LAOS & 4,000 ISLANDS TOUR
7 Days Luang Prabang – Pakse – Tad Lo – Wat Phou – 4000 Islands
Day 1: Luang Prabang On arrival at Luang Prabang airport, pick up and transfer to your hotel. The World Heritage Center of Luang Prabang has been designated the “best-preserved city in Southeast Asia.” This morning visit the impressive 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. Later, climb to the top of Mount Phousi (150meters above the town center) for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset. From there, explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 2: (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 its jute. We return to the city by late evening to observe the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight at the same hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 3: (B) Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – half day city tour This morning 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. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 4: (B) Luang Prabang – Pakse – Tad Lo Early morning transfer to the airport for your flight to Pakse. On arrival at Pakse, you will be met by your guide and driven into the Bolaven Plateau(optional ziplining). 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. Overnight in Tad Lo.
Day 5: (B) Tad Lo – Wat Phou – 4,000 Islands After an early breakfast, we depart Tad Lo and make a short detour to visit Pha Suam Waterfall and explore the ethnic minority villages of Lao Theung. Continue driving via Pakse town, crossing the Mekong by ferry to visit the fascinating pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phu (Mountain Temple), one of Southeast Asia’s most dramatically situated temples. Following lunch, we’ll continue our journey by long tail boat to the magnificent 4000 Islands overlooking the Mekong, where you have the rest of the day to relax. Overnight in 4000 Islands area.
Day 6: (B) 4,000 Islands and surrounding area After an early breakfast, drive south and then boat to Don Khon Island. Here we begin by re-tracing the French colonial-past at the village of Ban Khone, where some colonial houses still stand, and glimpse the first Lao railway with its own locomotive. Continuing our exploration of the area of the 4000 islands by boat, you’ll visit the beautiful Liphi Waterfall, also known as the Samphamith, which forms a natural border between Laos and Cambodia. We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to Khone Phapheng – the largest and most famous waterfall in Southeast Asia, also known as the “Niagara of the East.” Overnight in 4000 Islands area.
Day 7: (B) 4,000 Islands – Pakse – Vientiane After breakfast, you will be transferred back to Pakse airport for your flight to Vientiane, then onward to your next destination. End services.