After virtual isolation, the past decade has seen a rise in the number of exploratory travellers who are mesmerized by the grandeur of the former royal capital at Luang Prabang - filled with old-world charm. Laos is easily combined with visits to Thailand, Angkor Wat and Vietnam.
2020 Departure Dates and Costs
Guided Private departures daily based on 2 or more persons
Luang Prabang Explorer (4 days) $ 1,100 USD per person based on twin share in Superior hotel
Secrets of the Mekong Cruise 2 day cruise
Chiang Rain/Luang Prabang or reverse $ 625 USD per person based on twin share
Day 1 Luang Prabang Arrival (L,D)
Flight to Luang Prabang (The option exists to travel downstream along the Mekong River from Northern Thailand on a 2 day transfer with overnight at a riverside lodge - ask us for details). Meet upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport, transfer and check-in at the Villa Santi Hotel or similar. 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. Lunch at a local restaurant. Afternoon visit Vat Visoun, the site of an impressive stupa, That Makmo, stylistically more Srilankalese than Lao. Then walk to the nearby Vat Aham, which is one of the city's major tutelary shrines, dedicated to Deveta Luang (spirit) Pu Gneu Ya Gneu (ancestors). Climb Vat Phousi hill for an outstanding view over the city. Continue to visit Vat Mai, built in 1796, famous for the five-tiered roof of its wooden sim built in the standard of Luang Prabang style. Sunset at Vat Prabaht Tai located along the Mekong River. Dinner.
Day 2 Luang Prabang (B,L,D)
Visit Vat Xieng Thong, considered to be the country's most beautiful temple. The sim of the Vat represents the classic Luang Prabang temple architecture with roofs that sweep low to the ground. In the compound stand several small chapels housing bronze Buddha images, which were displayed in Paris in 1911. Near the East gate stands the Royal Funeral Chapel. Inside are an impressive 12-meter high funeral chariot and various funeral urns of each Royal Family's member. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts a semi-erotic episode from Ramayana. Then board a traditional riverboat for a trip upstream the Mekong River to visit the famous caves of Pak Ou housing thousands of statues representing Lord Buddha. Picnic lunch at a bamboo cottage overlooking the confluence between the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. Return to Luang Prabang by boat and continue by car to visit Ban Phanom, a weaving village populated by Thai Lu that originally came from Sipsongpanna in Southern China. Dinner.
Day 3 Luang Prabang (B,L,D)
Departure by road to the Khuang Xi Waterfalls (30 kms, approx. 1 hour drive). The waterfalls tumble over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool, clear pools ideal for swimming and relaxing. On the way to the waterfalls, visit the Khmu minority village of Ban Thapaene for a glimpse into their lifestyle. Picnic lunch nearby the waterfalls. Return to Luang Prabang. On the way, visit Ban Xom, a lowland Lao village known for its cotton production. Stop at Ban Xang Khong village to see how traditional Sa paper is made. Dinner.
Day 4 Luang Prabang - Departure (B)
Visit the National Museum (former King's Palace) displaying a collection of personal artifacts of the Royal Family: photos, musical equipment and gifts received from foreign countries. Then stroll through the old quarter to discover the daily lifestyle of villagers. Lunch at local restaurant. Transfer to the airport for the departure.
River Cruise option | Secrets of the Mekong
Embrace the beauty of the Mekong and the exotic mystique of ancient cultures on our Secrets of the Mekong river journey. The 2 day Northern route is onboard a comfortable and stylish river barge from the town of Houeisay and travels to Pakbeng for an overnight in a French colonial villa overlooking the river. After several cultural and scenic stops enroute, the journey ends at the border with Thailand near Chiang Rai (or can be done in reverse).
The Laos Visa can now be obtained on arrival although pre-visa information (all passport information) must be supplied in advance to obtain a pre-visa clearance.
Visa fee $ 30 USD and 2 passport size photos.