"Thank you for organising our holiday (to China).

We had a great time.

All of the guides were on time, very well informed and easy people to be with.

We have seen so many things and eaten in local places where we would never have gone by ourselves.

We wouldn't hesitate to recommend you and if you would like more details of our adventures or a statement of recommendation let us know."

Nicola, Michael and Family


"Arrived home safe and well and had a wonderful holiday in Nepal and Bhutan"

Michael and Eileen


"Just wanted to thank you for booking our holiday to Koh Lanta.

Everything was perfect and I can thoroughly recommend the Layana Resort and the island of Koh Lanta to any one who wants a laid back, peaceful, non commercialised holiday."

Jane and Andy


"I just wanted to let you know what a great time I had in the Philippines and Borneo.

Everything went without a problem. Great time, great pics, etc.

Thanks for all of your help with this trip"

Peter


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Bangkok To Laos, North To South - 12 Days


Begin your journey in Bangkok, Thailand's vibrant and immensely cultural capital. From here you head north to uncover historical cities and learn of the Kingdom's intriguing past. Travel by boat along the Chao Phraya and visit historical temples.

Crossing into Laos, you will explore historical UNESCO World Heritage Sites, charming old colonial cities and embark on a 3 night cruise in this adventurous and educational tour of Southeast Asia.


Day 1 - Bangkok Arrival


Upon arrival at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport, you will be met and greeted by our Exo Travel guide for transfer to your hotel for check in.

Overnight in Bangkok

Distance and journey time:

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – The Peninsula (40.6 km): 47 mins


Day 2 - Bangkok (B,L)


In the morning, you will visit the Grand Palace, Thailand’s most important landmark. Our guide will take you on an in-depth journey through Thailand’s history and royal heritage. You will be awed by the grandeur and majesty of the building and its throne halls. And, of course, marvel at the mysterious Emerald Buddha, the most revered Buddha image in Thailand and continue to witness the magnificence of Royal Thai Family's private collection at Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall built in 1907 and is now open for the first time to the public. The impressive renaissance style building is decorated with gold and fresco domes with awe-inspiring paintings originally used only by high government officials or the royal family on the special occasion till very recently.

Afterwards, depart for Thai buffet lunch at Sala Rim Nam, Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s famous riverside restaurant.

In the afternoon drive to the Prasart Museum, a private collection of antiques, art and archaeology located in the far suburbs of east Bangkok. Visits are by appointment only and the museum is one of Bangkok’s great little secrets. Dr. Prasart is dedicated to keeping in Thailand antiques that may otherwise be sold overseas and his collections are unique and priceless. (Note: Closed on Mondays)

Overnight in Bangkok

Distance and journey time:

The Peninsula Bangkok – The Royal Grand Palace (6.4 km): 19 min

The Royal Grand Palace – The Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall (3.9 km): 12 min

The Ananta Samakhom – Sala Rim Nam Restaurant (8.3 km): 17 min

Sala Rim Nam Restaurant – Prasart Museum (21.4 km): 27 min


Day 3 - Bangkok (B,L)


Today, we will take a trip back in time to discover the former Siamese capital of Ayutthaya. In the morning, depart from your hotel in Bangkok and drive directly to Bang Pa-In, the summer palace built by Rama IV. There you will see the contrasting palace buildings and surrounding temples inspired by European, Chinese and Thai designs. Also visit Wat Niwet Thammaprawat, the gothic inspired temple on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. After the visit, board the Thanatharee rice barge at Wat Kasatra pier, and enjoy your private lunch cruise on the Chao Phraya River. En route you will have beautiful views of Wat Phanan Choeng, Wat Chai Wattanaram and local lifestyle on the riverside along the way. Ayutthaya, surrounded by rivers and a canal, flourished as the capital of Siam from 1350 until it was attacked by the Burmese in 1767. The remains of the temples and ruins of this great city have now been declared a World Heritage Site. Cruise back to Wat Kasatra pier, disembark and continue to visit the most important of the ruined temples in Ayutthaya historical park - Wat Yai Chaimongkol, Wat Phra Si Sanphet, Viharn Phra Mongkol Bopit and Wat Chai Wattanaram. Return to Bangkok by car.

Dinner is at your leisure.

Overnight in Bangkok

Distance and journey time:

The Peninsula Bangkok – Bang Pa-In Summer Palace Ayutthaya (69.3 km): 1.02 hr


Day 4 - Bangkok - Luang Prabang (B)


After breakfast, transfer to Bangkok Airport to take a morning flight to Luang Prabang.

Welcome to Luang Prabang world heritage city. Upon arrival we transfer to the hotel and check-in.

In the afternoon you will tour Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang was the capital of Lan Xang from 1353 until 1545, when it was moved to Vientiane. Despite the move, Luang Prabang remained the seat of monarchical power, and when the kingdom broke up in 1694, one of the deceased king's grandsons established a rival kingdom to those in Vientiane and Champassak. Though weakened, the Luang Prabang royalty endured until 1975, when after the reign of 63 kings it was formally dissolved. Today Luang Prabang is a small, town on the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers surrounded by mountains – it is often described as one of the last true Shangri-Las in Asia.

Your guide will take you on a walking tour to some of the most impressive sites including Wat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa and That Makmo, stylistically more Sri Lankalese than Lao. Continue to the nearby Wat Aham, one of the city’s major tutelary shrines dedicated to Deveta Luang (spirit) Pu Gneu Ya Gneu (ancestors), then climb Phousi Hill for an outstanding overview of the city. Enjoy the sunset from Wat Prabaht Tai, located along the Mekong River.

Dinner is at your leisure.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Distance and journey time:

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport – The Peninsula (40.6 km): 47 min

Luang Prabang Airport – Luang Prabang (4 km): 15 mins


Day 5 - Luang Prabang (B)


In the morning rise early and participate in the daily early morning ritual of saffron-clad monks with their black alms bowls being given offerings from the local people, including the ubiquitous sticky rice.

You return to the hotel for breakfast and later begin your exploration of this UNESCO World Heritage Site, fittingly called one of the last Shangri-La’s of Southeast Asia, with a visit to Wat Xieng Thong, the most important Buddhist monastery in the country. The main sanctuary represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with roofs that sweep low to the ground. In the compound stand several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images, which were displayed in Paris in 1911.

Near the East gate stands the royal funeral chapel. Inside you’ll see the impressive 40-foot high Royal funeral float and various funeral urns of several members of the former royal family.

The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from the Hindu Ramayana.

After Lunch, visit the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum. The Royal Palace was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family, and is now home to exhibits of art and jewels as well as the residence itself. From there, continue on foot to visit Wat Mai, with its unique 5 tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs. During Pimai, the Lao New Year, the small Buddha statue called Pra Bang normally housed in the Royal Palace Museum is brought and put on public display in this temple.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.


Day 6 - Luang Prabang - Vientiane (B,L)


In the late morning your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to the airport for your domestic flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos.

Suggested flight:

Depart Luang Prabang at 13:05 on QV102 (Lao Airlines), landing in Vientiane at 13:50.

Your private car and guide will meet you on arrival and luggage will be transferred separately while you enjoy lunch at Makphet.

Supporting street children and helping them, their families and their community gain skills by working at the vocational Makphet restaurant that serves traditional Lao food prepared from fresh ingredients and no MSG. The restaurant meets the highest international standards of hygiene and is run by instructors and students themselves.

Enjoy a half-day guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’. Vientiane is one of the quietest capital cities in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals.

After lunch your tour begins at the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues.

Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby, is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town’s colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor’s palace.

(Important note: Please note that the Wat Phra Keo Museum in Vientiane has closed for renovation until the end of 2015. We recommend you to discuss with your guide for an alternative visit such as the National Museum.)

Stop at Wat Simuang, the most popular and venerated temple in Vientiane, as it is considered the guardian of the spirit of the city. Upon its grounds, you will find an Angkorian-era pillar and it is a popular belief that if you circle it three times and make a wish, then that wish will come true.

This afternoon, continue to the Patuxay monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city. Next, your tour takes you to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos.

Constructed by King Setthathirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire.

End your tour of the capital along the banks of the Mekong River. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Distance and journey time:

Luang Prabang – Luang Prabang Airport (4 km): 15 mins

Vientiane Airport – Vientiane (4 km): 15 mins


Day 7 - Vientiane - Pakse - Vat Phou Cruise to Champasak (B,L,D)


After breakfast your guide and private car will meet you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport for your flight to Pakse. Pakse is the provincial capital of Champasak, at the confluence of the Mekong and Sedon rivers, and is a canter for trading between Thailand and Vietnam. Your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to the pier to board the Vat Phou Cruise at 1030.

The Vat Phou Cruise from Pakse for Champassak is a local long tail riverboat, zigzagging through mild rapids and sand banks, arriving at Champassak in time for a riverside lunch, followed by a guided tour of the pre-Angkorian 10th century temple of Vat Phou, the boat’s namesake.

As dusk falls, enjoy a relaxing cruise down-river. Dinner is served on board, while the boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village.

Overnight on board.

Distance and journey time:

Vientiane – Vientiane Airport (4 km): 15 mins

Pakse Airport – Pier (5km): 15-20 mins


Day 8 - Vat Phou Cruise (B,L,D)


Breakfast is served on board as you set sail for the village of Huei Thamo, a few minutes’ walk away from the spectacular hidden forest temple of Oum Moung. Afterwards, rejoin the boat for a cruise southwards and lunch on the deck, while continuing further south to the wild paradise of the 4,000 islands. Visit Khong Island and the village of Muang Kong, where the traditional way of life has not changed in centuries. Then return to the boat for a sunset cruise and dinner under the stars, serenaded by the songs of the buffalo toads.

Overnight on board.


Day 9 - Vat Phou Cruise - Pakse (B,L)


Breakfast on deck, while cruising to the small village of Ban Veuthong, where you will board a local car-ferry to reach the mainland and the amazingly scenic Khong Pha Peng waterfall situated close to the Cambodian border. On arrival at the small fishing village of Xieng Di, you will board a small long-tail boat to Khone Island, where you might see one of the rare river dolphins on the way! Have lunch amid the by-gone splendor of another age: colorful French colonial houses and an old customs post. Transfer to Pakse.

Overnight in Pakse.

Distance and journey time:

Pier – Pakse (2 km): 10 min


Day 10 - Pakse - Bangkok (B)


Morning at leisure until transfer to Pakse airport for your flight to Bangkok.

Optional: fly direct from Pakse to Bangkok (must be Tuesday or Friday only. Subject to change without prior notice from airline)

Distance and journey time:

Pakse – Pakse Airport (3km): 10 mins


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Bangkok Grand Palace