Highlights of Laos: Rural Focus

14 Days - From £1,870pp

This is the perfect ‘escape the crowds’ itinerary that takes in the highlights of Laos in luxury; with comfort and indulgence every step of the way. You begin your journey in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO-protected town surrounded by rivers, before heading off the beaten track to Muang La, where you stay in a luxury retreat for a few nights (with a riverside setting and evening hot tubs!). A beautiful countryside loop is taken by boat and car until you return to Luang Prabang and fly south to explore Pakse, an ancient temple that pre-dates Angkor, the coffee region and the 4,000 islands.

Day 1 - Welcome to Laos

You will be met at Luang Prabang Airport by your private driver and English-speaking guide who will take you to one of the most exquisite hotels in this UNESCO protected town. Live like royalty at the Satri House, a former prince’s family home, set in beautiful gardens with two delightful swimming pools. If you want to head into the centre it is a short tuk-tuk ride away – or 10 minute walk.

Accommodation

Day 2 - Half Day Tour of Luang Prabang

This morning we will show you the key sites that have made Luang Prabang the cultural capital of Laos including the quaint Royal Palace Museum, the picturesque temple of Wat Visoun and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, with its roof sweeping low to the ground. We also visit the excellent Arts and Ethnology Centre before you enjoy the afternoon at leisure to soak up this idyllic town.

Day 3 - MONKS AT SUNRISE & A GOURMET WATERFALL BREAKFAST

Rise early this morning and partake in the daily morning ritual of ‘Tak Bat’ or giving alms to the monks. We then drive directly to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall arriving before anyone else arrives. A luxury gourmet picnic breakfast will be served overlooking the falls, which is next to the excellent Bear Rescue Centre (well worth a look). We return to Luang Prabang by car, with the option at stopping at some minority villages. Enjoy the afternoon at leisure.

Day 4 - A day with the elephants

Spend today at a fantastic elephant sanctuary that puts the welfare of the animals first Your guide and the mahouts will help you feed and later bath these majestic creatures in the river. Next, follow the elephants on a 1-hour trek through rice paddies and meandering creeks (you do not ride the elephants). A tasty local lunch is served before heading back. Afternoon at leisure.

Day 5 - Take a Road trip to Muang La

This morning’s drive to Muang La will take you through rolling countryside where you can admire the beauty of the Nam Ou River and the surrounding rice paddy fields.  After a lunch at Pakmong, about 3 hours drive north of Luang Prabang, the road twists and the scenery becomes increasingly mountainous. This section of the journey is a good opportunity to stop and explore some Hmong villages and small market towns before relaxing at your luxurious resort in Oudomxay.

Accommodation

Day 6 - Trek off-the-beaten track

Depart by 4WD this morning to Pak Khai, passing rice terraces and many small villages, before beginning your trek along a small pathway used by local villagers. The trek will be an opportunity to meet with local farmers working in rice fields and observe rural life in Laos. Stop for a picnic lunch at the beautiful Khamu village of Ban Phavie, before continuing to a local waterfall. You can relax in the clear water cascades before returning to the hotel.

Day 7 - Cruise down the Nam Ou River to Luang Prabang

Early this morning we drive to the riverside town of Muang Khua, and board our local private boat for an unforgettable cruise down the Nam Ou River. This particular stretch offers stunning scenery and remote villages, including Khmu and Hmong villages that can only be accessed by boat. We reach Nong Khiaw by late afternoon. Enjoy the rest of the day and evening at leisure in this gorgeous hamlet at Mandala Ou.

Accommodation

Day 8 - Return to Luang Prabang

This morning we head south by road to Luang Prabang through rolling countryside where you can admire the beauty of the Nam Ou River and the surrounding rice paddy fields. Cross the Mekong by local ferry to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves crammed with thousands Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes before arriving in Luang Prabang by in the early/mid afternoon with the rest of the day at leisure.

Day 9 - Begin Your southern Laos adventures!

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Pakse, which is the gateway of southern Laos. From here your private driver and guide will take you to the hilltop Buddha at Phou Salao, which offers great views over the surrounding area.  After, we then drive you 45 mins to Champasak, where you will check into the beautiful River Resort which boats splendid river views and two inviting swimming pools!

Accommodation

Day 10 - A Day at Leisure

Take the full day to do absolutely nothing! We can’t think of a better place than the River Resort which is perched on the edge of the river with two swimming pools to lounge around. Ask the reception about their excellent leisurely sunset boat ride.

Day 11 - Explore the coffee region: Bolaven Plateau

Today you will be taken into the Bolaven Plateau, where Loas’ delightful, rich coffee grows. Your private guide will take you to a tea plantation, followed by a visit to the nearby Tad Fan Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall as well as a stop at a coffee plantation, en route to Tha Teng Market, a colourful ethnic minority food market. Next we explore a couple of fascinating minority villages before visiting the beautiful Tadlo Waterfall in the late afternoon sun. Overnight at River Resort.

Day 12 - WAT PHOU SUNRISE AND A MEKONG SUNSET CRUISE

Early this morning we visit Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century, at sunrise – where you are likely to have the whole temple to yourself! We then return to your hotel for breakfast, where the rest of the day is at leisure until you board your sunset boat ride on the Mekong River. The hotel staff will set up table and chairs and offer you the choice of red or white wine, or the local Beer Lao, and some canapés.

Day 13 - Tour of the 4,000 islands

After an early morning breakfast, we board a local private boat for a boat tour of the 4,000 Islands. We reach the picturesque island of Don Khone by lunchtime, and in the afternoon explore the island by motorbike and sidecar, tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings, and the beautiful Liphi Waterfall. Visit the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls before driving back to the River Resort for the night.

Day 14 - Bon Voyage!

Following breakfast we will drive you about one hour, to Pakse, where you can fly to Bangkok. We find many people book one night in Bangkok as the international flight to London is a little tight after flying from Pakse. We can book all of this for you too, including any flights.

DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £1,870 per person B&B based on 2 sharing and including all private transfers but not international flights.

You can get flights from as little as £500 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

INCLUDED:

  • Prices start from £1,870 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Private transfers (air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guide for excursions
  • Lunch on Day 6
  • Dinner on Days 4 & 5 (at the hotel)
  • 1 internal flight (but not the flight from Pakse to Bangkok)
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered