North Isaan and the Mekong
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Explore the lesser-known northern regions of Thailand along the River Mekong and discover their main cultural attractions during this magical four-day tour of the country. This beautiful part of Thailand is overflowing with elaborate monuments, verdant dreamlike landscapes, eclectic markets, and a spectacular natural river setting. Get closer to the mix of Thai and Laotian cultures and see how it makes this area different from other parts of Thailand. Visit the natural miracles at Khao Kho and Chiang Khan, get closer to religion while exploring Nong Khai, stroll the bustling streets of Udon Thani, and much more. Enjoy this memorable trip that gives you the opportunity to explore and understand the culture in northern Thailand.
Khao Kho: This beautiful natural attraction presents a perfect combination of gentle mountains, scenic drives, and lovely pine forests. This is a perfect spot for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts.
Chiang Khan: The natural scenery on the Mekong riverbank, picturesque teakwood houses, and the relaxed, sleepy atmosphere make this historic town a fantastic destination.
Nong Khai: Located on the banks of the Mekong and at the Laotian border with Vientiane, this small city is an important gateway to the Isaan region.
Udon Thani: One of the four major cities of Isaan, Udon Thani is home to a large expat population.
- Operated with English/Italian/French/German or Spanish-speaking guide
- 4 nights accommodation
- 4 breakfasts and 4 lunches
- Air-conditioned transportation and transfers as stated in the programme
ENTRANCE FEES AND ACTIVITIES:
- All entrance fees and activities mentioned in the itinerary: Phra Prang Sam Yot, Wat Pha Son Kaew, botanic garden, Phu Ruea National Park, Ban Na Aor cultural village, bike tour, alms giving, boat trip on Mekong, Wat Sri Khun Mueang, Sala Kaew Kou, Ban Chiang, Thai-Chinese cultural centre
- Expenditures of a personal nature, drinks and meals if not stated explicitly in the programme
- Gratuity for driver and guide
- Optional tours
- International or domestic flight tickets and airport taxes or visa fees.
- Day 5: Drop off at Udon Thani airport or train station. (Recommended departure flight from Udon Thani after 19:30 hrs, or overnight train from Udon Thani to Bangkok departure at 19:59 hrs, not included)
- Local conditions prevalent at the time of travel may result in modifications to the tour contents without prior notice.
What do I need to bring?
Comfortable and light clothing is the most suitable for travelling in Thailand. Visitors should not wear sleeveless shirts, shorts, short skirts or skimpy clothing when visiting temples, religious or official buildings. Shoes should be removed before entering a temple or private house. Sun protection, sunglasses, a hat and mosquito repellent can be very useful during your stay.
Day 1 Bangkok
- Standard Hotel Category = Century Park Plaza or similar 3.5*
Day 2 Khao Kho
- Standard Hotel Category = Imperial Phukaew Hill Resort or similar 3.5*
Day 3 Chiang Khan
- Standard Hotel Category = Chiangkhan River Mountain or similar 4*
Day 4 Nong Khai
- Standard Hotel Category = Nong Khai Royal Nakhara Hotel or similar 3.5*
- Once ordered, this tour cannot be cancelled or refund or amended at any circumstances.
Day 1 : ARRIVAL BANGKOK
Arrive at Bangkok International Airport and enjoy a comfortable, unescorted transfer to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, perhaps indulging yourself with a traditional Thai massage and delighting your taste buds with the amazing local flavours. End the day watching the spectacular sunset while savouring a cocktail at any of the stylish bars which have blossomed on top of the city’s skyscrapers in recent years. Afterwards, return to your hotel to rest and get ready for a new day.
Overnight in Bangkok.
Day 2 : BANGKOK – LOPBURI – KHAO KHO (450km – 6 hrs)
Begin the journey with a tasty break fast and an early pick-up from your hotel in Bangkok. Drive to Lopburi to visit Phra Prang Sam Yot, the city’s best-known landmark and the symbol of the province. This former Hindu shrine was built in the 13th century in the classic Bayon style of Khmer architecture. The compound comprises three towers linked by corridors. In the 17th century, the shrine was converted into a Buddhist temple, and a hall was built to house a grand Buddha image. Continue towards the north, passing Phetchabun to arrive at the Khao Kho District. Visit Wat Phra Thad Pha Sorn Kaew, founded in 2004 as a Dharma practice centre and located on a hilltop, amid mountains. The centre has a peaceful atmosphere and boasts over five million mosaic tiles. Visit also the hilltop cave where many villagers used to see a flying marble hovering in the sky, believing it was Buddha’s spirit. Breakfast and lunch are included.
Overnight in Khao Kho.
Day 3 : KHAO KHO – PHU RUEA NATIONAL PARK – LOEI – CHIANG KHAN (240km – 4 hrs)
Start today with breakfast at the hotel, followed by a visit to a beautiful British-style flower garden, featuring an idyllic setting with panoramic views of the Great Mountain, ‘Pha Sorn Kaew’. Our next stop is the famous Phu Ruea National Park, located in the district of Loei, one of the coldest provinces of Thailand. The northern part of the park shares a border with Laos. Its hills contain the headwaters of many rivers in Loei. The highest peak in the park, Phu Ruea, reaches 1,365 meters above sea level and the summit offers a good viewpoint of the Huang and Mekong rivers. Due to the cool climate, the area is rich in orchids which flower throughout the year. Stop on the way for an optional coffee break, before continuing to Ban Na Aor, the cultural village that preserves the ancient Thai-Loei culture and houses. Afterwards, travel to the local town of Chiang Khan. Relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery along the Mekong River during sunset. Then, visit the local market that comes to life every night at Khaeng Khut Khu, and indulge in the culinary delights of Chiang Khan. Taste ma prao Kaew (wok-fried strips of coconut with a sugar glaze), as well as the dark brown coconut sugar and roasted peanuts. You can also try small, deep-fried river prawns served with cucumber dipping sauce, or mixed in a fiery salad with chilli, garlic and lime. Lunch is included.
Overnight in Chiang Khan .
Day 4 : CHIANG KHAN – NONG KHAI (200km – 3.5 hrs)
Wake up early to join the locals who practise the Buddhist tradition of offering sticky rice to monks during their morning alms rounds. Ride a bike along the riverside promenade to Chiang Khan Walking Street to be in front of the temple early in the morning. Visit Wat Sri Khun Muang or Wat Yai, one of the most important religious buildings, and see the ancient monastery admiring its descending roof in the Lanna style. The wall paintings in the monastery tell the story of Buddha’s ten existences. Return to your hotel to enjoy a tasty breakfast and a wonderful sunrise on the river banks. After check-out, we continue along the Mekong River, on one of the most scenic roads in Thailand. We make a stop at Wat Pha Tak Sua to admire the views from the 16-meter-long skywalk, hanging over a cliff and featuring glass floors and walls. Continue the drive, and enjoy a photo stop at the viewpoint in Sri Chiang Mai before you reach Mueang Nong Khai. This bustling Thai town serves as the gateway to Laos and Vientiane, and it is located only 20 kilometres away from the border. Nong Khai is the ideal representation of the beautiful Isaan culture. Known for its kindness, the culture has evolved from its mixture of Thai and Laotian heritage and now dominates northeast Thailand, having a distinct identity from the rest of the country. Enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of the small city as the sun sets behind the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge. Lunch included.
Overnight in Nong Khai
Day 5 : NONG KHAI –DEPART UDON THANI (70km – 1.5 hrs)
Begin the day with a delicious breakfast at the hotel. Then hop aboard a boat for an approximately 90-minute trip along the Thai side of the River Mekong. Make a stop to the Tha Sadet Market, the epicentre for local trade between this region of Thailand and neighbouring Laos. The market here is often called the ‘Indochina Market’ because the goods sold are primarily sourced from across various regions, but there are also a lot of local products on offer. Depart from Nong Khai and visit the Sala Kaew Ku sculpture park, containing an impressive collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. Although not a temple, the park is known colloquially as Wat Khaek (‘Indian Temple’) and some of the sculptures are 25 metres high. Continue to Ban Chiang, an archaeological site in the Nong Han District, Udon Thani, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Discovered in 1966, the centuries-old site is known for its attractive red painted pottery. The last stop of the day is the Thai-Chinese Cultural Centre, opened in 2013, aiming to preserve the art, culture, lifestyle, and philosophical principles of the ancestors of today’s Udon Thani Thai-Chinese community. The delicate central garden imitates the Chinese style and has the theme of ’24 manners of gratitude, the garden of a thousand-year-old morality’. We end the trip with a drop-off at the airport or railway station to continue with your individual travel plans.
Breakfast and lunch included.