This tour takes you to Xiengkhouang, an area situated in the north of Laos, famous for the mysterious Plain of Jars which are stone jars in different sizes carved out of solid rock scattered all over a plateau. Its historical archeology traces back more than 2500 – 5000 years, and its purpose is still unknown to scientists. The Indochina war began here in the secret land of Laos and on this tour you will see the after war-affects on ancient sites.
Day 1: Arrival – Vientiane. On arrival in Vientiane Capital, you will be met and transferred to your centrally located hotel. After a short rest, we see the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket, the temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. On the way to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop enroute to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. We watch the sunset by the Mekong Riverside and spend the evening here absorbing the city at night. Overnight in Vientiane. Includes: (B)
Day 2: Vientiane – Xiengkhouang (by flight). We board a short afternoon flight to Xiengkhouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. Upon arrival, we transfer out to visit the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. We also have time, this afternoon seeing the old capital of Muang Khoun Province and the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe and Tai Dam people. They have an interesting local culture and a colorful history. Overnight in Phonsavanh. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Xiengkhouang – Luang Prabang (by road). Early morning, we visit the Central Market of Phonsavanh to watch the different hill tribe people barter and exchange merchandises. We then head out this small town towards Luang Prabang, enroute we stop off to see the Buddha images in Thampra, a site more than 200 years old, and various Hmong and hill tribe minority villages along the way. Really nice and friendly people welcome you to their villages. After a photo stop, we continue driving uphill, enjoying the splendid natural scenery of the mountains, the forest and landscape. After a tea or coffee break at Sala Phoukhoun, where the borders of Vientiane - Xiengkhouang - Luang Prabang meet as a T-Junction. The journey will take us over mountainous regions until we approach Luang Prabang.
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. After checking into hotel, if time permits, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred, gilded stupa as well as capture a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset. From there, we visit the Night Market, where you can browse a lovely selection of handmade textiles, made by the local people and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight at Luang Prabang. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou cave. Today, we enjoy a short-guided tour of the city’s oldest temple, Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low representing the classical architecture of Luang Prabang. We then embark on a boat journey upstream along the Mekong River, which also gives us a beautiful 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 specialty of rice wine is produced. On our way back to Luang Prabang we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village well known for its hand weaving. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B)
Day 5: Luang Prabang – Departure. After breakfast we visit The National Museum (close Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of the artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating back from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign. The National Museum and the Central Market are not to be missed. After we bid farewell to this charming, ancient city. Includes: (B)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Laos History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey