LAOS TO THAILAND
ON MEKONG RIVER

Length

6 DAYS

Type of tour

CULTURE/NATURE

Type of service

PRIVATE

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TRIP OVERVIEW

  The Laos to Thailand on the Mekong River tour is a 6-day itinerary ideal for those wishing to visit both countries. The cultural experience blends with the nature experience on a fascinating 2-day cruise on the Mekong River. An authentic opportunity to observe rural landscapes and learn about the local lifestyle.

Visit 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.

Explore 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.

Embark on a cruise through the remote town of Pakbeng and on to Houay Xai on the Thai border.

This sample itinerary starts in Vientiane and ends in Houay Xai (Laos-Thailand border). It can be customised to suit your travel needs and combined with other routes.

Laos to Thailand on Mekong river - map © In Asia Travel

DOWNLOAD ITINERARY

Length : 6D 5N
From : VIENTIANE
To : HOUAY XAI (Thailand border)
Destinations : Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Pakbeng, Houai Xai

ITINERARY

01. ARRIVE IN VIENTIANE - CITY TOUR

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

Welcome meeting by our staff upon arrival in Vientiane, the quiet capital of Laos on the banks of the Mekong River. Transfer to the hotel and check-in.

In the afternoon 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.

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

02. LUANG PRABANG

Luang Prabang view - LaosLuang Prabang view

Morning transfer to the airport in time for the domestic flight to 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.

On arrival we begin our walking tour of the most important monuments.

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, domestic flight and private transportation 

03. LUANG PRABANG - KUANG SI

Kuang Si waterfallsKuang Si waterfalls

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 continue 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 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.

We then visit the Ock Pop Tok Living Crafts & Shop, a social enterprise mainly focused on preserving the local cultural and craft traditions. The facility is set in a beautiful tropical garden on the banks of the Mekong River from where we can enjoy a beautiful sunset.

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

04. 1˚PART CRUISE : PAKBENG - PAK OU CAVES

Buddha statues at Pak Ou cavesBuddha statues at Pak Ou caves

After breakfast we head to the pier and embark on a fascinating 2-day cruise on the Mekong River to Pakbeng and Houay Xai on Laos-Thailand border. An authentic opportunity to observe rural landscapes and learn about the local lifestyle.

On the way we stop at 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.

Arrival in Pakbeng before sunset and check-in at the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, shared boat and tickets

05. 2˚PART CRUISE : HOUAY XAI

Laos © Gabriele Stoia - In Asia TravelRemote areas of Laos

Early morning visit to Pakbeng market, a meeting point for many local tribes from the surrounding villages to sell their goods.

Afterwards, we continue with the second part of the Mekong cruise towards Houai Xai, the second province of Laos with the largest number of ethnic groups.

Arrival in Houay Xay before sunset and check-in at the hotel.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide and shared boat

06. LOCAL VILLAGES - TRANSFER TO BORDER

After breakfast we visit the Ban Namkeung village inhabited by the Lu tribe.

Following this, transfer to the Houai Xay (Laos) – Chiang Khong (Thailand) border.

Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide and transfer to the border 

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