Halong bay and Angkor Wat are chosen by George Dunford in "The Big Trip" 3rd Edition May 2015 as "15 Amazing Adventures You need to experience before You Die" -...
PRIVATE TOUR – CODE: VIL05
The lost jewel of Indochina, Laos is becoming more popular as a holiday destination after years of isolation. Enjoy beautiful mountain scenery, mysterious temples, river cruises on the Mekong and a slower pace of life on a luxury holiday to Laos.
Travel route: Houeixai – Luangsay Cruise – Pakbeng – Luang Prabang – Luang Prabang – Muang La – Oudomxay – Vientiane – Pakse – Bolaven Plateau – Vat Phou Cruise – Pakse – Departure
- Day 1: Houeixai – Pakbeng (Luangsay cruise) (L,D)
- Day 2: Pakbeng – Pak Ou caves – Luang Prabang (Luangsay cruise) (B,L)
- Day 3: Luang Prabang – City tour – Kuangsi waterfalls (B)
- Day 4: Luang Prabang – Muang La (B,D)
- Day 5: Muang La – Ethnic trekking (B,L,D)
- Day 6: Muang La – Free leisure (B)
- Day 7: Muang La – Oudomxay – Vientiane (B)
- Day 8: Vientiane – Orchid garden – Lunch cruise in Tha Ngon (B,L)
- Day 9: Vientiane – Pakse – Bolaven plateau – Pakse (B)
- Day 10: Pakse – Champasak – Wat Phou (Vat Phou cruise) (B,L,D)
- Day 11: Houei Thamo – Oum Muang temple – Khong island (B,L,D)
- Day 12: Khong island – Khone Phapheng – Pakse (B,L)
- Day 13: Pakse – Departure (B)
Day 1: Houeixai – Pakbeng (Luangsay cruise) (L,D)
The Luang Say boat leaves Huay Xai pier at 9.30am (please be at Luang Say Houei Sai office not later than at 8.30) for a cruise down the Mekong River to Pakbeng. En route, one stop is made to observe rural life along the Mekong and observe minorities. A buffet lunch is served on board. We arrive in Pakbeng before sunset and check in at the Luang Say Lodge. Dinner on the terrace, overlooking the Mekong River.
Day 2: Pakbeng – Pak Ou caves – Luang Prabang (Luangsay cruise) (B,L)
You will enjoy a full breakfast at the Lodge from 7.00am. (Optional: walk to Pakbeng market, where people from the surrounding village of minorities sell their goods, please ask at Luang Say lodge). At 8.00am board the boat for the second leg of the cruise. A short stop is made to visit a hilltribe village where you can watch the traditional process of Lao whiskey production before having a buffet lunch on board. Continue to Pak Ou village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River, where you visit the Tam Thing Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. Arrive at Luang Prabang around 16h00 or 17h00.
Day 3: Luang Prabang – City tour – Kuangsi waterfalls (B)
After breakfast, we visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. Our next stop in the city is the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. Laos is also known for its traditional crafts, and today you will visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, a Hmong village, Ban Ou a Laoloum village and Ban Thapene, a Khmu village. This then takes us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails.
On the way coming back to Luang Prabang, we stop to visit the Kuang Si Falls Butterfly Park, one of the must-visit spots, newly opened on January 2014. Arriving in Luang Prabang, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunrise view of the city and its glowing reflection on the Mekong River. Overnight in Luang Prabang
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Muang La (B,D)
Today drive North takes through some of the most stunning mountain scenery you will find in South East Asia, with plenty of opportunities to stop off at the various Khmu and H’mong villages along the way. We may also visit visit the intriguing Pra Xack Kham Temple with its sacred Buddha image. The 400 years old legendary statue is said to have many supernatural powers, and is widely worshipped among the faithful local Buddhists. We shall reach Muang La by mid-afternoon, which is famous for its natural hot springs for the night. No activities are planned for the rest of the day so you can stroll around the village or just relax at the riverside retreat enjoying a massage or sometime in the hot springs. Overnight in Muang La
Day 5: Muang La – Ethnic trekking (B,L,D)
Your minibus leaves at 9.30am and takes you on a short ascent through lush green bamboo forests. Upon arrival at the top of the hill, you begin your forest walk towards the first minority village inhabited by the Hmong, who originate from the mountains of Tibet. You will learn about their everyday way of life, more specifically the important role of animals in the village and the way they are tended, as well as discovering the daily lengthy rituals undertaken by the women and girls to adorn themselves in traditional tribal dress and make up. Next, you visit an old military camp which is a harsh reminder of the immense suffering of the Lao people during the Vietnam war, even though it passed for the most part unnoticed by the Western world. After this snapshot of the Hmong culture and way of life, you continue by road towards a village inhabited by the Akha tribe, also knows as the Ikho people, originating from Yunnan and Tibet. A walk through the village will enable you to discover more about this minority group who have remained very close to their traditional roots and methods, and your tour will finish with a delicious meal in the house of the village chief. After lunch you will continue to another Ikho village to discover more aspects of their culture and tradition, for example the methods they use to colour clothes with natural dyes extracted from local plants, and their belief in the spirit world which plays a major role in their everyday lives. Return to the resort at approximately 4.30pm. Overnight in Muang La
Day 6: Muang La – Free leisure (B)
Today, you are free to stroll around the wonderful resort or just stay relax and enjoy the fresh air of the mountainous area. Overnight in Muang La
Day 7: Muang La – Oudomxay – Vientiane (B)
Today, we will take a short transfer to Muang Xay, the capital city of Oudomxay province to take the short flight to Vientiane. QV502 ODY VTE 10:30 11:20
Upon arrival, we will visit Wat Si Muang, which is very famous for its supernatural power before continue 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 rest of the day is your own free time at leisure. Overnight in Vientiane
Day 8: Vientiane – Orchid garden – Lunch cruise in Tha Ngon (B,L)
In the morning, we transfer out to visit the orchid farm, where you can find more than 2 000 plants, in 300 different orchid species coming from different parts of the country. The orchids are arranged by species in a beautiful green garden in Vientiane.
After that, we will transfer to Ban Tha Ngon (20Km from the center), which is very famous for the leisurely lunch cruise along the lazy Nam Ngum River. This is really the escape from daily busy life, which you never want to miss when visiting Laos.
A spectacular view over the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day. Overnight in Vientiane
Day 9: Vientiane – Pakse – Bolaven plateau – Pakse (B)
You will be transferred to the airport early this morning for your flight to Pakse. QV515 VTE PKZ 06:30 07:45
On arrival at Pakse, you will be met and taken by road west into the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. The area is famous for its many waterfalls, and the most beautiful of these falls, Tad Fan, we visit. Tad Fan waterfall is spectacular with twin waterfalls plummeting into a deep gorge surrounded by flourishing vegetation. A trip to the plateau provides a refreshing break from the heat and allows you to observe the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that can be seen en route. In the afternoon we arrive at Tad Lo, home to another scenic waterfall and numerous ethnic minority groups. We transfer back to Pakse late afternoon. Overnight in Pakse.
Day 10: Pakse – Champasak – Wat Phou (Vat Phou cruise) (B,L,D)
After meeting at the Sinouk Coffee House in central Pakse at 9:30am, we transfer you to a longtail riverboat for your 2.5 hour journey to Champassak. Upon arrival at the Vat Phou boat, we help you to your cabins to unpack then serve lunch on deck. The highlight of the afternoon is the Vat Phou ruins – the majestic pre-Angkorian 10th century temple complex and boat’s namesake. You have time to visit the museum at the ruins site, walk up to the highest temple and take as many photos as you would like. As dusk falls, we transfer you back to the Vat Phou boat for a chance to enjoy the tropical sunset on the deck. Dinner is served on board, while the boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village.
Day 11: Houei Thamo – Oum Muang temple – Khong island (B,L,D)
Breakfast is on board as we set sail for the village of Huei Thamo. This is a small village a few minutes walk away from the mysterious hidden forest temple of Oum Muong. Afterwards we rejoin the boat to continue our cruise southwards. Lunch is on the deck, while leisurely sailing closer to the wild paradise of the “4,000 Islands” Late afternoon we disembark from the boat to walk through Ban Deua Tia, a small Laotian Village where the traditional way of life has not changed in centuries. Our day’s cruise finishes at the most northern tip of Don Khong, the largest inhabited island in the river archipelego. After dinner, the evening is yours to relax and enjoy.
Day 12: Khong island – Khone Phapheng – Pakse (B,L)
While you breakfast on the deck, the Vat Phou boat cruises the Mekong to the small village of Ban Veuthong, where you board a small boat to meander among the 4,000 Islands to Khone Island. You will visit the old French railway and walk across the bridge that links Khone and Det Islands. We continue on the boat back to the mainland for lunch at a local restaurant in a small fishing village, Xieng Di, on the banks of the Mekong. A bus transfers you to the historically significant Pha Pheng waterfall, “the Niagara of the East”, close to the Cambodian border. We then bring you back to Pakse for the end of the cruise experience, arriving around 5.00-5.30 pm.
Day 13: Pakse – Departure (B)
You are free before taking the departure flight
- Transportation with air-condition in privateü Accommodation in twin/double shared room
- Boat trip as stated in above sights
- English speaking guide
- Admission fee to indicated sights
- Meals as per program
- Gov’t tax and service charge
- Luggage handling and free mineral water
- Visa stamping fee on arrival
- All air tickets quoted separately
- Other foreign language guide
- Peak tourist season or special event rates
- Tip, drinks and other personal expenses