Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday

“A two week, small group tour in off the beaten track Northern Thailand and Laos including a boat trip on the remote River Ou. Staying at a mix of hotels and lodges.”


Northern Thailand: Chiang Mai | Chiang Rai | Golden Triangle | Sob Ruak | Mekong River | Laos: Luang Nam Tha | Kao Rao limestone cave system | Eco lodge on Tha River | Nam Ha National Protected Area | Akha Hill tribe visit | Nong Khiaw | Boat ride on Ou River | Luang Prabang | Kuang Si Waterfalls | Phonsavan | Plain of Jars | Vientiane

Description of Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday

This fifteen day small group tour of Northern Thailand and Laos is fully guided, with maximum twelve persons in the group. Starting in Chiang Mai, an 800 year old city with ancient temples and dramatic mountainous backdrops, we spend the first four days of this trip in Northern Thailand. This includes visiting the infamous Golden Triangle, at the confluence of the Ruak and Mekong Rivers, where Thailand, Burma and Laos meet. An area historically known for its opium industry.

Crossing over the Mekong River, and travelling by road and boat, we cross the border and travel through the jungle covered mountains of Northern Laos where we will spend the next ten days of this trip. Visiting a wide array of its natural highlights, our first night in Laos is in a beautiful ecolodge on the banks of the Tha River, one of twelve tributaries of the Mekong.

A day of hiking in the Nam Ha National Protected Area gives us just a tiny view of this massive protected parkland, with a wide array of mammals and birdlife. The region is home to many different hill tribes, some of whom we will have the honour of meeting. Same goes for a trip into the Nam Ou River region, with karst limestone formations and forested hillsides, and where we will not only take a boat ride but also spend a night in traditional Lao wooden bungalows on the river front.

The Ou River takes us to Luang Prabang, the ancient capital and UNESCO World Heritage Site. As well as being one of Laos’ most extraordinary places to visit, with a mix of orange coloured colonial houses, enrobed monks chanting in the morning mist, and French-Indochinese architecture, it also has the most spectacular mountain setting.

A scenic drive through the spectacular remote mountains takes us to Xiangkhouang Province the home of the somewhat mystical but magnificent Plain of Jars. After marvelling at these we will have a chance to visit the Mines Advisory Group, to see the work they do in diffusing landmines and unexploded ordinance.

Finally, we fly to the capital city of Vientiane for your final day on this holiday, exploring this somewhat quaint cultural hub, with its golden Buddhist stupa, Si Saket Temple and beautiful Buddha Park. Bringing this two week itinerary to a wonderfully peaceful close.

Tour details

Tour length: 15 days/14 nights
Family travel: Although our holidays cater mainly for adult travellers, this is one of a few trips that we think are perfect for people travelling with children, from the ages of five and upwards. We are, of course, able to be flexible with the itinerary and modify certain sections so that they work well for your family’s age ranges.
Group size: 4-12
Accommodation: Hotels and eco-lodges
Solo travellers : Solo travellers welcome. £385 supplement for own room.
Transport: Minibus, boat, tuk tuk, flight
Meals: All breakfasts included. Lunches included except 2 lunches and 3 dinners.
Activity level: easy to moderate. There is some hiking in Nam Ha National Protected Area , around five to six hours, but this can be flexible.
Departure Airport: London Heathrow. Please enquire about departures from other UK airports.
Visa requirements: No advance visas are required for this trip.

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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15 Nov 2017
£ 2650
including UK flights
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11 Dec 2017
£ 2850
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10 Jan 2018
£ 2750
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01 Feb 2018
£ 2750
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02 Mar 2018
£ 2750
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28 Mar 2018
£ 2750
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24 Apr 2018
£ 2750
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20 May 2018
£ 2750
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16 Jun 2018
£ 2750
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Holiday type

Small group holiday

This is a 'small group adventure' - you will be sharing your experiences with like minded people. Group sizes are limited to a maximum of 12 persons, a genuinely small group. Experience has taught us that smaller groups are less intrusive to local cultures and environments whilst allowing more interaction with local people. Furthermore it means greater flexibility on a day to day basis and on a social level it proves to be fun. Whether you are travelling alone or with friends/family its good value, and a great way to meet new people! The intention is to travel as a group of friends rather than a typical tour group, so don't expect stick-on name badges or any following the umbrella.

Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday


We instigated the visits to a Lanten tribal village close to Huay Xai in N.W. Laos with the assistance of the local schoolteacher who has since set up a small village co-operative stall where local handicrafts can be sold as souvenirs. This has led to an increase of interest amongst the villagers in traditional handicrafts as well as the locally produced mulberry paper the production of which had almost disappeared.

Depending on local conditions, this trip also includes a home stay in the Hmong village of Loung Lao near Luang Prabang. As well as educating our passenger to the ways of life of another lesser-known people of the region, it provides income directly to the owners of the houses in which we stay as well as indirectly for other members of the village. Passengers are encouraged to make purchases from the village shops and from individual crafts-people. Thus completely cutting out 'the middle man' and providing fair trade opportunities for both the vendor and the buyer. On these visits we also take supplies to the village such as equipment for the school and vegetable seeds.

Information: Providing suitable, relevant information for our customers; to help them to gain a wider understanding of our style of tourism that focuses on learning, genuine interaction with the local communities, reciprocity and cultural exchange processes. To be aware of the potential impact of tourism on the local society, culture and environment, and to behave and dress appropriately with a respect and appreciation for local customs, mores and traditions and a respect for the ecology of areas visited. Our guides and leaders thus facilitate communication of our values to both travellers and local communities, educating them in sustainable tourism practices

Group sizes: By limiting groups to small sizes we aim to reduce the impact on both local communities and the environment whilst allowing for greater genuine interaction with said communities. It also results in a higher guide/customer ratio thus greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allows us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators perhaps not otherwise well equipped for larger groups.

Destinations: We combine the well known tourist sites with many off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations thus diverting tourist revenue and contact with responsible tourism into areas not usually benefiting as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited.


The tour operator is winner of the 2012 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Nature, Marine and Heritage Tourism, the 2010 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Best tour operator for Local Communities and the 2008 Tourism Authority of Thailand Green Excellence Award for Best Specialist Tour Operator.

Local products: As much as possible we aim to employ local personnel, (guides, drivers, agents etc), use local restaurants and smaller privately owned accommodation. Customers are also encouraged to buy and use local products and services as much as possible in order to support and stimulate the local economy.

Instruction: By explaining our methods and the reasons behind them local agents, guides and hotels are encouraged by us to adopt further responsible tourism practices themselves and guides and drivers are provided with additional training in this respect.

1 Reviews of Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 15 Feb 2014 by

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

Visiting Luang Prabang

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

Travel light as there are a lot of one night stays

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

Certainly benefited local people because we ate in local restaurants

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

Very good

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