|PICK/DROP LOCATION||Luang Prabang|
|PICK/DROP LOCATION||Luang Prabang|
You will be met by our staff and transfer to your hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. We’ll visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai; we then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi to explore the sacred, gilded stupa as well as capture a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset. From there, we visit the Night Market, where you can browse through a lovely selection of handmade textiles. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning alms giving ritual to saffron-clad monks. This tradition is unique to Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving this procession. Later in the morning we go to Phosi Market, which has an eclectic selection of foodstuffs and souvenirs.
AM: We’ll enjoy a short-guided tour of the city’s oldest temple, Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong where you can see the impressive “tree of life” mosaic set in colored glass. We then board an upstream cruise on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. We’ll make sure to stop at the Pak Ou Caves, sanctuaries consisting of two large caverns, both repositories for thousands of Buddha images. We will also stop at a few villages during the day, including Ban Xanghai where the local rice wine is produced. We return to Luang Prabang in the afternoon.
PM: We continue our excursion towards Khouangsi Waterfall, stopping to visit some ethnic minority villages and see how these colorful people live. Once at the falls you can swim in the turquoise pools or walk along forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Xangkong, a village well known for silk hand weaving and making traditional Saa Paper. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast we visit The National Museum at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture throughout the ages. Today we leave this charming town and drive to Xieng Khouang, an area once devastated by American bombings. These back roads are a great way to have an authentic Laos experience. We’ll see very few other travelers, just mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in us as we are about them! The drive is long, but we’ll make sure to stop and have a few photo ops. In the afternoon there will be time to see the old capital in Muang Khoun Province and the nearby villages. Overnight in Xieng Khouang.
Following breakfast at the hotel, we transfer out to visit the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered throughout the plateau. We then board a short flight to the charming and fascinating Lao capital of Vientiane. On arrival we check into our hotel. After short rest, we will visit the Morning Market and the weaving village of Ban Nong Bouathong. Overnight in Vientiane.
Today we begin to see the major sights of the capital, including Wat Sisaket, which contains more than 8000 Buddha statues, Wat Ho Prakeo the former home of the Emerald Buddha statue and That Luang Stupa, the single most important monument in Laos. We also see the Patuxay (Lao Arc de Triomphe), which was built in commemoration of those who died during past wars and today it is the city’s main landmark.
In the afternoon we transfer out to see Buddha Park, a scattered and enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures near the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images here dating back over 500 years. Observing the spectacular sunset view over the Mekong River is a perfect way to finish the day. Overnight in Vientiane
After breakfast, we transfer to the airport for our departure flight.