This itinerary is a classic and comprehensive 10-day tour that combines top attractions with outstanding cultural visits as well as nature experiences, travelling 4 nights in Luang Prabang, 2 nights in Vang Vieng, and 3 nights in Vientiane, with one full free day each in Luang Prabang and Vang Vieng. The itinerary is not overcrowded, so it is recommended for those who want to enjoy a relaxing vacation. The tour begins with arrival at Luang Prabang Airport and ends with departure at Vientiane Airport.
Destinations: Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Sene, Whisky Village, Pak Ou Caves, Manifa Elephant Camp
Overnight: Luang Prabang, Lunch Included
We will pick you up again at 8:30 and take you to a small park on the peninsula tip. The tour begins with a brief introduction to Luang Prabang, standing where the Nam Khan River meets the Mekong River. From there, walk to the famous Wat Xieng Thong temple. For centuries, the temple was considered the ceremonial gateway to the city and was the arrival and departure point for foreign dignitaries. We will walk up the stairs to the main gate and enter the temple like ancient dignitaries. After visiting Xieng Thong, we take a short stroll to temples around and visit Wat Sene, Luang Prabang’s oldest temple dazzled by the lavish ochre and gold interiors.
We take a long tail slow boat to trip on the mighty Mekong river. The Mekong River has been the main highway for people and goods for centuries and is still seamlessly integrated into the lifestyle of the people of Luang Prabang. Fishers fish in the morning and evening, and women dip their feet in the water to catch river shrimp. Children splash in the river on summer afternoons. In the dry season, fertile land along the riverside (the Mekong’s water level can rise and fall nearly 10 meters) is for farming and grazing buffalo. Enjoy the many views from the water, witness rural Laos, pass by local villages, fishers, and children and soak up the scenes of daily life by the river.
After an hour and a half boat ride from Luang Prabang, we make a short stop at the Ban Xang Hai, also known as the Whisky Village. Here you see the process of making Lao Lao, the country’s beloved rice whiskey, and taste the fresh local delights. Why not pick up a couple of bottles for later?
Our boat travels slowly along the Mekong to Pak Ou Caves. We arrive at a small boat landing dock where stairs lead you straight to the cave. These limestone caves have been places of worship for thousands of years, and Buddhist statues and idols have filled these natural caves. Hear legends and stories about the caves from your guide and explore the caves.
After visiting the caves, the boat will enter the Ou River to see the spectacular limestone cliffs and down the Mekong river 30 min. We stopped at Manifa Elephant Camp. Enjoy lunch at the restaurant with a view of the Mekong River and free-roaming elephants. You can enjoy an optional elephant ride. (30min, $10/person) This riding is safe and welfare-oriented using a howdah (carriage) that complies with a standard for Luang Prabang elephant tourism by GIZ, a German Agency for International Cooperation.
We will go back to Luang Prabang by minivan at around 2:30.
Destinations: Morning market, Royal palace museum, Heuan Chan Heritage, Wat Visoun/Wat Aham, Ock Pop Tok Living Craft Center (or Carpe Diem Restaurant), Kuang Si Waterfalls, Ban Na Uang, Wat Phra Bat Tai
Overnight: Luang Prabang, Not include lunch fee
If requested, the 3rd day of the trip begins early in the morning (5:15 am in March to October and 05:45 in November to February). We pick you up from your hotel and you have a fantastic opportunity together with the locals to witness the captivating centuries old daily tradition of the alms giving ceremony. Sai Bat (Morning Alms) is a longstanding tradition in Laos Buddhist culture. In observing it, the devoted offer food to monks throughout the Luang Prabang every morning. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. Return to the hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, visit local morning market. The morning market lining a couple of quiet streets near the Royal Palace, starts early and is over by mid-morning. It sets up along a couple of side-streets next to one of the city’s many Wats. A butcher and some of the more touristy stalls have actual tables for their wares. But most of the vendors, selling anything from rice, to fresh vegetables, to steamed fish, frogs, and anything else that might be the day’s catch, just set up on the ground. And then head to the quaint Royal Palace Museum for an overview of the culture and history of this ancient city. The Royal Palace, which is today the national museum and built by French colonialists between 1904-09, displays a lovely collection of the artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture.
We visit Heuan Chan Heritage, is a traditional wooden house dated back to 19th century. We will see a very rare surviving example of a pre-colonial Lao style aristocratic mansion and find the Luang Prabang Way of Life. Following that, we also visit the 16th century stupa of Wat Visoun and peek into the peaceful temple of Wat Aham.
We offer two options for a lunch break before visiting the Kuang Si Waterfalls in the afternoon.
Set in lush tropical gardens and located on the banks of the Mekong, the Living Crafts Center is the perfect place to learn more about the fascinating world of Lao textiles and handicrafts. There is a café with terrace seating overlooking the Mekong River. Lunch set menu $13 or $15 (reservation required) An a la carte menu is also available without reservations.
This is a waterfall retreat. Beautiful restaurant in a marvelous setting downstream from the Kuang Si waterfalls. Western or Laotian, vegetarian set menu $15/pax (reservation required) An a la carte menu is also available without reservations.
After a lunch break for a change of pace let’s visit Kuang Si waterfalls. The waterfalls are magnificent and impressive. Relax and enjoy the spectacular natural beauty of 3 leveled waterfalls. Water from upstream cascades down jagged limestone cliffs into turquoise blue pools of various sizes. We will have 2 hours to explore the waterfalls, walk along a nature preserve trail, swim in refreshing turquoise puddles, and visit a bear conservation center. Adventurous may walk up the steep path to the top of the falls for a spectacular view.
On the way back, we will stop at Ban Na Uang (a Hmong resettlement village) on the way to Kuang Si falls. Here you can meet the Hmong people who originally lived in the highlands. By the time you arrive in Luang Prabang, it is evening. we stop at a local temple Wat Phra Bat Tai, facing the Mekong River in Luang Prabang. As we admire the beautiful sunset over the Mekong River, we hear monks’ evening sutra chanting.
Overnight: Vang Vieng
Today we spend a full day driving south to Vang Vieng. There are two roads on this route and you will be taking the new road – however depending upon weather conditions – you could still find a few potholes along the way, so be prepared for a few bumps. The journey winds its way up into the mountainous region of central Laos, passing ramshackle villages that cling to the side of the mountain road, and driving over several high passes with stunning 360 degree views. There will be regular breaks to the drive, stopping for refreshments in a Hmong village and for photos on top of the high passes we drive over. The scenery is beautiful, particularly when coming into Vang Vieng with its rolling hills and karst mountains. We arrive at Vang Vieng in the late afternoon.
After breakfast, we leave from Vang Vieng. Transfer to Vientiane take about 3-4 hours. There are some interesting stops to be made en route, including Nam Suang market where you see the daily life of the countryside, Hui Mo market where the villagers are selling dry river fish caught and washed and sun dried. Up on arrival Vientiane check-in at hotel free leisure overnight in Vientiane. You will be staying 3 nights in Vientiane.
Destinations: Wat Sisaket, Wat Prakeo, That Luang Stupa, Patuxay monument, Nam Phou Fountain
Let’s just take a half day look around Vientiane. Your first stop is Vientiane’s Wat Sisaket temple. Known for its cloister wall of over 6,800 Buddha statues, Wat Sisaket is the city’s oldest surviving temple and is still in use as a religious site today. Head next to Wat Prakeo, which once served as the temple of the royal family, housed the Emerald Buddha for 200 years, and is now functional as a museum. Head to That Luang Stupa, the single most important monument in Laos, which was built to cover the original small stupa containing a piece of the chest bone of Buddha before diving further into the country’s heritage by visiting the Patuxay monument, which is known as Vientiane’s Arc de Triomphe and stands as a symbol of Laos’ independence. We then drive back to Ave Lane Xang and stop at the Nam Phou Fountain, built by the French, where fine-dining and fusion restaurants have appeared around in recent years. The area is home to modern buildings but also many small, family-run tailor shops. We take a break for lunch. Free afternoon. Visit the Vientiane night market tonight.
Destination: Buddha Park
Morning visit to Buddha Park, one of the most bizarre sights in Laos. This is an open-air sculpture park about 25 kms. outside of Vientiane on the Mekong River, a quirky setting of over 200 sculptures of various shapes and sizes depicting figures from Buddhist and Hindu traditions and lore. Feel free to wander around, take photos and in some cases climb the statues. Although the sculptures appear to be ancient, the park was actually established only in 1958. You can spend hours here!
Transportation from the hotel to the Vientiane airport
|2 persons||3 persons||4 persons||5 persons||6 persons|
|$762 / person||$519 / person||$397 / person||$324 / person||$275 / person|
|$799 / person||$543 / person||$415 / person||$338 / person||$287 / person|