31-day Backpacking Tour of Southeast Asia | The Dragon Trip

31-day Backpacking Tour of Southeast Asia

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31 days - £1,469

Embrace Southeast Asia’s wealth of unforgettable experiences on our 31-day adventure tour of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia: it's an action packed adventure designed to feed the wanderlust of 18 to 30 year-olds. Our adventure leaders will guide you around the region’s hidden gems and major highlights so you can get the most out of your trip. Explore the jungle to lead you to a remote waterfall, feed playful elephants, and swim amidst bioluminescent plankton. Curious to find out more? Use the chat on the right hand of your screen to speak to our experts or enquire below to book your incredible Southeast Asian adventure!

Itinerary

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Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand

Arrive in this vibrant Asian metropolis to meet your group and adventure leader. Enjoy dinner and drinks in an idyllic rooftop bar and watch the sunset across the cityscape before boarding the sleeper train to kick-start your trip.

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Day 2–3: Chiang Mai, Thailand

Head to Chiang Mai, an ancient capital of Thailand and a refreshing contrast to Bangkok. Witness the city’s surviving heritage, visit the elephant sanctuary, explore the surrounding area on quad-bikes and experience the city’s bustling nightlife.

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Day 4-5: Chiang Dao, Thailand

Trek in the surrounding area of Chiang Dao, or ‘Little Tuscany’, as it has been nicknamed with good reason. Stay overnight in a local settlement of tree-top houses for an incredible stargazing experience. Hike through its thick jungles, make a stop at a hidden waterfall and bike around the tranquil countryside.

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Day 6: Mekong River, Laos

Much of Laos remains unspoiled by the modern world. Begin your journey through this culturally rich republic on a boat flowing down the Mekong River. Sit back, relax and admire your surroundings as you pass through the heart of Laos.

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Day 7–8: Luang Prabang, Laos

Luang Prabang is a UNESCO World Heritage Site famed for its exceptionally preserved temples, rich culture and cascaded waterfalls. Take a dip in the turquoise pools of Kuang Si Falls and speak with local children to help develop their English skills.

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Day 9-10: Vang Vieng, Laos

Travel 105 miles north to find yourself in the backpackers’ heaven of Vang Vieng. The village remains a popular stop for travellers to recharge while offering plenty of adventurous activities. Swim in the Blue Lagoon, explore the Tham Phu Kham Cave and have a go at tubing.

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Day 11-12: Hanoi, Vietnam

Get swept away by the romance of Hanoi, home to French architecture and lush forestry. This political and cultural capital is a city of contrasts; old and new, native and foreign. Explore the Old Quarter and visit the Hoa Lo Prison to learn about the nation’s past.

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Day 13-14: Sa Pa, Vietnam

Appreciate Vietnamese hospitality in a hillside community tribe homestay. Trek along the Muong Hoa Valley, through bamboo forests and across terraced rice paddies. Pass by tribal villages and stop at a hidden waterfall.

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Day 15-16: Ha Long Bay, Vietnam

105 miles from Hanoi lies Ha Long Bay. With roughly 3,000 limestone islands and stunning beaches, it is no surprise it was handpicked as the film location for Kong: Skull Island. Head out on a boat cruise, kayak, and spend the night on your own private beach.

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Day 17: Phong Nha, Vietnam

Explore Bong Lai Valley by bike and cycle past rural farms and villages along the way. Stop at ‘Pub With Cold Beer’ for a drink, bite to eat, and, if you fancy, a game of volleyball with the locals. Tired limbs? Relax in one of the hammocks or float in the river on a borrowed tube with your beer.

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Day 18: Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, Vietnam

An action packed day in Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO site that is famed for its high biodiversity, stunning limestone plateaus and tropical forests. Spend the day exploring its wondrous caves, floating in mud-pools, kayaking, and zip-lining across the water!

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Day 19-20: Hoi An, Vietnam

Once a major port during the ancient Champa Kingdom, this amiable city is best known for its picturesque architecture. Explore the UNESCO Site, Hoi An Ancient Town, sniff-out small treasures in its boutique shops, relax on the beach, and jump on a boat to catch some crabs.

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Day 21-23: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Also known as Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is a vibrant, youthful city that was a focal point in the Vietnam War. Explore its history then jump on a longtail boat and head into the Mekong Delta to explore its floating markets and discover the Tra Su Forest that emerges from the water.

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Day 24-26: Koh Rong Island, Cambodia

Koh Rong Island is a true Southeast Asian paradise. Its distinctive blue sea, uninhabited islands and stunning landscape has attracted TV shows such as Survivor to its shores. Snorkel with bioluminescent plankton, lose yourself in an all-night moon party and sleep on the beach under star-studded skies.

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Day 27-28: Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Once synonymous with conflict, this now trendy and alluring city has become a must visit for backpackers. Come to be dazed by its Royal Palace and jerked back to reality by visiting the S21 Prison and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek. Your senses are going to get a run around here!

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Day 29-31: Siem Reap, Cambodia

Be amazed as you walk through Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument known to man.  Surprise your taste buds with the delights of beetles and bugs and head out to the party district of Siem Reap for one last big night out.

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.
  • Optional: In the evening, learn how to cook authentic Thai dishes. (£20)
  • Optional: Watch a Muay Thai Boxing Show and cheer on the fighters as they go fist to foot! (£8)

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)
  • For our first night out in the town, explore the vibrancy of the night market before heading to the iconic Chiang Mai bar, ‘Zoe in Yellow.’

Day 4: Chiang Dao, Thailand

  • Transfer to Chiang Dao and check into your tree-top accommodation.
  • After lunch, 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.
  • Return to your accommodation and enjoy dinner with the locals.
  • Make the most of your stay in the ‘City of Stars’ as you enjoy one of the best stargazing experiences from your tree-top houses.

Day 5: Chiang Dao, Thailand

  • Wake up to an incredible sunrise looking out over the Thai countryside.
  • After breakfast, go biking along the outskirts of Chiang Dao and enjoy the tranquil countryside.
  • Head back to Chiang Mai where you will catch your transfer to Chiang Kong on the Laos border.
  • 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 make your way to Vang Vieng.
  • Head straight to the Blue Lagoon where you can swim in the refreshing waters and relax in the sun.
  • 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)
  • Transfer to the hostel at about 5pm and check in.
  • Enjoy a free evening to relax or explore this backpacker paradise.

Day 10: Vang Vieng, Laos

  • Optional: Try your hand at rock climbing or take a biking tour of the area, followed by a hike up to Pha Ngern Viewpoint for breath-taking views.
  • Later on, explore the surrounding area and bars by tubing along the Mekong River. A hedonistic backpacking classic. Grab an inflatable and relax as you float downstream. (£6)
  • Enjoy some free time in the evening to further explore the wonders Vang Vieng at night.

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 the Hoa Lo Prison (£1) and learn about Vietnam’s history before heading over to relax by Hoan Kiem lake.
  • Have lunch at Old Quarter Street followed by a free afternoon to explore Hanoi.
  • 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 and grab a simple lunch before hopping on a bus back to Hanoi.
  • Arrive in Hanoi at around 8pm and enjoy the evening to spend as you please.

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, 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 enjoy a relaxing breakfast.
  • Hop into a kayak and explore the famous karst peaks on the water.
  • Grab some lunch to refuel before heading back to Hanoi.
  • Arrive in Hanoi at approx. 5pm 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 riverfront, 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

  • Today is a 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)
  • Enjoy a free evening to grab some delicious food or explore Hoi An at night.

Day 21: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

  • Grab some breakfast before boarding the bus to Da Nang.
  • Catch a flight from Da Nang to Ho Chi Minh City and arrive at your accommodation at around midday.
  • Optional: Emark on an orientation walking tour of the city.
  • For those interested, visit Ben Thanh Market for great fashion bargains and a delicious street food dinner.
  • Head to the hostel’s rooftop bar, the first stop of this evening’s bar crawl.

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 Ha Tien.

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 Koh Rong island by boat, visit a local village, and go snorkeling to discover the marine life lying beneath the waves.
  • As the daylight fades, bioluminescent plankton reveal themselves in the seawater. It’s an incredible sight, which you’ll never forget.
  • Spend the night sleeping in a hammock on a deserted beach and fall asleep to the gentle sound of waves.

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 S21 prison and Killing Fields of Choeung Ek, learning about darker times in Cambodia’s history.
  • In the afternoon explore a completely different side of the city’s history, with a visit to the stunning Royal Palace.
  • Take an evening off to soak up Phnom Penh, the riverside promenade is beautiful at night.
  • For a touch of class, have a drink at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club. One of the city’s most sophisticated joints.

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.
  • Take the bus back to Bangkok which will arrive at approx. 16:00.

Departures Dates

Departing Finishing Price Status
3rd Aug, 2018 2nd Sep, 2018 £1,469 FULLY BOOKED
6th Sep, 2018 6th Oct, 2018 £1,469 FULLY BOOKED
18th Oct, 2018 17th Nov, 2018 £1,469 FULLY BOOKED
22nd Nov, 2018 22nd Dec, 2018 £1,469
7th Jan, 2019 6th Feb, 2019 £1,469
15th Jan, 2019 14th Feb, 2019 £1,469
11th Feb, 2019 13th Mar, 2019 £1,469
25th Feb, 2019 27th Mar, 2019 £1,469
7th Mar, 2019 6th Apr, 2019 £1,469
18th Mar, 2019 17th Apr, 2019 £1,469
1st Apr, 2019 1st May, 2019 £1,469
15th Apr, 2019 15th May, 2019 £1,469
25th Apr, 2019 25th May, 2019 £1,469
6th May, 2019 5th Jun, 2019 £1,469
20th May, 2019 19th Jun, 2019 £1,469
3rd Jun, 2019 3rd Jul, 2019 £1,469
17th Jun, 2019 17th Jul, 2019 £1,469
1st Jul, 2019 31st Jul, 2019 £1,469
8th Jul, 2019 7th Aug, 2019 £1,469
29th Jul, 2019 28th Aug, 2019 £1,469
12th Aug, 2019 11th Sep, 2019 £1,469
26th Aug, 2019 25th Sep, 2019 £1,469
7th Oct, 2019 6th Nov, 2019 £1,469
28th Oct, 2019 27th Nov, 2019 £1,469
18th Nov, 2019 18th Dec, 2019 £1,469
  • A deposit is required to make a reservation, with the balance due 60 days prior to departure (unless booking with one of our promotions, for which specific balance due dates may apply). The deposit is £200 GBP / $300 USD / $300 AUD / €300 EUR.
  • Looking for assistance booking pre/post trip accommodation? Just let us know what you need!
  • For customers making payment from the UK: please note that when you are making a payment into our US dollar account you must request your bank to send the money directly to our US dollar account at HSBC UK. Otherwise they may use an intermediary bank resulting in an added wiring fee charged to you of $25.00.
  • If you would like to alter your trip itinerary from the one provided to you by us then please contact us more than 60 days before your trip departs so that we can make your trip the perfect one for you! When you tell us, we can relay all information to our on the ground staff and make the appropriate arrangements.
  • The price of a single room upgrade for the trip is £399 ($519) and a double or twin room upgrade is £229 ($279) per person.

Meeting time and place details

  • 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).

Koh Rong

  • At certain times of the year (low season particularly) we have days when the weather and wave conditions mean we are unable to use boats to access around the islands. In these circumstances we continue to operate by trekking through the island instead so should these conditions coincide with your visit we would have to adapt the tours accordingly.
  • This may also apply to the conditions for camping and hammock stays, we may have to adapt the tour to include village homestays or accommodation we have on other beaches around the island. Prices may vary in accordance with the accommodations requested.

 Food

Food is included in the price on the following days:  
  • Chiang Dao:
    Day 4 – Lunch and dinner Day 5 - Breakfast
  • Slow Boat:
    Day 6 - Breakfast Day 7 – Breakfast and Lunch
  • Luang Prabang:
    Day 8 & 9 - Breakfast
  • Vang Vieng:
    Day 10 & 11 - Breakfast
  • Hanoi:
    Day 12 - Breakfast
  • Sapa:
    Day 13 - Breakfast, lunch and dinner Day 14 - Breakfast and lunch
  • Hanoi & Halong Bay:
    Day 15 - Breakfast, lunch and dinner Day 16 - Breakfast, lunch
  • Phong Nha:
    Day 17 - Breakfast Day 18 – Breakfast and lunch
  • Hoian:
    Day 20 & 21 - Breakfast
  • Saigon:
    Day 22 - Breakfast
  • Mekong Delta:
    Day 23 – Lunch and dinner Day 24 - Breakfast
  • Koh Rong:
    Day 26 – Lunch and dinner Day 27 - Breakfast

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