The Highlights: Cultural Focus

13 Days - From £2,100pp

For those wanting to see the best of cultural Laos, look no further. This tour begins in the cultural capital of the country; UNESCO-protected Luang Prabang before driving you to see the mysterious and ancient Plain of Jars, which is often described as the Stonehenge of Laos. From there we take you to the French-inspired capital of Vientiane before finishing in southern Laos with trips to the coffee region and idyllic 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 a smart boutique hotel in this UNESCO protected town. Le Sen, which has rooms set around a pretty little courtyard and swimming pool, 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.

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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 Scenic journey to the plain of jars

Today you begin your journey to the Plain of Jars. The journey is incredibly scenic – along a twisty, mountain road and we will stop at stunning view points and small, authentic villages en route. Our final stop of the day is a reminder that this region played a major part during the Vietnam War – as we visit a hidden Buddha Cave, that served as an army hospital during the war – before checking into Vansana Plain of Jars hotel.

Day 5 - Full Plain of Jars Excursion

This morning we visit the Mines Action Group (or MAG) to learn about the important work they do in clearing land mines in the area before continuing to explore the three jar sites, which contain more than 500 ancient jars on scenic plains and ridges. In the late afternoon, you have the option to visit the Lone Buffalo Foundation, a fabulous education unity project for young children. Afterwards, transfer to the PhouXang Viewpoint, to enjoy the panoramic sceneries and a beautiful sunset!

Day 6 - Explore and ancient kingdom & fly to Vientiane

isit the interesting Central Market early this morning before driving out to the ancient town of Muang Khoun, where you can explore the ruins of a number of ancient pagodas in the Lanna style and Wat Phiawat, a ruined temple containing a huge sitting Buddha. We then return to Phonsavan, where you board your flight to Vientiane, where you can check into the lovely Ansana Hotel.

Day 7 - ENJOY A HALF-DAY CITY TOUR OF VIENTIANE

Today we will show you the cultural highlights of the city including tWat 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.

Day 8 - Begin your Southern Adventure

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 La Folie which is perched on an idyllic river island.

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Day 9 - Explore the coffee region

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 La Folie.

Day 10 - Temple at Sunrise and relax

Early this morning we visit Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century. This dramatically sited temple is one of the highlights of any trip to Laos.  At sunrise, you will have the whole temple to yourself!  We then return to your hotel for breakfast, where the rest of the day is at leisure. La Folie is in a beautiful location, on a sleepy residential island, we recommend hiring bicycles today from the hotel and soaking up the island at your own pace.

Day 11 - 4,000 Islands Tour

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 La Folie for the night.

Day 12 - Day at Leisure

We’ve planned nothing for you today so you can soak up your beautiful hotel and setting at leisure, before your journey home tomorrow.

Day 13 - Bon Voyage!

Following breakfast we will drive you about one hour, to Pakse, where you can board your flight home – there are regular flights to Bangkok from Pakse. Check-out is at 12 noon so you can spend the morning relaxing at the River Resort if you have a later flight booked. Safe Travels!

DETAILS:

This itinerary costs from £2,100 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 £2,100 per person
  • Accommodation on B&B basis
  • Private transfers (air-conditioned vehicle)
  • All entrance fees with service of English speaking guide for excursions
  • Internal flights (two)
  • Local taxes
  • All trips are ATOL protected or ABTA bonded to ensure you are fully covered