Day 1: Luang Prabang Arrival – Baci Ceremony at a local home
Upon arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure.
Baci is a ceremony to celebrate important events and occasions such as births, marriages, entering the monkhood, departing, returning, and beginning a new year. The ritual involves tying strings around a person’s wrist to preserve good luck and has become a national custom.
Today you will take part in this special ceremony which will be hosted in a local home where you will meet and interact with the family members. Take part in the ceremony and then sit down for dinner with the family before returning back to your hotel.
Day 2: Alms Giving and Kuang Si Waterfall
Rise early to the sound of the temple gong to witness Luang Prabang’s mystical ritual. Walk downtown to watch the daily procession of about three hundred young monks who silently walk and collect sticky rice and other food in their bronze bowls. The ritual is linked to a Buddhist tradition where monks beg for their daily food as a way to demonstrate humility. If you would like to be involved in the offering of food, your guide will be more than happy to show you the respectful way to interact with monks. Feel free to take photos, however please use discretion and refrain from using your flash.
Enjoy the rest of your morning with a stroll through Luang Prabang’s morning market where you will see the locals haggling for fresh meat, fruit, and vegetables. From here, travel south to the Kuang Si Waterfall. Admire the crystal water cascading into idyllic turquoise pools. Bring a bathing suit if you would like to swim. Return back to Luang Prabang in the early afternoon. Note: Kuang Si Waterfall has less water from February to May.
Day 3: Luang Prabang – City Highlights and Pak Ou Cave
Explore many of the former royal capital’s cultural highlights. You’ll visit Wat Xieng Thong, one of the largest and most decorative temples, and Wat Mai, with its beautiful gilded façade. Then continue on to the former Royal Palace, a commanding structure in the center of town that until 1946 was the heart of the Lang Xang Kingdom. Today it serves as the National Museum, containing rare religious and cultural artifacts.
Next, climb 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi and enjoy panoramic views of the city.Travel by boat up the orange colored waters of the Mekong River to the sacred Pak Ou Caves, long considered a holy spot for the Lao people. The caves are home to hundreds of statues of Buddha, big and small, that have been left by devotees. You’ll be amazed to see how many are crammed in! Along the way you will stop at a riverside village to see weavers working on ancient looms before returning to town later in the afternoon.Please note: The tour will end around 4:00 pm.
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Living Land Half Day Tour
Travel from Luang Prabang to the Living Land Farm, a community project in Pong Van Village.
In response to the destructive use of chemicals and pesticides, several farming families combined their land and adopted alternative methods to grow organic rice, vegetable, and herbs. The farm now sells their produce to restaurants and hotels, and also supports the local community through a range of projects, including education for underprivileged children.Spend the morning in the beautiful rice fields where farmers plough, plant, and harvest without the aid of machinery. Get knee deep in the mud to help plant rice and to help steer a water buffalo to plough the field. Pick fragrant herbs and colorful vegetables and learn to husk rice the traditional way. There is plenty to do on a farm, so the local farmers always appreciate the help. However, it is not compulsory to join in the fields. If you would prefer, relax on the veranda and watch from afar.
Day 5: Luang Prabang – fly to Vientiane – Evening Tuk Tuk Parade & Eat Out Like a Local
Today fly to Vientiane. Upon arrival you are met and transferred to your hotel. In the evening enjoy a tuk tuk ride around the city to see the highlights. Next, spend some time at the Ban Anou Night Market, a typical Asian market set-up along the street with numerous stalls selling colourful art products and local cuisine where you’ll have the opportunity to enjoy tasting some of the local delicacies - the noodle soup, grilled fish/chicken, sausage, as well as Klao Niaw (sticky rice, Lao’s most famous dish) are particularly good. Perhaps enjoy an ice-cold Beer Lao with your dinner.
Day 6: Vientiane – City Highlights and Buddha Park
Depart with your local guide to Talaat Sao, Vientiane’s Morning Market. Try some local coffee and snacks while looking around. Continue to Wat Sisaket, the oldest original temple in Vientiane. Wat Sisaket features remarkable frescoes and over 6,000 Buddha images. Nearby is the temple of Haw Phra Kaew, which contains some of the finest Buddhist sculptures and artifacts in the country. The main structure originally housed the famous Emerald Buddha that now resides in Bangkok. One of the most photographed images of Vientiane is Putousay, the victory gate also known as Anousavari. Constructed in 1958, the Arc of Triumph in Paris inspired its architecture.
Another famous Vientiane landmark is the stupa of Phra That Luang. King Sethtathirat built this sacred stupa, considered the national symbol, in 1566. Eat lunch at a local restaurant before heading out of town to visit one of Laos’ slightly stranger attractions - Xieng Khuan Buddha Park. Built in 1958, this park on the banks of the Mekong River approximately 35 kilometers from the city is the site of a large collection of many kinds of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. En route take a look at the impressive Friendship Bridge that spans the Mekong River.
If you are interested in textiles and time permits, then pay a visit to Carol Cassidy’s Lao Textiles Gallery. Set in a traditional Lao home, you can see the silk weaving in process and view the unique textiles produced. Return to Vientiane.
Day 7: Vientiane - Pakse - Sunset Walking and Eat Out Like a Local
At leisure until you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight to Pakse.
Upon arrival in Pakse you will be met and transferred to your hotel.
As the day begins to cool around 4:00pm, meet up with your local guide at your hotel and begin your walking tour, starting with a stroll along the banks of the Mekong River. Pass over the French Bridge where you will see street vendors. Here, we will enjoy a stop to enjoy a delicious, chilled beer Lao and talk wit the locals. Next, head to a rooftop bar where you will enjoy sunset over Pakse. After the sunset, head to a local restaurant with your guide and enjoy a delicious local dinner with some more beer Lao. Transfer back to your hotel by Tuk Tuk.
Day 8: Pakse - 4000 islands
After breakfast, you will be picked up at your hotel in Pakse and driven two hours south to 4000 islands, a riverine archipelago in the Mekong River.
Arrive at the pier of Nakasang, where you will take a long-tail boat to the island of Don Det. Here mountain bikes will be waiting for you. Enjoy sightseeing on the island via bicycle. See the French bridge, the old locomotive train, and the Li Phi waterfall.Have lunch at local restaurant on the island of Don Khong and then take the long-tail boat back to Nakasang where our van will be waiting for you. Visit Khon Phapheng Falls considered the widest waterfall in the world. Return to Pakse.
Day 9: Pakse - Wat Phou - World Heritage Site
Today drive to Champasak Province to visit the pre-Angkorian temple of Wat Phou. T This temple complex is one of Southeast Asia’s best examples of early and classic Khmer architecture dating from the 7th to 12th centuries. A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2001, the temple complex is situated on the terrace of Kao Mountain, from where the beauty of the Champasak countryside, its fields and the Mekong River can be enjoyed. Visitors interested in history and culture will find a very fine museum on the site.
Day 10: Pakse - Depart
At leisure until you are transferred to the airport for your departure flight.