For anyone looking for experiences that can be summed up with the phrase "only in Thailand," this journey is just the ticket. Trek along the winding path that leads along the most important pilgrimage in the country, up to the shrine of Doi Suthep.
So many excursions are overlooked when travellers are left to invent their own itinerary, but this adventure leaves no leaf unturned. Treasures of Thailand come in a variety of sizes and beauty; from the humble 30-inch Emerald Buddha of Wat Phra Kaeo that is crafted from green jade, to the immense 150-foot Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho Temple. This country does not seem to fall short of rarities, especially when visiting Chiang Mai's 300 temples that are surrounded by lush gardens. When it's time to leave the bustle of Bangkok, there's more excitement to be had with the northern hill tribes and their hidden culture.
Next door in Laos, a new world of intrigue is ripe for discovering. Listen to the Lao legends from the villagers of Vang Nieng as they stand against the backdrop of breathtaking limestone scenery. Step away from civilization and climb atop Phu Si Hill in Luang Prabang to get a better view of the stellar landscape and see the locals' rustic lifestyles.
Seasonality and Weather
Our tours in SE Asia operate during the cooler, drier time of year, Nov-Apr. That said, however, the entire region experiences a warm-hot tropical climate with humidity and a chance of rain showers at any time. Inland regions can experience extreme heat, especially Feb-Apr, when it is also very dry and landscapes are brown. The Plain of Jars can be downright cold and damp, especially late Nov-Jan. Overall you should prepare for warm, sticky weather with the possibility of rain and some chilly nights / mornings in a few locales.
Transport and Travel Conditions
Land transport throughout will be by private air-conditioned bus. Most of the driving days are not long, usually no more than four hours, though journeys in Laos can be longer. Road conditions are generally not good and progress can be slow. Boats are used at various points in the itinerary, and vary from converted trawlers to small riverboats. Internal flights via scheduled regional carriers. The tour is not strenuous though it is busy; you must be steady on your feet and be able to endure some heat and long days. We have numerous walking tours and visit several sites that are LARGE with steps and uneven surfaces. Porters are available at hotels but you must be able to manage with your baggage at airports.
Hotels used on tour are modern, comfortable, well-located, air-conditioned, 3-4 star properties with en suite bath / toilet. Single rooms are limited and possibly smaller than twins. Laundry facilities are available at most hotels for a reasonable price. Safe deposit boxes are available in most hotels either free or for a nominal fee. Most hotel rooms are well equipped and likely include hairdryers and irons, minibar fridge, TV. All are air-conditioned. Most hotels provide complimentary purified drinking water. Some hotels have swimming pools.
Staff and Support
Tour Leader throughout, local drivers, local guides at various locations.
10-21 (plus Tour Leader)