CENTRAL LAOS AND THE BUDDHA FOOTPRINT5D/4N fully escorted tour
VIENTIANE - HIN BOUN - KONG LOR - THAKEK - SAVANNAKHET - PAKZE.
Only £595 per person
Price includes: Car transfers, hotels as stated or similar with daily breakfast, boat rides, guided sightseeing, lunch where indicated.
Price excludes: International flights, visa, tips, personal expenses, meals, optional entertainment and any service not specified above. Single room supplement is £195.
Day 1 Vientiane (-/-/-)
Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to Ansara boutique hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 2 Vientiane (B/-/-)
An optional early start enables you to visit the fascinating local market of Thongkhankham which is where the locals shop and a wide variety of weird and wonderful foods are on offer. 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. Enroute 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 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 youth 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 we have the optional of stopping at 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. Overnight in Vientiane
Day 3 Vientiane – Hin Boun (B/L/-)
Pick up from your hotel and transfer south along route 13 to the central Lao province of Khammoune. En route we stop at Prabaht Ponsan, a stupa dating back to the 15th Century. It is also home to the Budhha’s footprint, discovered in 1933, and now an important religious site in Laos. Following lunch we make a stop at the interesting Ban Ton Na Mae Hmong Market, then continue onwards into Khammoune province and into the mountainous area, where a stop at a view point near Khoun Kham offers a breathtaking view over the surrounding area. Our last stop of the day is Ban Thabuk, the ‘bomb boat village’ where they use old bomb casings from the Vietnam War as boats. We eventually reach Hin Boun area by mid afternoon, where you have the rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at Say Namhai Resort.
Day 4 Hin Boun – Kong Lor – Thakek (B/L/-)
After breakfast drive to Kong Lor village and board a small local boat into the famous Kong Lor Cave. We navigate through the cave, which is over 7km long and includes a spectacular cavern over 100m high, as well as a breathtaking stalagmite gallery which you can explore on foot. On the other side of the cave, we take a short walk past some tobacco drying huts to Ban Pon Ngam, a remote village, where you can enjoy your picnic lunch. Next return through the cave by boat, and transfer directly by car to Thakek, arriving there by late afternoon, in time for a stroll along the riverfront to enjoy a sunset over the Mekong. Overnight in Thakek at Inthila Hotel.
Day 5 Thakek - Pakse via Savannakhet (B/L/-)
This morning we leave Thakek and stop to visit Tham Pa Fa or Buddha cave, which was rediscovered in April 2004. The cave contains 229 bronze Buddha’s that are said to be over 300 years old! The cave is incredibly picturesque, situated high up in a limestone cliff, which offers great views from the top. We continue by road south and arrive in Savannakhet in time for lunch. In the afternoon, we have time to admire the old French Quarter of Savannakhet as well as the sacred That Inhang stupa, before heading out of the town to visit Soundra Salt Factory. We then continue by road to Pakse, stopping to visit Don Khor, a village specializing in Buddha carvings for temples. We arrive in Pakse by early evening. Overnight in Pakse at Pakse Hotel.