Explore Laos Vacation Tour: An Awakening of the Senses

A 6 day trip to Laos 
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Step into the presence of greatness while exploring Laos. French colonial villas retain lingering elegance. Naturally dyed silk shimmers against the lush, secluded hills. Monks in sage robes stroll through the streets in a thin veil of morning mist. Turquoise pools glisten beneath the forest canopy and the Victory Monument comments on the perseverance of the Laotian Spirit. Whether discovering the splendors of cultural history on their own or adding your adventure to another journey through Southeast Asia, your customizable tour offers a whirlwind experience taking you beyond limestone cliffs and the rushing waters of the Mekong River.

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Vientiane, Plain of Jars, Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves, Kuang Si Falls, Ban Muang Keo Village  

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Vientiane – Inside the Serene Capital

Vientiane is an oasis of culture, history, and charm nestled into the surrounding enchantment of greater Laos. The small city embodies the pride of the country in representing a blend of rich heritage and a vision towards for the future. French colonial villas continue to decorate the historical city center along cafes and elegant restaurants. The riverside night market thrives along the banks of the Mekong with alluring goods, from fresh, traditional cuisine to marvelous textiles. Remnants of the past emanate from renovated temples, reminding locals of a tumultuous past and offering stories to visitors to learn about Laotian tradition.

Your flight lands at Wattay International Airport, where your private transfer greets you upon arrival. The aroma of blossoming frangipanis fills the city. Statues and icons of gilded dragons glint against the sporadic emerald of lush trees. Monks draped in sage robes wander down the wide boulevards amongst the aroma of fresh tamarind. You settle into the comforts of a renovated French villa, accented with traditional Laotian style. Ferns dangle their large fronds along the edges of the lavish pool.

Chandeliers adorn the ceiling, casting shimmering light over the marbled floors of the dining room. The elegance of Laos’s contemporary capital provides a cordial welcome. After taking the time to settle into the splendor of your hotel, you set out onto the cobbled streets of the city for an introductory tour. Silk shops present lavish window displays of glistening colors along the soft fabrics. You make your way to the Night Market for an introduction into the vibrant shopping center lining the edge of the Mekong River.

Red-roofed stalls create a colorful border to the promenade. Food stalls fill the air with the scent of sautéing chilies and ginger. Painters present vibrant images inspired by Buddha and Buddhist philosophy. You can hear visitors haggling with vendors for a better price, each eager to get the best of the other while enjoying the banter. The cool breeze brushes over the rushing Mekong, the waters of which stretch from the Tibetan plateau to the South China Sea. The river also acts as a natural border between Laos and Thailand.

What’s Included: dinner, airport transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 2: Vientiane – Relaxed Capital Pace

In the morning, cafes set out tables and chairs along the cobbled walkways, in connection with the French tradition brought during the colonial days. The aroma of freshly baked baguettes and chocolate croissants fills the air beneath the fading street lamps. Fishing boats return to the Mekong with fishermen setting traps and nets onto the water in search of the perfect daily catch. Your guide meets you at the hotel after breakfast, eager to share with you the delightful culture and history of Laos’s capital city.

The scent of tamarind continues to linger around the shading trees. Shops open their doors to tremendous window displays. After visiting Vientiane’s oldest temple, you continue to Pha That Luang, one of the most important monuments in the entire country. The golden stupa glints beneath the open blue sky, adding to the luster of the city’s skyline. The figure represents the Buddhist religion and the sovereignty of Laos as a nation. Your guide offers insight into the importance of the stupa through the widely known and revered legend, which states Ashokan missionaries erected the shrine in the 3rd century to house a piece of Buddha’s breastbone.

A high wall surrounds the cloister. Tiny windows offer natural light to filter through to the interior. The gilded spire reaches a height of nearly 150 feet with a pergola decorated with various images of Buddha. A statue of Jayavarman VII connects the fabled king to the Buddhist religion of Laos, reminding visitors of how the Angkor-era ruler converted the Khmer empire to Buddhism. You continue to the Buddha Park to enjoy the remarkable carvings crafted by a shaman as a testament to Hindu-Buddhist mythology.

What’s Included: breakfast, tour, accommodation

Day 3: Phonsavan – Discovering Distinction

The morning light washes over the crenelated tiers and ornate towers of the Patuxai Victory Monument. The edifice was erected along the grand avenue reminiscent of the Arc de Triomphe to represent independence from France and earlier occupying nations. The interior presents walls lavishly decorated with paintings of deities and elephants, harkening back to Laos’s nickname as the “Land of a Million Elephants.” The morning is yours to explore the remaining sites of Vientiane at your leisure, taking to the Sacred Heart Cathedral to view the center of the catholic religion in Laos or visiting the Lao National Museum.

The latter contains artifacts and photographs held within an old French colonial structure. A display of the Plain of Jars features an intact artifact from the ancient site in the north, offering insight into a historical feature you will soon see with your own eyes. Your private transfer meets you at the hotel when you are ready and escorts you to the airport for your brief flight to Xieng Khouang Airport in Phonsavan. Your guide and private transfer meet you at baggage claim and whisk you into the countryside for an introduction into the remarkable Plain of Jars. Stone jars spread across the fields for upwards of a hundred miles, with each jar differing in size; from nearly one inch tall to more than eight feet. The plains roll over the hills and reach into the distant mountains.

You rub your fingers along the smooth edges of the jar, feeling the smooth texture and cold temperature of the stone. Archaeologists have dated the artifacts back more than 2,000 years, with more than 500 jars spread across three separate sites. You continue to a Mulberries Organic Silk Farm, which continues the ancient tradition of procuring the fabric through breeding silkworms and weaving the fibers into elaborate fabrics. Workers use bark, leaves, berries, and flowers to dye the cloth, including indigo, jackfruit, and tamarind, offering insight into the steps that the workers take to produce brilliantly colored and divinely soft textile.

What’s Included: breakfast, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 4: Luang Prabang – In the Presence of Imperial Glamour

The town of Phonsavan fills with the aromas of cinnamon and freshly brewed coffee sweetened with condensed milk. The enticing fragrance emanates from a local Café, along with a freshly made brownie cheesecake. The market glows with radiant colors from hand-woven and dyed mulberry paper umbrellas, the type you saw on display at the mulberry farm the previous day. Black skirts embroidered with bright, three-dimensional patterns create captivating awareness to the traditional garments worn and crafted by the Hmong ethnic tribe. The location of Phonsavan offers a central area for various ethnic communities to congregate for the market, including traditional Vietnamese and Chinese communities.

After breakfast, your private transfer meets you at the hotel and escorts you north, descending the winding mountain roads along the scenic ridges. Lush forest spreads across the hilltops and opens to dramatic limestone summits splitting the open sky. When the landscape levels, you find water buffalos pulling plows through emerald rice fields. Cows and pigs graze on the lush grasses growing in plains. Children in the passing villages wave vigorously as you pass. You reach Luang Prabang, the former imperial center of Laos before the capital’s relocation in the 16th century.

You find the relaxed ambiance reminiscent of Vientiane, except with a more majestic atmosphere emanating from the framing mountains and the 33 temple spires creating the skyline over the verdant trees. The faint aroma of incense drifts along the cobblestone streets emanating from the various shrines. French colonial villas continue to line the roadways, harkening back to the colonial charm of contemporary history. After settling into the comforts of your gorgeous hotel embellished with traditional Laotian architectural elements, your guide meets you in the lobby, ready to lead you through an introductory tour of the city, culminating in a sunset view atop Mount Phu Si.

The summit reaches a height of nearly 500 feet above sea level. You take the Thanon Phousi staircase, which consists of 355 steps. Dragon figures line the stairs to help guide visitors to the top of the mountain. The golden stupa was erected in the early 19th century and glints against the emerald canopy in the sinking sunlight. You have a remarkable 360-degree view of the landscape and the cityscape, able to enjoy the temple spires, shading trees, and rolling mountaintops in the tranquil atmosphere of the former imperial city. 

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, transfer, tour, accommodation

Day 5: Luang Prabang – Discovering Caves and Waterfalls

A thin veil of mist dissipates in the morning air with the return of the warm sun. The golden spire atop Mount Phu Si glints in the returning light. Locals linger around an outdoor coffee stand near the banks of the Mekong River. They enjoy freshly made banana fritters and rich coffee grown in Laos and mixed with sweet, creamy condensed milk. After breakfast, you make your way to the banks of the Mekong River. Fishermen in canoes moor their boats on the shoreline after a morning checking their nets and fishing traps.

You board a traditional long-tail boat and travel upriver to the Pak Ou Caves. The higher of the two caves stands 50 feet above the Mekong River and reaches more than 150 feet deep into the limestone cliff. More than 4,000 Buddha icons decorate the cavernous space. You can shine a flashlight into the darkness to view the glinting wood and stone figures draped in sage robes. Stalactites drip from the ceiling, referencing the age of the natural grotto, which locals have used as a shrine for more than two millennia.

After visiting the local village of Ban Muang Keo to view the ways in which the locals distil celebrated Lao-Lao, a Laotian rice whiskey, you return to Luang Prabang and continue into the forest to reach the shores of Kuang Si Falls. The main cascades trundle more than 200 feet down into the rushing river, which weaves a trail downstream to shimmering turquoise pools. The jade forest canopy frames the whitewater falls. You dip your toes into the cool, refreshing waters and dry yourself in the warm sunlight piercing the trees.

What’s Included: breakfast, lunch, dinner, tour, accommodation

Day 6: Luang Prabang – Experience the Procession

On your final morning in Luang Prabang, you wake before dawn to join the locals of the city along the streets. People roll out prayer mats, take off their shoes, and kneel in the comforting aroma of lit incense. Monks draped in robes the color of burnt sage form a morning procession. The tradition began in the 14th century and continues daily at sunrise when approximately 200 monks leave from various temples across the city to receive alms. The peaceful process carries a spiritual ambiance. People offer rice and fresh fruit, along with sweet snacks like cookies for the monks to eat during their one meal of the day. The monks return to their respective temples, and you return to the hotel for a breakfast garnished with the aromas of mangosteen and banana. Your private transfer meets you in the lobby when you are ready and escorts you to Luang Prabang International Airport for your flight home.

What’s Included: breakfast, airport transfer