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Grand Tour of Laos - Tailor made tour

This Grand Tour of Laos takes in some of the very best cultural and natural sights that this beautiful country has to offer. From the charming city of Luang Prabang  to the stunning limestone karst scenery of Vang Vieng to the breathtaking natural beauty of the south, including a visit to Asia’s widest waterfall, this tour will captivate even the most worldly wise traveler.

Highlights

  1. Stay in quality ecolodges in quiet villages in rural areas & learn about the tribes who live in Laos

  2. Bathe in the pools Kuang Si Waterfall and gaze out over the mountainous scenery all around

  3. Visit the Asiatic Bear Rehabilitation Centre

  4. Stroll through the ancient city of Luang Prabang, once the former capital

  5. Visit the many colourful local markets

  6. Visit the Mines Action Group & learn about they work they do for the people of Laos affected by land mines

  7. Relax in the beautiful & idyllic town of Vang Vieng

  8. Visit the ancient Khmer ruins of Wat Phu, a lasting legacy of the once powerful empire which stretched throughout Asia

  9. Take a boat trip down the Mekong and observe life little changed throughout the ages

Depart for Chiang Rai via Bangkok.


Day 1 - Arrive Chiang Rai – transfer to hotel.


Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel where you have the rest of the day at leisure to relax.


Overnight in Chiang Rai


Day 2         Huay Xay – Pakbeng by Luang Say Cruise


We transfer early this morning to the border town of Huay Xay. The Luang Say Cruise boat leaves Huay Xay pier at 09:00 hrs for a cruise down the Mekong to Pakbeng. En route one stop is made to observe rural life along the Mekong and visit minority ethnic groups; then, a buffet lunch on board.


Arrive Pakbeng before sunset and check-in at Luang Say Lodge. You can then enjoy dinner on the terrace overlooking the Mekong River.


Overnight in Pakbeng

Meals: (B/L/D)


Day 3.         Pakbeng – Luang Prabang by Luang Say Cruise


Full breakfast at lodge, (Optional: walk to Pakbeng market, where people from the surrounding minority villages exchange their goods). At 08:30 board the boat for the second leg of the cruise. A short stop to discover a Hmong village before having a buffet lunch on board. Continue to Pak-Ou village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River, and then visit Pak Ou Caves "Cave of a thousand Buddha's". On the way to Luang Prabang a brief stop is made to observe the traditional process of manufacturing local rice alcohol. Arrive at Luang Prabang before sunset.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Meals: (B/L/)


Day 4     Luang Prabang – half day city walking tour


After breakfast we visit the quaint Royal Palace Museum, which gives a good overview of the local history and features a guided audio tour.  We then begin our walking tour, taking in some of Luang Prabangs hidden secrets, walking down the quiet back lanes.  This area contains a mix of beautiful old French Colonial buildings, and traditional old Lao houses, which you will have time to admire, along with a stop at the small but charming Wat Phapai.

Overnight in Luang Prabang .Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 5.        Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall


After breakfast, we visit the local Phosi Market, this is the place where all the locals shop and your guide will show and explain to you the diverse offerings on display. We also stop at Ock Pop Tock, a silk weaving centre. Here you will be given a guided tour and the silk weaving process will be explained.


We then drive out of the town where you have the option of stopping to visit Khmu, Hmong and Lao Loum villages, representing the main ethnic groups of Laos. This then takes us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the turquoise pool or walk along the forest trails.   Next to the falls is a Bear Rescue Centre, that does a great job in protecting and rehabilitating the rare Asiatic Black Bear.  We then return to Luang Prabang by lunchtime.


Tips: bring a towel with you if you’d like to swim at the waterfall


Overnight in Luang Prabang

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 6.    Luang Prabang – Phonsavan


We start early this morning, around 8am for the drive to Xiengkhuang, famous for the ‘Plain of Jars’.  The road follows a twisty mountain route, and we make our first stop at Houi Hei, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains.  We then continue Ban Kiu Kam Pone, a Khmu village to explore, before arriving in Phou Khoun for lunch.  We continue on the road into Xiengkhuang province, reaching our highest altitude of the day 1500m above sea level, just after Phou Khoun.  We have time to make a stop at Ban Son Boom, a Hmong village.  Our final stops of the day are a reminder that this region played a major part during the Vietnam War – as we visit a hidden Buddha Cave, that served as an army hospital during the war   and our final stop of the day, is an optional stop to visit an old Russian tank.  We arrive at your hotel by early evening.


Duration: 9 hours

Drive time: 7 hours

Overnight in Phonsavan

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 7.    Phonsavan – Plain of Jars


This morning we visit the Mines Action Group (or MAG) office to learn about the important work they do in clearing land mines and unexploded ordnance in the area.  We then drive out to the picturesque Jar Site 2, and begin a 1 hour trek along the ridge to Jar Site 3, consisting over around 150 jars located on top of a hill, offering great views.  In the afternoon we visit Jar Site 1, the largest site, containing over 300 jars, before returning to your hotel by late afternoon.


Overnight in Phonsavan

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 8.             Phonsavan – Muang Khoun – Vang Vieng


We start early this morning, visiting the interesting Central Market, then (time permitting) driving out to the ancient town of Muang Khoun, the former provincial capital, where you can explore the ruins of a number of ancient pagodas in the Lanna style and Wat Phiawat, a ruined temple containing a huge sitting Buddha.  We then travel by road to Vang Vieng, stopping for a late lunch in Phou Khoun.  Following lunch we stop at Ban Hin Ngon, a picturesque Hmong village.  We also have an optional stop at Koe Kuang, which boasts a local forest market, offering edible snakes, rats and assorted reptiles!  Our final stop of the day is a short photo stop of the stunning limestone karst scenery at Phatang Mountain view point.  We then arrive in Vang Vieng by early evening where you have the rest of the day at leisure.


Duration: 9 hours

Drive time: 7 hours

Overnight in Vang Vieng

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 9       Vang Vieng – Vientiane


This morning we visit Tham Jang cave, that offers great views over the Nam Song River and surrounding karst scenery.  We then set out on the road towards Vientiane.  En route we stop at Tha Heua, a small village that specializes in dried fish, which you will see hanging in front of the houses.  We then continue to Nam Ngum, a picturesque popular location with local day trippers from Vientiane.  Following lunch overlooking the lake, we stop over at Ban Keun, which is famous for its salt mine.  Here you can learn about the daily working life of the local people. 


Day 10 Contd

Just outside of Vientiane we make a final stop at the interesting Don Makai Market, an insect market, where, the more adventurous can try some of the tasty snacks on offer! We arrive in Vientiane by early evening.

Drive time: 4 hours

Overnight in Vientiane

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 10              Vientiane – half day city tour

Your half day city tour, begins with the oldest wat in Vientiane, Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which now serves as a museum of arts and antiques. 

We then travel up Lanexang Avenue you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxai Monument, which resembles its Parisian inspiration, the Arc de Triomphe.  The climb to the top offers great views over Vientiane.   We continue onwards down Rue Singha 23 to Laos’ National icon, and most important religious building, the golden stupa of That Luang.  The final visit of the day will be the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War area.  We then return to your hotel.

Duration: 4 hours

Overnight in Vientiane

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 11.                Vientian - Pakse – Tadlo, overnight Tadlo


Flight:    Vientiane to Pakse QV...

Early this morning you will be transferred to the airport for your early flight to Pakse.  Upon arrival you will be taken by road east into the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Our first stop is to visit Houey Ten, a village specializing in knifemaking. We then stop tea plantation, followed by a stop at Tad Fan Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall.




Overnight in Tadlo

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 12 Contd.

We then make a stop at a coffee plantation, en route to Tha Teng Market, a colourful ethnic minority food market. Next we explore a couple of fascinating minority villages, Ban Bong Neua, an Alak village that boasts a sacrificial altar, and Ban Kokphung, a Katu village where they keep coffins under their houses.  We arrive at the beautiful Tadlo Waterfall in the afternoon, where you have the rest of the day at leisure.

Drive time: 3 hours

Overnight in Tadlo

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 12.         Tadlo – Wat Phou – Khong Island

After breakfast, we head out of the plateau, stopping first at the attractive Paxuam Waterfall. We then drive to Champassak and onto Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century.  This dramatically sited temple is one of the highlights of any trip to Laos.  In the afternoon you will take the boat across the Mekong and drive south to Khong Island, the largest of the 4000 Islands where you will overnight.

Overnight on Khong Island

Meals: (B/_/_)


Day 13.          Khong Island – Khone Island – Don Daeng

Following breakfast we board a local private boat for a boat tour of the 4000 Islands.  We reach the picturesque island of Don Khone and explore the island by bicycle, tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings, and the beautiful Liphi Waterfall. We then return to our boat and head back to the mainland, visiting the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Southeast Asia.  From here we take a boat onto the Mekong to one of the few places in the world where it is possible to see freshwater dolphins.  They reside in deep pools near the Cambodia border, and if you are lucky you may catch a glimpse of them.  We then drive towards Ban Muang by car, then take the boat to Don Daeng, arriving there early evening. Meals: (B/_/_)



Day 14.         Don Daeng – free day


A free day at leisure today, to relax by the pool or hire bicycles to explore the island and its enchanting little villages.


Overnight on Don Daeng

Meals: (B)


Day 15.        Don Daeng – Pakse –Departure


Depending on your departure flight, you may have free time at leisure, before crossing back to the mainland by boat, then onto Pakse by car to the airport for your flight to Bangkok. On arrival transfer to your hotel.

Meals: (B)




Day 16.         Fly home


Meals (B)

Transfer to airport for return flight home.

When to Travel

Late October to March is when the temperature is most pleasant. However, Indochina is a year-round destination although conditions may vary especially when venturing off the beaten track. During May and June it can get particularly hot and July to September is the season of the south-western monsoon, when wet conditions make some roads impassable.


Whilst many people avoid the “off season”, there are plenty of good reasons to travel during this time, when hotel rates are reduced and the attractions are delightfully free of crowds.

Please note there is a range of accommodation to suit all tastes & budgets, therefore please get in touch for a personalised quote


Price is subject to change, availability and season

Tour Includes:

  1. All transfers as per itinerary

  2. All sightseeing as per itinerary with an English speaking guide.

  3. Excursions as mentioned

  4. Domestic flight (These are included in the quoted price, however a local payment is required to our ground agent for the flights. The amount you pay for the internal flights will be taken off the price quoted above and will be broken down clearly in your invoice)

  5. Transportation in private A/C vehicle

  6. Meals as mentioned (Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner where specified - excludes drinks)

  7. Public liability insurance

  8. All government  taxes

  9. Accommodation on a bed & breakfast basis throughout the tour.



Tour Excludes:

  1. All International flights & Visa fees

  2. International airport tax (Included in Airline Ticket)

  3. Meals, unless mentioned

  4. Optional tours & activities mentioned in the itinerary.

  5. Beverages and personal expenses

  6. Other excursions and entrance fees

  7. Travel insurance (cover against all cancellation costs, medical expenses, including repatriation, in the event of accident of illness)