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Summary

Short description

Explore the highlights of north and central Laos on this tailor-made tour

Highlights

  • Discover the delights of Luang Prabang, including beautiful Kuang Si Falls and Pak Ou Caves.
  • Explore the mysterious landscapes of the 2,000-year-old Plain of Jars.
  • Cycle and kayak amid the magnificent scenery and minority villages surrounding idyllic Vang Vieng.

In Brief

  • 4 Nights Luang Prabang
  • 2 Nights Plain of Jars
  • 2 Nights Vang Vieng
  • 2 Nights Vientiane

About

Recommended for:
Activity adventure | History & culture | Natural world

This journey takes in several of the country's beautiful highlights, including Kuang Si Falls and Pak Ou Caves. Ornate temples and fascinating Buddhist alms-giving ceremonies await in the sleepy riverside town of Luang Prabang while villages surrounding idyllic Vang Vieng are home to Hmong and Yao hill tribes. Cycle and kayak amid the magnificent scenery to gain a fascinating insight into the people and traditional culture of this intriguing country. These villages are also the gateways to enigmatic attractions such as the mysterious 2,000-year-old Plain of Jars.

Day by day itinerary

Day 1
London - Luang Prabang

Fly overnight from the UK to Luang Prabang. 

Day 2
Luang Prabang

Upon arrival in the historic city of Luang Prabang, you'll be met by a guide and driver at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at leisure.

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Day 3
Luang Prabang – Temples and Kuang Si Falls

After breakfast, explore the National Museum, which is the former residence of the now deposed royal family, and is full of fine examples of Laotian art and furniture. You will then visit Wat Mai – an exquisite temple that was spared by the Chinese Black Haws in the late 19th century because of its beauty and design. Next, you will start a half-day excursion to learn about the rice cycle on the Living Lands Community Farm, during which time you will take on the role of a rice farmer for the day and learn how to plant and plough rice paddies. 

After lunch, head to the Kuang Si Falls, one of Luang Prabang's most beautiful waterfalls. While there, swim and relax amidst the verdant jungle in the turquoise pools at the base of the falls. You will also get the opportunity to meet some Asiatic Black Bears, which are cared for in a sanctuary near the falls. Many of them have been saved from the illegal wildlife trade or have been displaced due to habitat degradation. 

After freshening up at your hotel, spend the evening attending a traditional Baci ceremony; Baci is a traditional dance performance during which you will be offered tidings of good luck in your travels. Afterwards, enjoy dinner at a local restaurant.

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 4
Pak Ou Caves by boat

Start the day by attending the incredible Tak Bat ceremony in Luang Prabang. Taking place every morning at dawn, the ceremony consists of hundreds of saffron-clad monks silently walking through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). Afterwards, visit the colourful Morning Market where locals buy and sell produce. 

After breakfast, travel upriver on a Mekong cruise for approximately 2-hours to the mysterious 'Cave of 1,000 Buddha images' at Pak Ou. Along the way, soak up the Mekong riverside scenery of villages and mountains covered with thick green forest and watch fishermen go about their daily labours. At the Caves, watch local people add to a repository of Buddha statues near the base of the small cave; this tradition has endured for centuries and continues today much as it always has done

After cruising back to town, visit a social enterprise in a village on the outskirts of Luang Prabang that specialises in textiles. Ock Pop Tok, meaning 'East meets West' brings the fascinating world of traditional Lao handicrafts alive for visitors and here guests can learn about traditional Lao weaving. In the late afternoon, Lao refreshments and cocktails well be served in the garden here, on the banks of the Mekong, which is a wonderful way to relax and watch the sunset. Return to Luang Prabang and spend the evening at leisure.

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Meals: B L

Day 5
Luang Prabang - Elephant Experience or Cooking Class

Today guests can choose between two different activities. Either join a morning cookery class or a half-day elephant experience, in each instance enjoying an afternoon at leisure. Note that activities, which are included in the price, must be selected in advance, preferably at the time of booking to confirm availability and avoid disappointment. One activity is included per party, so all members of the booking party must undertake the same activity. If some members of the travelling party would like to select a different activity, then a surcharge will apply. The afternoon is at leisure to relax, shop or continue exploring this atmospheric small town.

Stay: Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum, Luang Prabang (Superior) or Sofitel Luang Prabang (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 6
Luang Prabang – The Plain of Jars

This morning you will be picked up at your Luang Prabang hotel at 8am for the overland trip to Xieng Khouang Province, the site of the Plain of Jars. The journey will take seven hours and there will be plenty of opportunities to stop and admire the beautiful mountain ranges and H'mong hill tribe villages along the way before arriving in Phonsavan town.

The Plain of Jars is one of Asia's most unusual sites and the 'jars' you will see here are thought to be over 2,000 years old although their origins remain a mystery. Archaeologists speculate that the 'jars' were funerary urns. Other, recent discoveries nearby include unusual treasures such as statues and precious artefacts. In the late afternoon you will check into your hotel in time to watch the sun fade behind the surrounding hills.

Stay: Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel (Standard)

Meals: B L

Day 7
Xieng Khouang (Phonsavan)

Your exploration of the mysterious Plain of Jars starts this morning with a drive out of town to visit Jars Sites 2 and 3. It is possible to walk the six kilometres from Site 2 to Site 3 through some amazing hilltop scenery with excellent surrounding views of the countryside.

Site 3 is possibly the most beautiful and is set atop a small rise, surrounded by scenic yet bomb-scarred rice paddies. After Site 3 it is a short drive to Tad Lang Waterfall, one of the largest waterfalls in Xieng Khouang Province. Afterwards, head back to town for lunch, and pay a visit to the MAG visitors' centre, which has some excellent displays and information on the region's war-torn history. End the day with a visit to Jars Site 1, the largest and best-preserved of all three sites, before heading back to your hotel. 

Stay: Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel (Standard) 

Meals: B L

Day 8
Xieng Khouang – Vang Vieng

Today you will start with a drive through stunning mountain scenery and interesting ethnic minority villages on the way to the idyllic town of Vang Vieng, which lies some six hours away. There will be time on route to explore the villages and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant. 

In the afternoon, you will visit the amazing Tham Chang, or Frozen Cave, which is located on the banks of the Nam Song River. Enjoy the panoramic views of the river, spectacular karst limestone formations and the quaint town of Vang Vieng. The cave is deep and allows spectacular exploration opportunities as well as lovely swimming. Arrive in Vang Vieng in the evening, in time to admire the sunset and relax with a cold drink on the banks of the river. In recent years, the town has become popular with backpackers, but with the emergence of new upscale quieter resorts, the area can now be enjoyed by all.

Stay: Riverside Boutique Resort, Vang Vieng (Superior)

Meals: B L

Day 9
Vang Vieng – Bicycle ride & Nam Song River Kayaking

In the morning enjoy a bicycle ride around the outskirts of town to experience some of the beautiful scenery and local life Vang Vieng has to offer. Visit an organic farm, enjoy tea or coffee, and take a gentle kayak on the majestic Nam Song River. You will receive a brief introduction to the basics of kayaking, and will work your way downstream towards the town, taking in the towering karst formations around you from the unique perspective of a kayak. Enjoy a picnic lunch on the riverside before returning to your hotel.

Stay: Riverside Boutique Resort, Vang Vieng (Superior)

Meals: B L

Day 10
Vang Vieng – Vientiane

This morning, visit some interesting local villages and markets with your guide. In the late afternoon, drive for three hours to Vientiane. On arrival, transfer to your hotel, check in and freshen up. Spend the rest of the day at leisure, before enjoying dinner.

Stay: Green Park Boutique Hotel, Vientiane (Superior) or Settha Palace, Vientiane (Deluxe)

Meals: B D

Day 11
Vientiane City Tour

Vientiane is located on the Mekong River. It is Laos' capital and, with a population of 600,000, the country's largest city. Despite some new developments, Vientiane retains an 'old world' feel unlike other Asian cities. Starting at 8:30am, join a tour that will take in the city's intriguing main sights. You will visit the morning market, Talat Sao, where you will see silk and cotton textiles, gold and silver jewellery, and wooden carvings. Next, visit exquisite Wat Sisaket, Vientiane's oldest original temple, which dates from 1818 ; all the other temples in Vientiane were re-built after the Siamese invasion of 1828. Across the street, Haw Pha Kaew, the former royal temple of the Lao Monarchy, has now been converted into an interesting museum.

After a break for lunch, visit the most active temple in Vientiane, Wat Si Muang; if you are lucky, you may be able to see local temple-goers praying for good fortune. From here you will continue on to the COPE Visitor's Centre, an outstanding local organisation providing prosthetic limbs to victims of unexploded mines and vehicle accidents throughout Laos. This centre gives you both an informative and interactive insight into some of the issues still plaguing Laos from the era of the Indochina war.

Finally, finish your day's touring with a stop at Phra That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos and symbolic of both the monarchy and the Buddhist religion, and the Patuxai Monument, which is strongly reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. At the conclusion of your tour, you will be transferred back to your hotel.

Stay: Green Park Boutique Hotel, Vientiane (Superior) or Settha Palace, Vientiane (Deluxe)

Meals: B

Day 12
Depart for the UK

You will be transferred to the airport today by private car, with a guide, in time to board your flight back to the UK. 

Meals: B

Day 13
Arrive in London

Arrive in London, and continue your onward journey home. 

Map

Pricing

Any element of this itinerary can be adjusted to suit your needs. Just contact us to find out more.

Accommodation rating: Standard Superior

13-day tailor-made journey from £2,645 incl. flights

Superior

Low Season

from £2,645 pp. incl. flights

High Season

from £2,970 pp. incl. flights

  • Complimentary UK airport lounge access
  • Return flights from London to Luang Prabang and Vientiane
  • Private transfers through-out
  • 10 nights accommodation staying in 4* (Superior) hotels on a B&B basis
  • Private touring with local guides including lunch & dinner as per itinerary, highlights include;
  • 3 days touring in Luang Prabang including Pak Ou Caves day trip, temples, waterfalls and traditional performances
  • Plain of Jars historical sites, limestone formations of Vang Vieng, bicycle & kayaking and Vientiane city tour




Terms & Conditions

Prices are per person based on two people sharing a twin/double room; prices are subject to availability and possible change; normal booking conditions apply.

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