SMALL GROUP DEPARTURES
- Highlights of Indochina, 13 days
- Laos & Cambodia Experience, 14 days
- Laos Experience - Classic, 8 days
STAYS OF DISTINCTION
Luang Prabang, Laos
Since Laos only recently opened up, you have the opportunity to visit this very friendly country before it is "discovered" as a major tourist destination!
Laos Independent Travel Ideas
From the fertile lowlands of the Mekong River valley to the rugged Annamite highlands, Laos is the highlight of Southeast Asia. Enigmatic and relatively undeveloped, Laos is gradually emerging from its tumultuous history thanks to a combination of foreign aid, a growing ecotourism industry, and its charming, philosophical people.
Day 1. Luang Prabang.
You will be met by a representative upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport and transfered to your hotel. Surrounded by forested mountains and situated at the confluence of the Khan and Mekong Rivers, Luang Prabang has a tranquil, old world charm rarely found in Asia. This fascinating town was the capital of the Lane Xang (million elephants) kingdom until the mid-sixteenth century. In colonial times it served as a provincial headquarters of the north. The legacy of the European presence here - well preserved French architecture and careful street planning – has blended delightfully with more than 30 gilded Buddhist temples to create a town rich in atmosphere and history. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City. Balance of the day is at your leisure.
Day 2. Luang Prabang.
This morning you will have the opportunity to start the day early with one of the most memorable sights of Luang Prabang: “Tak Bat”. At dawn hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). Your guide will explain the background behind this ritual which is still a part of life in Laos and you will have the chance to make 'merit'. It's early but well worth the wake up call!
After breakfast, visit Wat Xieng Thong which is often described as Luang Prabang's most beautiful iconic site. This is followed by a relaxing Mekong River trip to visit the sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. After exploring the caves and lunch at a local restaurant you will return to Luang Prabang by boat. Visit the textile village of Ban Phanom, where traditional Laotian textiles are woven on wooden looms. (BL)
Day 3. Luang Prabang to Vientiane.
The morning is free for you to relax, shop or head out on your own to continue exploring the town or visit the local markets before transferring to the airport for your afternoon flight to Vientiane.
Upon arrival at Vientiane airport you will be met by a local guide and transfer to your hotel for the next two nights. Tonight, head out for dinner at one of Vientiane's renowned local restaurants where you can enjoy traditional music and dancing while you dine. (BD)
Day 4. Vientiane.
This morning you will embark on a full-day city tour, which visits the highlights of the capital. Visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane, which features remarkable frescoes and over 6,000 Buddha images. Nearby is Haw Phra Kaew. This is followed by one of the most photographed images of Vientiane: Putousay - the victory gate also known as Anousavari, with architecture inspired by the Arc of Triumph in Paris, as well as the famous landmark: Phra That Luang stupa, a national symbol said to contain relics of Lord Buddha. Afterwards, you will visit Talaat Sao, Vientiane’s wonderful food and vegetable market. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. The balance of the evening is at your leisure. (BL)
Day 5. Vientiane to Pakse.
This morning, depart very early for your flight to Pakse in Southern Laos. Upon arrival in Pakse you will be met by your local guide and transfer to your hotel. Visit the Bolaven Plateau, an extinct volcano. Here, visit a tea and a coffee plantation and taste the high quality tea and coffee grown by local farmers. Continue to visit Tad Fane waterfall, where thin ribbons of water plunge hundreds of feet into a deep ravine below. Continue to the wide, thundering Tad Lo waterfalls for lunch. This route also passes minority Hill Tribe villages - 'Kha' and other 'Lao Thung' tribes live in this area. Late afternoon return to your hotel in Pakse town – the remainder of the evening is at leisure. (BL)
Day 6. Pakse to Don Khong Island.
After an early breakfast, drive south from Pakse to visit Wat Phou, an impressive pre-Angkorian Khmer temple ruin. Wat Phou temple was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002 and is situated on a hillside offering spectacular views of the surrounding plains. Continue to Kiet Ngong which is renowned for its elephant camp, and its mahouts (handlers) who train these giant and majestic beasts. There will be an opportunity to feed the elephants and take a one hour ride as well.
After lunch at a local restaurant continue the journey to Don Khong Island, located in the famous Si Phan Don (4000 Islands) area of the Mekong. Upon arrival late in the afternoon check-in at your hotel and then relax and enjoy a cold drink by the river, or the energetic can explore part of the island by bicycle. (BL)
Day 7. Don Khong Island to Pakse.
After breakfast take a boat trip along the Mekong River to Don Khong Island. Continue by local samlor to Lii Pii Falls, and it may be possible (depending on local conditions) to also take a small local-style boat to try to spot the endangered Irrawaddy Dolphins that live just below the falls near the Cambodian border. After lunch at a nearby local restaurant continue by boat and van to visit the wild Khon Phapheng Waterfalls - said to be the largest waterfalls in South-east Asia.
Late afternoon begin the drive back to Pakse town, arriving in the early evening. The remainder of the evening is at leisure. (BL)
Day 8. Pakse.
After breakfast at the hotel you will be met by your local guide to transfer to Pakse airport for your departure flight.
Si Phan Don, the famed 4000 Islands
Join any day.
Please request prices for dates you wish to travel.
Domestic air flight, return airport transfers, accommodation with private facilities, meals as shown by BLD, sightseeing as described in the itinerary.
Giving Morning Alms to Monks in Luang Prabang