Day 1: Arrival – Pakse – Wat Phu – Khong Island. Upon arrival, you are met and transfer to boat pier, we board the long tail motorboat downstream the Mekong to Champassak to visit the ruins of Wat Phu, the pre-Angkorian temple, one of Southeast Asia's most dramatically situated temples. We have time to explore these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao.
Wat Phu is one of the Lao World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in 2001, this wonderful archeological site of Khmer civilization dates back to the 9th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Here we also have a chance to visit some nearby Khmer temples and Buddhist shrines. After lunch we drive to the peaceful Khong Island, the largest in the 4000 islands region, on the way we stopover to at the villages of ban Phone Saat. Overnight in Khong Island
Day 2: Khong Island – Surrounding. After breakfast, we enjoy a cruise venturing into the widest point of the Mekong River where thousands of islets become visible in dry season, giving this area a lovely name: Si Phan Done. Along the way, we stop at the Liphi waterfalls, one of the most beautiful waterfalls marking the end of Lao border to Cambodia, also known as the Samphamith. We also visit the fishing village of Ban Done Khone. On return, we take a short drive to the Lao – Cambodia border at Weukham, expect to be encaptivated by the sight of Khone Phapheng, which boasts South East Asia’s biggest waterfall, known as the Niagara of the east. If we are lucky, we may even see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. Overnight in Khong Island. Includes: (B).
Day 3: Khong Island – Tadlo. Upon leaving Done Khone Island, we continue our journey towards Tadlo, through Boloven plateau. The Boloven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Rivers run off this high plateau in all directions and then plunge out to lush forests along in a series of spectacular surging waterfalls. A trip to the plateau provides a refreshing break from the heat and allows you to observe the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that can be seen en route. This trip gives visitors the chance to venture off the beaten track and to discover some of the lesser-known areas of Laos, exploring the wild beauty of this southern region. Upon arrival at Tad Lo waterfall, we visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu, populated by ethnic minority groups. Overnight Tadlo. Includes: (B).
Day 4: Tadlo - Pakse – Luang Prabang. After breakfast, we transfer back to Pakse, then transfer to airport for a flight to Luang Prabang by the afternoon flight. Upon arrival we transfer to hotel. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B).
Day 5: Luang Prabang - Pakou - Luang Prabang. After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with it’s roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Laotian architecture. We then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic 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 speciality of rice wine is produced. We also have time to visit Ban Xangkhong, Ban Xienglek, small villages well known for silk weavings and for Saa (jute) Papermaking Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B).
Day 6: Luang Prabang – Khouangsi Waterfalls. An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there you will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings.
Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today you will visit local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. We also drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known weaving village, and then return to the city by late evening for observing the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight in Luang Prabang. Includes: (B).
Day 7: Luang Prabang – Xiengkhouang (Road). After breakfast, we visit the National Museum (close Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. The National Museum and the Central Market are not to be missed. After visiting these sights. Today, we drive 306 km uphill a mountain surrounded by wonderful natural scenery 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 scattered all over the plateau. If time permits, we see the old capital of Muang Khoun and the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe people. They have an interesting local culture and a colorful history. Overnight in Xiengkhuang. Includes: (B).
Day 8: Xiengkhouang – Vientiane (Flight). Following breakfast, we visit the Central Market. After you will have free time to explore the town further before catching our flight back to Vientiane. After checking into the hotel, time permiting we continue our sightseeing tour of the surrounding areas of Vientiane; we visit the impressive Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and the Buddha Park, a a scattered enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, close to the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images dating back over 500 years, which were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. A spectacular view of over the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day. Overnight in Vientiane. Includes: (B).
Day 9: Vientiane - City Tour. AM: After breakfast, we continue to explore Vientiane capital by visiting the major sights of the capital; including the oldest temple Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.
PM: We continue visiting the rest of Vientiane by foot, including Wat Ong Tue, Wat Inpeng and Wat Haisok. We pass by the major shopping area continuing to the Vientiane Central Market of Talad Sao and Talad Kouadin where various goods are displayed for sale; including fresh food, household goods, souvenirs, textiles, gold, silver and antiques. We return to the Mekong Riverside in the late afternoon for observing the sunset. Overnight in Vientiane. Includes: (B).
Day 10: Vientiane – Departure. After breakfast, you are free at your leisure until transfer to airport. Includes: (B).
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Asia Laos Local Culture Cultural Journey
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