This tour will take you to discover Laos through its main way of communication: the Mekong River. We will start with a 2 days/1 night cruise through rugged and uninhabited valleys in the north part of the Country. Stop for one night in Pak Beng with overnight in a rustic mountain style resort. Two night in the quite and beautiful Luang Prabang where age-old Buddhist temples are blended with old colonial French style villas. Luang Prabang, since 1995, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We will proceed on to Vientiane by a domestic flight and then to the deep south in the area known as Four Thousand Islands (Si Phan Don in local language) where the Mekong reach its maximum width before plunge in Cambodia through the Khone Falls and the Tat Somphamit rapids.
Day 1: Chiang Rai. Arrival Arrival at the Chiang Rai International Airport in the North of Thailand. Meet our local guide and then transfer to the border city of Mae Sai for the visit. Mae Sai is the northernmost district of Chiang Rai Province in northern Thailand. It is a major border crossing between Thailand and Myanmar. Visit the local market where products from Myanmar and China are available. Transfer to a local restaurant with panoramic view over the Mekong River where the border of Myanmar, Thailand and Laos meet. After lunch visit Chiang Sean town and then back to Chiang Rai. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 2: Chiang Rai - Chiang Khong. Early in the morning breakfast in hotel and then, transfer to the border town of Chiang Khong on the banks of Mekong River. Passport control and then cross the river with some local boats. On the Laos side of the river meet our local guide and apply for the entry visa. Proceed on with a local "tuk tuk" to the pier for embark on board and start the downstream cruise. Lunch on board with some excellent local dish. In the afternoon visit a local tribal village. Arrive to Pak Beng late in the afternoon. Check-in at the hotel and dinner in hotel with a panoramic view on the river. Includes: (B, D).
Day 3: Chiang Khong - Luang Prabang. Early in the morning visit the local market and the small Pak Beng temple, back to the hotel for breakfast and departure by boat. During the cruise stop for visit a local village. Lunch on board and, in the afternoon, stop for visit the Pak Ou Cave. They are a magnificent group of caves that are only accessible by boat, they consist into caves: the Tham Ting (lower cave) and the Tham Theung (upper cave).
The caves are noted for their impressive Buddhist and Lao style sculptures carved into the cave walls, and hundreds of discarded Buddhist figures laid out over the floors and wall shelves. They were put there as their owners did not wish to destroy them, so a difficult journey is made to the caves to place their unwanted statue there. After the visit cross the river and then visit the Ban Sang Hai where the "lao lao" - a local rice made whiskey - is distilled. Arrive in Luang Prabang late in the afternoon and transfer to the hotel for the check-in. Dinner in local restaurant and overnight in hotel.
Day 4: Luang Prabang. Early in the morning go to see the monks at dawn collecting alms of rice from kneeling villagers (and early-rising tourists). Back to the hotel for breakfast and then depart for Luang Prabang city tour including: the National Museum - the formerly Royal Palace, the temples of Wat Mai and Wat Aham. Transfer by bus to the Kuang Si Falls, 29 km south of Luang Prabang, a large multi-stage waterfall. There are multiple pools at different levels, all of which seem save to bathe in, and are extremely picturesque. Pic nic lunch at the bottom of the main stage of the waterfall will be served. In the afternoon back to Luang Prabang for visit the Wat Xieng Thong, it was built in 1560 by King Setthathirath. It was under royal patronage during the Kingdom of Laos. Back to the hotel. Dinner in local restaurant and overnight in hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 5: Luang Prabang - Vientiane. Early in the morning walk to the local market, that take place close to the banks river, where local fresh product come from the hills from the opposite side of the river where many tribes living. Walking back to the hotel and, on the way, visit the Wat Nong and a local fine art school. Lunch in local resturant with overview on the Khan River. Transfer to the airport for the domestic flight Luang Prabang-Vientiane. On arrival city tour with: Wat Sisakhet - built in 1818 on the orders of King Anouvong. It was built in the Siamese style of Buddhist architecture, with a surrounding terrace and an ornate five-tiered roof, rather than in the Lao style, keeping it safe from the armies of Siam which sacked Vientiane in 1827.
Wat Si Saket features a cloister wall with more than 2000 ceramic and silver Buddha images; Wat Pha Keow - was built between 1565 and 1556, on the orders of King Setthathirath. The temple housed the Emerald Buddha figurine, which Setthathirath had brought from Chiang Mai, then the capital of Lanna, to Luang Prabang. When Vientiane was seized by Siam (now Thailand) in 1778, the figurine was taken to Thonburi. It now resides in Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok; Pha That Luang - it was built in the 16th century on the ruins of an earlier 13th centuryKhmer temple, which the Lao believe was in turn built on a 3rd century Indian temple built by Buddhist missionaries Mauryan Empire who were sent by the Emperor Ashoka.
Relics of The Buddha are said to be contained here. Pha That Luang was destroyed by the Thai invasion in the 19th century, then later restored to its original design. The architecture of the temple includes many references to Lao culture and identity, and so has become a symbol of Lao nationalism and then the Patuxai - built in 1962 or 1968. It is dedicated to those who fought in the struggle for independence from France. Although faintly resembling the Arc de Triomphe, in Paris, it is typically Laotian, decorated with many kinnari figures — half woman, half bird. Dinner in local restaurant and overnight in hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 6: Vientiane - Pakse. Breakfast in hotel and then transfer to the airport for the domestic flight Vientiane-Pakse. On arrival meet our local guide and transfer to the hotel for the check-in. Start the visit to the Bolaven Highlands that include a tea and coffee plantations and the twin waterfalls of Tad Phan - the highest waterfalls in South East Asia. Transfer by bus to the Tad Lo waterfalls with lunch in local restaurant with overview on the waterfall. Back to Pakse and stop on the way for the visit at a local village. Dinner and overnight in hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 7: Pakse - Don Khong. Breakfast in hotel and the transfer to the Wat Phu. Wat Phou is a ruined Khmer temple complex in southern Laos. It is located at the base of mount Phu Kao, some 6 km from the Mekong River in Champassak province. There was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century, but the surviving structures date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The temple has a unique structure, in which the elements lead to a shrine where a linga was bathed in water from a mountain spring. The site later became a centre of Theravada Buddhist worship, which it remains today. Lunch in local restaurant with overview over Mekong River.
In the afternoon proceed to Laos’ Deep South for the visit at the Khone Falls. The falls’ total height is 21 meters (70 feet) in segmented cascades (or rapids) stretching over 10 kilometers (six miles) of the river’s length. The average discharge of the cataract is nearly 11,000 cubic meters per second (3 million U.S. gallons per second), though the highest volume on record was reached at over 49,000 cubic meters per second (13 million U.S. gallons per second). Transfer to the hotel that is located on Don Khong, one of the "four thousand island and islets" that give the name at this part of the Mekong. Dinner and overnight in hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 8: Don Khong. After breakfast in hotel full day boat excursion at Don Det and Don Khon Islands in the earth of the Four Thousand Island Area also called by the locals Si Phan Don. The Mekong river flows through the province, and just above the Cambodian border, is broken by the Khone Falls and the Tat Somphamit rapids, a large number of rapids which make this sections almost impassable to river traffic. During French colonial times a narrow-gauge railway was once built to transport across the rapids. The Mekong below the falls has a population of Irrawaddy Dolphins. Walk through some small local village lye down on the Mekong banks’, relax on a river sand beach and, late in the afternoon, upstream cruise back to the hotel. Dinner and overnight in hotel. Includes: (B, D).
Day 9: Don Khong - Pakse. Breakfast in hotel and then transfer back to Pakse. Visit the main market, lunch in a local restaurant and then in the afternoon short city tour that includes the Wat Luang. Transfer to the border point of Chong Mek. Passport control and then meet our thai guide for the transfer to the Ubon Ratchathani Airport. Domestic flight to Bangkok and then connecting flight to your final destination. Includes: (B, D).
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