Lao Explorer (15 days)

15 days from just £2,590 pp
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flag Luang Prabang - Xieng Khouang - Hin Buon - Vientiane - Pakse - Tadlo - Khong Island - Khone Island
What's included?
+ included - not included
  • International Flight
  • Accommodation
  • Water
  • Meals
  • Escorted Tour
  • Domestic Flights
  • Airport Taxes Charges
  • Visa
  • Insurance
  • Tipping

Here is your chance to experience the various Lao ethnic groups and explore the way they live and work. Travel through Laos, from the border with Thailand in the north, to the Cambodian border in the south. With a mix of French colonial architecture and golden Buddhist temples, together with its warm and laid back people, you cannot help but relax and admire the beauty of this country.

 

Day 1 UK Departure

Depart the UK with international economy flight to Luang Prabang, Laos.

Day 2 Arrival in Luang Prabang

Upon arrival you will be met & transferred to hotel for check-in and tour briefing. Time permitting we’ll take an orientation tour around the city before welcome dinner.

Meals Included

  • Dinner
Day 3 Luang Prabang

Early rise to take the fantastic opportunity to watch or participate in the unique daily morning ritual, where hundreds of saffron-clad monks walk in procession collecting offerings of sticky rice from devout residents along the roadsides.

After breakfast we commence our exploration of the town from the National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace, which houses an eclectic collection, including statues, mosaic covered walls, French mirrors, and a piece of moon rock presented by the former U.S President Nixon. We continue on foot to Wat Mai, the temple with its unique five-tiered roof and golden bas-reliefs, and then Wat Visoun which contains a collection of antique wooden Buddha statues. After lunch, we visit Wat Xiengthong with the sweeping roofs, Wat Sene boasting the most dazzling facade of all Luang Prabang temples, and Wat Aham – the “Monastery of the blossomed Heart”. Later, we’ll negotiate the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi for a panoramic view of the city and the beautiful surrounding countryside. Conclude the day with a leisurely walk through the iridescent Night Market to see a lovely array of handicrafts.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 4 Luang Prabang

We start the day with a visit to the Big Brother Mouse shop in town to select some children’s books for our village visit later on. We then head north by car along Route 13, before taking an unpaved road to Ban Khia Luang. Here we will have ample time to visit the school, play with the kids and watch them enjoy their new books. We will also have chance to see village women weave with traditional looms. For lunch we enjoy a traditional Lao meal of sticky rice, laap and fresh vegetables cooked by the villagers. After lunch we drive to Ban Khoklin and take a boat down the Nam Ou River to Pak Ou, the two caves crammed with thousands of Buddha statues left by pilgrimages over centuries. One more hour of cruising will return us to town for the night.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 5 Luang Prabang to Xieng Khouang

We bid farewell to Luang Prabang and travel overland to Xieng Khouang along a mountainous road with beautiful mountainous views. We will pass through Khmu and Hmong villages with stops at Kiukhacham for refreshments and Phoukhoun for a market visit. When mountains give way to small hills and peaceful countryside, we’ll reach Phonsavan, the provincial city of Xieng Khouang, 300 km from Luang Prabang.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 6 Xieng Khouang

Our tour today kicks off with a visit to the local market and afterwards head for the mystical Plain of Jars. Scattered over the plain are hundreds of enormous clay jars, the legacy of an ancient civilisation and allegedly over 2000 years old. Till present time, the appearance and purpose of the jars remain a big question. We start from site 2 on 2 hill tops then continue to site 3 amidst some rice fields. Afterwards, we drive to Muang Khoun, the former provincial capital of Xieng Khuang, which was destroyed by the war. Take a walk to a village of the Tai Dam to learn about their distinctive cultural customs. After lunch, we head back to Phonsavan, revisiting the Plain of Jars at site 1 which has the greatest number of jars and the biggest in size.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 7 Xieng Khouang to Hin Buon

After an early breakfast we set off on a long drive through central Laos to Hin Buon, a fascinating journey with plenty of things to see en route. The first stop is the ancient town of Muang Khoun to visit the ruins of some ancient pagodas in Lanna style, especially Wat Phiawat. Afterwards, the drive will be up into the scenic mountains. The next leg of the journey takes us through rolling countryside and limestone karsts. We’ll make another sightseeing visit at the famous

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 8 Hin Buon / Kong Lor

We have plenty of time to rest to recover from the long drive the previous day. Mid-morning, we board a boat for the journey upriver to Kong Lor village. Pay a brief visit to the village then continue the boat trip into the majestic Kong Lor Cave. Navigate through the 7 km length of the cave, which has a spectacular cavern over 100 m high. The exploration ends at the tiny, remote village of Ban Natan on the other side of the cave, where we enjoy lunch. Return to the hotel.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 9 Hin Buon to Vientiane

Today we make our way to the sleepy capital of Laos through spectacular limestone karst scenery. The driving time is around 6 hours including a lunch stop at a picturesque Lao Loum village. In Vientiane, enjoy the rest of the day as we please.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 10 Vientiane

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.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 11 Vientiane to Pakse

We take a morning flight to Pakse at the junction of the Mekong and Xe Don rivers. Home to ancient temples, French colonial architecture and lazy riverside restaurants, Pakse is a fantastic launch point for exploring the laid-back Southern Laos region. The Bolaven Plateau, which presides over Pakse, is home to a growing number of coffee plantations. We’ll be greeted at Pakse airport and driven to the agricultural village of Ban Katuu. Here, we’ll get a glimpse of local coffee production and sample fresh Lao coffee. Go on to visit Talat Dao Heung Market near the Japanese Bridge, where we can bargain for coffee and browse colourful stalls of spices, dried fish, fresh fruits, and Lao sweets.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
Day 12 Pakse to Tadlo

We depart Pakse and drive uphill through lush plantations, rolling hills, dense forests and tribal villages to Tadlo in the Boloven Plateau. The plateau is known for its cool climate, criss-crossing rivers and numerous spectacular waterfalls such as Tad Lo. This waterfall has twin streams that plunge from an impressive height of 800 feet. We’ll have good time venturing off the beaten tracks to discover this lesser-known area of Laos, visiting one of the many coffee plantations to learn about the production of Lao coffee and enjoy a swim in its cool, clear waters.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 13 Tadlo to Khong Island

Enjoy breakfast at hotel before a leisurely drive to Champasak, the former royal capital of Laos, and then the ruins of Wat Phu, a World Heritage site of numerous intriguing Khmer ruins on Mount Phu Kao. This wonderful archaeological site of Khmer civilisation dates back to the 9th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Afterwards we drive on to Khong Island, the largest island in the region known as the land of 4000 islands, one of the most scenic areas in Laos.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 14 Khong Island / Khone Island

This morning we embark a long tail boat and venture into the widest reach of the Mekong River, where the waters recede and leave behind thousands of islets in the dry season, giving this area a lovely name “Sipandon” (Four thousand islands). We’ll explore the peaceful villages of Ban Khone which retains an array of relics from the French colonial era. Continue to the marvellous Liphi waterfall, the “Corridor of the Devil” marking the end of Laos border with Cambodia. If lucky, we will see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Day 15 Departure

We take a boat to Ban Nakasung and continue overland to the Lao – Cambodia border. En route we’ll visit the breathtaking Khone Phapheng waterfall, the Niagara of South East Asia.

*From here we have two options (1) Proceed to the Veukham/ Tropeang Kreal (formerly Dong Kalor) border gate and enter Cambodia, or (2) Return to Pakse to take a flight.

Meals Included

  • Breakfast
Deluxe (5*)

Luang Prabang – 5* Kiridara (for information click here)

Phonsavan – Anoulack Khen Lao Hotel (for information click here)

Hin Buon – Sala Hinboun (for information click here)

Vientiane – 5*

First Class (4*)

Luang Prabang – 4* Villa Santi Hotel (for information click here)

Phonsavan – Anoulack Khen Lao Hotel (for information click here)

Hin Buon – Sala Hinboun (for information click here)

Vientiane – 4* Golden Sun Hotel

Pakse – 4* Residence Sisouk (for information click here)

Bolaven Plateau – Sinouk Coffee Resort (for information click here)

Khong Island – Pon Arena Hotel (for information click here)

Khonoe Island – Sala Ban Khone

Superior (3*)

Luang Prabang – 3* Villa Chitdara (for information click here)

Phonsavan – 3* Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel (for information click here)

Hin Buon – Sala Hinboun (for information click here)

Vientiane – 3* Mandala Boutique Hotel (for information click here)

Pakse – 3* Pakse Hotel (for information click here)

Bolaven Plateau – Baan E-Tu Waterfall Resort

Khong Island – Pon Arena Hotel (for information click here)

Khonoe Island – Sala Ban Khone

Vientiane - 5* Dhavara/Deluxe Room
Pakse - 5* Athena Hotel/Deluxe Room
Bolaven Plateau - 5* Sinouk Coffee Resort/Deluxe Room
Khong Island - 5* Pon Arena Hotel/Deluxe Room
Khone Island - 5* Sala Ban Khone/French Residence
Luang Prabang - 4* Villa Santi Hotel/Deluxe Room
Phonsaven - 4* Anoulack Khen Lao Hotel/Big Standard Room
Hin Buon - 4* Sala Hinboun/River View Residence
Vientiane - 4* Vientiane Golden Sun Hotel/Deluxe Room
Pakse - 4* Sinouk Residence/Superior Room
Bolaven Plateau - 4* Sinouk Coffee Resort/Superior Room
Khong Island - 4* Pon Arena Hotel/Deluxe Room
Khone Island - 4* Sala Ban Khone/French Residence
Luang Prabang - 3* Villa Chitdara/Superior Room
Phonsaven - 3* Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel/Standard
Hin Buon - 3* Sala Hinboun/River View Residence
Vientiane - 3* Mandala Boutique/Superior Room
Pakse - 3 Pakse Hotel/Deluxe Room
Bolaven Plateau - 3* Baan E-Tu Waterfall Resort/Superior Room
Khong Island - 3* Pon Arena Hotel/Deluxe Room
Khone Island - 3* Sala Ban Khone/French Residence

Tour Prices include:

  • International economy flights;
  • Hotel accommodation as shown (based on twin occupancy);
  • Meals as described (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner);
  • Meeting and assistance on arrivals and departures;
  • Sightseeing excursions with English speaking guides;
  • All transfers and road transportation in air-conditioned vehicles;
  • Entrance fees for visits mentioned in program;
  • Train/Boat journeys where mentioned in program;
  • Domestic flights where mentioned in program;
  • Daily supply of bottled water;
  • All currently applicable taxes.

Tour Prices exclude:

  • Laos visa fee;
  • Drinks during meals;
  • Personal expenses such as laundry, souvenirs etc;
  • Travel insurance (can be arranged, please ask for details);
  • Tips to guides and drivers;
  • Optional tours;
  • Early check-in or late check-out;
  • Flight and accommodation upgrades.
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N.B. There is an additional surcharge for single supplement applied for travellers occupying a room on their own. Please select below if this applies.

We used Emperor for a group trip to India. they were fantastic with their choice of hotels (some truly incredible) their tour guide, the whole programme and their choice of airlines for the trip. We made things quite tough for them with different members of the group travelling for different periods and arriving in and out of different airports. We specifically had some issues with one of the airlines on the return leg of our trip, through no fault of Emperor, but they did their utmost to put things right and made the journey home as pleasant as possible by meeting the cost of a lounge at the airport for us do to the shortcomings of one of the airlines checking in procedures. The pre holiday package of information was very comprehensive and we were presented with very durable luggage tags. We would have no hesitation in recommending Richard and his team in tailoring a package for a trip to India. We had an amazing culturally stimulating trip and will certainly go back to India in the future.

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