Overview

Planning a trip to Asia but not quite sure where to go? Come to Laos! This quaint country in the heart of Southeast Asia offers the best of Asia in a single bite-sized morsel! From ancient temples dotted across the land to the ethnic tribes holding on to their primeval customs, to the lush tropical forests covering its topography, Laos offers a treasure trove of cultural and anthropological treasures. Our extensive 11-day tour begins in the capital city of Vientiane in the east and follows a northbound trajectory covering some of the ​best known landmarks of the country. Visit the intriguing site of the Plain of Jars and find out the fascinating legends behind these curious stone jars. Explore hidden caves used as shelters during wartime strikes. Marvel at the architectural wonder of Vientiane’s many temples. Trek to local tribal villages and interact with indigenous tribesfolk. Enjoy a serene sunset cruise on the Mekong River. Visit the birthplace of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR). Explore the cultural capital of Luang Prabang and titillate your taste buds with some authentic Laotian flavours. This is an immersive journey into the heart of Laos; one that is bound to reel you in. 

10 Nights 11 Days 16 Oct, 17 Oct, 18 Oct, and more Vientiane Wattay Airport
Inclusions/Exclusions
What we'll give. What we won't

What is included in the tour

  • Accommodation in city hotels/guesthouses (as specified)
  • All meals (as specified in itinerary)
  • Airport transfers and all local transport in luxury sedan
  • Domestic air travel (Vientiane to Xieng Khouang)
  • All local permits

What is NOT included in the tour

  • Any meal/drinks not specified in itinerary
  • International/domestic air travel (except Vientiane to Xieng Khouang)
  • Personal purchases like alcohol
  • Any additional services like massages, spas etc.
  • Travel Insurance
Highlights
What makes this tour special
  • Explore the ancient temples of Vientiane
  • Discover the botanical treasures of Phou Khao Khouay National Park
  • Be amazed by the mysterious legends behind the Plain of Jars
  • Visit the birthplace of Lao People’s Democratic Republic
  • Visit the architectural wonders of Luang Prabang
  • Enjoy a sunset cruise on the Mekong River
Itinerary
Day 1 (Arrival in Vientiane- city tour) (-, L, D)
  • Arrive in Vientiane Wattay Airport where our staff will receive you. The Laotian capital is a charming city with tree-lined streets, quaint French-style architecture and brightly coloured temples. Take in the views as you drive to your hotel in downtown Vientiane.
  • After a quick check-in, have lunch and then set off for a full day’s excursion of the city. Our first stop is Vat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane with 6840 Buddha images and a spectacular collection of intricate frescos. Vat Sisaket was built in 1818 and is the only structure to have survived a siege in 1826.
  • Our next stop is Ho Phra Keo. Originally built as a temple for the royal family of Laos, Ho Phra Keo was converted into a museum in 1970 and houses some rare and magnificent Buddhist artefacts like scriptures and sculptures. Thailand’s famous Emerald Buddha was originally kept inside the main structure of Ho Phra Keo.
  • We move on to visit two of the most iconic landmarks of Vientiane. The first is the Patouxay or Victory Gate. The architecture of the gate is influenced by the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. Our final stop for the day is That Luang Stupa. Considered one of the most sacred sites in Laos, this ancient stupa was built by former king Setthathirath in 1566 and is believed to house relics of Lord Buddha.
  • After the full day’s tour of the city we return to the hotel in the evening.
  • Dinner is an elaborate buffet of Laotian delicacies including Khao Piak Sen (Lao noodle soup), Laab Moo (minced pork salad), and Sai Oua (Lao sausage).
Day 2 (Vientiane- Vang Vieng, 157 kilometres) (B, L, D)
  • Have an early breakfast at the hotel and then depart for the famous archaeological site at Vang Xang. The site dates back to the 11th century and its name translates to ‘Elephant Palace’ in reference to an elephant graveyard in the vicinity. Take a walk through Vang Xang and see the amazing Buddha sculpture reliefs engraved on the cliffs. This is particularly interesting for those who have a penchant for Southeast Asian history.
  • We will make a brief stop at the Ban Houei Mo fish market before moving onward to the beautiful town of Vang Vieng where we will check into a hotel. Vang Vieng is a small town situated along a bend of the Nao Sam River. This scenic region is best known for its spectacular karst landscape that dominates the west bank of the river. The topography also features rolling hills covered with lush vegetation with striking limestone cliffs and hidden caves.
  • We will stop for lunch at a local restaurant and then set off on a boat ride along the Nao Sam River. Each boat can accommodate 2 people and the 30- minute ride will take us to the Biological Garden and the Tham Chang Cave. In the 19th century, the Tham Chang cave was used a bunker against a Yunnanese onslaught. There is an underground spring inside the cave and panoramic views of the valley. This is a great spot for taking photographs and we stop here for a while to explore the cave before making our way back to Vang Vieng town.
  • Have dinner at the hotel and then retire to your rooms for the night.
Day 3 (Vang Vieng- Phou Kao Khouay- Vientiane) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and then set off for Phou Kao Khouay National Park. This is the closest national park to Vientiane and home to a diverse topography ranging from spiny deciduous trees to lush evergreen forests. The park is also home to secluded waterfalls like Pha Xay and Tad Xay and winding rivers that run through the expanse of green.
  • You can enjoy trekking on one of the many trails inside Phou Khao Khouay or ride upstream on a long-tailed boat. A wide array of colourful blooms thrives inside the park including several species of orchids. There are also many different varieties of butterflies to be found here. Phou Kao Khouay is a nature lover’s paradise and paints a pretty picture of Lao’s natural flora.
  • From here, we will make a stop at the village of Ban Hat Khai. See how locals live inside traditional Lao homes.
  • We will stop for lunch at a nearby restaurant and then make our way back to our hotel in Vientiane.
  • You can spend the rest of the day at leisure. The evening ends with dinner at the hotel.
Day 4 (Vientiane- flight to Phonesavanh) (B, L, D)
  • Have an early breakfast at the hotel and visit the famous Talaat Sao or Morning Market of Vientiane. No trip to the capital city is complete without a visit to this unique market with its assortment of fine quality silk weaves, woodcarvings and metal work.
  • Today we leave Vientiane and begin the second leg of our tour. Check out of your hotel and drive to Vientiane Wattay Airport and take a Laos Airlines flight to Xieng Khouang. On arrival at Xieng Khaouang, our staff will meet you at the airport and drive to the new capital Phonesavanh. During the Vietnam War, large parts of the Xieng Khaouang province had come under heavy shelling. In fact, as your aircraft begins its descent you can see large areas lacerated with bomb craters. Following the near-total destruction of the original capital city, Phonesavanh was established as the new capital.
  • Today we will check into the hotel at Phonesavanh and relax after the day’s journey. Our guides will brief you about the next day’s itinerary and after an early dinner, you can retire to your rooms for the night.
Day 5 (Phonesavanh- Plain of Jars) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and then set off for one of the most intriguing natural wonders of Laos- the Plain of Jars. Several hundred jars of massive proportions lie dotted around a large area extending around Phonesavanh. These jars weighing up to six tonnes are made of solid stones like granite and sandstone. The origin of these jars is a mystery with several theories doing the rounds in archaeological and academic circles. Some theories list the purpose of the jars as burial urns while others believe them to have been used for grain storage. An interesting discovery was made by French archaeologists in 1930 when they found ashes, ceramics and bronze ornaments inside the jars raising the possibility of these being offerings made to the dead.
  • Take some time exploring these mysterious ancient structures before we make our way to Muang Khoune, the original capital of Xieng Khaouang province destroyed in the bombing.
  • Visit some of the old temples in the city including That Foun dating back to the 16th century. The 30- metre high stupa has a hole through its centre, believed to be the work of marauding Chinese brigands. Wat Piawat with its large seated Buddha is another popular attraction in Muang Khoune.
  • We will return to Phonesavanh for lunch at a local restaurant. Enjoy a meal of authentic Lao dishes like Khao Niaw or sticky rice, Mok Pa or steamed fish and Phor or noodle soup.
  • Post lunch we will head to a Lao village inhabited by ethnic minorities like the Hmong, Thai Dam or Thai Neua. Interact with the villagers and get an insight into their daily lives.
  • Return to your hotel in the evening.
Day 6 (Phonesavanh- Sam Neua) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and then leave for Sam Neua. The distance from Phonesavanh is about 258 kilometres that we will complete in 6- 7 hours depending on traffic. En route we will visit the Tham Piu Cave. The cave has a tragic history of being the burial ground of 374 villagers killed by US bombs while they took shelter inside. A museum has been erected in honour of the victims inside the cave.
  • From here we stop at a few weaving villages where every household has a member working on looms. We will stop for lunch at a local restaurant before continuing to Sam Neua. This small provincial town is located at an altitude of 1200 metres and you can feel the dip in temperatures as we make our way up. It is advisable to carry warm clothes.
  • Check- in and overnight stay at a hotel in Sam Neua.
Day 7 (Sam Neua- Viengxay- Sam Neua- Muang Viengthong) (B, L, D)
  • Today we will visit the birthplace of Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR). We set off after breakfast and drive to Viengxay, about 1.5 hours away. Following the ceasefire of 1973, the new town of Viengxay was formed and established as the capital of the liberated zone. In 1975, Vientiane was formally declared as the capital of Lao PDR. Explore some of the well known caves in the area, known for their historical significance.
  • After this we drive to Muang Viengthong, stopping for lunch at Sam Nuea. The drive takes about 6 hours and on the way we visit the mysterious ‘standing stone pillars’ of Sao Hintang.
  • Check into a local guesthouse in Muang Viengthong where we will spend the night.
Day 8 (Muang Viengthong- Nong Khiaw) (B, L, D)
  • Today we leave Muang Viengthong and make our way to Luang Prabang district. We set off after breakfast at the hotel and drive for 5 hours to reach Nong Khiaw, a trading village on the banks of the Nam Ou River.
  • En route, stop to visit the hot springs near Muang Viengthong. Nong Khiaw is one of the most scenic spots in Laos with its stunning contrast of scraggy limestone cliffs against the serene waters of the Nam Ou River. You can enjoy boating or kayaking on the river. Nearby there are caves that served as wartime shelters.
  • We will reach Nong Khiaw in the afternoon and trek to some of the adjoining villages and forested hills before returning to your hotel on the east bank of the river.
Day 9 (Nong Khiaw- Luang Prabang) (B, L, D)
  • Today our Laotian sojourn takes us to Luang Prabang. The drive from Nong Khiaw takes about 3 hours and en route we stop at Ban Na Ngang, a traditional weaving village famous for producing premium Lao textiles.
  • We will check into our hotel in Luang Prabang by lunchtime. Choose from an international or Laotian menu and get some rest before setting off for the Pak Ou caves. The iconic caves along the Mekong River are home to thousands of Buddha statues. The miniature statues are believed to have been crafted by locals over hundreds of years.
  • From the caves we make our way to the nearby village of Ban Xang Hai famous for distilling rice wine that they store in trademark earthen jars. The village has been making local whiskey and wines from rice for the last 2000 years.
  • Sample a glass or two of the home brews sure to get your spirits up!
  • Return to the hotel in the evening for dinner and then retire to your rooms for the night.
Day 10 (Luang Prabang city tour) (B, L, D)
  • Have breakfast at the hotel and then set off for a full day’s tour of Luang Prabang. Our first stop is the Vat Xieng Thong Temple with its traditional roofs that sweep down low to the ground. The temple compound has multiple chapels that house Buddha images made of bronze and a special Royal Funeral Chapel that holds the last remains of members of the royal family.
  • Our next stop is Vat Visoun which houses a famous stupa called That Makmo. The tour continues with a walk to one of the most iconic tutelary shrines of the city at Vat Aham dedicated to the deity Deveta Luang.
  • Climb the 300 steps of Vat Phousi hill to enjoy a 360˚ view of Luang Prabang and the Mekong River. This is a good place to stop for photos.
  • Our day tour gradually draws to a close with a visit to the Vat Mai temple with its imposing five-tiered roof and our final stop for the day is at the Vat Pra Baht Tai along the Mekong River to watch the glorious sunset.
  • Return to your hotel in the evening for a well deserved dinner and then retire to your rooms for the night.
Day 11 (Luang Prabang- Departure) (B, -, -)
  • On the final day of the tour, begin your day with a leisurely breakfast at the hotel. Our car will then drive you to the airport. Take in the sights and sounds of daytime activities in Luang Prabang city and reflect on all the fascinating places you have visited over the last 10 days.
  • The tour ends at the drop- off point at the airport where you can continue your onward journey.

 

Pickup point
Directions.
Wattay Airport (VTE), Vientiane, Laos View on Map