4 Days Loei: The Colours of the Mekong

4 Days Loei: The Colours
of the Mekong

No Thai province has embraced its role as an authentic destination for exploration like Loei

WHY THIS TOUR?

A rare gem and a largely undiscovered part of Thailand; Loei province has all the essential ingredients for an authentic dish of culture, nature, and off-the-beaten-track experiences. Its relatively remote location bordering Laos and unofficially seen as a gateway to the country’s east has long been left aside in favour of the more known destinations in Thailand.

Loei is a scenic, sparsely populated, mountainous province in the northeastern Isan region, bordering Laos across the Mekong River. Defined by its rugged landscape, wildlife reserves that are home to numerous wild animals, the province is etched in the traveller’s handbook place to explore the great outdoors.

Taking laid-back Loei as the starting point, this unique exploration caters to all the senses in the broadest sense of the word in which authenticity, sustainability, and a touch of local traditions are interwoven into four days of superlative travel. This tour proves that Thailand still ranks high for culturally rich experiences.

TRAIL ITINERARY

1 | 4 Days Loei: The Colours of the Mekong

Day 1

Bangkok – Chiang Khan                                                                                                 [L]

The approximately 1-hour flight in northern direction by a low-cost Thai carrier (excluded) will safely bring you to one of Thailand’s finest definitions of an authentic side of Thailand. Upon arrival at the quaint domestic terminal of Loei airport, you are warmly welcomed by an English-speaking guide who will be the ambassador for the coming days. From Loei airport, you will head out straight onto the road of exploration towards Chang Khan

Loei is a sparsely populated, mountainous province in north-eastern Thailand, adjoining Laos across the Mekong River. South of the sleepy provincial capital, Loei, is the biodiverse Phu Kradueng National Park which is an ecotourism wonderland with rugged trails, waterfalls and wildlife including elephants, Asiatic black bears, sambar deer and white-handed gibbons.

Lunch is included at a local restaurant

One of the finest displays of cultural heritage from the Tai Dam, an ethic minority that settled in Thailand from Laos at the beginning of the 20th century, is located in Loei’s Chiang Khan. The Tai Dam Cultural Museum and Village is an open-air museum and handicraft centre for weaving, one of the Tai Dam’s main source of income. After enjoying lunch, demonstrations of local traits and seeing how skilled villagers weave intricate motives can be admired here. We continue our exploration of the Loei province by heading to the Kaeng Khut Khu rapids. One of Loei’s scenic areas lies just off Chiang Khan and along the Mekong River. A group of small islets, locally known as Kaeng Khut Khu, are well-known for its colourful rocks and boulders, visible during the dry season months only. With great views into the Chana Kham region, nearby Laos’ capital Vientiane, visitors praise the region for its selection of local restaurants along the river banks. An enjoyable bot ride, taking in the local splendour complements the day before heading out to your booked accommodation for the night. Tonight, dinner is on your own arrangement yet with various local choices, there will be no issue finding a suitable eatery to taste local cuisine.

In the evening, wander the small streets of this riverside town is highly recommended. Particularly the quaint little bars and cafes are worth making a stop and enjoying a cool drink. The night market is a great place to get a feel of local handicraft while blending in with the locals.

Overnight in Chiang Khan

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Day 2

Chiang Khan – Dan Sai                                                                                                     [B, L, D]

Before the sun has set, it is highly recommendable to join your guide and the local community for an alms giving experience in Chiang Khan. Morning rituals nearby one of the town’s main temples are amongst the most sought-after experiences when wanting to witness local alms giving in town. Located just a short distance away from your accommodation, alms giving is and remains the way to witness the austere lifestyle of monks and novices, living and learning according to the teachings of the Lord Buddha.

We explore the very heart of Chiang Khan first before driving towards Dan Sai. A small town on the banks of the Mekong River in Loei province that has kept a lower profile in comparison with other, more well-known and similar-sized towns in Thailand. Its main highlight is exactly that: being a small place that can preserve the wooden houses and shops of the same style as one can find in towns such as Luang Prabang. This makes Chiang Khan a cultural tourism destination in which tourists can experience the simple way of life of the past; for example, staying in a wooden hotel, giving alms to monks in the morning, tasting local coffee, and eating fish from the river. There will be ample time to explore glittering temples and interesting shops before we travel on to Dan Sai.

Lunch is included at a local restaurant

Part of the Loei province and the larger eastern side of Thailand, the Dan Sai District is a wonderful example of slow life in the Kingdom. Explorers in search for verdant green landscapes with local villages dotted across the horizon will find ample examples of a laid-back lifestyle. Annually, Dan Sai town forms the heart of noise, colourful costumes and party when the Phi Ta Kon festival arrives. Upon arrival, we head out to a family-owned workshop where you will be learning how to make Ton Puoeng which is used as sacred offerings in temples. Dinner is included at the hotel.

Overnight in Dan Sai

3 | 4 Days Loei: The Colours of the Mekong

Day 3

Dan Sai – Muang Loei                                                                                                      [B, D]

Breakfast is included your hotel

After breakfast, we take up a local means of transportation to ride to local attractions. The white outlines of Phra That Sri Song Rak’s stupa are characterized by its Laotian design, clearly marking that this Loei-based religious shrine is within vicinity of the Thai – Lao border. With findings dating back to the 16th century, the temple marks the friendship between both countries during the Burmese War. Nowadays, it is a ‘lover’s lane’ pilgrimage site where couples of all ages and walks of live pray for everlasting love. Within a short drive, Wat Neramitre Vipassana is one of the many examples in Thailand that has climbed up the ranks as a leading centre for meditation and meditative studies. Situated in the ‘couleur locale’ of Thailand’s uncharted Loei province, unbeknownst by many Thai travelers, a sense of serenity will fall upon you when entering its stunning temple complex.

We complete the morning at the Pi Tha Khon Museum, honouring the annual Ghost Festival which turns the sleepy town of Dan Sai upside down and inside out. Scheduled between May and July, depending on the position of the moon, the Phi Ta Kon festival is characterized by a large procession of primarily men and children, wearing home-made masks, adorned with brightly-coloured paint and fear inducing faces. This fascinating attraction is themed around the annual Phi Ta Khon festival which involves residents wearing colourful ghost masks created artistically from local materials such as sticky rice steamers and coconut husks. Guests get the opportunity to make their own masks and take it home at the end of the day. Today, lunch is at your own arrangement: your guide for the day certainly can make some local recommendations.

In the afternoon, we head out from Dan Sai to Muang Loei where we check in at your overnight address. The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to enjoy the local surroundings or the amenities of your overnight address. Dinner is included at the hotel

Overnight in Muang Loei

4 | 4 Days Loei: The Colours of the Mekong

Day 4

Muang Loei – Bangkok                                                                                                    [B, L]

Breakfast is included your hotel

Our last day in Loei is focused on nature and culture with a global theme. We travel to view Phu Pa Po which is often compared with a well-known natural phenomenon in the Land of the Rising Sun. With unparalleled views over Phu Hor, or better known as ‘The Mount Fuji of Thailand’ because of its conical shape similar to the famous elevation in Japan, Phu Pa Poh Mountain forms a part of the wildlife conservation area in Nong Hin district village of Loei. A number of viewpoints on and around the mountain give visitors great views over the vastness of Loei. To reach the top of the mountain, local transportation to cover the 1.5 kilometres uphill is available at the base.

Before marking the end of this Loei adventure, you will experience a slice of China’s Yunnan province with a visit to Bodhisattva Cave and the Stone Garden. Hidden off the main trails of Loei’s Nong Hin District, the Tham Phothisat (Bodhisattva Cave) is a natural limestone phenomenon with adventure and religious elements. Named after the ‘life of Buddha before his enlightenment’, this unexplored cave used to be a meditation area. The path from and to the main entrance requires local assistance with lots of trees and plants covering up this low-profile natural phenomenon.

Lunch is included at a local restaurant

It is time to head back to Loei Airport for your flight back to Bangkok (domestic air tickets not included).

THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW

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INCLUSIONS

  • Tours and transfers with licenced English-speaking guiding services / assistance. Other languages are on request and are subject to availability
  • Accommodation in sharing twin / double
  • Transportation for tour and transfers by air-conditioned vehicle, unless otherwise stated
  • All entrance fees for visits as mentioned in the program
  • All applicable taxes and service charges
  • All meals as indicated in the program (food only)

EXCLUSIONS

  • Return transfers from and to Bangkok Airport
  • Personal expenses such as meals, drinks, tips and gratuities, shopping, portage fees and optional tours, unless otherwise stated
  • Hotel accommodation in the destination of commencement.
  • Any domestic / international airline tickets, airport taxes, visa fees, specific camera / video fees, additional transportation cost from and to the general pick-up / drop-off regions (such as airports, out-of-town resorts, ports, harbours and accommodation in surrounding towns)
  • Any accommodation expenses of a personal nature. This includes (compulsory festive) meals and drinks, mini-bar consumption, laundry, room service, any telephone or other communication cost not mentioned in the program
  • International travel and medical insurance coverage for customers.

GOOD TO KNOW

  • In line with the program, customers are strongly advised to spend the night prior to the start of this package in Bangkok
  • We will do all possible to comply with any dietary requirements during this tour; it may not always be possible to confirm your wishes in advance based on the choice of local restaurant
  • We reserve the right to make necessary changes to the tour in case of unfavourable weather conditions or situations where we are forced to make alterations to guarantee the safety of our guests
  • To respect local customs and respecting the religious sites and temples, it is customary for guests to take off their shoes before allowed entrance. Your guide will inform you in advance for which of these sites this is applicable
  • Natural elements of any kind have a destructive effect on electronic equipment. It the customer’s own responsibility to ensure that any camera, mobile telephone or other device is properly wrapped and protected against these elements. We cannot be held responsible in any way for negligence and/or not following suggestions for any damage related to this
  • We reserve the right to make necessary changes to the tour in case of unfavourable weather conditions or situations where we are forced to make alterations to guarantee the safety of our guests
  • Tours and excursions often include obstacles of various kinds that may not make this excursion suitable for wheelchair users or guests with limited mobility
  • The protection of the country’s flora, fauna and its historical and cultural treasures is of immense importance for us. We will not pursue any activities that are not in line with our animal, wildlife and environment protection principles
  • Please ensure that you bring sunglasses, a hat /cap and sunblock with a high SPF factor when traveling with us. Even when it is cloudy, the sun still has an immense power
  • All mentioned times, durations and stops are based on approximations and may change due to unforeseen circumstances, weather and traffic conditions beyond our control

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