A classic journey exploring Laos covering major cultural and historical highlights. Easy travel with many things to see and learn, spiced up with just a touch of adventure. Highlight of this tour is the journey on the Mekong river; the long journey by car from Luang Prabang to Vientiane in 3 day 2 night time with 2 nights stop at the mystical Xieng Khuang, and the enchanting Vang Vieng. This is a great way to travel through Laos for small groups, individuals, and families with children.
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel. The rest of the day is your own time at leisure. Overnight in Luang Prabang
Today, you will first visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. Afterwards, we will visit magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. We then embark on the a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine.
On arrival back in the city, we visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, we will transfer to visit Wat Siphouthabaht to admire the sunset; this is the really peaceful place to catch the last beauty of the day. The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely collection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang
Option: if time permits, you may wish to visit the Kopnoi Promotion Center, and enjoy the Tea tasting Ceremony, where you can also have a small lecture about Lao culture.
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there, we will take a short visit to the morning local market near the Royal Palace. At the market, you can find anything from rice, to fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, and anything else that might be the day’s catch, just set up on the ground, this is what the locals do every day. This is really the chance for you to get a real flavor of the local culture.
After breakfast at the hotel, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we will take a stroll around the city to visit Big Brother Mouse, which is the most famous bookshop in Laos. The next stop is Ock Pop Tock, meaning East Meets West, where you can learn about the traditional weaving in Laos. We then visit Wat Visoun, dating back to 1513 during the reign of King Wisunarat (Visoun), this is Luang Prabang’s oldest temple and was once home to the Prabang Buddhas.
Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today you will visit local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. We then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. Before returning to Luang Prabang, we stop to visit the Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesday), one of the must-visit spots, newly opened on January 2014. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast, we make our way over the mountains to Xieng Khuang, the province which is best-known for having been heavily bombed during Indochina War. But of course it is also famous for its historic Plain of Jars. The journey takes about 8 hours and we can make some stops at villages to observe the rural life of local people, including ethnic minorities such as the Hmong people. Arrival in Phonsavanh, the capital of Xiengkhouang province and check into your hotel. Overnight at hotel.
In the morning you will journey through Phonsavan and the Plain of Jars.
The Plain of Jars is a huge archaeological complex littered with mysterious 2000 years old stone jars sized from 70cm up to 3 or 4 meters. Their true origin remains a mystery. It seems that they were carved into boulders. Several researches lead by the French archaeologist Madeleine Colani in the 30’s suggested that they could be old graves, but to this day they remain an enigma.
Your trip will enable you to visit the 3 sites and also discover some local villages where you can observe local village life. Site 1, close to the town is settled at Thong Hai Hin and is the biggest site. Site 2 is at Hai Hin on Phou Salator, “Phou” in Lao means “Mountain”. End your tour at site 3 in Hai Hin Lat Khai. Site 3 is the most impressive with over 150 jars. Close to this site, you will visit Ban Xiengdi where there is a small monastery with Buddha images. On the way back, you will pass areas that were important battlefields during the American secret war. You can still see bomb craters from that time today.
Attention: The Plain of Jars has been heavily bombed during the war and you have to respect all the signs and stay along the defined trails due to bombs, UXO and landmines.
In the afternoon, enjoy a half day trip to Muang Khoun. Muang Khoun one place in the old provincial capital that was not been destroyed by the American bombings during the secret war. Muang Khoun is home to unique sitting giant Buddha as well of some old pagodas that lies in ruins. The foundation and columns of Wat Pia Wat are still standing and close to this site, there is also an old 30m stupa constructed in the Lan Xang/Lanna period. Then return to Xieng Khouang and overnight.
After breakfast, we have time today to explore the site and some nearby villages, populated by the Hmong hill tribe and Tai Dam people; they are very poor but possess a vibrant local culture and an interesting history. We leave Xieng Khuang for our scenic drive to Vang Vieng, a small town, which is nestled on a bend of the Nam Song River. Its stunning scenery with its limestone outcrops remains unspoiled, despite recent developments with the advent of tourism. Depending on road and traffic conditions, we will arrive at Vang Vieng by mid or late afternoon. Upon arrival, we will board on the leisurely long-tail boat along the Nam Song River to admire the sunset. Overnight in Vang Vieng.
In the morning, we will first stroll around the town to visit the local market to catch a gimpse of everyday life in a typical Lao rural area.
We then visit Organic Farm Vang Vieng (OFVV), promoting the use of natural materials & traditional methods for growing its crops & raising its animals, without using chemicals or artificial fertilizers, which are harmful to both our health & the environment.
The limestone cliffs and valleys surrounding the resort complex of Vang Vieng are home to numerous caves and caverns. The most famous in Vang Vieng is the cave of Tham Jang, which was used in the early 19th century in defense against the Chinese invaders. We also cross the river to Ban Huai Ngae, a very pleasant village where we can explore the different local lifestyles. We bid farewell to Vang Vieng and drive to Vientiane. Along the way we make a stop to visit Vang Xang, a famous archeological site dating back 11th century.
Located on the banks of the Mekong River, this capital conjures up exotic images, with a curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences. Overnight in Vientiane.
After breakfast enjoy a guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane. Vientiane is one of the quietest capital cities in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals. Your tour begins at the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues.
Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby, is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town’s colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor’s palace.
Visit COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. A visit to the center provides in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them.
After that, continue to the Patuxay monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city.
Next, your tour takes you to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire.
End your tour of the capital along the banks of the Mekong River as the sun begins to set. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls.
Then transfer out to the airport to take the departure flight. End of services.
- + Hotel accommodation (double/twin sharing) with breakfasts
- + All transfers by air-conditioned vehicles
- + Local English-speaking guide
- + All sightseeing fees as the program
- + Meals as indicated in the program
- + Boat trips as stated dunging tours
- + Mineral water per person per day
- + Tax and service charges
- + All airfares and airport taxes
- + Visa to Laos (if applied)
- + Tips for guides and drivers
- + Early check-in and late check-out at hotels
- + Insurances, personal expenses
- + Single supplement
- + Others not mention in inclusions