Beyond The Mekong

Beyond The Mekong

Start: Bangkok Finish: Bangkok

Visiting: Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Ban Houei Sai, Pak Beng, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Phnom Penh, Krong Siem Reap, Siem Reap, Banteay Srei, Pak Ou Caves, Pakbeng, Angkor, Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, Royal Palace, Mount Phousi, Grand Palace, Mekong River, Golden Triangle, Chiang Saen


Duration: 15 Nights

Physical rating: Moderate

Special diets catered: Vegetarians, Vegans

Tour code: BM

Tour operator: Explore!

Group size: 4 - 16

Age range: Adult

Tour operated in: English


From: $3420 $3352

Extra tourhub saving: $68

Tour Overview

This exciting journey uncovers northern Thailand before taking us deep into South East Asia's lesser-visited countries of Laos and Cambodia. Take a slowboat along the Mekong River, explore charming French colonial cities and sample fresh local dishes on this Indochina adventure. Bangkok - Wander the streets of Thailand's frenetic capital, where east and west collide at every corner Luang Prabang - Soak up the city's French colonial charm and watch monks line the street at sunrise. Siem Reap - Explore the once-hidden jungle temples of Angkor

Highlights

  • icon Bangkok - Wander the streets of Thailand's frenetic capital, where east and west collide at every corner
  • iconLuang Prabang - Soak up the city's French colonial charm and watch monks line the street at sunrise.
  • iconSiem Reap - Explore the once-hidden jungle temples of Angkor

Itinerary

icon Day 1: Tour starts in Bangkok; Optional Longtail Canal trip

Location: Bangkok

Accommodation: Hotel

Meals: No Meals

Arrive in Thailand's capital, the lively metropolis of Bangkok. The bustling street life of this energetic city is set to a backdrop of colourful, ornate shrines and modern glass-fronted high-rises, which jostle for position to dominate the city's skyline. It is a place where old meets new at every corner. Sample the fresh and tasty street food, haggle in the non-stop markets and take a cruise out on Chao Phraya River to witness stunning sunsets.

For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Bangkok at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is 45 minutes from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up in the lobby at 8am on day 2.

Please note that if you wish to join the Optional Longtail Canal Trip today, you must arrive at the hotel by 1pm. If you are booking your own flights, we recommend giving yourself at least one hour to clear the airport. From the airport to the hotel is around one hours\ drive, so therefore the latest your flight can arrive is 10am.

icon Day 2: In Bangkok, visit the Grand Palace and Buddhist temples; take sleeper train to Chiang Mai

Location: Bangkok

Accommodation: Overnight Train

This morning's sightseeing takes us by bus and boat to Bangkok's iconic sights including the spectacular Grand Palace complex with its collection of palace buildings, golden stupas, temples, known as wats, and decorative statues. The most revered of the wats here is Wat Phra Kaeo, the temple of the Emerald Buddha, a small statue carved out of a single piece of jade. We leave the Grand Palace and walk to the largest wat in Bangkok, Wat Pho, famous for its impressive 46 metre gold-plated reclining Buddha. This evening we board the overnight train for Chiang Mai.

icon Day 3: In Chiang Mai, free day to explore or try a Thai cookery class

Location: Chiang Mai

Accommodation: Hotel

Thailand's second city of Chiang Mai, in the north of the country, is surrounded by jungle covered hills at an elevation of 300m and offers a respite from the heat and noise of Bangkok. Today we enjoy an orientation walk of the old walled city, with its many ancient temples. There is free time this afternoon to explore further, perhaps taking an optional excursion to the golden Doi Suthep temple that sits on a hill overlooking the city, or perhaps try your hand at Thai cookery at a class. A visit to Chiang Mai's famous night market is a must this evening; here you will find everything from t-shirts to jewellery to traditional hilltribe crafts.

icon Day 4: From Chiang Mai journey by road and boat along the Kok River to Chiang Rai

Location: Chiang Rai

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we leave Chiang Mai and drive further north through hilltribe country to Tha Ton, a small rural town on the Kok River. Here we board longtail boats for the relaxing cruise downstream towards Chiang Rai. Chiang Rai has a large hilltribe population, attracted by the cool climate and the rolling forested hills. This evening there will be time to explore Chiang Rai's night market, well known for its many food stalls, so a great place to enjoy some street food for dinner.

icon Day 5: From Chiang Rai travel via the Golden Triangle across the border into Laos

Location: Ban Houei Sai

Accommodation: Guesthouse

Today we travel to the interesting fortified city of Chiang Saen which can only be described as a lively one street town surrounded by scattered ruins of temples, crumbling stupas and grass covered walls and ramparts. Founded in 1328, the town was once a Burmese stronghold that was destroyed and re-built many times. From here we continue on to the infamous Golden Triangle, the point of confluence between Thailand, Burma and Laos. Here you will have the option to visit the fascinating opium museum. Towards the end of the day we cross the border at Chiang Khong into Laos and drive a short distance to the small village of Ban Houei Sai, where we can settle back and begin to enjoy the slow pace of life in Laos.

icon Day 6: Cruise along the Mekong River, overnight in Pakbeng village

Location: Pak Beng

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we board our boat and start to cruise along the Mekong River. Travel today is slow, but this allows us to absorb the sense of remoteness and timelessness of life on the river. We pass hills covered with dense vegetation, rugged cliffs, small fishing villages with nearby rice paddies and white sandy riverbanks. The Mekong has long been the major trade route for caravans from Yunnan in China to Chiang Mai in ancient Siam. Even today there are few roads through the undulating countryside, so the river remains the lifeblood of the region. In the late afternoon we arrive in Pakbeng village for our overnight stay. Here we can enjoy the warm orange glow of the sunset over the river.

icon Day 7: Continue boat journey via Pak Ou Caves to Luang Prabang

Location: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we continue our journey along the Mekong River towards Luang Prabang. En route we will stop and visit Pak Ou Caves where we climb steps up a limestone cliff to reach the sacred Buddhist shrine, crammed with small Buddha images of all shapes and sizes. We arrive at Luang Prabang, the country's former capital, in the afternoon. Situated among the rolling hills of the Upper Mekong River, this tranquil little town is celebrated for its exceptionally lovely setting and its sleepy vibe. We take an orientation walk which includes a visit to Wat Xien Thong, located in a delightful garden on the banks of the Mekong River.

icon Day 8: In Luang Prabang, free day with the option to visit the traditional village of Lao Loum

Location: Luang Prabang

Accommodation: Hotel

One of the most peaceful experiences in Laos is seeing hundreds of saffron-robed monks of Luang Prabang walking through the streets at sunrise collecting alms. You may choose to get up early to enjoy this experience. Today has been left free for you to enjoy Luang Prabang as you wish. You may decide to simply wander the streets and absorb the pleasant atmosphere of this former Royal capital, or perhaps visit the Royal Palace Museum. There is also the option to take a tuk-tuk trip to the traditional Lao Loum village, where you can witness women weaving, see paper-making and watch blacksmiths at work. Later this afternoon, we suggest you climb to the temple on top of the small Mount Phousi to enjoy sunset views over town.

icon Day 9: From Luang Prabang, visit Kuang Si Waterfalls; afternoon flight to Vientiane

Location: Vientiane

Accommodation: Hotel

After breakfast we travel by bus to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls, around 45 minutes from Luang Prabang, with a short stopover at Wat Mai temple. Passing forested hills and several ethnic minority villages we arrive at the limestone falls that cascade into several clear pools below. We return to Luang Prabang for our afternoon flight to the Laos capital of Vientiane.

icon Day 10: In Vientiane, morning city tour; free afternoon with the option to visit the Buddha Park

Location: Vientiane

Accommodation: Hotel

This morning we explore the low-rise French colonial capital and explore some of the main sights including the Victory Gate, a Triumphal Arch affording us good views of the city; That Luang stupa, said to contain a hair of the Buddha; and Wat Sisaket, packed with fine Buddha images. The afternoon is left free, you may choose to take a visit out of the city to the Buddha Park. In the evening, it is pleasant to promenade along the banks of the Mekong whilst the sun sets over the Thai city of Nong Khai across the border on the western bank.

icon Day 11: Fly to Phnom Penh in Cambodia, visit Royal Palace and National Museum of Arts

Location: Phnom Penh

Accommodation: Hotel

Leaving Laos we fly to Cambodia and another of Indochina's charming French colonial capitals, Phnom Penh. Here we visit the National Museum of Arts, which contains a notable collection of Khmer Sculpture that has been rescued from the temples of Angkor, giving us a flavour of things to come. We also explore the ornate Royal Palace with its stunning Silver Pagoda.

icon Day 12: In Phnom Penh, visit Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum and the 'Killing Fields'

Location: Phnom Penh

Accommodation: Hotel

Today we continue our sightseeing in Phnom Penh and discover some of Cambodia's dark history. We pay a visit to the emotive Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum, once a high school that became the Khmer Rouge's main torture and interrogation centre. We then take a short drive out of the city to the infamous 'Killing Fields' of Choeung Ek, a grim place featuring a huge glass tower memorial filled with human skulls, a truly sombre reminders of the scale of Pol Pot's atrocities. Some people may find Tuol Sleng and the 'Killing Fields' distressing. In the afternoon there is time to explore Phnom Penh further perhaps visiting one of the many bustling markets in the city such as the Russian market; alternatively or we can arrange a private good luck blessing at a local monastery or a cooking class so you can try your hand at Khmer cuisine.

icon Day 13: Drive to Siem Reap; late afternoon visit Angkor Temples for sunset

Location: Krong Siem Reap

Accommodation: Hotel

We make an early start for today's drive to Siem Reap, we will pass through small provincial towns and stop somewhere for lunch along on the way. Later in the day after we have checked in to our hotel in Siem Reap we begin our exploration of the ancient temples of Angkor. This incredible ruined city, built between the 9th and the 15th centuries is spread out over some 400 square kilometres, scattered with walled cities and magnificent stone temples, sculptures, causeways and reservoirs, amongst forested areas. Today we will visit some of the earliest of Angkor's temples including Ta Keo, Kravan, East Mebon and Pre Rup. We stay for sunset over the historic temples.

icon Day 14: From Siem Reap, return to Angkor to explore temples of Ta Prohm, Banteay Srei and Angkor Wat

Location: Krong Siem Reap

Accommodation: Hotel

Today we pay a visit Ta Prohm, lying half consumed by the jungle and made famous by the movie 'Lara Croft'; Banteay Srei, a small temple with exquisitely carved lintels, and finally the most iconic of all - Angor Wat itself. Built in the early 12th century by King Suryavarman II Angkor Wat was first a Hindu and later a Buddhist temple and it is without doubt the epitome of Khmer architecture, a huge three-step pyramid adorned with nine towers, covering an area of 2.5 square kilometres. Its Hindu past is apparent in the beautifully preserved bas reliefs depicting episodes from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata stories.

icon Day 15: From Siem Reap, option to see sunrise at Angkor Wat; explore Angkor Thom; afternoon flight to Bangkok

Location: Bangkok

Accommodation: Hotel

We have a few final hours this morning to visit the temples one last time. You may choose to make an early start and watch the sunrise at Angkor Wat. This morning after breakfast we visit the temples of King Jayavarman VII, including the walled city of Angkor Thom, home to the Bayon, with its serenely beautiful faces and the Terrace of Elephants. Later today we bid farewell to Angkor and fly back to Bangkok.

Please note that from the 1st January 2020 the third tier of the Bayon Temple - the striking centrepiece of the ancient city of Angkor Thom - will be closed until 2022 for extensive restoration. As a result, it will only be possible to view the large stone faces from a distance and it will not be possible to get up close. However, the two lower tiers will remain open and accessible, so it will be possible to view the impressive bas-reliefs and intricate stone carvings around the temple.

icon Day 16: Tour ends in Bangkok

Location: Bangkok

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Bangkok.

There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Bangkok at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is 45 minutes from our hotel.

If you have time you may wish to wander through Chinatown for a different flavour of the city

What's Included

  • icon
    Fully Guided

  • icon
    Train Tickets

  • icon
    Meals – Breakfast Only

    Breakfast: 14 Dinner: 1

  • icon
    Airport Transfers at Destination

  • icon
    Accommodation

  • icon
    All Domestic Transportation (including internal flights)

What's Not Included

  • icon
    1 bottle of Mineral Water per person per day

  • icon
    Tipping and Gratuities

  • icon
    Country Entry Visas

Why Book this Tour

This classic route through this part of Indochina is a favourite with our customers. You will take an in-depth look at the north of Thailand before travelling into Laos and then on to Cambodia. You will see the highlights of three countries in two weeks and experience the diversity of the region. This is a great holiday for travellers who want to see as much as possible in a relatively short time.

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Got a question? Check out our Q&As

Ask A Question
Can you assist with pre or post tour accommodation?

Yes

What is the maximum group size?

16

Will I know the names and details of all the accommodation before I depart?

Yes

Are children permitted to take part in the tour?

No

Are airport transfers included in this tour?

Trasnfers are included on the first and the last day of the trip

    Are airport transfers included in this tour?

    Transfers are included on the first and the last day of the trip

    What is the standard of the hotels on this tour?

    1 nights simple guesthouse 8 nights comfortable hotel 5 nights simple hotel 1 nights simple overnight train

    What is the fitness level required to do this tour?

    Moderate

    Will there be an escort accompanying this tour?

    Yes

    Are the local guides on the tour English speaking?

    Yes

    Is there any free time to explore places during the tour?

    Yes

    I'm going on a walking/cycling trip-do I need to train?

    It will depend on the grade and how fit you already are. Check the trip page for details of the walking or cycling grade and how far you’ll be walking/cycling each day. For moderate or challenging trips in particular we’d recommend doing some walks or cycles before you leave to build up your fitness and prepare you for the distances being covered.

    Who will be my travelling companions on the tour?

    We have a wide range of ages nationalities on our small group trips and they come from all walks of life.

    Should I get travel insurance?

    Yes–it is a condition of booking that you are fully insured when travelling with us

    How long has the tour company been trading?

    At Explore, we're the experts in adventure travel. Our small group adventure holidays have been running since 1981. Today, Explore is one of the most trusted travel companies in the UK with over 500 trips to more than 120 countries.

    Can I join the tour once it has departed?

    Yes, but there are no concessions for doing so, and we must have a record in your booking advising as such before the trip departs.

    Am I contributing to any charity by booking the tour?

    Being a responsible company is a large statement, something that has to be entwined within the very fibre of a company. Discover the charities and partnerships we support as part of this at https://www.explore.co.uk/about/sustainability/charities-and-partners

    What happens if I need to change my holiday date once I’ve booked?

    We want to be as clear as and as honest as possible about what happens if you decide to that you no longer wish to travel on your trip. Our booking conditions have details of the costs you’ll incur when you cancel-these charges depend on how long it is before your planned departure.

    What is the accommodation like?

    We choose comfortable accommodation in the best locations possible. We opt for small, local and family-run accommodation where we can, as opposed to large chain hotels. We typically use hotels that are the equivalent of European 3-star, and you’ll usually have an en suite room. Occasionally, where we want to get off the beaten trail we may stay in more basic accommodation.

    What Ethical Travel credentials does the tour company have?

    Sustainability is embedded within the fibre of Explore, it emanates from the inside out. But as we enter a new decade it is clearer than ever that our world needs help, and Explore has created a sustainability strategy based on the 2015 UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    What policies are in place for Covid-19?

    Our flexible booking and safety policies mean you're protected before and during your travels with us. Receive a full refund if your trip is cancelled, transfer your trip free of charge up to 10 days before departure minus any irrocoverable costs.

    Do I need to be very fit to book with you?

    All our trips require some level of active participation. This could be on a cultural trip, trek, safari, expedition or voyage. It is in the interests of all members of the group that everyone should be capable of fully participating in the activities of their chosen trip.

    What documents will I receive before I travel?

    Final documents will include a comprehensive trip itinerary, climate and country information, budgeting and packing advice visa and passport information and details on optional activities available.

    Do you operate a “single share” option and how does it work?

    Yes on most of our trips. Most trips are based on customers sharing twin-bedded rooms. If you book a group trip as an individual, you will share a room with someone of the same sex. However, on many trips we offer the opportunity to pay a supplement to pre-book a single room, known as our single room option. On some trips a single room will be provided every night, on others it will be provided o

    Will the accommodation included meet local health and safety regulations?

    Explore will only offer hotels that have specific COVID-19 protocols in place and comply with local government guidelines. We will ensure these measures include; enhanced room cleaning, ventilation, social distancing, regular cleaning and disinfection of high frequency touch points in public areas, food safety, staff re-training and minimising contact within the properties.

Reviews

Read all 0 reviews
Beyond The Mekong
You have ald mine in Wit. He is the best advertisement your company has. Do everything you can to retain him. You have ald mine in Wit.

He is the best advertisement your company has.

Do everything you can to retain him.

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John

13-Mar-2020

Beyond The Mekong
Excellent trip, with an exceptionallyod leader, Wit. The local guides in Cambodia were also veryod, and it was extremely powerful (and moving) to hear their personal recollections of the Pol Pot ....more Excellent trip, with an exceptionallyod leader, Wit.

The local guides in Cambodia were also veryod, and it was extremely powerful (and moving) to hear their personal recollections of the Pol Pot era; ....less
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David

03-Mar-2020

Beyond The Mekong
We were a very lucky group the dynamics were great ! We were a very lucky group the dynamics were great ! ;
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Tyler

03-Feb-2020

Beyond The Mekong
A fantastic trip with an excellent guide. A fantastic trip with an excellent guide.

;
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Katherine

16-Dec-2017

Beyond The Mekong
Would definitely recommend Explore to friends and family Would definitely recommend Explore to friends and family;
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Deborah

02-Jun-2018

Beyond The Mekong
Has now put Explore on top of my list of preferred travel operators. Have already booked for next year. Has now put Explore on top of my list of preferred travel operators.

Have already booked for next year.

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Jon

24-Mar-2020

Beyond The Mekong
This was our first experience with Explore, but would definitely book again. This was our first experience with Explore, but would definitely book again.

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Simon

02-Jun-2018

Dates & Availability

Nov 14, 2021

Sunday

From

$3352

Nov 29, 2021

Monday

11 +

Places Available

Nov 29, 2021

Monday

11 +

Places Available

From

$3352


Multiple Room Types Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.

Extra TourHub Saving: $68

Instant Booking Available
Feb 13, 2022

Sunday

From

$3440

Feb 28, 2022

Monday

16 +

Places Available

Feb 28, 2022

Monday

16 +

Places Available

From

$3440


Multiple Room Types Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.

Extra TourHub Saving: $70

Instant Booking Available
Nov 13, 2022

Sunday

From

$3440

Nov 28, 2022

Monday

16 +

Places Available

Nov 28, 2022

Monday

16 +

Places Available

From

$3440


Multiple Room Types Multiple room types available. Choose your preferred room type when you book.

Extra TourHub Saving: $70

Instant Booking Available