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Escape to Laos 11 Days

(11 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw

 

Few places are better for a quick escape than Laos, a tranquil land with stunning scenery, friendly locals, great food and an ambling pace of life. This tour starts in the relaxed capital city of Vientiane, then travels overland to Vang Vieng for some kayaking on the picturesque Nam Song River. Continue the journey to Luang Prabang for time to discover its rich heritage, before an adventure on the Nam Ou River exploring isolated river villages from a privately chartered boat.

 

** All our tours are Exclusive Private Tours, so you will not be put together with other guests **

 

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Day 1: Welcome to Vientiane

Fly to Vientiane, LAOS

 

Welcome to Laos. Upon arrival at Vientiane Airport, obtain your Laos visa (please refer to your Special Program Note), and then clear Immigration and Customs. After collecting your baggage, exit the airport to meet outside a local Guide of Global Travel & Tours. He/she will be holding a sign with your names on it. Please note that local guides are not allowed inside the airport.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. Vientiane’s major attractions are the serene Buddhist monasteries that dominate the center of town. The city has kept its timeless charm with tree-lined avenues, brightly painted temples and quaint French architecture.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights in Vientiane

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Salana Boutique Hotel, Ansara Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Green Park Boutique Hotel, Settha Palace Hotel

 

Day 2: Vientiane

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day tour of Vientiane: After breakfast, you'll head out with your guide and spend the morning visit Morning Market and nearby Ethnic Handicraft Market. The Morning Market (Talaat Sao) is known for its superior silk weaving, metal work, and woodcarving. We continue to explore Vientiane capital by visiting the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. En route to Lao's national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane's own Arc de Triumph. The final visit of the morning will be the excellent COPE exhibition center, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War era.

 

Later this afternoon we visit the quirky yet impressive Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow. They were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. Upon returning to Vientiane we have the optional of stopping at the Lao Disabled Womens Centre, which provides valuable training and schooling for disabled women in Laos. Finish the day with the spectacular view of the Mekong River at sunset.

 

Day 3: Vientiane – Vang Vieng

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

This morning you will set out a quiet road passing through beautiful karst landscapes, atmospheric temples and paddy fields as you head for Vang Vieng, a journey of approximately 3 hours. Drive to Vang Xang archeological site. The name means Elephant Palace, a reference to an elephant graveyard found in the vicinity. The site, which consists of a cluster of 10 high-relief Buddha sculptures on cliffs, is usually assigned to an 11th century Mon provenance. Continue to Vang Vieng. En route, visit Ban Houei Mo, the fisher village. The main attraction of Vang Vieng is the karst topography lining the west bank of the river with sugar loaf hills and dramatic cliffs covered by lush vegetation and peppered by caves and caverns. Continue to your lovely resort. The Riverside Boutique Resort is a superior hotel located on the banks of the Nam Song River. The hotel is surrounded by tropical gardens, just a short walk from the centre, and offers sweeping views of the magnificent limestone mountains. The hotel’s exterior has been designed in a French colonial style, whilst the interiors are influenced by Laos’ numerous ethnic groups. Each of the rooms is furnished with luxurious beds and has Wi-Fi, cable TV, air conditioning and a balcony with wither garden, pool or river views. Facilities include a fabulous swimming pool and spacious sun deck overlooking the glorious Nam Song River.

 

Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights at the Riverside Boutique Resort (Deluxe Room)

 

Day 4: Vang Vieng

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After breakfast this morning you will be transferred from your hotel to the Khmu village of Vieng Samay, about 10 km north of Vang Vieng. There will be an introduction to the basics of kayaking and the conditions on the Nam Song River.

 

The day starts with a few small but fun rapids on the way to the first stop at the cave of Tham Nam Thaem. This cave cuts straight through the mountain, and you emerge on the other side of the range for panoramic views of the Nam Kouang valley. A trek over a small pass leads up to a Lao style picnic lunch on the riverside. The next paddle stop is at the Organic Farm, where mulberry tea and a variety of fruit wines are produced. Further downstream lies the Tham Non Cave which one of the biggest in Vang Vieng and served as a rescue shelter for the villagers during the Second Indochina War. Today it is home to a bat colony and 'The Magic Stone of Vang Vieng'. The final leg is a gentle paddle returning to Vang Vieng.

 

Day 5: Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After breakfast at the hotel you will leave Vang Vieng for Luang Prabang, a journey of approximately 5 hours. The drive is on a beautiful road with breathtaking views over the mountains. There will be numerous photo opportunities on the way as you pass deep valleys and picturesque Hmong villages on the ridge tops. A stop will be made for lunch at a local restaurant en-route (payable locally). Stop at Pathang village for its dramatic view over the karst mountain landscape. On arrival in Luang Prabang you will be transferred to your lovely boutique hotel. The crown jewel of Laos and former Lanexang, Luang Prabang, is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in South East 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. Settle in and enjoy the afternoon and evening at your leisure.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights in Luang Prabang

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Burasari Heritage, Mekong Riverview Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 6: Alms in Luang Prabang & local rural life

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Shortly after dawn in Luang Prabang, a gong announces the end of morning prayers and the beginning of a procession of monks emerging from the temples to seek alms; rise early this morning to experience this extraordinary ritual. After breakfast, stroll through the lively Central Market where the ethnic minorities of the surroundings come daily. Visit the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and visit to Luang Prabang’s most beautiful temple, Vat Xiang Thong. Once a royal temple where Laotian kings were crowned, it is still home to the royal funeral chapel with the 12-meter-high funeral chariot and funeral urns for each member of the royal family. Remodeled in the 1960s, the temple features a gilded entrance, walls covered in black lacquer and decorated with gold figures and symbols and the impressive “tree of life” mosaic of stained glass, which is one of the best-known images in Laos, visit the Wat Mai temple; and take an orientation tour of the city, then explore the National Museum, preserved from its days as a royal residence at the turn of the 20th century and depicting day-to-day life for the rich and royal.

 

Spend the afternoon on a community based living rice farm situated in the idyllic countryside, surrounded by mountains and rice paddies. You’ll have an opportunity to experience the life of local rice farmers and try your hand at some of their daily activities, or view them from the comfort of a traditional Lao rice house balcony, surrounded by rice terraces and an organic vegetable farm. There will also be time to visit local handicraft workshops featuring crafts including bamboo weaving, blacksmithing, and sugar cane processing. And a tour of an organic garden offers insights on how natural herbs are used in traditional medicine. Returning to your hotel in Luang Prabang for an evening spent at leisure.

 

Day 7: Life in the Laotian countryside

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and drive to visit to Elephant Village for a delightful morning spent learning about Laotian elephants: Welcome greeting by our camp manager and participate in a short briefing about elephants. Enjoy the impressive experience of a 3 km elephant ride on the howdah (elephant seat) or on your elephant’s neck. From here enjoy boat trip to the Tad Sae Waterfall: Ride in a traditional Lao long boat to the Tad Sae Waterfall. After lunch, a scenic drive through the countryside leads to the multi-tiered cascades of the Khouang Si waterfalls. The distance is about 30km and takes approximately 1 hour passing through very scenic Laotian countryside. The waterfalls tumble over multi – tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. On the way to the waterfalls, visit small villages of Ban Na Oune, Hmong village and Khmu minority village of Ban Thapane for a glimpse into their lifestyle. Continue to the waterfalls. Return to Luang Prabang. On the way, visit Ban Ou, a lowland Lao village known for its cotton production. Continue to see silk production at Ban Phanom, a weaving village that become famous as the ‘weavers of royalty’, producing items for the Royal Palace of the last King of Laos.

 

Later afternoon, you'll be returned to your hotel for free to relax or explore independently.

 

Day 8: Luang Prabang – Nong Khiaw

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Road journey from Luang Prabang to Nong Khiaw: This morning depart north by road to the village of Nong Khiaw, a journey of around 3-4 hours.

 

Afternoon at leisure, with an optional tour to Tham Pha Thok Caves: This afternoon you have some time at leisure, with the option of taking a cycling or walking tour to the caves of Tham Pha Thok. These caves are located just over a mile outside Nong Khiaw where locals took shelter from bombings during the Second Indochina War. Please note that the bicycles will need to be rented locally from your lodge – your guide can assist you with this.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights at the Mandala Ou Resort (River View Bungalow)

 

Day 9: Nong Khiaw

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day trekking around Muang Ngoi: This morning take a private boat trip up the Nam Ou River to Muang Ngoi, an isolated fishing village 1 hour from Nong Khiaw. Shortly after leaving the village the trail leads through lush rice paddies to the authentic Lao Loum village of Ban Na, which is only accessible on foot. After lunch in the village continue to the Thai Daeng village of Huay Sen, before trekking back to Muang Ngoi through a mixture of forest and paddy fields. Travel back to Nong Khiaw by boat in the late afternoon.

 

Day 10: Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

River journey from Nong Khiaw to Luang Prabang: After breakfast you will depart for Luang Prabang by boat. Enjoy the spectacular landscape on this section of the Nam Ou River as you head back to Luang Prabang. Along the way you will get a chance to see the daily activities of the local people on the riverbanks. You will stop for lunch on one of the riverside ‘beaches'. After lunch continue the boat ride until you reach Ban Pak Ou where you will cross the Mekong to reach the famous Pak Ou Caves, visit the sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves. En route it is possible to stop at Ban Xang Hai village where local people produce Lao rice wine. Pak Ou caves have been home to many thousands of Buddha images that have been placed here by local people since 16th century, when King Setthathirath found the caves and declared them a holy spot, and even today many people still pay respect to this tradition. Afterwards, walk around Ban Pak Ou Village, a small Laotian fishermen’s village on the Mekong River, and continue to Ban Muang Keo village, where you will see the production of coloured fabric, which is woven on simple weaving looms. Continue on down the Mekong River until you reach Luang Prabang in the late afternoon, the rest of the day is free to spend as you please.

 

Accommodation: Stay 1 night in Luang Prabang

 

First Class 4 Star Hotels: Le Sen Boutique Hotel, Burasari Heritage, Mekong Riverview Hotel

 

Luxury 5 Star Hotels: Belmond La Residence Phou Vao, Luang Say Residence 

 

Day 11: Depart Luang Prabang

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Today free at leisure until transfer to the Luang Prabang airport in time for your flight to the next destination. We wish you a safe and pleasant journey.

 

 

Price guideline:

 

The above tour costs from $1,580*per person, based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room.

 

*Please note this price is subject to change at the time of booking, and depends on the date of travel and the availability of accommodation.

 

Our price includes (Private tour): 

• Accommodation base in a shared double or twin room throughout

Daily buffet breakfast at hotel and all hotels taxes and service charges.

Pick-ups and transfers by private air-conditioned vehicle as specified in the itinerary.

Travel by private, air-conditioned vehicle with an experienced, safe driver.

Private sightseeing with local, English-speaking guides as indicated in the itinerary.

Meals included as indicated as in program: B: breakfast, L: lunch & D: dinner.

Boat cruise as specified in the programmed.

Entrance fees according the above program.

Local bottled water while sightseeing and transfers.

VAT and all taxes and service charge.

 

The price does not include

International flight tickets and Visas

Any items of purely personal nature such as laundry and telephone calls

Personal, travel and health insurance

Early check in and late check out

Drinks during meals

Meals that are not specified

Gratuities/tipping to tour guide, driver and hotel staff and restaurant’s staff

 

 

All of our itineraries can customized as you wish, add extra days, change a hotel, and see different sights. For information on this or our other tours please email us at: info@globaltravel-asia.com