Champasak is a quaint and unique riverside province in southern Laos.
Mekong Boat Trip Post breakfast, board a local private boat for a tour of Si Phan Don – 4,000 Islands. Reach the picturesque island of Don Khone with French colonial era remnants. Explore the island on bicycle, tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring the beautiful Liphi waterfall or Corridor of the Devil. Locals lay fish traps at the bottom to catch fresh fish. Return to the boat heading back to the mainland. Visit the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Southeast Asia, stretching an impressive 10 kilometers. From here, one of the few places in the world where this is possible, board a boat on the Mekong to see rare ‘Irrawaddy’ freshwater dolphins, that reside in deep pools near the Cambodian border, and if lucky, you may just catch a glimpse. Return to Khong Island by car, arriving late afternoon.
Vientiane, located in the Mekong Valley, is the small, quiet and picturesque capital city of Laos.
Tour to Sights & Sounds of Vientiane Enjoy a half day city tour starting with a leisurely stroll in Vientiane, a quaint and easygoing town. Admire French colonial architecture betwixt beautifully gilded temples. Start with a visit to Wat Sisaket, the oldest surviving Siamese temple containing over 8,000 Buddha statues, followed by the erstwhile royal temple of Wat Ho Phra Keo, former home of the Emerald Buddha statue, now serving as a museum of arts and antiques. Then, travel up Lanexang Avenue for photographic moments of the Patouxay monument or Arc de Triomphe, commemorating the dead of past wars – uncannily similar to its Paris sibling. Climb to the top for panoramic views of Vientiane. Continue on along Rue Singha 23 to Laos
Meaning the ‘hills of paradise’, Phonsavan is the lively new capital of Xieng Khouang Province, Laos.
Visit to Plain of Jars Visit the Mines Action Group (MAG) Office to discover the work of clearing remaining landmines and unexploded ordnance. In the Plain of Jars around Phonsavan, just a short drive away, you can see centuries old, giant stone jars scattered around and part of prehistoric burial rites. A short trek from Jar Site 2 will take you to Jar site 3, which has more than 150 jars. This is located atop a hill and offers you a breathtaking view of the surrounding countryside! Before you return in the afternoon, visit Jar Site 1 – the largest with more than 300 jars!
Luang Prabang is considered the jewel of Indochina, and is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Luang Prabang Highlights & Morning Alms Giving Arrange an optional pre-dawn start with your guide (0530hrs) to witness the daily morning ritual of ‘Tak Bat’ or giving of alms to hundreds of saffron-robed monks. This truly awe-inspiring ritual still followed by the locals in Luang Prabang, dates back generations. Later, visit the local fresh market to see how locals shop, before returning to your hotel. After breakfast, visit the quaint Royal Palace Museum, now a National Museum housing precious exhibits of former possessions of the once Lao Royal family. Enjoy an overview of the local history on a guided audio tour in the museum followed by the temple tour, exploring some the most beautiful structures: the country’s most historic 19th century Wat Xiengthong temple, with its low-to-the-ground sweeping roof in classical Luang Prabang style, and Wat Visoun, nicknamed ‘The Water Melon Stupa’ due to its shape. Next, visit the Arts and Ethnology Center to get insights into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos. In the afternoon, see the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. Thereafter, return to town to visit Wat Siphouthabath, a monk school. Here, you will get the chance to interact with a young monk and learn about their daily life. The final stop of the day is Mount Phousi, where you will ascend 328 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for amazing sunset views over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River.
Visit to Kuang Si Waterfalls & Pak Ou caves After breakfast, board a private long-tail boat for a two hour upstream cruise on the Mekong River, enjoying tranquil countryside vistas and wooden canoes bobbing by the shore. Along the way, stop first at Ban Muang Keo village and take a short trek to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. Explore Pak Ou’s two large caves set on a limestone cliff facing the Mekong River and housing thousands of Buddha images – from a few centimeters to two meters in size. Return again by boat, stopping en route at Ban Nongxai, an artisans village. Arrive back in Luang Prabang in time for lunch. In the afternoon, drive out to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls. Take a refreshing dip in the cool waters of the turquoise pool or simply stroll along the forest trails. Nearby the falls, visit a Bear Rescue Center which does a great job of protecting and rehabilitating the rare Asiatic Black Bear. Return to Luang Prabang by late evening.