Vietnam, Laos & Thailand: Riversides & Railways
22 days from Ho Chi Minh City to Bangkok
From $ 1461
Duration22 days

From the fast-paced nightlife of Bangkok to a slow boat along the Mekong, this trip brings you the best of Southeast Asia on a shoestring. You'll party along the beautiful bay of Vietnam’s Nha Trang in the company of like-minded travellers and channel the French vibe sipping coffee in riverside cafés in Laos. Explore golden temples or hunt down treasures in local markets—the choice is all yours. Best of all, your CEO will take the hassle out of planning, so you're free to soak up the spirit of this amazing region.

This tour is operated by

  • Duration: 22 days
    Service level: Basic
  • Starts in: Ho Chi Minh City
    Physical Grading: Light
  • Ends in: Bangkok
    Ages: 18+
Vietnam, Laos & Thailand on a Shoestring - Tour Map


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Day 1: Ho Chi Minh City
Welcome to Ho Chi Minh City. Once the capital of South Vietnam, this sprawling metropolis is now the country’s commercial centre.

Today is arrival day, so there are no activities planned. Relax, explore the city, and adjust to the frenetic pace and humid heat of Ho Chi Minh City.
Arrive at any time. Most nationalities require a visa to enter Vietnam. Please check with your travel agent or local Vietnamese Embassy regarding requirements.

Please note that this tour combines with other G Adventures tours. As such, the staff and some travel companions on your tour may have previously been traveling together with G Adventures, prior to Day 1 of your tour. Likewise, some staff and travel companions may be continuing together on another G Adventures tour, after your trip concludes.
Day 2: Ho Chi Minh City/Nha Trang
Discover the energy of Vietnam's biggest city on a CEO-led orientation walk and continue exploring with free time. Overnight train to Nha Trang. During January/February, Tết (the Vietnamese Lunar New Year) sees millions of Vietnamese commute to be with their families and celebrate. While this is a fascinating time to travel through Vietnam, availability of transport may mean that we will replace the overnight train with an overnight bus.
Meals: B
Day 3: Nha Trang
Optional activities in Nha Trang include a boat trip to nearby islands for some snorkelling or, perhaps, a fun-filled all-day beach party.
Arrive in Nha Trang in the morning with plenty of time to explore local shops and markets, relax on the beach or visit nearby historical sites.

This evening, go on a street food crawl with the group and CEO to get to know more about the delicious local specialties.
Day 4: Nha Trang/Da Nang
In the evening, take an overnight train to Da Nang, then transfer to Hoi An.
Free time in Nha Trang. Overnight train to Hoi An. During January/February, Tết (the Vietnamese Lunar New Year) sees millions of Vietnamese commute to be with their families and celebrate. While this is a fascinating time to travel through Vietnam, availability of transport may mean that we will replace the overnight train with an overnight bus.
Meals: B
Day 5: Da Nang/Hoi An
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.
Get your bearings with an orientation walk before free time in the afternoon. Opt to take a cooking class, cycle to the beach, visit a tailor, or explore the old town.
Day 6: Hoi An
Enjoy a noodle-making demonstration and local lunch at the G Adventures-supported Oodles of Noodles Project. Later, opt to take a cooking class, cycle to the beach, visit a tailor, or explore the old town with free time.
Meals: B, L
Day 7: Hoi An/Huế
Opt to pre-book the "Hue Motorbike Tour" on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.
Continue the journey north to the city of Hue. Opt to visit the Royal Citadel and tombs, or take a cruise along the Perfume River.
Meals: B
Day 8: Huế/Hanoi
Free time in Hue. Overnight train to Hanoi.

End place: Hanoi

Meals: B
Day 9: Hanoi/Ha Long

Start place: Hanoi

Arrive early morning to bustling Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Transfer to a private bus and head to the beautiful and famous Halong Bay.
Visit Halong Bay for a seafood lunch cruise and cave visit.

End place: Ha Long

Meals: L
Day 10: Ha Long/Hanoi

Start place: Ha Long

Get to know Hanoi with an orientation walk through the Old Quarter. Opt to see Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and the Hoa Lo Prison, or shop in the Old Quarter.

End place: Hanoi

Meals: B
Day 11: Hanoi

Start place: Hanoi

Spend time exploring Hanoi.

End place: Hanoi

Day 12: Hanoi/Vientiane

Start place: Hanoi

Explore a bit of Hanoi in the morning before an afternoon flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. There is a wealth of cultural delights to discover - on foot, by bicycle or, for the less energetic, by tuk-tuk.

Visit Laos' most important national monument, Phat That Luang, or meander down the dusty riverside tracks to find villages full of friendly children, dogs and chickens. A visit to Vientiane's vibrant, colourful morning market (which incidentally is open all day!) is worthwhile, to find plenty of local treasures. A great way to round off the day is to enjoy a spectacular sunset over the Mekong.
A short flight brings the group to the capital city of Laos. Opt to visit temples, see the golden stupa of That Luang, or scour the markets.

End place: Vientiane

Meals: B
Day 13: Vientiane/Vang Vieng

Start place: Vientiane

A picturesque drive north takes us to beautiful Vang Vieng. This quiet town is set along the Nam Song river amidst rice fields and limestone karsts.
Enjoy the beautiful limestone karsts surrounding Vang Vieng. Free time to hike, bike, swim or go caving.

End place: Vangviang

Meals: B
Day 14: Vang Vieng

Start place: Vangviang

Why not explore some of the caves by bicycle or take an invigorating walk. In the evening, soak in the natural beauty of Vang Vieng as the sun sets over the river.
Free time to explore Vang Vieng. Opt to explore some of the caves by bicycle or take an invigorating walk.

End place: Vangviang

Meals: B
Day 15: Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang

Start place: Vangviang

This morning travel from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. Get your bearings with a CEO-led orientation walk.

End place: Luang Prabang

Meals: B
Day 16: Luang Prabang

Start place: Luang Prabang

Traditional Laotian culture is to give daily alms to monks. Monks are only allowed to eat food which has been donated to them before noon. On one of your mornings here, you may decide to rise with the sun, and watch one of the most important religious ceremonies in Laos. This is simply an unforgettable Southeast Asian experience.
Witness the giving of alms to the Buddhist monks and visit the night market. Opt to take a cooking class, visit temples or cool off at Kuang Si Waterfalls.

End place: Luang Prabang

Meals: B
Day 17: Luang Prabang/Pak Beng

Start place: Luang Prabang

We board our boat for the two-day journey up the mighty Mekong River making our way to Chiang Khong.
Cruise the Mekong on a long houseboat before arriving at a village homestay for the night. The evening meal is eaten together in one of the houses. The food is typically Laotian - very simple yet delicious. A vegetarian option is always served and the second option is typically a pork stirfry.

End place: Muang Pakbeng

Meals: B, D
Day 18: Pak Beng/Chiang Khong

Start place: Muang Pakbeng

This morning we re-board our boat and continue our leisurely cruise along the river before arriving at the Laos/Thai border and crossing to Chiang Khong in the late afternoon.
Mekong River travel day. Cross into Thailand.

End place: Chiang Khong

Meals: B, L
Day 19: Chiang Khong/Chiang Mai

Start place: Chiang Khong

Departing Chiang Khong after breakfast, we drive to Chiang Mai where you have the afternoon free to explore this fascinating city, once the capital of the Kingdom of Lan.
Drive to Chiang Mai. Opt to visit Doi Suthep temple, catch a Thai boxing match or grab a bargain at the famous night market.

End place: Chiang Mai

Day 20: Chiang Mai/Bangkok

Start place: Chiang Mai

Today, why not try your hand at local cuisine with a Thai cooking class? Other options include a visit the magnificent temple of Doi Suthep standing watch over the city from the hills above, taking a bicycle ride in the countryside or embracing the bizarre by getting a massage from the training school at the local woman's prison! Tonight we catch an overnight train to Bangkok.
Free time in Chiang Mai. Overnight train to Bangkok.

End place: Bangkok

Meals: B
Day 21: Bangkok

Start place: Bangkok

We'll arrive early in the morning to Bangkok, Thailand's capital city. The day is free to explore the many sights of Bangkok. The Grand Palace, Wat Pho, National Museum, and Jim Thompson's House are just a few suggestions. A trip along the Chao Praya river and through the canals (or klongs) gives you a different perspective of daily life in this busy city.

In the evening, we'll say good bye and enjoy a Thai meal and perhaps a beer together to celebrate the end of an amazing journey.
Opt to visit Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, buy any last minute souvenirs or relax with a Thai massage.

End place: Bangkok

Day 22: Bangkok

Start place: Bangkok

Depart at any time.

End place: Bangkok

Meals: B



  • 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 Welcome Moment: Meet Your CEO and Group Your Discover Moment: Ho Chi Minh City Your Discover Moment: Luang Prabang Your Discover Moment: Chiang Mai
  • Halong Bay boat cruise with lunch
  • Slow boat on the Mekong
  • Orientation walk of Luang Prabang
  • Witness the giving of alms (Luang Prabang)
  • Orientation walks in Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, and Hanoi
  • Two street food crawls in different cities
  • Internal flight
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities
  • Transport

    Local bus, Air-con bus, Train, Walking, Tuk tuk, Local boat, Junk boat, Plane
  • Accommodation

    Simple hotels (twin-share) (6 nts), Hostels (multi-share) (10 nts), Sleeper trains (4 nts), Homestay (1 nt)

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