10 Nights/11 DaysThis 11 night tour of Laos includes the small, French-inspired capital of Vientiane, a cruise down the mighty Mekong, a stay in an ecolodge in the emerald triangle region of Champassak and the charming UNESCO World Heritage listed, riverside city of Luang Prabang. Day 1 Arrive Vientiane You will be met on arrival and transferred to the Settha Palace for 2 nights. Vientiane is the capital city and sits on a bend of the Mekong river. This small and friendly city is dotted with crumbling colonial mansions and Buddhist temples. After a rest, enjoy a short walking tour and observe sunset from the banks of the Mekong. This evening, enjoy dinner in a restaurant. Day 2 Vientiane (B)Begin a tour of the city including visits to Wat Si Saket, Vientiane’s oldest temple and easily the most impressive, and Wat Pha Keo Museum. From there, visit That Luang Stupa, stopping en route to photograph the imposing Patuxay Monument, known popularly as Vientiane’s own ‘Arc de Triomphe.’ Later, visit the local ‘Morning Market’ – good for antiques, handmade textiles and other souvenirs. After lunch, visit Wat Ong Tu, the Temple of the Heavy Buddha, an important centre of learning. The day culminates with a stroll along the Mekong riverfront at sunset. Day 3 Vientiane to Pakse to Champassak and Mekong cruise Transfer to the airport for an early flight to Pakse, arriving around 8am. Upon arrival, you’ll be met and transferred to Sinouk Coffee House in central Pakse, before transferring to a longtail riverboat for the 2.5 hour journey to Champassak. Transfer to the Vat Phou cruise boat, settle into your cabin and enjoy lunch on deck. The highlight of the afternoon is the Vat Phou ruins - the majestic pre-Angkorian 10th century temple complex and boat's namesake. There is time to visit the museum at the ruins site and walk up to the highest temple. As dusk falls, return to the Vat Phou boat to enjoy sunset on deck. Dinner is served on board, while the boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village. Day 4 Huei Thamo to Oum Muong Temple and Khong Island
Set sail for the village of Huei Thamo. This is a small village a few minutes walk away from the mysterious hidden forest temple of Oum Muong. Rejoin the boat to continue cruising southwards. Lunch is on deck, while leisurely sailing past the wild paradise of the "4,000 Islands". Late afternoon, disembark from the boat to walk through Ban Deua Tia, a small village where the traditional way of life has not changed for centuries. End the day at the most northern tip of Don Khong, the largest inhabited island in the river archipelago. Enjoy dinner onboard.Day 5 Don Khone to Pha Pheng Waterfall and Kingfisher Ecologe Cruise to the small village of Ban Veuthong. From here, board a small boat to meander among the 4,000 Islands to Khone Island. Visit the old French railway and walk across the bridge that links Khone and Det Islands. Continue on the boat back to the mainland for lunch at a local restaurant in a small fishing village, Xieng Di, on the banks of the Mekong. A bus transfers you to the historically significant Pha Pheng waterfall, "the Niagara of the East", close to the Cambodian border. You will be taken to the Kingfisher Ecolodge for two nights.Day 6 Trek to Phou Asa MountainEnjoy a half day trek around Phou Asa Mountain. The trail takes you inside the tropical forest that covers the surrounding area of this famous archaeological site. Phou Asa Mountain can be reached by a short walk or elephant ride from Kingfisher Ecolodge. The summit opens out to provide stunning views over large areas of southern Laos. At the top is a ring of stone pillars. Legends abound about these remains, but it is unknown if the structure was built for religious or military reasons.Day 7 Kingfisher Ecologe to Luang Prabang via Pakse This morning, enjoy time at leisure. After lunch, drive to Pakse for your afternoon direct flight to Luang Prabang and check-in to La Residence Phou Vao. Encircled by mountains, and sitting at the confluence of the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here, produce markets, coffee shops and historic French colonial buildings sit alongside gleaming temples. Day 8 Luang PrabangAfter breakfast, visit the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, the roofs of which sweep low to the ground, typical of the classical architecture of Luang Prabang. This is followed with a walk around Wat Mai temple and a visit to the ‘Day Market’ and lunch. Afterwards, climb up the steps to the top of Mount Phousi for a panorama of the ancient royal city and the Mekong River - the evening views can be spectacular if there’s a good sunset. Mount Phousi also has many shrines and votive statues, topped by a large gilded stupa. In the evening, you may wish to stroll around the Night Market, where you can find handmade textiles made by locals and ethnic minorities from the surrounding countryside. Day 9 Luang Prabang to Pak Ou Caves and Xiengmene Board a boat to cruise upstream on the Mekong River, firstly stopping at Xiengmene, to visit Wat Long Khun, and the limestone cave Tham Sakkarin, and a tour around Ban Xiengmene village. After a picnic lunch, continue up the Mekong to explore the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make rice wine. On return, drive a short distance to Ban Phanom, a small village known for its hand weaving. Day 10 Luang Prabang Wake early to witness a unique ceremony - the daily ‘alms giving’ ritual of saffron-clad monks walking in a long line holding black bowls to receive offerings from local people. Follow this with a visit to Kuangsi Waterfalls, a serene beauty spot where you can splash around in the pools or stroll the forest paths. Lunch is included.Day 11 Luang Prabang departure
Enjoy time at leisure until your airport transfer. Prices from £3295 per person OUR PRICE INCLUDES• Return scheduled flights with Vietnam Airlines to Vientiane via Hanoi and returning from Luang Prabang via Hanoi in economy class• Domestic flight from Vientiane to Pakse and Pakse to Luang Prabang• Breakfast and accommodation sharing a twin or double room• Five lunches and three dinners as specified in the itinerary• Private transfers and sightseeing tours in an air-conditioned large car • Services of an English-speaking guide• Boat cruises as specified• Entry fees for all visits included on the itineraryOUR PRICES DO NOT INCLUDE• Visas• Meals, except as specified above • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses• Camera fees where applicable• InsuranceHOTEL LIST FOR THE ABOVE ITINERARYVientiane, Settha Palace Hotel, French Colonial architecture, restored to its former glory – Deluxe RoomVat Phou Cruise, a teakwood comfortable cruise boat in Southern Laos – Twin Cabin with en-suite BathroomChampasak, King Fisher Ecolodge, spacious bungalows with an open-air restaurant overlooking the Pha Po wetland in Xe Pian National Protected Area – Comfortable BungalowLuang Prabang, La Residence (Pansea) Phou Vao Hotel, on the Hill of Kites in the confluence of the Mekong River – Deluxe Garden View Room
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