Embark on a slow tour of the timeless temples of Luang Prabang
Discover the Living Land embracing natures rich bounty
Explore Pha Tad Ke, the first and only Botanical garden in Laos
Take part in a traditional Baci Blessing ceremony
Dive deep into the spirit, culture and natural beauty of Luang Prabang. From the temples and rituals of the city to the rural villages and farms, tread lightly through this timeless landscape. This 5-day journey will show you the best of the timeless traditions and architecture of Luang Prabang. As you slow down on your journey, with nature as your backdrop, find delight in taking time out as you visit and eat at local organic farms and restaurants.
Why choose this tour?
This tour is for people who want to experience all the timeless wonders of Luang Prabang at a slow pace. A tour that brings contentment as you tread lightly in Luang Prabang and connect with the spirit of the city. Experience wonder and joy while exploring the temples and rituals of the city often at walking or cycling speed. As you slow down, and with nature as your backdrop, find delight in taking time out as you visit and eat at local organic farms and restaurants.
The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, Luang Prabang, is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. Magical and charming, it has preserved its long-standing reputation as a stronghold of Lao culture with its splendid natural scenery and sense of timelessness. In 1995, UNESCO listed Luang Prabang as a World Heritage city.
You will be met upon arrival at Luang Prabang International Airport and transfer and check in at the hotel. Once you are settled we will take you to the best view of the city as we climb Wat Phousi Hill. From the top of the hill there is a stunning 360-degree view of the city and the surrounds. This sunset experience will be an exquisite start to your tour. After descending we visit the famous ‘Night Market’ where you can browse the wares, many of which are hand-made by the people from the surrounding villages, and look for a gift or souvenir.
Our welcome dinner tonight takes you to a truly unique tropical setting at Manda de Laos where you dine surrounded by the UNESCO classified lily pond. Serving only traditional Laotian family food, garnered from across all regions of Laos, this is upscale fine-dining at its best. Insert tour details
At 5:45 hours depart early from the iMekong Boat Pier for a magical dawn journey along the Mekong. Enjoy the breathtaking landscape while witnessing the daily activities along the river’s edge as the local people prepare for the day ahead. Arrive at Ban Don Kao and be greeted by your host in her Mekong Riverside property. A short walk will take you to observe the special daily ritual of locals in Laos – morning alms giving or ‘Tak Bat’. This ritual is an integral part of the Buddhist traditions in Laos. The giving is earning merit or ‘bun’ towards their next life. This improves their existence for their next life on earth.
After the ceremony enjoy breakfast with your host overlooking the Mekong River, whilst watching the sun rise to grace a new day. After breakfast return by boat to Luang Prabang at 7:30 hours and transfer back to your hotel.
9:00 hours – bicycle or electronic vehicle city tour
At 9:00 hours you will be picked up for your tour around the outstanding architecture and spiritual culture of the UNESCO world heritage city of Luang Prabang. We begin our tour with a visit to a Traditional Lao Wooden House (Heuan Chan Heritage Museum) and learn about the architecture of Traditional Houses in Luang Prabang’s past. Having gained some context for our tour we head to Wat Visoun, the oldest temple in Luang Prabang and the site of the impressive Singhalese style That Makmo stupa. A short walk takes us to the nearby Wat Aham, which is one of the city's major tutelary shrines, dedicated to revered spirits Deveta Luang and ancestors, Pu Gneu Ya Gneu. Our last temple visit is to Wat Xieng Thong, considered the most beautiful temple. The sim of the Wat 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, which were displayed in Paris in 1911. Near the East gate stands the Royal Funeral Chapel. Inside are an impressive 12-metre high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of the Royal Family. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana. Also look out for the “tree of life” montage on the rear temple wall.
Lunch today is at a humble but locally famous Khao Poon stall. Khao Poon is a popular type of spicy rice vermicelli. It is a long-simmered soup most often made with pounded meat or fish and seasoned with fresh Lao ingredients such as lime leaves, galangal, garlic, shallots, Lao chilies, and perilla.
After enjoying lunch, we travel the short distance to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (closed on Mondays), a small private museum about minority groups where you can learn about ethnic cultures and traditional arts. The exhibits contain text, photographs and objects from villages throughout the north of Laos.
The rest of the afternoon is at leisure to explore Luang Prabang or join us for afternoon “coffee and cake” at Saffron Espresso café. For our coffee-lovers, you can’t leave without trying one of Saffron’s alternate brews. Or if coffee isn’t your thing, sip on some cascara and ginger tea or their very own home-made cascara kombucha and come upstairs to read the stories of their local farmers. You can lounge on the comfy couches upstairs or take a seat outside overlooking the Mekong River and watch the world drift by.
After we have finished “afternoon tea” we transfer back to your hotel where you have time to refresh before dinner tonight which is as your leisure.
After a relaxing breakfast at your hotel we will pick you up and drive to the Living Land Rice Experience. This experience is located in an idyllic countryside setting surrounded by mountains in the middle of ancient rice terraces. You will be shown how rice is grown on the farm, experience the life of a rice farmer with the option to try your hand at some of the activities. Or, if you prefer, just view it all from the comfort of the traditional Lao rice house terrace. You will meet some Lao people and Rodolphe, their buffalo. Lunch today is at the Terrace Restaurant on site overlooking the extensive rice fields and the mountains in the distance. Relax and unwind as you enjoy a selection of typical Lao dishes, cooked to perfection by local ladies.
After lunch we transfer to Kuang Si which boasts an impressive three tiers of waterfalls, culminating in a sensational 50 metre cascade, before spilling into a series of mineral-rich turquoise pools. Pathways and a nature trail lead through the forest alongside these pools towards a charming wooden bridge where the falls can be enjoyed in all their splendour. The perfect spot for your photos.
On the way back from Kuang Si to Luang Prabang we will visit the recently opened Butterfly Park (closed on Tuesdays), where you can see a large variety of colourful butterflies and orchids and with knowledgeable guides on hand. You can also enjoy the natural fish spa! The butterfly park, contributes to the education of local children about biology and helps raise awareness about the vulnerability of Laos' ecosystem and how local people can preserve it.
We finish today’s visits by stopping at the Laos Buffalo Dairy. The first and only buffalo dairy in Laos, the farm is a social enterprise that produces a wide array of products including artisanal cheeses, ice-cream and cheesecake. There is an optional guided tour available through the mini farm, otherwise you can choose to relax and enjoy a drink and something to eat at the café [at own cost] and wander around the dairy farm at your leisure.
After we leave the Laos Buffalo Dairy we continue the journey back to Luang Prabang passing through villages and getting a glimpse of local village life and of the farms of these local communities. On arrival back in Luang Prabang you will be dropped back to your hotel.
Dinner is at L éléphant Vert – This restaurant focusses on the botanical aspects of the local Luang Prabang food. It serves a unique kind of “rawfully good” vegan food with a Southeast Asian flavours. Your taste buds are in for a treat.
Enjoy breakfast at your hotel. We pick up at the hotel and transfer (no guide) to the Pha Tad Ke boat.
The day begins with a short boat trip that departs Ban Wat That at 9:00 hours. Enjoy the 15-minute leisurely boat trip down the Mekong River. Upon arrival at Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden reception you will be given a short presentation about the gardens by a local guide (Join in). Then start to discover the gardens with a walk through the Ginger Garden and the Ethno-botanic Garden, the latter is the centrepiece of the garden. Follow the path through the Limestone Walk and take in the amazing mountainous Mekong landscape. Insert tour details
There is also the opportunity to learn how to make a bamboo stick animal. This takes place at the site of the hunting lodge of the former royal family. Then continue your tour of Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden by walking through the Arboretum, Palm Garden and Bamboo Garden ending up at our beautiful viewpoint overlooking the rice fields. As the tour continues stop at the Mist House where you will learn more about the importance of biodiversity conservation. You can finish your tour of the gardens with an optional orchid talk at the Pha Tad Ke Nursery.
All the gardens you visit have introductory panels and labels and you can always ask our expert staff if you have any questions or require more information.
After visiting the gardens take time to relax and enjoy a delicious Lao set lunch at the Pha Tad Ke café. This is farm-to-table dining at its best overlooking the beautiful lily pond.
Return to Luang Prabang by boat and transfer without guide back to your hotel.
Late afternoon we will pick you up at your hotel and will transfer to Ban Naxang village to take part in a traditional Baci Blessing ceremony with Bamboo Experience (5km out of town). Set in a natural environment surrounded by rice fields and bamboo trees the Heads of the village will prepare and lead this interactive blessing ceremony, along with the villagers.
Baci meaning "calling of the soul" is an important ceremony practiced in Lao and Thai culture. It is a ritual used to celebrate important and special events, like births and marriages, novice monks entering monkhood, departing, returning and beginning a New Year. The ritual of the Baci involves tying strings around a person's wrist to preserve good luck, and has become a national custom.
After the ceremony is complete we will transfer back to your hotel with the rest of the evening and dinner at leisure.
Lunch at Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden
Breakfast at the hotel and then visit the National Museum (former King's Palace, closed on Tuesdays) displaying a collection of personal artefacts of the Royal Family: photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign countries. Then stroll through the old quarter to discover the daily lifestyle of villagers.
Lunch is at Khaiphaen Restaurant a vocational training restaurant serving traditional Laotian cuisine and with a monthly specials board.
After lunch transfer to Luang Prabang International Airport for your flight departure.
Lunch at Khaiphaen Restaurant
customise the tour
Day 2 - Enjoy a game of Pétanque with the locals in the late afternoon or evening
Accommodation in shared double/ twin room with air-condition (AC) and private bathroom
Meals as stated in the programme B= breakfast, L= lunches & D = Dinner as program mention.
Transfers and tours with your selected local English speaking guide in private air-conditioned vehicles
All entrance fees and boat fees as mentioned in the programme
Drinking water and cold towels available on the vehicles
Local Government Tax
Domestic airfare (quoted separately, if requested)
International airfare to / from Lao (quoted separately, if requested)
Surcharges for other language guides
Surcharges for Lao Pimai (New Year)
Personal travel insurance
Personal expenditure, 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
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