12 Day Stray Asia ‘Tom Yum Flexi Tour’ – Thailand and Laos

Get off the beaten track in Northern Thailand and Laos with Stray Asia’s ‘Tom Yum Flexi Tour’ – ideal for adventurous travellers looking for an authentic Southeast Asia experience.

Discover the sights, sounds and smells of Bangkok, travel north via amazing Ayutthaya and Chiang Mai, before crossing the border into Laos at Houay Xai for a journey by boat through lush farmland and rugged mountains to the riverside village Ban Pak Nguey.
Experience traditional village life and stay in a remote homestay in Ban Pak Nguey; marvel at the beautiful architecture, temples and many sacred sites in the UNESCO World Heritage town Luang Prabang with access to the spectacular Kuang Si waterfalls nearby.
Travel through mountainous terrain and past breathtaking views to Vang Vieng and opt in for tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing or hot air ballooning; before heading to the country’s capital Vientiane to visit the city’s main sites, dine by the river at a local restaurant or shop at a night market. Finish in Vientiane and travel by overnight train to Bangkok.

Flexi Tours include transport on Stray Asia’s hop-on hop-off private travel network, a friendly local tour leader, accommodation and selection of top-rated activities along the way. The Flexi Tour is unique in that it allows you to hop-off along the way and spend more time in the places you love – resuming your ‘tour’ when you are ready. Super flexi!

  • START: Bangkok
  • FINISH: Bangkok
  • DEPARTING WEEKLY: Tuesdays & Saturdays
  • RATES:  Single $1,320 per person, Twin Share $1,220 per person*
  • ACCOMMODATION: 10 Nights’ (including 2 x overnight trains)
  • TRANSPORT: Stray Asia Hop-on Hop-off Travel Pass
  • GUIDE: Knowledgeable Tour Leader
  • Half-day bicycle or boat tour of Ayutthaya
  • Ayutthaya temple fees
  • Overnight Train/bus, to Chiang Mai
  • Flight of the Gibbon zip-line adventure, Chiang Mai
  • Rice Experience, Luang Prabang
  • Kuang Si Waterfall, Luang Prabang
  • Pak Ou Caves, near Luang Prabang
  • Tham Jang Cave, near Vang Vieng

*Price quoted in USD per person for a twin share room. Twin share must be booked with a ‘travel companion’ as Stray does not group un-associated travellers.   Upgrade to a Single Room for $100 (total cost of $1320 USD)
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Bangkok to Chiang Mai (Via Ayutthaya): 

Your adventure kicks off in the Asian metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand. From soaring skyscrapers to ancient temples, vibrant markets and high-end malls, Bangkok is a city of many personalities.

You’ll meet your tour leader at the Stray Asia Bangkok Shop and depart for the UNESCO World Heritage site of Ayutthaya. We arrive here mid-morning allowing you plenty of time to explore the ‘Venice of the East’ by bike or boat. Ayutthaya is the former capital of the Siamese empire and was once a grandiose city, but many of the ancient monuments were ruined when it was attacked by an invading army. Nevertheless, it is still a fascinating historical park. This afternoon we board our overnight train and head for the city of Chiang Mai.

Free Inclusions:  Overnight train or bus (price included), temple entry in Ayutthaya. Bike or boat trip around Ayutthaya Temples.

Arrival in Chiang Mai:

We arrive into Chiang Mai train station between 8:00 – 11:00am. Chiang Mai is a popular hopping off point for many travellers and an amazing city full of endless activity options – including cooking courses, bike tours or Thai kick boxing. There are over 300 Buddhist temples to explore, you can visit the old walled-city, the Tapae Gate, or pick up a bargain at the famous night market and check out the lively music scene.

Accommodation: Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD $12-20
Optional paid activities: Muay Thai Boxing Stray Adventure, Northern Thai Stray Adventure, Thai cooking course, bike tour, Night Safari, trekking, kayaking, mountain biking.

Chiang Mai:

Today is a free day in Chang Mai where you will join one of our top-rated activities, the Flight of the Gibbon zip-lining followed by an authentic Thai lunch. After a swinging good time on the zip-line, you are free to enjoy dinner at one of the many great restaurants, take in a ladyboy show or the Muay Thai boxing, or head out for a few drinks with friends.

Accommodation: Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD $12-20

Free Inclusions:  Flight of the Gibbon Zip-line (full-day) where you will soar through the tree tops of lush rainforest in a zip-line adventure. With over thirty-three different platforms, two suspended sky bridges and two abseil descents, you will enjoy a guided tour of the wildlife and vegetation whilst flying along the longest zip-line in Southeast Asia. Keep an eye out for the elusive gibbon

Chiang Mai to Houay Xai: 

This morning we depart Chiang Mai to cross the border into Laos. We’ll make a stop near Chiang Rai, and we’ll check out the famous and intriguing White Temple (Wat Rong Khun). Wat Rong is a unique Buddhist Temple that features some curious statues and murals. The murals include images from Star Wars and The Matrix, you’ll find Freddie Kruger’s head hanging in the trees and a giant Predator emerging from the garden. From here we continue on to cross the border into Laos, taking a short tuk-tuk ride to the chilled out town of Houay Xai, our stop for the night.

Accommodation: Guesthouse with views across the Mekong River USD $20
Free Inclusions: White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) visit.

Houay Xai to Ban Pak Nguey (Homestay):

Leaving Houay Xai you’ll board our private slow boat up the Mekong River to the secluded village of Ban Pak Nguey. Sit back and soak up this incredible journey as you wind your way through lush farmland, thriving jungle and rugged mountain scenery; drifting past water buffalo, locals fishing, and kids splashing in the shallows. We arrive in Ban Pak Nguey in the late afternoon. Here you will get a taste of traditional Lao village life by staying with a family in their home. Experience a Baci (welcoming) ceremony, swim in the river, visit the school and help the kids with an English lesson. Play a game of football with the kids, explore the local temple, go fishing and try the local whiskey. This is a true highlight of any trip to Southeast Asia and exclusive to Stray!

Accommodation: Village stay includes accommodation in an indigenous family home, traditional Baci Ceremony, dinner, breakfast, local activities and contribution to the village fund/project USD$17.

Ban Pak Nguey (homestay) to Luang Prabang:

We wave goodbye to the village and jump back aboard our private boat to head downriver to the famous limestone Pak Ou Caves. Pak Ou is an important pilgrimage site for Lao people, and here you will see thousands of Buddhist images that have been placed throughout the caves over hundreds of years. Jumping back on board our boat a short trip takes us to the UNESCO World Heritage town, Luang Prabang. Luang Prabang has an old world feel that gives you the sense you’ve stepped back in time into a picturesque postcard setting. The fusion of French colonial architecture with traditional Lao design set against a backdrop of misty mountains and lush green jungle makes this a truly majestic place.

Accommodation: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD $12-40.
Free Inclusions: Pak Ou Caves entrance
Optional paid activities:  trekking, traditional cooking class, kayak the river.

Luang Prabang: 

Today is free to enjoy all this UNESCO World Heritage town has to offer. Included with your trip is the “Rice Experience” at the Living Land Farm where you learn (and participate) in the traditional 14 stages of sticky rice cultivation in the surrounds of a tranquil organic farm. Following this you will be whisked off on a half day tour of the unbelievable “Kuang Si Waterfalls” enjoying the rural countryside on route. Stop off and visit the “Free the Bears” rescue centre at the entrance to the falls.

Accommodation: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD $12-40

Free Inclusions: Rice Experience at the living land farm, plus a half day trip to Kuang Si Waterfalls.

Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng:

It’s an early start as we head south through mountainous terrain, on one of the most scenic journeys you’ll experience on the Laos travel route. Travel past mountain hill-tribe villages, vast green valleys and rolling hills; and we’ll make a special stop at the ‘loo with a view’. Our journey today takes us to the little riverside town Vang Vieng, best known for being the spot where you could take tubing trips down the Nam Song River stopping along the way at riverside bars to indulge in cheap booze. These days you can still go tubing, but now you get to enjoy the beauty of Vang Vieng’s landscape without the sound of pounding bass in the background. Upon arrival into Vang Vieng there is plenty of time to go tubing, start partying or kick back and watch re-runs of old TV shows playing at the bars around town!

Accommodation: Family run guesthouse in the centre of the action USD $8-30
Optional Paid Activities: River tubing, cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, caving, hot air ballooning.

Vang Vieng to Vientiane: 

Today we cruise through to the capital of Laos, stopping at the impressive Tham Jang Cave that was once used as a bunker in the 19th century during a Chinese invasion. On arrival in Vientiane your tour leader will point out the city’s main attractions including Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace, and the COPE centre – a non-profit organisation that educates visitors and raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. After check-in at our centrally located accommodation, you are free to explore the city, get a massage, go shopping, or people watch at one of the local restaurants by the river.

Accommodation: Hotel with modern facilities including WiFi  USD $20

Free inclusions: Tham Jang Cave entrance, City highlights of Vientiane.

DAY 10
Vientiane to Bangkok (Express Day):

Today you will be collected from your guesthouse in Vientiane mid-afternoon and be taken by tuk-tuk to Thanaleng Train Station. Here you clear Lao customs; pay your departure fee then board a connecting train which takes you over the friendship bridge to Nong Khai in Thailand. You complete Thai immigration at the train station and have time for a meal or drink across the road before boarding the overnight train to Bangkok. Your Stray journey finishes when you arrive in Bangkok in the early morning.

Free Inclusions: Overnight train (price included.)