Arrive in Bangkok
Sawasdee (hello!) and welcome to Bangkok, the capital of Thailand. Our representative will be there to receive you at the airport and take you to your hotel. You have the rest of the day to get some much-needed rest, and prepare for the coming days. In the evening you can walk around the local market here. Overnight in Bangkok.
Bangkok - Chiang Mai
Hustle and bustle of Bangkok
This morning you are free to explore Bangkok at your own pace. Here’s a possible excursion – take a long tail boat trip down the Chao Phraya River to explore the famous canals of Bangkok. Life seems to be more relaxed and laid back around here, compared to the busy streets. Later, we will proceed to the railway station to board the overnight train to Chiang Mai. Overnight on the train.
Enjoy the view outside as you wake up on the train and arrive in Chiang Mai. We then transfer to our hotel. Later in the day we visit the famous temples of Chiang Mai, which include the Wat Phra Kaeo and the Wat Phra Sing temples. Afterwards, we will go to the Lion Hill, where there is an ancient Buddhist cave, where hikers can take a walk in the natural cavern from the south side and exit from the north side of the hill. At night we will go to the night bazaar, where you can find plenty of souvenirs and restaurants. There is also a free cultural performance here daily – don’t miss this spectacle! Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Exploring on a elephant
After breakfast we will head to the Elephant Camp at Mae Taman to see the ‘Elephants at Work’ show. We will also ride the elephants for about 30-45 min. Then we take an ox-cart ride to the elephant village. After lunch we will board a bamboo raft and cruise gently along the river for around 45 minutes. Then, head to the nearby orchid farm, where you will find many beautiful species of orchids. Later, we can ride to the Doi Suthep temple, 15 kms out of town. Overnight in Chiang Mai.
Chiang Mai - Chiang Kong
After breakfast we will visit the White Temple, an art museum housed inside a modern Buddhist-style temple. We then head to Singha park and enjoy the lush green tea plantations and the flower gardens. We have an exciting adventure activity planned for you. Afterwards we will drive to Chiang Kong (5 hrs). This is a quiet town that sits on the Thai side of the Thai-Lao border. There, we can visit the temples of Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Luang. You can also rent a bicycle, which is the best way to explore the countryside. Riding along the banks of the Mekong is a blissful delight. Overnight in Chiang Kong.
Chiang Kong - Pakbeng
Welcome to Laos
After completing the border formalities and checks in Huay Xai, we will board a private boat and cruise down the Mekong river (6-7 hrs). The journey is indeed a splendid way to experience the slow pace of village life and excellent setting of the river. We will disembark at the small trading port of Pakbeng in the late afternoon. The rest of the day is free to explore at your own pace. Overnight in Pakbeng.
Pakbeng - Luang Prabang
Visit to the food market
Morning sees us boarding the boat again and cruising downriver at a leisurely pace to Luang Prabang (6–7 hrs). Upon arrival at Luang Prabang we are free to explore this city. At night we will visit the popular night market. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang – Pak Ou – Luang Prabang
The alms ceremony
Early in the morning we will head out to the streets of Luang Prabang to see the historic, alms giving ceremony. It is a ceremony which dates back many years, and is the most sacred of Laotian traditions: around 200 Buddhist monks walk on the streets and receive food specially prepared for them by the local people. After this, we will go to the Royal Palace, now converted to a National Museum. It was built in 1904 during the French colonial era and is situated on the banks of the Mekong River. We then leave by boat to visit the sacred caves of Pak Ou, which is filled with hundreds of Buddha statues left by the legions of pilgrims over the centuries. We will head back to Luang Prabang by boat and visit the temple of Wat Longkhoune. Then take part in a Baci ceremony, a ritual that involves tying strings around a person’s wrist to preserve good luck, and has become a national custom. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
To the waterfalls
We will drive to the Kuang Si falls, located in lush jungle, where most of the pools are open for swimming, so get in and have a dip! Later in the afternoon we will visit Mount Phousi, which requires us to climb 328 steps to reach the top, with several resting places in between. The hill is a popular spot to watch the sun rise or set over the Mekong River. We then walk along the Nam Khan River and visit the temple of Wat Xieng Thong. We shall also visit the traditional arts and ethnology center and at night we can stroll around the night market. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng
En-route stop at villages
After a scrumptious breakfast we will drive to Vang Vieng (4 hrs). On the way we will pause to explore the villages and local markets. Overnight in Vang Vieng.
Time for organic farming
Today we shall pay a visit to an organic farm, which uses traditional methods of farming to grow crops and raise animals. This farm grows many fruits, with mulberry being its top product. Then we walk up to the Jang cave, known locally as “Tham Jung”, which was used as a bunker against Chinese invaders in the nineteenth century. Overnight in Vang Vieng.
Vang Vieng – Vientiane
Monastery of Wat si Saket
We will drive to Vientiane today, and tour the city once we arrive. Let’s start with the monastery of Wat si Saket, which is the oldest Buddhist monastery in Vientiane. We then head to the National Museum to learn about the history and culture of the people of Laos. (Please note that bags and cameras are not allowed in the museum. You will need to hand in your belongings for storage in the lockers at the entrance). In the afternoon we will visit the largest Buddhist stupa, covered in gold, in the heart of Vientiane. It is also the national symbol of Laos. Overnight in Vientiane.
Today we will be tasting the best Laotian cuisine in Vientiane. Laotian food is premised on the use of the freshest ingredients, so you’re sure to have a sublime gastronomical experience. We will then venture to the Morning Market, which is a popular place and, despite the name, open for the entire day. From then on you are free to explore the city at your own pace. Overnight in Vientiane.
Departure from Vientiane
See you soon
This morning after breakfast we will take a tuk-tuk to the Buddha Park (25kms). This is a famous tourist park with 200 Hindu and Buddhist statues, most of which came from India. En-route to the Buddha Park we will stop at the Thai-Lao friendship bridge for a photo session. Finally, we will drive to the international airport so you can board your flight back home. We hope you have enjoyed your time with us as much as we have enjoyed ours with you. Have a safe journey home! We hope to see you again soon!
(From April 01, 2018 -December 31, 2018)
|01 pers||$ 8,081||$ 8,451||$ 11,924|
|02 pers||$ 4,295||$ 4,484||$ 6,246|
|04 pers||$ 3,093||$ 3,312||$ 5,038|
|06 pers||$ 2,693||$ 2,912||$ 4,644|
|08 pers||$ 2,606||$ 2,854||$ 4,549|
* price per person
THE PRICE INCLUDES
- Accommodation in 3*-4*-5* hotels on twin share basis with breakfast
- Transfer with private A/C vehicles
- Elephant Riding (1 Elephant per 2 person) , ox-cart, bamboo rafting in Thailand
- Adventure Activity at Singha Park
- Sightseeing with local experienced English speaking guide
- Entrance fees as per programme
- Cold bottled water and face towels on bus on days of tour
- All applicable taxes
THE PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE
- International Flight & Airport taxes (International)
- Domestic Flights
- Insurance and visa costs
- Expenses of Personal nature
- Camera and Video charges
- Any other Expenses that are not mentioned above
YOUR HOTELS (or similar):
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we choose the most beautiful destinations, we also choose the most charming hotels for you. In addition, we will offer you options to choose from depending on the style of travel that suits you. You will stay in comfortable, deluxe, luxury or ultra luxury hotels depending on your budget.
- Visa and Travel Formalities
- Accommodation and transportation
- Flights & Land Package
- Our guides
- Insurance and Unforeseen Circumstances
With big destinations around, Laos is often overlooked and given a miss. Considered to be one of the countries still strongly in touch with their tradition and culture, Laos offers a fresh, unadulterated glimpse into their lifestyle.
For a small country, it does offer quite a variation in scenes and people. Different regions with different tribes, practices and traditions — some from the hills, other, the plains — while some areas retain traces of French colonies. From the laid back Mekong River, offbeat tracks to the rare wildlife of the Lao jungles, Laos has one or two things to offer every traveler!
The Lao culture is beautiful and noticeably intertwined with their everyday lives; a sight one should experience. Here are some festivals you help you plan your trip:
Bun Pi Mai Lao (New Year, The Water Festival): The counterpart of the Songkran Festival, Thailand; Pi Mai is the Lao New Year. This festival is celebrated with water — a representation of cleansing. It is usually celebrated around the mid of April.
Bun That Luang: One of the most important and religious festivals in the Lao calendar, Bun That Luang, brings both locals and tourists to Vientiane. This festival is celebrated with traditional procession, traditional giving and rituals, a traditional picnic and ends with candles and fireworks. It is celebrated sometime around October and November, depending on the full moon.
Sayaboury Elephant Festival: Started in 2006, by the NGO ElefantAsia, this is a festival raising awareness for the elephants in the wild. This is usually happens in the month of February.
Bun Bang Fai (The Rocket Festival): This is a ‘call for rain’ festival. The locals bust homemade rockets and men dress as women to anger the gods. As a form of revenge, the gods are expected to send rain and thunderstorms. This festival is celebrated around April – June.
Bun Vat Pho: This is a three-day festival in Champasak, where locals flock to this hillside offering prayers and flowers. Some highlights of the festival are musical and dance shows, boxing and cockfights, and carnivals. This is usually celebrated in a full moon sometime in January – February.
For most trips outside Europe, your passport will be enough. It must be valid for up to six months after your return trip. Passports can be easily obtained from your municipality, although there may be delays during holiday periods and holidays. Note that the passport is also required for children. For some destinations, it will be mandatory to send us a copy of your passport immediately after booking a trip.
Visa-on-Arrival will be available for 30 days for in the following airports: Vientiane Wattay International Airport, Luang Prabang International Airport, Pakse International Airport. It will also be obtainable in several border crossings. For more information, please visit this site: http://www.tourismlaos.org/show.php?Cont_ID=35 We recommend you to get your visa 4 to 6 weeks before your arrival.
Minors traveling with an adult: Parents
When a minor is traveling with a parent, the officials at the airport might ask for proof of documents to confirm your relationship. Some countries require certificates such as a birth certificate. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Minors traveling with an adult: Others
When a minor is traveling with someone other than the parents or a family member, some countries require a declaration by the relatives to give permission for this trip. Check with the embassy or consulate of the country of destination regarding the requirements.
Each destination has a unique character, a story. So we chose the most beautiful destinations, we also handpicked the most suitable hotels for your comfort. In addition, we offer options to choose according to your budget and travel style that suits you.
We offer three options in MOST of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
Deluxe – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
Luxury – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
Road conditions in Laos are typically rough, though there have been many upgrades. Lane markings are rare, and when present, usually ignored. Though the maps states shorter distances, it takes a while to get to a destination due to small roads and chaotic traffic.
Transport is a very significant part of your trip to Laos. We ensure the quality of the vehicles and the drivers are trained to show you the best landscapes, rural life, by the side of highways, and be attentive to all your requirements. The local traffic is chaotic, but you will certainly enjoy the journeys with our expert and hospitable drivers. All our trips are inclusive of transfers and sightseeing as per the itinerary contracted and we will not surprise you by asking any additional fees for your small wishes.
The airline and the flight schedules are subject to change. P&M will keep you informed about the latest changes in the schedule, if any.
The price in the website are indicative and may change as per the latest amendment given by the hotels or suppliers. However, P&M will honor the rates once they are offered to you and you have made the payment for the package, even partially. In the case of international or domestic flights, the additional airport taxes that are imposed by local authorities shall be passed to you.
It is also possible to book international flights with P&M. Since we have good connections with several airlines, we will be happy to assist you for your requirements.
These people are our most amazing assets, taking you on beautiful trips with P&M. Who can explain a city or town better than the locals? This is why we always work with the locals carrying a passion for their culture. Their knowledge of destinations is immaculate; eagerly indulging you to experience the journey of the moment. All destinations, most of the cities and towns have English-speaking local guides. These guides are employed by our local agents and get regular training’s pertaining to our requirements. We evaluate their performance after each trip based on your feedback’s.
The services of local guides are included in the program (if opted by you in the package). They not only show you around the city but also purchase the tickets at the monuments. They are available to answer any of your travel related queries.
Although P&M pays them with the standard rates of travel-based companies, they expect a tip at the end of the trip. We recommend a tip of 5 €/ day/ person.
Although our travels are organized with detailed planning, the climate and other factors may change due to some unforeseen events. These however, should not spoil your travel or ruin your fun. In case such circumstances arise, be assured that you have 24/7 P&M support staff ready to offer the most suited solutions to your problems. We do our best to provide the quickest resolutions; nevertheless, we are not responsible for any factor beyond our control.
Laos enjoys a tropical climate. There are two seasons: the dry (October- April) and the wet season (May- September). The winds get a little chilly in the mountains during the wet season.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends the following vaccinations for travellers going to Laos (as well as being up to date with measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations):
- Viral hepatitis A and B
- Typhoid fever
It’s a good idea to consult your government’s travel-health website before departure.
Credit cards & ATMs
In all cities and you can withdraw cash with a bankcard with VISA, Master Card and American Express. Cash can be exchanged at a bank or the hotel where you are staying. Credit cards are accepted in most of the hotels, restaurants and shopping places except the very remote village areas. The banks at the international airports are open day and night.
Mobile in Laos
There are direct international calls are available in most places, however, for your convenience, you can purchase a pre-paid SIM card for yourself.
The staple food in Laos is sticky rice. While most of their dishes are spicy, there is a wide range of variation according to regions. Cities like Vientiane, still carries the French heritage and has plenty of French restaurants and bakeries.
The Lao culture is traditional and conservative; hence, revealing clothes should be avoided. In religious places, avoid wearing shorts and short-sleeved shirts. Since the weather is tropical and will be humid most days, bring light apparels with you.
There is no reason for you not to take your electrical items due to electrical outlets; Lao markets have adapters you can purchase.
Though there are Internet cafes and in the rural areas, it will be difficult to get a connection. In the cities, however, Internet access will be available in most hotels, cafes, and restaurants.
What makes Parallels and Meridians different?
We believe that holidays should be planned thoughtfully. Hence, we spend a good amount of time planning and offering you products considering your requirements. Amazing journeys begin the moment you contact us for a personalized trip. We design programs exactly as you wish; you will always remain a partner in making it a dream holiday.
What can I expect in a holiday with Parallels and Meridians?
Our trips bring you closer to the local community and culture as you will be taken to some of the places where no tourists have gone before. Our travel experts are always in search of something new, inspirational and entertaining. These ideas are intricately designed around your style of travel, creating a perfect trip for you.
How do you create a style of travel?
People are different, and so are their ways of traveling. We speak to several people from different walks of life, locals, travelers, families, and even bloggers, to get a better idea on the ways they prefer to travel. The styles of travel are created through their contributions and the expertise of our travel designers. It is our success formula in making exceptional trips for you.
Why do you make the trips participative?
In our small endeavor to support the local community, we found this as the most encouraging and heartfelt experience for both our guests and ourselves. We don’t indulge into activities with big charitable organizations, but quietly do our bit with the help of our guests. Our projects are humble and mostly recommended by our guests. For example, teaching basic French to the drivers (while traveling with him) actually came from one of our guest.
What are the different hotel combinations you offer?
Each destination has a unique character and history, so do their hotels. We have selected the best hotels as per your style and budget. We offer 3 options in most of our programs:
Simple and comfortable – These are clean and comfortable hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 2-3 star categorization.
- – In this option, we offer a mix of charming and deluxe hotels. Some of them are heritage palaces, which are now famous contemporary hotels. As per P&M standard, they fall into a 4-5 star categorization.
- – For the ultimate luxury holiday, we have a collection of rustic, chic and stylish hotels combined with laid back indulgence and unmatched amenities. These international favorites are the best in the destinations.
How many beds can we have in a room?
A room will usually have a double bed. Most hotels will be able to add one extra bed.
If we’re traveling as a family, can we have interconnected rooms?
Some hotels offer interconnected rooms. If they don’t have, we ask them to provide two rooms next to each other or on the same floor.
Can I choose my own set of hotels?
Yes, you can. Just send us your wish list and we will do our best to fulfill your requirements.
What is the category of hotels included in the itinerary on the website?
You will have the option to choose the categories of the hotels you want to stay in. There are a few exceptions, however, some places like villages in Rajasthan or hiking tents in Bhutan will not offer you luxury. We will clearly advice you on this.
How does Parallels and Meridians choose the hotels?
We choose hotels based on our personal experiences. We will not recommend a hotel unless we have stayed there ourselves or have it recommended by our contributors.
What kind of vehicle do you provide?
Generally, this depends on the number of people. We provide cars for two people and micro van for three and more people. All our vehicles have air-conditioning.
Can we choose our own type of vehicle?
Yes, you can. Just let us know while sending us the information for your trip.
Are we sharing the car with someone else?
No. The car is for private use and you will share it only the people you are travelling with.
Does the car stay at my disposal every day?
Yes, it does. Our drivers are flexible and will remain at your disposal.
Do we have a guide in every city?
Yes, a guide will be provided to you in each city unless there is no visit scheduled.
How do you select your guides?
We select guides who understand your interests and requirements. They carry a flair for their culture and tradition, offering the best experiences to our clients. All our tour guides are locals, have professional licenses and are known for their passion and knowledge of the destination. We only hire highly rated guides with years of experience.
How do I plan my trip with you?
Once a program is picked from the website and the query form is filled, our travel experts will start working on the program. They will carefully prepare a tailor-made itinerary for you and will present it in details. Your itinerary will be refined and polished until you are satisfied and happy to book with us. As it is very important for us to understand your requirements, please do not hesitate to ask questions and voice your concerns or desires.
I like one of your family programs. Can it be tailor-made for a couple?
Yes, it can. All our programs can be further tailored for your specific requirements. You will be amazed to see the countless possibilities in our programs as per your style.
Can I make my own itinerary?
Yes, you can. Simply fill the form or send us e-mail at email@example.com
How do you decide your pricing?
The itineraries in the website have indicative pricing which may change as per your personalized travel request. We choose the most important sightseeing, destinations, guides and hotels, which makes a great holiday experience for our guests. As we do not want to surprise you with hidden costs, we always include essential costs in the program. Although we are not necessarily the cheapest, we do aim to offer exceptional overall value for money and rely on our clients for repeat business and recommendations for your future dream holidays.
Can I adjust my budget?
Of course, our experts can share plenty ideas with you, fitting your budget. However, we make sure that quality is never compromised. We immediately inform you with our inability to offer you something that is below standard or of low quality. It is always better to say no than to regret a bad holiday experience.
What is included in the cost of your packages?
Our services start the moment you arrive at your destination, where a representative will be awaiting your arrival. All accommodations, transfers, local flights as well as arranged activities, unless otherwise specified will be included. Our trips are on breakfast-only basis except some special meals like welcome lunch or a special farewell dinner.
Why don’t you offer trips on full board?
We could; however, you will agree with us that everybody has different tastes. Moreover, the local cuisine is also an important aspect of your trip. Why should we charge you extra for some meals in hotels and expensive restaurants, when you can enjoy the spontaneity of discovering restaurants on your own? This is why we intentionally refuse to include all meals in our itineraries. If you are on a safari or a trekking trip, all meals are included as these are remote areas without restaurant alternatives. In lieu of this, you will receive a list of recommended restaurants, where you can have a taste of authentic cuisines.
How do I get the assurance of my travel safety?
Having our headquarter in France, P&M provides all necessary financial and legal guarantees to our travelers. You not only get the best travel programs from us but also experience a memorable and safe travel arranged by our local correspondents with 24/24 assistance. To ensure that all our local agents offer best services, quality travel and assurance, we have an office in India supervising all the activities in Asia. In addition, for your peace of mind, we support you with a range of insurances to meet your needs.
Who will be taking care of my trip when I am on the go?
You will have a dedicated travel expert from the first moment of contact. The travel expert will work with you before and during the trip.
What are the different modes of payment you accept?
The different modes of payment we accept are bank transfer and online payment by credit or debit card. You can pay either 30 or 50% at the time of the booking and the remaining, one month prior to your travel.
How secure is my credit card for online payment?
As your trusted partner P&M guarantees secure payment via secure payment platform enabling you to make transactions by credit card or debit card. The credit or debit card details are never reserved with us for your complete peace of mind.
Where can I see the reviews on P&M?
All reviews given by our travellers are regularly uploaded to our website. Furthermore, many of our guests have shared their experiences with P&M at the sites of Trip Advisor and Trust Pilot. We are proud to share with you that; – 98% of our travelers rated our services excellent or very good – 97% of our travelers recommend our agency to their friends – 98% of our travelers would be willing to repeat the experience with P&M.
Traveling with us is the best way to come closer to the daily life of the locals. Impart your knowledge, skills and art with them. If you are an artist, a photographer, a cook or whichever skills you have that can be shared with the local community, please feel free to tell us about them, and we will organize a special activity for you at a right place to support them. In our very first communication with you, we will ask your interest and if you are willing to participate in an activity for even just one hour.
In 2016, our participants have already taught over 400 hours, the equivalent of 17 days!
Our conscious tourism does not end there; we constantly propose new participatory activities:
There are many young kids who aspire to take the job of ‘guide’. We are helping them to speak better English, or teaching them skills and techniques of travel guiding.
Post the earthquake, life is still struggling in Nepal. We are helping some small shops and businesses to get into the mainstream; not by giving money, but improvising some ideas to run their business more effectively.
“In your route, though you choose to take part in any one of these options, your trip will be the same number of days and the price will not change under any circumstances.”
How much do you donate?
Nothing Actually. We just need little bit of your time and involvement.
The temples of Tamil Nadu and backwaters of Kerala
- Duration: 13 Nights/ 14 Days