Palaces and Pagodas

Explore friendly Laos from hotel bases in Vientiane and Luang Prabang
Overview

overview

This is a bit less adventuresome than Laos: Meandering the Mekong and perhaps better suited to those seeking a more moderate pace and additional creature comforts. Each night, you will be based in a comfortable hotel in Vientiane or Luang Prabang, and each day you will take guided excursions to explore the aspects of history, Buddhism, nature, and culture which most appeal to you. Many visitors feel that Laos is the most photogenic and serene country in southeast Asia. Orange-robed monks tending to their rites in golden-roofed temples are commonplace. You will savor the crafts, culture, and hospitality of Laos with a Mekong River trip, visits to ancient Buddhist  temples, a gorgeous palace filed with gold objects, and traditional villages. Laos offers superb handicrafts, including beautiful woven silk textiles, which you will be able to purchase directly from local artisans. This trip includes comfortable hotels, intimate cultural encounters, and the services of a skilled, multilingual guide.

itinerary

itinerary

  • Day 1: Arrive Vientiane
    Visit Pha That Luang and other Vientiane sights (photo by Aaron Smith)

    Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met by your guide and given a brief tour of Vientiane, the largest city in Laos. You will visit sights such as Pha That Luang, Lao's most important and imposing monument. Legend has it that Ashokan missionaries from India erected a stupa here to enclose a breastbone of the Buddha as early as the 3rd century BC.

    Meals
    None
    Lodging
    Chanthapanya or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 2: Vientiane Temples and Market
    Visit Vientiane's ancient temples and modern monuments

    After breakfast, you’ll visit more of Vientiane's temples, including Wat Si Saket, with its thousands of Buddha images, and Wat Ong Teu Mahawihan (Temple of the Heavy Buddha), which is one of the most important in the country. It was built in the early 16th century by King Setthathirat and currently serves as a national center for Buddhist studies. At Wat Xieng Khuan (Buddha Park), you can see the collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures in a meadow by the side of the Mekong River. Finish the day with a visit to the central market.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Chanthapanya or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 3: Luang Prabang
    Visit temples such as Wat Sen in Luang Prabang (photo by B. Days)

    This morning you’ll fly to Luang Prabang, a city known for its historic temples and lovely mountain-encircled setting. In the afternoon, you’ll go on a city tour, visiting sites such as Wat Wisunalat, one of the city's oldest temples, and Wat Xieng Thong, Luang Prabang's most magnificent temple. The Royal Palace Museum, once a residence for King Sisavang Vong and his family, has beautiful silver and gold handicrafts. Your last stop is the Phousi Temples, where you’ll have gorgeous view of the sunset from Mount Phousi.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ancient Luang Prabang or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 4: Villages of the Mekong River
    See village life on a boat trip along the Mekong River

    Set out on a local boat trip along the Mekong River, the longest and most important water route in Laos. You will sail to Tam Tin Cave, a cavern in a limestone cliff filled with Buddha images, and Ban Sang Hai. The village’s name means "Jar-Maker Village" because at one time it was the center of the local cottage crafts industry. After a picnic lunch, visit the weaving village of Ban Phanom, a Thai Lu village well-known for its cotton and silk hand weaving. Afterwards, return to Luang Prabang for your overnight.

    Today, we have included the opportunity to witness a local Baci ceremony, which celebrates a special time in a Loatian's life such as a marriage, homecoming, a birth, etc.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Ancient Luang Prabang or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 5: Kuangsi Waterfall / Khmu Village
    Visit local villages

    Today you will be driven to Kuangsi Waterfall (about 18 miles from Luang Prabang), a beautiful multi-tiered waterfall tumbling over limestone formations into a series of cool, turquoise pools. You’ll also visit a Khmu village, where you’ll have a picnic lunch amidst the village’s cool stream, a rustic dam, and miniature waterfalls. Return to Luang Prabang for your overnight.

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Ancient Luang Prabang or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 6: Luang Prabang / Phone Say Village
    Meet villagers and talk with them about their lifestyles

    After breakfast, you’ll set out for Phone Say village, a community hidden on the Mekong River where the women weave and the men fish to feed their families. This charming village cannot be reached by car, but it is only a 30-minute walk from the main road. This is a good chance to talk with the local people and get a feel for daily life in Luang Prabang. The afternoon is at your leisure. If you wish, you may visit the night market and experience the only form of nightlife in this laid-back town. The market is also an excellent place to look at traditional textiles and handicrafts made by the hill tribes.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    Ancient Luang Prabang or similar
    Show on a map
  • Day 7: Luang Prabang / Onward
    Join in offering alms to Buddhist monks

    Early this morning, witness the alms offering to the monks. This ritual is a way for Buddhists to "make merit" and also how the monks obtain their daily meals. Your hotel will provide you with sticky rice so you do not need to purchase food from the local "alms vendors". You'll join others as they offer food to a line of around 200 monks walking by. We recommend that women cover their arms and legs if giving alms.

    Later, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

    Meals
    Breakfast
    Lodging
    None
    Show on a map
Price and Date Details

Price and Date Details

Departures every Tuesday October-February
Or Privately on Request
Land Cost:
$1,995
- $2,395
Group size 2-3 cost: $2395 Includes Vientiane to Luang Prabang flight
Single Supplement:
$350
The single supplement is applicable if a roommate is not available or if single accommodation is specifically requested. While single accommodation is not available on all trips, we will try and honor this request whenever possible.
Need to Know

Need to Know

Duration:
7 days
The number of days, or duration, in a destination corresponds with the itinerary as published. This is the time period covered by the land cost. The total number of days includes the time required to travel between the USA and the destination country.
Comfort Level:
2
Charming 3-4* boutique hotels
Group Size:
2-12
The stated range indicates minimum required for guaranteed departure and maximum accepted on the scheduled dates. Exceptions can often be made for private departures.
Activity Level:
1
Charming 3-4* boutique hotels

Resources

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Bangkok Hospitality

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Phuket

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Phuket is the largest of Thailand's islands. It is incredibly varied with rocky beaches, long broad sandy beaches, forested hills, and clear waters great for snorkeling and relaxing. There is no better way to end a trip!

Angkor Wat 3-Day Odyssey

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Angkor Wat 5-Day Odyssey

Duration: 5 days

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Duration: 4 days

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Ko Samui

Duration: 4 days

Relax and explore the beautiful island of Ko Samui. A perfect extension to any Asia tour.

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