Epic Indochina: River Cruises & Karst Mountains

  • Overview
  • Itinerary
  • What's Included
  • Dates
  • G Adventures

Trips of a lifetime don't come around often, but this 40-day tour through Southeast Asia is truly worthy of the term "epic." This circuit takes you through Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Laos with a diverse itinerary of bustling cities, beautiful beaches, and rural villages that most tourists have never ever heard of. This itinerary stands apart with a three-day trek through forest terrain to meet northern Thailand's local hilltribes, as well as a free day to explore the brilliantly-blue waters of Ko Pha-Ngan a few days later. With a Chief Experience Officer (CEO) at the helm of this adventure and a crew of explorers that are just as excited to check out the sites as you are, you'll in for an incredible ride.

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
Accommodation
Simple hotels (twin-share) or hostels (multi-share) (32 nts), sleeper trains (7 nts), homestays (2 nts) basic hilltribe huts (2 nts, multi-share).
Meals Included
28 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 5 dinners
Transport
Local bus, air-conditioned bus, train, walking, tuk-tuk, local boat, junk boat, plane.
Destinations
  • Asia
  • Vietnam
  • Thailand
  • Laos
  • Cambodia
Tour Types
  • Adventure
  • 18-to-Thirtysomethings
  • Basic
  • 3 - Average
  • New Trips
  • Small Group
Day 1: Bangkok

Arrive at any time.

Day 2: Bangkok/Siem Reap

Travel to Siem Reap. Enjoy a delicious Khmer meal at a G Adventures for Good-supported project.

Cross from Thailand into Cambodia, the 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.

Day 3: Siem Reap

Guided tour of Angkor Wat temple complex. Opt to visit Tonle Sap floating village and Angkor National Museum.

Prefer to plan ahead? Opt to pre-book the "Siem Reap Quad Biking" or "Phare Circus" activities on the checkout page ahead of time, to include one of these optionals on your tour.

Day 4: Siem Reap/Phnom Penh

Transfer to Cambodia's capital. Take an orientation walk around Phnom Penh.

Day 5: Phnom Penh

Opt to learn about Cambodia's sombre history with a visit to the Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields. Later, head out for a street food crawl with the group and CEO.

Sights you might choose to visit this afternoon include the National Museum and adjacent complex which includes the Silver Pagoda and Royal Palace. To learn about Cambodia's sombre history, visit the Tuol Sleng Prison and the Killing Fields, reminders of the genocide that took place under Pol Pot's reign as leader of the Khmer Rouge.

Day 6: Phnom Penh/Koh Rong

Transfer to Sihanoukville then take a boat ride to your own private beach on Koh Rong. Check in and go for a swim in the warm waves before relaxing with a drink on the beach.

Travel to Koh Rong and feast on fantastic local seafood, take a day trip to snorkel the coral reefs and explore the islands, or just sit back in a deck chair and let the warm breeze caress you as the waves splash gently at your feet. It doesn't get much better than this.

Day 7: Koh Rong

Swim, relax by the beach or opt to go snorkelling, fishing, hiking or kayaking. On nights without a large moon opt to swim in a sea of blue sparkles caused by phosphorescent plankton.

Day 8: Chambok Homestay

Travel back to the mainland, then to a village homestay. Enjoy a homecooked meal with the hosts.

Day 9: Chambok Homestay/Ho Chi Minh City

Cross the border to Vietnam and continue on to Ho Chi Minh City. Opt to visit the Ben Thahn market before enjoying a night out in town.

This evening, head to one of the rooftop bars such as the Rex Hotel, one of the classic colonial Saigon institutions, where there is often live music.

Day 10: 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.

Day 11: Nha Trang

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.

Optional activities in Nha Trang include a boat trip to nearby islands for some snorkelling or, perhaps, a fun-filled all-day beach party.

Day 12: Nha Trang/Da Nang

Free time in Nha Trang. Overnight train to Hoi An.

In the evening, take an overnight train to Da Nang, then transfer to Hoi An.

Day 13: Da Nang/Hoi An

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.

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.

Day 14: 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.

Day 15: Hoi An/Hu?

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.

Opt to pre-book the "Hue Motorbike Tour" on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 16: Hu?/Hanoi

Free time in Hue. Overnight train to Hanoi.

Day 17: Hanoi/Ha Long

Visit Halong Bay for a seafood lunch cruise and cave visit.

Arrive early morning to bustling Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam. Transfer to a private bus and head to the beautiful and famous Halong Bay.

Day 18: Ha Long/Hanoi

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.

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.

Day 19: Hanoi

Spend time exploring Hanoi.

Day 20: Hanoi/Vientiane

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.

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.

Day 21: Vientiane/Vang Vieng

Enjoy the beautiful limestone karsts surrounding Vang Vieng. Free time to hike, bike, swim or go caving.

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.

Day 22: Vang Vieng

Free time to explore Vang Vieng. Opt to explore some of the caves by bicycle or take an invigorating walk. In the evening, soak in the natural beauty of the countryside as the sun sets over the river.

Opt to pre-book the "Vang Vieng Adrenaline Bundle" on the checkout page ahead of time, to include this optional on your tour.

Day 23: Vang Vieng/Luang Prabang

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

Day 24: Luang Prabang

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.

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.

Day 25: Luang Prabang/Pak Beng

Cruise the Mekong on a long houseboat before arriving at a village homestay for the night.

We board our boat for the two-day journey up the mighty Mekong River making our way to Chiang Khong.

Day 26: Pak Beng/Chiang Khong

Mekong River travel day. Cross into Thailand.

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.

Day 27: Chiang Khong/Chiang Mai

Drive to Chiang Mai. Opt to visit Doi Suthep temple, catch a Thai boxing match or grab a bargain at the famous night market.

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. Explore the rural lanes of Chiang Mai in a tuk-tuk by pre-booking the Full Day Tuk-Tuk Adventure or experience the flavours and scents of traditional northern Thai cuisine by pre-booking the Northern Thai Cooking Class.

Day 28: Chiang Mai

Enjoy free time to explore. Opt to do a cycling tour, catch a Thai boxing match, or visit Doi Suthep temple.

Day 29: Chiang Mai/Ban Mae Jok

Trek through rugged forests and experience the wonderful diversity of this region: each village has its own language, belief system, style of dress, and traditions. Drive from Chiang Mai to Mae Malai village, where the trek will begin. After a few hours of hiking, reach the first village.

We might have time to visit a local market before stopping for lunch and starting our trek. Tucked away in the hills of northern Thailand is where the most colourful and unchanged traditional communities can be found. Trek through forests and rural terrains to visit some of these diverse hilltribe villages; often, each will have their own unique language, clothing style, and belief system that differs significantly from those of neighbouring tribes. You are well looked after by your local guides, who take the responsibility of preparing all meals and carrying food supplies.

Day 30: Ban Mae Jok/Pa Khao Lam

Trek 2-3 hrs and, after lunch, head to a Karen village to see how to make traditional baskets and scarves. Continue trekking another few hours to the next village for the night.

You will also have the chance to fish at Mae Tang River using local tools; learn how to construct a bamboo raft.

Day 31: Pa Khao Lam/Chiang Mai

After breakfast, leave the village by bamboo raft, stopping at other villages along the way. Meet the van after lunch and head back to Chiang Mai for some free time to explore.

Day 32: Chiang Mai/Bangkok

Opt to go shopping, enjoy a Thai massage, or explore Chiang Mai's many temples. Board an overnight train to Bangkok.

Day 33: Bangkok

Get out and explore this fantastic city where there is endless sightseeing to be done.

Day 34: Bangkok/Surat Thani

Get to know Thailand's capital. Check out Wat Pho and the Grand Palace, get a Thai massage, or explore the klongs on a boat tour before an overnight train. Enjoy a street food crawl with the group and CEO either today or another day on tour.

Day 35: Surat Thani/Khao Sok

Enjoy an included breakfast at G Adventures supported Khao Thep Pitak Community-Owned Farm & Restaurant. Continue on and discover the natural beauty of the area with an excursion to Lake Cheow Lan. Opt to go hiking or swimming in Khao Sok National Park.

Khao Sok is a diverse area of natural beauty, a perfect place for people who want to hike and get out there in nature or those that just want to chill out in a hammock by the riverside watching monkeys take their afternoon bath. As entry to Khao Sok NP is included for the day, you can opt for a trek in the park after checking in this afternoon. The park entrance is a short walk from the hotel, as is the main stretch of restaurants and bars in town.

Day 36: Khao Sok/Ko Pha Ngan

Travel across southern Thailand to Ko Pha-Ngan in the Gulf of Thailand. Enjoy a free afternoon on the island.

Travel to Ko Pha-Ngan, known for its epic parties. Explore the island and its beaches by day and dive into the nightlife when the sun goes down.

Day 37: Ko Pha Ngan

Enjoy a free day to explore the island's waterfalls, swim in lagoons, hike, or relax on the beach.

Day 38: Ko Pha Ngan/Ko Tao

Hop on a ferry to laid-back Ko Tao and enjoy an afternoon of snorkelling.

During the past 10 years, the reputation of Ko Tao's natural beauty, especially its marine life and coral reefs, has spread the world over and the number of paradise seekers and divers increased rapidly. It's become one of the major dive sites in Thailand, attracting beginners and professionals alike. The island today, though still remaining a unique paradise, caters to all tastes and budgets.

Day 39: Ko Tao

Enjoy free time in Ko Tao today, relaxing on the beach or hanging out at one of the many beach bars.

Day 40: Ko Tao

Depart at any time. If booking a flight out of Ko Samui airport, the earliest departure time should be 11:00 am Want to take the hassle out of getting back to Bangkok? Book the Bangkok Express, a two-day post-tour Extra. Speak to your Global Connection Officer or travel agent to book.

  • 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 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
  • Witness the giving of alms 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 (Ko Tao)
  • All transport between destinations and to/from included activities

Dates Price Single Availability
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39 nights from pp exc.flights; per Night
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Accommodation:Simple hotels (twin-share) or hostels (multi-share) (32 nts), sleeper trains (7 nts), homestays (2 nts) basic hilltribe huts (2 nts, multi-share).
Meals:28 breakfasts, 8 lunches, 5 dinners
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