UNESCO has recognized and preserved a former capital of the royal realm in Luang Prabang, also known as the “Kingdom of Millions of Elephants” in the 13th century.
This tour takes you to visit historical relics including a trip to the ruins of the Khmer temple Wat Phou near Pakse, the mysterious Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang and remnants of French occupation at Don Khone Island. You will also absorb the stunning beauty of the 4000-island region and be captivated at the sight of Southeast Asia’s largest waterfall, Khone Phapeng.
On arrival at Luang Prabang International Airport you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
After check in and time to freshen up we will head out to see the city’s oldest temples, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roof sweeping low to the ground representing classical Lao architecture, the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham. From here we visit the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts from the Royal period in Luang Prabang.
You are free in the afternoon to treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage, go shopping or relax at the hotel.
Late afternoon we climb to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred gilded stupa and to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and the sun setting over the Mekong River.
Descending the mountain you will find yourself in the midst of the famous Luang Prabang Night Market, where you can find a unique selection of handmade textiles and handicrafts locally made by both ethnic Lao and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Your evening is free to explore the market and sample some traditional Lao cuisine at one of the many restaurants the town has to offer. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
This morning we will visit the Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. You can enjoy a coffee at the centre’s café before we head for the Mekong River and board our private boat for a pleasant and scenic cruise up the Mekong River to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. These caves are an ancient pilgrimage site and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha images left there over hundreds of years.
Returning to Luang Prabang we disembark our boat and have the option of taking a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village famous for its hand weaving or returning to the hotel for free time to relax.
The evening is free to explore the town, enjoy a drink as you watch the sunset over the Mekong or relax at the hotel.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
This morning you have the option and opportunity to rise early and participate in the daily morning ritual of Alms Giving, you will experience saffron-clad monks collecting offerings or ‘Alms’ from faithful local residents. This tradition is unique to Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession.
After breakfast back at your hotel we drive to Khouangsi Waterfall stopping along the way to visit the morning Phousi Market, this is where all locals of Luang Prabang come to do their daily shopping. You will see a variety of local food and products including dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, fish, vegetables and fruit, everything needed for daily life in Laos.
On arrival at the Khouangsi Waterfall you will have the opportunity to cool off with a refreshing swim in the topaz pools below the falls, walk along the forest trails and visit the Bear Sanctuary.
Arriving back in Luang Prabang mid-afternoon you are free to treat yourself to a spa treatment or massage, relax at the hotel or head to the Night Market to do some shopping.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Today we depart early for a drive through spectacular scenery to Xieng Khuang Province, the home of the Plain of Jars. There are many stunning photo opportunities along the way and a couple of stops to explore hill tribe villages. After check-in at your hotel in Phonsavan there will be time to go for a wander through town, visit the MAG Centre or chill out over a drink at the hotel.
Overnight in Xiengkhuang.
We have an early start this morning as we head out to explore the Plain of Jars. We will be visiting Sites 1, 2 & 3 as well as taking a short trek to a Tai Dam and Lao Leum village along the way.
Returning to Phonsavan we then board our short flight to Vientiane. After checking into your hotel drive South from Vientiane to see the Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures set in parkland on the banks of the Mekong close to the Friendship Bridge. Here we find over 200 religious images dating back some 500 years; faithfully recreated by a mysterious Biddhist monk.
Your evening is free to explore the Night Market and sample some local cuisine at one of the many restaurants the town has to offer.
Overnight in Vientiane.
This morning’s city tour. You will visit the major temples of Vientiane including the oldest, Wat Sisaket, with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the national icon of Laos, That Luang Stupa, stopping along the way to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph, from there you visit COPE Center. The COPE was created in response to the need to provide UXO survivors with the care and support they required, namely by way of orthotic and prosthetic devices. This museum was set up in 1997 to help keep the victims safe during the Indochina war.
This afternoon you have the option to continue our tour of Vientiane by bicycle, we will ride the capital taking in sites such Wat Ong Tue, Wat Inpeng and Wat Haisok, the main shopping district and Vientiane’s Central Market, Talad Sao.
Returning to the hotel your evening is free to relax or take in some more sights of Vientiane and enjoy the sunset over a few drinks on the riverfront.
Overnight in Vientiane.
After breakfast we catch an early flight to Pakse. On arrival we head south towards Champasak and the 4000 islands area. Passing through Pakse town we cross the Mekong River by ferry to visit the fascinating pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phu, one of Southeast Asia's most dramatically situated mountain top temples.
We continue our journey by road and ferry boat to Don Khone in the South Mekong river region known as the 4000 islands, one of the most scenic areas in Laos.
Overnight in Don Khone.
After an early breakfast we head south by road and boat to Done Khone. Here we retrace the island’s French colonial-past at Ban Khone with it’s old colonial houses still standing and a glimpse of the first Lao railway with its own locomotive.
We continue our exploration of the area by boat and visit the beautiful Liphi waterfall, also known as the Samphamith, which forms a natural border between Lao and Cambodia.
We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to the famous waterfall of Khone Phapheng, the largest waterfall in South East Asia, also known as the 'Niagara Falls of the East'.
Overnight in Don Khone.
Leaving Done Khone this morning we head for the refreshing mountain climate on the Bolaven Plateau. The area is famous for its many waterfalls and we will visit two of the best waterfalls, Tad Fan, with it’s impressive twin falls cascading over 100 metres to the valley floor below. As well as, Tad Ngeuan, with its pristine pools for taking a refreshing dip and coffee shop and plantation where you can sample some real Lao coffee.
Along the way you will see the rich soils of the region being cultivated for coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops before we arrive at Tad Lo, home to another scenic waterfall and numerous ethnic minority groups and visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu before checking in at Tad Lo.
Overnight Tad Lo.
This morning we drive to Pakse for your flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia or exiting Thailand overland from the Chong Mek International checkpoint to your next destination.