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Exploring Laos

The Best of Laos

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.

Your Itinerary

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 our favourite hotels in this UNESCO protected town. Satri House, with its historic heritage and charm 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 or bicycle ride away or a slightly longer yet still manageable walk.

Day 2 - Luang Prabang with a UNESCO expert

This morning experience the key sites that have made Luang Prabang the cultural capital of Laos with a former UNESCO cultural advisor. Stroll through the charming lanes, visit the Royal Palace Museum and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong. All the while your expert will tell you about the historical and architectural background, the diversity of the heritage, and more. The afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy 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. 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.

Day 4 - Oudomxay by train

Take a scenic train journey this morning to Oudomxay and transfer to Chom Ong Cave with its overlaying passages and active river. Stop by the village of Ban Nam Plaa, where the villagers are of Khmu ethnicity and some of the elders still wear their traditional costume. Continue the scenic journey through the northern countryside to your lodge for the evening where you can relax and take in the scenery.

Day 5 - Off the beaten track: trek to Ban Phavie 

Depart north to Muang La and 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 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 lodge.

Day 6 - River journey to Nong Kiau

Travel this morning to Muang Khua and board a private boat for an unforgettable cruise down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw. To pass a dam, you’ll have a brief overland ride between boats and carry on through stunning landscapes, passing remote villages until reaching the hamlet of Nong Kiau. If you’d like, take a short bicycle ride to picturesque local limestone caves.

Day 7 - Return to Luang Prabang

Head south by road toward Luang Prabang. Where the Nam Ou meets the Mekong, transfer to your private boat on the Mekong River for the rest of today’s journey. Visit the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two caves set in a limestone cliff facing the Mekong River crammed with thousands of Buddha statues. Continue cruising along the river until you return to the city where you’ll transfer to your hotel for the night.

Day 8 - Train to Vientiane

Travel by train today to the capital city of Vientiane. Upon arrival, your guide will take you to see some of the key sites of this French-inspired city. You’ll see That Luang with its golden stupa, Wat Sisaket and its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, the former royal palace of Wat Prakeo, and have the opportunity to take pictures of the imposing Patuxai Monument, which resembles its Parisian inspiration, the Arc de Triomphe.

Day 9 - Private cookery class

This morning is all about Lao Cuisine. Your host will first guide you around a colourful local market to pick the right ingredients for your cooking class. Transfer to Madam Phasouk’s private home where you will learn to make a variety of Laos dishes and enjoy the lunch you prepare. Your charming host will answer any questions you have about sticky rice, larb, and other Laotian food. Transfer back to the hotel by early afternoon and enjoy the remainder of the day as you wish.

Day 10 - 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, you’ll be driven to Champasak where you’ll check in to your delightful hotel on Done Daeng.

Day 11 - Sunrise at Wat Phou & explore Champasak

Early this morning visit Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century, at sunrise – where you’re likely to have the whole temple to yourself! In the afternoon, explore the historic town of Champasak and surrounding small villages with many stops including a potter’s workshop, ancient and modern temples along with a French-colonial church, and meet villagers who make traditional bamboo rice baskets and fish traps.

Day 12 - The Bolaven Plateau by jeep

Visit the Bolaven Plateau, where Laos’ 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 your hotel in the early evening.

Day 13 - Explore the 4,000 islands of Southern Laos

After an early morning breakfast, cross over the Mekong River by boat, and then drive south for around two hours to Ban Hatsaikhone to board a local private boat through the picturesque 4,000 Islands. Explore Don Khone by tuk tuk tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings. Visit Liphi waterfall and the spectacular Khone Phapheng falls before returning to your lodge in the evening.

Day 14 - Mekong sunset cruise

Today is at your leisure to relax and reflect on the last two weeks that took you through some of the best of what Laos has to offer. In the late afternoon, board a private boat for a sunset cruise on the stunning Mekong River. Enjoy wine, beer & finger foods and take in the breathtaking scenery while the sun sets behind the hills on your final night in this peaceful country.

Day 15 - Homeward bound

Depending on your flight, you may have free time at leisure before crossing back to the mainland by boat then north to Pakse where you can board your flight beginning the journey home – there are regular flights to Bangkok and Vientiane from Pakse.

Safe travels!

DEATILS: -

This itinerary costs from £4,160 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 £600 per person return and do ask us for advice. Alternatively we can book the flights for you but a booking fee may apply.

What's included?

INCLUDED:
  • Prices start from £4,160 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 Days 4-6, 9 & 12
  • Internal flight
  • Internal train rides (two)
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered
Make a booking
Luang Prabang
This delightful Unesco-heritage protected town has some of the finest architecture, food and temples of all of Laos (as well as lots of cute boutique shops!) You could spend days in this delightful town, which has two rivers running through it, whilst exploring nearby caves, waterfalls and elephant camps.
Si Phan Don (4,000 Islands)
This cluster of islands caught in the middle of the mighty flowing Mekong is the perfect place to chill for a couple of days. Cycling to waterfalls, spotting rare river dolphins, chilling in hammocks and watching the sunset over the Mekong are all in the order of the day here.
Champasak & The Bolaven Plateau
The Bolaven Plateau is not to be missed by any die-hard coffee fans! This idyllic, hilly region is where the finest coffee in Laos grows and we have some wonderful day tours on offer here - you can even spend the night at a family home on a traditional coffee plantation. Nearby Champasak has some wonderful luxurious riverside accommodation (some of the best in Laos) and a sunrise trip to Wat Phou Temple must not be missed.
Vientiane
The riverside capital of Laos is home to some of the country's finest restaurants, spas and cafes, not to mention a fantastic collection of boutique hotels... it is the perfect place to indulge your tastebuds and senses for a day or two. Nearby there are a number of impressive temples and cultural sights which are ideal to explore by bicycle.
Vang Vieng
Something of an outdoor lover's paradise, Vang Vieng, which is set on Nam Song River, is the perfect place for anyone seeking nature based activities - as well as some more adrenalin-seeking adventures. It's backdrop of serene cliffs and vibrant green paddy fields, coupled with an excellent selection of boutique hotels, make it the ideal place to chill for a day or two.
Vieng Xai Caves
This fascinating wartime cave hideout is set in beautiful gardens backed by delightful karst scenery. It is ideal for those who are travelling onwards to Vietnam and crossing at the land border - or vice versa.

Your adventure starts here!

Do you fancy having a chat about The Best of Laos? Personally, it's one of our favourite things to talk about.

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