Trip Type : Small Group Tour
Beyond The Mekong tour
Bangkok Luang Prabang Beyond The Mekong Trip
Siem Reap Vientiane Beyond The Mekong Trip
Cultural Trains & Rail Beyond The Mekong package

Beyond The Mekong

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Has very high quality customer experiences and demonstrated commitment to responsible travel practices. read more
4.6 . Excellent
96%
Travel Style: You will have solid amounts of both free time and structured time with some activities and meals included. Mixed
Physical Level: Some walking over short or flat distances. Some trips may include cycling options. Some are wheelchair friendly (check for individual trips). Some cruises. Easy
Lodging Level: Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels. Value - 3 star
16 days
From: $ 2,605 $ 163 / day
Checking price

Overview

Highlights

  • Bangkok - Discover the glittering Grand Palace and the temple of the Reclining Buddha at Wat Po
  • Chiang Mai - Explore the bustling old walled town full of ancient temples
  • Mekong River - Take a boat journey past rugged cliffs, fishing villages and jungle covered hills
  • Luang Prabang - Wander through the sleepy French Colonial riverside town
  • Angkor Temples - Marvel at the iconic and awe-inspiring Khmer temple complex of Angkor

Short Description

This exciting journey uncovers northern Thailand before taking us deep into South East Asia's less visited countries of Laos and Cambodia. We cruise along the Mekong River through a countryside of jungle covered hills and small fishing villages as we journey to Luang Prabang, Laos' sleepy riverside gem. We fly on to French colonial Vientiane then make our way further south to Cambodia, where we discover the buzzing capital city of Phnom Penh and Siem Reap, the gateway to the epic temples of Angkor.

Small groups are usually defined as between 10 and 24 travelers, often less. If you're the kind of person who enjoys more intimate experiences and personal service this is a good choice. All else being equal you will pay a premium for this style vs a larger group tour.
Trip Type Small Group Tour
See all the highlights and popular spots on a classic tour.
Itinerary Focus Classic Highlights
Mid-range budget with accommodations ranging from comfortable lodges, guesthouses, and homestays to three star hotels.
Lodging Level Value - 3 star
Flights & Transport N/A
Start City N/A
End City Bangkok

Travel Theme

Cultural

Destinations

Thailand Cambodia Laos

Cities & Attractions

Bangkok Luang Prabang Siem Reap Vientiane

Activities

Trains & Rail

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Itinerary

Day 1 - Tour starts in Bangkok

Description

Arrive in Bangkok and check-in at our hotel. The rest of the day is free to relax after your flight. Alternatively, you may choose to take an optional cruise in a traditional longtail boat along the city's network of meandering waterways, known as Klongs. Stops include the Royal Barge Museum and the iconic Wat Arun, the Temple of the Dawn, which was built to represent the towering slopes of Mount Meru, the home to the gods of Khmer mythology.

Included Meals : None

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : None

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast, Dinner

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

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

Description

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.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Day 16 - Tour ends in Bangkok

Description

Our tour ends after breakfast. If you have time you may wish to wander through Chinatown for a different flavour of the city or visit one of the many markets or shopping malls.

Included Meals : Breakfast

Availability

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Price From $ 2,605
Price Per Day: $ 163 per day
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Stride Featured in

Stride Feature In

73 Explore! Travel Reviews & Ratings

96%
4.6 out of 5 (100+ reviews)
Excellent 55
Great 11
Average 3
Disappointing 3
Terrible 1
Value
4.5
Guide
4.7
Activities
4.6
Lodging
4.3
Transportation
4.5
Meals
4.4

Beyond The Mekong

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Company Reviews

Trip of a lifetime seeing the Arctic in a week

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
I travelled as a solo traveller and was relieved to find that about half the boat was also solo travellers. It was a great adventure - on a ferry board for a week with the most amazing panoramic views around us every day. We were regularly out on smaller boats to see the bird cliffs up close, or to go onto land to walk around. We saw lots of amazing wildlife including walrus, blue whales, beluga whales, endless species of birds, and of course Polar Bears! The week went by too quickly. It was a great mix of wildlife and landscapes. Each day there was a different guide giving a presentation of everything from the biology of a polar bear, to the fauna found in the arctic circle. You could join in for as little or as much as you wanted. Definitely recommended.
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Super good tour guide, but the itinerary was rushed

5.0
Details
Value4.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Junk on Halong Bay, Homestay in Mekong Delta. Hoi An Our tour guide, Long, was excellent and did a super job of mixing history and political context with what we were seeing. He went out of his way to add to the tour, actually taking us to favorite restaurant on his night off. The children loved him and we enjoyed his professionalism and his personal narrative of Vietnam. I felt that the itinerary was very rushed for a family tour. I understand the non family tour is longer and actually that would have been better for the family too. In particular a very busy day in Hue followed a mostly sleepless night on the train. We could have done with more time in Hue, or different activities. Hue was a bad day as the kite making was dull, crowded, and hot, then we didn't get to fly kites as we had not made them. In the end we had little time at the Citadel as we had to transfer into a small bus to navigate the streets.
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Excellent

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging4.0
Transportation4.0
Meals4.0
Mohammed was excellent!

Enjoy the trip

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
The highlight of this trip was seeing Machu Picchu, which I loved it.

Great Tour Leader will come back in 2017

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation5.0
Meals5.0
A great tour leader - friendly, personable, approachable, knowledgeable of the local area, sights and people. We plan to come back and cycle with Andrew again in 2017.

Pleasant surprise experience

5.0
Details
Value5.0
Guide5.0
Activities5.0
Lodging5.0
Transportation4.0
Meals5.0
It is hard to say because each outing was a pleasant surprise. The best experience was a workshop on feltmaking in Kazbegi town Georgia) where, as a group, we made the felt from scratch and created our own design. A great opportunity to discover a local craft. It is also an excellent example how this diverse group got along like a house on fire. In Armenia my fqvourite outing was the walk along the Garni river gorge with a local guide. The scenery was breathtaking.
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Details

Optional Activities

Optional Excursions

Bangkok - Longtail boat excursion on the klongs including visit to Royal Barge museum £14 Chiang Mai - Cookery class £23 Chiang Rai - Golden Triangle Opium Museum entrance fee £2 Vientiane - Buddha Park US$11 Siem Reap - Scenic helicopter flight over Angkor temples from US$202; Optional sunrise at Angkor Wat US$12 Phnom Penh - Privte Blessing US$34; Private Cooking class US36 The prices stated are based on a minimum number of participants (ususally 5-6). Please be aware that the optional excursions can run with fewer people but the price may be higher. Likewise, a slightly reduced price may be applicable where the participation is greater. These excursions are generally run via our agent in the country. Local companies may offer similar excursions at a cheaper price. Should you want to use these companies please be aware that a lower price may mean that not all costs are included (entrance fees etc.) or services will not operate at the same safety and quality standards

Guides

Tour Staff

Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Boat Crew, Driver(s), Explore Tour Leader, Local Guide(s), Boat Crew

Additional Information:

Additional JIs for FI - Start Tour

For clients joining on the first day of the trip, please note your Explore Leader will be waiting for you outside door number 5 in the arrivals hall of Bangkok Suvarnnaphumi Airport . Please pass through customs and leave the arrivals hall through door number 5 to find your Tour Leader holding the Explore sign.

Trip ID#:

explore-BM

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