Discover the unique charm and beauty of Laos in this journey through the kingdom formerly known as Lang Xang, the Land of Million Elephants. Relaxing in some of Indochina's most elegant hotels, you will have the chance to taste the distinctive atmosphere in Luang Prabang as well as see enigmatic Vientiane. Along the way you will be enchanted and fascinated by this extraordinary Buddhist country noted for her genuinely friendly people and languorous pace of life.
Welcome to Luang Prabang, the spiritual capital of Laos. Upon your arrival, you will be greeted and transferred to hotel for check in by Laos Senses guide and driver.
This evening enjoy a brief introduction to Luang Prabang. Climb the stairs of Mount Phousi and watch the sun set over the city and surrounding hills then walk down the other side and explore the hill tribe evening market.
For the welcome dinner, we proceed to l’Eléphant which is one of the finest restaurants in Luang Prabang, before being driven back to your hotel. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
- Belmond La Residence Phou Vao
- Burasari Heritage Resort
Climb up Phousi Mountain, watch sunset over Luang Prabang City
When in Luang Prabang, you will have chance to watch the monks collecting the alms in the early morning, a highlight of this city. As the sun rises, long lines of orange-robed monks begin to leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from local residents. This beautiful, serene ceremony highlights the spiritualism of the Laos people. Return to the hotel then have breakfast.
After breakfast, travel to the historical old town of central Luang Prabang where your tour starts at the fresh market. Accompanied by your guide, walking through the rows of stalls you will see what is on sale. The locals are seen to come here every day to shop for vegetables, fruits and other exotic specialties and delicacies. The market is close to the National Museum, your next stop. This site was once the Royal Palace of Laos, and now is filled with art, artifacts, and jewels and a visit examines the history and rich culture of the country.
The sightseeing in Luang Prabang would not be enough without the visit to some of the city’s most important temples such as Wat Visoun and Wat Aham. Wat Visoun is where you will see the famous Watermelon Stupa, shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. Once destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from China, it was restored in 1930 by local Buddhist monks and people. Meanwhile, Wat Aham is where you will see the altar of the 2 guardian spirits of Luang Prabang.
We recommend to have lunch in town at Tamarind restaurant for a chance to sample unusual local specialties not available back home.
After lunch, we head to Ock Pop Tok to get to know more about textiles in Laos- including their history, production, and cultural significance. To drive away the heat, you might like to take a break at TAEC Café, located inside the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC), and sip a iced coffee. A tour of TAEC, will help you discover more about this museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities. The items like traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories. There is no better chance to gain insight in to the Lao people.
NOTE: Tamarind restaurant is closed on Sundays.
Late this afternoon, join a cooking class course to experience the wonderful flavors of Lao cuisine, led by Chef Mr. Chantanong from The Residence Phou Vao. The cooking course itself is a fun, hands-on way to discover the ingredients involved and techniques used to make the local cuisine. At the end of the course, lay back to enjoy a delicious dinner which you have helped prepare. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Wat Visoun and Wat Aham Pagoda, National Museum, visiting local market
- Tamarind Restaurant
- L’Eléphant Restaurant
Start this morning with a visit to one of Lao’s most picturesque temples, the beautiful Wat Xieng Thong. A visit to the temple unveils golden gates, ornaments, and colorful murals.
Embark on the Nava Mekong, a beautiful wooden river boat for a join-in cruise up the Mekong to the Pak Ou Caves (depart around 10.30). The journey takes you around 2 hours and along the way you will be rewarded by spectacular views, pass by small villages on the river banks and witness fishermen out for their daily catch. Pak Ou Caves are dotted with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The statues range in size from a few centimeters tall to the size of a human, and sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers the caves have to offer are simply stunning. The caves are as well a popular destination for local pilgrimages, especially during the Lunar Lao New Year period of Pii Mai. The boat continues traveling in the outskirts of the caves and will moor during lunch time at the foot of beautiful limestone cliffs. You will be served with a selection of typical Lao dishes onboard before you cruise back downstream.
The rest of the day is spent at your leisure for additional sight-seeing or relaxing in this charming city. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Wat Xieng Thong, river cruise to Pak Ou Caves, visit small villages on the river banks
Spend the morning at leisure before your guide and driver transfer you to the airport for your departure flight to Vientiane. Arrive in Vientiane then being transferred you to your hotel.
The tour in Vientiane starts this afternoon with a visit to COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. You will gain in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them.
Before the sun sets, stroll leisurely along the Mekong River banks and stop, if you wish, to sip a cold drink at one of the many riverside food stalls. Overnight in Vientiane.
- Settha Palace Hotel
- Ansara Hotel
Begin this peaceful morning in Vientiane with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Builted King Setthethirat in the sixteenth century, the temple is blazing when the sun shines upon its towering golden spire. From the top of Patuxay or Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane, you can enjoy a panoramic view over the city. Continue down Lane Xang Avenue the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple remained intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is thought to be one of the most beautiful temples in the capital, and its breezy teak covered hallways are dotted with thousands of miniature Buddha statues. Thereafter is a visit to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Functioned as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo houses and displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art.
For Western foodies, we recommend to have lunch at l'adresse de Tinay, a French style bistro run and managed by French expatriates. The food is delicious “home style” French cuisine with just the right twist to turn each dish into a feast for the eyes! (Note: closed on Sundays)
The afternoon is left free for you to enjoy shopping, more sightseeing, or a get some spa treatment. For your final evening in Laos, to give you the unique opportunity, we suggest you to experience one of Laos’ oldest traditions: The Baci. The main purpose of the Baci, which is a mixture of Animist and Buddhist beliefs, is to call back escaped spirits to the body. This is very important ceremony prior to major and important events such as weddings, births, travel, welcoming friends and farewells.
The farewell dinner will be served at the Makphet Restaurant which is famous for a delicious dinner of modern Lao cuisines. The restaurant itself is a charity-run restaurant that gives support to street children by providing them with training and a job at the vocational restaurant. Overnight in Vientiane.
NOTE: l'adresse de Tinay Restaurant is closed on Sundays.
Pha That Luang Stupa, Wat Sisaket, Wat Phra Keo and Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane
- Makphet Restaurant
- L'Adresse - Cuisine by Tinay
Your guide and private car will meet you at the hotel and transfer you to the airport for your departure flight.
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Positioned atop a hill, gazing across the sacred mountains, Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao is an unforgettable place to stay.
With a reputation as one of the most serene Luang Prabang hotels, Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao is a haven of peace. Relax, soak up the atmosphere and enjoy stepping back into a more gracious era.