The meeting time and place for this trip is on Day 1 at 17:30 in the rooftop bar of River View Bangkok Hotel in Bangkok (Thailand).
Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand
- Arrive in Bangkok to meet your group and adventure leader who will provide you with your trip briefing.
- Get to know your new travel companions over dinner and drinks in an idyllic rooftop bar with stunning views.
- After dinner head to the sleeper train to kick start your journey! Your train will depart at 7.35PM from the station – so don’t be late!
Day 2: Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Wake up to see the stunning scenery your train will be passing through before you arrive in Chiang Mai, the 700-year-old cultural capital of Northern Thailand.
- Spend the morning at the Elephant Jungle Sanctuary, an ecotourism project set-up by The Karen Hilltribes Trust. Feed, walk and wash the elephants.
- After, we head straight to the hostel (with a pool) to check in.
- Once refreshed, check out the city’s food market for dinner and live music.
- Optional: In the evening, learn how to cook authentic Thai dishes. (£20)
Day 3: Chiang Mai, Thailand
- Explore the city’s dozens of temples and cultural delights. For the thrill seekers amongst you, get your adrenaline fix on one of the optional adventure activities.
- Optional: Go zip lining, drive a quad bike, or go rafting down the Mae Taeng River. (£25 each)
- In the evening, witness a Muay Thai kickboxing match and see two fighters go at each other fist to foot. (£8)
- For our first night out in the town, head to the iconic Chiang Mai bar, ‘Zoe in Yellow.’
Day 4: Chiang Dao, Thailand
- Get picked up for a short drive to the countryside where you will cycle through Northern Thai Villages on the outskirts of Chiang Mai.
- Go off the beaten track and hike through the thick jungle to a waterfall that, to this day, remains wonderfully untouched by the outside world.
- Stay overnight in a local settlement of tree top houses in Chiang Dao for one of the best stargazing experiences. (Chiang Dao translated means ‘City of Stars’)
Day 5: Chiang Dao, Thailand
- Wake up to an incredible sunrise looking out over the Thai countryside.
- We will drive back to Chiang Mai in time for breakfast and then hop on the bus to Chiang Kong.
- On the way, we will stop at Wat Rong Khun (White Temple). It’s a traditional temple with a contemporary twist after its renovation by a local artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat. (£1)
- After checking into the hostel, spend the evening slipping into the backpacker vibe with a few cold ones.
Day 6: Mekong River, Laos
- Make the boat crossing into Laos for the next leg of your adventure tour.
- To get to the boat, we will go on a short bus drive where you will have the chance to grab some snacks before setting off on your boat journey.
- Board the slow boat at midday and begin your ride down the Mekong River. It’s a slow paced (the clue’s in the name) way to travel and makes a change from the buses. Take the chance to relax, have a few beers and smile at the water buffalo as you pass them by.
- At 6 pm we will arrive in Pakbeng village. Giving you enough time to wander around and sample the local delicacy of ‘buffalo curry.’
Day 7: Luang Prabang, Laos
- With some of the slow boat journey still to go, be sure to pick up some Pakbeng sandwiches, a cultural remnant from French occupation.
- Arrive at Luang Prabang at 4:30 pm where you will be picked and taken to your accommodation.
- Spend the evening at Hmong Market and enjoy drinks on the river, watching the sunset.
Day 8: Luang Prabang, Laos
- Spend the morning at the Big Brother Mouse volunteering program, interact with local children who are learning to speak English and develop your understanding of Laos’s culture.
- OPTIONAL: Learn about ‘the farm to table process’ of making rice at the Rice Experience farm. (£24)
- Spend the afternoon at Kuang Si Falls, made up of three tiers and the biggest in the Luang Prabang area. Jump in, slide down, and prepare to get very wet!
Day 9: Vang Vieng, Laos
- In the morning, it’s time to head off to Vang Vieng.
- You’ll arrive at about 4 pm and have some time to wander around this backpacker paradise.
Day 10: Vang Vieng, Laos
- Optional: Make sure you equip yourself with your LED headlamps for this activity. Spend the morning exploring Tham Phu Kham Cave and, for the more daring amongst you, swim in the dark by switching off your headlights, an eerie but thrilling experience. (£5)
- In the afternoon, take a dip in the Blue Lagoon and have a go at rock climbing. Later on, explore the surrounding area and bars by tubing. A hedonistic backpacking classic. Grab an inflatable and relax as you float downstream. (£6)
Day 11: Hanoi, Vietnam
- In the morning take a bus journey to the airport to fly out to Hanoi, moving onto Vietnam.
- After landing, take a bus into town and arrive at the hostel at 6:30 pm.
- Join in the free bar crawl, which heads around the city’s Old Quarter.
Day 12: Hanoi, Vietnam
- Optional: Visit Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Museum (£1.50) and learn about the communist party of Vietnam. Afterward, take a chance to see the other side of the nation’s history with a visit to the ancient Hanoi Citadel, used by Imperial Vietnam’s emperors. (£1.50)
- End the touring at the Temple of Literature, the city’s main temple. (£1.50)
- Have some dinner and then take the sleeper bus to Sa Pa, travelling from 10 pm – 6 am.
Day 13: Sa Pa, Vietnam
- After breakfast, trek through the Muong Hoa Valley. Admire the incredible scenery of the Hoang Lien mountain ranges and trek through terraced rice paddies.
- Meet local Black H’mong tribes.
- Cross the suspension bridge into the Zay tribe’s village where you will enjoy one of the families’ hospitality. Receive a wood-fired meal and then stay in a homestay in their hut.
Day 14: Sa Pa, Vietnam
- Continue the trek, travelling through bamboo forests towards the Giang Ta Chai waterfall.
- Pass through more tribal villages, home to both H’mong and Red Zao tribes.
- Take the bus back to Sa Pa for dinner and a shower, then head back to Hanoi on the sleeper bus, 4 pm – 10 pm.
Day 15: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
- In the morning travel to Halong Bay by bus and boat.
- The area’s known for its beautiful and dramatic landscape, defined by its towering karst peaks. In fact, it looks so impressive it’s where they chose to film King Kong: Skull Island.
- Spend the afternoon on a boat cruise – have a go at kayaking and, if you are bold enough, go cliff jumping.
- In the evening we head out to spend the night on our own private beach with a chance for some partying and late night bonfires.
Day 16: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam
- Wake up to a beautiful sunrise and spend your morning hanging out with the local monkeys.
- Optional: Try your hand at rock climbing; it’s a scary climb, but the view is worth it, at least some people think so… (£18)
- In the afternoon return to Hanoi and then hop on the night bus to Phong Nha, 6.30pm to 4 am.
Day 17: Phong Nha, Vietnam
- Sleep in until 10 am to get some rest after a night’s travel than enjoying a late morning cycle into Bong Lai village.
- In the afternoon bike to the brilliantly named Pub With Cold Beer. Take a chance to relax there; play some volleyball, eat some food and jump in the river.
- Optional: Spend the evening enjoying some karaoke with your group. You should be comfortable enough to sing around each other now, right? (£5)
Day 18: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam
- Spend the day exploring Phong Nha’s coastal caves in full, with activities including floating in the mud, zip-lining across the water and kayaking.
- In the evening you’re free to do as you wish.
Day 19: Hoi An, Vietnam
- It’s an early start hopping on the 4 am – 12.30 pm sleeper bus to Hoi An, with a mid-way stop for breakfast.
- In the afternoon arrive at the beautiful Hoi An. Get a tour of the old town, the river front, and the Japanese and Vietnamese architecture
- Make the most of Hoi An’s boutiques and take the opportunity to buy a new suit or pair of boots at a price you wouldn’t see at home.
Day 20: Hoi An, Vietnam
- Free day.
- It’s a lovely opportunity to dedicate a whole day to Hoi An’s beach and, if you fancy it, having a go on a crab boat. (£20)
- Alternatively, go to a local farm and learn about how local farmers work in the area. (£20)
- In the evening take the bus to Danang and then head on the night train to Saigon at 11 pm.
Day 21: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Arrive in Ho Chi Minh (often referred to as Saigon) at 4 pm.
- Head over to the hostel to refresh. The evening bar crawl starts from the hostel’s roof top bar.
- For those interested, visit Ben Thanh Market for great fashion bargains and a delicious street food dinner.
Day 22: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- A day of history starts at the Cu Chi tunnels dug by the Communist guerrilla group, the Viet Cong, that used the tunnels as a war asset to fight American and South Vietnamese troops during the civil war.
- Optional: Spend your afternoon at the War Remnants Museum to learn about the impact of the Vietnam War (1955-1975). (£5)
- Use the evening to explore Ho Chi Minh after dark.
Day 23: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
- Begin the tour of the Mekong Delta by going to the Tho Floating Market.
- In the afternoon, take a boat ride through the tranquil Tra Su Forest, moving through a layer of plant life growing out of the water.
- As it reaches evening, arrive at the hostel in Chau Doc.
Day 24: Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
- Cross the border at Ha Tien and wave goodbye to your Vietnam guide as you enter Cambodia.
- Transfer to Sihanoukville Beach. Drive a couple of hours and then arrive at the ferry jetty, taking the ferry to Koh Rong Island.
- Embrace the beautiful paradise island you have now entered, full of stunning beaches and moon parties.
Day 25: Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
- Enjoy a free day on the beach on Koh Rong Island.
- Optional: If you’re a restless soul and the beach isn’t enough, take the opportunity to try out scuba diving. (£70)
Day 26: Koh Rong Island, Cambodia
- Set off in the morning to go on a boat trip for the day.
- Explore the surrounding islands, visit a local village, and go snorkeling to discover the marine life lying beneath the waves.
- Spend the night sleeping in a hammock on a deserted beach.
- As the daylight fades, bioluminescent plankton reveal themselves in the seawater. It’s an incredible sight, which you’ll never forget.
Day 27: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Spend a day travelling back across the islands
- Step aboard the ferry to head back to Sihanoukville, where you’ll transfer to a bus taking you to Phnom Penh, travelling 1:30 pm – 6 pm.
Day 28: Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- In the morning, we will spend a sombre visit to the Killing Fields and S21 prison, learning about darker times in Cambodia’s history.
- In the afternoon visit the stunning Royal Palace.
- Take an evening off to soak up Phnom Penh.
Day 29: Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Hop on the bus to Siem Reap (8:45 am – 3:45 pm) to spend the rest of the afternoon relaxing by the pool.
- In the evening take on the Fear Factor Challenge (exploring strange exotic food) complemented by enjoying drinks from a ‘tuk tuk cocktail bar.’
Day 30: Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Start the day by seeing the Angor Wat at sunrise; it’s an essential part of visiting Siem Reap.
- Wander around the area’s temples: Angor Wat, Bayon Temple and Ta Prohm (which gained increased fame for its role in Tomb Raider).
- Enjoy some free time by the pool in the afternoon.
- In the evening, get ready for our last big night out! Explore Pub Street, the centre of Siem Reap, and visit the night market for a bite to eat.
Day 31: Siem Reap, Cambodia
- After 31 days of revelling in some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes, it’s time to bid farewell to your companions. However, rest assured, while you may be leaving Southeast Asia, the spirit of these beautiful nations will never really leave you.
- Take the bus back to Bangkok to continue your travels.