Day 1: Arrival - Vientiane
On arrival in the Laos capital of Vientiane, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. Vientiane is a charming and fascinating capital, with an interesting mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, and American influences. After a short rest, we start visiting the major sights of the capital; including Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao’s national icon, That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. The Mekong river side is the perfect place to end the day and admire the sunset.
Overnight in Vientiane
Day 2: Vientiane - Luang Prabang
We board a short afternoon flight to Luang Prabang, which is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. On arrival, visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai, we then climb up to the top of Phousi Mount for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we explore street night market, where you can find the lovely collection of handmade textiles by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
Day 3: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou cave
After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Laotian architecture. We then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local speciality of rice wine is produced. On our return, we stop at the local villages of Ban Xiengmene and Ban Chan then continue to see the royal temple at Wat Longkhoun. Once back in Luang Prabang city we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village well known for its hand weaving. We also have time to visit Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek, small villages well known for their silk weavings and their Saa (jute) papermaking.
Overnight in Luang Prabang (B).
Day 4: Luang Prabang - Khouangsi Waterfalls
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (often in the form of sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the ritual. You can also visit the morning Phosi Market where you canl see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today you will have the opportunity to visit numerous villages of Lao ethnic minority groups, including Hmong and Khmu. After visiting the villages, we then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfalls where you may wish cool off by taking a dip in the pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by the late evening to admire the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath.
Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)
Day 5: Luang Prabang - Vientiane
The National Museum (closed Tuesdays) at the former Royal Palace, displays a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. We also have time to explore the Central Market before catching our flight back to Vientiane. After checking into your hotel in Vientiane, we transfer out to see the Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, near the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images dating back over 500 years, which were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. Watching the sunset over the Mekong River is a perfect way to finish the day.
Overnight in Vientiane (B)
Day 6: Vientiane - Departure
After breakfast, we will visit the Morning Market [if time permits]. Transfer to airport for departure. (B)
End of services. Our staff will give you the warmest goodbye and hope to see you again.