Reserve a place in your heart for the serene beauty and majesty that is Southern Laos. Close to the Cambodian border, the Mekong awakes from its slumber and gives rise to a tropical laid back atmosphere, where locals live comfortably among architectural heirlooms and life is blissfully unhurried.
Depart the UK with international economy flight to Vientiane, Laos.
Upon arrival we will be met and transferred to the hotel for check-in and tour briefing. If time permits, we’ll take an orientation walk. Tonight, a welcome dinner awaits us.
Today we’ll be exploring some of the highlights of Vientiane. First, visit Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple in the city, and home to thousands of miniature Buddha statues. Next, visit Wat Phra Kaew, the former royal temple that housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image, and Phra That Luang, which represents a lotus bud and is used as a symbol of the Lao nation. We will also visit Patousay, Vientiane’s very own Arc of Triumph. Get the feel of true local life with a visit to Talad Sao, the Central Market of Vientiane.
Afternoon, we visit one of Laos’s slightly stranger attractions – the Buddha Park. Built in 1958 this riverside park is the site of a large collection of Buddhist and Hindu Sculptures. En route, take a look at the impressive Friendship Bridge and the National Cultural Park.
NOTE: Instead of the Buddha Park, a visit to (1) the weaving village of Ban Nong Buathong, or (2) the forest temple Wat Sok Pa Luang can be arranged.
Today we take a flight to Pakse, the capital of Champasak Province and transportation hub for the whole of southern Laos. We’ll be met upon arrival and driven to the hotel. Enjoy the rest of the day at own leisure.
Check out and transfer to Sinouk Coffee House for the meeting between 9:00 and 9:30. Next, we will be transferred to a long-tail boat for a 2.5-hour journey to the Vat Phou cruise boat in Champasak. Upon arrival, we’ll be welcome on board with a drink followed by lunch. The highlight of the afternoon is the Vat Phou ruins – the majestic pre-Angkorian 10th century temple complex and our boat’s namesake. As dusk falls, we’ll be driven back to the Vat Phou boat for a chance to enjoy the tropical sunset on the deck. Dinner is served on board, while the boat docks for the night at Ban Muang village.
The boat undocks at 6:00 AM and continues downstream. Around 10:30, we leave the boat to visit Huei Thamo village and the mysterious hidden forest temple of Oum Muong. The temple was built in the 9th century in dedication to Rudani, a consort of Shiva, and named for the stream running behind. The most predominant feature of the ruins is the unusual lingam with four faces at the tip. We return to the boat for lunch while it gets closer to the paradisaical wilderness known as the 4,000 Islands. Late afternoon we disembark again and walk through Ban Deua Tia, a small Laotian village where the traditional way of life has not changed over centuries. The cruising today finishes at the most northern tip of Don Khong, the largest inhabited island in the river archipelago.
Enjoy breakfast while the boat heads to the small village of Ban Veuthong. Upon arrival, we board a small boat to meander among the 4,000 Islands to Khone Island. Visit the old French railway, the French colonial house and walk across the bridge that links Khone and Det Islands. Enjoy a lunch at a local restaurant on Don Khone Island. After the visit to Khone Pha Pheng, the ‘Niagara of the East’, we will be transferred back to Pakse by bus. The trip ends around 16:00 in the city centre*.
*From here you have the choice to continue your stay in Pakse or transfer to Palse International Airport for flights to Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Siem Reap or Veukham.
Vientiane – 5*
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Tour Prices exclude: