Day 1 - Arrive Luang Prabang
On arrival in Luang Prabang you will be picked up by our local driver and transferred to your hotel.
In the afternoon, enjoy a brief orientation tour of the spiritual capital of Laos before climbing the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside. In the evening you will get the chance to shop at the hill tribe market.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 2 - Luang Prabang (B)
After breakfast, your city tour begins at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum (closed on Tuesdays). Your walk continues to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief. During Pimai, the Lao New Year, the Prabang normally housed in the Royal Palace Museum is brought and put on public display in this temple. Then, walk to Wat Sensoukarahm, built in 1718 with a beautiful dazzling golden façade. Finish with a visit to the city’s most photographed temple: Wat Xieng Thong. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was erected in 1560 by King Setthathirat with the addition of a library in 1828.
In the afternoon your tour starts at Wat Visoun, the holiest temple of the city, which was entirely rebuilt after being destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa, shaped like the fruit it takes its name from.
Continue to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center (TAEC). Laos is home to several ethnic groups and a visit to the this museum will provide you with greater understanding of these uniquely diverse cultures. (closed on Monday).
Finally, cross the Mekong for a walk on the opposite riverside and climb to Wat Chompet for a different view of the city for sunset.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 3 - Luang Prabang - Kuang Si Waterfall - Luang Prabang (B,L)
Your guide will pick you up from your hotel for a short transfer through the Luang Prabang countryside to Kuang Si Waterfalls (32km southwest 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 water tumbles down a large drop and cascades gently in to several cool, clear pools where you can enjoy a refreshing swim.
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.
Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch next to the falls, provided by L’Elephant which is one of the finest restaurants in Luang Prabang.
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.
The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure in Luang Prabang.
Option: Evening performance at the Royal Ballet Theatre. Founded in 2002 in cooperation with the Institute of Cultural Research, the Ballet aims to preserve this important aspect of Lao cultural heritage. Watching the spectacular performances of the Royal Ballet, including scenes from the Lao-Ramayana, Lao folk dances and tribal dances will provide a unique experience that you will never forget. Show starts at 6:00pm (Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday). Attention: subject to change without prior notice from the company.
Rates: Please contact us.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 4 - Luang Prabang - Pak Ou - Kamu Lodge (B,L,D)
Optional: For early-risers there is a very special dawn visit to witness the long lines of orange-robed monks leaving their pagodas to receive offerings of food from Luang Prabang residents. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast depart from Kamu Lodge pier to embark on a cruise up the Mekong River from Luang Prabang to the Kamu Lodge.
Along the way stop at the Pak Ou Caves. Here, thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues are crammed into the two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The statues range in size from a few centimeters to the size of a human.
Continue upriver for one hour to reach the Kamu Lodge. Located in a unique setting Kamu Lodge offers original activities such as; rice planting, gold panning and fishing in the Mekong. This eco-oriented lodge provides a very different Laos experience.
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.
- Local village visit and encounters
Dinner and overnight at the Lodge.
Day 5 - Kamu Lodge - Luang Prabang - Vientiane (B)
After a relaxing morning at the lodge, return to Luang Prabang by boat.
You will be met off the boat for a private transfer to the airport. We suggest that you ask your guide to stop at a bakery so that you can buy some lunch to take to the airport.
Depart Luang Prabang at 13:30 on QV102 (Lao Airlines), landing in Vientiane at 14:15.
Your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to the hotel for check-in.
Welcome to Vientiane whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’.
Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 6 - Vientiane (B)
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.
In the afternoon, 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.
Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 7 - Vientiane - Pakse - Bolovens - Pakse (B)
After an early breakfast, your guide and private car will meet you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departure flight QV512 departing at 0630 to Pakse. to the airport for your flight to Pakse. Arrive Pakse on Flight QV512 at 0745. Your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to the hotel for check-in.
On the confluence of the Mekong and Sedone rivers, Pakse is the most important town in Southern Laos. Pakse is home to a large Vietnamese community and if you visit this town during the Têt or Vietnamese New Year, do not be surprised if many shops are closed in honor of the celebration.
Take a short tour of the city and then drive east to the Boloven Plateau.
Stop at Tad Yuang & Tad Fane waterfalls. These twin waterfalls stand 120m high and are sure to impress. The falls are fed by the Champy and Pak Koot rivers whose waters join together deep in the dense jungle and as they emerge, they thunder down in to a deep gorge.
Before returning to Pakse, visit a tea and/or a coffee plantation. Most of this region sits between 1000-1300 meters high and features dozens of coffee and tea plantations. The beans grown in this region have become one of the most famous coffees in the world, which is sometimes called the “Champagne of coffee”.
After the tour, return to Pakse early afternoon.
Overnight in Pakse
Day 8 - Pakse - Wat Phou - Elephant Ride - Khong Island (B,L)
After breakfast, transfer by road to Wat Phou.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amidst the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos. The temple was constructed in three levels: the bottom level is focused on the baray (water reservoir) and promenade, the second level features quadrangular pavilions and galleries of carvings, and the top level is the sanctuary itself. The temple was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat. The temple served as the most important economic and political centre of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples.
Pass through Champassak, driving through streets lined with French colonial buildings, and continue on to Ban Kiet Ngong. Stop en route at the wood carving village of Ban Nong Bune.
The small Lao village of Ban Kiet Ngong is the starting point for your 90 minute elephant ride through the forest (2 persons per elephant) and up to Mount Asa, but first you will have lunch at a local restaurant in the village. This tour is part of a community-based tourism project developed to help the local villagers and provide conservation awareness. (Attention: if the size of the group is too large, the group will be divided into 2 groups: one will be riding elephant during the other one will stroll through the village to learn more about local daily life).
Along the way, you will have stunning views of the Xe Pian National Park which is settled between Champassak and Attapeu provinces. Stretching along the Mekong with many wetlands and unspoiled forest areas, this park offers a huge biodiversity with 29 recorded ecosystems with birds species such as egrets, sarus crane, hornbill but as well mammals like wild elephant, gibbons.
After the elephant ride continue on to Khong Island, the biggest island in southern Laos and the start of the 4000 Islands Region. Called “Siphandon in Lao language, this area is where the Mekong stretches over 14km wide and has thousands of islands between those the river flows and runs between cascades and rapids.
Overnight in Khong Island
Day 9 - Khong Island - Siphandon - Pakse (B)
In the morning visit Don Det and Don Khone, two peaceful islands where plantations and simple villages are almost all you will find. We recommend bicycles as the best way to explore.
A short boat trip will give you the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphins, but please note that sightings are far from guaranteed.
The islands played an important role during the French Colonial rule as they linked Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To overpass the waterfalls, a railway and bridge were built, the perfect place to take your time and soak in the view.
Visit the impressive Lippi falls, which are wedged between Done Khone Island and the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits.
In the afternoon you will return to Pakse.
Overnight in Pakse.
Day 10 - Pakse - Departure (B)
After breakfast transfer either to the Thai border or to the airport for your onward flight.