Day 1 Depart USA
- Strolling through the night market in Luang Prabang followed by dinner at L’Elephant, considered one of the city’s best.
- Lunch at a restaurant in Vientiane that trains street children for careers in catering and tourism
- A spectacular sunset as you cruise the “ 4,000 islands” in Southern Laos
- Recalling the French Indochina era in Pakse
You board your aircraft for the overnight flight to Thailand and its capital, Bangkok
Day 2 En Route
During your flight you will cross the International Date Line technically "losing" a day but you will regain it on your return flight.
Day 3 Welcome to Thailand
Arriving in Bangkok you will be met by our representative as you exit the plane. They will facilitate your expeditious move through customs and immigration and assist you with the retrieval of your luggage. Once in the arrivals hall you will be introduced to your personal guide and escorted out to your car where your driver is waiting. Arriving at your hotel, your guide will assist with check-in and coordinate the next day's agenda. To help you get the kinks out we have set up a 90 minute Thai massage that will help overcome the jet lag. You then are free to relax in your room with a delightful view over the Chao Phraya River. This evening enjoy a quiet dinner in the hotel and a good night's rest.
Day 4 Flight to Luang Prabang
After breakfast your guide and your driver will be waiting to assist you with your transfer to the airport and checking-in for the flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival in Luang Prabang you are met by your guide and taken to the hotel. After a chance to freshen up, you are taken on an orientation tour of this historical and cultural town. You will visit a temple where you have the opportunity to speak with monks or novices who live at the temple and gain insight into the spiritual life of the Lao people. Next you climb the steps to the top of Phou Si Hill located in the centre of town and offering panoramic views of the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers, the neighboring mountains and the town. Descend the steps on the other side of the hill and stroll to the nearby night market. Every evening along the main street, the area's ethnic minorities gather to sell their handicrafts and the soft lights of the stalls create a magical market setting. This evening enjoy dining at L'Elephant, one of the city's best restaurants.
Day 5 Experiencing Luang Prabang
If you are an early riser you can experience a very special dawn visit to watch the monks collecting their alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from Luang Prabang residents, a beautiful, serene ceremony which again highlights the spirituality of the Lao people. Your guide will then take you to the Old town of central Luang Prabang where you can walk through the rows of stalls looking at what is on sale. The locals come here every day to shop for vegetables, fruits and other specialties. Next to the market is the National Museum which was formerly the Royal Palace. You have a privately guided visit examining the art, artifacts and jewels in display. You will have lunch at Tamarind Restaurant where you will have a chance to sample local specialties. After lunch you get a detailed introduction into Lao textiles including the chance to design and dye your own scarf. You then return to your hotel where the chef, Mr. Chantanong will conduct a cooking class. The class is fun and a hands-on way to learn about the ingredients involved and the techniques used to create the local cuisine. At the end of the course, sit down and enjoy a delicious dinner which you have helped to prepare.
Day 6 A Mekong River Cruise
After breakfast you will travel to the peninsula where the Mekong and the Nam Khan rivers merge. Here you will board a traditional river boat for a leisurely paced cruise on the Mekong. Passing rural life and peaceful scenery on the banks, you arrive at Pak Ou Caves in which hundreds of images of Buddha are displayed. After visiting the caves you continue cruising until you moor at the foot of beautiful limestone cliffs and enjoy a lunch of typical Lao dishes on board. Returning to town you stop to visit villages known for their creation of Lao textiles and Saa (Mulberry) paper. After returning to the hotel you have some free time before heading for dinner at Couleur Café.
Day 7 Journey to Vientiane
This morning, your guide will meet you to take you to the airport for the flight to Vientiane, the capital of Laos. Upon arrival a car will meet you and take you for lunch at Makphet which is a charity-run restaurant that supports street children by providing them training and a job at the vocational restaurant. The food is delicious, made from fresh ingredients and prepared in a kitchen which meets the highest international standards of hygiene. After lunch you will visit "Les Artisans Lao" Here, the trainees transform recycled and renewable materials such as bamboo, palm and mulberry leaves into quality notebooks, stationery and printed paper. By visiting the centre you help promote livelihood opportunities for disadvantaged groups as they learn a new sustainable trade. This evening, dinner is at Le Camargue, one of the best tables in town, renowned for its French dishes served in a cozy and intimate atmosphere.
Day 8 Experiencing Vientiane and a Special Baci Ceremony
Start this morning with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat on the 16th Century, the temple is resplendent as the sun shines on its golden spire. You then enjoy a panoramic view of the city as you climb the stairs to the top of Patuxai, Vientiane's own "Arc de Triomphe". After visiting several other notable temples, you have lunch at "Le Central", a French-style bistro run by French expatriates. The afternoon is free for you to enjoy shopping, sightseeing or a spa treatment. This evening we have arranged for you to participate in a traditional Lao ceremony. The Baci is performed to celebrate an important event such as a wedding, births or for welcoming guests and is a means of expressing good will and good luck to others. The Lao believe that each person has 32 spirits which constitute their spiritual essence and the Baci is the ritual used to call back any escaped spirits into the body. During the Baci, special flower trays and food treats are prepared for the participants while a Buddhist mantra is chanted. After the chanting, cotton threads are tied around the participants' wrist while they receive an individual blessing. Afterwards, as is tradition, all participants will sit down to share a delicious meal. Enjoy authentic Lao cuisine in the comfort of your local hosts' home and spend time talking and interacting with the friendly locals.
Day 9 Pakse and the Wat Phou Cruise
In the morning your guide will take you to the airport and check you in for the flight to Pakse in the south of Laos. Upon arrival in Pakse you will be met and taken to long tail boats which will take you to Champassak where you board the boat and meet your fellow passengers over lunch. You then take an excursion to a mysterious pre-Angkorian 10th Century Temple now designated as a UNESCO world Heritage Site. When the temple was built, it was the most important economic and political centre in the region. You return to Champassak and see superb examples of French colonial architecture. You re-board you boat as she sets sail down river sitting on the deck as the sun sets. The boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village. Dinner is on board.
Day 10 Houay Tomo and the 4,000 Islands
You have breakfast on deck as the boat sets sail for the village of Houay Tomo. You disembark and take a short walk into the forest to view the hidden temple of Oum Muang. You rejoin the boat as she cruises southward enjoying lunch on the deck as you head towards the "4,000 islands". In the afternoon you arrive at Khong Island at Ban Dua Tae a traditional Laotian village where the way of life has not changed in centuries. Kong Island is the biggest island in South Laos and gateway to the 4,000 islands. This area is called Siphandon in Lao and is one of the jewels of the Mekong. It is a unique and breathtaking place with a unique atmosphere, just at the border with Cambodia. Here the Mekong stretches over nine miles wide and has thousands of islands between which the river flows and runs between cascades and rapids. You anchor at Khong Island and enjoy another sunset.
Day 11 Khong Island-Pakse-Bangkok
While enjoying breakfast on deck, the boat makes its way to the small village of Ban Veuthong where you will board a long tail boat to Khone Island. Don Det and Don Khone are two very laidback islands without any cars and located on the border with Cambodia. Here everything is quiet and electricity is only provided in the evening. Don Khone has kept its historic roots to coconut, kapok and bamboo. In colonial times these two islands were the sites of the only railway ever built in Laos. The islands played an important role by linking Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To bypass the falls, the French built a railway and a bridge and the bridge still exists today. After your visit you take the long tail boat back to the boat where you have lunch. Moored at the old stone quay you can see French colonial houses and even the old customs post. You disembark the ship and return to Pakse where you catch the flight to Bangkok. Upon arrival in Bangkok you are escorted by our representative to a hotel at the airport where you have dinner and spend the night.
Day 12 Return to USA
Since you are already at the airport, you have the chance to have a leisurely breakfast before meeting your guide who will assist you with the transfer to the airport and check-in. You regain the day lost previously arriving back the same afternoon.
Available Year Round
Privatly Escorted Tour - Highlights of Laos ULTH09 Location and other villas and tours nearby
Disclaimer: Pins in map may not be accurate if Google Maps cannot find the exact address. In this case an approximation is made.
Tour Location / Places Visiteds
Bangkok, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Mekong River, Suvarnabhumi Airport
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