Day 1: Vientiane. Arrival in Vientiane. Transfer to the hotel. Sightseeing in Vientiane. The capital city and seat of government sits in a bend of the Mekong River amidst fertile alluvial plains. Vientiane (pronounced 'Wieng Chan' by the locals) is a laid-back city with interesting wats and lively markets. Overnight in Vientiane. Highlights:
- Pha That Luang (Great Sacred Reliquary or Great Stupa), built between the 11th and 13th centuries AD, it is the most important national monument in Laos, a symbol of both the Buddhist religion and Lao sovereignty.
- Patuxai, a large monument in the style of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the huge arch at the end of Thanon Lan Xang has a stairway that leads to the top levels of the monument, providing a good view of the city.
- Ho Pha Keo, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy built in 1565 by King Setthathirat and now converted into a museum containing some of the best examples of Buddhist sculptures found in Laos.
- Wat Si Saket, constructed in 1818 by King Anouvong in the early Bangkok style, small niches are carved into its interior walls, containing more than 2,000 silver and ceramic Buddha images.
- Wat Si Muang, this temple is one of the most popularly used temple grounds in the city, as it contains the city pillar and acts as the home of Vientiane's guardian spirits.
- Talaat Sao, the Morning Market - actually open all day selling a wide range of fabrics, jewellery and electronic goods.
Day 2: Vientiane-Vang Vieng. By vehicle from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. Journey north in Vientiane Province on Route 13 passing through Thalat and Phonhong. Sightseeing in Vang Vieng including Tham Chang and Tham Xang Caves. This small town north of Vientiane is nestled in a scenic bend in the Nam Song River. The west bank of the river is lined with tunnels and caverns and the limestone cliffs are beautiful. Highlights:
- Tham Chang Cave, used as a bunker against marauding Chinese in the early 19th century. Tham means cave and Chang is steadfast.
- Tham Xang Cave, also called Elephant Cave, it contains a few Buddha images and a Buddha footprint plus the elephant shaped stalactites which give the cave its name. Overnight in Vang Vieng. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Vang Vieng-Luang Prabang. By vehicle from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. Journey north passing through Ban Phatang and Muang Kasi. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Luang Prabang. Sightseeing in Luang Prabang, the ancient capital city of the Lan Xang Kingdom, is famous for its historic temples and beautiful setting surrounded by mountains. In 1995 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Highlights:
- Wat Xieng Thong, built in 1560 and situated on the banks of the Mekong River, it is the most beautiful monastery in Luang Prabang and shows the typical Lao art style with old religious artifacts and some ancient masterpieces of Lao art.
- Wat Wisunalat (Vat Visoun), built in 1513 during the reign of Chao Wisunalat, it is the oldest operating temple in Luang Prabang with a collection of gilded wooden Buddhas from the 15th and 16th centuries.
- Wat Mai, constructed in 1821 during the reign of King Manthatourath, it was once the residence of Phra Sangkharaj (the Patriarch of the Buddhist clergy).
- Wat That Luang, the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are interred inside the large central stupa, which was erected in 1910. The inside of the huge sim dating back to 1820 contains a few Luang Prabang Buddhas and other artifacts.
- Wat Saen, Thai style wat built in 1718 and restored in 1957. The abbot Ajannn Khamjan wh