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Trip Extensions

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

Vietnam: Sapa Excursion

Duration: 4 days

Extend your visit to Vietnam with this delightful visit to Sapa, for a unique cultural interaction with the local tribes.

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.

Day 1: arrive bangkok

Welcome to Bangkok!Welcome to Bangkok!

Welcome to Bangkok! Upon arrival, meet your guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore. Your hotel is located along the Chao Phraya River in the lively Khao San district and historic center of Bangkok—the ideal base from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. 

Meals
None
Lodging
Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)

Day 2: bangkok free day

Explore Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace (photo: Easia)Explore Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace (photo: Easia)

Spend the day in Bangkok relaxing or exploring on your own. We have plenty of ideas and recommendations for you, including:

  • Tour the Jim Thompson house, home of the famous founder of Jim Thompson Thai Silk.
  • Take a "Sam Saeb" taxi boat to visit Wat Saket and climb the Golden Mountain, which offers an incredible view of Bangkok.
  • Ride a Thai tuk-tuk to Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, both of which are situated in the same compound. While Wat Phra Kaew is the most important temple for Thais, hosting the revered image of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace is an emblematic example of the combination between traditional Thai architectural style and Western style.
  • Visit Wat Pho, home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as the breathtaking perfection of the Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is also renowned for being the first massage school in Thailand.
  • Take a half-day Khlong Tour, a relaxing ride through the khlongs (canals) of Thonburi on the west side of the river, observing and photographing the serene family homes and temples along the waterways which gave the city the name "Venice of the East." While on the west side of the river, visit a major riverside landmark, Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, with a striking prang (tower) rising 270 feet into the sky, decorated with glazed ceramic pieces from top to bottom.
  • In the evening, consider a visit to the exciting Siam Niramit Show, a world-class performance showcasing Thailand’s arts and cultural heritage. With over 150 performers, 500 costumes, and enhanced high-tech special effects, this Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam is a spectacular, stimulating, realistic, and inspiring experience that should not be missed.
Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)

Day 3: flight to sukhothai

Explore the ancient ruins at SukhothaiExplore the ancient ruins at Sukhothai

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, then you'll be taken to the domestic airport for your flight to Sukhothai. After arrival, spend the afternoon exploring the wondrous Sukhothai, a UNESCO world heritage site, with one of our experienced guides. Sukhothai, which translates as ‘dawn of happiness,’ is one of Thailand’s greatest ancient cities, and uncovering this historical masterpiece is key to understanding Thailand’s rich classical history.

Dating back to the 13th century, Sukhothai is considered the birthplace of Thai art and architecture. You’ll discover beautifully-carved elephants that support a towering stupor, magnificent Buddha images, and fascinating wall paintings within the various monasteries and temples.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Sukhothai Lengendha Resort (or similar)

Day 4: drive to chiang mai

Meet some new friends in Chiang Mai (photo: Easia)Meet some new friends in Chiang Mai (photo: Easia)

In the morning, leave Sukhothai for Chiang Mai. On the way, visit the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, founded in 1993 under Royal Patronage, which cares for more than 50 Asian elephants in a beautiful forest conveniently located in Lampang.

Arrive in Chiang Mai in the afternoon, and check into your hotel, located within walking distance of the Old Walled City and the famous Night Market. The rest of the day will be at your leisure, resting or exploring the city.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)

Day 5: chiang mai temple tour

Explore Doi Suthep temple complex  (photo: Easia)Explore Doi Suthep temple complex (photo: Easia)

Today you'll discover the delights of Chiang Mai by trishaw, an unmotorized three-wheeler that relies on the strong legs of the driver (don’t worry, you won’t have to drive it yourself unless you really want to!). Start by exploring the fabulous temple compound of Wat Prah Singh with its towering chedi and glistening golden rooftops. Following that, head to the exquisite Wat Phan Tao and elegant Wat Prasat before finishing with the ancient and crumbling Chedi Luang. The 14th century Chedi Luang stands tall in the heart of the walled city and is one of the most striking ancient constructions in Thailand.

Then, head up to the very old Doi Suthep, just 9.5 miles from Chiang Mai. Atop one of the highest hills within easy reach of Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep is also one of the city’s most spiritually significant temples. Enjoy a unique private blessing and witness the chanting monks—an awe-inspiring and exotic experience that epitomizes the significance of religion and monkhood in Thai society. While here, enjoy the high-altitude views as you watch the sky burst into color with the setting sun.

Return to Chiang Mai, where the remainder of the day is free to relax or explore the Night Market on your own.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)

Day 6: engage with elephants

Interact with elephants on a visit to the Nature ParkInteract with elephants on a visit to the Nature Park

Today is a full day of adventure filled with jungle excursions and elephant encounters. Take in some of Northern Thailand’s most beautiful landscapes on a hike with a local guide, then swim in a waterfall and eat lunch with locals. Hike some more, then visit a Karen, Hmong, Lahu or Kayan (long neck Karen) village. Take a bamboo raft ride down the Mae Wang River that winds through the Northern Thai mountains, followed by refreshments and snacks at the river café. Bathe and play with a baby elephant in the river, feed all the elephants in the herd and ride an elephant through the jungle bareback. Say goodbye to the elephants before heading back to the city in the late afternoon.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)

Day 7: patara elephant farm

Bathing the elephantsBathing the elephants

You'll be met at your hotel by the Patara Elephant Farm shuttle bus, and your driver will transfer you to the Farm. During your drive, there will be a briefing on the history of domestic elephants in Thailand.

When you arrive at the farm, you'll get registered, then change into the training outfit and prepare for your day, which includes: 

  • Learn about elephant farm management and breeding programs
  • Learn how to approach and be near the elephants
  • Learn to observe elephant temperament
  • Hike to find elephants in the bush
  • Meet all the elephants
  • Morning feeding session
  • Daily health care for the elephants
  • Pregnancy test for the female elephants and care for mothers with small babies
  • Walk your elephant to the river for a bath
  • Learn about elephant skin care
  • Learn how to get on the elephant's neck, how to sit on the elephant, basic riding skills and spoken commands for the elephant, and practice getting on and off the elephant
  • Bareback riding
  • A riding trip within the farm and a short visit to a local temple to learn about Buddhism and the Thai people's relationship to the elephant

You'll then set off for a long uphill trip to a beautiful waterfall for a picnic lunch, culminating in a refreshing swim with your elephant. Afterwards, ride the elephant back to the farm for an evening feeding before bidding farewell and the chance to take a photo with your elephant. Return to your hotel in Chiang Mai.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)

Day 8: karen villages & the golden triangle

Wat Rong Kung in Chiang RaiWat Rong Kung in Chiang Rai

After breakfast, head out onto a scenic countryside drive to Ban Ruam Mit, a Karen minority village that is on the border between Thailand and Burma. The Karens have an extremely rich culture but have suffered persecution in neighboring Burma. They will have a few fascinating stories to share with you about their history! You'll then travel by piroque, a long and narrow traditional boat, down the Kok River to a local restaurant for lunch.

In the afternoon head to Chiang Rai to visit Wat Rong Kung, an unconventional Buddhist/Hindu temple. Continue driving to the famous Golden Triangle, the conjunction of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. To the locals, this is known as "Sop Ruak," where the Mekong meets the Ruak River. Overnight in Chiang Sean at a lovely hotel offering spectacular views of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand borders.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
The Imperial Golden Triangle Resort (or similar)

Day 9: cross into laos & cruise the mekong

Take in village life along the Mekong (photo: Easia)Take in village life along the Mekong (photo: Easia)

Early in the morning, around 6:00am, drive to Chiang Khong where you cross the Thai border and enter into Laos. You'll board a boat at Houay Xai and begin the slow boat ride down the Mekong River toward The Pakbeng Lodge in Pakbeng. Observe rural life along the Mekong River and stop at Ban Houy Phalam, a Kamu village. A buffet lunch is served on the boat. Arrive at your Lodge before sunset in time for dinner.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Lodging
Pakbeng Lodge (or similar)

Day 10: mekong to luang prabang

See the Buddha statues at Pak Ou CavesSee the Buddha statues at Pak Ou Caves

After breakfast, continue on the river to Ban Baw village to learn about the processing of traditional rice alcohol. After lunch aboard the boat, continue on to the mouth of the Nam Ou River to Pak Ou Caves, referred to as "Tham Ting" and "Tham Phoum." Here you will see thousands of Buddha images and statues. 

The boat arrives in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before sunset. Meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel, located in the heart of Luang Prabang.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)

Day 11: luang prabang city tour

Wat Xieng in Luang PrabangWat Xieng in Luang Prabang

Today you will embark on a city tour of Luang Prabang. Visit various temples that boast unique Buddha statues and carvings, including Wat Visun, Wat Sene, and Wat Xieng Thong. Wat Xieng Thong is considered one of the most important of Lao monasteries and is a symbol of religion, royalty, and art.

Stop for lunch at a local restaurant, then visit the former King's Palace (now the National Museum), built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong. It was last occupied in 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown by the communists. If you like, visit the Photisak Silvershop and Ock Pop Top, a live weaving center. At Ock Pop, you'll learn different styles of Lao textile-making on traditional looms. Later, climb the steps of Mount Phousi for a gorgeous sunset view of the town.

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)

Day 12: waterfalls and panoramic views

The beautiful Kuang Si WaterfallThe beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall

Today's excursion takes you out to Kuang Si Waterfalls, located about 18 miles south of Luang Prabang. The water begins in a shallow pool on a steep hillside and falls approximately 200 feet. There are areas for swimming, or you can trek around the waterfall. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the falls.

Before returning to your hotel in Laos, end the day with a heart-stopping view at Wat Phon Pao (Peacefulness Temple), a temple that sits on a mountain overlooking the city. This temple is used as a meditation retreat and was once headed by the abbot Ajahn Saisamut, a noted Lao Buddhist teacher. 

Meals
Breakfast, Lunch
Lodging
3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)

Day 13: phone say village

A Lao villagerA Lao villager

After breakfast you’ll set out for Phone Say village, a community hidden on the Mekong River where the women weave and the men fish to feed their families. This charming village cannot be reached by car, but it is only a thirty-minute walk from the main road. This is a good chance to talk with the local people and get a feel for daily life in Luang Prabang.

The afternoon is at your leisure. If you like, you may visit the night market and experience the only form of nightlife in this laid-back town. It is an excellent place to look at traditional textiles and handicrafts made by the hill tribes. 

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)

Day 14: tak bath ceremony & local market

Monks collecting alms in Luang PrabangMonks collecting alms in Luang Prabang

In the early morning, between 5:30 to 6:30am, you will be taken by your guide to Vat Nong temple to attend the Tak Bath ceremony (procession of monks). During the ceremony, devoted residents of Luang Prabang kneel on the sidewalk, bearing food in their hands, which they offer to the monks as they walk by in a procession of orange robes.

After this humbling experience, your guide will take you to a local market—a very animated place to be in the morning, to say the least! Each stall offers different kinds of food, ranging from fruits and vegetables to meats and fishes, herbs, and fragrant spices. The sights, sounds and smells are sure to awaken all your senses. While walking through, you’ll have a chance to taste and savor some local snacks. Don’t be afraid to sample—if it looks good, it’s sure to taste good, too.

Afterwards, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok where you will be met by your local Thai guide and assisted with the transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to do as you like.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)

Day 15: bangkok free day

Visit Wat Pho while in Bangkok (photo: Easia)Visit Wat Pho while in Bangkok (photo: Easia)

Take advantage of another free day in Bangkok, enjoying any of the excursions that you weren't able to get to at the beginning of your trip. 

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)

Day 16: depart bangkok or extend

Extend your trip to Phuket (photo: Easia)Extend your trip to Phuket (photo: Easia)

Depending on your flight time, enjoy more Bangkok touring before heading to the airport to begin your journey home. 

Not ready to leave? Bangkok is an excellent starting place for a number of extensions, including the islands of Phuket or Ko Samui, Erawan National Park, or a Vietnam excursion in Sapa. Or, join a group on Treasures of the Golden Land in Myanmar.

Meals
Breakfast
Lodging
None

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$4,200
- $5,100
Group size 2: $5100 Group size 3: $4600 Group size 4+: $4200 Local Asia flights: add $400 (estimate)
Single Supplement:
$1,300
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Privately on Request
Jan 14-29, 2018

Need to Know

Duration:
16 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Best available to Superior 4-star hotels
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Optional hiking
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Southeast Asia

Please note that this trip operates under different payment and cancellation policies than those described in our complete Terms & Conditions as noted on our website and elsewhere. Please review the complete Terms & Conditions prior to submitting a deposit. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Deposit* and payment schedule: 25% of the land cost per person or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $1000 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 75 days prior to departure. Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well. All payments are subject to cancellation if payments are not received by the due dates. All payments may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

*HOLIDAY departures may require an additional deposit. 

Additional cancellation fees
Cancellations that occur between 61-90 days prior to departure will be subject to a cancellation fee that is 50% of the land cost, and cancellations 31-60 days prior will be subject to a 75% cancellation fee. Cancellations between 0-30 days are 100% NON-REFUNDABLE. All payments are subject to cancellation if payments are not received by the due dates.

Airfare
We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your reservation, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

From the Bird's Word Blog

The elephant that sat on a car

Destination Specialist Kerina Rowley recently returned from a visit to Thailand, where she was immersed in two different programs aimed at helping elephants.

Lead your elephant to the river to bathe
Lead your elephant to the river to bathe
Wat Xieng in Luang Prabang (photo: Easia)
Wat Xieng in Luang Prabang (photo: Easia)
Visit the Elephant Conservation Center (photo: Easia)
Visit the Elephant Conservation Center (photo: Easia)
See a typical rice paddy in Laos
See a typical rice paddy in Laos
Learn about the distinctive attire of the Hmong people (photo by B. Snelson)
Learn about the distinctive attire of the Hmong people (photo by B. Snelson)
Wat Rong Kung in Chiang Rai
Wat Rong Kung in Chiang Rai
Visit local villages
Visit local villages
Meet villagers and learn about their lives
Meet villagers and learn about their lives
Visit a colorful fruit market
Visit a colorful fruit market
Farming in rural Northern Thailand
Farming in rural Northern Thailand
Explore the ancient ruins at Sukhothai
Explore the ancient ruins at Sukhothai
A village monk
A village monk
Visit the Buddha statues at Pak Ou Caves (photo: Easia)
Visit the Buddha statues at Pak Ou Caves (photo: Easia)

Thai-Lao Treasures

Engage with elephants and villagers, and tour temples galore

overview

Welcome to Thai-Lao Treasures, an experience of all things sacred in Thailand and Laos!

Start in bustling Bangkok, head north to Sikhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then on to Chiang Mai. Discover Chiang Mai by a human-powered trishaw, and explore sacred temples and other striking ancient architecture. 

From Chiang Mai, feed the nature and wildlife lover in you with jungle excursions, waterfall swims, and bamboo raft rides, plus multiple encounters with elephants. Learn how to care for, bathe, and read the emotions of these revered creatures.

Get to know villagers throughout your trip, with visits to a Karen minority village in Thailand, the Ban Baw village that relies on the industry of processing traditional rice alcohol, and the hidden Phone Say village where the women weave and the men fish to feed their families.

Once in Laos, embark on a city tour of Luang Prabang, with excursions to Ock Pop Top (a live weaving center) and Kuang Si Waterfalls (with opportunities for swimming and trekking).

If you are a lover of culture, the highlight of your trip may be an early morning visit to Vat Nong temple where you’ll attend the Tak Bath ceremony, a procession of monks with devoted residents kneeling on the sidewalk offering them alms. 

itinerary

See Trip Extensions
View Map

overview

Welcome to Thai-Lao Treasures, an experience of all things sacred in Thailand and Laos!

Start in bustling Bangkok, head north to Sikhothai, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, then on to Chiang Mai. Discover Chiang Mai by a human-powered trishaw, and explore sacred temples and other striking ancient architecture. 

From Chiang Mai, feed the nature and wildlife lover in you with jungle excursions, waterfall swims, and bamboo raft rides, plus multiple encounters with elephants. Learn how to care for, bathe, and read the emotions of these revered creatures.

Get to know villagers throughout your trip, with visits to a Karen minority village in Thailand, the Ban Baw village that relies on the industry of processing traditional rice alcohol, and the hidden Phone Say village where the women weave and the men fish to feed their families.

Once in Laos, embark on a city tour of Luang Prabang, with excursions to Ock Pop Top (a live weaving center) and Kuang Si Waterfalls (with opportunities for swimming and trekking).

If you are a lover of culture, the highlight of your trip may be an early morning visit to Vat Nong temple where you’ll attend the Tak Bath ceremony, a procession of monks with devoted residents kneeling on the sidewalk offering them alms. 

Continue to detailed itinerary...

itinerary

Anticipated itinerary; actual route may vary.
  • Day 1: arrive bangkok
    Welcome to Bangkok!Welcome to Bangkok!

    Welcome to Bangkok! Upon arrival, meet your guide at the airport and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is yours to relax or explore. Your hotel is located along the Chao Phraya River in the lively Khao San district and historic center of Bangkok—the ideal base from which to enjoy the sights and sounds of the city. 

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: bangkok free day
    Explore Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace (photo: Easia)Explore Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace (photo: Easia)

    Spend the day in Bangkok relaxing or exploring on your own. We have plenty of ideas and recommendations for you, including:

    • Tour the Jim Thompson house, home of the famous founder of Jim Thompson Thai Silk.
    • Take a "Sam Saeb" taxi boat to visit Wat Saket and climb the Golden Mountain, which offers an incredible view of Bangkok.
    • Ride a Thai tuk-tuk to Wat Phra Kaew and the Grand Palace, both of which are situated in the same compound. While Wat Phra Kaew is the most important temple for Thais, hosting the revered image of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace is an emblematic example of the combination between traditional Thai architectural style and Western style.
    • Visit Wat Pho, home to more than one thousand Buddha images, as well as the breathtaking perfection of the Reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is also renowned for being the first massage school in Thailand.
    • Take a half-day Khlong Tour, a relaxing ride through the khlongs (canals) of Thonburi on the west side of the river, observing and photographing the serene family homes and temples along the waterways which gave the city the name "Venice of the East." While on the west side of the river, visit a major riverside landmark, Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, with a striking prang (tower) rising 270 feet into the sky, decorated with glazed ceramic pieces from top to bottom.
    • In the evening, consider a visit to the exciting Siam Niramit Show, a world-class performance showcasing Thailand’s arts and cultural heritage. With over 150 performers, 500 costumes, and enhanced high-tech special effects, this Journey to the Enchanted Kingdom of Siam is a spectacular, stimulating, realistic, and inspiring experience that should not be missed.
    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: flight to sukhothai
    Explore the ancient ruins at SukhothaiExplore the ancient ruins at Sukhothai

    Enjoy a leisurely breakfast, then you'll be taken to the domestic airport for your flight to Sukhothai. After arrival, spend the afternoon exploring the wondrous Sukhothai, a UNESCO world heritage site, with one of our experienced guides. Sukhothai, which translates as ‘dawn of happiness,’ is one of Thailand’s greatest ancient cities, and uncovering this historical masterpiece is key to understanding Thailand’s rich classical history.

    Dating back to the 13th century, Sukhothai is considered the birthplace of Thai art and architecture. You’ll discover beautifully-carved elephants that support a towering stupor, magnificent Buddha images, and fascinating wall paintings within the various monasteries and temples.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Sukhothai Lengendha Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: drive to chiang mai
    Meet some new friends in Chiang Mai (photo: Easia)Meet some new friends in Chiang Mai (photo: Easia)

    In the morning, leave Sukhothai for Chiang Mai. On the way, visit the Thai Elephant Conservation Center, founded in 1993 under Royal Patronage, which cares for more than 50 Asian elephants in a beautiful forest conveniently located in Lampang.

    Arrive in Chiang Mai in the afternoon, and check into your hotel, located within walking distance of the Old Walled City and the famous Night Market. The rest of the day will be at your leisure, resting or exploring the city.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: chiang mai temple tour
    Explore Doi Suthep temple complex  (photo: Easia)Explore Doi Suthep temple complex (photo: Easia)

    Today you'll discover the delights of Chiang Mai by trishaw, an unmotorized three-wheeler that relies on the strong legs of the driver (don’t worry, you won’t have to drive it yourself unless you really want to!). Start by exploring the fabulous temple compound of Wat Prah Singh with its towering chedi and glistening golden rooftops. Following that, head to the exquisite Wat Phan Tao and elegant Wat Prasat before finishing with the ancient and crumbling Chedi Luang. The 14th century Chedi Luang stands tall in the heart of the walled city and is one of the most striking ancient constructions in Thailand.

    Then, head up to the very old Doi Suthep, just 9.5 miles from Chiang Mai. Atop one of the highest hills within easy reach of Chiang Mai, Doi Suthep is also one of the city’s most spiritually significant temples. Enjoy a unique private blessing and witness the chanting monks—an awe-inspiring and exotic experience that epitomizes the significance of religion and monkhood in Thai society. While here, enjoy the high-altitude views as you watch the sky burst into color with the setting sun.

    Return to Chiang Mai, where the remainder of the day is free to relax or explore the Night Market on your own.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: engage with elephants
    Interact with elephants on a visit to the Nature ParkInteract with elephants on a visit to the Nature Park

    Today is a full day of adventure filled with jungle excursions and elephant encounters. Take in some of Northern Thailand’s most beautiful landscapes on a hike with a local guide, then swim in a waterfall and eat lunch with locals. Hike some more, then visit a Karen, Hmong, Lahu or Kayan (long neck Karen) village. Take a bamboo raft ride down the Mae Wang River that winds through the Northern Thai mountains, followed by refreshments and snacks at the river café. Bathe and play with a baby elephant in the river, feed all the elephants in the herd and ride an elephant through the jungle bareback. Say goodbye to the elephants before heading back to the city in the late afternoon.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: patara elephant farm
    Bathing the elephantsBathing the elephants

    You'll be met at your hotel by the Patara Elephant Farm shuttle bus, and your driver will transfer you to the Farm. During your drive, there will be a briefing on the history of domestic elephants in Thailand.

    When you arrive at the farm, you'll get registered, then change into the training outfit and prepare for your day, which includes: 

    • Learn about elephant farm management and breeding programs
    • Learn how to approach and be near the elephants
    • Learn to observe elephant temperament
    • Hike to find elephants in the bush
    • Meet all the elephants
    • Morning feeding session
    • Daily health care for the elephants
    • Pregnancy test for the female elephants and care for mothers with small babies
    • Walk your elephant to the river for a bath
    • Learn about elephant skin care
    • Learn how to get on the elephant's neck, how to sit on the elephant, basic riding skills and spoken commands for the elephant, and practice getting on and off the elephant
    • Bareback riding
    • A riding trip within the farm and a short visit to a local temple to learn about Buddhism and the Thai people's relationship to the elephant

    You'll then set off for a long uphill trip to a beautiful waterfall for a picnic lunch, culminating in a refreshing swim with your elephant. Afterwards, ride the elephant back to the farm for an evening feeding before bidding farewell and the chance to take a photo with your elephant. Return to your hotel in Chiang Mai.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Bodhi Serene Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 8: karen villages & the golden triangle
    Wat Rong Kung in Chiang RaiWat Rong Kung in Chiang Rai

    After breakfast, head out onto a scenic countryside drive to Ban Ruam Mit, a Karen minority village that is on the border between Thailand and Burma. The Karens have an extremely rich culture but have suffered persecution in neighboring Burma. They will have a few fascinating stories to share with you about their history! You'll then travel by piroque, a long and narrow traditional boat, down the Kok River to a local restaurant for lunch.

    In the afternoon head to Chiang Rai to visit Wat Rong Kung, an unconventional Buddhist/Hindu temple. Continue driving to the famous Golden Triangle, the conjunction of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar. To the locals, this is known as "Sop Ruak," where the Mekong meets the Ruak River. Overnight in Chiang Sean at a lovely hotel offering spectacular views of Myanmar, Laos, and Thailand borders.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    The Imperial Golden Triangle Resort (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 9: cross into laos & cruise the mekong
    Take in village life along the Mekong (photo: Easia)Take in village life along the Mekong (photo: Easia)

    Early in the morning, around 6:00am, drive to Chiang Khong where you cross the Thai border and enter into Laos. You'll board a boat at Houay Xai and begin the slow boat ride down the Mekong River toward The Pakbeng Lodge in Pakbeng. Observe rural life along the Mekong River and stop at Ban Houy Phalam, a Kamu village. A buffet lunch is served on the boat. Arrive at your Lodge before sunset in time for dinner.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Lodging
    Pakbeng Lodge (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 10: mekong to luang prabang
    See the Buddha statues at Pak Ou CavesSee the Buddha statues at Pak Ou Caves

    After breakfast, continue on the river to Ban Baw village to learn about the processing of traditional rice alcohol. After lunch aboard the boat, continue on to the mouth of the Nam Ou River to Pak Ou Caves, referred to as "Tham Ting" and "Tham Phoum." Here you will see thousands of Buddha images and statues. 

    The boat arrives in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, before sunset. Meet your local guide and transfer to your hotel, located in the heart of Luang Prabang.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 11: luang prabang city tour
    Wat Xieng in Luang PrabangWat Xieng in Luang Prabang

    Today you will embark on a city tour of Luang Prabang. Visit various temples that boast unique Buddha statues and carvings, including Wat Visun, Wat Sene, and Wat Xieng Thong. Wat Xieng Thong is considered one of the most important of Lao monasteries and is a symbol of religion, royalty, and art.

    Stop for lunch at a local restaurant, then visit the former King's Palace (now the National Museum), built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong. It was last occupied in 1975 when the monarchy was overthrown by the communists. If you like, visit the Photisak Silvershop and Ock Pop Top, a live weaving center. At Ock Pop, you'll learn different styles of Lao textile-making on traditional looms. Later, climb the steps of Mount Phousi for a gorgeous sunset view of the town.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 12: waterfalls and panoramic views
    The beautiful Kuang Si WaterfallThe beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall

    Today's excursion takes you out to Kuang Si Waterfalls, located about 18 miles south of Luang Prabang. The water begins in a shallow pool on a steep hillside and falls approximately 200 feet. There are areas for swimming, or you can trek around the waterfall. Enjoy a picnic lunch at the falls.

    Before returning to your hotel in Laos, end the day with a heart-stopping view at Wat Phon Pao (Peacefulness Temple), a temple that sits on a mountain overlooking the city. This temple is used as a meditation retreat and was once headed by the abbot Ajahn Saisamut, a noted Lao Buddhist teacher. 

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 13: phone say village
    A Lao villagerA Lao villager

    After breakfast you’ll set out for Phone Say village, a community hidden on the Mekong River where the women weave and the men fish to feed their families. This charming village cannot be reached by car, but it is only a thirty-minute walk from the main road. This is a good chance to talk with the local people and get a feel for daily life in Luang Prabang.

    The afternoon is at your leisure. If you like, you may visit the night market and experience the only form of nightlife in this laid-back town. It is an excellent place to look at traditional textiles and handicrafts made by the hill tribes. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    3 Nagas Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 14: tak bath ceremony & local market
    Monks collecting alms in Luang PrabangMonks collecting alms in Luang Prabang

    In the early morning, between 5:30 to 6:30am, you will be taken by your guide to Vat Nong temple to attend the Tak Bath ceremony (procession of monks). During the ceremony, devoted residents of Luang Prabang kneel on the sidewalk, bearing food in their hands, which they offer to the monks as they walk by in a procession of orange robes.

    After this humbling experience, your guide will take you to a local market—a very animated place to be in the morning, to say the least! Each stall offers different kinds of food, ranging from fruits and vegetables to meats and fishes, herbs, and fragrant spices. The sights, sounds and smells are sure to awaken all your senses. While walking through, you’ll have a chance to taste and savor some local snacks. Don’t be afraid to sample—if it looks good, it’s sure to taste good, too.

    Afterwards, transfer to the airport for your flight to Bangkok where you will be met by your local Thai guide and assisted with the transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free to do as you like.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 15: bangkok free day
    Visit Wat Pho while in Bangkok (photo: Easia)Visit Wat Pho while in Bangkok (photo: Easia)

    Take advantage of another free day in Bangkok, enjoying any of the excursions that you weren't able to get to at the beginning of your trip. 

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Riva Surya Hotel (or similar)
    Show on a map
  • Day 16: depart bangkok or extend
    Extend your trip to Phuket (photo: Easia)Extend your trip to Phuket (photo: Easia)

    Depending on your flight time, enjoy more Bangkok touring before heading to the airport to begin your journey home. 

    Not ready to leave? Bangkok is an excellent starting place for a number of extensions, including the islands of Phuket or Ko Samui, Erawan National Park, or a Vietnam excursion in Sapa. Or, join a group on Treasures of the Golden Land in Myanmar.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$4,200
- $5,100
Group size 2: $5100 Group size 3: $4600 Group size 4+: $4200 Local Asia flights: add $400 (estimate)
Single Supplement:
$1,300
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Privately on Request
Jan 14-29, 2018

Need to Know

Duration:
16 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Best available to Superior 4-star hotels
Activity Level:
●●○○○
(see full descriptions)
Optional hiking
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Terms & Conditions: 

Southeast Asia

Please note that this trip operates under different payment and cancellation policies than those described in our complete Terms & Conditions as noted on our website and elsewhere. Please review the complete Terms & Conditions prior to submitting a deposit. 

Expenses covered

Normally, our stated land costs include the cost of all guides, leaders, permits obtained after arrival, lodging accommodations, food and entry fees as specified, and all surface transportation associated with the planned itinerary. We do our best to avoid increasing prices after receipt of your deposit, but, rarely, factors beyond our control might require us to change our prices without prior notice, even after you have signed up. 

Expenses not covered

Costs not included in the price may include: meals not indicated as included in itineraries; meals prior to arrival in starting cities; transfers, if not arriving or departing on the scheduled group flights; soft drinks, bottled water, and alcoholic beverages; medical expenses, costs of hospitalization, or evacuation from remote areas; laundry; airport departure taxes not included on your airline ticket; accommodations en route to starting cities; visas; airfares; gratuities; and insurance. 

Deposit* and payment schedule: 25% of the land cost per person or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. A second deposit of $1000 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 75 days prior to departure. Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well. All payments are subject to cancellation if payments are not received by the due dates. All payments may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, Discover or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

*HOLIDAY departures may require an additional deposit. 

Additional cancellation fees
Cancellations that occur between 61-90 days prior to departure will be subject to a cancellation fee that is 50% of the land cost, and cancellations 31-60 days prior will be subject to a 75% cancellation fee. Cancellations between 0-30 days are 100% NON-REFUNDABLE. All payments are subject to cancellation if payments are not received by the due dates.

Airfare
We can help you secure air travel arrangements to correspond with land travel booked through Journeys International. We work with an airfare consolidator to assist in booking the flights that suit your needs. If you decide to make your own flight arrangements, you must provide Journeys International with a complete copy of your itinerary showing departure and arrival flights and times. You should plan to arrange your own air travel if you are using mileage credit or originating outside North America, but please be in touch with our office before you finalize ticketing so that we can help you to coordinate the correct arrival and departure dates and times.

Insurance

When you make your reservation, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee

There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

Vietnam: Sapa Excursion

Duration: 4 days

Extend your visit to Vietnam with this delightful visit to Sapa, for a unique cultural interaction with the local tribes.

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× comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
× activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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