Dental Study Tour and Cruise in Thailand and Laos

12 - 25 Mar 2025
  • Medical & Professional Tours

About the tour

Journey from Bangkok into the mountainous north of Thailand before embarking on a cruise through the languid lands of the Mekong into Laos. Visit destinations that provide a rich experience for the visitor, with ancient and complex histories, exquisite art and culture, natural beauty and some of the finest cuisine in the world.

Cruise on the gorgeously appointed luxury riverboat, Heritage Line ‘Anouvong’, through Laos. The elegant decor of this vessel reflects the art and style of the lands it travels through, making this an extremely comfortable and stylish way to experience the Mekong.

Perhaps the greatest treasure of the region, however, is its people with their warmth, culture and welcoming smiles. Learn about the culture, history and contemporary society of this area through meetings and specialist visits throughout the tour and cruise.

There will be a range of professional visits and talks throughout, making this tour and cruise eligible for CPD.

'Anouvong' is the first upper Mekong luxury river cruiser, featuring eight staterooms with floor-to-ceiling windows opening onto a French balcony and two suites with front-facing balconies and indoor Jacuzzis. Traditional Laotian artwork with French-Colonial accents spruce up the ship’s cozy public areas, including a café-bar and lounge and the terrace deck, both prime places to be whilst meandering along the river.

Your tour leader

Picture of JBT tour leader, ​Professor Phillip Dowell

​Professor Phillip Dowell

Professor Phillip Dowell is a specialist periodontist and past president of the British Society of Periodontology. He qualified at The London Hospital and after a number of hospital jobs, he entered general practice. Some years later, after working in the West Indies, he won an international fellowship to study at the Eastman Dental Centre in the USA. He continued his post graduate studies at the University of Wales College of Medicine and subsequently taught both undergraduates and postgraduates in the area of periodontology.

Phillip Dowell has lectured both nationally and internationally and is the author of many publications. He has been a visiting Professor at the University of Surrey and President of the European Section as well as the International President of the International College of Dentists (ICD).

He is currently Director of Development of the ICD and chair of its Global Visionary Fund (GVF). He has led previous study tours to China, Ecuador, South Africa, Vietnam, Isreal, Cambodia and around the Mediterranean.

Need more information?

  • Tel: (Toll Free) 1-8777-398-764
  • Mon-Fri: 9am-5pm
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Itinerary at a glance

  • Day 1: Bangkok, Thailand (Wed, 12 March) Briefing at the Riva Surya Hotel. Welcome dinner.
  • Day 2: Bangkok, (Thursday, 13 March) Visit Bangkok Dental Hospital. Partner programme: visit a local market and take part in a food tour. Explore two of Bangkok’s most famous temple, Wat Traimit and Wat Pho. Wat Traimit houses a 3m (10ft) tall, 5.5-tonne, solid-gold Buddha image cast sometime in the 13th century and is an excellent example of the graceful Sukhothai style that is still very much in favour today. Continue to Wat Pho, home to the famous 45m (148ft) Reclining Buddha and the Chedis of the Kings. Wat Pho is also the spiritual home of traditional therapeutic Thai massage and is the largest and oldest wat in Bangkok, containing more than 1,000 Buddha images. Dinner at Supartra River Restaurant.
  • Day 3: Bangkok B L (Friday, 14 March) Travel from Bangkok to Kanchanaburi Province. Visit the world famous bridge over the River Kwai. The bridge was part of the Death Railway and was destroyed in Allied bombing raids towards the end of World War II, but later rebuilt by the Japanese as war reparations. Continue to the Don Rak War Cemetery and visit the Thailand-Burma Railway Center Museum, featuring photographic and physical memorabilia dating from the Second World War. Take a one-hour train ride on the historic railway while taking in the views of the jungle. Lunch at a riverside restaurant before returning to Bangkok in the late afternoon.
  • Day 4: Bangkok / Chiang Rai (Saturday, 15 March) Fly to Chiang Rai in the north of Thailand and transfer to the hotel. Visit Doi Tung (The Flag Mountain), where new villages have been constructed under the auspices of the Princess Mother’s Foundation. Visit the Mae Fah Luang Park, the beautiful botanical gardens which feature year-round flowers, and enjoy the cool climate and surrounding areas.
  • Day 5: Chiang Rai (Sunday, 16 March) Optional morning birdwatching trip. Option to take part in a cookery class and eat your creation for lunch. Chiang Rai is known for its rich range of crafts including ceramics, traditional paper making and weaving. Visit the craft workshops.
  • Day 6: Chiang Rai (Monday, 17 March) Drive out of Chiang Rai to Mae Chan district and continue uphill along narrow mountain roads to visit the Akha and Yao villages. The Akha, who originated in Tibet, can also be found in the northern part of Laos. They are mainly farmers and known for their artistry. The Yao, whose origins are in China, are heavily influenced by Chinese traditions, still using Chinese characters in the writing of their language. The two minorities live peacefully close to each other. Meet with an NGO working in health care and learn about their oral health projects. Return to Chiang Rai and at leisure.
  • Day 7: Chiang Rai / Cruise - Laos (Tuesday, 18 March) Drive from Chiang Rai to Huay Xai and board the Anouvong Cruise. As Heritage Line ‘Anouvong’ progresses towards its initial destination, an expert guide will give a talk on the background to Laos' diverse ethnic groups that live along the Mekong River. Arrive at the confluence of the Mekong and visit the relatively modern village and home to 800 residents of the Tai Lu ethnic group, spanning China, Laos, Thailand, Burma, and Vietnam. Stroll through the village, witness a Baci ceremony - a Laotian ritual led by local elders bestowing blessings. Continue downstream to Huay Ting, to dock on a sandback and be welcomed with a cocktail before dinner against a stunning natural backdrop.
  • Day 8: Cruise (Wednesday, 19 March) Arrive in the charming town of Pakbeng in the morning. Along the riverside opposite the town lies Laos' most sustainable elephant sanctuary, nestled within the jungle. Once employed as logging elephants, they now find sanctuary in a natural environment.Following lunch, there is the option to take part in a bamboo weaving workshop. Continue sailing through beautiful scenery and arrive at Ban Kok Ek, where three distinct ethnic groups—Hmong, Lao Loum, and Khamo—coexist almost literally under one roof. Visit a family home to learn about these culture. Return to the ship and after dinner, see a screening of "Chiang" (Laotian for "elephant") filmed in this very region in 1927 and produced by the visionary behind the first King Kong movie.
  • Day 9: Cruise (Thursday, 20 March) Visit a picturesque village of bamboo huts elevated on stilts amidst vast rice fields inhabited by the Khum people. Returning to the ship for lunch, continue down the river, docking at the overnight mooring spot. Here, explore the 200-year-old village of Ban Khok Phou, perched just above an expansive white sandbank. Inhabited predominantly by the ethnic Lao, this is pleasant hamlet with a nice square to observe the afternoon life unfolding.
  • Day 10: Cruise / Luang Prabang, Laos (Friday, 21 March) Disembark and transfer to the Burasari Heritage Hotel.Visit the Ock Pop Tok, a Laos-based social enterprise working primarily in the field of textiles, handicrafts and design. Enjoy a private presentation with one of the co-directors entitled “The Silk Road: From Silkworms to Nagas”, looking at the journey of Lao textiles from the creation of silk to the weaving process and the meaning behind different motifs. The spacious grounds of the Living Crafts Centre is home to a traditional Lao wooden house set over a café and features a flower garden with beautiful river views, ideal for relaxing after the seminar and sipping cocktails while watching the sunset.
  • Day 11: Luang Prabang (Saturday, 22 March) Located at the confluence of the Mekong River and the Nam Khan (Khan River), UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang is a beautiful mix of ancient, gilded temples, saffron-clad monks, faded Indochinese villas and peaceful river scenery. Take a half-day walking tour exploring some of the highlights of this picturesque town, including the Royal Palace, which is now a National Museum housing precious artefacts that belonged to the Royal Family; and some of Luang Prabang’s famed temples including: Wat Visoun, Luang Prabang’s oldest temple; Wat That Luang, traditionally the cremation site for Lao royalty; the gorgeous Wat Mai with its detailed golden reliefs depicting scenes from village life; and Wat Xieng Thong, built in the 17th century. End the tour by climbing up to the top of Mount Phousi to admire the panoramic views across the Mekong and Khan rivers as well as the mountain range. Return to the hotel and hear a lecture on the International College of Dentists Global outreach programmes.
  • Day 12: Luang Prabang (Sunday, 23 March) Enjoy a full day at leisure.
  • Day 13: Luang Prabang / Vientiane (Monday 24 March) Take the new high speed train to Vientiane. Orientation tour of Vientiane before a farewell dinner in the evening.
  • Day 14: Vientiane (Tuesday 25 March) Depart hotel after breakfast.

Tour cost


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