Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday
(Visas & local tips not included.) Return flights from the UK from £700, optional single room supp.
£325 (Fully licensed, ATOL protected.)
Description of Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday
Our 2-week Golden Triangle – Thailand and Laos Tour – takes you overland from Chiang Mai through the remote and picturesque mountains of the infamous Golden Triangle to Laos’s UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang.
Once reputed for opium caravans and drug-funded warlords, today this region is known for picturesque landscapes and colourful minority, hill-tribe, peoples. We’ll travel north from charming Chiang Mai through the mountains to Chiang Rai town and discover some of the area’s famous and lesser-known sites before heading to the small town of Chiang Khong on the banks of the Mekong – our crossing point into the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.
From here our tour takes you east, with stops for a hike through Nam Ha National Biodiversity Area and at the scenic riverside town of Nong Khiaw to World Heritage Luang Prabang. Explore the town’s ancient temples, local markets and well-preserved French-period architecture before continuing across more mountain ranges to another UNESCO-listed site, the remote and enigmatic Plain of Jars. A short domestic flight sees us in Vientiane – the country’s laid back modern-day capital and finishing point for our tour.
A variety of activities, range of superb landscapes and mix of both the famous and more hidden destinations along with opportunities to meet many of the region’s exceptionally friendly inhabitants and sample the sumptuous cuisine makes for a truly memorable Thailand and Laos Tour.
1. Discover the ancient temples, bustling markets and quiet lanes of Thailand's charming northern capital Chiang Mai
2. A tour of the infamous Golden Triangle region - scenic landscapes, ancient cities and of course the famous opium museum
3. Our Luang Nam Tha stay includes a stay at the excellent Boat Landing eco-lodge and a hike into Nam Ha Biodiversity Area
4. Explore the ancient temples, colonial architecture and bustling markets of UNESCO World Heritage Luang Prabang
5. A 2-night stay in picturesque northern Laos' Nong Khiaw village on the banks of the Ou River
6. ...and last but not least sample the renowned Lao and Thai cuisines in restaurants, street stalls and markets
1. Add on a few days for our unique Bangkok Behind the Scenes tour
2. Stop off a night in Lampang to explore the culture and history of the former centre of the 19th-century teak trade
3. Optimise your air fare with our 4 day exploration of some of the varied and fascinating sites of Kanchanaburi Province
4. Fly from Vientiane to Siem Reap for our fabulous Angkor extension
5. Or tag on a few days quality ‘R and R’ on a tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand
Note groups sizes are 2 to maximum 12 persons with most meals (local-style) included and accommodation in boutique-style 3* hotels.
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4 Reviews of Northern Thailand and Laos cultural holiday
Reviewed on 02 Mar 2020 by Sheila MorrisonThe most memorable part of the holiday was having a picnic by the river cooked by local guides after a trip on the River Ou to visit a local village Read full review
Reviewed on 02 Jan 2020 by Timothy ReaderAll guides were excellent. Read full review
Reviewed on 03 Dec 2019 by Julia StubbsThe most memorable part of the holiday was visiting the Hill tribes and also the Plain of jars sites. Read full review
Reviewed on 15 Feb 2014 by Gillian BrassingtonVery good...Visiting Luang Prabang was the highlight Read full review
PlanetOverall, the intention of this tour is to combine the well-known tourist sites with off-the-beaten-track, rarely visited destinations, thus diverting tourist revenue and contact into areas not usually benefiting, as well as providing a more authentic view of the region visited. Group sizes are deliberately kept small in order to limit impact on site and communities as much as possible. (Group size is a maximum of 12 persons.) Small numbers also permit us to use local cafes plus street and market stalls for drinks, meals and shopping.
Hotels are small and independently owned with proven responsible travel credentials and all (fully-licensed) guides and drivers are locally employed.
This tour includes visits to the following projects: Free the Bears and Ock Top Pop (both Luang Prabang), Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan) and COPE (Vientiane).
Entrance fees and/or donations help the following aid projects: Free the Bears (Luang Prabang), Ock Top Pop sustainable silk weaving organisation, Mines Advisory Group (Phonsavan), COPE (Vientiane) while a portion of ticket fees at: The Plain of Jars, Luang Prabang Fine Arts Centre, Luang Prabang National Museum, Wat Saket and numerous other sites goes towards restoration, conservation and local development as well as providing revenue and employment.
With regards souvenirs our clients are also encouraged to buy from either markets or outlets attached to aid and educational organizations such as Luang Prabang’s Ock Top Pop for example rather than the large, purpose-built souvenir stores.
We ensure to the best of our ability that all accommodation used on this tour employs sound environmental and social practices in terms of recycling, water conservation and product sourcing as well as employment policies.
PeopleWe avoid any chain or international hotels and all accommodation used on this tour is independently owned by local residents
Meals are provided in either locally-run restaurants or local-style cafes, market and street stalls. All products are locally sourced and all staff are local residents. The emphasis is also very much on traditional Lao and Thai food which we hope increases an interest and pride in the region’s cuisine.
Additional food products - for takeaway lunches, picnics etc – is deliberately purchased from local bakeries and /or fresh produce markets rather than chain supermarkets.
All transport is locally owned – whether minibuses or boats and tuk-tuks for shorter journeys.
As a small company our support projects are localised and targeted and we currently assist aid schemes in both northern Thailand and Myanmar’s Shan State. Previous projects organised by All Points East specifically in Laos include building a new roof and toilet block for a primary school in Don Khone Nua Village and assistance to a school in Ban Nam Chang.
All guides and most leaders are local, while any foreign leaders employed have lived in the local communities for long periods and are experienced in customs, culture and as much as possible, language.
Leaders and guides provide 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.
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.
By limiting groups to a maximum of 12 persons 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 offering a greater facility for supervision and individual assistance and allowing us to use smaller hotels and restaurants and employ the services of more genuinely ‘local’ operators on a personal and friendly basis rather than dealing with establishments primarily equipped for larger groups.