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Laos Flexi Loop

A flexible round trip from Bangkok through Northern Thailand and Laos!

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Group Size: Max 23

Trip code: LAFL

Duration: Minimum 12 days

Flexible travel pass for Laos & Thailand
Travel at your own pace
Can be completed in 12 days

The Laos Flexi Loop is an amazing, hop-on-hop-off experience and the ideal way to explore Northern Thailand and Laos. This round trip from Bangkok is the ultimate in fun and flexible travel! You can choose from two options:

Option 1: Bus pass only. A flexible, hop-on-hop-off bus pass which includes travel and some inclusive activities, but no accommodation or meals.

Option 2: Flexi tour. Hop-on-hop-off bus pass + 1 night’s accommodation in each stop off and exciting extra activities.

You can complete the travel route in a minimum time of 12 days, or enjoy the freedom to hop on and hop off and add in independent travel time: Most of our travellers spend 2-3 weeks exploring Thailand and Laos. See stunning sights such as Bangkok, Chiang Mai, the Mekong River, Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng and Vientiane. Take your time travelling at your own pace!

Trip highlights

  • Treat the bus pass route as a tour and complete it in a minimum time of 12 days, or hop off and spend a little longer in Thailand and Laos
  • Choose our bus pass only (option 1), or join our flexi tour (option 2) which includes one night’s accommodation in each stop off and exciting extra activities such as a ziplining adventure, rice farm experience and waterfall excursion
  • Explore Northern Thailand: Begin in the buzz of Bangkok and hang out in the cool city of Chiang Mai
  • Cross the border into Laos: Take a 2-day slowboat ride down the Mekong River, relax in Luang Prabang, get active in fun Vang Vieng and explore cultural Vientiane
  • Head off the beaten track, visit unique locations and enjoy exciting activities on this unforgettable Asian bus pass adventure!
Gap 360 Trip Notes

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What's included
  • Hop-on-hop-off bus pass (options 1 & 2)
  • White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) visit (options 1 & 2)
  • Pak Ou Caves entrance (options 1 & 2)
  • Tham Jang Cave entrance (options 1 & 2)
  • 2 nights on an overnight train (options 1 & 2)
  • 2-day slowboat ride along the Mekong River (options 1 & 2)
  • 8 nights’ guesthouse accommodation (option 2 only)
  • 1 night homestay: Includes accommodation in an indigenous family home, traditional Baci Ceremony, dinner, breakfast, local activities and contribution to the village (option 2 only)
  • Choice of included activity in Chiang Mai (option 2 only)
  • Rice farm experience, Luang Prabang (option 2 only)
  • Kuang Si Waterfall and bear centre visit, Luang Prabang (option 2 only)
  • 24 hour support
What's not included
  • Flights
  • Travel Insurance
  • Airport transfers
  • Visas
  • Option 1: All accommodation
  • Options 1 & 2: Extra accommodation if you hop off
  • Meals
  • Optional activities
Further trip information

This brilliant, flexible trip can be booked as either:

Option 1: Bus pass only. A flexible, hop-on-hop-off bus pass which includes travel and some inclusive activities, but no accommodation or meals.

Option 2: Flexi tour. Hop-on-hop-off bus pass + 1 night’s accommodation in each stop off and extra activities.

Travellers on both options 1 & 2 can complete this bus route in a minimum tour time of 13 days or you can hop off to stay a little longer in any of the destinations along the route. Most travellers choose to spend 2-3 weeks discovering Thailand and Laos.

Please note: The following itinerary is a guide based on the minimum number of days to complete the bus route. This is a flexible bus pass so you can spend as long or as little as you like in each location. Just jump aboard the bus when you’re ready to go! We recommend you spend at least a couple of days in each location to get a real flavour of Thailand and Laos.

Day 1: Arrival in Bangkok and night train to Chiang Mai

You should arrange your arrival into Bangkok today ready to start to your brilliant bus pass adventure! Meet up with your fellow travellers on Thailand’s legendary Khao San Road for a welcome evening meeting and get the low down on how your pass works and what adventures lie ahead. Then head to the train station and jump on an overnight train to Chiang Mai!

Free inclusions: Overnight train or bus.

Day 2 & 3: Chiang Mai

Arrive into Chiang Mai between 8-11am on day 2. Discover the wonders of this vibrant Thai city today and visit Chiang Mai’s ancient city sights, such as one of its 300 amazing Buddhist temples or the old walled city and Tapae Gate. Don’t miss Chiang Mai’s famous Night Bazaar; snap up some bargains and stock up on Thai souvenirs!

Day 3 is a free day to enjoy Chiang Mai – why not sign up for some exciting optional activities and have an adventure-filled day? You can try cookery classes, go trekking or rafting, try Muay Thai Boxing, relax with a massage, or take a tree top adventure on a fun and adrenaline-pumping ziplining adventure.

Accommodation option: Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20.

Optional Paid Activities: Muay Thai Boxing, Northern Thai adventure, Thai cooking course, bike tour, ziplining, Night Safari, trekking, kayaking, mountain biking.

Day 4: Chiang Mai to Houay Xai

Leave Chiang Mai at 9am, stopping off near Chiang Rai, where if you wish you can hop off and take some independent time to go trekking or explore some remote ethnic villages in the region. Pay a visit to the unique Wat Rong Khun (White Temple) with its unusual murals and statues, before crossing the border into Laos. A short tuk-tuk ride takes you to the laid-back town of Houay Xai, where you will spend the night.

Accommodation option: Guesthouse with Mekong River views USD20.

Free inclusions: White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) visit.

Optional Paid Activities: Visit an ethnic lantern village near Chiang Rai, ziplining from Houay Xai (you must hop off for these activities).

Day 5: Houay Xai to Ban Pak Nguey

Hop on board a private slow boat up the mighty Mekong River. Relax and enjoy this extraordinary journey through lush farmland, wild jungle and splendid mountain scenery before arriving in a traditional Laos village in the late afternoon. Experience a traditional taste of village life in Laos and stay with a local family in an exclusive homestay. Take part in a welcoming Baci ceremony, splash about in the Mekong River, discover the local temple, go fishing, sample the local whiskey or visit the local school to give the kids an English lesson or play a game of football.

Accommodation: Village stay includes accommodation in an indigenous family home, traditional Baci Ceremony, dinner, breakfast, local activities and contribution to the village USD17.

Day 6: Pak Ou Caves & Luang Prabang

Say goodbye to the village and hop back on board your private boat, travelling downriver to the famous limestone caves at Pak Ou, which is a site of pilgrimage for many people in Laos. Marvel at the impressive range of Buddhist images scattered throughout the cave complex, before travelling on downriver to the UNESCO World Heritage town of Luang Prabang.

Crammed full of a fusion of French colonial architecture and traditional Laotian buildings. Luang Prabang has many amazing sights to see, including the National Palace Museum, the old monastery of Wat Xieng Thong and some amazing Buddhist temples and sacred sites. 

Accommodation option: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD12-40.

Free inclusions: Pak Ou Caves entrance.

Optional Paid Activities: Kuang Si Waterfall + bear sanctuary, Rice Experience, cycling, trekking, traditional cooking class, kayak the river.

Day 7: Luang Prabang

Visit the gorgeous turquoise spring waters of Kuang Si waterfalls on a half day tour today, then have the rest of the day to explore! Try your hand at becoming an organic rice farmer for the day, visit the bear sanctuary, go cycling or trekking to rural villages, take a cooking class, and snap up some bargains at the night market.

Accommodation option: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD12-40.

Free inclusions: Kuang Si Waterfall

Optional Paid Activities: Rice Experience, cycling, trekking, traditional cooking class, kayak the river.

Day 8 & 9: Vang Vieng

Make an early start for a mountainous journey through spectacular scenery en route to the adventure location of Vang Vieng. You will spend 2 days here, giving you plenty of chance to make the most of the awesome optional activities on offer here: you can go kayaking or cycling, try rock climbing, go hot air ballooning, party or watch retro TV in one of the town’s many bars.

Accommodation option: Family run guesthouse USD9-14.

Optional Paid Activities: Cycling, kayaking, rock climbing, caving, hot air ballooning.

Day 10: Vang Vieng to Vientiane

Leaving Vang Vieng behind, we'll make tracks for Vientiane. Enjoy Laos’ lively capital city as you take a tour of Vientiane’s main attractions: Putaxai, Pha That Luang, That Dam, the Presidential Palace and the COPE centre, which raises awareness for victims of UXO (Unexploded Ordinance) and the Secret War. Spend some free time exploring the city; relax with a massage, shop in the night market or sample some tasty local dishes at a riverside restaurant.

Accommodation option: Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast USD20.

Free inclusions: Highlights of Vientiane tour.

Day 11-12: Vientiane to Bangkok

Spend the first part of the day making the most of Vientiane, before hopping in a tuk tuk mid-afternoon towards Thanaleng Train Station. Clear Laos’ customs, pay your departure fee, and then jump on board a train over the Friendship Bridge to Nong Khai in Thailand, where you will pass through Thai immigration at the train station. There’s time to grab a bite before boarding an overnight train to Bangkok, where your amazing tour of Thailand and Laos will come to an end.

Free inclusions: Overnight train.

Please note: As this pass is a round trip from Bangkok, you are able to begin your journey anywhere along the route (not just Bangkok), and finish where you started. Let us know your preferred starting location when you book.

Please note that we will book the pass for you as open dated, so you can decide the date that you want to start the pass- please download the trip notes for more details.

Please note all activities, itineraries and routes are subject to change

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Booking options

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Call us on: 01892 527392
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Return Flights from £675

Cheapest flights between London and Bangkok for the next 6 months

Cheapest: £675 February, 2023
Most expensive: £1,817 December, 2022
Arrival information

You will need to arrange your arrival into Bangkok at least the day before your travel pass route starts, as the welcome meeting for the pass is 3pm in Bangkok on day 1. You will need to arrange your own accommodation for this first night in Bangkok.

Accommodation & meals

Option 1, bus pass only: No accommodation or meals included.

Option 2, flexi tour: One night of accommodation included in each stop on the tour route. Meals at own cost.

Travellers on option 1, bus pass only

If you book option 1, accommodation and meals are not included. Each stop-off on the route offers accommodation options, many of which are unique to this bus pass. Accommodation options for each night are:

  • Chiang Mai: Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter USD12-20 per person per night.
  • Houay Xai: Guesthouse with Mekong River views USD20 pppn.
  • Ban Pak Nguey: Village stay includes accommodation in an indigenous family home, traditional Baci Ceremony, dinner, breakfast, local activities and contribution to the village USD17 pp.
  • Luang Prabang: Guesthouse with fan or AC private rooms close to night market USD12-40 pppn.
  • Vang Vieng: Family run guesthouse USD8-30 pppn.
  • Vientiane: Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast USD20 pppn.

We reserve accommodation in all our overnight stops so you’ll be guaranteed one night’s accommodation in each overnight stop if you want it. If you wish to take advantage of this offer, tell your guide/driver and they will book it for you (you pay as you go). 2 nights will be spent on overnight trains and the cost of this is included.

Travellers on option 2, flexi tour

If you book on option 2, the flexi tour, one night of accommodation is included at each stop along the way. In total you will have 8 nights’ included in hotels, hostels or guesthouses, one night in a homestay and 2 nights on overnight trains included. All accommodation is in 4-8 bed same sex dorms. Included accommodation:

  • 2 nights on an overnight train
  • 2 nights’ accommodation in Chiang Mai: Guesthouse located near the historic, old quarter.
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Houay Xai: Guesthouse with Mekong River views.
  • 1 night’s homestay accommodation in Ban Pak Nguey: Village stay includes accommodation in an indigenous family home, traditional Baci Ceremony, dinner, breakfast, local activities and contribution to the village.
  • 2 nights’ accommodation in Luang Prabang: Guesthouse with fan or AC rooms close to night market.
  • 2 nights' accommodation in Vang Vieng: Family run guesthouse.
  • 1 night’s accommodation in Vientiane: Hotel with modern facilities including WIFI and breakfast.

As this is a flexible trip, you are welcome to stay longer in any of the locations along the route, although extra accommodation will be at your own cost. If you want to make the most of your flexible travel pass, your guide can advise you about suitable local accommodation options in each destination.

Minimum age & eligibility

The minimum age to join this tour is 18.

Thailand: Without a visa, British nationals arriving by air into Thailand can remain in the country for a maximum of 30 days, though if you arrive across a land border this may be a shorter stay (please check with the Thai embassy for current details).

Laos: Visas for Laos are usually issued upon arrival at the border but please check with the Laotian embassy before you travel.

It’s your responsibility to obtain the necessary visas for your time away. Visa rules are subject to change without prior notice, so please do check visa requirements at the time of your trip.

Covid safety

This trip is designed with your safety and wellbeing in mind. As a result of Covid-19, many of our suppliers and partners around the world are introducing new policies and procedures surrounding health and safety in response to the Coronavirus outbreak. As the state of travel is evolving these new safety measures will adapt over time, and will be different for each trip. Here are some of the changes you may see on your trip:

Arrival safety meetings
Most trips have an arrival meeting on the first day where the guide or local team will run through the trip, the safety protocols, and to answer any questions you may have. Now more than ever it is important you arrive in time for these meetings.

Proof of vaccination or negative covid test
For the safety of all travellers, at the start of some trips you may be required to show evidence that you are fully vaccinated (14 days after your second dose) and/or show evidence of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the tour start date in order to join the programme.

Updated hygiene and safety procedures
Our suppliers and partners have health and safety procedures in place on all of our trips. These protocols will be updated and adapted as a response to the Coronavirus outbreak, dependent on local restrictions and laws.

Transport and accommodation choices
Our suppliers and partners choose the accommodation and transport on our trips very carefully, and you may see a change to what would normally be used as a response to the outbreak. This may involve such changes as enhanced use of private transport or quieter accommodation.

Trained and knowledgeable staff
Our staff in the UK are trained to help you with your trip before you depart and answer any questions you may have. In addition, the local team and guides on our trips are there to help with any health and safety concerns and to ensure our trips run safely and smoothly.

Reduced group sizes
Some trips will run with reduced group sizes to start with. You may find that trips are more intimate and chilled, whilst still being packed with fun and adventure.

Your guide or the local team will be on hand to help you seek medical attention should you require it during your trip. As medical facilities and standards can vary around the world, you should ensure you have adequate travel insurance in place before you depart to cover you for any medical emergencies.

24/7 emergency support
We operate an emergency phone line for our travellers abroad. This is operated by a UK based member of staff 24/7 if you have a genuine emergency or urgent matter that you need attending.

It is important that you take measures to make travelling safer for yourself and others around you. Ensure you frequently wash your hands, cover your face when you sneeze and cough, bring and use your own hand sanitiser and facial coverings/masks, and enable social distancing where necessary. You should also ensure you listen to the instructions and guidance of the local team at all times, and follow all local laws and restrictions.