13-Day Cultural Laos Immersion

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 13 Days

tour highlights

  • Meander down the Mekong River
  • Visit a coffee plantation on the Bolaven Plateau
  • Explore a local market
  • Have a picnic lunch against the backdrop of the Kuang Si Waterfalls
  • Stop by Ban Xang Khong village to experience traditional Laos life

tour details

Discover the relaxed pace of life and amazing landscapes as you explore the best Laos has to offer!

Meet upon arrival at Ubon Ratchathani Airport and directly transfer to the Thailand-Laos border at Chongmek. Once Thailand immigration formalities have been completed, you will be met by the guide from Diethelm Travel who will assist with Laos immigration procedures. Transfer to the hotel in Pakse.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Transfer to boat pier. Board a longtail riverboat for a 1.5-hour cruise on the Mekong River toward the former royal capital of Champasak then continue by car to the pre-Angkorian Vat Phu Temple, which was active during the 6th to 13th centuries. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002, Vat Phu Temple lies on a hillside and offers spectacular views of the surrounding plains and Mekong River. Hindu Khmer probably chose the site because of the spring that flows from near the top of the hill.
Historians say that Phu Pasak was in fact sacred to the pre-Angkorian Kingdom of Chenla (6th century) and may have been the site of human sacrifices. It was later converted into a Buddhist temple but much of the original Hindu sculptures remain. The lintels feature various forms of Vishnu and Shiva as well as Kala, the Hindu god of time and death. The naga stairway is lined with plumeria (dokchampa), the Lao national flower.
After lunch at a local restaurant, continue the drive to Khong Island and visit Khone Phapheng Waterfall, then return to Pakse in the late afternoon.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
After breakfast at the hotel, head out to Tadlo (90 kilometres from Pakse), located on the northern edge of the Bolaven Plateau. Tadlo is touted as an eco-friendly resort near the Xeset Waterfall. En route, make a short visit to the Katou village of Ban Houeihoun.
The Katou minority group earns their livelihood from forest products. In this village, one thing worth pointing out is that the women do not use handlooms for weaving as in other parts of the country. Lunch at the Tadlo resort. Return to Pakse via Muang Thateng and Paksong.
On the way visit Ban Kok Phoung (Alak and Kaleum villages). Time at leisure to walk through the local market in Thateng. The Bolaven Plateau, which was formed by an ancient volcano, is famous for its coffee and tea plantations. The plateau also has a number of tribal villages that still use primitive agricultural tools and conduct frequent spiritual ceremonies.
Rest with a short stop for coffee or tea at the village garden before continuing to visit the impressive Tad Fane waterfall. Arrive back in Pakse in the late afternoon. Late afternoon arrival in Pakse.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Visit the local Market, then transfer to airport for flight Pakse to Vientiane. Meet upon arrival at Vientiane Wattay Airport Vientiane’s major attractions are the serene Buddhist monasteries that dominate the centre of town. The city has kept its timeless charm with tree-lined avenues, brightly painted temples and quaint French architecture.
After lunch at the hotel, enjoy the rest of the day and evening at your leisure.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning Visit Vat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Built in 1818, Vat Sisaket is the sole survivor of an invasion in 1828. All other temples in the city have undergone extensive restoration. Vat Sisaket features remarkable frescoes and 6,840 Buddha images.
Nearby is Ho Phra Keo, once the royal temple of Lao monarchy. Built in 1565, Ho Phra Keo has been used as a museum since 1970 and contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artefacts in the country. Special displays include antique brass drums and palm leaf manuscripts.
The main structure originally housed the famous Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok’s Wat Phra Keo. Moving on, visit one of the most photographed images of Vientiane, Patouxay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958, its architecture is inspired by the Arc of Triomphe in Paris.
Another famous Vientiane landmark is the That Luang Stupa. King Setthathirath built this great sacred stupa, considered as the national symbol, in 1566. Its central structure is 45 metres tall and echoes the curving lines of an elongated lotus. The original stupa was said to contain relics of Lord Buddha.
Lunch at Tamnaklao Restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the surroundings of Vientiane, including Buddha Park and Friendship Bridge (if time permits). Buddha Park is a religious sculpture park located by the Mekong River about 25 kilometres south of Vientiane that captivates visitors with an unusual blend of Buddhist and Hindu imagery.
After the park, make a short stop to admire the impressive Friendship Bridge, which links Laos and Thailand, before returning to hotel.

Dinner and accommodation at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning, drive toward Vang Vieng, on route Highway 13 in the north, through spectacular scenery, high mountains and plateaus. Enjoy lunch en route then continue the drive to Vang Vieng. After a visit to a tea plantation, ride on a small two-person boat for 30 minutes on the Nam Song River.
Check in at the hotel and, if time permits, walk through the village and enjoy the sunset on the river.

Dinner and accommodation at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning visit Vang Vieng’s local market and surroundings hen visit the natural cave of Tham Chang. Continue by car to Xieng Khouang Province 234 kilometres away (a 7-hour drive). On the way, have lunch at a local restaurant and stop to visit some minority villages.
Upon arrival in Xieng Khouang in the late afternoon, transfer to the hotel in Phonesavanh. The northern province of Xieng Khouang was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War and one can notice how much of the province is still pockmarked with bomb craters. The original capital of Xieng Khouang was almost totally destroyed, so the capital was moved to Phonesavanh.
Near Phonesavanh is the mysterious Plain of Jars featuring massive, ancient stone jars weighing up to as much as six tonnes. The jars have been fashioned from solid stone, most from a tertiary conglomerate known as molasses, akin to sandstone, and a few from granite. Visit Site 1 before heading back to the hotel.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Drive out to visit the Plain of Jars Site 2, which features 250 jars, and Site 3 with 90 jars. Several theories have been advanced as to the functions of the jars (burial urns, wine fermenters, rice storage), but there is no evidence confirming one theory over the other. However, in the 1930s, French archaeologists found ashes, stone axes, bronze ornaments and ceramics, which may have been offerings to the dead.
Continue on to Muang Khoune, the former capital of Xieng Khouang Province, which was destroyed by heavy bombings, and visit its ancient temples. Return to Phonesavanh for lunch. In the afternoon, visit ethnic minority villages (either Hmong, Phuan, Thai Neua, Thai Dam or Thai Lu).

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. After breakfast, journey on a 5-hour drive to Luang Prabang. On the way, stop to visit minority villages and to take photos of the remarkable scenery. Lunch at local restaurant. Upon arrival at Luang Prabang in the afternoon, transfer to the hotel and check in.

Diner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. In the morning visit Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa, That Makmo, then walk to the nearby Vat Aham, which is one of the city’s major tutelary shrines dedicated to Deveta Luang (spirit) and Pu Gneu Ya Gneu (ancestors). Climb Vat Phousi hill for an outstanding view over the city. After lunch, in the afternoon visit Vat Sene, Vat That Luang and Ban Hat Hient.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Visit Vat Xieng Thong, considered the town’s most beautiful temple. The main sanctuary represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with roofs that sweep low to the ground. In the compound stand several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images and, near the east gate, stands the Royal funeral chapel. Inside are an impressive 12-metre-high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of each Royal Family member. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana.
Then board a traditional boat for a trip upstream the Mekong River to visit the famous caves of Pak Ou, housing thousands of statues representing Lord Buddha. Enjoy a picnic lunch at a bamboo cottage overlooking the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers.
Return to Luang Prabang by boat and continue by car to visit Ban Phanom, a weaving village populated by Thai Lu who originally came from Sipsongpanna in Southern China.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Depart by road to the Kuang Si Waterfalls (about a 1-hour drive). The waterfalls tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. On the way to the waterfalls, visit the Khmu minority village of Ban Thapaene.
Enjoy a picnic lunch nearby the waterfalls the visit the butterfly park. Head back toward Luang Prabang stopping at Ban Xom, a lowland Lao village known for its cotton production, and Ban Xang Khong village to see how traditional Sa paper is made, along the way.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit the National Museum (a former King’s Palace) displaying a collection of personal artefacts of the Royal Family: photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign countries. Afterward, stroll through the lively Phousi Market where ethnic minorities from surrounding villages come daily to trade their goods. Lunch at the hotel.

Transfer to the airport for onward flight to your next destination.


  • Accommodation in shared double/twin room with air conditioning (AC) and private bathroom
  • Meals as stated in the programme B= Breakfast, L= Lunch & D= Dinner
  • Transfers and tours with English-speaking guides in private air conditioned vehicles
  • All entrance fees as mentioned in the programme
  • Mineral water available in the vehicles


  • Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
  • International airfare to / from Laos (quoted separately, if requested)
  • Optional tours
  • Surcharges for other language guides
  • Surcharges for Lao Pimai (New Year)
  • Personal travel insurance
  • Personal expenditures, such as drinks, souvenirs, laundry, camera fees, communications, postage, gratuities, etc.
  • Meals and services other than mentioned in the programme
  • Drinks with meals
  • Compulsory gala dinners during festive seasons and peak season surcharges which will be advised at the time of booking or when available
  • Early check-in and late check-out at hotels, if not mentioned in the programme


Upon request, a licensed French, German, Spanish or other language-speaking guide can accompany participants for the whole duration of the trip at an additional cost.

Tour code: SLT13

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