Hidden Treasures and Beaches
Thailand, the Land of Smiles, is Asia at its most welcoming. From cosmopolitan Bangkok and jungle elephant safaris to cooking classes, long-tailed boat rides and stunning beaches, you'll be immersed in exquisite experiences that reveal the magnificent culture of this land. You’ll experience the traditional Buddhist rituals, the exotic hill tribes’ customs, tranquil islands, lush rainforests, bamboo rafting, superb cuisine and fabulous artistic achievements. Known as the land of a million elephants, Laos is the most serene country in Southeast Asia. The landscape is a stunning mix of mist-shrouded mountain peaks flanked by jungle-clad valleys, beautiful French colonial towns, gilded temples, golden Buddhist stupas and the magic of the Mekong. Both physically and spiritually, the world here moves at the pace of the saffron-robed monks, and the skyline is defined by mountains and temples, and cicadas and waterfalls drown out the hum of voices. During this journey, we’ll experience the essence of old Asia with glittering temples, unique hill tribe cultures, and the mighty Mekong flowing through it.
expectations at the door and feel free to get swept up in the contradictions - bustling street markets and air-conditioned malls and chic jazz lounges, towering skyscrapers and inspiring temples, antiquities and the latest trends, history and modernity all vying for your attention in this concrete jungle. Thailand's capital boasts a population of ten million, over 30,000 taxis and a yearly influx of tourists eager to experience the racing pulse of this vibrant city. Bangkok's revamped public transportation system includes the rapid Skytrain, and you can also still travel by klorng boat to popular destinations such as the Central World mall.
There are few performances more elegant and mesmerizing than traditional Thai Dance. With its graceful movements, brilliant color, soft rhythm and radiating presence, the Thai Dance, or "Fawn Thai", was originally an art performed for the royal courts of old Siam. The dance troupes were formed within the courts and their precision and beauty was the highlight of every performance. Today, although "Fawn Thai" is still a very important part of royal performances, the dancers are selected and trained from among the general population and dance performances themselves are often an event for the general public.
Thai cuisine is fresh and flavorful, a balance of sweet, salty, sour and bitter with light preparation and heavy spice. Strongly influenced by neighboring traditions such as the styles of Laos and Myanmar, Thai cuisine is divided by four different regions - Northern, Northeastern, Central and Southern, each region known for an emphasis on particular ingredients and tastes shared by the surrounding countries. Thai curries are some of the most recognizable Thai cuisine outside of the country itself, and these can vary by region as well - Southern Thai curry will often contain coconut milk and turmeric while the Northeastern variation is made with lime juice.
The northern province of Luang Prabang and its eponymous capital are among the most atmospheric and popular destinations in Laos. The charming city of Luang Prabang, once the capital of Laos and still considered to be its spiritual heart, breathes a rich meld of French Indochinese architecture, Theravada Buddhist temples and a magical atmosphere. Luang Prabang is strikingly situated on a peninsula formed by the confluence of two rivers, the Mekong and the Khan. Its palm-lined riverbanks, terracotta roofs, golden stupas and saffron-robed monks all come together to form a picture postcard increasingly difficult to find in Southeast Asia.
Landlocked Laos is one of Asia's most enchanting destinations. Stunning natural beauty -- think mist-shrouded mountain peaks flanked by jungle-clad valleys teeming with wildlife -- combine with a fascinating Buddhist culture to make Laos a superb destination for backpackers and independent travellers, while luxury tourists are now also well-catered for. Communist Laos flung open its doors to tourism in the early 1990s. The last two decades have witnessed an explosion in development as businesses -- some Lao, some foreign -- mushroom to cater to the swelling crowds.
The social etiquette in Laos
With their laidback attitude and a deep aversion to confrontation, the Lao are pretty tolerant of foreigners failing local social etiquette. Yet while they may not vocalise their discomfort, they may still form negative impressions of visitors who unwittingly break cultural taboos, often bearing their resentment in silence until an opportunity presents itself to be most unaccommodating toward the offending party. Here are a couple of tips to keep you from embarrassing yourself — and others. The Lao language is quite direct and does not encompass many polite phrases. While ‘thank you’, kop chai, is widely used in interactions, the word for ‘please’ is so rare...
14 Days / 13 Nights
Tour starts and ends in Bankgok