Incredible Thailand and Laos by Train

Incredible Thailand and Laos by Train

14 Days



Incredible Thailand and Laos by Train

14 Days Starting and ending in Bangkok, Thailand

Visiting: Bangkok, Sukhothai, Chiang Mai, Lampang, Chiang Kong, Pak Beng, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Nong Khai

Tour operator:

Culture Trip

Tour code:


Guide Type:

Fully Guided

Group size:

4 - 16

Physical rating:


Age range:


Special diets catered:


Tour operated in:
Trip Styles:

Adventure Tours


Cultural, Rail Tours

Private Available:

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$2745 (USD) The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144

This tour is no longer available, please see similar tours below or send an enquiry

Tour Overview

This epic two-week journey embraces slow travel, as we take scenic routes via train and boat that allow you to really bathe in the natural beauty of Southeast Asia. It begins in the beating heart of Thailand, Bangkok. From here we’ll be boarding the train to Thailand’s oldest city, Phitsanulok, from where we’ll set out to explore the ruins of Sukhothai, an ancient Khmer-era city. Next, it’s on to Chiang Mai, where you’ll get to dive into authentic local street food and try your hand at Thai cuisine with a cookery class. We’ll meet some of Thailand’s most charismatic locals at an elephant sanctuary in Lampang, before crossing the border into Laos. Here, you’ll cruise down the Mekong River to learn about traditional village life, embark on a trek to Kuang Si Falls and explore Luang Prabang . Finally, we’ll take a sleeper train back to Bangkok – for a walking tour with a Local Insider.


  • Explore Bangkok with a Local Insider

  • Tuck into authentic Thai street food in Chiang Mai

  • Get up close with Asian elephants at an ethical sanctuary

  • See the atmospheric ruins of the Khmer city of Sukhothai

  • Embark on a cruise along the Mekong River

  • Experience local village life in Laos

  • Kayak along the Namsong River


Expand All
Day 1 : Welcome To Thailand!
Location: Bangkok
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Riva Surya Bangkok
Meals Included: Dinner

After arriving at Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), you’ll be met by one of our representatives and transferred to your hotel. You’ll have some time to relax and settle into your surroundings before meeting up with the rest of the group for a welcome dinner.

Activities Included
Welcome dinner

Day 2 : Take The Train North To The Ancient Ruins Of Sukhothai
Location: Sukhothai
Accommodation: Resort, Resort
Accommodation Name: Sriwilai Sukhothai Resort & Spa
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll be picked up and driven to Bangkok train station to board the cross-country train to Phitsanulok. This small, historic city is the gateway to a number of significant archeological sites, including Sukhothai, the ancient Khmer-era city and once-capital. This is where we’ll be heading directly from the station – Sukhothai Historical Park spans a mind-boggling 70 km/sq, and features around 21 individual sites, including the central ruins of Wat Mahathat, with its lotus bud-shaped stupas and landscaped gardens. You’ll have a couple of hours to explore at your own pace, before we regroup to head back to the hotel for the evening.

Activities Included
Train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok
Visit to Sukhothai Historical Park

Day 3 : Get Back On Track To Chiang Mai
Location: Chiang Mai
Accommodation: Resort, Resort
Accommodation Name: The Rim Resort Chiang Mai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Enjoy a laid-back breakfast in Sukhothai this morning before being picked up and taken to Phitsanulok station for the train to Chiang Mai. We’ll rattle through lush green countryside and peaceful rural villages before arriving in this dazzling city, an interwoven mesh of Thailand’s past and present. After dropping bags at your hotel, we’ll hit the streets on foot – to sample the city’s famous street food, and see the sights.

Activities Included
Train from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai
Chiang Mai street food and city sights tour

Day 4 : Learn To Cook Authentic Thai Cuisine
Location: Chiang Mai
Accommodation: Resort
Accommodation Name: The Rim Resort Chiang Mai
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Ease into your stay in Chiang Mai with a leisurely start – after breakfast at your hotel, we’ll head over to a cookery school where you’ll learn how to whip up an authentic Thai dish for lunch. After paying your compliments to the chef (that’s you), take the rest of the afternoon to explore Chiang Mai at your own pace.

Activities Included
Thai cooking class

Day 5 : Walk With Elephants, Go Bamboo Rafting And Glamp Out In The Jungle
Location: Lampang
Accommodation: Camp
Accommodation Name: Campiness Camping and Farmsook
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

If yesterday was all about taking it easy, today is all-action. After breakfast we’ll pick you up and head over to an ethical Asian elephant sanctuary in mountainous Lampang. You’ll have the chance to get up close with the gentle giants, helping the team there feed them, take them for a walk and give them a mud bath. Afterwards, you’ll be taken on a serene trip along the Wang River on a traditional bamboo raft, before we regroup to head to your accommodation – a secluded glamping site surrounded by lush rainforest. When night falls, we’ll get together for a BBQ dinner and drinks beneath the stars.

Activities Included
Visit to an ethical Asian elephant sanctuary
Bamboo rafting experience
BBQ dinner and drinks

Day 6 : Travel To Chiang Khong
Location: Chiang Kong
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Fortune River View Hotel Chiang Khong
Meals Included: Breakfast

After breakfast, we’ll be driving cross-country to Chiang Khong district, on the border with Laos. After arriving and checking into your hotel, you’ll have the rest of the day free to spend however you like.

Day 7 : Hop Aboard A Laos River Cruise
Location: Pak Beng
Accommodation: Lodge
Accommodation Name: The Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Welcome to Laos! Today, after obtaining your visa to cross the border (with the help of our Local Insider), we’ll board a cruise boat for a float along the Mekong River. You’ll be treated to an authentic Laos lunch on board, before we disembark later in the afternoon to visit a traditional Khmu village (Laos’s indigenous population) to learn about rural life in Laos. Later, we’ll check into our accommodation where you’ll have the rest of the evening free to yourself.

Activities Included
Mekong River cruise
Khmu village experience

Day 8 : Continue Downriver And Meet Whiskey-Making Locals
Location: Luang Prabang
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: The Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

After breakfast this morning, we’ll re-board the Mekong River cruise and continue on downstream towards Luang Prabang. Along the way you’ll enjoy an onboard demonstration on how to make authentic Lao drinks and desserts, which, of course, you’ll be able to enjoy as the lush green landscape drifts by. We’ll disembark enroute to visit Ban Baw, a rural village that specialises in the production of Lao-Lao rice whisky. We’ll also hop ashore to visit the Pak Ou caves, an important pilgrimage site for Lao people. Once in Luang Prabang you’ll check into your hotel and enjoy some free time before we regroup for dinner in the evening.

Activities Included
Ban Baw village experience
Visit to Pak Ou Caves

Day 9 : Hike Through The Rainforest To An Otherworldly Waterfall
Location: Luang Prabang
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: The Sanctuary Hotel Luang Prabang
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

It’s time to lace up your hiking boots, as today we’re going to be heading out into Laos’s steamy green rainforest in search of paradise. The particular paradise in question? Kuang Si Falls – where turquoise water tumbles down over tiered, step-like sections of a forest stream. Once there, you’ll have a few hours to splash about in the gem-coloured waters before we head back to Luang Prabang, where you’ll have the rest of the day free to spend at your own pace.

Activities Included
Trek to Kuang Si Falls

Day 10 : Take A High-Speed Train To Vang Vieng
Location: Vang Vieng
Accommodation: Resort
Accommodation Name: Riverside Boutique Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast

A high-speed train, in laid-back Laos? That’s right – the Boten - Vientiane railway, opened in 2021, runs the length of Laos and makes today’s journey – to Vang Vieng newly doable as a day-trip. The city of Vang Vieng itself is a hotspot for adventurous travellers looking for adrenaline-fueled thrills in the mountainous landscape. For you today, however, it’s all about checking in (to your hotel for the night), and checking out your surroundings with a free afternoon and evening.

Activities Included
High-speed train to Vang Vieng

Day 11 : Explore The Nam Song River By Kayak
Location: Vang Vieng
Accommodation: Resort
Accommodation Name: Riverside Boutique Resort
Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch

Fuel up at breakfast this morning, as today we’ll be burning some calories exploring the Nam Song River by kayak. This gentle river flows through the centre of Vang Vieng and through a landscape characterised by towering limestone karsts, cloaked in dense foliage. You’ll pass green-carpeted crop fields, locals doing their laundry on the rocky banks and shack-like bars that have opened up and down the river to serve cold beers to sun-kissed day-trippers.

Activities Included
Kayaking on the Nam Song River

Day 12 : Take The Sleeper Train Back To Bangkok
Location: Nong Khai
Accommodation Name: Sleeper train
Meals Included: Breakfast

Cameras at the ready as we get this adventure back on track with a train transfer back to Bangkok. The first leg sees you boarding the high-speed train from Vang Vieng to Vientiane, before transferring across the Thai border into Nong Khai and boarding the overnight sleeper train bound for Bangkok.

Activities Included
Kayaking on the Nam Song River

Day 13 : Take An Insider-Led Tour Of Bangkok
Location: Bangkok
Accommodation: Hotel
Accommodation Name: Riva Surya Bangkok
Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner

Your first glimpse of the Thai capital may have been fleeting, but this time you’ll have the opportunity to get to know it – with the help of our Local Insider, who’ll take you on an expert walking tour. Afterwards you’ll have the rest of the day free to explore at your leisure, before we regroup in the evening for a final farewell dinner – the perfect opportunity to toast an unforgettable adventure!

Activities Included
Walking tour of Bangkok with a Local Insider

Day 14 : So Long, Thailand And Laos
Location: Bangkok
Meals Included: Breakfast

After a final breakfast at your hotel, make your way to Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to catch your flight home.

What's Included

  • Local Insider

  • Accommodation

    11 nights boutique accommodation One night glamping accommodation One night overnight sleeper train (standard class - no single supplements apply)

  • Meals described in the itinerary

    13 breakfasts, Six lunches, Five dinners

  • Local and private transport

    Train from Bangkok to Phitsanulok Train from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai High-speed train to Vang Vieng

  • Airport Transfers

  • Visit to Sukhothai Historical Park

  • Chiang Mai street food and city sights tour

  • Thai cooking class

  • Visit to an ethical Asian elephant sanctuary

  • Bamboo rafting experience

show more

What's Not Included

  • International flights

  • Visas (if required)

  • Optional activities

  • Insurance

  • Resort Taxes (Where applicable)


Riva Surya Bangkok
Elegant, understated and right in the heart of Bangkok’s main sights, this boutique hotel ticks a lot of boxes. Rooms are colonial-chic without the clichés, there’s an outdoor pool overlooking the Chao Phraya River, and the Riverside Bar makes the most of the twinkling waterside views.

Sriwilai Sukhothai Resort & Spa
Sensitively done, the elements of traditional Thai design incorporated into this impressive hotel feel genuine rather than gimmicky. Rooms are airy and generously-proportioned, and views across lush green fields are as soothing as the spa’s massages.

The Rim Resort Chiang Mai
The pagoda-like building design, the polished wooden floors throughout, the central courtyard swimming pool – this boutique hotel is a temple to rest and relaxation in the heart of the city.

Campiness Camping and Farmsook
Encircled by rainforest-blanketed hills, this glamping site will immerse you in the magical landscapes of Chiang Mai. Quaint and idyllic, this cosy retreat is most notable for the amazing countryside views you can enjoy from shared spaces like the patio, campfire and garden.

Fortune River View Hotel Chiang Khong
A contemporary, elegant hotel overlooking the mighty Mekong River. Rooms are simple yet stylish, with a neutral colour scheme enhanced with pops of red and gold, and balconies overlooking either the central outdoor pool or the river.

The Sanctuary Pakbeng Lodge
The word ‘sanctuary’ gets bandied about a lot, but this sustainability-minded hotel earns the right to use it. Valley views of the snaking Mekong River, a lush botanical garden (where the hotel’s staff can grow fruit and vegetables for their families) and spacious rooms with hand-crafted furniture make this place truly special.

The Sanctuary Luang Prabang Hotel
This gorgeous urban oasis of a hotel is built around three listed buildings that date back to when Luang Prabang was a kingdom in its own right. Most of the rooms are split between these buildings – and come flooded with natural light, glossy wooden floors and beautiful views over the landscaped gardens and lotus pond.

Riverside Boutique Resort
We can’t decide what we like about this place more: the huge outdoor pool, surrounded by immaculate gardens, the views of the towering rocky karsts or the effortlessly elegant room decor. An unforgettable hotel for an unforgettable trip.

Please note that, while unlikely, the accommodation indicated may be subject to change (see T&C’s). On a rare occasion, alternative arrangements may be necessary – this may be due to a lack of availability at our preferred accommodation, or other reasons outside our control. We’ll do everything we can to prevent this from happening; however, in cases where it is unavoidable, we will use a similar standard of accommodation.

Check out our Q&As

  • Will there always be a guide on the trip?

    Absolutely yes. We pride ourselves on our expert Local Insiders - they are an integral part of what makes our trips so special. Your Local Insider will accompany you throughout the trip and is there to help and assist in any way possible as well as ensure everything works to time.

  • Is there any age limit on the Trips?

    You must be 25 or over to travel on our trips, however there is no upper age limit. You just need a sense of adventure.

  • Do I need any vaccinations?

    As a tour operator we are unable to give medical advice, however we suggest you contact your doctor, a professional medical travel clinic or check out the World Health Organisation website for more details.

  • What happens if I need to amend or cancel my booking?

    You can change the date of your tour up to 60 days prior to departure and cancel at any time, although cancellation conditions may apply.

  • What kind of luggage should I bring?

    It depends on the type of trip you have booked, but we usually recommend a soft sided bag or case as they are easier to handle on a trip.

  • What visas do I need?

    Depending on your passport and your destination, you may need a visa to travel on one of our trips. It is up to you to ensure you have any and all necessary visas before you travel. We recommend you check with a specialist visa agency at least 6 weeks before you travel.

  • Are airport transfers included?

    Some of our trips do not include airport transfers, so we recommend customers either take public transport or a taxi. However, if you would like us to arrange a private transfer please ask one of our travel experts who can arrange this for you.

  • Can I travel in my own private group?

    Yes you can. Our team of Travel Experts can put together a bespoke trip to suit all group sizes in most destinations around the world. Please contact us for more details.

  • What is the group size?

    Our maximum group size is 18, although our average group size is 10-12 people. Group travel is a great way to meet other people, and you will have the safety of travelling with a group, but you can also decide how much time you want to spend by yourself.

  • How much money should I bring?

    This will depend on how long your trip is, your destination and how much you intend to spend on personal expenses and any meals that aren’t included. It is a good idea to check out the cost of a local lunch and dinner in your destination before you travel.

  • Can I book extra nights accommodation before or after my trip?

    Yes, call or email one of our Travel Experts who will be able to add accommodation to your booking.

  • What kind of transport do you use on your trips?

    We use a mix of public and private transport on our trips, but usually a small and comfortable minibus, so we can access more remote destinations that larger groups can’t get to.

  • Are flights / transport to the destination included?

    No - our travellers come from all over the world so flights and / or transport to the start destination are not included.

  • How fit do I need to be to take one of your trips?

    We offer a variety of different trips, most of which do not require a specific level of fitness. Some of our trips are more active, but we include details on each specific trip information page. If you are unsure please don’t hesitate to ask one of our Travel Experts.

  • What happens if I am travelling on my own?

    Most accommodations on our trips are reserved on a twin share basis. Therefore, if you are travelling on your own you will be sharing a room with another Culture Trip traveller of the same sex. However, most of the time it is possible to pay a supplement for your own room. Please ask your Travel Expert for more information.

  • What is not included in the trip?

    We don’t include the following in our trips: insurance (however you must have insurance to travel on one of our trips), flights, tips for local guides, optional activities and other meals and services not mentioned in your itinerary.

  • Do I need to tip?

    Tips are not included in the price of your trip but are entirely optional and at your discretion.

  • When will I know if my trip is guaranteed?

    We usually wait until we have a few travellers booked on a trip before we guarantee it will run. The latest we will guarantee a trip is 60 days ahead of departure, often it will be long before.

  • Do I need to buy travel insurance?

    Yes - all travellers must have travel insurance before they join one of our trips. You are strongly advised to take out your policy at the time of booking to protect your holiday payments in the event of cancellation.

  • Why should I travel with Culture Trip?

    We know the world's best bits – our award-winning content proves it. Now we’re using that expertise to bring you curated trips that combine thoughtful planning with authentic experiences and hand-picked accommodation. Led by Local Insiders, our trips bring together small groups of curious travellers who embrace the value of shared experiences, cultural immersion and travel that never feels rushed.

  • How many meals are included?

    Breakfast is included daily and then depending on your itinerary, some lunches and dinners. This is clearly indicated in the trip details or ask your Travel Expert to confirm.

  • I booked but cannot travel anymore. What are the amendments and cancellation options?

    We understand plans can change and that’s why we offer flexible booking conditions. You can change or cancel your booking at any time up to 56 days prior to departure and receive a full refund of any funds you have already paid towards your trip.

  • Do I have to make full payment at the time of booking?

    You do not have to make full payment at the time of booking. We only require a small, fully refundable deposit of $100 to secure your spot on the trip. Full payment is due at the latest 56 days prior to departure.

  • Do I have to take part in all the activities? Will there be free time on my trip?

    The amount of free time varies per trip. Please enquire with our travel experts to get a proper understanding on the amount of free time on the trips you are interested in. You do not have to take part in all activities but we strongly encourage you to do so! We have carefully crafted each trip to show you the best of every destination, so you’d be missing out! Also taking part in activities is a great way to get to know your travel companions and make new friends. Nothing like a positive and supportive group environment to venture outside of your comfort zone and surprise yourself!

  • What is a Local Insider?

    We believe there’s no better way to discover a new place and a new culture than by experiencing it through the eyes and experience of a local. That’s why we only work with local guides - whom we name our Local Insiders. They know their region inside out and have a passion for sharing it with travellers. All our Local Insiders have years of experience guiding and speak English. Importantly, they like to travel the way we like it too: away from crowds, tourist traps and queues. Focussing on the true essence of a destination, teaching you all about the local culture and profusely sharing local hidden gems and insights.

Reviews of this Operator


My experience with Culture Trips was outstanding!


My experience with Culture Trips was outstanding! I went on the trip to Iceland in 2021, my very first international trip, and it was absolutely incredible! I felt like it exceeded beyond all expectations. Culture Trips made the whole process of signing up for the trip very easy and understandable, and I always had great customer service whenever I reached out with a question. With the help of Culture Trips and our local insider, I felt like our travel group was well taken care of during the entire experience. Our itinerary was pack full of adventure and we learned so much about the Icelandic culture and nature by our incredible local insider guide. A truly unforgettable experience! Thank you all again for making this dream come true!

Ruby and Leslie  

Culture Trip didn’t miss a thing and I had stress free travel!


Culture Trip staff were so responsive and the insiders and local guides, even the drivers, were all excellent and professional and knowledgeable! They had every T crossed and I dotted and every single detail managed so I would have stress free travel. My group was friendly and the activities planned were aligned with the areas culture and history, and FOOD! I will use Culture Trip again and have referred them to many already. This overall experience was awesome!


My trip to Egypt with Culture Trip was one of the best trips I've ever done!


My trip to Egypt with Culture Trip was one of the best trips I've ever done! The accommodations, the activities, and especially the "local insider" guide were superb. Traveling in a small group (5 total on the tour) was so nice, I felt a bit sorry for other tourists being herded around in a big group on a big bus. We went on activities that you just couldn't do with a big group. Our local guide was more like a friend we all knew who lived there and was showing us his favorite places!

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Dates & Availability

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Saturday - Friday

May 11, 2024 - May 24, 2024
$2889 $2745 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Jun 08, 2024 - Jun 21, 2024
$2889 $2745 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Jul 13, 2024 - Jul 26, 2024
$2889 $2745 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Aug 10, 2024 - Aug 23, 2024
$2889 $2745 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Sep 14, 2024 - Sep 27, 2024
$2889 $2745 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Oct 12, 2024 - Oct 25, 2024
$2889 $2745 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$144 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Nov 02, 2024 - Nov 15, 2024
$3159 $3001 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$158 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Nov 16, 2024 - Nov 29, 2024
$3159 $3001 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$158 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Dec 07, 2024 - Dec 20, 2024
$3159 $3001 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$158 (USD)

Instant Booking Available

Saturday - Friday

Dec 28, 2024 - Jan 10, 2025
$3159 $3001 (USD)

The Big ADVENTURE Sale: -$158 (USD)

Book with Confidence

  • Free Date Changes

    Culture Trip allows you to make 5 free date changes, as long as the change is made at least 55 days before the start of the tour.

  • Transfer as credit to Future Tours

    Culture Trip allows you to transfer existing payments to a future tour to avoid cancellation fees if you can't travel and inform culture trip, 55 days before departure.

  • Low Deposit

    Culture Trip requires a minimum deposit of 100 GBP per person or the full booking value, whichever is less, with the final balance not due until 55 days before departure.

  • Cancellation Policy

    We don't charge a cancellation fee, here is a summary of culture trip charges.

    At 54 days before tour starts: Forfeit 50% of booking price.

    At 29 days before tour starts: Forfeit 100% of booking price.

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