This is a wonderful itinerary for those looking to delve a little deeper into Laotian life and explore some of the hidden gems that make Laos such an attractive destination.
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. After a short rest, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai. We then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. In the evening, enjoy a Welcome dinner at local restaurant and then you can wander around the city and the night market to discover local life of Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Laotian architecture. We then board a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside as well as an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. En route, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where the local speciality of rice wine is produced. Once back in Luang Prabang city we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village well known for its hand weaving. We also have time to visit Ban Xangkhong, Ban Xienglek, small villages well known for silk weavings and for Saa (jute) Papermaking
Overnight in Luang Prabang
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there you will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today you will visit local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. And then drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known weaving village, and then return to the city by late evening for observing the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After breakfast, we visit the National Museum (close Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. After visiting these sight, today we drive 306km uphill a mountain surrounded by wonderful natural scenery to Xiengkhouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. Upon arrival, we transfer out to visit the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered all over the plateau. If time permits, we see the old capital of Muang Khoun and the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe people. They have an interesting local culture and a colorful history.
Overnight in Xiengkhuang
In the morning, enjoy a half day trip to Muang Khoun. Muang Khoun one place in the old provincial capital that was not been destroyed by the American bombings during the secret war. Muang Khoun is home to unique sitting giant Buddha as well of some old pagodas that lies in ruins. The foundation and columns of Wat Pia Wat are still standing and close to this site, there is also an old 30m stupa constructed in the Lan Xang/Lanna period.
Returning back to town, we will visit the Plain of Jars site 1, which is the closest site to the town, and also the biggest site opening for tourists.
If time permits, we will take a short visit to the UXO Information Centre (MAG), which displays underline the enormity of the bomb drops, and there are also examples of (defused) UXO to ponder.
We then take the flight to Vientiane.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel.
Overnight in Vientiane
In the morning, we will first visit Wat Si Muang, which is very famous for its supernatural power. We then transfer out to see Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, close to the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images dating back over 500 years, which were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe.
In the afternoon, we see the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket, the temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. On the way to Lao’s national icon, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, we stop en-route to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. A spectacular view over the Mekong River at sunset is a perfect way to finish the day.
Overnight in Vientiane
After breakfast, we catch an early flight to Pakse. On arrival, we drive on the National Road No. 13th south to Champassak and to visit the fascinating pre-angkorian ruins of Wat Phou, one of Southeast Asia's most dramatically situated temples. We have time to explore these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. Wat Phou is one of the Lao World Heritage sites recognized by UNESCO in 2001, this wonderful archeological site of Khmer civilization dates back to the 10th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We continue our journey by road to Don Khong, the largest island in the South Mekong river region known as the 4000 islands, one of the most scenic areas in Laos.
Overnight in Don Khong Island
After an early breakfast, we explore the local villages of Ban Khone, where you will see an array of relics from the French colonial era and retrace the old colonial past, including old French colonial buildings and the remnants of the first Lao railway with it’s locomotive. We continue discover the 4000 islands area by boat at our leisure to visit the Liphi waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls marking the end of Lao border to Cambodia, also known as the Samphamith. If we are lucky, we may even see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to famous waterfalls of Khone Phapeng, the largest waterfall in South East Asia, known as Niagara of the east.
Overnight in Don Khong Island
Upon leaving Done Khone Island, we continue our journey towards Tadlo, through Boloven plateau. The Boloven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Rivers run off this high plateau in all directions and then plunge out to lush forests along in a series of spectacular surging waterfalls. A trip to the plateau provides a refreshing break from the heat and allows you to observe the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that can be seen en route. This trip gives visitors the chance to venture off the beaten track and to discover some of the lesser-known areas of Laos, exploring the wild beauty of this southern region. Upon arrival at Tad Lo waterfall, we visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu, populated by ethnic minority groups.
We will spend the night in Bolaven Plateau
We are free until the time driving to Pakse for the flight.
· Tour prices shown are 'per person', based on a travelling party of at least 2 adults, and sharing a room. If you intend to travel alone, the cost might be much higher.
· The 'Single supplement' applies for single travelers who require their own room and needs to be added to the tour price.
· Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements, but may incur price changes
· 09 nights at hotel based on Twin/Double sharing room
· Breakfast at hotel
· English speaking guide with legal license
· Private car during the trip with experienced driver
· All Meals, Entrance fees and tour activities as dedicated in the program
· Service charges and Government’s Tax
· Bottled water & wet towel on van during trip
· Tip for Tour guide and driver (recommended)
· Bank fees for both sides
· Laos Visa US$30/person
· All International and Domestic airfares
· Peak season surcharge (During Christmas and New Year)
· Early Check-in (before 14.00) and late check-out (after 12.00)
· Personal expenses
1. All of our itineraries can be tailor-made to suit your requirements, allowing us to create the perfect holiday just for you. Please click on the “Tailor this trip" button and complete the requested information for us. Upon receipt, our travel consultant will customize the best value vacation for your kind consideration. Please note: Changes CAN be made to the itinerary after our initial quote, but may result in a price change also!
2. We are aware that a good tour must have good hotels. In Indochina in particular (Vietnam, Cambodia & Laos) hotel prices make up the major expense of your holiday. Therefore, we would like to clarify how we define these charges:
· Boutique & character hotels: from $50-$80 USD per room/ per night
· Comfort = 3 star hotels from US$ 40 - US$ 60 per room/ per night
· Superior = 4 star hotels from US$ 80 - US$ 110 per room/ per night
· Deluxe = 5 star hotels from US$120 - US$ 190++ per room/ per night
· High-end = Best of the best hotels fr om US$ 250++ per room/ per night
3. Child policy:
· Ages 0-2 years at 5 % of adult price
· Ages 2-5 years at 30% of adult price
· Ages 6-11 at 70% of adult price
· 12 years and older = 100% (charged as an adult)
We’ll immerse you in the diverse cultures of Vietnam by showcasing the unique local flavors. And with the perfect balance of included sightseeing and free time, you can customize your dream vacation with the things you have always wanted to do.
Most countries in South East Asia require you to obtain a visa. Please check carefully with your travel specialist regarding specific visa requirements for each country you plan to visit as the legislation does change frequently. Thailand offers a free visa on arrival to most nationalities. Other countries including Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar offer a “visa-on-arrival” service which requires you to pay a fee at the airport, or you may prefer to obtain this in advance through the relevant embassy or a visa agent. For visa-on-arrival in Vietnam, you must submit some paperwork before you arrive.
This is an option to get your visa for Vietnam instead of getting visa at the Vietnam consulate in your country.
Step 3: Send the visa approval letter via email to you after 2 working days
After we obtain the visa approval letter from the Immigration department for you, we will forward you a scanned copy of it by email (Your visa information then have been recorded to the Visa system of the Vietnam Immigration department).
Step 4: Get your visa stamp on your arrival
Just print the approval letter out, prepare 2 passport sized photos and an amount of USD for stamping fee ($45 for single entry visa; $65 for 1 month multiple entry visa and $95 for 3 multiple entry visa). Put all above mentioned things along with your passport in a package, then show them to Immigration officer at Vietnam arrival airports.
Upon arrival at Vietnam’s airport, expect a simple form to fill in (or you can download here to fill beforehand), present the visa approval letter, passport, photos to the Immigration officer inside the counter and look for a place to hear your name be called to get the passport back and pay for the stamping fee. The actual process takes around 15 minutes without hassle or trouble.
What are the differences between this process and getting visa at Vietnam embassies?
It is only applicable for those who travel to Vietnam by air. You only need fill out the visa application form online instead of visiting the Vietnam embassies or sending documents to Embassies over by post.The online visa application does not require sending your passport away.You get a visa approval letter issued by Vietnam Immigration Department indicating that you are allowed to enter Vietnam and have your visa stamped upon arrival at one of Vietnam international airports.
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