Day 01: Arrive Vientiane - City Tour
Arrive in Vientiane, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in.
In the afternoon, visit 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.
Overnight in Vientiane
Day 02: Vientiane- City Tour - Luang Prabang (B,L)
After breakfast at your hotel, you will enjoy a guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane,whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’. Vientiane is one of the quietest capitals in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals and far from the real-estate frenzy of the regional megalopolis.
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.
Stop at Wat Simuang, the most popular and venerated temple in Vientiane, as it is considred the guardian of the spirit of the city. Upon its grounds, you will find an Angkorian-era pillar and it is a popular belief that if you circle it three times and make a wish,then that wish will come true.
Enjoy a delicious Lao-style lunch at Makphet Restaurant.
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.
Your guide and private car will then transfer you to the airport for your departure flight QV103 departing at 17:10 to Luang Prabang.
Arrive in Luang Prabang on flight QV103 at 17:50, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to the heart of the spiritual capital of Laos.
You will then be dropped off at your hotel to check in and relax.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Day 03: Luang Prabang - City Tour (B)
After breakfast, your city tour begins with a visit to the former Royal Palace,now the National Museum,where you will explore the history of Laos. Continue on foot to Wat Mai,a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. End this morning’s tour a Wat Xieng Thong, Laos’most photographed temple. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong River,this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat.
Break for lunch (not included). You guide can recommend local restaurants.
This afternoon, visit Wat Visoun, the holiest temple of the city, which was entirely rebuilt in 1887 after being destroyed by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name.
Then visit the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre, a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities. Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people (note: closed on Monday).
In the evening you will have the unique opportunity to experience one of Laos’ oldest traditions: The Baci. The purpose of the Baci, which is a mix of Animist and Buddhist beliefs, is to call back escaped spirits to the body. This is something that is very important before major events such as weddings, births,travel, welcoming friends and farewells.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Day 04: Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfalls (D)
This morning you will be driven through the Luang Prabang countryside to Kuang Si Waterfalls (32km south west of the city). Along the way you will drive through beautiful landscapes of rice fields, hills, and small villages. There are also viewpoints overlooking the Mekong River. Stop en-route to visit a small village which is home to one of the area’s many ethnic minorities. You will have an opportunity to learn about their traditions and culture, much of which has remained unchanged for centuries.
Upon reaching Kuang Si Waterfall, relax and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. The jungle and dense woods surrounding the falls is perfect for exploring on foot. For the adventurous, it is possible to walk to the top of the falls via a steep track where stunning views await you at the top. These waterfalls cascade down a multilevel limestone formation creating a series of turquoise blue pools perfect for swimming in on a hot day (Note: when bathing please be respectful, wear a sarong and be careful not to show too much skin).
Before you leave you might like to visit the bear sanctuary which is next to the falls, run by Free The Bears Fund Inc. There are currently 23 Asiatic Black Bears living in the sanctuary, which has saved them from poaching. The main threat to these bears is poaching due to the use of their bile in Chinese medicine.You can read about their habits and observe their playful nature, whilst learning about the difficulties they are facing.
Return to your hotel and enjoy time at leisure until 16:00.
Guide and driver will pick you up at your hotel. Climb the 328 steps that lead to the top of Mount Phousi where you will be rewarded with marvelous views of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, the neighboring mountain ranges, and the city buildings. The sunset views are particularly spectacular as the sun casts glorious colors over the peaceful scenery below. Descend the steps on the opposite side of the hill and stroll to the nearby colorful Night Market. Every evening along the main street,the area’s ethnic minorities gather to sell their handicrafts. The quiet evening atmosphere and soft lights of the stalls combine to create a magical market setting from which to shop for souvenirs.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Day 05: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves - Kamu Lodge (B,L,D)
After breakfast you will embark on a cruise up the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to the Kamu Lodge, taking approximately 3 hours.
Along the way stop at the Pak Ou Caves. Locally referred to as Tam Ting, these two caves are carved out of towering limestone cliffs and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues. The Buddhas range in size from a few centimeters to the size of a human. The caves are as well a destination for local pilgrimages.
Continue upriver for another hour to reach the Kamu Lodge for lunch time. The Kamu Lodge features 20 private canvas tents, each one of which is protected from the elements by a thatched roof. The tents are also decorated with bamboo and wooden furniture allowing the Lodges’ grounds to harmoniously blend with surrounding nature. They each feature private attached bathroom and toilet with solar powered hot water and electricity.
This afternoon, you may choose to participate in a variety of different activities.You will be rewarded with a very original Lao experience:
- rice planting and harvesting in surrounding rice fields
- Gold panning (January to June) in the Mekong.Anything you find is yours!
- Traditional fishing techniques in the Mekong.You can sample your catch for dinner!
- Local village visit and encounters
Dinner and overnight at the Lodge
Day 06: Kamu Lodge - Luang Prabang (B)
This morning you can enjoy a leisurely breakfast and the beautiful surroundings of Kamu Lodge. The boat departs around 09:00 for the return journey to Luang Prabang. Your estimated time of arrival in Luang Prabang is 12:00.