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Essential Laos

Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,833

Time stands still in this enigmatic and relatively unspoiled country. A journey through Laos shows you the many varied aspects that make up this land and its charming inhabitants.


Laos is another destination which has opened its doors in recent times to tourism. It is a country of only 6.5 million inhabitants and has developed fairly quickly to provide the visitor with suitable hotels and infrastructure.

Start in Luang Prabang, a very special small city located approximately 400 kilometres/240 miles north of Vientiane. It is deservedly a UNESCO World Heritage site located on the confluence of two rivers, the Mekong and the Nam Khan. It simply permeates ambience. This is for many reasons. It is well known for its many temples and monasteries with their colourful golden roofs. Also dotted around, one can find French provincial style houses.

A highlight has to be in the early morning when there is a parade of the monks from the temples and monasteries. Hundreds of them walk down the main street in single file while the locals drop into their bowls, alms (usually food for the day). This is a sight not to be missed.  Something else not to be ignored is the night market and the day market both of which take place in the centre of Luang Prabang. The former offers mainly souvenirs, handicrafts and other objects of interest to the visitor and the latter is more food and vegetables oriented. Both are mainly run by local ethnic hill tribe villagers from the area.

There is a visit to one of the most important Buddhist temples in Luang Prabang, the Wat Xieng Thong with its 20 structures and ornamental gardens. There will also be a visit by boat to the Pak Ou Caves located 25 kilometres/15 miles north. These caves are situated on the MekongRiver and are noted for the miniature Buddhist statues found inside.  On the return, visit the village of Ban Phanom where the inhabitants mainly make their living from weaving cotton and silk.

Next fly to Vientiane which belies its title as the capital. It is unhurried and relaxed as normal day by day activity quietly proceeds. It is situated on the banks of the MekongRiver and looks across at Thailand on the opposite bank.

The first evening in Vientiane, enjoy dinner at a typical Lao restaurant including a performance of traditional Lao music and dancing.

During your stay you will see the PutousaiMonument which, although Lao in architectural style, was inspired by the Arc De Triomphe in Paris. Vientiane, being a Buddhist country, has an abundance of temples. The most important and most sacred is the Phra That Luang dating back to the 3rd Century and which is an imposing structure being 45 metres/145 feet tall. It is important as it is believed to contain relics of Lord Buddha. Another important temple is the Wat Si Saket, maybe the oldest temple in Vientiane with a strong atmosphere. The Haw Phra Kaew temple, with its interesting architectural style, is now a museum. After lunch, visit the Morning Market (which actually is open all day long) where merchants with indoor stalls sell almost everything.

After Vientiane, fly to Pakse, Laos’ third largest city situated in the south of the country situated at the confluences of the Mekong and Xe Don Rivers.  The city was founded by the French during their occupation. Here visit the Bolaven Plateau, a nature reserve and an extinct volcano. It is crossed by many rivers and scenic waterfalls and is the home of many ethnic minority groups.  While here, visit a coffee and tea plantation which produces high quality products. Also view the Tad Fana Waterfall, the tallest in Laos and the Tad Lo Waterfall surrounded by lush vegetation.

Travelling south by road en route to Don Khong Island, visit the UNESCO World Heritage site of Wat Phou, a ruined Khmer temple complex dating back to the 11th Century and the Kiet Ngong Elephant Camp situated in the wetlands.

DonKhongIsland is the largest island in Laos measuring 18 kilometres/11 miles by 8 kilometres/5 miles. It is noted for its natural beauty which will be reached by a boat ride taking in the scenic waterfalls.

Later drive back to Pakse for overnight. 


 

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Duration
8 Days
Prices From:
US$ 1,833

Itinerary View Trip Map

Day 1

Arrive Luang Prabang

You will be met by a representative upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport and transfer to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Villa Santi Hotel

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Location View map
  • starstarstar

    Villa Santi Hotel



    The Villa Santi Hotel was established in 1992 by Lao business man Mr. Santi Inthavong in a royal residence, which belongs to his wife, a royal princess of Luang Prabang. The century old mansion was renovated and equipped with up to date facilities. The hotel ...

    The Villa Santi Hotel was established in 1992 by Lao business man Mr. Santi Inthavong in a royal residence, which belongs to his wife, a royal princess of Luang Prabang. The century old mansion was renovated and equipped with up to date facilities. The hotel was first operated as a family business with 11 rooms and a restaurant. In November 1994, 14 rooms were added, making the property one of the most famous sites of Luang Prabang, which was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service

    More Details

Day 2

Luang Prabang Sightseeing

This morning there is the opportunity to start the day early with one of the most memorable sights of Luang Prabang. 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 at your hotel visit Wat Xieng Thong which is often described as Luang Prabang's most beautiful Buddhist temple, with its several roofs sweeping low to the ground. Continue to the river to begin a relaxing Mekong River trip with your guide on the mighty Mekong to visit the sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. These caves, overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Ou Rivers from on high, have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that were placed here by local people since 16th century, when King Setthathirat found the caves and declared them a holy spot. Today many still pay respect to this tradition. After exploring the caves and lunch at a local restaurant nearby return to Luang Prabang by boat.

On arrival back in Luang Prabang visit the textile village of Ban Phanom, where traditional Laotian textiles are woven on wooden looms. If time and energy levels permit it may be possible to also visit some of the other handicraft villages around Luang Prabang town. Dinner is at own arrangement.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
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.

Located on the majestic Mekong River, Vientiane ('sandalewood city') dates back to the 10th century, but has been the capital of Laos since the early 16th century. A relatively small city, Vientiane has a laid-back charm with tree-lined boulevards, French colonial architecture and stunning Buddhist temples.

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.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Dinner
Duration2 Nights
Accommodation

Lao Plaza Hotel

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Lao Plaza Hotel



    In a capital city which is famous for its temples and monuments, Lao Plaza Hotel has been created to dominate the growing skyline. As the country's first official 5 star hotel, the Lao Plaza Hotel is the centre of the emerging capital's business and entertainment ...

    In a capital city which is famous for its temples and monuments, Lao Plaza Hotel has been created to dominate the growing skyline. As the country's first official 5 star hotel, the Lao Plaza Hotel is the centre of the emerging capital's business and entertainment world. Multinational businessmen and tourists alike are swiftly discovering the potential of Laos. The Lao Plaza Hotel is uniquely positioned to cater for the executive demands and to introduce the world to the charms and excitement of the awakening country. The Lao Plaza Hotel is setting the new standards for hospitality in this ancient land.

    Facilities

    • Bar(s)
    • Business Centre
    • Currency Exchange
    • Gym/Fitness Centre
    • Massage Treatments
    • Pool (s)
    • Restaurant(s)
    • Room Service
    • Spa

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Day 4

Vientiane City Tour

This morning your local guide will meet you at your hotel for a full-day city tour, which visits the highlights of the capital. Visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Wat Sisaket features remarkable frescoes and over 6,000 Buddha images. Nearby is Haw Phra Kaew - the main structure originally housed the famous Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok.

One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Patousay - the victory gate also known as Anousavari, with architecture inspired by the Arc of Triumph in Paris. Another famous landmark is the Phra That Luang stupa. This great sacred stupa, considered the national symbol, is said to contain relics of Lord Buddha. You will also visit the Talaat Sao, Vientiane's great food and vegetable market. This is a wonderful venue for encountering the charming and fun-loving Laotians. Lunch is included at a local restaurant.

If you are interested in textiles and their production you can also pay a visit to Carol Cassidy and her Lao Weaving Gallery. The afternoon and evening is at leisure - you may want to enjoy a cool drink on the banks of the Mekong as the sun sets. Dinner is at own arrangement, Vientiane has a great range of restaurants specializing in local cuisine as well as a range of International choices.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Day 5

Vientiane to Pakse

This morning it will necessary to depart very early for the flight to Pakse in Southern Laos. Upon arrival in Pakse you will be met by a Pakse local guide and transferred to your hotel. Take some time to freshen up and then depart with your local guide to explore the countryside surrounding Pakse city.

The Bolaven Plateau is an extinct volcano with a high enough altitude to be notably cooler that the town below. 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. Local hill people recount a story of local hunters ambushing a deer at the falls, thus giving its name (Tad = Waterfall, Fane = Deer).

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. Time permitting it may be possible to stop to visit one of these villages. Late afternoon return to your hotel in Pakse town, the remainder of the evening is at leisure.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Champasak Palace Hotel

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  • starstarstar

    Champasak Palace Hotel


    Boasting a fitness centre, a sauna and a coffee bar, the Champasak Palace Hotel Pakse offers rooms with city views. Guests can enjoy the outdoors on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Furnished to a high standard, the 3-star rooms offer slippers, ...

    Boasting a fitness centre, a sauna and a coffee bar, the Champasak Palace Hotel Pakse offers rooms with city views. Guests can enjoy the outdoors on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Furnished to a high standard, the 3-star rooms offer slippers, mini bars and in-room movies. The hotel's on-site restaurant is an ideal option for those wishing to eat in. Alternatively, there is a large selection of international restaurants just a short walk away.

    Facilities

    • Restaurant
    • Restaurant

    More Details

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. This site represents the easternmost border of the Khmer empire, although Khmer influence was felt deep into central Vietnam. 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 that once played an integral part in the lives of the Laotian people. The original name for the Lao Region was Lane Xang - Land of a Million Elephants and their image still features on many Government documents, etc. There is the 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Senesothxeune Hotel

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Location View map
  • starstarstarstar

    Senesothxeune Hotel



    Senesothxeune Hotel (Pronounce: san-sot-xuen) established in 2007 aims to be the "Home Away From Home" for tourists and visitors who visit Don Khong to enjoy a peaceful and un-spoilt nature of the land of 4000 thousand islands. We are striving to serve the travel enthusiast ...

    Senesothxeune Hotel (Pronounce: san-sot-xuen) established in 2007 aims to be the "Home Away From Home" for tourists and visitors who visit Don Khong to enjoy a peaceful and un-spoilt nature of the land of 4000 thousand islands. We are striving to serve the travel enthusiast and impulsive people who seek variety and excitement. Senesothxeune hotel is the highest quality hotel in the area that offers you the luxury and unique hospitality experience of Don Khong people.

    Facilities

    • Internet Access
    • Restaurant

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Day 7

Don Khong Island to Pakse

After breakfast take a boat trip along the Mekong River to Don Khone Island. Explore the island visiting the former French bridge, and the old locomotive of the train used to transfer supplies and boats around the impassable waterfalls.

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. While Dolphin numbers are declining and they are not always visible, there is a chance you will see them. 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.

Meal Plan Breakfast and Lunch
Duration1 Night
Accommodation

Champasak Palace Hotel

More Info

  • starstarstar

    Champasak Palace Hotel


    Boasting a fitness centre, a sauna and a coffee bar, the Champasak Palace Hotel Pakse offers rooms with city views. Guests can enjoy the outdoors on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Furnished to a high standard, the 3-star rooms offer slippers, ...

    Boasting a fitness centre, a sauna and a coffee bar, the Champasak Palace Hotel Pakse offers rooms with city views. Guests can enjoy the outdoors on the terrace or have a drink at the bar. Furnished to a high standard, the 3-star rooms offer slippers, mini bars and in-room movies. The hotel's on-site restaurant is an ideal option for those wishing to eat in. Alternatively, there is a large selection of international restaurants just a short walk away.

    Facilities

    • Restaurant
    • Restaurant

    More Details

Day 8

Depart Pakse

After breakfast at the hotel you will be met by your local guide and transferred to Pakse airport for your flight departure.

Meal Plan Breakfast

Other Information

DEPARTURES:

Daily.

PRICE INCLUDES:

  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Domestic air flight
  • Return airport transfers
  • Sightseeing
  • Meals as indicated. 

PRICE EXLUDES:

  • Travel insurance
  • International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes unless specified
  • Visa fees if applicable
  • Meals and beverages not mentioned
  • Gratuities
  • Items of a personal nature

TERMS AND CONDITIONS:

Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request - please inquire.

TB DESTINALUA17SG: ESSL 2
22 Apr 2018
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