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Laos is South East Asia’s hidden, landlocked gem, a spectacular mountainous land shaped by ancient Buddhist tradition, the Mekong River, and rich cultural tradition.
a Destinations d > Laos > Authentic Laos
Meals: 7 Breakfasts, 2 Lunches
Accommodation: 7 nights in boutique hotels
Transportation: Domestic flight from Vientiane to Pakse, high speed train from Luang Prabang to Vientiane, air-conditioned vehicle transfers as specified
Sightseeing: Luang Prabang tour, private sunset cruise on the Mekong River, Kuang Si waterfalls tour, Vientiane city tour, Wat Phou tour, Bolaven Plateau tour
*Price is per person based on twin share. Please speak to our team or view our terms and conditions for more information
From the royal Buddhist capital of Luang Prabang to remote tribal villages, glittering temples and riverside towns, Laos offers a unique experience of a disappearing, intimate South East Asia. Explore street markets and elegant French colonial architecture, watch the sunset on the Mekong River, sample delicious Lao delicacies, walk to beautiful jungle-framed waterfalls and Angkor-era temples.
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Discovering the cultural riches of Luang Prabang with its glittering temples, colonial era villas, street markets and beautiful riverscapes.
Exploring the Kuang Si waterfalls with their spectacular turquoise pools and black bear rescue centre.
Wat Phou, the thousand year old Angkor-era temple perched on a hill above the Mekong River in laid-back southern Laos.
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On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Evening is at leisure.
Explore Luang Prabang with a knowledgeable local guide. Visit the highlights of this UNESCO World Heritage site and also learn about Laos’ rich, colourful culture.
We begin at the Royal Palace, in the heart of this historic old town, which now holds the collection of the National Museum. The Museum displays historical relics and informative exhibits which showcase the Lao religious and secular arts. From here, walk to nearby Wat Mai, a Buddhist temple whose gold-covered bas relief is an incredible piece of craftsmanship. While here, learn about Buddhism and how its influence pervades the local culture.
Continue through downtown Luang Prabang to Wat Sensoukarahm, a temple noted for its dazzling gold façade, then Wat Xieng Thong, one of the oldest and most revered temples in Laos. Situated on the tip of the city’s peninsula, its ornate surfaces and sparkling gold exterior are one of the town’s most spectacular sights.
The afternoon is free for your own exploration until your pickup in the early evening for your sunset river cruise. Take a leisurely cruise along the beautiful Mekong River, taking in sunset views and colours while sipping on an ice cold Beer Lao or wine and snacking on some local delicacies. (B)
Start the morning with a visit to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre (TAEC), where hill tribe costumes and detailed descriptions of traditional culture provide an excellent overview of the various ethnic groups of Laos.
Leaving the town behind, drive a short distance to a small village of one of the many ethnic groups described at TAEC and see, first-hand, their customs and way of life.
Continue on to the Kuang Si waterfalls, a series of cascading turquoise pools, surrounded by lush forest. Spend time exploring the falls and enjoying the beautiful surrounds, either relaxing or taking a hike to the top of the highest drop. Have a picnic lunch by the falls.
At the nearby Asiatic Black Bear sanctuary, learn about these endangered bears rescued from poachers. The centre’s efforts to stop poaching preserve the bear’s natural habitat. You may also wish to visit the unique Lao Buffalo Dairy Farm, a social enterprise that produces sustainable and delicious cheese while giving back to the community and environment.
Late this afternoon return to town through the vibrant rural landscapes that make up the Laos’ countryside. (B)(L)
This morning is free until your transfer to Luang Prabang railway station. Board your fast train for Vientiane, the laid-back capital of Laos. The recently completed high speed train has changed overland travel in Laos dramatically, and Luang Prabang to Vientiane is now less than 2 hours, versus a 6 hour plus drive.
On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
Vientiane is one of south east Asia’s most laid-back capitals. With a population of less than a million, until recently it had no traffic lights and centred heavily on the Mekong River. (B)
Start your exploration of the Lao capital with a visit to two of the oldest Buddhist temples in town: Wat Sisaket, where thousands of miniature Buddha statues are on display, then nearby Wat Phra Keo with its collection of Lao and Khmer religious art. Learn about Laos’ colonial past at the Presidential Palace, viewing the exterior of this grand colonial structure.
We continue with a visit to COPE. This association works with landmine victims, a tragic legacy of the American-Vietnam war era. Learn about the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) and the efforts underway to rid the country of them. Continue on to see the Patuxay monument, a modest replica of the Arc de Triomphe, with excellent views of the city from the upper levels.
Also visit the That Luang, a towering golden stupa built in the 16th century. It is Vientiane’s holiest site and often busy with local pilgrims. (B)
This morning we transfer to the airport for a short flight to Pakse, southern Laos’ main centre. Depart by road for Champasak, a charming riverside location on the banks of the Mekong River.
This afternoon, explore nearby Wat Phou. This dramatic, ancient structure dates back to the Angkor era over a thousand years ago, and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
End your day back at your riverside accommodation, perhaps with a sundowner overlooking the Mekong River. (B)
Spend a day exploring the Bolaven Plateau. We begin by climbing up to the plateau, situated more than 1000 metres above sea level.
Start with a visit to the twin Tad Fane waterfalls, dropping some 120-metres. Nearby, Tad Yuang is a wider but equally impressive fall. The falls are fed by the Champy and Pak Koot rivers; although there is always water flowing, the volume changes by year and season.
Next visit a cooperative coffee plantation and factory. Although not as well-known internationally as Vietnam’s coffee, Laos beans are top quality and the Bolaven Plateau is home to the country’s best plantations. Led by a local expert, explore CPC plantation and learn about the steps of growing and processing the beans.
In season (Nov-Dec) you can help collect the cherries in the plantations. Lunch will be served at a traditional stilt house. The simple, but delicious, meal is prepared with organically-grown ingredients and using traditional recipes. Afterwards, back at the factory, a coffee roasting and tasting session will be held.
A stop will be made on the way back to Pakse/Champassak at Ban Houay Houn, a small Katu village. Witness the traditional weaving techniques of the Katu people. The women use a back-strap loom and their legs to weave the cotton fabric then add small beads as decoration. These ancient traditions are still an important part of life along the Bolaven Plateau loop. (B)(L)
After breakfast, transfer to Pakse Airport for your onward flight. (B)
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