Southeast Asia is a feast for the senses. Boasting an incredible melting pot of cultures, rich traditions, welcoming people, and dynamic cuisine, the region is an adventurer’s delight. Discover the best of Southeast Asia with Boundless Journeys, and be prepared to tantalize your taste buds, stimulate your senses, and expand your horizons.
This itinerary is curated from our years of extensive exploration throughout the region. This journey includes a bit of everything, from bucket-list highlights to insider experiences at each stop. Get ready to discover fascinating history and cultures, marvel at natural beauty, and experience each location through the eyes of a local.
Along the way, our guides will share history and context that will add depth and nuance to each place you visit along the way. Visit small villages far off the beaten path, chat with monks and rice farmers, and explore ancient wonders.
Learn how to cook Thai food, see what conservation and development look like in these emergent economies, and discover fascinating historical context at every stop.
Throughout the journey, stay at some of the finest properties in Southeast Asia, enjoy sumtuous meals, and make memories to last a lifetime.
Doi Suthep & Elephant Sanctuary
Welcome to Thailand! Your journey begins in Chiang Mai, the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom in Northern Thailand. This charming city is dotted with stunning ancient temples nestled amidst lush mountains and waterfalls, and irenowned for its vibrant community of artists and craftsmen.
Known as the "Rose of the North", Chiang Mai was founded well over 700 years ago. The city features a central Old City which remains encircled by moats and walls built during ancient times to protect against invasion. The surrounding mountains are home to a number of ethnic minority groups, making the greater Chiang Mai region a melting pot of diverse cultures and traditions.
Our adventure begins today with a hike up to Wat Palaad, one of the most unique temples in Chiang Mai. Beginning behind Chiang Mai University, one of the most beautiful campuses in all of Thailand, we will embark on a moderate, one-hour hike to the temple. After exploring the grounds with your guide, you will then continue up the mountain to soak in the views and the calming vibes from Chiang Mai's most famous temple, Wat Prathet Doi Suthep.
After lunch, we'll drive into the hills to get acquainted with Thailand's most revered creature, the elephant. Learn about these amazing pachyderms from the resident experts at one of the most reputable elephant sanctuaries in the region.
Returning to the hotel in the late afternoon, we will have time to freshen up and go for a quick swim in the pool before we head out for dinner at one of Chiang Mai's many excellent restaurants.
Rachamankha Boutique HotelChiang Mai, Thailand
Featuring Lanna style charm, Rachamankha is a sanctuary that enjoys a prime location in Chiang Mai’s Old City. It is just a short walk from a number of Chiang Mai’s most notable temples, including Wat Phra Singh and Wat Chedi Luang, which date back to the 1300s.
Thai Cooking Class, Explore Chiang Mai Old City
Today, we will be learning how to cook a number of classic Thai dishes. The day will begin with a trip to a local fresh market, where we will learn how to identify the key ingredients in Thai cooking. Each person will be cooking a number of dishes, so everyone will be walking away with extensive hands-on experience as well as a cookbook to take home. After some down time to relax and digest, we will set out to see some highlights of Chiang Mai's Old City. Among the points of interest that you will see are Wat Chiang Man - the oldest temple in Chiang Mai - and Wat Chedi Luang, one of Chiang Mai's most impressive landmarks. After dusk, we will be free to peruse the Chiang Mai Walking Street Market, shopping and sampling tasty local specialties on our way through the heart of the city.
Chiang Mai to Chiang Khong
Today we will be traveling north through Chiang Rai to the border town of Chiang Khong (4.5 hr drive). Along the way, we will have the chance to check out several highlights including Wat Rong Khun, one of the most iconic temples in Thailand.
Continuing onward, we will finally reach Chiang Khong, a quaint little town situated on the Mekong River. We will settle in to our hotel for the evening before sitting down to enjoy a lovely feast with views of the stunning landscape of Laos across the river.
Baan Sakuna Hotel & ResortChiang Khong, Thailand
Set along the banks of the Mekong River, Baan Sakuna Resort offers Lanna-inspired hospitality and comfort. Each room has stunning views across to the Mekong river and mountains of Laos.
Cruise the Mekong to Pakbeng, Laos
First thing this morning, we will bid farewell to Thailand and cross the Mekong River to Huay Xai, Laos. Our Lao team will be waiting for us across the bridge, and they will help us get situated on our luxury boat.
Over the next two days, we will be cruising down the meandering river through the beautiful countryside of Laos. Traveling down the river will give us the chance to feel the unique pace of life in the many riverside villages that you will float by, some of which have existed for hundreds of years without any road access. We'll stop along the way at some villages to meet the locals and learn a bit about life in these small places.
At the end of the day, we'll arrive in Pakbeng where we'll get checked in to our luxury riverside resort with stunning views of the river below.
Le Grand PakbengPakbeng, Laos
Perched high above the banks of the mighty Mekong River, Le Grand Pakbeng is a luxurious sanctuary. With a rooftop pool and exquisite touches at every turn, the resort is a perfect interlude for travelers in this remote, riverside outpost.
Cruise the Mekong (Cont'd.) to Luang Prabang
The river cruise continues today with more stops along the way, including the Pak Ou caves, which are home to hundreds of statues of the Buddha.
Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, our Lao team will take us on a short walking tour around town to get acquainted with this charming city. The Old Town of Luang Prabang's UNESCO World Heritage area is surrounded by two huge rivers. It exhibits a unique charm resulting from the confluence of traditional Lao and French colonial architecture.
In the evening, we will dine at one of Luang Prabang's many fabulous restaurants.
Sofitel Luang Prabang HotelLuang Prabang, Laos
Experience the best of both worlds, taking in the very best of modern comforts while appreciating the fine architecture and décor inspired by Lao artisans. Its swimming pool, fitness center, and lounge provide ideal areas in which to relax and enjoy the slow pace of life at this luxury 5 star hotel.
Explore Kuang Si Waterfall
Today, we will head into the mountains to a village outside of town, where we will begin a trek (optional) through friendly villages to the majestic Kuang Si Waterfall. This waterfall is truly a sight to behold, and a great place to cool off after your hike this morning.
Later in the afternoon, we'll have a chance to return to the hotel to relax and get a traditional Lao massage. In the early evening, we will also have the chance to check out the views from the top of Phou Si Mountain in the center of Luang Prabang, the best place in town to watch the sun set.
This evening you will be free to explore the city's vibrant restaurant scene and the Luang Prabang Night Market.
The Highlights of Luang Prabang
This morning, we will rise early to watch the monks of Luang Prabang receive morning alms on the streets of town (optional). This is a magical time of day to witness thousands of saffron-robed monks walking the streets barefoot to collect their one meal of the day, and it is a uniquely Luang Prabang experience that is worth seeing.
For the rest of the day, we will be discovering the unique and complex history of Laos with visit to a number of highlights in Luang Prabang city. Among them will be the UXO Museum and the Lao National History Museum - two places that provide an eye-opening look into turbulent history of the Laos.
After some down time at the hotel, we will head out for a tasty final dinner in Laos as a group.
Connect to Siem Reap, Cambodia
After a relaxing morning at the hotel, it's time to say goodbye to our Lao team, who will drop you off at the airport with some heartfelt goodbyes as the voyage continues to Siem Reap, Cambodia. We will take an a direct flight to Siem Reap in the early afternoon, where our Cambodia team will we waiting to meet us and get us checked in to our hotel.
Arriving into Siem Reap, we will have time to settle in to our exquisite hotel before hitting the town. After dinner and a brief orientation to the city, we will head to Phare, a local Cambodian Circus. This inspiring acrobat show is performed by students from Phare Ponleu Selpak, an organization that works with underserved youth on art-based education.
After the show, it's off to get some rest for our big day tomorrow exploring Angkor Wat.
Sofitel Angkor PhokeetraSiem Reap, Cambodia
Sofitel Angkor Phokeethra is situated just minutes away from the world-famous Angkor Wat temple complex, making it the perfect base to explore the ancient ruins of the Khmer Empire. It is renowned for its luxurious amenities and for the lush botanical gardens surrounding the resort, which create an unmatched tranquil environment.in Siem Reap.
Sunrise & Sunset over Angkor Wat
Rising very early, we will be out the door to catch sunrise at Angkor Wat. Our guides know some of the best-kept secrets of Angkor, and they will help our group capture some truly stunning images throughout the day today.
After sunrise, we'll head back to the resort for a lovely breakfast (which might just feel like lunch!). Generally speaking, Angkor is best explored during the morning and the late afternoon of each day, as the middle of the day tends to be rather hot and the lighting is not optimal for photography. During the day, we will have some down time to enjoy the gorgeous hotel grounds until mid-afternoon. For those who are interested, there is also a world-class spa and a golf course on the hotel grounds for guests to explore on their own!
By mid-afternoon, we'll be on our way back to Angkor Wat for the golden hour and a sublime sunset over the majestic temple grounds with our expert guide.
In the evening, the group will be free to enjoy a delicious meal on your own at one of the many chic restaurants in Siem Reap that have helped establish the city as a destination for fine cuisine. After dinner, stroll through town to peruse artwork and souvenirs, or enjoy a relaxing foot massage. Expect to sleep well tonight!
The Floating Villages of Tonle Sap Lake
Today we will visit a traditional silk farm to learn a bit about local life and industry in this region. We'll get to see the process of creating Cambodia's beautiful textiles from start to finish while also learning what village life is like here.
After that, it's time to embark on an exciting cruise through the floating village region of Cambodia. This is an eye-opening journey through this fascinating corner of Cambodia where villagers live in clusters of stilted houses and subsist with very few possessions.
During our time in the floating villages, we will have the chance to visit a school where Boundless Journeys proudly provides support to this school on behalf of each guest. We will learn about the history of this amazing project that has helped so many young people in this community. This day will leave us with a unique perspective on just how different life is for people who live in this region.
Siem Reap to Hanoi
After a busy few days, this morning will be free to enjoy as we'd like. After lunch on our own, it's time to head to the airport to catch our direct flight to Hanoi.
Hanoi is a bustling city full of charm and a rich culture that dates back thousands of years. Over the next few days, we'll have the chance to see Hanoi's most iconic sites while learning much about the history and culture of Vietnam.
Upon arrival, our Vietnam team will meet us at the airport and get us checked in to our magnificent hotel in Hanoi. We will then dine at an excellent restaurant, a dinner which will serve as a culinary introduction to Vietnamese cuisine.
Sofitel Legend MetropoleHanoi, Vietnam
This award-winning French colonial-style hotel has stood proudly in the heart of Hanoi since 1901. Once a gathering point for diplomats and high class society, the hotel has a rich history and lovely rooms, a recently built spa, and swimming pool. Within walking distance of Hoan Kiem Lake and the magnificent Opera House, the hotel is one of the few remaining hotels of its era.
Exploring Hanoi's History
Over the next two days, we will enjoy the many diverse sites of Hanoi city, the thousand-year-old northern capital of Vietnam. With an interesting mix of traditional Vietnamese architecture and French Colonial influences, Hanoi is considered one of the most beautiful cities in Vietnam. Today we will visit Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the President's House (where "Uncle Ho" worked until his final days), Ho Chi Minh's house on stilts, and One Pillar Pagoda, which showcases Vietnam's religious culture over the centuries. We'll also see Tran Quoc Pagoda, one of the country's most ancient temples, surrounded by West Lake's calm waters, and the Senator John McCain Memorial, before heading to the Ethnology Museum of Hanoi.
After some downtime to get refreshed, we will be treated to a traditional water puppet show, a unique craft that tells stories about rural life in Vietnam through precise movements of puppets in water, After the show, we will be free to explore one of the many excellent restaurants in the area on our own.
A deeper dive into Hanoi
To begin our second day in Hanoi, we'll take a cyclo (rickshaw) tour through French Quarter, the best way to explore this historic and lively part of the city. Next, we'll visit the Hoa Lo Prison and the Literature Temple, two places which are essential to the long story of Vietnamese culture for very different reasons. Then, we'll see Dong Xuan market, where we'll feel the vibrant buzz of the locals going about their business.
After lunch, the final stop of the day is Hanoi Old Quarter, famous for its intricate street plans and quality crafts sold by locals - we'll have the whole afternoon to explore and shop the Old Quarter to our heart's content, and stroll back to the hotel when you've had your fill.
As this epic journey through Southeast Asia is finally coming to an end, this evening will be a special dinner to commemorate the experiences that we have all shared.
Departure from Hanoi
It's time for our amazing Southeast Asia adventure to end. Our team will provide airport transfers for the group to catchflight home from the Hanoi airport. Safe travels, and we hope to see you on a Boundless Journeys Adventure again soon!
Please note that this is a typical itinerary, and actual activities may vary due to weather conditions, local events, and to allow serendipity to play a hand in your experience. Accommodations are as outlined in the itinerary, although we reserve the right to change these or the order visited should the need arise.
Nov 8-21, 2024
$9,895 Per Person
$595 Per Person
Internal Airfare: LPQ - REP, REP - HAN
First two singles reserved:$2,495
See single supplement policy below.
Jan 10-23, 2025
Internal Air: LPQ-REP, REP-HAN
SINGLE SUPPLEMENT: Accommodations are based on double occupancy. A single supplement is paid by participants who specifically request single accommodations, subject to availability.
Single Supplement for Scheduled Group Departures. If you reserve at least 120 days prior to departure, you may be eligible for a reduced or free single supplement. This is generally limited to the first one or two solo travelers to reserve, and the reduction is outlined in the pricing for each trip. Free or reduced single supplements are not combinable with other offers or promotions.
If you are traveling alone and wish to share accommodations, we will try to match you with a roommate of the same gender. If you reserve at least 120 days ahead and request a roommate but one is not available, you will receive a $500 reduction from the standard single supplement (unless otherwise noted in the detailed itinerary for your specific trip).
Single Supplement for Custom Tours. Custom Tour prices are generally based on two or more participants; therefore, single supplements for “solo” Custom Tours will vary and are available upon request.
Boundless Journeys’ trips are designed for energetic and flexible individuals who have a spirit of adventure and a positive attitude. Thailand, Laos, Cambodia & Vietnam: The Best of Southeast Asia is rated 1+, easy with some moderate options on a scale of 1-5 (with 5 being the most strenuous). The walks on this trip are day walks and short hikes with some vehicle support. Much of the walking will be flat terrain, in and around villages, towns and temples, 2-5 hours per day, broken up by rest and meals.
Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Most Convenient Airport for Arrival: Chiang Mai International Airport (CNX)
Most Convenient Airport for Departure:Hanoi International Airport (HAN)
Meeting Time and Place: Your Boundless Journeys guide will meet you in the lobby of the Anantara Chiang Mai at 9am on the first day of the trip.
Departure Time and Place:
Departing flights from Hanoi can be booked any time on the final day of your trip. Hotel check out is 12 noon.
Generally speaking, November through January is the cool season throughout Southeast Asia. During this period, weather is generallly pleasant and comfortable. Daytime highs will range from the upper 70s (Hanoi) to the mid 80s (Siem Reap), with highs in Chiang Mai and Luang Prabang in the low 80s on most days.
In northern Thailand and Laos, cool air can occasionally come down from the north at this time of year and deliver a refreshing nightime lows (as cold as the low 50s), but daytime highs will always reach the 80s. While rainfall can occur any time of year, it is generally rare during this time of year. The warmest months of the year are March through June.
Please come prepared to walk in rain or warm sunshine, and be sure to pack a range of lightweight, breathable layers of clothing. We will do daily activities as planned, unless weather conditions make it dangerous to do so. You may obtain more detailed weather information at www. weatherbase.com.
The best weather in this part of Southeast Asia is generally mid-October thourgh mid-February, when temperatures cool down nicely at night and rainfall is rare.
The peak travel period is from December 15th through January 6th, when hotels are often at capacity and prices spike.
June and July can also be a nice time to visit the region, and those who do will find fewer tourists and decent (if not more variable) weather.
Whether you're sampling snacks at a street-side stall or a high-end restaurant, the cuisine throughout will showcase incredible variety. Regardless of whether you are an adventurous foodie or a complete amateur with Southeast Asian cuisine, this trip will not disappoint.
As you dine across the region, keep in mind that chili peppers weren't found in the region until Portuguese traders introduced them in the 1600s!
Thai cuisine is renowned worldwide for its unique blend of flavors and textures. It's a feast for the senses, with vibrant colors, aromatic scents, and diverse tastes ranging from sweet and sour to spicy and savory. Thailand is home to a plethora of herbs, fruits, and vegetables, and Thai cuisine showcases this diversity in impressive fashion.
Popular dishes like Pad Thai, Tom Yum Goong, and mango with sticky rice are just the beginning, as delicious regional dishes, exotic fruits, and street food abound. From curries and stir-fries to soups and salads, every dish is a celebration of Thailand's rich culinary heritage.
Lao cuisine, is a rich tapestry of flavors and textures. It's often spicy, sour, and packed with fresh herbs. A staple food in Laos is sticky rice, or 'Khao Niew', which is served in small baskets and eaten by hand, often accompanied by a variety of dips, sauces, and side dishes.
Two of the most popular dishes in the country are laab (a type of salad made from minced meat such as pork, chicken, fish, or duck) and Tam Mak Hoong, a spicy salad made from shredded green papaya, tomatoes, chili, lime, fish sauce. It's similar to Thai Som Tam, except that it often includes fermented crab and fish sauce for extra flavor. Fear not - our guides know how to order a modified version for those not quite up for the real deal. Cambodian cuisine, also known as Khmer cuisine, is characterized by its simplicity, freshness, and the use of unique local ingredients. A signature dish that every visitor must try is Fish Amok, a curried fish that is steamed in banana leaves, Other popular items include Bai Sach Chrouk, (pork and rice) and Kuy Teav, a savory noodle soup. Cambodia's most iconic condiment is Prahok, a strong, fermented fish paste that is widely used in Khmer kitchens. It adds a distinct flavor to many Cambodian dishes.
The cuisine of Hanoi and Northern Vietnam offers a unique gastronomic experience. Pho is perhaps the most iconic dish from Hanoi, with broth simmered for hours with spices like star anise and cinnamon, then served with rice noodles, meat, fresh herbs, and lime. Bun Cha, consisting of grilled pork meatballs served with a tangy fish sauce, rice noodles, and a basket of fresh herbs, is another must-try dish. Banh Mi, a French-Vietnamese fusion sandwich, is a popular street food in Hanoi, made with a crusty baguette filled with various meats, pickled vegetables, and herbs. Being so close to the ocean, fresh seafood abounds as well, with fresh oysters, squid, and saltwater fish widely available.
Please inform us of any specific dietary restrictions and we will do our best to accommodate you. Please call our office with any questions or concerns about our ability to meet your needs.
With a Boundless Journeys guide, your experience is that of friend and local adventurer. We believe strongly in working with local guides, experts in the areas to which we travel, and they hold the keys to unlocking the hidden delights of your chosen destination. Although you will never know they are at work—the mark of a truly great leader—our guides make magical things happen and add a dimension to your trip that you could not experience on your own. Over the years we have forged bonds with some of the best guides in the world, and we typically work with a small team of guides in each region. You will be informed of the guide for your trip one month prior to your departure.
Southeast Asia is a feast for the senses. Boasting an incredible melting pot of cultures, rich traditions, welcoming people, and dynamic cuisine, the region is an adventurer’s delight. Discover the best of Southeast Asia with Boundless Journeys, and be prepared...
This trip can be your own adventure by taking over one of our scheduled dates, or we can request a fresh one.
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