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Beyond Boundaries

10D/09N - CRUISING THE MEKONG
10D/09N - Cruising the Mekong
BangKok , Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Luang Say Cruise, Pakbeng, Luang-PraBang
Unforgettable: This program combines Thailand's capital with the alluring northern city of Chiang Mai and the magnificence of Cambodia's Angkor temples. Begin in Bangkok, Thailand's vibrant capital filled with world-class sights, bustling markets, chic boutiques, and culinary delights. See life along the banks as you ply the Chao Phraya, or "River of Kings", and visit the magnificent Grand Palace, former home to the Kings of Siam. Chiang Mai, nicknamed "Rose of the North", is Thailand's most culturally significant northern city, and former capital of the Lanna Kingdom. The city is gateway to the destinations of the region, and famous for it's beautiful scenery, famous handicrafts, and delicioius northern cuisine. Chiang Rai is Thailand's northernmost province, and home to the "Golden Triangle", where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma converge - and infamous for it's history of opium production. The Luang Say Cruise is the most comfortable and leisurely way to enjoy the Mekong River and observe the rich and colorful Laotian countryside passing by. Comfortable accommodations in Pakbeng break the journey, and allow time to relax and enjoy the idyllic setting. Finish in Luang Prabang, truly the highlight of any visit to Laos. A quiet, lulling peacefulness permeates the city, from the beautiful temples to the warm smiles of the friendly residents. While not touring, there are charming shops to explore in town, and excellent restaurants and cafes to relax and unwind in.
Day 01: Bangkok
Arrive at Bangkok Airport and transfer by sedan to your hotel in Bangkok.

Day 02: Bangkok City Tour
Full-day private tour of Bangkok. Begin at the magnificent Grand Palace, which served as the official residence of the Kings of Thailand since the reign of Rama I. The golden stupas, glittering reflective mosaics, and colorful statues depicting mythological gods and demons are truly a sight to behold. Also on the palace grounds is Wat Phra Kaew, or Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which contains the revered priceless "Emerald Buddha" carved from a single piece of jade. Afterwards, continue to Wat Po, Bangkok's largest temple, to view it's giant reclining Buddha statue. In the afternoon travel on the picturesque Chao Phraya River; no visit would be complete without a boat ride on the "River of Kings." Visit Wat Arun, the Temple of Dawn, a major riverside landmark, and finish with a visit to the colorful and fragrant Flower Market, and Wat Saket, or Temple of the Golden Mountain. (breakfast).

Day 03: Chiang Mai

Fly to Chiang Mai, nicknamed "Rose of the North," it is gateway to the mountainous and lush countryside of northern Thailand. Visit the mountain temple Doi Suthep, situated 1,000 meters above sea level, it is one of the north's most sacred temples. Afterwards visit a nearby Hmong hilltribe village. The Hmong people are one of several ethnic minorities that live in the highland regions of Thailand, Vietnam, China, and Laos, and are known for their skill at embroidery and typically still weave their own clothing. (breakfast).

Day 04: Chiang Mai
Visit sights around Chiang Mai city today. Start at famous Kad Luang Market, Chiang Mai's busiest fresh market; and visit Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai's oldest temple known for it's splendid Chedi supported by rows of elephantine buttresses. Continue to see some of Chiang Mai's other famous temples, including Wat Prashing, Wat Jedihuang, and Wat Suan Dok, where ashes of Chiang Mai's royal families are buried. (breakfast).

Day 05: Chiang Rai
Travel through the northern countryside by car to Chiang Rai, first capital of the Thai Lanna Kingdom, and gateway to the famous "Golden Triangle" where the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Burma meet. Arrive and check into your resort. The balance of the day is free to relax. (breakfast).

Day 06: Luang Say Cruise - Pakbeng

Depart for Chiang Khong early this morning, the border crossing between Thailand and Houei Say, Laos. Depart for a 2 day/1 night cruise down the Mekong River, observing life along the riverbanks, and stopping along the way to see rural life at a minority village. Lunch is served onboard, and arrive at Luangsay Lodge before sunset for an overnight stay in Pakbeng. Note: the cruise does not operate daily, therefore travel dates need to be planned accordingly. (breakfast, lunch, dinner).

Day 07: Luang Say Cruise - Luang Prabang

There is an opportunity to visit the local market this morning before continuing the cruise down the Mekong River. En route stop at a hilltribe village to see the processing of traditional Lao whisky, and Pak Ou for a visit to the famous "Caves of a thousand Buddhas." Arrival in Luang Prabang before sunset and disembark. (breakfast, lunch).

Day 08: Luang Prabang City Tour

Touring today begins with visits to some of Luang Prabang's most important temples; Wat Visoun, the oldest operating temple in Luang Prabang with a collection of gilded wooden Buddhas from the 15th and 16th centuries, Wat Aham, known for it's two large banyan trees, and Wat Xieng Thong, the crown jewel of all monasteries and temples in the city. From there, stroll down the main street, and time permitting stop at some of the many temples that line it's sides. Continue to the National Museum (Royal Palace), a turn-of-the century royal residence which has been preserved as it was when the royal family lived there, and to Wat Mai, constructed in 1821, it is Luang Prabang's largest and perhaps most photographed temple due to it's rich decoration. Finish the day at Mount Phousi for a beautiful sunset view over the temples and rivers. (breakfast).

Day 09: Luang Prabang

Travel by road to visit the local village of Ban Muang Khai. Continue by road to Kuang Si Waterfall, located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. There is a chance to swim in the clear water, or simply relax in the natural environment. Finish with a visit to Ban Tha Pene, a nearby Khmu village. (breakfast).

Day 10: Depart Luang Prabang
After breakfast at hotel. Transfer to Luang Prabang Airport. End of our service (breakfast).

Our deluxe Thailand and Laos tours are carefully designed to provide a unique experience in the destination, promote cultural understanding and exchange, flow smoothly from place to place, allow time for relaxation and exploration on your own, provide maximum value, and very importantly to be enjoyable. The itinerary can be modified to suit your tastes, time frame, budget, and special interests. Please feel free to contact at sales@luxuryprivatetravel.com for the best price of this trip.
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