14-Day Laos City to Countryside Cultural Experience

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 14 Days

tour highlights

  • See where the borders of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand converge
  • Explore the World Heritage City of Luang Prabang
  • Stroll through the lively Phousi Market
  • Visit the impressive Tad Fane Waterfall
  • Discover the serene islands of Don Det & Don Som

tour details

The famous Golden Triangle is your entrance to the culturally and historically fascinating Laos.

Meet upon arrival at Chiang Rai Airport in the afternoon and transfer by road directly to Chiang Saen. Check in at your hotel, followed by free time at leisure.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, visit some villages near the Myanmar border then admire the scenery along the three borderlines of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand along the Mekong River. Embark on a longtail boat from the Golden Triangle boat pier to cruise along the mighty Mekong. Lunch at local restaurant.
Visit the Chiang Saen National Museum to view a collection of exquisite and revered artefacts from the founding of this city in 1328 by King Saen Pu. The ancient ruins of Pra That Chedi Luang are also nearby. Next, continue by road to the town of Chiang Khong on the Thailand-Laos border.
Upon arrival at the international border crossing, proceed through Thai customs and immigration formalities then board a local ferryboat to cross the Mekong River to Laos and proceed through Lao customs and immigration formalities.
Meet upon arrival at the Houei Xay immigration checkpoint and transfer to the hotel for check-in, with the remainder of the day free at leisure.

Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Today is a full-day excursion to visit the small town of Houei Xay and its surroundings. The first stop is at the Lanten village of Ban Nam Chang. The Lanten tribes, recognised by their dark indigo clothing, are sometimes called “Lao Houay” (stream Lao) because they choose to live near permanent streams. The women also pluck or shave their eyebrows upon reaching puberty and wear their hair in a traditional style: swept up and held in place with beautiful silver jewellery.
Continue to visit a nearby Khmu village. Lunch at local restaurant. In the afternoon, visit Vat Chomkhao Manilath, the most beautiful temple in Houei Xay and the local market where ethnic minorities from nearby villages gather every day.
Dinner at local restaurant.

Accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel or local restaurant. Transfer to the boat pier and embark on a traditional wooden riverboat for a cruise down the Mekong River, known as the “Mother of Waters”. The significant river has maintained its untamed character with rapids and pristine forests along each bank.
En route, visit the Hmong minority village of Ban Houeilampen, which is home to 50 families. Hmong women are renowned for their beautiful embroidered costumes and their impressive silver jewellery. Enjoy lunch onboard the boat before arriving in Pakbeng in the afternoon. This rustic town-village sits on a steep hillside and offers spectacular views over the Mekong River.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Continue the cruise toward Luang Prabang with lunch on board. En route, stop at Pak Ou and visit the sacred caves that house over a thousand of statues representing Lord Buddha. Upon arrival in Luang Prabang, transfer and check in at the hotel.
The crown jewel of Laos, Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. Magical and charming, it has kept its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995 UNESCO voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage City.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the 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.
Next, 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 Phousi Hill for an outstanding view over the city before continuing to visit Vat Mai. Built in 1796, the temple is famous for the five-tiered roof of its wooden sim. Lunch at local restaurant. Afterward, visit Ban Phanom weaving village, populated by Thai Lu who originally came from Sipsongpanna in Southern China.
Return to Luang Prabang and view the sunset from Vat Prabaht Tai located along the Mekong River.

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, 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 then return to Luang Prabang. On the way, visit Ban Xang Khong village to see how traditional paper is made.

Dinner at local restaurant. Accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. This morning, stroll through the lively Phousi Market where ethnic minorities from surrounding villages come daily to trade their goods. Transfer to the airport for a Lao Airlines flight to Vientiane. Meet upon arrival at Vientiane Wattay Airport, transfer and check in at the hotel.
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. Lunch at the hotel.
In the afternoon visit That Luang Stupa. King Setthathirath built this great sacred stupa, considered 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. Return to hotel.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. 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. Lunch at Kualao Restaurant. In the afternoon, visit the Morning Market (Talaat Sao) and continue to visit the weaving village of Ban Nong Boua Thong followed by a visit to Vat Si Muang.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Early morning transfer to the airport for a Lao Airlines flight to Pakse. Meet upon arrival at Pakse Airport, transfer and check in at the hotel. After check in, 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 (Alack 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.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. 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 a picnic lunch at a local restaurant, continue by car to enter the scenic Siphandone region (Four Thousand Islands). During the rainy season, the Mekong River reaches a breadth of 14 kilometres, the river’s widest reach along its 4,350-kilometres journey from the Tibetan Plateau toward the South China Sea. When the river recedes, it leaves behind thousands of islands and islets.
Upon arrival in Khong Island, transfer and check in at the hotel. With its lovely fishing villages, its serene monasteries and its lush vegetation, Khong Island offers a unique opportunity to experience the peaceful Lao way of life.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Cruise along the backwaters to explore Siphandone. Visit the surrounding islands of Don Det and Don Som for a glimpse into the local fishermen’s traditional lifestyle. Next, continue to Don Khone Island and have lunch at local restaurant in Ban Khone. Hike along the island’s ancient railway, built by the French in 1897 in order to bypass the powerful rapids when transporting goods from Cambodia.
Continue to Sumphamith Waterfall before returning to Ban Khone. Lunch at hotel. Enjoy the evening at your leisure.

Dinner and accommodation at hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Take a boat to Ban Nakasang then visit the magnificent Khone Phapheng Waterfall – the largest cascade along the Mekong River. A fault line caused the cascade, which is 6-kilometres-wide at this point, and the astonishing force of the water has cut dramatic gorges through the brittle bedrock. Return to Pakse by car.
On the way visit Ban Khiet Ngong village and reach the enigmatic Phu Asa temple, which lies amidst the dense jungle. After lunch at local restaurant, visit the 12th century Khmer ruins of Oum Moung temple, hidden within a forest of towering trees, and visit some nearby villages. Arrive back in Pakse in the late afternoon.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel.
Breakfast at the hotel. Visit Pakse’s local market, then drive to Chong Mek immigration checkpoint (border crossing to Thailand). Meet with your Thai guide at Chong Mek and transfer to Khongjiam district by passing Pak Moon Dam. Journey out on a walking tour through the prehistoric rock paintings at Phateam where the paintings are believed to be about 4,000 years old. The paintings depict a variety of animals and humans along Mekong River at that time.
Lunch at Aranya restaurant at Khongjiam district or in Ubon Ratchathani.

After lunch, continue to Ubon Ratchathani Airport for the departure flight to Bangkok (airfare is not included in the tour price).

includes

  • 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

excludes

  • 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

notes

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: MM14

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