How To Travel From Northern Thailand To Laos

travel from northern thailand to laos

August 10th, 2023   |   Updated on September 4th, 2023

Have you ever dreamed of embarking on an extraordinary journey that takes you through the enchanting landscapes of Northern Thailand to the hidden treasures of neighboring Laos?

Prepare yourself for an adventure like no other, where you’ll not only explore breathtaking architecture and immerse yourself in rich heritage but also experience the thrill of sleeping in a train, sailing on a boat, and finding serenity in a mountain lodge.

Welcome to a two-week escapade that transcends the ordinary and embraces the allure of Southeast Asia’s culture and history.

On this unique itinerary, you’ll discover the true essence of these two captivating countries, from the charm of quaint villages to the untouched beauty of nature’s bounty.

Join us as we unravel the mysteries of Northern Thailand and Laos, connecting with the warm-hearted people, reliving the past through ancient wonders, and creating unforgettable memories in some of the most extraordinary places on Earth.

So pack your bags, open your mind to endless possibilities, and get ready to embark on an adventurous expedition filled with curiosity and wonder!

Day 1: Arrive In Bangkok, Sleep In Bangkok

If you find yourself dealing with a bit of jet lag, fret not – it’s the perfect excuse to ease into the city’s nightlife.

Wander over to Khao San Road, a lively and buzzing spot where you can sit back, sip on a cold beer, and mingle with friendly locals and fellow travelers from all around the world.

For a more infamous nightlife experience, Patpong awaits with its unique charm and allure.

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Day 2: Bangkok & Overnight Train To Vientiane Via Nong Khai, Sleep In Train

Embark on an incredible and budget-friendly journey from Thailand to Laos by hopping on the sleeper train from Bangkok to Vientiane.

You’ll board the express #69 train each evening at around 8:30 PM, and as you close your eyes for a night’s rest, you’ll wake up to a new destination by the Mekong River.

The train gracefully chugs along, bringing you to the border station of Nong Khai, where you’ll breeze through immigration.

But the adventure doesn’t stop there! A seamless transition awaits as you board another train, crossing over the iconic Friendship Bridge that links Thailand and Laos.

Rest assured, a cozy sleeper compartment is at your service, providing you with a comfortable slumber throughout the journey.

And for those moments of hunger or thirst, fret not! Friendly vendors on the train are ready to serve you with delightful food and refreshing drinks.

Day 3: Explore Vientiane, Sleep In Vientiane

At the heart of Vientiane lies the awe-inspiring Pha That Luang, a dazzling Buddhist stupa that traces its roots all the way back to 1586. Marvel at its grandeur and feel a sense of tranquility wash over you.

Venture just beyond the city to the whimsical Buddha Park, where an array of concrete sculptures of Hindu gods and Buddhas awaits to amaze you.

It’s a stroll through a surreal world of art and spirituality that’ll leave you inspired.

For those curious minds eager to delve into Laos’ fascinating history, the Lao National Museum is a must-visit.

Unravel the stories of its people and gain a deeper understanding of this remarkable country.

Day 4 & Day 5: Explore Vang Vieng, Sleep In Vang Vieng

Venture just three hours away from the bustling Lao capital, and you’ll find yourself in a whole new realm of excitement – welcome to Vang Vieng! Renowned for its vibrant nightlife and beloved by backpackers, this destination has carved its name as the ultimate hub for outdoor adventure.

There’s an abundance of thrills awaiting you in this captivating region.

Picture yourself tubing along the meandering river, feeling the rush of adrenaline as you kayak through the waters.

For the daring souls, rent a dirt bike and navigate the twisting trails that lead to hidden gems. Feel the exhilaration as you conquer the rock climbing challenges that await you.

But wait, the adventure doesn’t end there! Prepare to explore mysterious caves that beckon with secrets waiting to be unveiled.

And for a refreshing break, make your way to the enchanting Blue Lagoon, affectionately known as Tham Poukham.

Imagine a spring-fed pool nestled at the cave’s base, reachable only by a bamboo ladder. Take a deep breath and prepare yourself for breathtaking scenery and unforgettable moments.

Before Moving Forward…

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Day 6, Day 7 & Day 8: Explore Luang Prabang, Sleep In Luang Prabang

Luang Prabang, a captivating blend of historical treasures and colonial marvels that beckons architectural enthusiasts from far and wide.

Once the capital of Laos, this city now stands adorned with a plethora of mesmerizing attractions that are sure to leave you in awe.

Set amidst a picturesque landscape of lush mountains, the former palace, Haw Kham, now stands as a magnificent national museum.

Its regal architecture and grandeur speak of the city’s rich heritage, inviting you to explore the corridors of history.

Meander through the ancient Vat Xieng Toung monastery, an architectural gem that exudes an aura of tranquility and spirituality.

The intricate craftsmanship and ornate designs tell stories of a bygone era, transporting you to a world of serenity.

Behold the golden allure of the Vipassana Temple, a resplendent sight that glistens against the sun-kissed sky. Its intricate detailing and sacred ambiance create an experience like no other.

As the sun rises, immerse yourself in the enchanting alms ceremony, a daily ritual where local monks gracefully collect rice from devoted locals and intrigued visitors alike.

Witness this timeless tradition against the backdrop of Luang Prabang’s stunning streets, an architectural spectacle in its own right.

Day 9: Slow Boat To Huay Xai/chiang Khong, Sleep On Boat

Commence on a delightful slow boat journey from Luang Prabang to Thailand, floating along the picturesque Mekong River.

The two-day adventure offers breathtaking scenery for picture-perfect moments and opportunities to admire the beauty of nature.

As the boat glides gently along the river, you’ll have a chance to pause in Pakbeng, a charming town where guesthouses provide affordable accommodation and the food is simply phenomenal.

Onboard, food and drinks are readily available, and you can choose from wooden benches or cushy seats for ultimate comfort.

Let the gentle waves carry you to your destination, Huay Xai, as you bask in the serenity of the Mekong River and create cherished memories along the way. A voyage that combines relaxation with mesmerizing vistas awaits you!

Day 10: Continue Slow Boat On Mekong, Sleep In Chiang Khong

As your slow boat journey comes to a serene close, you’ll find yourself crossing the border to the charming town of Chiang Khong in Thailand.

Here, travelers are welcomed with open arms, and you’ll discover a delightful array of accommodation and restaurants to choose from.

Take a moment to immerse yourself in the tranquil ambiance and explore the beauty of Chiang Khong’s temples.

Among the highlights are the serene Wat Sri Don Chai, the peaceful Wat Hat Krai, the mesmerizing Wat Prakeaw, and the unique Wat Tung Duk, where an exclusive female presence adds an extra layer of charm.

Stroll through the quaint streets, savoring the relaxed atmosphere, and enjoy the simple pleasures that this stopover has to offer.

Chiang Khong is a peaceful haven that invites you to rest and recharge before continuing your journey through Thailand.

Day 11, Day 12 & Day 13: Hilltribe Trekking, Sleep In Chiang Mai

Prepare to proceed into the heart of Northern Thailand, where the vibrant city of Chiang Mai awaits – a true gem known as the “Rose of the North.”

Get ready for an exhilarating fusion of ancient history and awe-inspiring natural beauty that will leave you breathless!

Calling all history enthusiasts! Behold the majestic Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep, an iconic 14th-century temple that stands as a testament to the city’s rich past.

Its grandeur and intricate details will transport you to a bygone era, igniting the adventurer within.

But the excitement doesn’t stop there! Embrace the spirit of the night at the bustling Night Bazaar, where bargain hunting becomes an adventurous endeavor.

Feel the adrenaline surge as you witness the majestic elephants in their natural habitats, a humbling experience that connects you with nature’s wonders.

For a taste of true Thai spirit, witness the exhilarating spectacle of Muay Thai boxing, a display of raw power and skill that will leave you cheering for more.

And for a deeper understanding of local culture, embark on a guided tour to meet and interact with the fascinating hill tribes, unlocking their captivating stories.

Day 14: To Bangkok, Sleep In Bangkok & Day 15: Fly Home

As your journey comes full circle, you’ll find yourself back in the bustling Thai capital, Bangkok.

If you haven’t already, consider checking out the big attractions like the Grand Palace, Wat Pho, and Wat Arun – they’re tourist must-sees, after all.

If you still have the energy, explore the Dusit Palace or wander through museums like the National Museum, the Museum of Siam, and the King Prajadhipok Museum – culture can be fascinating, right?

And if your tired feet allow it, take a leisurely stroll through Lumphini Park, mingling with the locals as you absorb the surroundings.

But truth be told, by this point, all you might want is a relaxing boat ride along the Chao Phraya River, taking in the sights without moving a muscle.

Bangkok has so much to offer, but exhaustion might be kicking in, and you might find yourself craving some well-deserved rest.

So, take a deep breath, and cherish the memories of this incredible adventure through Northern Thailand and Laos. You’ve earned it!

When the sun sets on this extraordinary journey, we can’t help but revel in the memories of our thrilling adventure from Northern Thailand to the hidden treasures of Laos.

From the bustling streets of Bangkok to the serene banks of the Mekong River, we’ve explored the wonders of these captivating lands with curiosity and awe.

Along the way, we’ve slept in trains, sailed on slow boats, and embraced the spirit of exploration in every step we took.

We’ve delved into the rich history and culture of Southeast Asia, standing in awe of ancient temples and grand palaces that echo with tales of the past.

From the vibrant nightlife of Khao San Road to the serene alms ceremony at sunrise, every moment has been a whirlwind of excitement and wonder.

We’ve climbed mountains, kayaked down rivers, and met friendly locals who have warmly shared their stories and traditions with us.

In Chiang Mai, the “Rose of the North,” we’ve marveled at the ancient temples and soaked in the breathtaking landscapes that surround us.

And as we wrap up our journey in the bustling city of Bangkok, we find solace in the fact that our hearts and minds are forever filled with cherished memories.

This adventurous expedition has awakened the true wanderer within us, leaving us yearning for more experiences that stir the soul.

As we bid farewell to Northern Thailand and Laos, we can’t help but smile, knowing that this is not the end but just the beginning of a lifetime of exploration and discovery.

So, as we set our sights on new horizons, we carry with us the spirit of adventure, ready to embrace whatever the world has in store.

Until we meet again on our next escapade, keep exploring and keep wandering – the journey never truly ends!


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