HIGHLIGHTS OF LAOS TOUR
Vientiane / Luang Prabang / Laos
Ban Xang Khong Village-handmade mulberry bark paper-Luang Prabang
5 Days Laos Highlights
Day 1: Vientiane
On arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Time permitting, your half day city tour enables us to see the major temples of Vientiane including the oldest, Wat Si Saket, which houses over 2,000 ceramic and silver Buddha images, as well as a museum. Also visit the former royal temple of Wat Phra Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Later you’ll 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 2: (B) Vientiane – Xieng Khouang – Plain of Jars
This morning, transfer to the airport for your flight to Xieng Khouang. Upon arrival, transfer out to visit Site 1 of the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau. You will then be transferred to your hotel for the night. Overnight in Xieng Khouang.
Day 3: Xieng Khouang – Luang Prabang
Early this morning, visit the Central Market of Phonsavanh – the capital of Xieng Khouang Province –if on Sunday you can watch the different hill tribe people barter and exchange merchandise. We’ll then head out towards Luang Prabang. En route, stop off to see the Buddha images at Tham Pha Buddha Cave, a site more than 200 years old, and various H’mong and hill tribe minority villages along the way. After numerous opportunities for photo stops, we’ll continue driving, enjoying the splendid natural scenery of the mountains and forest. The journey will take us over mountainous regions until we approach Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 4: (B) Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of alms (stickyrice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there you will visit 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, H’mong Village, Ban Ou, Lao Loum, Ban Thapene, and Khmu Village. Afterward, drive to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall, where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest trails. After returning to Luang Prabang in late afternoon, continue to Ban Xang Khong, a village well known for its silk weavings and for handmade mulberry paper. We return to the city by late evening to observe the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight at the same hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 5: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – half day city tour and transfer to airport
Today, we embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which offers a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves: two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we’ll stop at the village of Ban Xang Hai, the “Whiskey Village” where they make the local rice wine. On return, we’ll take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a small village known for its hand weaving.
In the afternoon, begin your city tour 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. Transfer to the airport for your flight to your next destination. End services.