Explore the culture and architectural heritage of Luang Prabang
Enjoy the majesty and natural beauty of the Kuang Si Waterfall
Take delight in the Buddhist temples and French Colonial architecture of Vientiane
Observe the fascinating culture of the Alack and Nge tribes
Step back in time at Wat Phu and Phu Asa temples
Laos Discovery tour unearths many of the treasures of Laos, including two UNESCO World Heritage designates. The culture, history and architectural heritage of Laos is captured in visits to Luang Prabang town and to Vientiane. The natural beauty of Laos is seen through its waterfalls. Encounters with the fascinating culture of some of Laos’ hilltribes and visits to some its oldest temples round off this amazing tour.
Why choose this tour?
This journey is for people who want to experience UNESCO World Heritage sites, immerse themselves in the culture of hilltribes and to wonder at the natural beauty of Laos.
The crown jewel of Laos, this former royal capital, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading colonial architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, retains a unique charm rarely found in all of 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 voted Luang Prabang as a World Heritage city.
You will be met upon arrival at Luang Prabang International Airport (LPQ) and transfer and check in to your hotel. Lunch is at Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene.
After lunch visit Wat Visoun, the oldest temple in Luang Prabang and the site of the impressive Singhalese style That Makmo stupa. Nearby, we visit Wat Aham, one of the city's major tutelary shrines dedicated to revered spirits Deveta Luang and ancestors, Pu Gneu Ya Gneu. For a different perspective, we climb Wat Phousi Hill for a stunning 360-degree view over the city. After descending we visit Wat Mai, built in 1796 and famous for the five-tiered roof of its wooden sim built in the standard of Luang Prabang style. At the end of the tour relax and enjoy a Luang Prabang Sunset at Wat Prabaht Tai, located along the Mekong River.
Dinner is at 3 Nagas Restaurant.
Lunch at Le Cafe Ban Vat Sene
Dinner at 3 Nagas Restaurant
Following breakfast at the hotel visit the local fresh morning market. This energising market is where villagers from the remote areas sell their products. Engage with the sellers and maybe pick up some local produce to try. After the market drive about 30 kilometres to start your discovery of Kuang Si. On the way to the waterfalls, visit the Khmu minority village of Ban Thapaene and discover more about the traditions and daily life of this tribe. The waterfalls which tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools are ideal for swimming and relaxing by. Enjoy a pleasant picnic lunch close to the waterfalls.
Return to Luang Prabang. On the way, visit Ban Xom, a lowland Lao village known for its cotton production. Stop at Ban Xang Khong village to see how traditional Sa paper is made.
Visit 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. Then, board a traditional riverboat for a trip upstream the Mekong River to visit the famous caves of Pak Ou housing thousands of statues representing Lord Buddha. Lunch is at Ammala Restaurant overlooking the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers.
Return to Luang Prabang by boat enjoying the scenery and catching glimpses of life along the river and then continue by car to visit Ban Phanom, a weaving village populated by Tai Lu, who originally came from Sipsongpanna in Southern China. This is an opportunity to see a rural lifestyle and understand more about the way of living and the traditional handicraft of weaving.
Dinner is at Manda de Laos
Lunch at Ammala Restaurant
Dinner at Manda de Laos
Take some time to stroll through the historic streets and visit the Morning Market, an energising space, where the locals and ethnic minorities of the surrounds come daily to trade their goods. Return to your hotel for breakfast and afterwards visit the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center, which is a new museum about the ethnic cultures of Laos. The centre exhibits ethnic clothing, household objects, religious artefacts and handicrafts. Then visit the National Museum (former King's Palace) displaying a collection of personal artefacts of the Royal Family and round off the morning with lunch at Le Tangor Restaurant.
After lunch, transfer to Luang Prabang Airport for your Lao Airlines flight to Vientiane. 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.
You will be met upon arrival at Vientiane Wattay Airport and then transfer and check in at your hotel. Start your tour of the monasteries with a visit Wat Sisaket, architecturally beautiful and the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Wat Sisaket features remarkable frescoes and an amazing 6,840 Buddha images. These date back to the 16th and 19th centuries. 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 Laos. 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. One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Patousay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958, its architecture is inspired by the Arc of Triumph in Paris. Another famous Vientiane landmark is the gold covered and architecturally splendid 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 is at Kualao Restaurant
Lunch at Le Tangor
Dinner at Kualao Restaurant
Following breakfast at the hotel there is an early morning transfer to Veintiane Wattay Airport for your Lao Airlines flight to Pakse. You will be met upon arrival at Pakse Airport, and then transfer and check-in at the hotel. This is followed by an excursion to Tadlo, located on the Northern edge of the Bolaven Plateau. Tadlo is touted as a serene resort near the Xeset waterfall.
Lunch is at the Tadlo resort.
After lunch, continue to visit the Alack and Nge tribal villages to witness and learn about their unique traditions and way of living. Finally, drive back to Pakse via Paksong where you will visit a tea and coffee plantation and learn why this regions landscape and climate is perfect for growing both.
Return to Pakse.
Take breakfast at the hotel and then transfer to board a traditional local long-tail riverboat and cruise down the Mekong River, heading south towards the former royal capital of Champasak and then continue by car to the pre-Angkorian Wat Phu Temple. Wat Phu, a World Heritage Site, means ‘mountain temple’. The temples in this complex are dated between the 6th and 13th Centuries! Wat Phu lies on a hillside and offers spectacular views on the surrounding plains and the 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. The temple is divided in two parts. The lower part consists of two ruined palace buildings at the edge of a pond, which was used for ritual ablutions. The upper section, the temple sanctuary itself, once enclosed a large Shiva phallus (linga). It was later converted into a Buddhist temple but much of the original Hindu sculpture remains. 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. Lunch is at a local restaurant.
After lunch continue by car to Ban Khiet Ngong village and then stroll to reach the enigmatic Phu Asa temple, which lies amidst the dense jungle. Return to Pakse.
After breakfast at the hotel, visit Pakse local market, then drive to Chong Mek immigration checkpoint (border crossing to Thailand). Meet at Chongmek border by Top Line Tour, which is our Thailand travel partner.
Transfer to Khongjiam district by passing Pakmoon Dam. Walking tour in the prehistoric rock painting at Phateam where the paintings are believed to be about 4,000 years old. The painting depicts a variety of animal's portrait along Mekong River at that time. Lunch at Aranya restaurant at Khonjiam district or in Ubon Rachathani.
After lunch continue to Ubon Ratchathani International Airport (UBP) for the departure flight to Bangkok. (Airfare is not included in the tour price).
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