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Journey Down the Laos Mekong

Trip Length

Trip Code

9 days PAJD

Maximum Passengers

16 people

Countries Visited

Laos, Thailand

Start City

End City

Bangkok, Thailand Vientiane, Laos
Journey Down the Laos Mekong

Follow the Mekong River and uncover the secrets of Laos. From the bustle of Bangkok, we find a quieter South East Asia in the north of Thailand and an even more tranquil one still when we cross into Laos. The regal temples, with spires pointing towards the heavens, extols the glories of Theravada Buddhism. The mysterious Plain of Jars exemplifies the remoteness of some of Laos' key attractions. Meanwhile the Mekong River threads its way through the country, supporting communities that include its laid-back capital, Vientiane, which still maintains an ambiance that borrows from both ancient Lao traditions and colonial French influences.

 

Journey Down the Laos Mekong


Day to Day Itinerary

Day 1: Bangkok

Accommodation: Nouvo City Hotel or similar, Bangkok

Activities:

Day 2: Bangkok - Chiang Rai

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Wiang Inn Hotel or similar, Chiang Rai

Activities:

Day 3: Huay Xai - Pakbeng

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Activities:

Day 4: Luang Prabang

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: New Daraphet Villa or similar, Luang Prabang

Activities:

Day 5: Luang Prabang

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: New Daraphet Villa or similar, Luang Prabang

Activities:

Day 6: Phonsavan

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Anoulack Ken Lao Hotel or similar, Xiengkhouang

Activities:

Day 7: Phonsavan - Vientiane

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: City Inn or similar, Vientiane

Activities:

Day 8: Vientiane

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: City Inn or similar, Vientiane

Activities:

Day 9: Vientiane

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Activities:


Your Trip

What's Included

• The services of Peregrine's expert English-speaking local tour leaders in both countries, and local guides at some sites.

• Local flights: Bangkok to Chiang Rai and Phonsavan to Vientiane.

• Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Bangkok - the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Temple of the Reclining Buddha; thousands of Buddha images in Tam Ting Cave; Ban Sang Hai village; Luang Prabang - the procession of monks, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Wisunalat and the National Museum at the former Royal Palace; Kuang Si Waterfalls; Muang Khun; Plain of Jars; Vientiane - Patuxai Monument, Wat Si Saket, Wat Prakeo and That Luang Stupa.

• ‘Slow’ boat cruises down the Mekong River to Pakbeng village and to Luang Prabang.

• A night in a simple hostel in Pakbeng village - home to tribal Thais, and a night in a basic hotel in Phonsavan - home to the Hmong hill tribe.

• Free time to explore Luang Prabang.

• Arrival transfer.

Summary of accommodation, transport & meals

Transport

Accommodation

Meals

Not Included

Optional Extras

We have chosen a selection of some great optional activities to enhance your travel experience. You will need to cover any additional costs yourself. The below list is not exhaustive and should be used as a guide only. Prices are approximate and are for entrance only and don’t include transport to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. All activities are subject to availability and it may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination.
Where activities are considered medium or high risk, we work with operators whose safety and credentials we have sighted and assessed. This means that it is possible that you may find the same activity cheaper with another operator on the ground, however we cannot vouch for the safety or quality of that operator. Activities not listed below have not been assessed by us and as such our staff and leaders are unable to assist you with booking these activities. The decision to partake in any activity not listed is at your own discretion and risk.


What to know

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required for this trip. Please talk to your doctor about the up-to-date information for this region.  We're travel experts, not doctors and defer to the medicos when it comes to inoculations.

Visas and Permits

Please ensure that you have all required visas for your trip – this is your responsibility. Rules and regulations governing the issuance of visas are constantly changing, and vary for different nationalities and you should check visa requirements with your travel agent or relevant consular authority well before travel.

Laos
We ask all our travellers to obtain their Laos visas at the border, and NOT in their home country. Your tour leader will assist you in obtaining a Laos visa, generally at the border, depending on the current state of affairs, as it can vary.

Please ensure that you have at least 1 passport photos and up to US$60 cash (this may vary too) to fulfil the requirements. There will also be an Immigration Fee of USD1. To assist us in processing your Laos visas, please provide your agent with accurate passport details prior to the departure of your trip as these details will be passed on to our leader.

When crossing the border you will most likely see a lesser entry fee than what you have paid. This is due to the leader having to use a local agent to process the visa which allows the group to cross the border as quickly as possible.

The above information has been put together as a guide. We do endeavor to update this information as much as possible but it’s also important that you check for yourself as visas are the responsibility of the traveller.

Thailand
If you are flying into Thailand you will be issued with a 30 day stay on arrival.

If entering by a land border, you will be granted a 15 day stay only (exceptions are citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan who are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders). A visa extension can be obtained in Thailand at an immigration office for approx. 2000THB or alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate that will allow a 30 day stay when entering at an overland border. If planning to enter Thailand via a land border multiple times during your travels, we recommend you pre-obtain a 60 day multiple entry visa from you embassy or consulate before you travel rather than attempting to obtain a visa at the border on multiple occasions which may result in being denied re-entry into the country.

If you are not from one of the following countries please contact your consulate or embassy for more information on visa conditions for Thailand; Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.

The above information has been put together as a guide. We do endeavor to update this information as much as possible but it’s also important that you check for yourself as visas are the responsibility of the traveller.

Insurance

You are required to have travel insurance before heading off on a Peregrine trip. Insurance can be organised by your Peregrine representative or your travel agent.

Responsible Travel

Our Responsible Travel ethos is at the heart of everything we do, from getting the basics right like respecting local cultures and the environment, to initiating projects that make positive contributions to communities, to our staff’s fundraising efforts and offsetting our carbon emissions.
Please visit our Responsible Travel (http://www.peregrineadventures.com/rt) page for more information.

Customs and Culture

Our Pre Departure Information or Travel Dossier (provided upon booking a trip) provides tips on how you can show respect for the local customs and culture in the country you are travelling in. Your leader will also help steer you though the complexities of local cultural norms.

Pre Departure Information
The information listed above is a brief description of some things you may need to consider when booking a trip. Once a tour is booked you will be provided with a link to your Travel Dossier which will contain detailed Pre Departure information.

Further Reading

Laos

Travels in Siam, Cambodia & Laos-Henri Mouhot A Dragon Apparent-Norman Lewis Treasures from Laos-Lao Govt History of Laos-M. Viravong Laos: War & Revolution-Nina Adams Historical Dictionary of Laos -Martin Stuart-Fox and Mary Kooyman The Mekong-John Hoskins The Ravens (Pilots of the Secret War of Laos) -Christopher Robbins Laos-Lonely Planet

Thailand

There are a number of books that make interesting reading and provide insight into the country's history, politics and culture. A few suggestions are: Mai Pen Rai Means Never Mind-Carol Hollinger Monsoon Country-Pira Sudham The Hilltribes of Northern Thailand-Gordon Young Thailand-Lonely Planet Thai Ways-Dennis Segaller Thailand: A Short History-David Wyatt Culture Shock! Thailand & How to Survive It-Robert& Nanthapa Cooper The English Governess at the Siamese Court-Anna Leonowens The Beach-Alex Garland Travelers’ Tales Thailand -Charles Nicholls, Pico Iyer, et al. Borderlines -Charles Nicholls


Important Information

Your fellow travellers
On this trip you may link up with passengers booked on other Peregrine tours. You may also be joined by like-minded travellers from our sister company Intrepid Travel.

Local Tour Leaders
By employing and training local guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour leader’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success. Peregrine will use different tour leaders to run the various sectors of this particular trip. We will have separate local leaders for Thailand and Laos respectively.

Thai Etiquettes and Customs
Your tour leader will advise you further on Thai cultural etiquettes during your tour; however, here are some simple ones to get you started.
· Patting a Thai on their head is considered extremely rude and insulting
· Public displays of affection are not acceptable, including holding hands and kissing.
· Losing your temper or showing anger and shouting or yelling will lose respect immediately;
to remain cool, calm and collected at all times is an admired quality in a person in Thai
culture
· When visiting temples, ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. They are places of worship, so it is important to dress modestly
· The monarchy is held in very high esteem in Thailand. Please show the highest level of respect to the king of Thailand and never make jokes about him

Songkran in Thailand
The Thai Buddhist New Year or Songkran is celebrated every year on 13th April, although the associated water throwing festivities can start well before and go on through to a week well beyond this date. Songkran is a time of cleaning and renewal. Thais go to the temple to pray, give food to the monks and clean the Buddha statues with scented water. It is believed these practices will bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. Water is used to pay respect to your elders, particularly your parents, during the Songkran period. It is poured in small amounts over the hands as a sign of respect. These days the nation erupts into one huge water fight and the small amounts have turned into bucket loads. The date used to be set by astrological calculations, but these days the date is set. Until 1888 Songkran represented the beginning of the year in Thailand. After 1888 the date of 1st April was considered the first day of the year. In 1940 the date of 1st January was recognised as the beginning of the new year, in line with international practice. It is a great time of year to be in Thailand and a lot of fun taken in the right spirit. However you will need to have an easy going attitude to your travels, as when you head outside there is a good chance that you will get wet. In addition to this it is a busy travel time, so you may find that the transport listed in the itinerary is not always the transport you get.

Dry Season Tours
Please note that March and April are traditionally the hot dry months. During this time, the villagers burn their fields before the onset of the wet season, in order to prepare for the following season’s harvest. Whilst travelling at this time of the year, please be prepared for the fact that the fields and jungles are not lush and green, but dry and brown.

Infrastructure
Please note that Laos is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during holiday or festival periods. Hence, changes to itineraries may occur due to circumstances beyond our control.

Single Supplements
If you have booked a single supplement for this trip, please note it is not applicable on the following night:
Day 3 (Pakbeng)
To enquire about booking a single supplement please contact your sales agent.

Local Emergency Contacts
In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Peregrine Thailand office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722

About this Information

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact your travel agent or our staff in Australia. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

8 April 2014


General Contact Details

Peregrine AdventuresPhone: 1-800-663-5132
E-mail: sales@peregrineadventures.com
Web: Visit Peregrine