Laos Thailand Cambodia Trip: 25 Days
A Backpacker's Dream
Our 25-day trip through Laos, Thailand & Cambodia is the perfect adventure to explore the beauty of the towns, jungles, rivers and temples that exist within the interior of these three equally astounding countries.
Our only 25-day trip, we simply could not fit all the amazing activities and destinations of this trip into 20 days, so the extra time allows for a bit of chill time and balances out the flurry of epic activities you’ll experience as you loop through 3 of the most interesting countries in the world.
But if you want, this trip can keep your daily itineraries filled to the brim with a seemingly endless amount of incredible things to see and do.
Your camera will fill quickly with astonishing waterfalls cascading into an oasis in the middle of a tropical jungle, massive trees hundreds of years old growing right out of ancient temples and lines of hundreds of Buddhist monks in saffron robes walking down the street. Your friends will have trouble believing that everything you experienced was on one trip!
I just finished the Laos, Thailand, and Cambodia trip. It was such an amazing experience and I wouldn’t change anything about it! Literally only have positive words for the trip and the leaders!
- Lee, February 2019
Day 1 (Bangkok)
Group flights arrive in the afternoon. Get acquainted with the busy streets of Bangkok and meet your group over some food and drinks at the guesthouse.
Day 2-5 (Siem Reap)
Take private A/C minibus* to the Thai/Cambodian border. Cross into Cambodia and take a bus to Siem Reap. Take minibus transfer to the airport and fly to Siem Reap.
This city will be our starting point for exploring the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat on our locally-guided FnEZ temple tour (incl). We include a 1-day pass to the ancient city. Local nightlife on "Pub Street", cafes, and street food are just minutes away, or beat the heat by chilling in our hotel swimming pool! *all transport on this trip is private except for any flights and trains.
Day 6-7 (Nong Khai)
Take minibus to the airport and fly to Nong Kai. Enjoy your time in Nong Khai, exploring Thai history and the Mekong River. This town has a lot to offer explorers and photographers!
Day 8-10 (Vang Vieng)
Take A/C coach bus into Laos and continue to Vang Vieng. Surrounded by natural beauty of rivers, mountains, and forests, this is perfect to enjoy an array of outdoor activities.
There are opportunities for rock-climbing, kayaking, caving or join your group for a float down the famous Nam Song river on an inner tube, and visit by the river-side bars that the dot the banks along the way.
Day 11-13 (Luang Prabang)
Take our A/C bus North to Luang Prabang. This culturally rich city on the Mekong river is a Unesco World Heritage Site and home to more Buddhist temples per capita, than anywhere else in the world!
These temples are home to many monks, whom you can observe during the daily Alms Ceremony where long lines of monks walk the early-morning streets and receive Alms from the local people.
Cruise the quiet streets by pedal bike and discover vibrant markets or head outside the city for a collection of majestic waterfalls.
Day 14 (Huai Kon)
Board our very own Free & Easy "Slow-Boat" and cruise down the Mekong river. This travel day includes lunch on the boat, plenty of room to stretch out onboard, and even tables for dining or games.
This unique travel day offers stunning scenery and a unique perspective into rural river life as we slowly make our way towards Thailand.
Day 15 (Chiang Mai)
Take A/C minibus to Chiang Mai. Our guesthouse, centrally located in the old part of the city is the perfect base for exploring the many small streets, cafes, and markets in the area.
You'll never be bored in this city, as it offers no shortage of activities ranging from Thai cooking classes to bungee jumping.
Day 16-17 (Jungle Trek)
Take private transfer to the starting point of the trek. On our way, we'll visit a local market for last-minute supplies, have a swim underneath and waterfall, and even visit some hot springs.
We'll begin our hike into the beautiful jungle of Northern Thailand. Hike through villages and over mountainous terrain, float down the river on locally constructed bamboo rafts, give an elephant a bath, and sleep in the traditional long-houses of hill tribe villages that welcome us into their homes.
Day 18 (Floating Bungalows)
After finishing the trek, and disembarking from the bamboo rafts, we'll take our private transfer to Mae Ngat Dam.
From here, a short long-tail boat transfer will take us to our private floating bungalows! With diving platforms, a full-scale restaurant, kayaks, floaties, and a well-equipped bar, this is the perfect place to relax and refresh from the rigorous Jungle Trek.
Day 19-22 (Chiang Mai)
Upon arrival at the pier, we'll take minivans back to our guesthouse in Chiang Mai.
Our beautiful guesthouse offers a restaurant and a tropical garden with hammocks. Based in the old part of the city, everything is within walking distance; from late-night live music bars, street food dining, Muay Thai boxing rings, and many markets.
Optional adventures outside the city include ziplining, bungee jumping, massage schools, cooking classes... you name it, Chiang Mai has it! On our last day, we'll take a private transfer to the train station and board the night train bound for Bangkok.
Day 23-25 (Bangkok)
Arrive off the night train and take a minibus transfer to the guesthouse.
Enjoy the last days in the boisterous city of Bangkok with last-minute shopping opportunities, getting clothing tailor-made, exploring the streets, or partying on the infamous Khao San Road.
Please note: The above itinerary is subject to change. A confirmed Free & Easy trip itinerary with exact routing will be provided at least 30 days prior to trip departure.
IMPORTANT: If you are doing a combo trip and booking your own flights, please contact us to confirm the start and end point of your trip.
The Free & Easy Commitment
We strive to ensure everyone who wants to travel has the opportunity to have the most epic experience ever. Free & Easy delivers awe-inspiring travel experiences and creates lifelong connections between incredible people + incredible places.
See below for more details about what else is included in this amazing adventure.
Included Experiences: LTC 25
- NEW for 2021! All Free & Easy travelers will have access to our industry leading app to help manage your trip. This provides pre-trip planning advice, itinerary management, activity suggestions for free time, maps, chat support and more!
- 1-day Angkor Wat Pass (incl guided tour)
- 3-day Northern Thailand Hill Tribe Trek (ethical elephant encounter, bamboo rafting, and all meals incl.)
- Doi Suthep Temple Tour
- Observe the Buddhist Almsgiving Ritual
- Slowboat to Laos
- Kuang Si Waterfall trip
- Transportation for a day of activities in Chiang Mai
- Party on Famous Khoa San Rd
- Traditional family style Thai dinner
- All meals included on the 3-day Nothern Thailand Hill Tribe Trek
- 3 meals included on the slowboat to Laos
Accommodation: LTC 25
All accommodations - We send our trip planners to each of our destinations so they can do on the ground, research. Checking for the best location, comfort and vibe that we can get for our budget while also supporting local businesses.
Transportation: LTC 25
All transport - This trip will find us taking train, private A/C vans, slow boat and planes
Leaders: LTC 25
1-2 group leaders - Our staff is consistently ranked as the #1 reason that people loved their trips. We meet most of our leaders while traveling with them so we can see in person if they are fun yet responsible, cool yet down to earth, professional yet laid back. This creates that perfect mix which makes our "tours" feel like a group of friends.
Optional Experiences: LTC 25
- Hot Air balloon trip
- Bar Hopping in Chiang Mai and Siem Reap
- Bar Hopping
- Rock climbing
- Cooking Class
- Muay Thai Fight
- Kayak and Cave Trip
- Bungee Jumping
- Tubing in Vang Vieng
- Cambodian War Museum
- Phare The Cambodian Circus
- Floating Village Boat Trip
- Knife making
- Nong Kai Sculpture Park
- National park with cave paintings
- Hilltop pool party
- Water park
- Chiang Mai Cabaret Show
- and so much more! If you're interested in something that isn't on the list just ask us, if it's possible we will find you some options. We are here to try and help you find your ideal trip!
- All meals and drinks (except those mentioned above)
- Activities outside of the ones listed above (optional activities are not included)
- Any Visa or Visa fees
Ride a Bamboo Raft Down a River
Let us paint this scene out for you: You've just spent all day hiking through thick jungle and vegetation deep in the wilderness of Northern Thailand. You're almost ready to call it a day but there are still several miles between you and the nearest village and there's a massive river blocking your crossing.
There's bamboo everywhere so you pull out a machete, chop down some bamboo canes and tie them all together. Not only do you now have a raft, but all of your friends are also there and a beer cooler, too!
Your jungle trek has now become a raft party - you've still got to navigate the rapids but taking turns with that task while sipping some beers as the sun sets behind you will be a perfect way to end the day. And don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of help building a proper and safe raft!
Observe the Buddhist Almsgiving Ritual
There is a philosophy in Buddhism that the more you give, the wealthier you will become. And the almsgiving that takes place in the breathtaking town of Luang Prabang in Northern Laos is a beautiful visual display of this philosophy.
Every morning (just after sunrise) hundreds of saffron-robed monks from the various monasteries walk barefoot through the streets and are given food by the local people that sit and wait for them along the side of the road. This is a very important ritual not only so that the monks can receive food as they are not permitted to ever ask for anything, but also for the people that give the food as they gain merit and karma by feeding the monks.
If you are not a practicing Buddhist, then we would recommend only observing the almsgiving and not participating. As one thing that is taught by seeing this ritual is that the most important attribute to display is: Respect.
Explore Angkor Wat
Just outside of Siem Reap in the heart of Cambodia lies one of the most remarkable cities in the world, sprawled out over an area the size of Paris lies the Lost City of Angkor Wat: the remains of one of the greatest kingdoms in Asia.
Its hundreds of temples and monuments will leave you speechless when you walk through them, as you're sure to be continually pinching yourself to make sure that you're not dreaming. The incredible temples of Angkor were abandoned over 500 years ago and then began to be slowly enveloped by the encroaching jungle.
However, the huge trees that have sprung through the ruins and wrapped their roots around its stones only add to the mystique and spiritual energy of Angkor Wat, one of the most wondrous places to see in the world!
Have One Night in Bangkok
There are a lot of incredible cities in the world, but there is only one Bangkok. The main jumping point for virtually every person traveling through Southeast Asia, Bangkok is full of people from all over the world and there is something for everyone in this massive, colourful city.
And the temples, markets and shopping are sure all nice and dandy, but most "memories" that come from Bangkok are created after you have that first Chang beer or Sangsom bucket set, because after that really anything is possible!
We won't get into the details of what all happens in Bangkok because everyone will have their own story to tell after a night of partying in a city filled with all-night clubs, street-side bucket stands and essentially an adult "playground" everywhere you look. It's a common feeling to wake up in Bangkok, have no idea what time it is and try to figure out if what you remember happening the night before was a dream or if it really did all happen!
Meet an Elephant
*This is an ETHICAL ELEPHANT EXPERIENCE* Its giant size and gentle nature make it one of the most powerful, yet loving animals in the world. But because of this, they are often captured in the wild and sold to the logging industry to be worked to death hauling trees through the jungle.
Many organizations have sprung up to rescue elephants from this horrible practice and keep them in protected camps, run by families that afford to keep them fed and healthy, by giving other people the chance to interact with the beautiful animals. Deeply rooted in Thai culture, caring for elephants is extremely sacred; a family that cares for elephants dedicates a great deal of their life to the one elephant entrusted to their care, as they are usually bound to one another for their entire lives.
Getting face to face with an elephant is an incredible experience and one that you'll likely never forget!
Doi Suthep Temple Tour
Included in this trip is a guided temple tour to Doi Suthep (or Wat Phra That Doi Suthep) temple in Chiang Mai. Located on top of a mountain, this is a sacred site to many Thai people.
Walk up the gorgeously wrought staircase and be greeted by the beautiful golden spire located in the center of the mountaintop temple. It’s surrounded by historical murals and shrines, and also features a wonderful copy of the Emerald Buddha, the original of which now resides in Bangkok.
Built in 1383, Doi Suthep is still a working Buddhist monastery today. Get ready for some breathtaking views of Chiang Mai from the top of the mountain too.
Twelve Tastes of Thailand
Step off the beaten path and into the lush jungle where a meal becomes an experience with 12 authentic, home-cooked Thai meals included in this adventure. Our food journey begins in the villages of the North Thai jungle and continues through to the lakehouse for four days of delicious family-style meals.
Traditionally Thai cuisine is centered on five essential flavors: sour, sweet, salty, bitter, and spicy. Each meal includes a delicious rush of flavor and leaves you wanting more. Once we arrive at the first village our local guides work with the villagers to prepare the homemade meal, and there’s always room for an extra set of hands in the kitchen. Later we sit down to this fresh meal overlooking the rice fields and gardens where the food was grown.
Our second day in the jungle is filled with a delicious variety of meals! We start the day with the freshest of eggs, trek to our lunch spot to enjoy endless noodle soup, and finally, for dinner we dive into a meal of meat and veggie skewers with curry, which is presented to us on homemade bamboo plates. What a rush!
After a much-needed digestion break, we head to the campfire and top our night off with some local “Happy Water”. The following morning we hop on our bamboo rafts and head for a Pad Thai lunch stop on our way out to the lake house. Our flavour journey doesn’t stop there as our taste buds are in for a treat out at the lake.
Some highlights include traditional Chiang Mai sausage with sticky rice, fresh fish, tom yum, and pork chops. Vegetarian? No problem! All of our meals can be adjusted to accommodate a vegetarian diet. Take your taste buds on a flavour rollercoaster in Northern Thailand!
Authentic Thai Cooking Class
This must-do activity in Northern Thailand is a dream come true for any foodie, traveler, or just plain hungry person. Start the day by meeting up with your host at a local market where you will help pick up fresh ingredients among the bustling, laughing Thai people.
Then it’s off to your host’s home, a beautiful villa with a huge garden where more of your ingredients come from... you know it’s going to be good. Even though nothing is pre-made and you are actually preparing every part of the meal, this doesn’t feel like work. With nap time included, it’s an easy-going day of cooking, tasting, and enjoying with your FnEZ family.
Plus, with 5 meals in total (one of them is desert!) you’ll be stuffed, rested, and ready to show off your new skills in the kitchen to your family and friends back home.
Watch a Traditional Muay Thai Fight
You want authentic? You got it. Grab a cold one, take a seat, and come watch the national sport of Thailand in its hometown: Chiang Mai! With open-air stadiums surrounded by street food, street beers, and a ton of locals, you’ll be right in the middle of an ultimate part of Thai Culture.
The Thai People take Muay Thai quite seriously, with events ranging in age from young children to full fledged athletes who have been training all of their life. This is real, intense, amazing stuff that you won’t want to miss on your trip to Northern Thailand. Feeling gutsy? Place a bet with a local, or your TFF, and join the scene!
Bathe Under a Waterfall
When leaving home and hitting the road with your backpack, one thought you may have in mind is that you're not going to have another good shower for awhile. In most parts of the world water pressure is lower, there is often no hot water and you just can't seem to scrub off that distinct backpacker odour.
However, there is one place where hundreds of gallons of refreshing fresh water can pour all over you in a surreal bathing experience and that spot is found at the bottom of a waterfall. When hiking around jungles, one of our favourite things to search out is a good tropical waterfall where you can swim, relax, and get right under it and let the huge torrent of water pour all over you and wash you clean!
Rock Climb Up a Natural Cliff Face
Most of us have tried rock climbing, but it's usually been in a sweaty gym with an artificial climbing wall that is trying to mimic the outdoor experience of rock climbing. When you climb a natural cliff face, your body seems to know it and you almost feel like you're tapping into a core part of your humanity that is telling you that somehow, someway you have to scale this cliff - and most people surprise themselves with their ability to do it.
One of the best parts of outdoor rock climbing is that it's generally done in some of the most surreal places on this planet so when you get to the top of your climb you're rewarded with a breathtaking view. From Thailand to Peru and beyond, get your climb on in some of the most beautiful settings for an incredible experience and tremendous feeling of personal accomplishment.
Slowboat the Mekong River
Imagine: You’re on a slowboat on the Mekong River along the border of Laos and Thailand, there are palm trees swaying in the wind, deep rushes all around you, and your friends, new and old, are there enjoying it right alongside you.
This is what the best travel day on our LTC looks like! On the 12th longest river in the world, a wonderful local Laos family runs the private boat and you can spend the day playing cards, listening to music, writing, reading... whatever you want, whenever you want!
With places to sit, tables, beds, and three meals included (score!) you’ll hardly realize that you actually spent the day getting from one country to another.
Buy Everything in Bangkok
A trip to Thailand is not complete without a day spent shopping in Bangkok. Whether male, female, or a bit of both, there’s something for everybody in this crazy city! From the infamous street markets to the luxurious malls to the seemingly infinite amount of random market stalls, you can literally buy everything in Bangkok!
Get right into it and sift through boxes of knock-off designer jeans, check out the funky tee’s created by local artists, find piles and piles of rad shoes. Hit the electronics and find every movie ever made or cheap cellphones, computer software and old video games. Peruse the knick-knacks and score samurai swords, unique art, Buddha carvings, and homemade jewellery.
Get Any Outfit You Can Imagine Tailor-made
For most travelers, shopping at home is an expensive and (for some) inconvenient chore, as we must troll through stores, malls, websites and our friends' closets in search of clothes that fit us properly and match our style. If only we could just go see some kind of person who makes clothes specifically for our size and preference… like a tailor?
Having your clothes tailor-made is something we shrug off as something only for the rich and people interested in suits and dresses, but in many parts of the world tailors are still very prevalent and surprisingly affordable - and there is perhaps no place where this is truer than in Southeast Asia.
Bangkok in Thailand is famous for its many suit and dress tailors offering great deals on a virtually infinite list of outfits. Likely the only place better than Bangkok is in the beautiful ancient capital of Hoi An in Vietnam, where you can find very cheap and very good tailors that make both western and traditional Vietnamese clothing.
And we mean they'll make you anything: suits, dresses, jeans, shoes, jackets and with any material from high-quality silk to denim to leather. It’s a dream come true for clothes lovers and an easy and cheap solution for those that detest shopping!
Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Let's face it, we all want to ride in a hot air balloon. There's something about them that has captivated our imagination since we were kids. And what's not to love?
You get to float up to great heights in a giant picnic basket attached to a massive balloon powered by an open flame. It's an experience that belongs on everyone's bucket list.
Deep in the jungle of Laos along the Mekong River and surrounded by limestone cliffs, Vang Vieng is definitely one of the most incredible places on the planet to view from a hot air balloon. And the cave city of Cappadocia with its moon-like terrain and fairy chimneys is like no other place on Earth and perfect for viewing from the air at a relaxing pace in a hot air balloon to truly soak up its incredible beauty! *This experience is not doable from June-August
Tubing Party in Vang Vieng
The (in)famous party that really put Vang Vieng on the backpacker map is impossible to leave off our LTC trip! Get dressed up in whatever wacky hilarious costumes you can find and hang on! With riverside bars spotted along the tube ride, various games like beer pong, flip cup, mud pit volleyball, sprinkler basketball, and dance parties galore, you’ll be glad you came.
Try a selection of interesting drinks from rice whiskey to Laotian beers to fruity slushies. We take a tuk-tuk to the start of the tubing and ride the river back into town before the sun goes down. Some bars give out free shots on arrival and a string bracelet that can be used to redeem a shot at their bar in town later that night, just to make sure you’re having a good time!
Trek through a Tropical Jungle
Now we don't want to fool you, a jungle is an unforgiving setting to hike through - there is thick vegetation, overwhelming heat, leeches and an untold amount of other creatures lurking around. But there is also an extreme beauty that lies within the power of a tropical jungle, a rainforest is full of life and every square foot is covered in something interesting and unique!
You'll experience true adventure when you trek through a jungle and even if you're tired, dirty and fending off insects when you're doing it, you'll be proud of yourself when you finish! On our LTC trip, we go on a 3-day jungle trek in Northern Thailand that includes an amazing array of activities (including ethically interacting with elephants and riding a bamboo raft down a river).
We camp in tribal villages at night - eating with them, seeing how they live and tasting their not-so-delicious-but-potent "happy water" (rice moonshine). We sleep in a massive hut that fits the entire group and each morning we wake up, eat breakfast, shake off the happy water cobwebs and continue on our adventure.
It's an experience that fully encompasses the trials and tribulations of trekking through a tropical jungle - from muddy uphill paths to utopian waterfalls!
Party for Prosthetics
Party for Prosthetics is one of our newest initiatives that turns the aluminum tabs from beer cans into prosthetic limbs for people in need, such as those who have been dismembered from injury, disease, or landmines. We have partnered with a Thai organization called The Prostheses Foundation that has been doing this since the early 90’s - when we realized how much we could help out just by saving our beer tabs we thought this was a real win-win!
Through a combination of our beach bevvies, travel day sippy cups, and all-night ragers, we have been known to put away a few beers from time to time, and now we are turning these parties into prosthetic limbs! This initiative adds even more zest to each cheers, shotgun, and beer bong, and fills us with a sense of pride as we gather the tabs over the course of each trip and see buckets fill with valuable little pieces of metal that are going to change someone’s life!
Chill at a Lake House
What better way to end a days-long trek through the jungle than by retreating to a secluded lake house in the middle of the hills of Northern Thailand? Rinse off the jungle muck in the clear freshwater of the lake, crack open a beer (or five), and relax in your own private lake house.
Oh, did we mention that this lake house is also floating in the middle of the lake! We include all meals in this stay so there's no need to even worry about what you're going to eat. With one amazing meal after another served up to you right at the floating lake house, you can spend your days in a cool reclined position or roll into the water for a refreshing swim or hop on a kayak and paddle to an amazing local temple.
It's your place and it's smack dab in the middle of the lake so you can do whatever you damn well please! There's a rule that many of us already know: what happens at the lake stays at the lake!