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A Mekong Experience in Laos

(15 Days - Departs Daily on a Private Basis)

Luang Prabang, Muang La, Nong Khiaw, Pakse, Champassak, Vientiane

 

This tour combines the ancient wonders of Luang Prabang and the waterways of northern Laos with the rural beauty of the Plateau and the spectacular Wat Phou in southern Laos. Fly to Luang Prabang and start unwinding in the enchanting atmosphere of this beautiful riverside town. Once tuned in to the relaxed pace of life embark on a 4 day loop travelling by private boat along the waterways of the Mekong, staying in two charming lodges located in some of the most scenic parts of northern Laos. Return to Luang Prabang for a day at leisure before flying south to explore the Bolaven Plateau, famous for its coffee plantations and many spectacular waterfalls. Continue overland to the mysterious pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Phou and the Four Thousand Islands before finishing the tour in the tranquil capital Vientiane.

 

** 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 Luang Prabang

Fly to Luang Prabang, LAOS

 

Welcome to Laos. Upon arrival at Luang Prabang 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. 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 2: Luang Prabang & local rural life

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day tour of Luang Prabang: This morning your guide will meet you at your hotel and 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 and visit 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 3: 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 4: Luang Prabang – Muang La

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Road transfer to Muang La: After breakfast you will be picked up from your Hotel for the drive to Muang La. You will drive through some wonderful scenery, with numerous villages and scenic spots to stop off at along the way. Upon arrival you will be transferred to the delightful Muang La Resort, famous for its natural hot springs. The remainder of your day is at leisure to enjoy the serenity of the Muang La Resort and its welcoming hot spring baths.

 

Muang La District offers great mountain scenery, remote villages with friendly locals and a gentle pace of life. The wide Nam Pak River runs by where you can see water buffalo bathing and local children playing along the river banks. It is a great spot to languish and enjoy the peace and quiet of your surroundings. For those who want more action you can explore mountain trails on foot or by mountain bike, passing through farmland, forest and rice paddies to small minority communities.

 

Accommodation: Stay 2 nights at the Muang La Resort (Bungalow)

 

Day 5: Muang La

Meals Provided: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner

 

Morning visit to a minority village: This morning you will be met by a guide and taken in a 4x4 vehicle and depart Muang La Resort for a day of trekking and exploring the local area where you will discover minority hill tribe people and their fascinating way of life. Today’s journey is truly off the beaten track and ensures some stunning mountain views along the way. Setting off by 4x4 vehicles in the direction of Pak Khai, it's a pleasant drive with wonderful views across the Nam Pak River to rice paddies and small villages along the river banks. Commence trekking along a mountain trail that follows a meandering stream where you may encounter local farmers cultivating the fertile land, fishing in the river and hunting for small game. Your trek will take you through lush vegetation and dense forest until you reach the beautiful village of Ban Phavie, a Khamu village atop a hill with superb views over the surrounding area.

 

After a picnic lunch continues on to a beautiful waterfall where you can relax and take a refreshing dip. Return to Muang La in the late afternoon where the remainder of your day is at leisure.

 

Evening activities: The evening can be spent relaxing in the natural hot springs, taking a traditional massage and enjoying the excellent local Lao cuisine in the restaurant.

 

Day 6: Muang La – Nong Khiaw

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

 

River journey to Nong Khiaw: After breakfast you will be driven to Muang Khua, where you will board a private boat for the spectacular journey downstream to Nong Khiaw. This particular stretch promises stunning scenery and a sprinkling of remote villages, including Ban Sob Jaem a Khmu and Hmong village that can only be accessed by boat. Stop for lunch at the quaint village of Muang Ngoi, nestled at the foothill of a giant limestone outcrop and an ideal place for travellers to take a break whilst coasting up and down the Nam Ou. Arrive in Nong Khiaw in the late afternoon. Picnic lunch on boat. Nong Khiaw is a remote village situated on the banks of the Nam Ou River and flanked on either side by stunning mountainous back-drops. The remainder of your day is at leisure so why not take a stroll along the river bank, wander through local villages, or cycling around Tham Pha Thok, a cave just over a mile outside Nong Khiaw where locals took shelter from bombings during the Second Indochina War.

 

Accommodation: Stay 1 night at the Mandala Ou Resort (Riverview Bungalow)

 

Day 7: Nong Khiaw – Luang Prabang

Meals Provided: Breakfast & Lunch

 

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 8: Luang Prabang – Pakse – Champasak

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Pakse.

 

Fly Luang Prabang to Pakse on Laos Airlines QV513, departing 10:40, arriving 12:20

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Pakse. Upon arrival at Pakse Airport. 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.

 

Road Journey: On arrival in Pakse, you will be met by your guide and drive south towards Champassak. En-route you will visit the impressive and scenic Tad Fane Waterfalls located on the fascinating Boloven Plateau. The Boloven Plateau, which was formed by an ancient volcano, is famous for its agricultural products including many coffee and tea plantations. The plateau has a number of tribal villages, some of them still practicing Stone Age culture. They use extremely primitive agriculture tools and conduct frequent spiritual ceremonies. En-route, visit the ethnic minority villages of the Lavai and Yaheune tribes. Also stop to visit a tea and coffee plantation before continue on to Champassak to arrive in the late afternoon and check into your lovely resort. The comfortable River Resort enjoys an enchanting location on the banks of the Mekong River. The 20 guestrooms are contained in a series of villas spread throughout spacious gardens. The Resort has a restaurant serving a high standard of local and international cuisine. Guests can also take advantage of the massage pavilion, the infinity swimming pool and complimentary Wi-Fi throughout.

 

Accommodation: Stay 3 nights at The River Resort (Deluxe River Room)

 

Day 9: Champassak – Wat Phou – Champassak

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Morning tour of Wat Phou: After breakfast there will be a guided tour of the fascinating pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phou. Founded in the first decades of the 9th century by Jayavarman II, the first king of an independent Khmer nation, the pre-Angkorian Wat Phou Temple (6th-13th centuries). Wat Phou Temple lies on a hillside and offers spectacular views on the surrounding plains and on the Mekong River. UNESCO listed Vat Phu Temple as a World Heritage site in 2002. 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.

 

This afternoon is at leisure to relax at your hotel or explore the local countryside.

 

Day 12: Champassak – Four Thousand Islands – Champassak

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Full day tour of the Four Thousand Islands: After an early morning breakfast, we head south by road and boat explore Khone Island. Cruise along the backwaters to explore Siphandone. During the rainy season, the Mekong River reaches a breadth of 14kms, the river’s widest reach along its 4,350 km journey from the Tibetan Plateau towards the South China Sea; when the river recedes, it leaves behind thousands of islands and islets. Visit the surrounding islands of Done Det and Done Som for a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the fishermen. Continue to Done Khone Island and hike along its ancient railway built by the French in 1897 in order to bypass the powerful rapids when transporting goods from Cambodia. Continue to the Sumphamith Waterfall. Return to Ban Khone. Board a local long-tail riverboat to reach Ban Phiengdee for lunch. In the afternoon, continue by car to visit the magnificent Khone Phapheng Waterfall, the largest cascade along the Mekong River. A fault line caused the cascade, which is 6 km wide at this point, and the astonishing force of the water has cut dramatic gorges through the brittle bedrock.

 

Day 13: Champasak – Pakse – Vientiane

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

After leisurely morning, you will be transferred to the airport in time for your flight to Vientiane.

 

Fly Pakse to Vientiane on Laos Airlines QV304, departing 12:40, arriving 13:55

Economy Class - Issued By Global Travel & Tours

 

Welcome to Vientiane. Upon arrival at Vientiane Airport. 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 14: 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.

 

From the airport, you will be privately transferred to your lovely boutique hotel.

 

Day 15: Depart Vientiane

Meals Provided: Breakfast

 

Today free at leisure until transfer to the Vientiane 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 $2,160*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.

Domestic flight tickets: Luang Prabang – Pakse on Economy Class.

Domestic flight tickets: Pakse – Vientiane on Economy Class.

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