Luang Prabang - Vientiane
Laos is a Southeast Asian country traversed by the Mekong River and known for mountainous terrain, French colonial architecture, hill tribe settlements and Buddhist monasteries. Vientiane, the capital, is the site of the That Luang monument, where a reliquary reportedly houses the Buddha’s breastbone, plus the Patuxai war memorial and Talat Sao (Morning Market), a complex jammed with food, clothes and craft stalls.Vientiane, Laos' national capital, mixes French-colonial architecture with Buddhist temples such as the golden, 16th-century Pha That Luang, which is a national symbol. Along broad boulevards and tree-lined streets are many notable shrines including Wat Si Saket, which features thousands of Buddha images, and Wat Si Muang, built atop a Hindu shrine.Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of Luang Prabang Province in northern Laos, lies in a valley at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Khan rivers. Inhabited for thousands of years, it was the royal capital of the country until 1975. It’s known for its many Buddhist temples, including the gilded Wat Xieng Thong, dating to the 16th century, and Wat Mai, once the residence of the head of Laotian Buddhism.
Day 1: Luang Prabang
Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, your guide and private car will meet you and transfer you to your hotel for check-in. This afternoon you will be taken on a brief orientation tour of the spiritual capital of Laos. Climb the 328 steps that lead to the top of Mount Phousi where you will be rewarded with marvelous views of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, the neighboring mountain ranges, and the city buildings. The sunset views are particularly spectacular as the sun casts glorious colors over the peaceful scenery below. Descend the steps on the opposite side of the hill and stroll to the nearby colorful Night Market. Every evening along the main street, the areas ethnic minorities gather to sell their handicrafts. The quiet evening atmosphere and soft lights of the stalls combine to create a magical market setting from which to shop for souvenirs.Overnight at hotel.
Day 2: Luang Prabang
After breakfast, take a half-day guided tour of Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Your guide will pick you up from your hotel. Start your city tour at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will explore the history of Laos. Continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. Finish the tour at Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in Luang Prabang. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is decorated with ornate carvings and mosaics. Enjoy some free time at leisure to explore the city. Around 1600, transfer to the Tamarind Cooking School for a join-in evening class. The expert chefs will first demonstrate how to prepare authentic Lao dishes. Then it's your turn to try your hand at cooking local Lao cuisine. Slice and pound your way through the ingredients before cooking each dish in the traditional way. You will be given a cook book that you can take home to practice your newly learnt cooking skills and relive your time in Laos. After a few hours of concentration and smelling all of the wonderful flavors, you are sure to enjoy tucking in to your creations for dinner. Your guide and driver will meet you for a private transfer to your hotel and you can expect to be back around 2100 (if you prefer to be dropped off at a bar in town and make your own way home then discuss this with the guide). Note: closed on Saturday and Sunday. Overnight at hotel in Lau Prabang.
Day 3: Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang & Pak Ou Today you can explore the beauty of Laos culture and natural wonders with a full day exploration around Luang Prabang. Travel up the Mekong River to the Buddha-filled caves of Pak Ou and then enjoy a delicious lunch on board. You will be met at your hotel around 0930 this morning for a private transfer to the boat jetty. Board the Nava Mekong, a traditional river boat, for a shared cruise on the mighty Mekong River, departing around 1000. You will travel at a leisurely pace and have plenty of time to appreciate the simple rural lifestyles along the river and the dramatic yet peaceful scenery. The cruise upstream to the Pak Ou Caves takes approximately 2 hours and along the way you will stop to explore the village of Ban Xang Hai. The caves themselves are very close to the confluence of the Nam Ou and Mekong Rivers, hence the name Pak Ou. In these 2 caves are displayed hundreds of sacred centuries-old Buddha images which are the object of pilgrimages during the Lao New Year festivities around mid-April. As you cruise back downstream a selection of typical Lao dishes will be served onboard. The cruise back to Luang Prabang takes approximately 1.5 hours, arriving around 1400. You will be met at the boat jetty for a private transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Vientiane
After breakfast, you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to the capital. Upon arrival in Vientiane, your guide and private car will meet you at the airport and transfer you to your hotel for checkin. Then you will be transferred to Buddha Park, which showcases an eclectic collection of bizarre Buddhist sculptures. The drive takes around 45 minutes, along a road which serves as an important link between the Lao capital and Thailand. On the way, stop and take photos of the Friendship Bridge which was built by the Australian government in 1994 and links Laos and Thailand. Arrive at Buddha Park and enjoy a stroll around the park. Also known as Xieng Khuang, this unusual park is filled with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. The quiet and tranquil setting along the Mekong River is a contrast to the slightly eccentric sculptures which were built in 1958 by a Lao shaman. The concrete sculptures are bizarre but intriguing, sitting majestically in the peaceful park. After visiting Buddha Park, start the drive back to Vientiane. En route, stop at Mai Savanh to explore the traditional textiles of the Lao people. This shop specializes in high quality silk products and involves several families in the process, from the northern province of Luang Nam Tha and the southern provinces of Attapeu and Sekong. (Note: Mai Savanh is closed on Saturday & Sunday). Another stop will be made at the Lao Disabled Women Development Center. This center aims to bring knowledge and skills to disabled women so that they can become self-sufficient, productive members of the community. The center focuses its efforts on helping people with disabilities gain independence and self-confidence. A visit to the center provides you with the opportunity to talk to these women and to observe their skill at creating handicrafts such as handmade paper. (Note: Subject to change without prior notice from the suppliers). Then transfer back to your hotel.. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 5: Vientiane
After breakfast, set off to enjoy a guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, whose name means "the city of sandal wood‟. Vientiane is one of the quietest capitals in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals and far from the real-estate frenzy of the regional megalopolis. Your tour begins at the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues. Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby, is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town's colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor's palace. Stop at Wat Simuang, the most popular and venerated temple in Vientiane, as it is considered the guardian of the spirit of the city. Upon its grounds, you will find an Angkorian-era pillar and it is a popular belief that if you circle it three times and make a wish, then that wish will come true. In the afternoon, continue your tour with a visit to the Patuxay monument, Laos version of the Arc de Triomphe, where you can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city. Next, your tour takes you to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire. This evening you will have the unique opportunity to experience one of Laos oldest traditions: The Baci. The purpose of the Baci, which is a mix of Animist and Buddhist beliefs, is to call back escaped spirits to the body. This is something that is very important before major events such as weddings, births, travel, welcoming friends and farewells. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 6: Return
After breakfast, today is free at leisure until your guide and private car meets you at your hotel and transfers you to the airport for departure.
Inclusions / Exclusions
1. Passengers under 12 years sharing room are considered children. An extra bed will be provided for accompanying child.
2. Rates are per person in USD based on minimum 02 full paying passengers traveling together.
3. GOI Service Tax as applicable will be added to the final tour invoice.
4. Check for Peak / High season surcharge as applicable.
5. Please check the Domestic airfares not included in the tour cost: Vientiane / Luang Prabang
6. TBA – To be advised.
Tour price includes:
1. Accommodation at above mentioned hotels or similar.
2. Meals as specified in the itinerary
3. Sightseeing as mentioned in the itinerary.
4. Entrance fees for all sights visited.
5. Services of a local tour guide.
Tour price does not include:
1. Passport, P.O.E, visa charges, International airfares & Airport taxes.
2. Domestic flight Luang Prabang – Vientiane. Approximate cost on Lao Airline – USD 140/- per person.
3. Cost granted by the Reserve Bank of India under the Basic Travel Quota Scheme.
4. Any increase in the rate of exchange, surface transportation and land arrangements, which may come into effect, prior to departure.
5. Porterage, tips, insurance, laundry, wines, mineral water, telephone charges, optional tours and all items of personal nature and also food & drinks not forming part of the group menus.
6. Anything not specifically mentioned in “Tour Price Includes” box
Passport: To undertake the tour you must be in possession of a passport valid for at least 6 months beyond your date of travel.