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LAOS – Wellness – 9 Days / 8 Nights

 

– Peace and serenity in Laos
– Soul and body wellness in a Buddhist atmosphere
– From South to North, the UNESCO Heritage treasures of Laos

 

Day 1: Ubon Ratchathani – Chong Mek – Champasak
After your arrival at Ubon Ratchathani airport in Thailand, you will be picked up by your driver and travel to Champasak, a typical rural town, located 8 kilometers from the famous Vat Phu temple, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. You will cross the border of Thailand in Chong Mek to begin your fantastic journey in the most authentically simple land in Southeast Asia.
Upon arrival in Champasak, you will check in at your hotel and enjoy time at leisure to relax or to experience a massage at the hotel.

Meals included: Meals on your own account.
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel.

Note: The massage at the hotel is not included; it will be subject to additional charge.

 

Day 2: Champasak – Vat Phou – Champasak
Start your day with a 4-hour hiking tour that will provide the opportunity to experience the beauty of the Lao countryside set in the middle of stunning landscapes of mountains and rice paddies. Follow the red trail starting from the town center and passing through 3 villages (Ban Tai, Ban Houay Sa Houa, Ban Houay Khor). The dirt road will lead you to smaller paths and to vast open areas where you will witness workers in the fields and people going about their daily living tasks. The trail ends 1 kilometer from the entrance to the Vat Phou complex, the must-see temple in southern Laos, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Before the visit of Vat Phou, you will have lunch in the gardens of a beautiful temple on the bank of the Mekong River. The monks will welcome you for the occasion by giving you their blessings. Then you will enjoy your meal in this peaceful place with charming views of the island of Don Daeng.
In the afternoon you will visit the Vat Phou, a pre-Angkorian temple complex. On arrival, an electric car will take you to the base of the sacred mount Phou Kao, passing two artificial lakes. From there, you will walk to the ancient axis demarcated by stone pillars leading to the first terrace and where silently stand the ruined Khmer Hindu palaces adorned with fine sculptures. From there, antique stairs bordered by frangipani trees climb up to a third temple with a unique structure dedicated to the Lord Shiva. Your exploration will continue behind the temple where you will see a natural spring and stone animal carvings before making your way back down to the entrance. After the visit, you will be picked up by your driver and travel back to your hotel. The rest of the afternoon will be free at your leisure.

Meals included: Breakfast, lunch
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Cycling: 4 hours – level 0

 

Day 3: Champasak
Your driver will pick you up at the hotel and drive to Champasak post office where you will take the stairs down to the left bank of the Mekong River. A motorized local boat will then take you for a 15-minute trip to reach the sandy beach of the little island of Don Daeng, with views of the surrounding mountains. Enjoy the gorgeous countryside of the serene province of Champasak on the secluded island of Don Daeng, which peacefully lies downstream on the Mekong River. Slow down the pace and grab a bicycle to ride through the small paths winding around the island. You will discover the natural richness of the landscapes mixing simultaneously tropical settings with dense jungle towering palm trees, and the countryside farming and fishing community. On your way, you may see beautiful river views along the beach, colorful local temples and lively authentic villages.
Leave behind the peacefulness of Don Daeng island and enjoy for the last time the scenery around Champasak with a 15-minute boat trip on the Mekong River to reach the local boat pier of Champasak town, where your vehicle will await to go back to your hotel.

Option: Spa treatment in a local spa in Champasak before returning to the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Cycling: 2 hours – level 0

 

Day 4: Champasak – Pakse – Luang Prabang
Enjoy some last looks at the scenery of Southern Laos’ countryside before heading to Pakse airport for your flight to Luang Prabang. You will be warmly welcomed at the airport by your guide and travel by air-conditioned vehicle to your hotel. You will then enjoy some fee time to relax or start your discovery of the city.
In late afternoon you will meet your guide and travel to a beach, a Mekong river bank, or a beautiful rice field, where you will enjoy the sunset and some tasty Laotian food in a peaceful atmosphere, typical of Laos. The sunset cocktail includes an assortment of beverages and Lao snacks, arranged only for you and set against a backdrop of wonderful scenery. During this peaceful moment, a therapist will provide foot and shoulder massage to help you relax.
Then you will return to the hotel.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Distance: Champasak – Pakse ~ 45 kilometers – 50 minutes

Note: Hotel rooms will be available from 14:00

 

Day 5: Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang is a provincial city where time seems to stand still. As the city never experiences heavy traffic, it is easy to bicycle around. Enjoy the surroundings and discover the daily life of local people, find ancient buildings, the Royal Palace, monasteries and temples. Stop for a break to visit Vat Mai temple built at the end of the 18th century, a capped sanctuary featuring a five-sided roof topped by three parasols. Continue on to visit the Vat Xieng Thong, a vast collection of sacred buildings, one of the jewels of Laotian art and the most beautiful temple of the city. You will also visit the Vat Visoun temple, the oldest temple of the city, with its wooden windows inspired by the Khmer temple of Vat Phou. To continue your journey outside the city, cross the Nam Khan River and ride along the Mekong River at your own pace to reach Ban Xieng Lek and Ban Xang Khong. There you will discover traditional weaving practices and the procedures used to make the local Sa paper. After the cycling tour you will return to the center of Luang Prabang.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 6: Luang Prabang
In the early morning you will be taken by your guide to Vat Nong temple to see the Tak Bat ceremony (procession of monks). During the ceremony, devoted residents of Luang Prabang kneel on the sidewalk, bearing food in their hands, which they offer to the monks as they walk by in a procession of orange robes. Be drawn deep into the culturally significant moments, as they take place in a peaceful and respectful ambiance, with no words exchanged between the monks and the inhabitants making the offerings.

Option on supplement: Participate in Tak Bat

After this humbling experience, your guide will take you to an animated local market, before guiding you to a welcoming local restaurant at the Mekong river bank for a soup or coffee. Then you will enjoy a massage in a local spa before returning to your hotel.
In the afternoon, after a 15-minute boat trip down the Mekong River you will arrive at Pha Tad Ke Botanical Gardens. You will be free to discover the site with your guide, following the Limestone walk and enjoying the landscape. You will have the opportunity to learn about the plants of Laos and the importance of biodiversity conservation. Back to Luang Prabang, you will have the chance to experience the monk blessing at Vat Phon Pao temple. The monk water blessing is performed to scare off or keep away potentially bad or negative things from invading our spirit and body, and to receive the blessing from the monk for good things, good health, good luck and success.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel
Duration: ~2h 30min

Note:
– For the Tak Bat ceremony and the monk blessing in the temple, you are invited to dress appropriately and not wear revealing clothing. Please do not cross the monks’ paths and take photos from a distance to show your respect. Please also maintain a quiet atmosphere.
– Monk Blessing takes place every day at around 16:00

 

Day 7: Luang Prabang
Early in the morning you will drive to Ock Pop Tok where you will enjoy a yoga session with a lovely view of the mighty Mekong River and mountains. Ock Pop Tok is also a weaving craft center where you will have the chance to discover the beauty and secrets of Lao textiles: a local guide will explain to you each step of the silk weaving and natural dyeing processes. He will also talk to you about batik drawing and bamboo weaving, and you will learn how the people work by watching them actually create the handicrafts. Then, take some time to enjoy the beautiful tropical garden with a view over the Mekong River.
In the end of afternoon you will be invited to attend a baci ceremony, one of the most popular traditions in Laos and which accompanies any important life event: weddings, funerals, births, illnesses, trips, etc. During the ceremony, the officiating person will recall your souls (according to Lao belief, each human being has 32 souls) to attract beneficial influences towards you, and will then tie a cotton string around your wrist symbolizing the wishes he will have formulated in your favor.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

 

Day 8: Luang Prabang
The day will be at leisure to enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of Luang Prabang.

Meals included: Breakfast
Accommodation: Overnight at the hotel

Option: Visit Pak Ou Caves – Half day with lunch
Embark a local motorboat to travel the 35 kilometers to the Pak Ou caves; the most famous Buddhist site around Luang Prabang. This excursion on the Mekong River, lined with steep karst cliffs and small villages, will be the opportunity for you to observe the life on its banks. When you reach the caves after the 1.5 – 2-hour boat ride, you will be amazed to find thousands of Buddha statues inside. During the cruise, you will enjoy a delicious local lunch cooked on the boat, at your own pace and in privacy.

 

Day 9: Luang Prabang departure
Enjoy some free time until driving without guide to Luang Prabang Airport for your departure flight.

Meals included: Breakfast

Note: Hotel rooms will be available until noon only