Trip Overview

Join us for ten delightful days of cultural discovery in Southeast Asia’s Thailand and Laos as you boat among local vendors at a floating market, explore elaborate temples honoring Buddha, ride a tuk tuk, and lounge on the beach on a Thai island.

Centuries ago, the people of Thailand and Laos harnessed the forces of nature to create a verdant, harmonious, and deeply spiritual paradise. Travel with AdventureWomen well off the beaten path in Southeast Asia to live as the locals do, discovering the region’s most spectacular sites, iconic temples, and wonderfully welcoming people of these two countries.

Meet your AdventureWomen Thai guide and the women with whom you’ll be journeying in Bangkok, a city in Thailand where rivers have traditionally served as highways and shopping “centers.” Over the next few days you’ll journey out to discover Bangkok’s wonders in two exciting and thoroughly less traditional ways, by kayak and authentic longtail traditional Thai river boat! Cruise by water to reach the illuminated, highly ornate Wat Arun, or “Temple of Dawn”, its radiant towers sparkling with embedded colored glass, and travel by river the traditional way to learn about the ethnic communities clustered along the riverbanks. Glide in a Thai longtail boat to pull alongside vendors of the colorful Lad Mayom Floating Market. Enjoy enchanting traditional marionette and Thai shadow-puppet performances then learn about the lifestyles of local Thai women who you meet on a visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC), as you are welcomed by one of the organization’s two female founders. Trying local Thai cuisine can be a big adventure in itself too, so for your first Thai meal, dive right into the delicacies of Bangkok’s night markets, an unforgettable street-food scene where your delicious meal is cooked right in front of you. Don’t worry! Your helpful Thai guide will explain to you what you’re buying at the market as you shop for your dinner as well as what part of Thailand it’s from!

After Bangkok, travel to Laos, where you will explore by bike with your expert Laotian guide, exploring historic Luang Prabang, Vat Mai, and Vat Xieng Thong. Explore the Pak Ou Caves by boat where thousands of gilded Buddha statues fill two caves. Take part in a Laotian Baci spiritual ceremony, listen to Laotian storytelling, get to experience Laotian theater, and participate in Tak Bat, a traditional Laotian ritual where alms are provided to monks and novices.

Return to Thailand and reunite with your Thai guide to visit more temples, shop in galleries of traditional Thai artisans, and visit the Elephant Nature Park, a globally recognized elephant sanctuary in Chiang Mai. You will get to help prepare the elephants’ food and then feed them! Speaking of food, you’ll also take part an exciting Thai cooking with a cooking class remembering your chef’s words, “Mai pet, mai aloi!” – Not spicy, not delicious!

To cap off your adventure, travel to Phuket’s port where boats await to row you and your companions into the Hong Archipelago for three nights of beach fun on Koh Yao Yai Island. The fine sand, jade green seas, nearby islands, and mangroves make this the most perfect adventure finale: world-class snorkeling, swimming, kayaking, and simply soaking up the sun on emerald-rimmed white sand beaches.

At your farewell celebration, join your guides for a Krathong Ceremony where you float a leaf basket holding a candle while offering prayers, and reflect on how sharing this cultural experience in Thailand and Laos with the other Adventure Women on your trip made this adventure truly spectacular.

Main Attractions

  • Kayak, float by long-tail boats, explore floating markets
  • Dine on Thailand's famously fresh, delicious, and spicy cuisine
  • Meet local Laotian artisans and entrepreneurs at the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center
  • Spend a full day at the Elephant Nature Park
  • Bike through the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang, Laos and participate in spiritual ceremonies
  • Enjoy three nights on the beaches of Koh Yao Yai island near Phuket, Thailand

What You'll See and Do

  • Anthropology
  • Architecture
  • Bicycling
  • Canoe and Boat Travel
  • Cooking Class
  • Cultural Exploration
  • Cultural Performances
  • Historical Sites
  • Local Delicacies
  • National Parks
  • Natural History
  • Sightseeing
  • Snorkeling
  • Spa Element
  • Swimming
  • Walking
  • Women-To-Women Exchanges

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrive in Bangkok
Meet your guide and your AdventureWomen Ambassador at 1:00pm in the lobby café to the left of the main Muse Hotel entrance. (There will be one group transfer provided from the airport around 10:00am. The exact transfer time will be determined closer to departure. AdventureWomen can arrange additional airport transfers for an additional fee. Taxis from the airport are metered and also quite simple to navigate if you prefer to make your own way to the hotel.)

Take the sky train and a local ferry across the Chao Phraya River to Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn). This stupa-shaped temple spire is decorated with colored glass and Chinese porcelain. Enjoy sunset at the temple. Take a ferry and taxi back to the hotel.

Have a welcome drink at the hotel before heading out for your welcome dinner – at a street food bazaar! Head into one of the local night markets for endless options from the many street food stalls.

Your guide will help you understand what you are eating and which part of the country it comes from. Get to know your fellow travelers this evening and learn about why each woman on your trip is excited to explore Thailand and Laos!
Dinner

Overnight: Hotel Muse Bangkok

Day 2

Bangkok
After breakfast, drive to a small coffee shop where you can sip a coffee or tea while you learn about kayaking techniques. Kayak a little less than one hour through the floating market. You might want to buy a fresh coconut as a refreshing drink before paddling back to the café.

Hop in a longtail boat for a short ride to lunch. Enjoy a local noodle soup or a mixed noodle dish.

After lunch, take the same boat to the Baan Silapin, also known as the Art House. This stilt house is over 200 years old and serves as a community arts house to promote traditional dance, art, and theater. See a short traditional marionette puppet performance or a performance by youth actors depicting Thai mythology.

Enjoy dinner as a group at a local restaurant.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Hotel Muse Bangkok

Day 3

Bangkok to Luang Prabang
Drive to the airport and fly to Luang Prabang this morning. Say goodbye to your Thai guide at the airport, but you will reunite in Chiang Mai in a few days. Be dressed to explore Luang Prabang by bike when you arrive!

Savor some of the best Laotian dishes when you arrive in Luang Prabang.

Set out by bike to see the highlights of Luang Prabang. You’ll spend about three hours exploring, but you will only bike about five miles on flat terrain.

You’ll see the Royal Palace home to the “Prabang” sacred golden statue from which the town takes its name. Stop at Vat Mai before continuing to the Heuan Chan Heritage House where you will gain a better understanding of Laotian architecture and culture, and how families lived in long houses up until about 1960. Visit Vat Xieng Thong, the most emblematic temple in Laos, glittering in gold paint and mosaic glass.

Enjoy dinner at your hotel this evening.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Villa Maydou

Day 4

Luang Prabang
Drive to the pier where you’ll board your private boat. Cruise about an hour and a half on the Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves. You can buy snacks and drinks on board. Sip a coffee and watch the scenery as you float by.

Explore the Pak Ou Caves where you will hike up a half a mile to the higher cave or a quarter of a mile to the lower cave – both caves are full of candles, incense, and golden Buddhas. Soak in this fascinating place along the river.

Have lunch on the boat as you travel from Pak Ou Caves to the Luang Prabang pier.

Meet one of the two women who founded the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center. Learn to identify what crafts come from which ethnic groups, how to tell between factory-produced and hand-made pieces, and learn about the challenges facing women in Laos today.

Participate in the Baci ceremony at a local home with a family and a master of ceremony. This ceremony recalls the spirits of the body back; once this is done, symbolically, you tie cotton bracelets on each other’s wrists.

Experience a Garavek story telling. A Lao storyteller will tell traditional stories accompanied by the khene (a handmade bamboo mouth organ) in their intimate 25-seat theater.

Enjoy dinner on your own this evening – there are plenty of choices to pick from!
Breakfast, Lunch

Overnight: Villa Maydou

Day 5

Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai
Depart the hotel at 5:20 this morning on foot. Witness the hundreds of orange-clad barefoot monks gathering alms. This is a thousand-year-old daily ceremony in Luang Prabang. Continue by tuk tuk to the local market to see how locals purchase their fresh food.

Have breakfast back at the hotel.

Fly from Luang Prabang to Chiang Mai this morning. You’ll be met at the airport by your guide who you last saw in Bangkok. Head to lunch to taste Cao Soi, one of the best-known dishes of Thailand. The rich, nutty curry is a local favorite.

Take an hour or so to relax at your hotel before strolling from gallery to gallery on the Ping River. You’ll see Thai art, silk weaving, basket weaving, and the community arts center.

Enjoy dinner at the end of your walk.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Puripunn Boutique Hotel

Day 6

Chiang Mai
Spend a full day at the Elephant Nature Park. You’ll get to prepare food, feed, observe, and learn about Asian Elephants. Enjoy a simple lunch, and then spend the afternoon with these gentle giants.

You’ll have a traditional dinner where you will sit on the floor on pillows. You’ll be served many dishes family-style on a round rattan table that is low to the ground. These typical Lanna, or northern Thai dishes could include roasted green chili dip, fresh vegetables, and thicker nutty curries.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Puripunn Boutique Hotel

Day 7

Chiang Mai
Head out on an easy hike through part of Doi Suthep National Park (the “mountain of the open heart”) to the jungle wat of Phu Lat. The hike will be about an hour and a half with minimal elevation gain. Walk along the stream among the gardens where statues, flowers, and jungle all mix together.

Visit the artist colony of Chiang Mai. You will meet the next generation of local artists making their debut here in a funky collection of shops. The shops are a mix of indoor and outdoor space where you can see metal workers, painters, potters, weavers, and gelato makers!

Lunch and the afternoon are on your own. You might want to get a massage at the hotel or head to the Hmong market where many ethnic groups buy the parts to make their clothes.

Roll up your sleeves tonight and learn about the four key flavors that play into all Thai dishes. Each dish must have sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. As the Thai saying goes, “Mai pet, mai aloi!” or “Not spicy, not delicious!”
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight: Puripunn Boutique Hotel

Day 8

Chiang Mai to Koh Yao Yai Island
Get up early this morning for your flight to Phuket, stopping in Bangkok on the way. When you arrive, drive to the pier and take in the view of the turquoise ocean. Don’t forget to pack your bathing suit in your daypack!

Hop on a longtail boat, and stop to have lunch and change into bathing suits. Snorkel in the Hong Archipelago, a chain of tiny islands in the Ao Phang Ngo National Marine Park. It is best known for its karsts (limestone rock formations), small remote beaches, estuaries, and its diverse marine life.

Koh Yoa Yai is the larger of the two islands near Phang Nga National Marine Park. Relax in this tropical paradise, where there are restaurants, beach bars, and shops.Enjoy dinner at your hotel.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Koh Yao Yai Village

Day 9

Koh Yao Yai Island
Take a longtail boat about an hour to Phang Nga National Park, famous for the James Bond island in Goldeneye. When you get to the park, switch boats and hop in tandem soft-sided kayaks. Explore the coastline and see some of the National Park’s small islands and beaches.

Have lunch along the way, and then do some more exploring, swimming, and kayaking before returning to your hotel in the longtail boat.

Enjoy a delicious dinner as a group this evening.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Overnight: Koh Yao Yai Village

Day 10

Koh Yao Yai Island
Take your last full day in Thailand to relax at the beach. Book a massage, go for a walk, swim in the pool, read a book, or continue to explore the island – today is up to you!

Have a farewell dinner with your new AdventureWomen friends complete with a Krathong ceremony with a floating leaf basket of a candle and prayers. Reminisce over all of the memories you have made and celebrate the end of an amazing journey through this truly spectacular country.
Breakfast, Dinner

Overnight: Koh Yao Yai Village

Day 11

Koh Yao Yai Island
Have lunch on your own before hopping on the ferry to Phuket.

Say goodbye to your new AdventureWomen friends as you transfer to the airport for your flights home. There will be one group transfer to the airport and then to Phuket town from the ferry dock. You should not book a flight that leaves before 4:00pm.

If you have flights that depart very late, and you would like to book a day room in Phuket town, let us know and we can help with those arrangements.
Breakfast

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Traveling to Thailand and Laos



Arrival and Departure Information

January 11th Departure:

Arrive: Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) on January 11, 2020 before 10:00am.

Depart: Depart Phuket, Thailand (HKT) on January 21, 2020 after 4:00pm.

February 8th Departure:

Arrive: Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) on February 8, 2020 before 10:00am.

Depart: Depart Phuket, Thailand (HKT) on February 18, 2020 after 4:00pm.

December 5th Departure:

Arrive: Arrive in Bangkok, Thailand (BKK) on December 5, 2020 before 10:00am.

Depart: Depart Phuket, Thailand (HKT) on December 15, 2020 after 4:00pm.

We are happy to help you make your flight and travel arrangements. Please contact us at:

(800) 804-8686 or (617) 544-9393
email: info@adventurewomen.com

If you’d like to do anything prior to or following the AdventureWomen trip, we’d be delighted to help you arrange any trip extensions you’re interested in.

Note: The recent trend in travel is for travelers to finalize their plans much closer to departure time than was customary in the past. While we try to be as flexible as possible booking last-minute registrants, we must release hotel rooms two to three months prior to departure! Please keep this in mind when making your travel plans.

Passports and Visas

Citizens of the United States must have a passport valid for six months beyond your travel dates with at least two blank facing pages. If you do not have a passport, please apply now!

Thailand: Citizens of the United States may enter Thailand three times in one calendar year free of charge. This trip will enter Thailand twice. If you have been or are planning to go to Thailand more than once in the 12 months prior to this trip, please let us know as soon as possible.

Laos: A tourist visa is required to enter Laos. You will get your visa upon arrival, and AdventureWomen has included the cost of the visa in your trip. Please bring one passport photo with you for your visa. Upon arrival in Luang Prabang International Airport, your guide will meet you before the immigration counters. Your guide will take each traveler’s passport, one passport photo, signed Visa on Arrival form, and entry/exit cards provided during the flight. Your guide will escort you through immigration and assist in getting your visa. You will get your passport back later that day at the hotel.

Activity Level

We rate this trip as Active. Our Active adventures at AdventureWomen get you on your feet! You should be in good physical condition for these trips and comfortable walking on uneven surfaces, such as cobblestone streets, biking well-maintained paths and natural trails, or kayaking in calm waters. Please note that this is a general description of what you might encounter; for specific details about your trip, please consult the itinerary.

We recommend training before your trip (with your doctor’s permission!) to make the most of your adventure. We have a partnership with FitForTrips, a company that will design an individualized fitness plan for you with this itinerary in mind. Best of all, AdventureWomen guests get a 25% discount with the code FITWOMEN. Learn more here.

You should come with a flexible, adventurous, and enthusiastic spirit, and a wonderful sense of humor that adventure travel requires.

Health Considerations

Make an appointment with a travel clinic. There are no immunization requirements for travel to Thailand or Laos, however your local travel clinic may have recommendations for you based on your age, health, and past vaccination history.

For more health information, go to www.cdc.gov/travel and navigate to the page about Thailand and Laos.

Money

US Dollars are not generally accepted in Thailand or Laos. The currency of Thailand is the Thai Baht, and the currency of Laos is the Laotian Kip. We recommend bringing about $200-300 in US Dollars on this trip, but you should plan to use ATMs to withdraw local currency in Thailand. Visa is the most commonly accepted ATM cards, and you will need a 4-digit PIN. You can also bring US Dollars and exchange them for local currency. In Laos, you should plan on exchanging US Dollars for local currency.

Suggested Gratuities:

    • Guide in Thailand: $20 per day
    • Guide in Laos: $20 per day

How to Register

Call the AdventureWomen office at (800) 804-8686 to determine space availability and register for this trip. We can complete your registration, including taking your credit card deposit over the phone. As a courtesy, we can hold your space for five days while you are making personal and travel arrangements.

If you prefer, you can register online by clicking “Sign Up for this Trip” on the trip page.

Please be sure to read the AdventureWomen policies before registering!

Forms and Final Payment

Once you book, you will need to fill out and return to AdventureWomen:

  • Information Form
  • Booking Conditions Form
  • Copy of Flight Information
  • Copy of Issuing Page of Passport (photo page)

Final payment is due to AdventureWomen in a cash form (check, money order, or wire transfer). A maximum of $1,500 per person can be put on a credit card, which includes your deposit.

January 11 Departure Final Payment Date: October 23, 2020

February 8 Departure Final Payment Date: November 10, 2020

December 5 Departure Final Payment Due Date: September 6, 2020

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What's Included

Included

  • All hotel accommodations throughout the trip
  • All meals as listed in the itinerary
  • All ground transportation
  • Fully-guided sightseeing as indicated in the itinerary
  • English-speaking guides throughout the trip
  • Water and snacks while touring
  • Gratuities for restaurants, boat crews, and drivers
  • One AdventureWomen Ambassador

Not Included

  • International airfare to and from Thailand
  • Optional activities as listed in the itinerary
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Fees for passports, visas, or immunizations
  • Cost of hospitalization or evacuation
  • Items of a personal nature
  • Gratuities for guides

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

Accommodations

Hotel Muse Bangkok
An award-winning Bangkok Boutique Hotel, the Hotel Muse Bangkok entices guests with a interior design and décor that exude an interplay of classic European signatures juxtaposed against ornate Asian motifs. The hotel offers three restaurants, each with its own individual twist, completing your stay at the hotel.

Villa Maydou
Villa Maydou is at the heart of the historic center of Luang Prabang, the former royal capital of Laos, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. It sits nearby of the Pagoda “Wat Meuna” and near the Nam Khan river old bridge. The hotel is composed of five beautifully appointed and comfortable Lao traditional houses within a large tropical garden which includes a salt pool. Two of the houses are registered in the UNESCO World Heritage Program after having been restored under the authority of “La Maison du Patrimoine”, the UNESCO program responsible for the preservation of the traditional architecture of Luang Prabang.

Puripunn Boutique Hotel
Located in the heart of Chiang Mai, Puripunn is a charming boutique hotel that combines the rich architectural traditions of the former Lanna kingdom with period elegance. The hotel is situated in Wat Gate, one of Chiang Mai’s older districts with a diverse mix of cultures and religions, making it a fascinating place to enjoy a city break in the beautiful northern capital. “Puripunn” translates as “the land of sharing.”

Koh Yao Yai Village
Embark on a journey to Koh Yao Yai, a secluded tropical island in the Andaman Sea and discover stunning nature, rich culture, and a traditional way of life. On the west coast of the island is Koh Yao Yai Village, a hideaway resort in Thailand like no other. The collection of cozy southern-style Thai villas are nestled amongst the rainforests of Koh Yao Yai, all offering generous spaces inside and out to relax and unwind.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686

What to Bring

As you get ready to pack for your adventure, have a look at The AdventureWomen Store at www.theadventurewomenstore.com - we have picked out our favorite travel clothes and outdoor gear to help make packing easy for you. You can also see our recommendations for this trip on the AdventureWomen Pinterest page.

Luggage Restrictions:
On this trip you can have one checked bag which can weigh no more than 44 pounds, and one carry on of no more than 15 pounds.

At this time of year, you can expect highs in the low 90s and lows in the 70s in Bangkok and on Koh Yao Yai Island, and highs in the 80s and lows in the 50s in Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai. You’ll need clothing for hot and humid weather as well as cooler evenings.

It is common to take off your shoes when entering homes, and required when entering temples, so plan on bringing shoes that are easy to slip on and off. Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai are more conservative, so please plan on covering your shoulders. You will need to wear pants or a skirt that covers your knees for any visits to temples.

Remember as you choose sunscreen, insect repellent, and toiletries that the ocean ecosystems around Koh Yao Yai Island are fragile. You’ll be in and out of the water, and everything you put on your body will likely end up in the ocean. Please be respectful of this unique ecosystem and consider buying reef-safe sunscreen and biodegradable toiletries.

You can plan on doing laundry in your room in the evenings (the air conditioning will help things dry), or you can pay to have laundry done at the hotels, which usually takes about 36-48 hours.

Clothing and Gear

  • Duffel bag or small suitcase
  • Daypack
  • 2-3 short-sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 1-2 long-sleeve shirts (quick dry recommended)
  • 2 pairs of shorts
  • 1 light weight fleece sweater/jacket for cool evenings/air
    conditioning
  • 1-2 pairs of pants
  • 2-3 pairs of shorts/skirts
  • 1-2 sets of nicer clothes for dinner
  • 1-2 bathing suits
  • Rash guard for sun (optional)
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Hat for sun protection
  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • Sandals
  • Sleepwear
  • Snorkeling mask (optional) - if you have your own, bring it. If you wear glasses, consider bringing contact lenses or a prescription mask.

AdventureWomen Essentials

  • Travel documents (passport, airline tickets, money)
  • 2-3 spare passport photos (in case of lost passport)
  • Write down/print out travel insurance number
  • Locks for your luggage
  • Travel alarm clock with spare batteries or phone
  • Headlamp or small flashlight with spare batteries
  • Binoculars (optional)
  • Digital camera, memory cards, battery charger
  • Waterproof camera/phone case for snorkeling
  • Dry bag for days on boats
  • Power adapters/power bank
  • Sunglasses, case, and strap
  • Spare glasses, contact lenses, cleaner, saline, etc.
  • Money belt or neck pouch
  • Your AdventureWomen water bottle
  • Sunscreen and lip balm with SPF (Reef friendly)
  • Mosquito repellent
  • Hand wipes/hand sanitizer
  • Toothbrush/toothpaste
  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner (biodegradable)
  • Small packet of tissues
  • Tampons and panty liners (avoid plastic applicators)
  • Earplugs: we recommend Mack’s Pillow Soft White Moldable Silicone Snore Proof Earplugs
  • Assortment of stuff sacks and bags (please consider bringing reusable or silicone bags to reduce the use of disposable plastics)
  • 1-2 bandanas/Buff
  • Reading material/journal and pens

Personal First Aid Kit

  • Prescription medicine you usually take (in original containers)
  • Personal epi pen (if you need one, don’t forget to pack it!)
  • Bandages, Gauze, Ace bandage, blister prevention
  • Antiseptic wipes/spray
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Cotton-tipped applicators
  • Oral rehydration tablets/packets
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Mild laxative
  • Antacid
  • Cold remedies
  • Ibuprofen/acetaminophen
  • Eye drops
  • Tweezers, scissors (travel size), safety pins

If you prefer to buy a complete kit, we recommend the Smart Travel first aid kit.

If you're curious about this trip, we would be happy to answer any questions you might have.

Call us ~ 1.800.804.8686