Mekong Journey: Golden Triangle to Luang Prabang

There’s no mistaking when you’ve reached the glorious north of Thailand. Chiang Mai is a great place just to hang out, soak up the culture, explore the temples, and breathe in the clean air of the forested mountains. Combine your trip with a visit to the raw beauty of Laos for its easy pace of life, natural beauty and fascinating history. The perfect pairing of destinations!

The below itinerary is a sample only. All Lightfoot itineraries are crafted to suit client’s interests, time and budget requirements. Please get in touch to speak to a country specialist and start planning your bespoke journey now. 

For more sample Thailand itineraries, please click HERE.

For more sample Laos itineraries, please click HERE.

Day 1: Arrive in Chiang Mai

Upon arrival at Chiang Mai, you’ll be met by your guide and escorted to your hotel.

This evening you’ll embark on a walking tour through Chiang Mai town and to the traditional street food market. You’ll get the chance to sample local dishes such as deep fried pancakes, kanom jeen (rice noodles with curry soup), and sweet mango with sticky rice.

You’ll then be returned to your accommodation.

Stay: Rachamankha

Day 2: Chiang Mai

This morning you’ll visit Hang Dong to meet Mr. Prapat and his family.

You’ll be welcomed into their home and shown around their property and gardens while learning about local life. There’ll be the opportunity to join an interactive cooking experience, where you can try out traditional northern Thailand cooking techniques

Afterwards, you’ll dine together on the meal you’ve prepared.

The afternoon will be free for you to explore the neighborhood before being driven back to Chiang Mai.

Stay: Rachamankha

Day 3: Chiang Mai

Today’s tour will begin at 06:00 when you’ll be taken to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep, one of Chiang Mai’s most sacred sites.

Here, you’ll see the monks emerge from their monasteries for the daily alms collection, after which you’ll climb the staircase to the top of the temple.

You’ll continue to tranquil Wat Umong, the sacred temple that contains a network of mysterious tunnels and caves.

Afterwards it’s time for a snack of khao soi, – Chiang Mai’s famous crispy noodles and coconut curry sauce.

You’ll then be driven back to your accommodation.

Stay: Rachamankha

Day 4: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai

After breakfast you’ll make your way to Chiang Rai in Thailand’s Golden Triangle.

The road passes through city sprawl before entering the countryside and weaving between the surrounding mountains and lush rice paddies.

On the way you’ll stop for coffee at a fabulous restaurant operated by the Population and Community Development Association to support rural communities.

Another stop will be made at Wat Rong Khun – ‘The White Temple’ – which features unusual Buddhist paintings and sculptures.

Stay: Anantara Golden Triangle

Day 5: Chiang Rai

Today will be spent at your leisure with a chance to experience a choice of a spa treatment, elephant and Mahout training, a country tour, or a cookery class.

Stay: Anantara Golden Triangle

Day 6: Chiang Rai - Laos

 

This morning you’ll be transferred to the Luang Say cruise boat for your journey to Pakbeng.

You’ll stop at the small traditional Kamu Village of Ban Houy Phalam, nestled on the Mekong river. This village is home to more than 85 families who live in Kamu houses which are traditionally built on stilts.

Lunch will be served on board before the cruise arrives at Luang Say Lodge near Pakbeng before sunset.

In the evening a Laotian dinner will be served on the open air terrace overlooking the river.

Stay: Luangsay Lodge

Day 7: Pakbeng - Pak Ou Caves - Luang Prabang

Your morning cruise along the legendary Mekong river starts at around 08.00am.

Baw village, located between Luang Prabang and Pakbeng, has been the home to three different ethnicities for over 600 years. Today, the three tribes live together in harmony and have developed similar customs to each other.

Lunch will be served on board.

Your next stop will be at the Pak Ou caves. These caves were converted into Buddhist temples in the 15th century and today are used as a site for old Buddha images.

In the early evening you’ll arrive at Luang Prabang, the cultural and religious capital of Laos. You’ll be met by your guide at the pier and transferred to your hotel.

Stay: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao

Day 8: Luang Prabang

After breakfast at the hotel you’ll head on a half day cycling tour of the city.

You’ll start at the National Museum to explore the history of Laos, then continue to the temples of Wat Mai, Wat Visoun, Wat That, and along the Nam Khan River to Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in Luang Prabang.

In the afternoon you’ll be escorted to Kuang Si Waterfalls where you can enjoy a delicious picnic lunch in the stunning natural surroundings. You’ll also have the chance to swim in the turquoise pools, trek to the top of the falls, and visit the Free the Bears sanctuary which is home to 23 Asiatic Bears rescued from poaching.

Stay: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao

Day 9: Luang Prabang

Today you’ll head to a local village to spend the day contributing to the community.

You’ll meet with the village head who’ll explain about the struggles of daily life, and then you’ll assist with the giving out of donation packets. Each donation packet is delivered in a high-quality metal bucket and contains books, toothbrushes, and toothpaste.

Walking around the village you’ll see the positive impact that these gifts have – a heart-warming experience for both travellers and locals alike.

Lunch will be served in the village before returning to Luang Prabang.

Stay: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao

Day 10: Luang Prabang - Home

After breakfast you’ll be transferred to the airport for your departing flight.

 

The above itinerary is a sample only. All Lightfoot itineraries are crafted to suit client’s interests, time and budget requirements. Please get in touch to speak to a country specialist and start planning your bespoke journey now. 

For more sample Thailand itineraries, please click HERE.

For more sample Laos itineraries, please click HERE.

Itinerary

Duration Description Overnight
Day 1: Arrive in Chiang Mai Rachamankha
Day 2: Chiang Mai Rachamankha
Day 3: Chiang Mai Rachamankha
Day 4: Chiang Mai - Chiang Rai Anantara Golden Triangle
Day 5: Chiang Rai Anantara Golden Triangle
Day 6: Chiang Rai - Laos Luangsay Lodge
Day 7: Pakbeng - Pak Ou Caves - Luang Prabang Belmond La Residence Phou Vao
Day 8: Luang Prabang Belmond La Residence Phou Vao
Day 9: Luang Prabang Belmond La Residence Phou Vao
Day 10: Luang Prabang - Home

Inclusions

Included

  • Hotel accommodation in shared twin / double room
  • Tour & transfers as mentioned by private air-conditioned vehicles
  • English speaking local guide
  • Entrance fees for mentioned visits

Not Included

  • International and domestic flights
  • Meals other than mentioned above
  • Visa services
  • Personal expenses
  • Travel insurance
  • Tips
  • Other services not clearly indicated in the package inclusions above.

Map

1. Chiang Mai 2. Chiang Rai 3. Pakbeng 4. Luang Prabang

From USD3,850 - USD4,620 per person based on 2 guests sharing twin/double rooms. This price is based on low and peak season price fluctuations.

Notes on our prices

  • This price guide provides you with a broad indication of how much to budget for your holiday.
  • Prices are generally based on two people travelling together (unless stated otherwise) on a shared room basis.
  • Prices can fluctuate depending on season, standard of accommodation, excursions selected (private versus shared) etc.
  • This basic structure works very nicely, but don’t forget that Lightfoot Travel can provide a range of experiences and we tailor-make each itinerary based on your travel requirements. Get in touch to start planning your perfect trip with your own travel consultant