Epic Indochina: River Cruises & Karst Mountains

18-to-Thirtysomethings, Bangkok to Ko Tao

Image by G Adventures

Tour description provided by G Adventures

Now's the time to explore Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos on your terms with this tour that's affordable for young travellers. Share stories over drinks among Siem Reap's market stalls, learn the fine art of noodle-making in Hoi An, and catch the day's last rays among the brillantly blue waves of Ko Pha-Ngan. This 41-day adventure is plenty of time to sync your pulse with this part of Southeast Asia — and it's sure to leave you coming back for more.

What’s included

  • Your G for Good Moment: Local Khmer Meal, Siem Reap Your G for Good Moment: Oodles of Noodles Demonstration and Lunch, Hoi An Your G for Good Moment: Mekong River Homestay & Baci Ceremony, Muang Pakbèng Your G for Good Moment: Kao Thep Pitak Community-Owned Farm & Meal, Ban Ta Khun Your Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your First Night Out Moment: Connect With New Friends Your Big Night Out Moment: Siem Reap Your Discover Moment: Phnom Penh Your Local Living Moment: Home Meal, Chambok Your Discover Moment: Ho Chi Minh City Your Discover Moment: Luang Prabang Your Discover Moment: Chiang Mai Your Discover Moment: Bangkok
  • Guided tour of Angkor Wat temple complex
  • Orientation walks in Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hanoi, Phnom Penh, and Luang Prabang
  • Halong Bay boat cruise with lunch
  • Guided hike, sunset cruise and waterfall excursion in Laos
  • Slow boat up the Mekong
  • Two street food crawls in different cities
  • Internal flight
  • Visit to Chiang Mai night market
  • Hilltribe trek
  • Bamboo rafting
  • Street food crawl
  • Full-day snorkelling trip from Ko Tao
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Highlights

  • Witness sunrise over angkor wat
  • Eat your way through ho chi minh's street food
  • Stay overnight in a local village
  • Trek through the rugged forests of northern thailand
  • Swim in ko pha-ngan's idyllic lagoons
  • Explore the magnificent caves of phong nha

Itinerary

Bangkok Arrive at any time. Get to know your fellow travellers during a private party at the G Adventures Bangkokian house. Pick your favourite Thai drinks and delicacies from street vendors before relaxing in the courtyard over games and endless stories. Cheers to new adventures!
Bangkok/Siem Reap Travel to Siem Reap. Taste all manners of salty, sweet, spicy, and sour with a delicious Khmer meal at a restaurant kickstarted by our non-profit partner, Planeterra. Cross from Thailand into Cambodia, your home base for exploring incredible Angkor Wat. Arrive in time for our included dinner at a Planeterra project restaurant or with a local family in a village outside of Siem Reap.
Siem Reap Watch the sun rise over the majestic and mystifying ruins of Angkor Wat. Opt to visit Tonle Sap floating village and Angkor National Museum. Tonight, head to the infamous Pub Street, where the party goes round the clock. Grab a bite to eat (deep-fried tarantula, anyone?) and let the beats move you through market stalls and drinking spots as you wait for tomorrow’s sunrise.
Siem Reap/Phnom Penh Get your first glimpse of Phnom Penh during an orientation walk around Cambodia’s capital.
Phnom Penh Reflect on one of Cambodia’s darkest periods with an optional visit to the Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields. Later, discover more sides of Cambodian cuisine with a street food crawl.
Phnom Penh/Koh Rong Go to Sihanoukville, where you’re just a boat ride away from your own private beach on Koh Rong. Take the afternoon to try local seafood, snorkel the coral reefs, or sit back and relax with a drink before hitting the warm waves.
Koh Rong Do anything you might have missed the day before, like snorkelling, fishing, hiking, or kayaking. Wait 'til after sunset to swim in a sea of blue sparkles caused by phosphorescent plankton.
Chambok Homestay Head back to the mainland to a village homestay where you’ll soothe your stomach as you eat delicious Cambodian home cooking.
Chambok Homestay/Ho Chi Minh City Go on to Vietnam and the famed Ho Chi Minh City. Take this chance to visit the Ben Thahn Market for souvenirs and handicrafts before taking in the city nightlife.
Ho Chi Minh City/Nha Trang Feel the pulse of Vietnam’s biggest city on a CEO-led orientation walk, with free time after to double back to your favourite spots. Tonight, catch up on sleep on an overnight train to Nha Trang.
Nha Trang You’ve arrived! Take this morning to explore local shops and markets, relax on the beach, or visit nearby historical sites before an evening street food crawl. Optional activities in Nha Trang include a boat trip to nearby islands for some snorkelling or, perhaps, a fun-filled all-day beach party.
Nha Trang/Da Nang It’s not over yet. There’s more free time to explore Nha Trang today. Then, hop on an overnight train to continue to Hoi An. The overnight train is to Da Nang, with the transfer to Hoi An following directly after.
Da Nang/Hoi An Hoi An’s excited to meet you. See why on an orientation walk of the city before more free time in the afternoon. Dig even deeper and choose between a cooking class, cycling to the beach, visiting a tailor, or exploring the old town. From Danang, it is only a short drive to the picturesque port town of Hoi An. Once known as Faifo, it was an important trading town with strong south Chinese influence and connections.
Hoi An Noodles might be fun to eat, but they’re even more fun to make. Find out how during a visit to G Adventures-supported Oodles of Noodles. Later, opt to take a cooking class, cycle to the beach, visit a tailor, or explore the old town with free time.
Hoi An/Huế Head north to the city of Huế. There’s lots to do here, with options to visit the Royal Citadel and tombs, or boarding a cruise along the Perfume River.
Huế/Phong Nha Your second day in Huế comes with more free time to enjoy the city. In the afternoon, cruise through Vietnam's stunning countryside to the green rocky mountains of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park.
Phong Nha/Hanoi It’s time to head underground with free time to explore the caves of Phong Nha-Kẻ Bàng National Park, where the oldest karst mountains in Asia are found. Then it’s an overnight train to Hanoi.
Hanoi/Ha Long After arriving in Hanoi, the bustling capital of Vietnam, take a private bus to the iconic Halong Bay for a seafood lunch cruise and cave exploring. Be sure to charge your camera so you can grab a shot truly worth sharing!
Ha Long Bay/Hanoi Feel like you've gone back in time with an orientation walk through Hanoi’s Old Quarter. Then stop for a drink at Bia Hoi Corner, a spot that serves bia hoi, a local beer made of rice and wheat — and costs a mere $0.25USD per glass! Opt to pre-book the "Hanoi Street Food Walking Tour" activity on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.
Hanoi/Vientiane After exploring Hanoi in the morning, a short flight brings the group to the capital city of Laos. See the sacred gold-covered monument, Phat That Luang, or stroll down the dusty riverside tracks to see village life as it happens. Stop by Vientiane's vibrant, colourful market to find local treasures. Round off the day with a spectacular sunset over the Mekong. There is a wealth of cultural delights to discover in Vientiane — on foot, by bicycle or, for the less energetic, by tuk-tuk.
Vientiane/Vang Vieng Find a bit of peace partway through your tour with a visit north to Vang Vieng, a small town nestled among striking limestone karsts. Take a guided hike to Pha Ngeun, the town’s highest viewpoint, for incredible views of the valley — no filter necessary. This quiet town is set along the Nam Song river amidst rice fields, mountains, and caves.
Vang Vieng Get more out of Vang Vieng with free time to explore. Opt to see the caves by bicycle or take a countryside stroll.
Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang Leave to Luang Prabang, where you can make your first acquaintance with this ancient city during an orientation walk. Later this evening, enjoy a sunset cruise on the Mekong River.
Luang Prabang Skip sleeping in to watch the monks walk through town before dawn. Dressed in saffron robes, they receive daily alms from local residents. Then, visit the Kuang Si waterfalls on a guided excursion before free time in the evening. Traditional Laotian culture involves giving daily alms to monks. Monks are only allowed to eat food which has been donated to them before noon. Should you rise early, you’ll get to watch one of the most important religious ceremonies in Laos.
Luang Prabang/Pak Beng The Mekong never looked so welcoming. Board a long houseboat and cruise to a village homestay for the night. The boat will take you on a two-day journey up the Mekong en route to Chiang Khong in Thailand.
Pak Beng/Chiang Khong New day, same magnificent Mekong. Today’s your second travel day, where you’ll cross into Thailand. We arrive in Chiang Khong by the later afternoon.
Chiang Khong/Chiang Mai Let the rolling countryside views relax you as you drive to Chiang Mai. Opt to visit Doi Suthep temple, catch a Thai boxing match, or grab a bargain at the famous night market.
Chiang Mai Take another free day to explore anything you missed yesterday. There's lots to get up to here.
Chiang Mai/Ban Mae Jok It's time for a change of pace. Today, drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Malai village, where you'll set off on a trek through rugged forests to see how diverse this region of hilltribe communities really is. Every village you'll see has its own language, belief system, style of dress, and traditions. It's a few hours to the first village of hilltribe thatch bungalows, but every step is worth it as you get to know the lay of the land.
Ban Mae Jok/Pa Khao Lam Trek for 2–3 hours before stopping for lunch. Then head to a Karen village to see how traditional blankets and scarves are made. Keep trekking for a few more hours (you've got this!) before stopping in the next village for the night. Along the way, you might get the chance to stop at Mae Tang River to learn to fish using local tools or build a raft using bamboo.
Pa Khao Lam/Chiang Mai After breakfast, leave the village by bamboo raft and get a closer look at other villages along the way. Meet the van after lunch and head back to Chiang Mai, a foodie's paradise. Use your free time to try the city's most famous dishes like khao soi (noodles in curry broth) and sai usa (northern Thai sausage).
Chiang Mai/Bangkok Make the most of Chiang Mai with more free time, where you can go shopping in the market, get a Thai massage, or explore any of the many temples. Or, hey, you could always go back for another taste of khao soi curry. Tonight, make your way to Bangkok via overnight train.
Bangkok Get out and explore this fantastic city where there is endless sightseeing to be done.
Bangkok/Surat Thani Get on first-name basis with Thailand's capital city by bike with an optional bike tour. Today, you can check out Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, go for a street food crawl, relax with a Thai massage, or explore the klongs (canals) by boat before boarding the overnight train.
Surat Thani/Khao Sok See southern Thai hospitality in action with breakfast at G Adventures-supported Khao Thep Pitak Community-Owned Farm & Restaurant, where you can also meet other international visitors. Later on, go to Lake Cheow Lan where you can take in the views while hiking or swimming in the national park. Spend tonight falling asleep to the sweet sounds of the jungle. This area is known for its natural beauty. You know what that means: lots of chances for photos.
Khao Sok/Ko Pha Ngan Head across southern Thailand to find yourself in Pha-Ngan. Take the free afternoon to relax on the beach or by the pool — which will be easy since tonight, you'll be staying beachside or poolside in cozy bungalows. This area is known for its epic nightlife, whether or not there's a Full Moon Party. Make sure you don't miss the sunset. It'll be unforgettable.
Ko Pha Ngan There's no rush to leave Ko Pha Ngan. Use your second day here to catch up on anything you missed yesterday, like exploring the island's waterfalls, swimming in lagoons, going for a hike, or, hey, taking another day to relax beachside.
Ko Pha Ngan/Ko Tao Take the ferry to Ko Tao, a laid-back island known for snorkelling. This afternoon, put on your flippers to see a whole other world underwater. Going beneath the surface not your thing? Go the other way and climb up to the scenic view at Kho Nang Yuan View Point. Later tonight, make new friends at the Ko Tao Pub Crawl.
Ko Tao It's another free day in Ko Tao, perfect for relaxing away any remnants of last night. Soak up the sun beachside or make your way to any of the beach bars.
Ko Tao Today, it’s time to say goodbye to your group of newfound friends as the tour ends. Be sure to sneak in some last-minute photos and cheers before you head on your way. If booking a flight out of Ko Samui airport, make sure not to book one earlier than 11:00am.
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