ITINERARY BY DAY
DAY 1: ARRIVAL VIENTIANE (L/D)
On arrival, meet our guide and transfer to hotel for checking in. After lunch, visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest standing temple in Vientiane housing many important documents and treasures, including 6,840 Buddha images. Across the road, visit Ho Prakeo, home of the Emerald Buddha (Prakeo) and a museum with the most extensive collection of Buddhist artifacts in the country. Next is the opportunity to photograph and/or climb to the top for a panoramic view of the city at Patuxay (Victory Gate). The monument was modeled after the Arc de Triumph in Paris yet retains its Laotian identity with traditional decorative motifs. Visit That Luang (The Great Sacred Stupa) said to contain relics of the Lord Buddha and is the country’s most cherished religious monument. The largest Buddhist festival of the year is held here on the 12th month of the Buddhist calendar.
Dinner with show at local restaurant in town. Overnight at hotel in Vientiane.
DAY 2: VIENTIANE – NAM NGUM LAKE – VIENTIANE (B/L/-)
Breakfast at the hotel. 08:00 Drive to Vang Xang archeological site. The name means Elephant Palace, a reference to an elephant graveyard found in the vicinity. The site, which consists of a cluster of 10 high-relief Buddha sculptures on cliffs, is usually assigned to an 11th century Mon provenance. Continue to the beautiful Dane Pha pink sandstone canyon, a holy site since the Mon times. Walk along the canyon to see the Buddha images carved on the cliffs. Visit the famous weaving village of Ban Phone Ngeun, whose inhabitants come from Samneua, and then a Hmong village at Km 52. Continue to Nam Ngum lake and take a boat trip (approx 2 hours) to explore the lush vegetation along the backwaters. Lunch at a local restaurant. Back to Vientiane.
Dinner is on your own. Overnight at hotel in Vientiane.
DAY 3: VIENTIANE – LUANG PRABANG (B/L/-)
Breakfast at hotel. Transfer to the airport for the flight to Luang Prabang. Arrive in Luang Prabang to transfer to the hotel and city tour of World Heritage listed Luang Prabang to include old royal temples: Wat Visoun and That Makmo water melon stupa, with a large Buddha statue and many ancient wooden and bronze Buddha images collected from the ruins of temples in northern Laos. Visit the most beautiful temple in the city with its classical mosaic decoration at Wat Xieng Thong. Other stops include the National museum and the former Royal Palace, home to a collection of valuables including the famous Prabang Buddha statue as well as gifts received from foreign dignitaries. Absorb the scenery overlooking the heart of the city from Phousi hill, then enjoy shopping at the lively Street Night market at Sisavang Vong Road. Lunch at a local restaurant.
Dinner is on your own. Overnight in Luangprabang.
DAY 4: LUANG PRABANG – PAK OU – LUANG PRABANG (B/L/-)
Breakfast at hotel. 08:00 Transfer to the boat pier for a boat trip on the Mekong river to visit Pak Ou cave with thousands of antique Buddha images located in front of Pak Ou. On the way back, stop to visit Ban Sanghai, a local rice whisky distillation and ancient pottery village.
Lunch is at local restaurant overlooking the Mekong and cruising downstream for a 02 hours on the Mekong river. Visit Ban Muangkeo where locals collecting river-weed, making one of the most distinctive snacks of Luang Prabang. Return to Luang Prabang by the same boat, continue by car to visit Ban Xangkhong, the well-known village for its wood paper making and also Lao silk weavings with natural dyes, where you can do shopping there, then transfer back to your hotel for a free evening on your own.
Dinner is on your own. Overnight at hotel in Luangprabang.
DAY 5: LUANGPRABANG – KUANGSI (B/L/-)
You have an optional early wake-up call to participate in giving food to hundreds of Buddhist monks returning from dawn prayers. Otherwise, take a stroll through the morning market. Then head back to the hotel for breakfast.
You’ll pay a visit to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology centre – the first exhibition space and fair trade store dedicated to the collection, preservation, interpretation, and presentation of Laos’ traditional arts and lifestyles. After that, a winding road takes you through small minority villages (Lao Lum, Khmu & Hmong ) and rice paddies into the lush area of the Kuangsi waterfall. As you wander through the cool rain forest you will come upon a majestic tiered water fall tumbling a 100 meters over white limestone formations into turquoise multi-level pools. It is possible to cool off in some of the pools below, or just wade in the water. Walk down the path that follows the stream, passing small pools and ancient trees before arriving at the bear sanctuary. Asian black bears, now a class I endangered species, are poached throughout Asia for their supposed medicinal value, young cubs are trafficked from Laos to ‘Bile farms’ where they are kept imprisoned in small cages while their bile is extracted. Free The Bears fund established the rescue centre at Tad Kungsi to care for bears rescued from illegal poachers and traders. The Bear Rescue centre is now home to around 23 bears from newly orphaned cubs to full grown adults. Lunch on the way. Get back to Luang Prabang late after noon.
Dinner is on your own. Overnight at hotel in Luang Prabang.
DAY 6: LUANG PRABANG – DEPARTURE (B/-)
Breakfast at hotel. Free day until transfer to the airport for departure.