Overland tour from Laos to Thailand

A road trip through Laos’ sights and sounds. Start off in Vientiane where you can experience the heritage of the city with visits to historical sites and taste the local food. Head off to Vang Vieng to explore the town’s limestone caves and caverns. Combine the trip with a visit to Luang Prabang, where glittering temples and colonial buildings stand peacefully side by side before sailing with the Luangsay cruise to the Thai border.

Best time to visit is during the dry season from November to March.

Touring style: Professional English speaking guide and driver on a private basis

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, professional touring and transfers. Starts from:

GBP 1889 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels

GBP 2230 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels

Airfares are extra..

Overland tour from Laos to Thailand at a glance
  • Day 1: Vientiane
  • Day 2: Vientiane to Vang Vieng
  • Day 3: Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang
  • Day 4: Luang Prabang sightseeing
  • Day 5: Luang Prabang - Full Day Kuangsi Waterfall
  • Day 6: Luang Prabang to Pakbeng via Pak Ou on board the Luangsay cruise
  • Day 7: Pakbeng to Huay Xai on board the Luangsay cruise
Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 1

Day 1: Vientiane

The capital city and seat of government sit in a bend of the Mekong River amidst fertile alluvial plains. Vientiane is a laid-back city with interesting wats and lively markets.
That Luang (Great Sacred Reliquary or Great Stupa): built between the 11th and 13th centuries AD, it is the most important national monument in Laos, a symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty.

Ho Pha Keo is the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy built in 1565 by King Setthathirat and converted into a museum containing some of the best examples of Buddhist sculptures found in Laos.

Wat Si Saket: constructed in 1818 by King Anouvong in the early Bangkok style, the interior walls of the cloister are punctured with small niches that contain more than 2000 silver and ceramic Buddha images.

Patuxai: a large monument reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the huge arch at the end of Thanon Lan Xang has a stairway that leads to the top levels of the monument, providing a good view of the city.

Distance and journey time: 4 km, 15 mins

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Day 2: Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Travel by vehicle from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. This small town north of Vientiane is nestled in a scenic bend of the Nam Song River. The west bank of the river is lined with tunnels, caverns, and beautiful limestone cliffs.

Visit some of the caves for which the town is famous, including Chang Cave, used as a bunker against the marauding Chinese in the early 19th century, and Xang Cave, or "Elephant Cave", which contains a few Buddha images, a Buddha footprint and the elephant shaped stalactites which give the cave its name. Overnight in Vang Vieng.

Distance and journey time: 160 km, 3.50 hrs

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Day 3: Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Journey north passing through Ban Phatang and Muang Kasi for overnight in Luang Prabang. Set between the Nam Khan and Nam Ou rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Distance and journey time: 230 km, 5 hrs

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Day 4: Luang Prabang sightseeing

Start the day at the National Museum, a modest but graceful building which combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the-century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos.

Afterwards, visit Wat Mai and Wat Visoun (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden buddhas. Visit the nearby Wat Aham before continuing to Wat Xieng Thong, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold stencilled murals. Stroll down the main street of Luang Prabang, stopping at some of the many temples that line its sides, including Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop and Wat Sene.

Visit Mount Phousi. Climb the hillside stairs to the small temples atop Phou Si offering beautiful views over the temples and river. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

 

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Day 5: Luang Prabang - Full Day Kuangsi Waterfall

Located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. It is a tranquil place for a dip and a picnic. Continue to Ban Tha Pene, a nearby Khmu village, and Ban Long Lao before returning to Luang Prabang by vehicle. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Distance and journey time: 35 km, 45 mins each way

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Day 6: Luang Prabang to Pakbeng via Pak Ou on board the Luangsay cruise

Embark on the Luangsay boat, a traditional style wooden boat with open decks and beautiful views. Cruise upstream towards Pakbeng stopping at Ban Baw to observe the making of traditional Lao rice wine and whisky. Continue to the famous Pak Ou caves, natural shrines which have been filled over the centuries with hundreds of buddha images in every style and material. Lunch is served on board, followed by a visit to a fishing village before arriving in Pakbeng in the late afternoon. Overnight in Pakbeng.

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Day 7: Pakbeng to Huay Xai on board the Luangsay cruise

Early morning the Luang Say boat leaves the pier for a leisurely cruise up the Mekong towards Huay Xai on the Lao-Thai border. Several stops along the way offer the opportunity to sample rural life first-hand and marvel at just how little has changed over the centuries. Arrive at Huay Xai in the late afternoon and cross the border into Thailand.

Why not extend your tour to include the Northern delights of Thailand?

Highlights

Luang Prabang

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this former capital of the ancient Lane Xang kingdom is a city of golden Buddhist temples and faded French colonial splendour

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Pakbeng

Pakbeng is a bustling port town on the Mekong, midway between Houayxai and Luang Prabang.

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Vang Vieng

Vang Vieng is a small town nestled in a scenic bend of the Nam Song River, amid breath-taking limestone scenery. The departure point locally for kayaking, caving, rock climbing, mountain biking.

You can explore the local villages and scenery by foot or bicycle and relax in the evening with a cooling drink by the Nam Song.

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Vientiane

This dusty jewel of South East Asia is set among open green spaces, broad, tree lined boulevards laid out on the shore of the mighty Mekong River

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Accommodation

Luang Prabang, Deluxe Class
Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel

Located in the heart of historic Luang Prabang, Maison Souvannaphoum is within easy walking distance to the sights, river, restaurants and lively night market

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Luang Prabang, Deluxe Class
Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao

This is one of the most established and luxurious hotel in Laos with a calm and tranquil ambience that echoes that of the sleepy World Heritage town of Luang Prabang

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Luang Prabang, Superior Class
Villa Maly

Once the home of Lao royalty, Villa Maly is an exquisite luxury boutique hotel, ensconced by a profusion of tropical flora

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Luang Prabang, Standard Class
Le Sen Boutique Hotel

Le Sen is a small and intimate boutique hotel just fifteen minutes from Luang Prabang’s historic centre

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Luang Prabang, Standard Class
3 Nagas Hotel

3 Nagas Hotel is a charming boutique hotel located in the centre of Luang Prabang's UNESCO World Heritage site

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Mekong River, Cruising
The Luang Say Mekong Cruise, Laos

Custom built luxury river boats travelling on the Mekong in Laos between Luang Prabang and Huay Xai.

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Pakbeng, Simple Lodge
Luang Say Lodge

Set above the mighty Mekong River, the lodge is built of teak and rosewood from the surrounding rain forest in the traditional Laotian style.

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Vientiane, Deluxe Class
Settha Palace Hotel

Located in the heart of bustling Vientiane, Settha Palace Hotel was built in the early part of the last century, and painstakingly restored to its former imperial glory

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Vientiane, Superior Class
Green Park Boutique Hotel

The Green Park Boutique Hotel has an undeniably superb location in one of the most sought areas in Vientiane

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Vientiane, Standard Class
The Mandala Boutique Hotel

Originally built as a private residence for a French family in the 1960s, it hosted up to 500 children from 1992 onward as the first international school in Vientiane, before it was turned into a hotel

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Vientiane, Standard Class
Salana Boutique Hotel

The Salana Boutique Hotel is superbly located in the centre of Vientiane. This boutique hotel features rooms decorated in traditional Lao touches

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Vang Vieng, Superior Class
Riverside Boutique Resort

Ideally located on the bank of the Nam Song River, the multi-award winning Riverside Boutique Resort is a luxury hotel with charm and character

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