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LAOS – Classic – 13 Days / 12 Nights

Day 1: Arrival in Luang Prabang
Upon arrival you will be welcomed at Luang Prabang Airport by your guide and taken to your hotel for check-in. Spend the rest of the day free at your leisure to relax or explore the city.

Meals included: /
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: Hotel rooms will be available from 14:00

Day 2: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave
Visit this city founded on the left bank of the Mekong River by riding in a tuk-tuk. Previously a religious capital, Luang Prabang showcases more than 100 temples, considered amongst the most beautiful in Laos. In particular, you will discover Vat Xieng Thong, Vat Visoun – the oldest temple in the city with its wooden windows inspired by the Khmer Temple of Vat Phou.
In the afternoon, travel to the pier and board a traditional boat to cruise up the Mekong River to visit the sacred caves of Pak Ou, which shelter hundreds of Buddha statuettes. The caves offer a splendid view of the Mekong, which, here, mixes its waters with those of the Nam Ou River. Return to town with a nice sunset view of the Mekong River.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 3: Luang Prabang surroundings
In the morning, you will visit the Royal Palace, which is today the National Museum, and Vat May, built at the end of the 18th century, a capped sanctuary featuring a five-sided roof surmounted by three parasols before heading off to Khuang Sy waterfall on a return journey of around 70 kilometers. The road is bordered by villages and rice fields. You will stop in some of these villages and have a lunch at the waterfall. These falls are frequently visited by locals and villagers and you may have the opportunity to meet and chat with them. You can also take a swim in the waterfalls (if weather permits) that scatters into many basins. You will return to Luang Prabang at the end of the afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 4: Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng
Travel by road to Vang Vieng. Along the journey you will admire some magnificent mountain sceneries. Upon arrival at Vang Vieng you will check in at the hotel. Then, take a relaxing boat trip down the Nam Song River, which sits amid a beautiful landscape of karst rocks reminiscent of Halong Bay in Vietnam. There is no doubt that you will enjoy the peaceful atmosphere! At the end of the boat trip you will travel back to town in a private air-conditioned vehicle.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 5: Full day trek to Heouysan waterfall
Your journey will start in the morning with a trip of 10 kilometers east of Vang Vieng to a small village where your local guide will await you. From there, you will start trekking in the valley, on a path winding through rice paddies and limestone hills. Then you will climb up the hill to be rewarded at the top by a magnificent secluded waterfall in the jungle, where you will relax while enjoying a picnic lunch. After your meal, walk back down to the valley with lots of inspiring photo points along the way. After reaching the village you will be driven back to Vang Vieng in the afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, picnic lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 6: Vang Vieng – Vientiane
Travel by road to Vientiane and upon arrival check in at your hotel. Then, set out to visit the city. Highlights include:

  • Vat Phra Keo, originally built in 1565, it celebrates the Emerald Buddha it shelters. Although largely destroyed, it was rebuilt identically in 1942. Located in a pretty garden, it shelters the Buddha under sloping, superbly carved wood panels.
  • Pha That Louang, a cloister guarding a large stupa that was saved when the city was raided by the Siamese. Damaged by the Ho plunderers in 1873, it was restored by the French in 1930. It has become the symbol of the nation, representing both Buddhism and Lao’s sovereignty. This large relic is a masterpiece of Laotian architecture.
  • Patuxay, a monument established in memory of the war with France. A panoramic view of Vientiane can be seen from the top.
    At the end of the afternoon, walk along the Mekong River to end this rich day of cultural discoveries.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 7: Vientiane – Hinboun
Leave Vientiane for a leisurely drive south east of Hinboun, to Khammouane, which has many dramatic karst limestone formations, one of Lao’s most picturesque yet least visited provinces. Visits along the way will include a 15th century stupa, a hill-tribe market and plenty of photo opportunities.
In the late afternoon, you will arrive in Hinboun where you will be spending the night at a remote and charming riverside lodge set amongst incredible limestone scenery.
Later, you will be welcomed into a traditional stilt house to attend a baci ceremony performed in your honor. This traditional ritual is deeply revered by every Lao person and is performed for many kinds of circumstances (birth, death, wedding, illness…). The baci is intended to bring good luck to your souls, as Lao people believe that humans have 32 souls. After the ceremony, you will have the occasion to ask all the questions that come to mind to better understand the ritual while enjoying a drink shared by everyone.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Distances: 275 kilometers – 6 hours

Day 8: The other side of Konglor Cave
This full day experience will provide an authentic discovery of the area on the other side of Konglor cave. After passing through the 7.5-kilometer cave aboard a long tail boat – one of the longest underworld crossings on earth – and admiring the stunning rock formations, you will take a toktok (local tractor) to reach the small village of Tan Khankeo, which lies at the foot of the limestone mountains. Still untouched and preserved, the village is mostly inhabited by farmers and fishermen. The friendly family of Mr. Chandy will be happy to welcome you into their home for a lunch in the purest Lao style.
In the afternoon, the villagers will take you for a surprising walk to a beautiful cave, and an easy 3 to 4-hour hike passing through villages and rice paddies. The boat landing pier will be an opportunity to rest for a while and refresh with cold drinks before passing back through Konglor cave.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch with a local family
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 9: Hinboun – Thakhek
Enjoy the surreal sight of the morning light shining upon the limestone mountains of Khammouane with a light trek passing through the tobacco fields (or rice paddies, depending on the season) surrounded by the most astonishing landscapes of the region. On the way, you might meet workers in the fields and children going to school. On arrival at Ban Konglor village, you will have the opportunity to witness life as it exists on the banks of the Nam Hinboun River and to meet the locals of the villages to learn more about their culture.
Then, travel overland for about 4 hours to Thakhek, capital city of the Khammouane province and located in South-Central Laos, halfway between Vientiane and the Champasak province. Formerly an important administrative and trading platform under French occupation, the city of Thakhek still boasts the remains of former colonial houses and wide avenues typical of this era, which make it its main attraction. In addition to this, its geographic location makes it a necessary stopover for travelers wishing to discover the central southern region of Laos by land.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Day 10: Thakhek – Pakse
In the morning, visit the local market Talat Lak Sawng before traveling by road to Pakse, where you will arrive late in the afternoon.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel.
Distances: 280 kilometers – 4 hours

Day 11: Along the red trail – Vat Phou – Si Phan Don
You can choose between a 3 to 4-hour hike or a 1h 30min to 2-hour bicycle ride, to discover the surroundings of Champasak town. This tour will give you the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Lao countryside, in the middle of stunning landscapes such as mountains and rice paddies. Follow the red trail which starts from the town center and leads through 3 villages (Ban Tai, Ban Houay Sa Houa, Ban Houay Khor) scattered in the lush and blooming natural settings. On the way, the dirt road will lead you to small paths and to vaster areas where you can witness workers in the fields and people handling their regular daily tasks. Then take a private vehicle to Vat Phou temple, which is an interesting architectural collection of pre-Angkorian times. This will remind you that the region was once part of the kingdom of Tchen-La in the Khmer nation. Then continue driving to Ban Phiengdy where you will cross the Mekong River to reach Khong Island.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Notes:

  • Bicycles are of a basic standard quality.
  • Recommended from December to June

Day 12: 4,000 islands kayak and hike (biking option)
In the morning you will start your adventure by cycling from your hotel to Don Det then pick up the equipment and gain information on how to practice kayaking safely. After the short briefing you will set off with your guide in the middle of the 4,000 islands on the way to Don Exom. On arrival at the village, go for a walk through the rice paddies until you reach Hue Etu waterfall, where you will enjoy some snacks and relax, before a short hike to the downstream beach where your kayak will await you again. Setting off, your kayak will be taken along by the current until you reach Ban Hang Khone where you will watch for the endangered Irrawaddy dolphin in its natural habitat.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Note: Recommended from November to May (not possible in the rainy season because of the high water level)

Day 13: Khong Island – Pakse departure
Cross the Mekong and take the road south to Pa Peng Falls (close to the Cambodian border) where fishermen risk life and limb fishing in the impressive rapids. You will then travel by road back to Pakse Airport for your departure flight.

Meals included: Breakfast