Young Buddhist Monks Courtesy Jack Dunn

Thailand, Laos & Cambodia - A Cultural Mosaic

Ancient and mysterious, the countries of Thailand, Laos and Cambodia beckon you to experience the magic of Southeast Asia. Marvel at the scenic beauty and fascinating cultures of the region where you will discover skillful artisans, traditional mountain villages, Buddhist temples and of course, the sauntering elephants. Explore the wonders that abound in Luan Prabang and Siem Reap, from the Tam Ting Caves to the Angkor Thom. Along the way, weave the sights and sounds of Southeast Asia into memories that you will drift back upon for years to come!

Degree of Difficulty - Three Paws

Moderately Active. May involve some moderate hikes in forests and nature reserves, getting in and out of vehicles and rocking boats, and walking in uneven pavement in archaeological sites, in some cases in extreme weather conditions, heat, high elevation and humidity.

Weather Reports - When To Go

This area of Southeast Asia is comprised of some warm and rather humid tropical countries. The climate is marked by a pronounced rainy season lasting from about May to September and a relatively dry season for the remainder of the year. Best time to visit this area is October through March when it is not too hot or rainy. Cambodia is always hot and humid – the coolest months are January & February.

Days 1/2 LOS ANGELES/BANGKOK

Board your flight for Bangkok. Upon arrival, your professional guide will escort you to your hotel on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River with convenient access to the city center. PENINSULA HOTEL. (Meals Aloft)

Day 3 BANGKOK

Experience a bygone era at Kukrit Pramoj House, five interconnected teak homes filled with lovingly preserved Thai and Khmer art, furniture and stonework. Visit the Jim Thompson House & Textile Museum, and view his superb collection of art and textiles. Continue to the Grand Palace and the Emerald Buddha, then board your riverboat on the Chao Phya River to cruise Bangkok’s old klongs (canals) with a brief stop at the Royal Barge Museum. This evening at Sala Rim Nam enjoy an authentic Thai style dinner, accompanied by classical Thai music and dances. Marvel at the graceful movements of the beautiful dancers in their glittering costumes. PENINSULA HOTEL. (B,D)

Day 4 BANG SAI/RIVER CRUISE BANG PA IN/AYUTTHAYA

Travel by coach to Bang Pa-In, the Royal Summer Palace dating to the reign of King Rama V. See the idiosyncratic gothic-style Buddhist temple of Wat Nivet. Continue to Ayutthaya, ancient capital of the Thais, board an authentic Rice Barge and enjoy lunch as you cruise the ancient canals. Learn about Thai Buddhism, temple etiquette and life along the river from noted author Steve Van Beek, author of Thailand Reflected in a River. You will be treated to a Thai foot massage before returning to Bangkok late this afternoon. Tonight, explore Asiatique’s The Riverfront, Bangkok’s first large-scale riverside project that combines shopping, dining, sightseeing, activities, and events under one roof. PENINSULA HOTEL. (B,L)

Days 5/6 CHIANG MAI

Fly to Chiang Mai renowned for its historic temples and scenic beauty. Upon arrival visit one of the oldest Lanna Buddhist temples in Chiang Mai, the City Pillar, whose animist origins predate the structure. A visit to the Cultural Center will give you a dynamic overview of this area’s long and colorful history and culture. Early this evening you will be the honored guest of author and ceramics expert, John Shaw. After dinner, browse the nearby Night Bazaar. Start early the next day with a winding drive to the summit of Doi Suthep. Climb the dragon flanked Napa staircase to the site and then spend the rest of the morning at Studio Naenna, learning about traditional textile weaving. Chiang Mai is famous for its shopping, so after lunch, visit vaarious handicraft factories on Sankhampaeng Road. Your hotel is ideally located inside the ancient walled pat of Chinag Mai just a block from the largest Buddhist temple, Wat Phra Singh. RACHAMANKHA HOTEL. (B,D; B)

Day 7 ELEPHANT CAMP/CHIANG RAI/HILL TRIBES/GOLDEN TRIANGLE

Begin this exciting day at an elephant camp where you will have the opportunity to ride one of these gentle giants through the jungle. Afterwards, the adventure continues as you raft down a small river on a traditional raft made of bamboo. In Chiang Rai and the Mekong, visit Ban Lorcha, a small mountain Akha village and community based development project. Next stop is the infamous Golden Triangle, known for centuries as the center of the opium trade. Here, the illicit crops have long since been replaced by the small tourist village of Sob Ruak and the only opium found is in the Golden Triangle Museums. Strategically located at the point where Thailand meets Laos and Myanmar, your luxury hotel is set among majestic mountains and the Mekong and Ruak Rivers. IMPERIAL GOLDEN TRIANGLE RESORT. (B,L)

Day 8 RIVERBOAT ON THE MEKONG RIVER/LAOS

Board your riverboat on the Mekong River. Cruise to the border and cross into Laos, where you continue on to Pak Beng Town. En route observe rural life, with stops at Yao and Lue tribal villages. Arrive at your comfortable lodge, built on the shores of the Mekong River in the traditional Lao style of solid wood, with unparalleled 180 degree views of the lush riverside gardens and Mekong valley. LUANG SAY LODGE. (B,L,D)

Days 9/10/11 PAKEBENG/PAK OU BUDDHA CAVES/LUANG PRABANG

Embark on the last portion of your cruise. Stop in Ban Baw village to observe the process of making traditional rice alcohol, then visit the Tam Ting Caves which harbor 1,000 Buddha images. At sunset arrive in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage City and location of your elegant resort set amidst lush gardens. This evening you may wish to explore the colorful and bustling local market. Early the next morning experience “Tak Bat” when at dawn, hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms. Today’s tour will include the royal temple, Wat Xieng Thong, the impressive “tree of life” mosaic, and the Museum, which was once a king’s palace. At the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre, learn about ethnic Lao cultures and explore the shops and cafes of this languid city on your own. On the last day in Luang Prabang, choose amongst spa activities, volunteering at an orphanage, and cooking or weaving classes. MAISON SOUVANNAPHOUM HOTEL. (B,L,D Daily)

Days 12/13/14 LUANG PRABANG/SIEM REAP

Fly to Siem Reap, where upon arrival you will be met and escorted to your intimate hotel. Begin your three days in Siem Reap at the magnificent monument, Angkor Thom. Tour the largest temple in the world, Angkor Wat, a designated World Heritage Site. Cruise the expansive Tonle Sap, the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia. Learn about Les Artisans d’Angkor project where young adults learn how to create traditional crafts and experience Cambodian culture at a dinner and dance performance on your last evening. ANGKOR VILLAGE RESORT. (B; B; B,L,D)

Days 15/16 SIEM REAP/BANGKOK/USA

Shop at a local market before transferring to the airport for your flight back to Bangkok where you are met and transferred to the MIRACLE SUVARNAB-HUMI AIRPORT HOTEL. Next day, return to the airport for your flight home, bidding farewell to exotic Southeast Asia. (B; Meals Aloft)

YOUR JOURNEY INCLUDES:

  • Superior accommodations throughout tour as indicated, or similar.
  • Breakfast daily, all other meals as indicated (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner.)
  • Water included during touring in motor coach.
  • All touring via air conditioned motor coach.
  • Two-day cruise on traditional riverboat.
  • Services of professional English-speaking tour guide throughout.
  • Cultural seminars and experiences throughout.
  • All applicable hotel taxes and gratuities for baggage handling.
  • All entry fees.
  • Complimentary baggage tags and passport wallet.

Prices vary by season and package. Please inquire by phone at (800) 627-1244 or email info@classicescapes.com for more information and a pricing estimate.