Thailand & Laos Adventure

Trip Code: TLSV

Why we love it

Travel from Thailand's lively capital and activity-filled Chiang Mai, to the riverside tranquillity of Laos and its stunning scenery., Ensure your holiday gives back by supporting organisations like COPE, which helps those injured by unexploded ordinance left from the Vietnam war., Rock the night away on the rails on a sleeper train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, then drift down the Mekong on a slow boat., Discover just why Luang Prabang has UNESCO status as you uncover the French Colonial influence, beautiful temples, traditional arts and the world renown night markets., Indulge in a sweet and socially responsible treat at Laos Buffalo Dairy, an enterprise that produces delicious ice-cream while giving back to the community., Discover the mysterious beauty of the Lao jungle as you walk side by side with recently rescued elephants on stroll through their natural habitat at Mandalao. Read more about this Intrepid Foundation supported project here: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/elephant-sanctuary-laos/, Rise with the sun and watch saffron-robed monks shuffle between houses, where the faithful wait with offerings as part of an alms giving ritual.

Is this trip right for me?

You'll get to see lots of major highlights and cover plenty of distance over the course of this trip, which means some long travel days. Laos is less developed than some of its neighbours so roads can be bumpy, delays common and accommodation simpler in some locations compared to Thailand or Vietnam.

Pak Beng, where we pause to break up our Mekong journey, is a remote and quiet town with little tourist infrastructure - a contrast to the traveller hubs of Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Vang Vieng and Luang Prabang.

It can be surprisingly cool, especially at night from November to February. Make sure you have some warm gear packed for this period so you can be comfortable.

Due to dam construction upstream, water levels on the Mekong aren't as reliable as in previous years. When the Mekong River is at its lowest from February to April, part of the journey may occasionally need to be made overland by bus instead of by boat.

There is free time in a number of destinations to spend as you wish. Your leader can make suggestions, and some prior research to work out what you are most interested in will help you make the most of your time.

Important information

1. A single supplement is available if you’d prefer not to share a room on this trip. The single supplement excludes Day 2 (Overnight train) and Day 6 (Pak Beng) where you will be in shared accommodation and is subject to availability. Please speak to your booking agent for further information.

What to bring/pack

What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking, we recommend you pack as lightly as possible and make sure that you are able to carry and lift your own luggage, and walk with it for short distances or up or down a flight of stairs. Our travellers usually find the smaller their luggage is, the more they enjoy the trip not having to worry about carrying heavy bags! Aim to keep your main luggage under 15kg.

Many travellers carry their luggage in a compact smaller suitcase or backpack with wheels. We recommend your bag has carry straps or handles so it is easy to lift and carry for the times you are unable to wheel it (ie. on rough surfaces or up steps).

If you are taking overnight trains, or primarily using public transport then the smaller your luggage the easier it will be to store under or above bunks. Large suitcases may not be able to be taken on board. A lockable bag or small padlock for your bag will be useful especially when travelling on public transportation as well.

You'll also need a day pack/bag to carry water, camera, and jacket etc. when you’re exploring during the day.

Below we have listed the essentials for this trip:, https://www.intrepidtravel.com/packing-list

Physical rating

 
2

Joining your group

ASAI Bangkok Chinatown, 531 Charoen Krung Rd, Khwaeng Pom Prap, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok, 10100, THAILAND, Phone: +66 2220 8999

Joining instructions

Please make sure that you provide your flight details no later than 14 days before departure to book your arrival transfer with us.

For your confirmed arrival transfer, you’ll be met after exiting the Customs Hall. A transfer representative holding a sign with your name on will meet you at between Exit Door 3-4. If you cannot find your transfer representative, please go to the Information Counter at Exit Door 3. Ask them to call our transfer provider, Ms. Janet, on +66 64 649 0485. Please note that neither the driver nor any representative should ask you for additional payment.

For arrivals at Don Muang International Arrival, when you are at the arrival hall, our representative will be in front of you at Gate 5. Please find the Intrepid Logo and check your name on the signboard held by the representative on your lefthand side. If you have trouble locating our representative, please call our transfer provider Ms. Janet, at +66 64 649 0485. In case of flight cancellations, changes, if you experience severe delays at immigration, baggage collection or customs, or if you are not able to find the driver, please contact our local office on the number in the ‘Problems and emergency contact information’ section.

Metered taxis are available outside the airport entrance on the 1st floor. Exit the Customs Hall, go down to the 1st floor and leave the airport at Gate 3, 4, 7 or 8. You will find a table with a “metred taxis” sign. The taxi fare will be the metred fare plus a surcharge of THB50-THB75 (depending on the driver’s use of toll roads). The total fare will be approx. THB400. Pre-paid taxis are also available, where you will be given a docket to pay the driver a set price of THB700. Please avoid taxi touts who tell you that they have a metered taxi parked outside the airport.

Finishing your trip

Sabaidee@Lao Hotel, Ban Sisaket, Chanthabouly, Vientiane, Pangkham Road, LAO PDR, Phone: +856 212651412, Fax: +856 21265143

Centrally located near the Mekong River, Sabaidee@Lao Hotel Vientiane features easy access to dining, shopping and commercial areas. It offers massage services, and free WiFi throughout the hotel. Incorporating modern and Asian-influence designs, each functional guestroom is fitted with wooden furnishings and has cable TV, a minibar, and tea/coffee making facilities. All rooms have a balcony with a seating area, IDD telephone line . The private bathroom is fitted with a hot and cold shower. A safety deposit box is provided at the 24-hour front desk. The hotel offers currency exchange and laundry services.
Pik Thai Restaurant serves local specialties, as well as Thai, Chinese and Western dishes. It offers both indoor and outdoor seating.

A pre-booked departure transfer is available. Please inquire with your agent.

If you have pre booked a transfer your transfer driver will collect you from your Hotel 2.15 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived within 15 minutes of the scheduled pickup time please ask the hotel reception to contact our operator locally (Khong Island) on : + 856 20 5550 3065.

Meals & dietary information

Breakfasts included: 9

Lunches included: 1

Dinners included: 

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price. This also gives you more budgeting flexibility. As a rule our groups tend to eat together to enable you to taste a larger variety of dishes and enjoy each other's company. If you have dietary requirements and/or food allergies, please let your booking agent know prior to departure.

Climate & seasonal information

WET SEASON:
During the rainy months (approx. June to October), our mode of transport can be changed at short notice due to weather conditions.

FLOODING:
On rare occasions we experience floods in Laos between Luang Prabang and Lak Sao of which may require group members to make alternative travel arrangements and book a flight to continue the itinerary. Any required flights will need to be covered by the traveller (see emergency funds section) and would cost approx. 100USD. This is a rare occurrence.

SONGKRAN FESTIVAL
The Songkran Festival is celebrated to mark the New Year. The festival runs from the 13th to the 16th of April. Traditionally houses and villages are properly cleaned in preparation for the New Year, flowers are gathered to decorate Buddha images, young people pour water over the elders for good luck. Songkran Festival is often referred to as the “water festival” as it is now common to throw water over each other during the festival period. Our advice is to be prepared to get wet! Your leader will discuss the festival activities upon day one at the group meeting.

In case of emergency

While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local representative straight away so that they can do their best to rectify the problem and save any potential negative impact on the rest of your trip.

We recognise that there may be times when your group leader/local partner may not be able to resolve a situation to your satisfaction - if this is the case, please ask the leader to speak to their direct manager.

You may also choose to provide details in your online feedback, which we ask you to complete within 30 days of the end of your trip. Please do be aware that it is very difficult for us to provide any practical help after the trip is completed, so informing us while still travelling will give us the opportunity to resolve the issue in real-time.

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local office on the number below.

For general enquiries or questions about your booking, please contact your agent or adventure specialist, or visit us at www.intrepidtravel.com/contact-us

In case of a genuine crisis or emergency, you can reach our local operator on the number below.

Intrepid's local Operator: +66 898 103 722

Accommodations

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION
The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances.

TWIN SHARE
Accommodation on this trip is on a twin basis.

CHECK-IN TIME
Throughout the trip we request that our hotels prepare rooms in time for our arrival, especially if we're arriving prior to normal check-in time. However this isn't always possible which means we won't be able to check-in immediately on arrival at some hotels. Instead, we can store our luggage and explore our new destination.

PRE/POST TRIP ACCOMMODATION
If you've purchased pre-trip or post-trip accommodation (if available), you may be required to change rooms from your trip accommodation for these extra nights.

WINDOWLESS ROOMS:
Some hotels in Laos have windowless rooms, or windows that don't necessarily have a view. This is often due to high population density in large cities, however local building standards also don't require rooms to have windows. We do request rooms with windows, however please be aware they aren't always available.

Transportation

OVERNIGHT TRAINS
Overnight sleeper trains in Thailand are air-conditioned and have sleeping berths down both sides of the carriage. The carriage is multishare, with are curtains that close over the beds. A sleeping sheet and a pillow are provided, and our luggage travels in the carriage with us. There is a western and Asian-style toilet located at the end of the carriage, but no showers. Carriage lights staying on during the night, so an eye mask is a good thing to bring with you, as is warm clothes as the air conditioning can be cold. For more on overnight trains in Thailand and around the world: https://www.intrepidtravel.com/adventures/overnight-train-travel-around-the-world/


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