Buddha Statues, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Thailand and Laos



12 Days

Prices Start from

$4,825pp (ex. flights)

Captivating Bangkok, the peaceful hill tribes of Northern Thailand, gentle river journeys plus temples and elephants. This 12 day holiday combining Thailand and Luang Prabang in Laos gives a varied insight into this charming region of South East Asia.

Key Highlights of this Itinerary

Monks in Ayutthaya, Thailand 1

Ancient Capitals

Step back in time amidst the enigmatic temple ruins of Ayutthaya, the former royal capital.

Elephant with trunk raised spraying water in river. 2

A Respectful Elephant Experience

Spend a magical day in the company of elephants.

Close up of tribal woman wearing an elaborate headress of colourful beads and coins. 3

Hill Tribes

Spend a day with the Akha people cooking traditional dishes and learning how they live off the land.

Man on river boat, Luang Prabang, Laos 4

Thailand to Laos by Boat

Cruise the Mekong, from Thailand to UNESCO Luang Prabang.

Why we like it

We love the variety of this holiday to Thailand and Laos. It combines the temples, cuisine and markets of Bangkok with the mountains and hill tribes of northern Thailand before a two-day cruise to Luang Prabang – a real highlight. Relax as you gently cruise the Mekong stopping to visit small villages and witnessing a traditional way of life. Explore Luang Prabang by bike before spending a full day in the company of rescued Asian elephants – a humbling and privileged experience.

Explore our suggested itinerary

  • Day 1


  • Day 2 - 3


  • Day 4

    Bangkok - Chiang Rai

  • Day 5 - 6

    Chiang Rai

  • Day 7

    Chiang Rai (Thailand) - Huay Xai - Pakbeng (Laos)

  • Day 8

    Pakbeng - Luang Prabang

  • Day 9 - 11

    Luang Prabang

  • Day 12

    Luang Prabang

Day 1


Day 2 - 3


Monks in Ayutthaya, Thailand

Step back in time amidst the enigmatic temple ruins of Ayutthaya, the former royal capital.

Day 4

Bangkok - Chiang Rai

Day 5 - 6

Chiang Rai

Close up of tribal woman wearing an elaborate headress of colourful beads and coins.

Spend a day with the Akha people cooking traditional dishes and learning how they live off the land.

Day 7

Chiang Rai (Thailand) - Huay Xai - Pakbeng (Laos)

Man on river boat, Luang Prabang, Laos

Cruise the Mekong, from Thailand to UNESCO Luang Prabang.

Day 8

Pakbeng - Luang Prabang

Day 9 - 11

Luang Prabang

Elephant with trunk raised spraying water in river.

Spend a magical day in the company of elephants at MandaLao elephant sanctuary.

Day 12

Luang Prabang

Our travel experts can tailor this itinerary to suit you.

More Details

Close up of chef cooking on a flame surrounded wok.
Street food in Bangkok
Aerial shot of a floating thai noodle maker on boat surrounded by steaming water and ingredients.
Floating Thai noodle trader

Michelin Star Street Food in Bangkok

Chinatown Bangkok is a real foodie paradise offering the chance to explore Thailand street food culture at its best. Home to Bangkok 1, the cities Michelin Star street food restaurant, owned by charismatic 70 year old Jay Fai. Her open kitchen restaurant comes alive with new generation gourmands after the sun has set.

On the fringes of Chinatown take a stroll around Soi Nana, an edgy, arty street of bars, galleries and cafés and home to Bangkok’s first gin bar as well as coffee shops, low-key art galleries, and old Chinese shop houses with roof top bars.

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View out from cliffside caves towards river and jungle beyond. Buddhist sculptures within cave in the foreground.
Pak Ou Caves, Laos
Dawn on the Mekong River, Luang Prabang, Laos
Dawn on the Mekong River

Thailand to Laos by Slow Boat

The Mekong River forms a natural border with Laos and it is possible to journey from the Thai border all the way to Luang Prabang on a relaxing two day cruise. Journey overland to the border with Laos before boarding a comfortable 40 passenger boat to gently cruise through varied and spectacular scenery, stopping to overnight at a local riverside lodge. Towering mountains hide small hill tribe villages and the Ban Pak Ou cliffside caves, crammed with miniature Buddha sculptures.

Elephant walking towards camera in shallow river surrounded by jungle.
Asian elephant at MandaLao Sanctuary
Family of Asian elephants walking into the river at sunset.
Elephants bathing, Thailand

A Respectful Elephant Experience

Set on the banks of the Nam Khan river, MandaLao Elephant Sanctuary is a pioneering camp, steering away from elephant rides and offering a more natural, responsible and interactive experience. The mission of the sanctuary is to show the highest level of care to rescued elephants and influence the growth of ethical elephant tourism while safeguarding the species.

Spend time with passionate and knowledgeable guides, learning about the elephants, their behaviour, diet and plight – and how you can help. Join them as they freely roam the sanctuary, trekking through the forest and bathing in the river.

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Green bike leant against a low wall with Mekong River on other side.
Wat Xieng Thong Temple, Luang Prabang, Laos
Wat Xieng Thong Temple, Luang Prabang
Novice Monks, Luang Phrabang, Laos
Novice monks in Luang Prabang
Stitching Textiles, Laos
Stitching textiles, Laos

Luang Prabang by Bike

A slower pace of travel lends itself perfectly to exploring the charming city of Luang Prabang. Explore peaceful streets and back alleys as well as some of the less known, exquisite Buddhist temples and monasteries. Stop at a ‘fresh market’ where our guides will introduce you to the weird and wonderful produce on sale before pausing for a traditional Lao coffee and snacks. Finally, follow the Mekong river to a more rural Laos, home to farmland and traditional textile arts.


Below you can see some of the wonderful places we have recommended for this journey.

Anantara Golden Triangle £££££

  • Thailand
  • Wilderness

On a ridge overlooking the hills of Myanmar and Laos, the Anantara Resort Golden Triangle is as enchanting as the region in which it’s located. With suites of varying sizes, lovely open-sided restaurants with far-reaching views and an opportunity to spend time with the resident elephants, the Anantara has always been a great choice for a few days in the Golden Triangle.

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Ariyasom Villa £££££

  • Thailand
  • City

Ariyasom Villa is a wonderfully personal 24-room boutique hotel, conveniently located in the heart of central Bangkok. The Villa was built in 1942 as a private home and is still owned and run by the granddaughter and her husband. The well-respected, predominantly vegetarian Na Aroon is open for stylish Thai food in the evening and gives a hearty breakfast for guests stetting off on a busy day of exploring before returning to the peaceful pool to cool off. Ariyasom is for those wanting something more unique in a cosmopolitan city.

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Amantaka £££££

  • Laos
  • City

Amantaka (taka meaning Tipitaka, the teachings of Buddha and Aman the well-known luxury hotel group), is housed in a series of beautiful French colonial buildings with high ceilings and shady verandas. Aman Resorts took possession of the site in late 2005 and after the painstaking restoration under strict UNESCO guidelines, have successfully provided one of Luang Prabang’s most beautiful properties. It houses 25 suites, some with pools and all beautifully decorated with Aman’s typical flair.

View Property

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A note on price

Prices will vary depending on the time of year you are travelling. Prices do not include international flights. Please ask one of our Travel Experts for an accurate quote. Flights purchased through Steppes Travel departing from the UK are ATOL protected.

This Itinerary
From $4,825 Per person

When to travel

Thailand in January

Throughout January, Thailand will experience average temperatures of 27°C with very little rainfall, ideal for a winter sun destination to Thailand’s beaches on the west coast. January can be less humid than February and March, yet still experiences daily sunshine.

Thailand in February

February will bring guaranteed sunshine to most of Thailand with January through to March being the best time to visit the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Phangan with temperatures averaging 25°C.

Thailand in March

Temperatures in March begin to rise so the entire country will experience sunshine and warm weather. When visiting Thailand’s cities, such as Bangkok, sightseeing may be less comfortable with the higher humidity levels during the day yet pleasant temperatures in the evenings.

Thailand in April

Thailand will experience very hot temperatures throughout the country. Cooler temperatures will be experienced in northern regions with an average of 29°C and occasional rainfall in western regions.

Thailand in May

May will bring marginally cooler temperatures throughout Thailand than previous months with more chances of rainfall, particularly in western regions yet higher chances of daily sunshine in the east.

Thailand in June

Prior to the monsoon season, June can be a great time to travel to Thailand with fewer crowds yet will still experience daily sunshine. Average temperatures can range from 25°C to 32°C.

Thailand in July

From July to October, Thailand will experience the monsoon, bringing most of the country’s annual rainfall during this period.

Thailand in August

As the peak on the monsoon season, September will bring heavy rainfall throughout Thailand yet eastern regions experience monsoon rains later than the rest of Thailand.

Thailand in September

September will experience similar temperatures and humidity levels to August but depending on the region of Thailand, some areas will see less frequent rain showers even though it is likely to rain daily. Flooding may occur in some regions if the monsoon rains were particularly heavy in previous months.

Thailand in October

As the monsoon season begins to end, October will experience less frequent rainfall and lower levels of humidity making it an excellent month for sightseeing and visiting the countryside to view the lush, green vegetation.

Thailand in November

Thailand benefits from great weather year-round, with the best time to visit is from November to March. During these months, day temperatures are more bearable and there is less chance of rain.

Thailand in December

December is one of Thailand’s peak months with lower humidity levels and comfortable temperatures throughout the country, allowing for opportunities to explore the entire country.

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