Overland tour from Laos to Thailand

A road trip through Laos’ sights and sounds. Start off in Vientiane where you can experience the heritage of the city with visits to historical sites and taste the local food. Head off to Vang Vieng to explore the town’s limestone caves and caverns. Combine the trip with a visit to Luang Prabang, where glittering temples and colonial buildings stand peacefully side by side before sailing with the Luangsay cruise to the Thai border.

The best time to visit is during the dry season from November to March.

Touring style: Professional English speaking guide and driver on a private basis

Prices are seasonal, include hotels, breakfast, professional touring and transfers. Starts from:

GBP 1889 per person sharing a twin room, Standard Class Hotels

GBP 2230 per person sharing a twin room, Superior Class Hotels

Airfares are extra.

Overland tour from Laos to Thailand at a glance
  • Day 1: Vientiane
  • Day 2: Vientiane to Vang Vieng
  • Day 3: Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang
  • Day 4: Luang Prabang's historic temples
  • Day 5: Full Day Kuang Si Waterfall
  • Day 6: On board the Luangsay cruise
  • Day 7: On board the Luangsay cruise
Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 1

Day 1: Vientiane

The capital city and seat of government sit in a bend of the Mekong River amidst fertile alluvial plains. Vientiane is a laid-back city with interesting wats and lively markets.
That Luang (Great Sacred Reliquary or Great Stupa): built between the 11th and 13th centuries AD, it is the most important national monument in Laos, a symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty.

Ho Pha Keo is the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy and converted into a museum containing some of the best examples of Buddhist sculptures found in Laos.

Wat Si Saket: constructed in 1818 by King Anouvong in the early Bangkok style, the interior walls of the cloister are punctured with small niches that contain more than 2000 silver and ceramic Buddha images.

Patuxai: a large monument reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the huge arch at the end of Thanon Lan Xang has a stairway that leads to the top levels of the monument, providing a good view of the city.

Distance and journey time: 4 km, 15 mins

Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 2

Day 2: Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Travel by vehicle from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. This small town north of Vientiane is nestled in a scenic bend of the Nam Song River. The west bank of the river is lined with tunnels, caverns, and beautiful limestone cliffs. Visit some of the caves for which the town is famous, including Chang Cave, used as a bunker against the marauding Chinese in the early 19th century, and Xang Cave, or "Elephant Cave", which contains a few Buddha images, a Buddha footprint and the elephant-shaped stalactites which give the cave its name. Overnight in Vang Vieng.

Distance and journey time: 160 km, 3.50 hrs

Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 3

Day 3: Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Journey north passing through Ban Phatang and Muang Kasi for overnight in Luang Prabang. Set between the Nam Khan and Nam Ou rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial-style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

Distance and journey time: 230 km, 5 hrs

Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 4

Day 4: Luang Prabang sightseeing

Start the day at the National Museum, a modest but graceful building that combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the-century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos.

Afterwards, visit Wat Mai and Wat Visoun (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas. Visit the nearby Wat Aham before continuing to Wat Xieng Thong, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold stencilled murals. Stroll down the main street of Luang Prabang, stopping at some of the many temples that line its sides, including Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop and Wat Sene.

Visit Mount Phousi. Climb the hillside stairs to the small temples atop Phou Si offering beautiful views over the temples and river. Overnight in Luang Prabang.


Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 5

Day 5: Luang Prabang - Kuang si Waterfall

Located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of turquoise pools. It is a tranquil place for a dip and a picnic. Continue to Ban Tha Pene, a nearby Khmu village, and Ban Long Lao before returning to Luang Prabang by vehicle. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Distance and journey time: 35 km, 45 mins each way

Overland tour from Laos to Thailand Image 6

Day 6: On board the Luangsay cruise

Embark on the Luangsay boat, a traditional style wooden boat with open decks and beautiful views. Cruise upstream towards Pakbeng stopping at Ban Baw to observe the making of traditional Lao rice wine and whisky. Continue to the famous Pak Ou caves, natural shrines which have been filled over the centuries with hundreds of Buddha images in every style and material. Lunch is served on board, followed by a visit to a fishing village before arriving in Pakbeng in the late afternoon. Overnight in Pakbeng.

Day 7: On board the Luangsay cruise

Early morning the Luang Say boat leaves the pier for a leisurely cruise up the Mekong towards Huay Xai on the Lao-Thai border. Several stops along the way offer the opportunity to sample rural life first-hand and marvel at just how little has changed over the centuries. Arrive at Huay Xai in the late afternoon and cross the border into Thailand.

Why not extend your tour to include the Northern delights of Thailand?


Not quite right? This itinerary is just to give you an idea of what is possible. Need some more inspiration? Please get in touch at 01473 214305 or email sales@eastravel.co.uk We welcome your questions. We're here to help!


Luang Prabang

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this former capital of the ancient Lane Xang kingdom is a city of golden Buddhist temples and faded French colonial splendour

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Vang Vieng

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