train and educate younger employees to international standards, gaining international certifications thus raising the standards of the respective industries.

We insist on using local suppliers on our holidays, as well as using local guides. When visiting villages and communities we employ local guides and stay in the homes of villagers. Using a local guide with a good knowledge of English is a brilliant way to gain insight into a community and gain a better understanding of the culture, community and destination that we visit. This local connection allows our clients to interact more with the people of the community we visit, and vice versa. With more understanding of the cultures we visit we are assisting in reducing the negative impacts of tourism.

Accommodation
We stay in small family run guesthouses and at home-stays (the homes of local families), thus ensuring that money is driven back into local communities. At all other times we aim to stay in independently owned hotels.

Food, Drink and Local Products
- We encourage our guests to explore local options whilst eating, and to eat in independent and family run establishments. Not only does this assist in spreading out income for a variety of different families/businesses it encourages our clients to experience new/local cuisine and provides a genuine experience
- In circumstances where we do provide food, produce is locally sourced and we employ local cooks and cook assistants
- We encourage our guests to buy local, shop at local markets and purchase souvenirs/handicrafts and authentic goods that are produced within the region we are exploring.

Reviews of Thailand and Laos adventure holiday, Bangkok to Vang Vieng

You can trust Responsible Travel reviews because, unlike many other schemes, reviews can ONLY be written by people who we have verified have been on the holidays.

I am reborn! Simply the best holiday I have ever been on
Some great stories to tell the grandchildren. Would recommend to a friend
Very enjoyable
It was OK
A bit disappointing really

Reviewed on 03 Dec 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


To be honest the whole trip was one memorable experience. From the temples to the climbing, biking and waterfall swimming to the journeys on various boats and songtaws. The trip was so well organised and the itinerary so well thought out that I felt I had an experience that was way apart from other holiday makers. I feel I really got a sense of the country and that though there was no hassle for me in organising the travel or accommodation, that it was a proper adventure.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Don't take too much stuff, you don't need it and you'll want space for the amazing local crafts. Another tip is that though you don't have to eat anything you don't want to, it is a real shame to be picky because sometimes the weirdest offerings are the most amazing! The food was wonderful and Sarah brilliant fun.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The holiday really benefited the local community in my opinion. We stayed in local communities and ate often with the locals. Sarah knows exactly where she is going and is totally aware of the country and it's issues. The money spent on food and accommodation and travel you can see going straight to benefit the locals.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


5*++++++++ It was absolutely superb! The operator may be a small company but it's dedication to providing the best service and most rounded and authentic personal experience of the country meant that I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone.

Reviewed on 04 Nov 2013 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Trekking throughout the north of Laos was amazing. We had a wonderful guide that was proud to show of his country, people, food, history and culture's. We meandered up local rivers, stayed and ate with our boatman only encountering water buffalo and locals on route to the 10 day market.
We explored local caves, kayaked down rivers, trekked leach ridden jungles, bathed under beautiful waterfalls and joined in serious organise games were pride and local beer was on the line. We even included in our own blessing ceremony.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


The holiday is well planned and it is lovely to relax and go with the flow. This is the second trip I've done through this company and I believe they find a good mix with seeing the cultural and tourist places, adventure and then something a bit special and unique. They also are passionate about showing and getting people to experience new things on like the local population. I've eaten many weird and wonderful things over this trip.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes definitely. The experience between the two countries was different in this respect as Thailand in more developed than Lao. But most places we stayed were concerned about reducing their impact on the environment. All places we stayed were locally run and our local guide in Lao seemed to know just about everyone in Lao.
His agency also supports improving availability of health care to remote villages where we stayed.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


This trip was an amazing introduction to southeast Asia for me. I felt that my experience of Thailand and Laos was enhanced by this trip. This trip has once again stimulated my need to see more of this beautiful area. Thanks again.

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