CULTURAL LAOS 12 Days - Private - Departure Daily. Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Pak Ou, Khong Island, Wat Phu, Pakse, Saravan, Attapu
RATE: This rate is quoted in VN? per person, based on Double/Twin occupancy. Applied for the - Private Tour.
Includes: Domestic flights Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels (3 star hotel in average) Private Tourours, transfers and all services as mentioned in the itinerary Services of a private driver and air-conditioned vehicles Service of English speaking guides in every location Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited Meals as mentioned in the itinerary
Excludes: International flight Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary Early check-in and late check-out at hotels. Personal expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.) Tips for guides and drivers Personal travel insurance Visa fees (more at: www.laostravel.com/visa)
Day 1 Arrive Pakse Phou Asa Day 2 Phou Asa Champasak Wat Phou Oup Mong Day 3 Phou Asa Jungle Elephant Safari Day 4 Phou Asa Pakse Fly to Vientiane Day 5 Vientiane Fly to Oudomxay Muang La Day 6 Muang La 4x4 Adventure & Trek Day 7 Muang La Nam Ou River Cruise Nong Khiaw Day 8 Nong Khiaw Luang Prabang Day 9 Luang Prabang Walking Tour Day 10 Luang Prabang Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp Expedition Day 11 Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp Expedition, Luang Prabang Day 12 Depart Luang Prabang
Day 1 Arrive Pakse Phou Asa Upon arrival at Pakse Airport, you will be met by your guide and escorted on a short drive south to Phou Asa to the wonderful Kingfisher Eco Lodge. The remainder of the day is free there are numerous activities available (elephant riding, mountain biking, walking and bird watching, just to name a few!). Meals: N/A. Accommodation: Hotel in Phou Asa.
Day 2 Phou Asa Champasak Wat Phou Oup Mong Morning transfer to Champasak to visit the fascinating pre-Angkorian ruins of Wat Phou; one of South-East Asia's most dramatically situated temple sites and superb views of the Mekong River. Designated a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 2001, the site dates back to the 5th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. Whilst much of the origins of Wat Phou are unclear, it is believed that the Khmer Hindus built the original temple and eventually made Angkor Wat their capital. Return to Champasak to admire the town's wonderful French colonial architecture before taking a ferry across the Mekong River to Ban Muang, where you can visit the atmospheric ruins of Oup Mong, a Khmer temple at Ban Houei Tomo, set deep within the forest. Return to the Kingfisher Eco Lodge in the afternoon, the remainder of your day is yours to spend as you wish. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: Hotel in Phou Asa.
Day 3 Phou Asa Jungle Elephant Safari Start your day at the village of Khiet Ngong where you will meet the elephants and their mahouts before setting off out across the surrounding paddy fields and wetland. Entering the nearby jungle that surrounds the area, your seat or howdah gives you a unique vantage point to experience the jungle environment while cicadas and bird sounds accompany you along the way. After several hours, break for lunch near a stream whilst your elephants are allowed to roam off in search of a light snack of their own! Continue riding throughout the afternoon, all the time learning some basic commands and tricks from your mahout, returning to the your lodge around 4pm. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: Hotel in Phou Asa.
Day 4 Phou Asa Pakse Fly to Vientiane Transfer to Pakse Airport in time for your morning flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to your hotel. Enjoy a short tour of the city centre, taking in a few of the key highlights such as Wat Sisaket, with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the Patuxai Monument which has more than a passing resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe. Vientiane, capital of Laos, is often overlooked by travelers due to Luang Prabangs status as one of the worlds premier travel destinations. Busy and hectic in comparison to the rest of the country, it is actually quite sedate when compared to most other capital cities in Asia. Located on the banks of the Mekong River, the city has a population of less than a million and is a true blend of east and west. French Colonial architecture sits side-by-side with gilded temples and due to its status amongst many travelers as Laos 2nd city, you get to enjoy its wealth of highlights without the large crowds so often encountered in Luang Prabang. In the evenings, there is a night market lining the riverbank, with some excellent local food stalls found nearby on Chao Anou Road. Elsewhere in the city you will discover a wide array of dining and entertainment opportunities, with something to suit every taste and budget. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane.
Day 5 Vientiane Fly to Oudomxay Muang La Transfer to the Vientiane Airport in time for your flight to Oudomxay. Upon arrival you will be met by your guide and transferred to Muang La, located on the outskirts of Oudomxay. The remainder of your day is at leisure to enjoy the serenity of the Muang La Resort and its welcoming hot spring baths. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: Hotel in Muang La.
Day 6 Muang La 4x4 Adventure & Trek Depart Muang La by 4x4 vehicle for a day of trekking and exploring the local area where you will discover minority hill tribe people and their fascinating way of life. Todays journey is truly off the beaten track and ensures some stunning mountain views along the way. Commence trekking over farmland and hills, with a picnic lunch trek for 45 minutes at the beautiful village of Ban Phavie, a Kamu Village atop a hill, and with superb views over the surrounding area. After lunch we continue trekking to reach a beautiful waterfall where you can relax and freshen up. Return to Muang La in the late afternoon where the remainder of your day is spent at leisure. Trekking time/grade: 5 hours/moderate. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Accommodation: Hotel in Muang La.
Day 7 Muang La Nam Ou River Cruise Nong Khiaw Take a morning drive to the riverside town of Muang Khau where you will board a small boat for a cruise down the Nam Ou River to Nong Khiaw. This particular stretch promises stunning scenery and a sprinkling of remote villages, including Ban Sob Jaem a Khmu and Hmong villages that can only be accessed by boat. Arrive in Nong Khiaw in the late afternoon. Nong Khiaw is a remote village situated on the banks of the Nam Ou River and flanked on either side by stunning mountainous backdrops. The remainder of your day is at leisure so why not take a stroll along the riverbank, wander through local villages, or just settle back with a Beer Lao! Meals: Breakfast, Lunch. Accommodation: Hotel in Nong Khiaw.
Day 8 Nong Khiaw Luang Prabang Morning transfer to Luang Prabang, arrive in time for lunch. The remainder of your day is at leisure. Luang Prabang, the Jewel of Indochina, is a UNESCO designated World Heritage Site and regularly voted as one of Asia's premier travel destinations. The ancient royal city is surrounded by mountains and is situated at a junction of the Mekong and Khan Rivers. In the centre of the city is Mount Phousi, rewarding climbers of its 328 steps with stunning views of the surrounding temples and hills. Luang Prabang, a city where time has seemingly stood still, is also an outstanding example of the fusion of traditional Lao architecture with structures built by the European colonial authorities in more recent times. Its unique, remarkably well-preserved townscape illustrates a key stage in the blending of these two distinct cultural traditions. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 9 Luang Prabang Walking Tour An option (although we highly recommend it; in fact, we almost insist) for early-risers is to wake before dawn to witness the long lines of orange-robed monks leaving their pagodas to receive offerings of food from the residents of Luang Prabang. Its a fantastic experience and for many a highlight of their visit to this iconic city. After breakfast, enjoy a tour of the city. Your circuit begins at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, continuing on to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-reliefs. During Pimai (Lao New Year celebrations in April), the Kingdoms Palladium - known as Prabang and normally housed in the Royal Palace Museum - is put on public display inside this temple. Continue on to Wat Xieng Thong, perhaps the most photographed temple in Luang Prabang. In the late morning visit the unique Wat Visoun, entirely rebuilt after its destruction in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa, which is shaped like the fruit it takes its name from. In the afternoon start with the excellent Arts and Ethnology Center which will give you further insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos. There is also time to visit the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek before returning to the Old Town to climb Mount Phousi and enjoy the stunning views across Luang Prabang as the sun sets. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 10 Luang Prabang Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp Expedition After breakfast you will be collected by the Shangri-Lao's driver (approx 8am) for the short journey to the Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp, 15 km outside Luang Prabang (shared transfer). The camp offers a different level of elephant safari to anything seen in Indochina before - combining unique elephant expeditions with a touch of flair and luxury - and provides the opportunity to engage with the wild array of wildlife and nature that surrounds Luang Prabang. Having been introduced to the camp's specialist team and taken a tour of the various facilities, you will meet the herd and their mahouts, or keepers. Having helped with feeding time, your expedition begins with a morning ride through the surrounding forest to the protected Huay Sae Valley. Sitting up high in your howdah, the view is majestic as you pass amongst the foliage, helping clear a path for your elephant when the trail gets a little too tight (total elephant trek time approx 1.5 hours). A delicious lunch is awaiting your arrival and there will be plenty of time to cool-off in the nearby waterfall. In the afternoon, continue along the trail, this time by foot, crossing bamboo bridges and passing several waterfalls buried deep into the dense jungle. As the trail leaves the valley, you will meet locals from a nearby hill tribe who will be waiting with their horses to help with any bags for the remainder of your trek down to the Nam Khan River (total trek time approx 2 hours). Board a simple raft, typical of those used by the hill tribe people across the region, and float gently downstream for around an hour and half, with an optional additional 30 minutes at the Tad Sae Waterfalls if you wish. Arriving back at the camp, your 'room' will be ready for check-in. There will be plenty of time to relax in the jacuzzi pool enjoying the majestic view, or you can join your guide on a walk to a nearby village. In the evening a barbeque dinner will be served on the terrace before you retire exhausted, but very happy, to your luxury safari tent and let the surrounding forest help carry you to sleep. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner. Accommodation: Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp.
Day 11 Shangri-Lao Explorer Camp Expedition, Luang Prabang Enjoy an early riverside breakfast, enjoy the magical sunrise atmosphere and make the most of your riverside setting whilst the sun slowly rises over the surrounding mountains. Remote villages stir into life and you will see plumes of smoke marking their locations. Locals will pass by on small boats, heading to the fields or taking their children to the village school. After breakfast, spend some time learning how the mahouts train and work with their elephant. It's very much a hands on experience and you will be involved with loading up the howdah and practicing how to climb onto your elephant and ride it bare back. Your guide will also teach you more about the incredible relationship shared between elephants and their mahouts, many of whom will spend their entire lives devoted to just one elephant. Together with the mahouts make your way to the nearby river to give the heard their daily bath. If you haven't bathed an elephant before, you haven't lived, it's a moment you will never forget! After some instruction from your mahout you will be given the opportunity to ride on the elephants neck, wash it, scrub it and guide it through the river - using your feet and vocal commands - back to the camp. Having said goodbye (more food is usually an appreciated parting gift!) return to the camp to checkout of your tent. After lunch, there is plenty of time to relax, enjoy a swim or enjoy a walk through the nearby village to visit a small temple. Return to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon (shared transfer) where the remainder of your day is at leisure. Meals: Breakfast, Lunch. Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 12 Depart Luang Prabang Today is at your leisure until your transfer to the airport for your onward flight. Meals: Breakfast. Accommodation: N/A.
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