A great opportunity to explore unspoiled beauty, heritage, culture, history, adventure, senseless river journeys and amazing colonial architectures, Laos has it all! A perfect itinerary taking in all the best highlights Laos has to offer.
Day 1: Arrival – Pakse – Don Khone (4000 Islands). On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred directly onto a traditional boat for a 2-hour cruise to Champassak. Disembark at this ancient town, known as Champa Kingdom; continue by car to Wat Phou, another World Heritage Site in Laos, which became recognized by UNESCO in 2002. Vat Phou is the site of ruins which were once part of a temple built some time before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. It contains some of the most ancient Khmer architectures which date back to between the 7-11th centuries. In the afternoon you will drive to Don Khone, an area of 4000 islands which is the widest point of the Mekong River during the rainy season, although during the dry months the river recedes, leaving behind thousands of islands and islets. This area of the river is also famous for being the home to the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins. En route, we stop to visit the ruins of the Khmer temple of Oup Mong at Ban Houei Tomo and continue driving to Don Khone Island at Ban Nakasung pier to board a long tailed motor boat to the peaceful Don Khone Island. Overnight on Don Khone Island.
Day 2: Don Khone – Phou Asa – Pakse. After an early morning breakfast, we begin by re-tracing the French colonial-past at Ban Khone, where some old colonial houses still stand and glimpse the first Lao railway with its own locomotive. We continue our exploration of the area of the 4000 islands leisurely by boat and visit the most beautiful Liphi waterfall, also known as the Samphamith, which forms a natural border between Lao and Cambodia. If we have luck, we may catch a glimpse of the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to the famous waterfall of Khone Phapeng - the largest waterfall in South East Asia, also known as the 'Niagara of the east'. In the afternoon we drive to Pakse and on the way stop in Phou Asa to visit the vestiges of the temple dating back to the 18th century. (If time permits and elephants available) We may get a chance to experience elephant riding for 2hrs through forest paths. We reach Pakse before sunset; there you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Pakse. Includes: (B)
Day 3: Pakse – Saravanh – Boloven – Tadlo. After breakfast we make an excursion to Tadlo via the plateau of Boloven, where tea and coffee plantations produce the infamous Lao coffee. You will have the chance to observe the traditional coffee and tea makers. En route we visit the ethnic villages of Ban Tateng to experience the traditional lifestyles of the Alack, Katu and Nge tribes. We continue to visit the charming village of Tadlo where you will be transferred to the Tadlo resort. You will enjoy swimming in the pool of the Tadlo waterfall which is situated close to the resort. Overnight in Tadlo. Includes: (B)
Day 4: Tadlo – Pakse – Vientiane. In the early morning we drive to Pakse to board a flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival, you are met and transferred to our centrally located hotel. A city tour acquaints us with the major sights of the capital. We visit the sacred 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. On the way to the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. We enjoy a sunset by the Mekong Riverside. Overnight in Vientiane. Includes: (B)
Day 5: Vientiane - Luang Prabang. After breakfast you will have free time until your transfer to the airport for a short flight to Luang Prabang. Upon landing we check into our hotel and visit Wat Visoun, the site of the impressive Thad Makmo stupa. The rounded dome is more Sinhalese in style than Lao. Phou Sii hill stands right in the center of this small city. We climb its 350 steps to enjoy impressive views of the surrounding area, for many miles in each direction. Wat Phu Sii sits atop the mountain, alongside the skeletons of Indochina war anti-aircraft guns! We then continue to visit Wat Mai. Built in 1796, this five-tiered roof of the wooden Sim (chapel) emphasizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. We explore Street Night Market, where you will find a lovely collection of local handmade textiles of the hill tribes surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B)
Day 6: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves. Today, we enjoy a short-guided tour of the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its sweeping low roofs, which represents the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temple. 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. Once back in Luang Prabang city we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, well known for its hand weaving. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B)
Day 7: Luang Prabang - Departure. After breakfast, we visit the National Museum (close Tuesday), which was once a king's palace. Displayed inside this museum is a collection of personal artifacts from the royal family, including photos, musical instruments, and many gifts received from the dignitaries of foreign countries. Transfer you to the airport. Includes: (B)
Also see tour packages in:
Asia Laos History Whiz Archeology/History Cultural Journey