FROM WAR TO PEACE
12 Days Laos War & Peace
Day 1: Luang Prabang – half day city tour On arrival at the airport, you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. If time permits, your half day city tour will begin with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. We then head to the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, with its roof sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Laotian architecture. We’ll also have time to take in the stupa of Wat Visoun, Luang Prabang’s oldest temple, and the shrines of Wat Aham, built in 1818 on the site of a 16th century temple, and Wat Mai, the largest and most richly decorated in the town. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 2: (B, L) Luang Prabang – Big Brother Mouse – Ban Khia Luang – Pak Ou Caves The day starts with a visit to the Big Brother Mouse Shop to select some books for the village visit. We then head north by car before taking an unpaved road to Ban Khia Luang Village, where we’ll have time to visit the school, play with the kids, and watch them enjoy their new books. We’ll also take some time to explore the rest of the village, where you can see weaving and visit the local temple. After lunch with the villagers, we say goodbye and drive to Ban Khoklin, which takes us through some beautiful scenery of mountains and paddy fields. At Ban Khoklin we then board a private boat down the Nam Ou River for 30 minutes to Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Continue down the Mekong River back to Luang Prabang, arriving late afternoon. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 3: (B) Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall and Ban Chan Today we cross the Mekong River by boat to the picturesque pottery village of Ban Chan. We’ll then explore the morning Phousi 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 crafts, and today you will visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, a H’mong village, Ban Ou, a Lao Loum village, and Ban Thapene, a Khmu village. This leads us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. We then return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 4: (B) Luang Prabang – Xieng Khouang This morning’s drive takes you through the beautiful natural scenery to Xieng Khouang. The journey will give you plenty of opportunities for photos and for visiting hill tribe villages. Upon arrival, we’ll transfer out to explore Site 1 of the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered all over the plateau. Overnight in Xieng Khouang.
Day 5: (B) Xieng Khouang – Plain of Jars and Muang Khoun This morning we’ll stop at the interesting Central Market in Phonsavan, as well as the MAG UXO Center, which provides visitors with an opportunity to learn more about the most bombed country in the world per capita, and about the work that MAG has been doing in Laos since 1994 to save lives and support development for local communities by clearing the deadly remnants of the bombings. Moving on, we’ll explore Site 2 of the Plain of Jars before taking a short scenic trek to Site 3 via Tai Dam and Lao Loum villages. Following lunch, enjoy a half day morning tour of the old capital of Muang Khoun and its nearby villages, home to the H’mong hill tribe and Tai Dam people. Overnight in Xieng Khouang.
Day 6: (B) Xieng Khouang – Vang Vieng This morning we’ll visit the interesting Central Market in Phonsavan before transferring to Vang Vieng by road, arriving there mid-afternoon. Overnight in Vang Vieng.
Day 7: (B) Vang Vieng – half day tour – Vientiane As part of our half day tour of Vang Vieng, we’ll explore the famous Tham Jang Cave, which was once used by the local people as a hideout from Chinese invaders. We’ll also cross the river to Ban Huai Ngai, a very pleasant village where we can observe the different lifestyles of the locals. Following lunch, we’ll head south to Vientiane, where we arrive before sunset. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 8: (B) Vientiane – half day city tour Your half day city tour enables us to see the major temples of Vientiane including Wat Si Saket, housing thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former Royal temple of Haw Phra Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. You’ll also see a Lao national icon, That Luang Stupa, a large, gold covered stupa in the center of town, and then have a photo opportunity at the imposing Patuxai Monument, Vientiane’s Arc de Triomphe, dedicated to those who fought for independence from France. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 9: (B) Vientiane – Pakse – 4,000 Islands Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Pakse. On arrival in Pakse, we’ll drive south to Champasak and to visit the fascinating pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phu, one of Southeast Asia’s most dramatically situated temples. We’ll explore these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. Following lunch, we continue our journey by road and long tail boat to the 4,000 Islands area, where you have the rest of the day to relax. Overnight in 4,000 Islands area.
Day 10: (B) 4,000 Islands After an early morning breakfast, explore Khong Island. Here we begin by re-tracing the French colonial past at Ban Khone, where some colonial houses still stand, and glimpse the first Lao railway with its own locomotive. We’ll continue our exploration of the area of the 4,000 islands by boat and visit the beautiful Liphi waterfall, also known as the Samphamith, which forms a natural border between Laos and Cambodia. Return to Ban Nakasang and drive to the famous waterfall of Khone Phapheng – the largest waterfall in Southeast Asia, also known as the “Niagara of the east.” Overnight in 4,000 Islands area.
Day 11: (B) 4,000 Islands –Tad Lo – Pakse This morning drive into the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. The area is famous for its many waterfalls, and we’ll visit the most beautiful of these falls, the twin falls of Tad Fan, surrounded by lush vegetation. 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. In the afternoon we arrive at Tad Lo, home to another scenic waterfall and numerous ethnic minority groups. We’ll visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu before returning to Pakse. Overnight in Pakse.
Day 12: (B) Pakse – Departure After breakfast; you will be transferred back to Pakse Airport for your flight to Siem Reap, and onward to your next destination. End services.