Authentic Highlights of Northern Thailand & Laos

Our adventurous cross-border journey takes intrepid travellers deep into the spectacular mountainous countryside of Northern Thailand and Northern Laos. This enthralling itinerary features several days cruising along the mighty Mekong River and engaging in authentic cultural experiences amid remote riverside communities.

Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong/Huay Xai Border – Pakbeng – Luang Prabang

7 days

Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong/Huay Xai Border – Pakbeng – Luang Prabang

7 days


  • Make the adventurous riverine border crossing from northern Thailand into northern Laos inside the legendary Golden Triangle
  • Take a two-day cruise along the Mekong River, stopping at remote ethnic communities
  • Experience stunning river view from a hillside resort
  • Participate at dawn in centuries-old “Tak Bat” Buddhist alms ritual in Luang Prabang
  • Enjoy an exclusive presentation on Lao textiles at Ock Pop Tok, a Lao social enterprise
  • Days 1-2: Chiang Rai | City Sightseeing with Buddhist Temples as Highlights

    In Thailand’s northernmost province, set beside the Mae Kok River surrounded by mountains, Chiang Rai is home to numerous cultural and natural attractions. Today, experience some of the highlights of this charming provincial city. We visit striking temple Wat Phra Keo, where one of Thailand’s most important Buddha images was discovered in 1444. This sacred Buddha has been relocated by various state rulers and enshrined in their respective capitals as a symbol of dominance, including Lampang, Vientiane and Bangkok. Continue to Rai Mae Fah Luang Museum, set in a cultural park, housing one of Thailand’s biggest collections of ancient Lanna Kingdom artifacts. Later, stop at Wat Ruang Khun, instantly recognisable for its striking white colour, why it’s also known as the ‘White Temple’ and relatively new compared to other Thai temples, built in 1997. 

  • Day 3: Chiang Rai – Chiang Khong / Huay Xai Border – Pakbeng | Cruise the Mekong and Encounter Riverine Life

    We make the overland border crossing at Chiang Khong over to Huay Xai in Laos. Deep within the Golden Triangle region, the capital of Bokeo Province, Huay Xai, has long been an important entry point from northern Thailand into northern Laos. From here, From here, board the Le Grand cruise boat. After an hour or so cruising along the Mekong River – Southeast Asia’s longest river – disembark at a traditional minority village. This stop gives us a unique opportunity to observe up-close authentic Mekong rural life. Our deluxe boat anchors at a resort in Pakbeng, before dusk. There is ample time to enjoy the tranquil riverine scenery and catch the sunset from hillside villas.

  • Day 4: Pakbeng – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang | Rural Pursuits and Revered Cave Temples

    Following a restful night’s sleep, we’ll board Le Grand once more and pursue the second leg of our journey, passing this time through pristine forests punctuated by villages that line the riverbank and, if we are lucky, an elephant or two in the company of their mahout. The day’s activities include a visit to a Hmong village and the surrounding temples. A leisurely lunch will be served onboard, after which we will visit the spectacular Pak-Ou caves, an ancient site for pilgrims containing thousands of gold lacquered images of the Buddha, accumulated over hundreds of years. Our voyage will come to an end when we disembark at the Le Calao pier in Luang Prabang around sunset.

  • Day 6: Luang Prabang | Alms Giving Ritual, Blessing Ceremony and Exclusive Textiles Presentation

    UNESCO World Heritage Site Luang Prabang is considered the heart of Laotian culture and emanates an ethereal-like charm. At dawn, participate in centuries-old “Tak Bat” Buddhist ritual, offering alms to a steady procession of hundreds of monks. Continue to one of Luang Prabang’s numerous gilded temples (wats), stunning 18th century Wat Sene, known as “Temple of a 100,000 Treasures”. After making offerings here, participate in a Buddhist blessing ceremony. Explore this incredibly picturesque town further on a guided walking tour. We visit the Royal Palace converted to a National Museum and more enchanting temples, including Wat That Luang, the royal cremation site. Later, attend sunset cocktails and a private presentation at Ock Pop Tok, a Lao-based social enterprise dedicated to preserving Laotian textiles.  

  • Day 7: Luang Prabang | Jungle Waterfalls, Bear Sanctuary and Bamboo Cultural Experience

    Explore the area around one of Luang Prabang’s most picturesque attractions, Kuang Si Waterfall. Hike through jungle parklands to Kuang Si Bear Rescue Centre, located nearby. Established in 2003, this bear sanctuary has rescued numerous  bears from wildlife traffickers and traditional medicine traders. A guided tour imparts what can be done to protect one of Laos’ most endangered species. We also help-out with the bears’ midday scatter feed. Afterwards, stroll to Kuang Si Waterfall, where cascading tiers plummet down into azure pools. Outside Luang Prabang, immersed in rice paddies, get to understand the significance of bamboo in Lao culture. We learn about bamboo’s traditional and modern uses and join classes in both bamboo weaving and bamboo-inspired cuisine.

  • Day 8: Departure

    Transfer to Luang Prabang International Airport for your onward flight.

Show complete itinerary

Inspired to start planning your customised journey to Southeast Asia? Share your ideas with us at or submit a request below.

Start Planning