World trip update month 5: Laos & Northern Thailand

by suitcasestoriesbe

We continued month 5 of our world trip in Laos, joined an unforgettable cruise along the Mekong River, and crossed the border to Northern Thailand. But we also needed to cancel our travel plans to return back home… A lot has happened in month 5, that’s the least we can say. Why did we return home and what is planned for month 6? You can read it all in this new world trip update of month 5: Laos & Northern Thailand.

Read also: World trip update month 4: Thailand, Cambodia & Laos

World trip update month 5: our travel itinerary

World trip update month 5: Laos & Northern Thailand
Our travel itinerary of month 5 where we went from Laos to Thailand

2-day cruise from Laos to Thailand along the Mekong River

During our last days in Laos, we joined the 2-day Luang Say cruise along the Mekong River which brought us to the northern part of Thailand. This cruise was such an unforgettable experience and by far the most beautiful way to travel between those two countries. We visited charming local villages, spent hours on the boat staring at breathtaking landscapes and had a wonderful night in a luxury lodge.

Read our whole experience about the cruise+ tips here: Must do: cruise along the Mekong River from Laos to Thailand

visit Laos in 2 weeks - Luang Say Cruise
2 weeks in Laos itinerary - Mekong River Cruise
Having so much luxury during the Luang Say Cruise
Luang Say Cruise along the Mekong River
Visiting small local villages along the river

9 days Northern Thailand

After the 2-day cruise, we arrived in Chiang Rai, a beautiful city in the far north of Thailand. Chiang Rai is the perfect place to start exploring the famous “Golden Triangle” (where Thailand meets Myanmar and Laos).

We rented a scooter and visited the beautiful Wat Rong Khun and unique blue temple Wat Rong Seua Ten. Afterward, we drove along the countryside to Choui Fong Tea plantation where we enjoyed fresh green tea. Must-do!

We only stayed 2 nights in Chiang Rai which was a bit short in our opinion, we definitely could have stayed a couple of nights longer.

Read here all our tips and recommended places in Chiang Rai: Highlights of Northern Thailand: itinerary + tips

The Wat Rong Seua Ten Temple - Chiang Rai
The Wat Rong Seua Ten Temple
Chiang Rai route Thailand
The Wat Rong Khun Temple
Highlights of Northern Thailand: itinerary + tips
Wandering around the Choui Fong Tea Plantations

After Chiang Rai, we took the bus to Chiang Mai, which is the spiritual and second-largest city in Thailand. We rented a scooter again, visited the famous Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Temple (where I forgot my phone on our scooter and never ran so fast 309 steps back down), and the cozy Saturday Night Market.

Funny memory: we got our first international fine in Chiang Mai! $ 25 for driving without a recognized international driver’s license for scooters. We never had any problems with our international driving permit, but in Chiang Mai, it’s apparently common to target foreigners. Anyway, they gave us a permit to drive for 3 more days after paying the fine. How ridiculous right!?

Chiang Mai Doi Suthep Temple
Wat Doi Suthep Temple
Chiang Mai Buak Hard Park
Buak Hard Park
Chiang Mai - World trip update
Renting a scooter is the best way to visit everything

Our last stop in Northern Thailand was Pai, a small hippie village, near the Myanmar border. Pai was our personal favorite place of the Golden Triangle. We stayed 3 days at Pai Vieng Fah Resort but could easily stay here a week.

Pai has an incredibly laidback atmosphere with lots of ricefields, caves, and canyons in the area. We loved strolling around the food market where we had the best vegan street food ever and going to Pai canyon! Another highlight was our visit to a hill tribe village where we met the long neck Karen people. Some people say it’s a tourist trap, but we really enjoyed learning more about their history.

Check out all our favorite places in Pai here: Highlights of Northern Thailand: itinerary + tips

The Karen Long-Neck tribe
The Karen Long-Neck tribe
Pai canyon
Pai Vieng Fah Resort
Pai Vieng Fah Resort

After Pai, we went back to Chiang Mai for one night, where we caught up with some friends from home. We had a wonderful evening together but also received some very bad news about Mik’s grandmother why we decided to cancel our travel plans and return back home.

Meeting friends of home in Chiang Mai

4 days Bangkok

Before flying back home, we had a project planned for Burasari Group. We stayed at their award-winning boutique hotel: Shanghai Mansion and worked on a new promotional video for their website (check it out below).

After 4 days of working in Bangkok, we had our flights booked to Sri Lanka where we took a connecting flight on the same day to go home.

Shanghai Mansion Bangkok

Where are we now?

Right now we are still home in Belgium for 3 more weeks. Family is what we cherish most in life, and making the decision to return to spend precious last moments with Mik’s grandmother was the best thing we could do. Seeing her smiling the moment we entered her hospital room, will be with us forever! ❤️

Now we’re home we will try to visit as much as possible our family and friends, and we have two celebrations of the birth of our best friend’s son and my nephew’s daughter. After 5 months of non-stop traveling it’s so nice to be home. We can reorganize our backpacks again before we leave, wash our clothes, and cook all our favorite food. Home sweet home!

Birth of my nephew's daughter
Birth of little beautiful Manon
World Trip Update - 5 months - Back home Belgium
Celebrating the birth of baby Stig with our friends
Reunited with family
Enjoying family time
World trip update
Seeing our cat Filou back

What’s on the planning for month 6?

After spending 3 weeks at home, we will continue our travels in Sri Lanka on the 1st of April. Sri Lanka will be a new destination for us, so we are super excited to explore the beauty of this country.

We hope you enjoyed this world trip update! Sign up and receive our latest stories, newest travel guides & endless travel inspiration straight into your inbox.

Read our next adventure here: World trip update month 6: Sri Lanka

Mik & Valerie

All our world trip updates

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