6-Day Historical Lao Discovery

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Tour type

Tour Level: High level

Tour Comfort: Luxury

Tour Period: 6 Days

tour highlights

  • Wander through the eye-opening 'COPE Visitor Centre'
  • Visit the spectacular Plain of Jars
  • Enjoy delicious lunches at local restaurants
  • Explore the Phonesavanh Market, a popular location for nearby villagers
  • See Vientiane's oldest temple

tour details

Discover the markets, sights and people that highlight the history of this fascinating country.

Meet upon arrival at Vientiane Wattay Airport or at Friendship Bridge, 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.
In the afternoon, 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.

Dinner at a local restaurant and accommodation at the hotel in Vientiane.
After breakfast at the hotel, begin today’s historical tour with a visit to the Laos National Museum (closed on public holidays), one of the only museums in Vientiane documenting both the history of Laos and the history of war.
Next, continue to the former President Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial Museum (closed on Mondays and public holidays). The museum comprises a central statue hall, surrounded by exhibition rooms with dioramas and displays that trace the great man’s life and career in the context of the Lao revolutionary history.
After touring the museum visitors can proceed to the Former President Kaysone Phomvihane’s house, a historical area located approximately one kilometre from the museum, where the former President's living and working quarters from 1975-1978 may be viewed.
Lunch at Kualao Restaurant. In the afternoon, visit COPE Visitor Centre. Though the war ended in 1975, the country is still littered with a significant amount of UXOs (unexploded ordnance), which have left many people missing limbs from unexpected explosions.
COPE stands for Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise and provides prosthetics and mobility devices for those people who require them. An interactive exhibit about the UXO problem tells how UXO affects communities, with stories of injured people and their experiences through their rehabilitation process.

Dinner and accommodation at the hotel in Vientiane.
After breakfast at hotel, visit the Morning Market, also known as Talaat Sao and famous for its superior silk weaving, metal work and woodcarving, and the nearby Ethnic Handicraft Market. Afterward, transfer to Vientiane Airport to take a Lao Airline flight to Xieng Khouang.
Meet upon arrival at Xieng Khouang Airport, transfer to Phonesavanh, the new capital city of the Xieng Khouang Province, and check in at the hotel. The Northern province of Xieng Khouang was heavily bombed during the Vietnam War and, as soon as the plane begins to descend, one can notice how much of the province is still pockmarked with bomb craters.
The original capital, 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.
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.

Return to Phonesavanh Township for dinner and accommodation at the hotel in Xieng Khoung.
After breakfast at the hotel, visit Phonesavanh Market, where ethnic minorities from the surrounding villages gather every morning, and the Lao Sericulture Company at their silk farm and training centre, featuring mulberries, silk and tea. Next, depart Xieng Khouang and begin a 5-hour drive to Luang Prabang stopping for lunch at a local restaurant on the way.
Arrive in Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. The crown jewel of Laos, Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East Asia. 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 in Luang Prabang.
Breakfast at hotel. This 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).
Next, 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. Lunch today is at local restaurant specialising in Lao cuisine.
In the afternoon, visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre, which houses exhibits on seven ethnic minority groups of northern Laos. The centre also has also a shop selling traditional hilltribe handicrafts and a nice cafe with books to browse through.
Continue on to visit Vat Mai, built in 1796 and famous for the five-tiered roof of its wooden sim, then climb Vat Phousi Hill for an outstanding view over the city. Later, experience a traditional Baci ceremony at a heritage house. Predating the arrival of Buddhism in Laos, Baci is not a Buddhist religious ceremony but a unique way of expressing goodwill.
The Baci is sincere in its simplicity, warm in its blessings and generous in its gifts. It is an all-purpose ceremony of welcome or farewell, of New Year, marriage, greeting newborns, honouring achievements, giving thanks for recovery from illness, and more.

Dinner at The House Restaurant. Accommodation at the hotel in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the airport for your departure flight.

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: HISL6

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