CLASSIC TOUR OF LAOS 

Length

7 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  The Classic Tour of Laos itinerary covers the most significant sights along a path that guarantees a cultural, archaeological and natural experience.

Visit Luang Prabang, ‘City of the Golden Buddha‘, the legendary capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom, located on the peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam rivers, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995.

Admire the beauty of the Kuang Si waterfalls and cruise the Mekong River to discover the Pak Ou Caves, or the Thousand Buddha Caves, an important place of worship and pilgrimage for centuries.

Explore Vang Vieng, the town framed by a backdrop of karst mountains, lush forests and impressive caves, as well as Vientiane, the Laotian capital, which is home to buildings with unique architecture mixing French colonial and Buddhist temple styles such as the nationally symbolic Pha That Luang temple.

This sample itinerary starts in Luang Prabang and ends in Vientiane. It can be customised to suit your travel needs as well as combined with other routes.

Classic tour in Laos - map © In Asia Travel

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 7D 6N
From : LUANG PRABANG
To : VIENTIANE
Destinations : Luang Prabang, Vang Vieng, Vientiane

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN LUANG PRABANG

Welcome meeting by our staff upon arrival in Luang Prabang, the ancient capital of the Lan Xang Kingdom located on the peninsula at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam rivers, UNESCO World Heritage since 1995, whose origins date back to the ancient city Muang Sua built in 698.

Included : Private pick up from them airport, private transportation and hotel

02. LUANG PRABANG

National MuseumNational Museum

At 5:30am we witness the Tak Bak ceremony, the monks’ quest, an ancient Asian Buddhist religious tradition practiced with constancy only in Luang Prabang. Every morning, for the past 2,500 years, hundreds of monks walk barefoot from their temples to the centre of the city. Forming a long line, they slowly walk through the streets to collect alms, especially ‘sticky rice’, donated by the faithful, who wait silently on the pavements, in exchange for prayers and blessings.

Once finished, we return to the hotel for breakfast. We then begin our walking tour of the most important monuments.

We visit to the National Museum: formerly the Royal Palace, it now houses an important collection of valuables including statues of Buddha and many other objects donated by visiting dignitaries to the court of Luang Prabang.

We continue along the quiet streets lined with buildings from the French colonial period to admire their architecture and learn about their original function.

Next we visit the Wat Sene Souk Haram temple, or ‘Temple of 100,000 Treasures‘, built in 1718 using 100,000 stones extracted from the Mekong River, and Wat Xieng Thong, or ‘Monastery of the Golden City‘, founded in 1560, one of the most important in Luang Prabang, known for the grace and elegance of its architecture.

Afterwards, we visit Wat Visoun, built in 1513, Wat Aham, or ‘Monastery of the Blossoming Heart‘, built at the beginning of the 19th century as a place of meditation and a meeting place between animist and Buddhist cultures, and the Wat Mai, ‘New Monastery‘, built at the end of the 18th century, one of the most complex and picturesque temples in the city, richly decorated and easily distinguishable by its unique five-level roof.

Late in the afternoon we climb Mount Phousi to visit the sacred golden stupa and admire the beautiful city skyline and a romantic sunset over the Mekong.

A walk to the Night Market on Luang Prabang’s main street in the evening is definitely worthwhile, as you can meet local traders selling handicrafts from the area’s ethnic minorities.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

03. PAK OU CAVES AND KUANG SI WATERFALLS

Kuang Si waterfallsKuang Si waterfalls

After breakfast we head to the pier and embark on a river cruise to Pak Ou Caves, also known as the Thousand Buddha Caves. Located at the confluence of the Mekong and Ou rivers, they are one of the must-see sights on a trip to Laos.

The sanctuary consists of two large limestone caves: Tham Ting, the lower cavity, which can be reached by climbing the 30-step staircase, and Tham Theung, the upper cavity, which can be reached by climbing the 70-step staircase.

The Pak Ou caves have been an important place of worship for many centuries for the faithful, who offer a Buddha image as a gift when they make a pilgrimage there. As a result of this tradition, today both cavities house thousands of statues of Buddha of different sizes, from a few centimeters to about 2 meters, in different styles and spiritual positions (mudras), from meditation to ascent to nirvana.

During the cruise we admire the typical Laotian rural landscape and the local lifestyle. We stop for a short visit to the village of Ban Xang Hai, known for the production of “Lao Lao”, the famous rice whiskey.

We continue to the outskirts of Luang Prabang to the incredible Kuang Si waterfalls. Along the way we visit some villages inhabited by ethnic minorities. Once at the falls, there is plenty of free time for a refreshing dip in the turquoise waters, to explore the trails that lead into the forest, or simply to relax surrounded by this beautiful natural setting.

On the way back to Luang Prabang we visit the village of Ban Xang Kong, known for its ancient textile tradition and the production of paper from mulberry bark. We end the day with a beautiful sunset from the top of the Wat Phabath temple.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, boat, tickets and private transportation 

04. VANG VIENG

Vang Vieng viewVang Vieng view

After breakfast we visit the TAEC, ‘The Art and Ethnology Center‘, the ethnology centre dedicated to more than 20 ethnic groups and committed to preserve the art and lifestyle of the Laotian minorities. Operating since 2007, it offers visitors permanent exhibitions on ethnic culture and an extensive collection of artefacts.

Next, we move on to Vang Vieng. Rather than a town, Vang Vieng is a large village where the real highlight is the undeniable beauty of the karst landscape and the unexplored caves, some of which have names that recur in local mythology and are said to be inhabited by spirits.

During the transfer, the landscape is very interesting and gives us an insight into the daily lifestyle of the hill tribe.

On arrival in Vang Vieng we visit Tham Chang Cave, the most famous and full of fascinating stories. It was once used as an impregnable refuge during the devastating raids of northern Chinese predators. An electrical system now lights the way to the upper cave from where you can see the superb surrounding landscape and the Nam Song River through a gap in the limestone wall.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

05. NAM NGUN LAKE - VIENTIANE

We start the day with an excursion to ‘Nam Ngum Lake‘, the large artificial water reservoir created by the dam on the Nam Ngum River.

Crossing the river, we reach Ban Huai Ngai village where we observe the different local lifestyle. Afterwards we stop at Ban Keun village known for its large salt extraction plant.

Once at the lake we board a long-tail boat for the excursion to the fishing villages, on the islets of the river.

Afterwards, transfer to Vientiane, the quiet capital of Laos on the banks of the Mekong River.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

06. VIENTIANE

That Luang Stupa © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelThat Luang Stupa

After breakfast we visit the most significant landmarks such as Wat Si Saket, known for its thousands images of Buddha that, according to local belief, protected the temple during the Siamese invasion of 1828.

We continue to Wat Ho Prakeo, built in 1865 to house the famous Emerald Buddha, and to That Luang Stupa, considered the most important monument in Laos. The latter, according to local belief, houses a relic of the Buddha brought over in the 3rd century BC.

We conclude our visits to Vientiane at the Patuxai, or ‘Laotian Gate of Triumph‘ the monument dedicated to the fallen of all wars.

Afternoon transfer to Wat Xieng Khouan, also known as ‘Buddha Park‘. In 1958 the Buddhist-Hinduist cleric Boun Léua created numerous sculptures inspired by the Buddhist and Hindu religions, with the aim of ‘uniting’ the two beliefs through a work of art.

The 40-metre-long statue of the reclining Buddha and the large hollow sculpture in the shape of a head, which provides access to an upper level with a beautiful view of the park, symbolising the passage from hell to heaven, are particularly noteworthy.

Afterwards we get back to the city in time for the spectacular sunset over the Mekong River.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation 

07. VIENTIANE - DEPARTURE

Transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight.

Included : Breakfast, private transportation to airport

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