Laos Impressive (5n/6d)

Take a chance to visit Vang Vienne

Take a chance to visit Vang Vienne

Day 1. Arrival – Vientiane
On arrival at Wattay Airport, you will be met and transferred to your centrally-located hotel. Vientiane is a charming and fascinating capital, with an interesting mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French, Soviet and American influences. A city tour acquaints us with the capital and after a short rest, we start visiting the major sights, including the oldest Wat Sisaket, the temple with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. Enroute to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph. Overnight in Vientiane

Day 2. Vientiane – Vang Vieng
We leave this wonderful town after breakfast for our journey northbound on Route no. 13. We will see some breathtaking scenery enroute as we pass through spectacular countryside towards the mountainous region. We make a stop along the way at Vang Xang, a famous archeological site dating back to the 11th century. We reach our final destination in the afternoon, the small and tranquil village of Vang Vieng, which is nestled on a bend of the Nam Song River. Its stunning scenery with a mixture of quiet water and limestone outcrops remains unspoiled, despite recent developments with the advent of tourism. On arrival at Vang Vieng, we cross the Nam Song River to Tham Jang caves and then enjoy a short trek through breathtaking mountain landscape to explore the Tam None Cave and some hill villages. Today ends with a superb panorama of the sunset reflecting over the Nam Song River. Overnight in Vang Vieng (B)

Day 3. Vang Vieng – Lung Prabang
Today we will set off early driving up Route 13 north to Luang Prabang, which is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The roads are well paved along the way for a smooth journey; we pass some stunning landscape scenery with a mixture of steep terraced fields and hill villages, we take a few photo stops at some small hill tribe village enroute. Each hill tribe village in Laos has a different feel, some are more prosperous than others but all have plenty of life. The Muang Xieng Nguen village is our next stop and we spend a short amount of time observing the local lifestyle prior to reaching Luang Prabang. On arrival in Luang Prabang, we have enough time to explore some landmarks, including the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham, the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and the Wat Mai with five tiered roofs. A visit to Luang Prabang would be incomplete without ascending 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunset view of the city and its glowing reflection on the Mekong River. The zigzag path crosses over various temples to the sacred, gilded stupa of Wat Phou, another World Heritage Site, recognised by UNESCO in 2002. In the evening, we explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of souvenirs and handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)

Day 4. Luang Prabang – Khouangsi Waterfall – Luang Prabang
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This procession is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the tradition. From there you will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings. Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today you will visit local villages of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay, Hmong Hill tribe, Ban Ou, Lowland Lao and Ban Thapene of Khmu village. After we head towards the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can take a dip in the large turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known traditonal weaving village, and then return to the city by late evening to observe the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath. Overnight in Luang Prabang (B)

Day 5. Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Cave – Nong Khiow
Today, we enjoy a short-guided tour seeing the city’s oldest temple, Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong where you can see the impressive “tree of life” mosaic pattern set in coloured glass. Its exterior architecture is remarkable with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, representing classical Laotian architecture. We then embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, giving us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside. We take an interesting visit to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, which are two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xang Hai, famous for the production of Lao rice wine. After we continue drifting along the Nam Ou River by boat to Nong Khiow. Along the way we stop to visit at Thai Lu village at Ban Pak Jak and the weaving villages of Ban Nongkham, Ban Muang Souen and arriving Nong Khiow by late afternoon. Nong Khiow is a remote village situated by the banks of the river, across a dramatic valley the surrounding mountainous scenery is stunning. Overnight in Nong Khiow.(B)

Day 6. Nong Khiow – Oudomxay – Pakbeng (Road)
We leave Nong Khiow after breakfast and drive towards Oudomxay, the most mountainous area in Laos. The road conditions are partly good and poor, so it may be a rough journey; however many villages dot the hillsides and the undulating terrain makes this an interesting journey. Oudomxay province is residence to a mixture of 23 ethnic minority groups. We make a few rest stops along the way, which gives you the opportunity to see the ethnic minority groups of Hmong, Khmu, Black Thai and Lu; Hmong hilltribe people at Ban Songja and Ban Jarong. The hill tribe people are unfailingly friendly, welcoming you with waving hands and smiling faces. On arrival at Oudomxay city, we head out the town to Pakbeng – along the way, we visit some Khmu, Tai Dam (Black Thai), Hmong villages. Once we arrive at Pakbeng, we browse the daily evening hill tribe market before checking  in to your hotel. Overnight in Pakbeng (B)

Day 7. Pakbeng – HoueiSay (Boat)
Today, we embark on a traditional boat upstream on the magical Mekong River. This portion of the Mekong River is narrow but both banks of the river are bordered with beautiful mountain ranges and lush forests. Along the way, we observe the peaceful river life and visit Ban Houeilampen to experience the unique culture of the Hmong hill tribe people.  On arrival at HoueiSay, we board a ferryboat crossing the Mekong River to Chiang Khong in Thailand. (B)

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