An unforgettable 16 day journey through the Lane Xang Kingdom . Departure on the last Saturday of each month.
£1,895 PER PERSON. Code LA16D.
HOUEYXAY - PAKBENG - LUANGPRABANG - KHOUANGSI - XIENGKHOANG - VIENTIANE - PAKSE - SARAVANE - TADLO - CHAMPASSACK - KHONG ISLANDS - CHONMECK
Price includes: Internal flights, airport/hotel transfers, hotels as stated or similar with daily breakfast & lunch, welcome dinners, air conditioned private coach and English speaking local guides for excursions and visits as per programme, admission fees.
Price excludes : International flights *, insurance, visa to Laos (obtainable on arrival at US$35 and 01 photo), camera & video fees, tipping, optional entertainments and any service not specified. Single room supplement £495 per person.
* To make your holidays even more hassle-free, we can purchase international flights on your behalf at competitive prices. Please call for more information.
DAY 01 International flights to ChiangRai.
DAY 02 CHIANGRAI (B/-/D)
Arrival in ChiangRai airport in the morning, where our representative will transfer you to The Mantrini boutique hotel. Afternoon guided orientation tour of ChiangRai followed by welcome Dinner. Overnight at The Mantrini hotel.
DAY 03 HUAY XAI / PAKBENG BY PRIVATE BOAT (B/L/D)
After an early breakfast, overland transfer across Thai/Lao border in Chiang Khong. After passing through immigration, cross the Mekong River to Huay Xai in Laos where your guide will be waiting for you at the immigration point. After completing border formalities, you will board your comfortable private traditional boat for the trip down the Mekong River. The scenery along this part of the Mekong is arguably at its most beautiful. As you leisurely cruise downriver, stop at some tribal minority villages such as Ban Houy Nokhom, a Hmong village and Ban Kon Toum, a Thai Lu weaving village. Upon arrival in Pakbeng, transfer to Pakbeng Lodge where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight in Pakbeng.
DAY 04 PAKBENG / LUANG PRABANG (B/L/D)
Early this morning, you have a choice of two complimentary optional activities: a visit to the fascinating tribal market followed by a short trek to a local temple and picturesque village rarely seen by other visitors; or alternatively visit a local elephant camp to see and participate in bathing the elephants, followed by a short elephant ride. Both activities require a 6.30am start, then a return to your lodge for breakfast. Please speak to your guide the day before to finalize this. Around 9am, depart by private boat to Luang Prabang. En route stop at Ban Thone, a Khmu village where depending on the season, you may see the locals panning for gold, basket making, and blacksmiths at work. Following lunch on board we have time to visit the sacred Pak Ou Caves crammed with thousands of Buddha images before continuing our cruise down to Luang Prabang, arriving there in late afternoon. Overnight in Luang Prabang at 4* Villa Santi boutique hotel in town centre.
DAY 05 LUANG PRABANG (B/L/-)
After breakfast, visit the Royal Palace Museum hosting a range of interesting artefacts. From there we begin our walking tour, taking in some of Luang Prabang’s hidden secrets, going down the quiet back lanes leading to Wat Xiengthong. Along the way, stop at Wat Chomkhong, known for its decorative carvings. This area contains a mix of beautiful old French Colonial buildings, and traditional old Lao houses, which you will have time to admire, along with a stop at the small but charming Wat Phapai. We also pass by the Fine Arts School to see some of the quality artwork on display. Our final visit is the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Luang Prabang style. Lunch at local restaurant. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
DAY 06 LUANG PRABANG (B/L/-)
Half day guided tour of the City and Weaving village, starting with a visit to Wat Visoun, known as ‘The Water Melon Stupa’ due to its shape. We also visit the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre which gives us a further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos. We then visit the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. Lunch at local restaurant and afternoon at leisure. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
DAY 07 LUANG PRABANG / HMONG EXPERIENCE AND KUANG SI WATERFALL (B/L/-)
After breakfast, visit the local Phousi Market where all the locals shop, your guide will show you the diverse offerings on display. We also stop at Ock Pop Tock silk weaving centre. Here you will have a guided tour and explanation of the silk weaving process. Then drive to Ban Thinkeo, a Hmong village to trek with the villagers. Your guide will explain how Hmong people use various plants in their daily lives. A good chance to cut some vegetables and herbs with the local people in a local garden. We then continue to Kuang Si Waterfall and enjoy a picnic lunch overlooking the beautiful multi tiered falls. You also have the opportunity to cool off in the turquoise blue pools. Afterwards return to Luang Prabang in time to catch the sun setting over the Mekong. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Note: during the rainy season, the itinerary is subject to change due to the weather conditions, an alternative programme is available.
DAY 08 LUANG PRABANG / XIENGKHUANG BY ROAD (B/L/-)
We start early this morning, around 8am for the drive to Xiengkhuang, famous for the ‘Plain of Jars’. The road follows a twisty mountain route, and we make our first stop at Houi Hei offering great views of the surrounding mountains. Continue to explore Ban Kiu Kam Pone, a Khmu village before arriving in Phou Khoun for lunch. We continue on the road into Xiengkhuang province, reaching our highest altitude of the day (1500m above sea level) just after Phou Khoun. Time to make a stop at Ban Son Boom, a Hmong village. Our final stop of the day to the hidden Buddha Cave is a reminder that this region played a major part during the Vietnam War; the cave served as an army hospital during the war. Arrive at your hotel by early evening. Overnight in Xiengkhuang at Auberge de la Plaine des Jarres.
DAY 09 XIENGKHUANG - PLAIN OF JARS / FLIGHT TO VIENTIANE (B/L/D)
Morning visit to the Mines Action Group or MAG office to learn about the work they do in clearing land mines and unexploded ordnance in the area. We then transfer out to Jar Site 1, the largest site, and Jar Site 3, located on top of a hill offering great views of the surrounding countryside. We return back to Phonesavan town for lunch and onto the airport for your flight to Vientiane. On arrival transfer to Green Park boutique Hotel.
DAY 10 VIENTIANE / BACI CEREMONY (B/L/D)
An optional early start enables you to visit the fascinating local market of Thongkhankham where the locals shop and a wide variety of weird and wonderful foods are on offer. We continue to explore Vientiane 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, well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. The final visit of the morning will be the excellent COPE exhibition centre, 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. An optional lunch can be taken at the excellent Mak Phet Restaurant, which helps to train disadvantaged youths for a career in the hospitality industry. 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, optional visit to the Lao Disabled Women Centre, which provides valuable training and schooling for disabled women in Laos. A spectacular view of the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day. Baci Ceremony and Lao dinner at Kong Khao Restaurant. Overnight in Vientiane.
DAY 11 VIENTIANE / PAKSE / BOLOVEN PLATEAU (B/L/-)
Depart Vientiane early to catch the morning flight to Pakse. On arrival, overland transfer into the Bolaven Plateau, known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. First stop is to visit Houey Ten, a Katu village specializing in knife making. We then stop at tea plantations, followed by a stop at Tad Fan Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall. Next stop will be at a coffee plantation, en route to Tha Teng Market, a colourful ethnic minority food market. Next we explore another interesting minority village, Ban Bong Neua, an Alak village boasting a sacrificial altar. We arrive at the beautiful Tadlo Waterfall in the afternoon, where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Also option of a short elephant ride to take in the beautiful scenery. Overnight at Tadlo Lodge.
DAY 12 TADLO / KHONG ISLAND / DON KHONE (B/L/-)
After breakfast, head out of the plateau stopping first at the attractive Paxuam Waterfall. Lunch at local restaurant. Then drive south to Ban Hatsaikhone to board a local private boat for a tour of the 4000 Islands. We reach the picturesque island of Don Khone by late afternoon. Overnight in Khone Island at Sala Done Khone hotel.
DAY 13 KHONE ISLAND AND SURROUNDINGS (B/L/-)
Following breakfast, disembark at Don Khone for the option of exploring the island by bicycle, admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings and Liphi Waterfall or "the Corridor of the Devil". Lunch at local restaurant. We also have the option of taking a local boat out to search for the rare freshwater dolphins that reside in this area of the Mekong. Return to Khone Island for overnight.
DAY 14 KHONE ISLAND / DON DAENG WITH GUIDE (B/L/-)
After an early breakfast, take a long tail boat boat to Khone and head back to the mainland. Visit Khone Phapheng waterfall, considered the largest by volume in South East Asia; this is a really impressive site near the Lao-Cambodian border, set within an area teeming with wildlife, making this area one of the most breathtaking destinations in Laos. Lunch during visits. Then continue to Don Daeng Island where you have the afternoon at leisure, to explore the island by bicycle, or relax. Overnight on Don Daeng Island at La Folie Lodge.
DAY15 DON DAENG / PAKSE / UBON AIRPORT (B/L/-)
This morning, we ride a long tail boat back to Champassak and onto Wat Phou, another World Heritage Site in Laos, which became recognized by UNESCO in 2002. Wat Phou is the site of ruins once part of a temple built some time before Angkor Wat in Siem Reap. It contains some of the most Ancient Khmer architecture dating back to between the 7-11th Centuries. Excursions around this peaceful island before heading back to Pakse. Then on to Ubon airport and take the evening flight home via Bangkok.
DAY 16 Arrive home