Tailored from £1,800 per person excl. flights
7 days Luang Prabang, Vientiane
7 days Luang Prabang, Vientiane
Laos is brimming with kind-hearted people who will make your adventure holiday all the more special. It takes in the highlights of one of the world’s sleepiest capitals and the highlights of the UNESCO listed city of Luang Prabang – one of the highlights of any visit to Southeast Asia. There are also many fantastic dining options, anything from simple street food markets to fancy French restaurants, with food and atmosphere which would not be out of place in the small rues of Paris. This experience is easily added to other trips in the region and works perfectly as an extension to your other holiday plans.
We will meet you on arrival at Vientiane (VTE) airport, look out for the Wayfairer welcome sign, and transfer into Vientiane for the night on a B&B basis. Depending on your arrival time your local guide will meet you at the hotel tonight to brief you about your tour, take you around the city and recommend some great dinning options. Your unforgettable journey starts here!
We start with a discovery of the highlights of this sleepy capital. First stop is the tranquil temple of Wat Si Saket. This is the oldest surviving temple in the city and is home to over 10000 Buddha images. Next stop is the golden stupa of That Luang, the most sacred monument in the country and is now recognized as the National monument and symbol of Laos. Our last stop is at Patuxai, reminiscent of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe. Climbing to the top of this monument affords great 360-degree views of the city and its surrounds. A stroll along the riverfront is the perfect way to end the day as the sunsets on the Thai side of the Mekong.
This morning we head east and make our way out of the city to visit the extraordinary Buddha Park of Xieng Khuan. Designed by an eccentric yogi priest shaman in the 1960s. A huge reclining Buddha and a giant pumpkin representing hell are two of the centrepieces at this stunning but unusual sculpture park on the banks of the Mekong. Upon our return we visit the National Museum. There are some interesting ethnographic displays here, but the most interesting is the official Lao Government rendition of recent events in Indochina. There is also the opportunity for a very worthwhile visit to COPE, a remarkable NGO dealing with the impacts of unexploded ordnance on the people of this peaceful country.
A short flight takes us to the enchanting city of Luang Prabang. Having settled in and relaxed we enjoy a relaxed half-day walking tour of this charming UNESCO listed city. We visit all the main sites including the ancient stupa of Wat Visoun, Wat Aham, Wat Saen and Wat Mai. But the most enjoyable experiences are those of just soaking up the unique atmosphere of the town and exploring its many hidden coves and narrow alleyways.
There are always monks on hand eager to practice their English and explain the intricacies of their faith for those interested. We climb the more than 300 steps to mount Phu Si to take in panoramic views of the city and the Mekong River. In the evening the Night Market is the perfect place to try your hand at gentle bartering. Unlike other markets in Asia, this is an almost relaxing shopping experience. Tribes people come from their villages to sell their colorful embroidered wares.
There is a gentle hum of conversation as they tend to their stalls and chat with their neighbors. There are also many fantastic dining options, anything from simple street food markets to fancy French restaurants, with food and atmosphere which would not be out of place in the small rues of Paris.
This morning we travel to the banks of the Mekong and board a boat to visit the sacred Pak Ou Caves. The Mekong is one of the world’s great rivers, as we make our way up stream we are surrounded by towering limestone cliffs, terraced rice fields and remote villages.
The Pak Ou Caves are among the most revered holy sites in Laos and pre-date Buddhism. ‘Pii’ or sacred spirits are believed to reside in the caves. Over the past few hundred years a collection of thousands of Buddha images has amassed in the upper and lower caves. We the cross the river to visit a rice wine making village.
We’ll stop for a local lunch nearby and you can sample some of the local fire-water! In the late afternoon there is the option to gain an insight into Laos cuisine. A chef takes you to the local market to show you around and explain all the local produce. Then you are taught the arts of Lao home cooking in a wonderful environment. On the menu for dinner … the fruits of your labour!
This morning we leave the town behind and drive deep into the rain forest to visit the multilevel Kuang Si Falls. The spectacular falls are set in an equally stunning environment of virgin forest and jungle. The limestone mountains create the perfect backdrop for the series of turquoise clear pools that you can cool down in. There is also the Free the Bears Sanctuary on site. Here Asiatic Sun and Black Bears are rehabilitated having been rescued from poachers. They are beautiful creatures and one can watch them playing around for hours. Upon our return to the town we invite you to participate in a traditional Baci ceremony. Baci is an animist ritual used to celebrate important events and occasions, like births and marriages and also entering the monkhood, departing, returning, beginning a new year, and welcoming something or someone important. The ritual of the Baci has become a national custom and is the perfect way to celebrate your last evening in Laos.
After breakfast you are free for personal exploration or relaxation before we transfer you to Luang Prabang airport (LPQ) in good time for your onward travel arrangements.