Discover bustling Bangkok, travel north via ancient Ayutthaya and adventurous Chiang Mai, before crossing the border into Laos. Journey by boat through lush farmland and rugged mountains to the riverside village Ban Pak Nguey where you'll experience traditional village life and stay in a remote homestay. You'll want to hop off and explore the UNESCO World Heritage town Luang Prabang with its beautiful architecture, temples, night markets and the spectacular Kuang Si waterfall. Travel through mountainous terrain and past breathtaking views to Vang Vieng and go tubing, cycling, kayaking or rock climbing; before heading to the country’s capital Vientiane to visit the city’s main sites, dine by the river at a local restaurant or shop at a night market before taking an overnight train back to Bangkok.
- Ayutthaya: Explore the incredible UNESCO World Heritage temple ruins by bicycle.
- Chiang Mai: An adventure seeker’s paradise. Zip-line with Flight of the Gibbon, take a cooking class, trek in the jungle, get a massage, do Muay Thai training, and shop at the weekend night market.
- Chiang Rai: Home of the elaborate White Temple.
- Ban Pak Nguey (Unique Stray Experience): Experience village life, attend a Baci (welcoming) ceremony and stay in a remote village homestay on the banks of the Mekong River.
- Luang Prabang: UNESCO World Heritage City and the cultural gem of South East Asia. Swim in spectacular Kuang Si Waterfall; bathe with elephants in the Khan River, visit a bear sanctuary, and get hands and learn how to cultivate and harvest rice from a rice farmer.
- Vang Vieng: The stunning karst rock formations along the river offer the perfect setting for outdoor activities such as tubing, cycling, kayaking or rock climbing. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife or get away from it all in a river view bungalow.
- Vientiane: Visit the COPE Centre where you’ll learn about the on-going effects of the Vietnam War.
- All transport – whether it be bus (comfortable, and air conditioned private charter bus) boat, train, or even tuk-tuk!
- Accommodation in comfortable hotels, hostels and guesthouses for each night of the tour.
- Top rated activities (detailed in the itinerary).
- Some meals (detailed in the itinerary).
- Ultimate travel flexibility – your flexi tour is valid for up to 12 months from first day of travel.
- Tour Leader to provide invaluable knowledge, support and local insight and to assist with booking additional activities.
|Laos Travel Guide
Start planning your trip!
|Bangkok City Arrival Pack
Get your trip off to a hassle free start with airport transfers and 1 nights’ accommodation close to the departure location.
Start or finish your trip with 5 nights on the beautiful island of Koh Phangan, famous for its epic Full Moon parties! Departs from Bangkok.
Please note: Given the spontaneous nature of our trips, what we do each day might occasionally vary.
Sawadee, Sabaidee (hello) and welcome to Stray! Your adventure kicks off in the buzzing Asian metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand. If you arrive early in the day feel free to check out the vibrant markets and ancient temples that make up only a small side of this multifaceted city. Be at our Stray Shop on Khao San Road at 6pm to meet your Tour Leader and your new travel mates for a Welcome Night introduction. We’ll cover how Stray works, answer any questions you have and make sure everyone is ready for tomorrow morning’s departure. Afterwards, make the most of your first night by getting to know each other over a delicious Thai dinner and a few cold beverages on Khao San Road.
Meet your Stray Tour Leader back at the Stray Bangkok Shop in the morning to depart for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya. We arrive mid-morning, allowing you plenty of time to explore the ‘Venice of the East’ by bike or boat. Ayutthaya is the former capital of the Siamese empire and was once a grandiose city, but many of the ancient monuments were ruined when it was attacked by an invading army. Nevertheless, it is still a fascinating historical park that offers a glimpse of bygone splendour. This afternoon we board our overnight train and head for the city of Chiang Mai.
We arrive into Chiang Mai train station between 8am – 11am. Chiang Mai is a popular place to hop off for many travellers and an amazing city full of endless activity options, such as Thai cooking classes, bike tours or Muay Thai kickboxing. There are over 300 Buddhist temples to discover, you can visit the old walled-city, see the Tapae Gate or pick up a bargain at the famous night market and check out the lively music scene.
Today you get to experience one of our favourite adventure activities, the Flight of the Gibbon zipline tour. After the swinging good adrenaline rush of the zip-line, you are free to enjoy dinner at one of the many great restaurants in Chiang Mai, then browse the night market, take in a ladyboy show or the Muay Thai boxing or head out for a few drinks with friends.
This morning we depart Chiang Mai to head for the Thailand-Laos border. We’ll make a stop near Chiang Rai to check out the famous and intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). Wat Rong is a unique modern Buddhist temple that features some curious statues and murals that include images from Star Wars and The Matrix, Freddie Kruger’s head hanging in the trees and a giant Predator emerging from the garden. We stop here long enough to grab a snack, stretch our legs and take a few photos before we continue on to cross the border into Laos. Once in Laos we take a short tuktuk ride into the chilled out town of Houay Xai, our stop for the night.
Leaving Houay Xai you’ll board our private slow boat up the Mekong River to the secluded village of Ban Pak Nguey. Sit back and soak up this incredible journey as you wind your way through lush farmland, thriving jungle and rugged mountain scenery, drifting past water buffalo, locals fishing, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in Ban Pak Nguey in the late afternoon. Here you will get a taste of traditional Lao village life by staying with a family in their home. Experience a special Baci (welcoming) Ceremony, swim in the river, visit the school and help the kids with an English lesson. Play a game of football with the kids, explore the local temple, go fishing and don’t forget to try the local whiskey.
We wave goodbye to the village and jump back aboard our private boat to head downriver to the famous limestone Pak Ou Caves. Pak Ou is an important pilgrimage site for Lao people, and here you will see thousands of Buddhist images that have been placed throughout the caves over hundreds of years. Back on board our boat a short trip takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage town, Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang has an old world feel that gives you the sense you’ve stepped back in time into a picturesque postcard setting. The fusion of French Colonial architecture with traditional Lao design set against a backdrop of misty mountains and lush green jungle makes this a truly majestic place.
Enjoy all this UNESCO World Heritage town has to offer. Luang Prabang is home to the National Palace Museum, Wat Xieng Thong (the oldest monastery in town) and plenty of other ancient Buddhist temples and sacred sites to explore. It’s a great place to spend a few days exploring, with options to discover rural villages by cycling or trekking the area, take a traditional Lao cooking class, kayak the Mekong River, shop at the night market or, for culture buffs, visit one of the many beautiful temples. So you get the most out of your stay in Luang Prabang, your itinerary includes the unforgettable half-day ‘Rice Experience’ and a trip to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls with entrance to the Free the Bears centre.
It’s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain on one of the most scenic journeys you’ll experience on the Laos travel route. Travel past hill-tribe villages, vast green valleys and rolling hills; we’ll make a special stop at the ‘loo with a view’. Our journey today takes us to the little riverside town Vang Vieng, formerly known as the best place to take tubing trips down the Nam Song River to visit riverside bars and indulge in cheap booze. These days you can still go tubing, but now you get to enjoy the beauty of Vang Vieng's landscape without the sound of pounding bass in the background. Upon arrival into Vang Vieng there is plenty of time to go tubing, start partying or kick back and watch re-runs of old TV shows playing at the bars around town.
Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos, stopping at the impressive Tham Jang Cave that was once used as a bunker during a Chinese invasion in the 19th century. On arrival in Vientiane your Tour Leader will point out the city’s main attractions including Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre – a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check-in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to explore the city, get a massage, go shopping or people watch at one of the local restaurants by the river.
Today you will be collected from your guesthouse in Vientiane mid-afternoon and be taken by tuk tuk to Thanaleng Train Station. Here you clear Lao customs; pay your departure fee then board a connecting train which takes you over the friendship bridge to Nong Khai in Thailand. You complete Thai immigration at the train station and have time for a meal or drink across the road before boarding the overnight train to Bangkok.
Your Stray journey officially finishes when you arrive back in Bangkok in the early morning.
Starts From: Bangkok - or anywhere on the travel loop and finish where you started! Just let us know upon booking.
Departure Days: Monday or Friday
Time: 6pm Welcome Night at the Stray Bangkok Travel Shop
Timetables are subject to change but our team will email you if this happens whilst you are travelling.
Tour: Arrival in Bangkok
|Welcome Night (Arrive)||18:00||18:00|
Tour: Bangkok to Chiang Mai (via Ayutthaya)
|Stray Shop Bangkok - 209 Khao San Road (Arrive)||09:30||09:30|
|Stray Shop Bangkok - 209 Khao San Road (Depart)||10:00||10:00|
|Ayutthaya - Good Luck Guesthouse (Depart)||17:00||17:00|
|Ayutthaya Train Station (Depart - Overnight Train)||19:45||19:45|
Tour: Arrival in Chiang Mai
|Chiang Mai (Arrive)||08:15||08:15|
Tour: Chiang Mai
|Chiang Mai (Free Day)||Free Day||Free Day|
Tour: Chiang Mai to Houay Xai
|Chiang Mai - Deejai Hostel (Depart)||09:00||09:00|
|Chiang Rai - Bus Terminal 2 (Phaholayotin Rd) (Depart)||12:15||12:15|
|Chiang Khong (Thai Border) (Depart)||14:30||14:30|
|Houay Xai (Laos Border) (Arrive)||16:00||16:00|
Tour: Houay Xai to Ban Pak Nguey (Homestay)
|Houay Xai (Laos Border) - Oudomphone Hotel 2 (Depart)||07:30||07:30|
|Ban Pak Nguey (Homestay Village) (Arrive)||15:30||15:30|
Tour: Ban Pak Nguey (Homestay) to Luang Prabang
|Ban Pak Nguey - Boat Landing (Depart)||08:00||08:00|
|Pak Ou Caves (Depart)||14:00||14:00|
|Luang Prabang (Arrive)||16:00||16:00|
Tour: Luang Prabang
|Luang Prabang (Free Day)||Free Day||Free Day|
Tour: Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng
|Luang Prabang - Joma Bakery near the Post Office (Depart)||07:00||07:00|
|Vang Vieng (Arrive)||13:30||13:30|
Tour: Vang Vieng to Vientiane
|Vang Vieng - Seng Aloun Guesthouse (Depart)||10:00||10:00|
Tour: Vientiane to Bangkok (Express Day)
|Nong Khai (Arrive)||17:15||17:15||17:15||17:15||17:15||17:15||17:15|
|Nong Khai - Train Station (Depart)||18:20||18:20||18:20||18:20||18:20||18:20||18:20|
Tour: Finish in Bangkok
How It Works
A Flexi Tour is a unique combination of a guided hop-on, hop-off Stray pass with accommodation and activities, hand-picked by our Stray experts, included in the price. This allows you to make the most of your time in Southeast Asia. You can still hop off anywhere, spend longer at your favourite places and opt for extra activities along the way.
- Accommodation is twin-share. Please only book this option if you are travelling with a companion. Single/Private room upgrade is available.
- Accommodation is included for all nights of the itinerary.
- If you choose to hop off, you'll need to arrange, and pay for, your own accommodation.
- We've chosen some top rated activities to include with this tour - check the Itinerary for details.
- If you would like to do any additional activities you can book these through your Tour Leader (at your own expense).
Want to pay-as-you-go for accommodation and activities instead? Choose a hop-on hop-off travel pass.