KUANG SI WATERFALLS AND
THOUSAND BUDDHA CAVES
The Kuang Si Waterfalls and Thousand Buddha Caves tour is a thoughtfully designed itinerary to maximise the 5-day Laos travel experience by including the most important sights of Luang Prabang and Vientiane.
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.
This sample itinerary starts in Vientiane and ends in Luang Prabang. It can be customised to suit your travel needs and combined with other routes.
Length : 5D 4N
From : VIENTIANE
To : LUANG PRABANG
Destinations : Vientiane, Luang Prabang
01. ARRIVE IN VIENTIANE
Welcome meeting by our staff on arrival in Vientiane, the peaceful capital of Laos nestled on the banks of the Mekong River.
Transfer and check-in at the hotel.
Afternoon introductory walk for a first approach to the local lifestyle.
Included : Private pick up from them airport, tour guide and hotel
02. VIENTIANE - LUANG PRABANG
That Luang Stupa
After breakfast we visit the major attractions in the capital such as Wat Si Saket, known for thousands of Buddha images that is said preserved the temple during the invasion by Siamese armies in 1828. Continue to Wat Ho Prakeo, which once housed the Emerald Buddha, to That Luang Stupa, considered the most important monument in Laos, which according to local belief houses a relic of Buddha transported to the site in the 3rd century BC, and to Patuxai, or “Laotian Arc de Triomphe”, the monument of the fallen of all wars. Afterwards visit to the Morning Market.
In the afternoon we visit the Vientiane National Museum, formerly the ‘Museum of the Revolution‘, dedicated to the 1970 revolution for liberation from imperialist occupation.
Afterwards, transfer to the airport for your 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, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995, whose origins date back to the ancient city of Muang Sua built in 698.
Once there, we climb up Mount Phousi to visit the sacred golden stupa and admire the beautiful view of the city and the romantic sunset over the Mekong.
A walk in the evening to the Night Market, on the central street of Luang Prabang, to meet the local merchants selling the handicrafts of the ethnic minorities of the area is definitely worthwhile.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, domestic flight, tickets and private transportation
03. LUANG PRABANG - PAK OU CAVES
Buddha statues at Pak Ou caves
After breakfast we begin our walking tour of the most important monuments.
We visits 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.
Afterwards 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, Ban Xiengmene and BanChan, known for the ancient textile tradition and the production of paper from mulberry bark.
We end the day with a tour of the Buddhist temple Wat Long Khoun, or ‘Monastery of Happiness‘, built in the 18th century and once used as a sanctuary by those seeking spiritual rejuvenation, including monarchs who spent three days here in meditation before the coronation ceremony.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, boat, tickets and private transportation
04. LUANG PRABANG - KUANG SI
Kuang 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 to Phousi Market where we can spot unique merchandise such as dried buffalo skins.
Laos is known for the numerous ethnic groups and today we have the opportunity to meet some of them by visiting the ethnic villages Ban Ouay (H’mong tribe), Ban Ou (Laoloum tribe),Ban Thapene and others inhabited by the Khmu ethnic group.
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.
We end the day with a beautiful sunset from the top of the Wat Phabath temple.
Included : Hotel, breakfast, tour guide, tickets and private transportation
05. LUANG PRABANG - DEPARTURE
After breakfast we head 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, in particular the golden statue of Buddha Phra Bang from which the city takes its name.
Following this, transfer to the airport in time for your departure flight.
Included : Breakfast, guide, tickets, private transportation to airport
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