Maybe we’re biased but we think this Best of Laos tour might just be one of the greatest tours ever of this lovely country. It starts in the beautiful UNESCO-protected town of Luang Prabang before continuing into the beautiful countryside of northern Laos – get off the beaten track with plenty of adventure in a stunning location along the river. Afterwards, fly to the capital of Vientiane to see French inspired urban living before finishing your trip in the sleepy 4,000 islands of the south.
You will be met at Luang Prabang Airport by your private driver and English-speaking guide who will take you to one of our favourite hotels in this UNESCO protected town. Maison Dalabua, with its beautiful huge lotus pond and pretty gardens, is a lovely place to relax, unwind and feel the stresses of life drop away. If you want to head into the centre it is a short tuk-tuk ride away – or 15 minute walk.
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.
Rise early this morning and partake in the daily morning ritual of ‘Tak Bat’ or giving alms to the monks. Walk with your guide through the morning market to see how the locals shop then drive 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). Return to Luang Prabang by car and enjoy the afternoon at leisure.
After breakfast, board a private boat and cruise upstream on the Mekong River, before a short trek to reach the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two caves set in a limestone cliff facing the Mekong River crammed with thousands Buddha statues. Then continue by car to Nong Kiau, stopping at some minority villages en route. Enjoy a short bike ride or easy trek at this glorious hamlet after checking into your peaceful boutique hotel.
This morning, board a local private boat for an unforgettable cruise up the Nam Ou River to Muang Khua. This particular stretch offers stunning scenery and remote villages that can only be accessed by boat. Upon reaching Muang Khua, drive to Muang La, famous for its natural hot springs.
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.
Enjoy a relaxing morning in tranquil surroundings. Perched on the riverside, this is one of the most picturesque spots in Laos and we’ve planned nothing for the first part of the day so you can make the most of it. After lunch, we will fly you to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, where you will meet a new guide and driver and transfer to Salana Hotel, which is in the heart of this French-inspired city.
Today we will show you the cultural highlights of the city including Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which now serves as a museum of arts and antiques. Admire the Patuxai Monument, which resembles its Parisian inspiration, the Arc de Triomphe and the golden stupa of That Luang. The final visit of the day will be the excellent COPE exhibition centre, which tells the plights of thousands affected by the bombs dropped in the Vietnam War.
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!
Visit the Bolaven Plateau, where Loas’ delightful, rich coffee grows. After a stop at the picturesque Tad Fan Waterfall, meet your local coffee specialist and step into a vintage jeep, the ideal way to explore this region. If you’d like, go for a swim at Tad Moan Waterfall before carrying on to a coffee plantation to learn about the process and enjoy a local lunch. Continue the journey by jeep and minivan before returning to the River Resort in the early evening.
Early this morning 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! 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.
After an early morning breakfast, crossing over the Mekong River by boat, and then drive south for around two hours to Ban Hatsaikhone, where we board a local private boat for a boat tour of the picturesque 4,000 Islands. Tonight you will be staying at Sala Done Khone on the picturesque island of Don Khone where you can enjoy the afternoon at leisure, or hire bicycles to explore the island.
Following breakfast we explore the island by a unique mode of transport, a motorized Samlor, or small motorbike with sidecar! Tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings, and the beautiful Liphi Waterfall. A picnic lunch is taken nearby. We then continue to the far tip of the island and from here we take a boat onto the Mekong to one of the few places in the world where it is possible to see freshwater dolphins.
Following breakfast we leave the island by boat and drive the short distance to visit the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Southeast Asia. We then drive north to Pakse where you can board your flight home – there are regular flights to Bangkok from Pakse. Safe Travels!
This itinerary costs from £3,240 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.