Day 1: Arrival – Vientiane (B)
On arrival at Vientiane Airport, you are greeted by our guide and taken to the hotel by private transfer. If the the time’s permitted; our short city tour begins with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts.
Day 2: Vientiane Sighseeing (B)
We start exploring the capital city of Laos, Vientiane. This laidback city stretching long the mighty Mekong River conjures up exotic images with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, and French influences. The initial history of Vientiane dates back the sixteenth century, but it left its legacy in form of few pagodas which are still standing in place after many struggles for the independence. The recent economic reform of Laos has made this small city undergo some vast changes with growing ambition. However, the historic old quarter of Vientiane still houses many French colonial villas, boutique hotels, vibrant shop malls, open air restaurants and tree lined boulevards. We visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple in Vientiane. This beautiful structure features remarkable frescoes and cloister wall where are laying almost 7,000 Buddha statues in all sizes. They have been made from wood, stone, and bronze and brought here hundred years ago. Neaby is the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. This sacred jade statue is currently displayed at Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok . We visit this masterpiece and enjoy a walk along the Mekong riverbank, which is lined up with local food stands and open air bars, a good place to enjoy some drinks and explore the authentic local ways of life.
Day 3: Vientiane – Xieng Khouang – Plain of Jars – Phonsavan (B)
The sightseeing tour of Vientiane continues with a drive to Patouxai, a version of own Arc de Triomphe standing in in Lane Xang Avenue. This imposing structure provides a beautiful view over the town center. The following stop is That Luang Stupa, which was built in Laos style but influenced by Buddhist beliefs. This most venerable Buddhist monument with the golden stupa now becomes the country national symbol. We follow it with the vibrant Morning Market, a flagship shopping destination in Vientiane. This market interior is crammed with shopping malls that sell everything from medicinal herbs, electronics equipment, silver jewellery, hand make silks to everyday sundries. We board an afternoon flight taking us over the mountainous region to the Xieng Khouang Plateau. On arrival you are met by our guide and driven to explore the enigmatic “Plain of Jars”, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. These huge jars carved from stone are supposedly over 2,000 years old, but most of archaeologists are still mystified about their purpose. They still stand despite the bombs rained down on this area during the Vietnam War. There are three sites of jars in place, but more interesting is the premier site where numerous jars in different sizes spread across the entire valley. We visit one of them before we drive back to Phonsavan Town for our overnight stay.
Day 4: Xieng Khouang – Luang Prabang (B)
Today we take an early morning drive from Xieng Khouang to Luang Prabang, travelling along a zigzag route past the rugged and verdant mountain scenery . These back roads are a great way to explore the real Laos as we see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. The journey is very long and strenuous at times, but we can make stops at our pleasure, to stretch the legs and visit some roadside villages. They are home to the Hmong hill tribe people who are very poor but have an interesting local culture and a colourful history. The senic drive delivers us in Luang Prabang Town by late afternoon or early evening depending on the roads and traffic conditions This ancient town was strikingly built on a peninsula formed by the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers. The human life has been recognized in place for over thousand years; however, Luang Prabang began a prosperous time, once being the royal capital of the Lane Xang Kingdom. The old-time appearance of Luang Prabang has been changed since the protectorate of the French, whose influence led to the construction of many colonial villas. This remarkably preserved town with saffron-clad monks, exquisite cuisine, gleaming temples, vibrant cultural traditions, distinctive artwork, relaxed atmosphere, traditional wooden houses and colonial style structures, makes it an unforgettably beautiful destination.
Day 5: Luang Prabang – Heritage City (B)
The morning mist clears over Luang Prabang, revealing a charming environment of French colonial buildings, intricate Buddhist temples, and cobble brick streets. Today we stroll along the narrow streets and visit the famous temple of Wat Xieng Thong, a striking temple which overlooks the two rivers of Mekong and Nam Khan. The temple structure is decorated in various ways with gilded stuccoes and doorways, featuring an elaborate tree of life mosaic and intricately carved walls. We follow it with the former Royal Palace, which is a showcase of Lao traditional and French architecture style. This mansion has been changed into the National Museum where display many artifacts and treasures dating from the early king period right through the last sovereign. The following stop is Wat Mai, a large and nicely decorated temple in Luang Prabang, which is extensively adorned with black and red lacquer decoration and gold leaf. No doubt the oldest temple in this town is Wat Visoun, but this sacred structure is mainly destroyed by invaders from southern China. However, it is still interesting to have a look at the replica built over the original temple ground. We visit this site and embark on a walk uphill along a zigzag path of 318 steps on Phousi Hill , which is topped by a glittering golden stupa. This rising shrine dominates Luang Prabang skyline and lends a panoramic view from the townscape to the rugged surrounding mountains.
Day 6: Luang Prabang – Pakou Cave – Kuang Si Waterfall (B)
Today we have an option to see the sunrise ceremony of “Arm Giving” when many saffron-clad monks walk along the streets to collect offerings from the faithful residents and visitors. This old age tradition remains very unique in Laos, which is the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. We embark a local boat for a river trip to Pakou Caves, passing by Ban Xang Hai which is famous for the rice alcohol distillation in traditional way. This stopover gives a chance to taste the potent local whisky and buy some souvenirs. Upon leaving this village, we race against the Mekong River towards the mysterious Pakou Caves. They are crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes, all brought here by devout villagers. We cross the Mekong River to Ban Pakou before we travel by road to Ban Phanom. This small village is home to the Tai Lu hill tribe people who used to make the royal silk textile for the Lao former royal family down centuries. We keep driving to the Kuang Si Waterfall and visit en route the Hmong hilltribe people at Ban Na Oun. The water sound welcomes visitors to Kuang Si, the largest waterfall in Luang Prabang, which tumbles from the thick jungle over multi tiered limestone formations into cascaded pools. They are perfect for anyone seeking an enjoyable escape on hot days. We admire this spectacular waterfall and relax in beautiful setting of turquoise pools and evergreen forest. The adventurers can follow steep tracks to conquer the jungle above the waterfall, catching panoramic views of the natural surroundings.
Day 7: Elephant Camp, Village & Tad Sae Waterfall (B)
Enjoy a full day excursion to the Elephant Village where you will have fun with different activities with the Elephant and learn how to take care of the elephant by joining in an elephant mahout course. In the afternoon, you will have a boat trip to the Tad Sae Waterfall where you will have fun in the clear water and relax. The activities will finish at around 3:00pm to 4:00pm, then you will be transferred back to Luang Prabang, rest of the day will be at your leisure.
Day 8: Luang Prabang – Departure (B)
The holiday ends with a transfer to Luang Prabang Airport for your departure. There are no activities planned for the final day. You may have free time to continue your exploration of Luang Prabang Town, do your last shopping or simply look back upon your trip images before your airport transfer.