WHY SHOULD I GO TO LAOS ?
Over centuries the landlocked Lao people have been cultivating rice and growing organic vegetables. Laos is dominated by mountains, forests and subsistence agriculture. The rhythm of life is strongly tied to the changing seasons and the requirements of farming. Today Laos still relies on this farming and agriculture, their life style is still preserved. You can experience something of this lifestyle while you are in Laos with us.
One you arrive at Chiang Rai airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. After check in we will visit Wat Rung Kung or the “White Temple” as it is known locally. This temle is privately owned and has fascinating architecture and adornments expressing something of the owner’s personal beliefs and interpretation of Buddhism. Overnight in Chiang Rai (B)
This morning you have an early morning departure for to the small town of Chiang Khong, the exit point from Thailand to Laos on the banks of the Mekong River.
After passing through Thai immigration you will cross the Mekong River to Houay Xay where your Lao guide will be waiting for you at the immigration point. Completing Laos border formalities you board your boat for the trip down the Mekong River. The scenery along this part of the Mekong is arguably at its most beautiful. As your journey downriver you will stop at some Hmong, Yao and Khmu ethnic minority villages and have the opportunity to observe their traditional lifestyle.
Arriving at Pakbeng late afternoon you will check in to your hotel and enjoy a few drinks watching the sun set over the mountains and the Mekong. Overnight in Pakbeng. (B, L, D)
After breakfast we will board our slow boat to continue our cruise to Luang Prabang. This morning we will stop to explore an ethnic Hmong village before having your lunch on board.
Midafternoon we will arrive at Pak Ou Caves. These caves are an ancient pilgrimage site and contain thousands of gold lacquered Buddha images left there over hundreds of years.
Continuing down the Mekong River we will arrive in Luang Prabang by late afternoon. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B, L)
After breakfast at the hotel we will head off on bicycles to see some of the highlights of Luang Prabang including a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts from the Royal period in Luang Prabang. Cycling on we seeing the city’s oldest temples, the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roof sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Lao architecture, the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham.
After relaxing at your hotel to let you lunch settle we will pay a late afternoon visit the Arts and Ethnology Centre to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. You can enjoy a coffee at the centre’s café if you chose before our climb to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred gilded stupa and to enjoy the panoramic view of the city and the sun setting over the Mekong River.
Decenting the mountain your will find yourself in the midst of the famous Luang Prabang Night Market, where you can find a unique selection of handmade textiles and handicrafts locally made by both ethnic Lao and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
After breakfast we begin our journey to Kuang Sii Waterfall stopping along the way to visit the morning Phousi Market, this where all the locals of Luang Prabang come to do their daily shopping. You will see a variety of local foodstuffs and products including dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, fish, vegetables and fruit, everything needed for daily life in Laos.
On arrival at the Kuang Sii Falls you will have the opportunity to cool off with a refreshing swim in the topaz pools below the falls, walk along the forest trails and visit the Bear Sanctuary.
Returning to Luang Prabang your afternoon is free to explore or relax at the hotel. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Vientiane.
Following hotel check in and lunch you will head out on your site seeing tour of the Capital where you will see the major temples of Vientiane including the oldest, Wat Sisaket, with it’s thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image.
We also visit the national icon of Laos, That Luang Stupa, stopping along the way to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. Overnight in Vientiane (B)
You have an early start this morning with a 6.30am flight to Pakse.
On arrival you’ll be met and transferred to the Vat Phou Cruise boat, once on board we head south, arriving at Champassak in time for a riverside lunch, followed by a guided tour of the mysterious pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Phou, the boat’s namesake.
As dusk falls, we board the Vat Phou for a relaxing cruise down-river, enjoying the tropical sunset on the deck. Dinner is served on board while the boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village. Overnight on board the Vat Phou (B, L, D)
After a leisurely breakfast on board, we set sail for the village of Huei Thamo, only a few minutes walk away from the spectacular and ancient forest temple of Oum Moung.
Rejoining the boat we cruise south to the ‘4000 islands’ region, while enjoying lunch on the deck. Arrivng mid afternoon at Ban Dua Tae, a traditional Lao village, you will have the opportunity to explore and observe the traditional daily life of the village.
As the sun sets over the Mekong you will return to the boat and enjoy a quiet dinner on board serenaded by the songs of the buffalo toads.
Overnight on board Wat Phou Cruise (B, L, D)
Today we will enjoy breakfast on the upper deck, while cruising to the small village of Ban Veuthong, where we will board a small longtail boat for a short journey to Khong Island, the largest island in the 4,000 islands region.
After visiting the island we return to the mainland for lunch amid the bygone splendor of another age, colorful French colonial houses and an old customs post alongside a stone quay.
Following lunch we jump in minivans for our drive to the encaptivating, scenic splendor of the Khone Phapeng waterfall, “the Niagara of the East“, close to the Cambodian border. Return to Pakse by road we will arrive late afternoon. Overnight in Pakse (B,L)
After breakfast you will be transferred to the airport for your flight. (B)