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Laos

Laos is surrounded by the heavily visited countries of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. Laos is a small slowly developing country full of gentle people with a rich culture living in a land of stunning scenery. The sleepy former royal capital of Luang Prabang with its temples and markets is beginning to attract international visitors. Our itineraries below are samples of the more popular ones. It is easy for us to customize a program for you. Please contact us for latest rates.


MOSTLY LUANG PRABANG — 5 DAYS/4 NIGHTS (ELAO/LIVIE)

Day 1: Arrive Vientiane
Arrive in Vientiane, the peaceful capital of the People\0xD5s Democratic Republic of Laos. After transferring to the hotel there is time for an afternoon city tour taking in Wat Sisaket, with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, Wat Prakeo, Wat Simuang, the That Luang Monument and Vientiane\0xD5s own Arc de Triomphe, the Anousavari Monument. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 2: Vientiane-Luang Prabang (B)
Transfer to Wattay Airport for a morning flight to the former royal capital, Luang Prabang. Transfer to hotel before setting out to explore some of the sights of this peaceful, provincial city. There is little traffic on the dusty Luang Prabang roads and monks in orange robes scurry in all directions carrying umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun. The former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Sen, Wat Visun and Mount Phousi with panoramic views over the city should not be missed. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 3: Luang Prabang-Pak Ou-Luang Prabang (B, L)
A full day boat trip on the mighty Mekong River to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. Thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crammed into the two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. They range in size from a few centimeters to the size of a human. After a picnic lunch, visit a riverside village where rice wine is produced and the village of Ban Phanom, where traditional Lao textiles are woven on ancient wooden looms. Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 4: Luang Prabang-Vientiane (B)
An early morning visit to Luang Prabang Market before transferring to the airport for the flight back to Vientiane. Transfer to hotel on arrival. The afternoon is free for more exploration or souvenir shopping. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 5: Depart Vientiane (B)
After breakfast visit the Morning Market before transfer to the airport for departure flight.


VAT PHOU CRUISE — 5 DAYS/4 NIGHTS (ELAO/VPC)

Day 1: Pakse-Champassak (D)
Set off in the morning from Pakse aboard the elegant traditional wooden-paneled Vat Phou barge and head southwards to Champassak. After mooring at Champassak, take a guided tour of the mysterious pre-Ankgorian 10th century ruins of Vat Phou, the temple from which the boat takes its name. Overnight in a very comfortable suite cabin on board the Vat Phou.

Day 2: Champassak-Khong Island-Phapheng-Khong Island (B, L, D)
Arrive at Khong Island and explore Muang Khong, the main settlement on the island before boarding again to cruise among some of the other 4,000 islands. Continue by road to visit the spectacular roaring falls at Phapeng and after a riverside picnic head back to the Vat Phou. Dinner is served on board.

Day 3: Khong Island-Oun Moung (B, L, D)
A relaxing morning cruising to Oun Moung gives an opportunity to observe the daily life of the villagers who live along the Mekong. On arrival in Oun Moung explore the ancient ruins of a Khmer sanctuary hidden away in the tropical forest. Enjoy dinner on board as the sun sets for another day over the Mekong.

Day 4: Oun Moung-Pakse (B)
After breakfast the Vat Phou sets off back up river to Pakse.

 


LAOS IN DEPTH - 12 Days / 11 Nights (ELAO/LID)

Day 1: Houey Xay-Pakbeng
Leave Houey Xay on the Thai border for a leisurely cruise on a local boat down the Mekong to Pakbeng. Several stops along the way offer the opportunity to sample rural life in the villages scattered along the riverbank and enjoy a riverside picnic. Arrive in Pakbeng in time to catch the sunset and check into a basic local guesthouse for the night. Overnight in Pakbeng. (L,D)

Day 2: Pakbeng-Pak Ou Caves-Luang Prabang
After breakfast board the boat for the river journey to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. Thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crammed into the two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. They range in size from a few centimetres to the size of a man. After lunch, continue to a village to sample to local rice alcohol known as Lao Lao. Arrive in Luang Prabang in the late afternoon and transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day free at leisure. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (B,L)

Day 3: Luang Prabang
After breakfast a city tour begins at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum and Vat Xieng Thong Temple. In the afternoon continue to Vat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-reliefs and Vat Visun, entirely rebuilt after being destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from southern China. In the courtyard of Vat Visun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit it takes its name from. In the late afternoon climb the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (B)

Day 4: Luang Prabang-Kuang Si Waterfall-Ban Phanom-Luang Prabang
After breakfast, enjoy a visit to the Kuang Si Waterfall, southwest of Luang Prabang with stops en-route to visit some ethnic minority villages. It is possible to walk to the top of the falls via a steep track and if the weather is good, swim in the clear water at the foot of the falls. Picnic lunch by the falls. Continue to Ban Phanom, a village specializing in the production of silk and cotton. The entire village is dedicated to the textile production and weaving and their lots of bargains to be had among the stalls selling clothing, bags, scarves and tapestries. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure to explore on your own. Overnight in Luang Prabang. (B,L)

Day 5: Luang Prabang-Plain of Jars-Phonsavan
After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Phonsavan. Transfer to hotel on arrival. The Plain of Jars is one of Asiašs most unusual sights: hundreds of stone jars some weighing up to a ton are scattered over a large area. The jars are thought to be over 2,000 years old but their origins are still a mystery. After lunch visit the main sites and the old provincial capital before returning to Phonsavan and the hotel in the late afternoon. Overnight in Phonsavan. (B,L,D)

Note: Basic accommodation in Phonsavan.

Day 6: Phonsavan-Vientiane
After breakfast there is time to visit the local market before transferring to the airport for departure. Transfer to hotel on arrival. In the afternoon visit Vat Sisaket, with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, Vat Prakeo, the That Luang Monument and Vientianešs own Arc de Triomphe, the Patouxai Monument. Overnight in Vientiane. (B)

Day 7: Vientiane
After breakfast, visit Vat Simuang with its famous stone column that marks the spot where the city of Vientiane was founded. Continue to the National Museum, which documents the history of Laos and a woodcarving workshop where bronze and stucco Buddha images are made. In the afternoon visit Talat Sao, also known as the Morning Market, which despite its name stays open until late afternoon. The Morning Market is the place to look for all kinds of souvenirs including silk and cotton textiles, silver and gold jewelry, woodcarvings, postcards and more. The rest of the afternoon is free. Overnight in Vientiane. (B)

Day 8: Vientiane-Savannakhet
After breakfast, leave Vientiane by road for Savannah. Lunch at a restaurant on the Mekong at Take. Continue to Savannakhet stopping for photos and enjoying the attractive scenery. Overnight in Savannakhet. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Savannakhet-Pakse-Tad Fane
After an early breakfast, continue southwards by road to Pakse. On arrival a short tour of Pakse is followed by a drive to Pha Soume, a scenic riverside area with waterfalls and rock pools. After lunch continue to Tad Fane and on the way visit tea and coffee plantations on the Bolaven Plateau. Dinner and overnight in Tad Fane. (B,L,D)

Day 10: Tad Fane-Khone Phapheng-Khong Island
After an early breakfast, leave Tad Fane for Kiet Ngong and a one hour elephant ride through the forest. Continue to the southernmost part of Laos and the imposing Khone Phapheng Waterfall, near the Cambodian border for a simple lunch. After lunch take a boat trip on the Mekong in search of the local Irawaddy Dolphin before heading north to Khong Island. Dinner and overnight in Khong Island. (B,L,D)

Day 11: Khong Island-Vat Phou-Pakse
After breakfast, transfer to Champasak and head to Vat Phou, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Return to Champasak for lunch and sightseeing including some former royal mansions and samples of French colonial architecture. After lunch return to Pakse and visit the evening market. Dinner and overnight in Pakse. (B,L,D)

Day 12: Depart Pakse
After breakfast transfer either to the Thai border or to the airport for onward flight. (B)

NOTE: A Baci ceremony is included in this tour. The purpose of the Baci, mixing Animism and Buddhism beliefs, is to call back escaped spirits to the body, something that is very important before major events such as weddings, births, travel or welcoming friends. The ceremony is always followed by a traditional dinner with a Lao family.