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.

Continue to detailed itinerary...
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
    Ansara Hotel 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
    Ansara Hotel 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
    3 Nagas Hotel 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.

    There is an option available to witness a local Baci ceremony, which celebrates a special time in a Loatian's life such as a marriage, homecoming, a birth, etc. (additional cost & schedule permitting.)

    Meals
    Breakfast, Lunch
    Lodging
    Nagas Hotel 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
    3 Nagas Hotel 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
    3 Nagas Hotel 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. This is a great way to end your Laos adventure. Afterwards, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

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

Price and Date Details

Land Cost:
$2,000
Includes Vientiane to Luang Prabang flight
Single Supplement:
$600
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.
Privately on Request
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.
Comfort Level:
●●●○○
(see full descriptions)
Charming 4-star boutique hotels
Activity Level:
●○○○○
(see full descriptions)
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.
Terms & Conditions: 

Standard

Included in costs: Meals as noted, each night in double occupancy accommodations, land transfers between components, English speaking guides, park or site entry fees, surface transport, equipment other than personal gear, government tax, airport transfer assistance, in-country ticket reconfirmation and check-in assistance (where permitted), complete pre-departure packet, toll-free pre-departure phone assistance.

Not included in costs: Meals not noted as included, gratuities, beverages (except tea or coffee at meals), international or domestic airfare unless specified, airport departure taxes not included with air tickets, visas, itinerary changes after confirmation, any services not included in itinerary, any costs incurred due to canceled or delayed flights, acts of nature or other happenings beyond our control, or other costs as are more fully described in Journeys Terms & Conditions.

Deposit and payment schedule: $500 per person per trip or the applicable amount based on the trip and the proximity of the departure date. Custom trips and private departures require $800 per person deposit. A second deposit of $800 per person is due four months prior to departure, and final payment for land arrangements is due 60 days prior to departure.  Any applicable permit fees required in advance are non-refundable as well.  Airlines require full payment when tickets are issued. The deposit may be made by Visa, Master Card, American Express, or check, and the Reservation Form may be submitted by fax, mail, or via our website. Full payment schedule and cancellation penalties are described in our Terms and Conditions as noted in our Global Expedition Catalog, on our website, and elsewhere. Please request these if you do not have them before advancing a deposit.

Air fares: Journeys can make complete air arrangements applicable to your trip as noted in this itinerary. If you wish to redeem frequent flyer mileage or arrange flights directly with the airline, you may do so on your own at no penalty. If you do, please consult with us on exact arrival and departure dates and times before having your tickets issued to avoid errors.

Insurance: When you make your application, we strongly recommend the purchase of comprehensive travel insurance in case of emergency situations. Please contact us for a recommended policy.

Itinerary Change Fee: There will be a $40 fee for changes once an itinerary has been confirmed and approved. Additional cancellation penalties or change fees may apply as per our terms and conditions. The passenger is responsible for such fees.

Trip Extensions

Trip Extensions

Bangkok Hospitality

Duration: 3 days

If you are passing through Bangkok and want more than a transit stop, ask for our three day/two night Bangkok Hospitality Extension. We meet you at the airport and transfer you to an attractive centrally located hotel. This extension also includes yo... read more

Phuket

Duration: 4 days

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

Duration: 3 days

This excursion focuses on the amazing ruins of Angkor in Siem Reap. Angkor Wat, a spectacular architectural legacy of a period of bizarre regimes, is the most famous and confusing of the ruins in southeast Asia. This makes a perfect extension to any ... read more

Angkor Wat 5-Day Odyssey

Duration: 5 days

This excursion takes you to Siem Reap where you explore the magnificent Angkor sites followed by a ride on the Tonle Sap to see the local fishing villages. Then a short flight to Phnom Penh where you visit interesting museums, including Toul Sleng, a... read more

River Kwai & Erawan National Park

Duration: 4 days

This extension gives you a mixed variety of history and nature. You begin by exploring along the River Kwai stopping at important historical sites. You then travel to Erawan National Park, a unique and rugged landscape of high elevation plateau and s... read more

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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comfort level
Choose accommodations and amenities that fit your personal style
●○○○○ Simple
Our most natural accommodations. Bath facilities often shared, sometimes rustic.
●●○○○ Delightful
Comfortable and especially personal. Small to mid-sized lodges, typically with private bath.
●●●○○ Superior
Lodges and hotels with additional amenities, refined artistry, or extra-special settings.
●●●●○ Deluxe
Exclusive or luxury lodges, hotels, or safari camps with fine dining options.
●●●●● Uncommon
The most indulgent accommodations arranged specially for private trips.
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activity level
Match the trip’s intensity to your ability and motivation.
●○○○○ Gentle
Easy walking, with opportunities for low-key physical activity.
●●○○○ Active
Energetic exploration with optional day hikes, leisurely cycling, or light canoeing.
●●●○○ Vigorous
Day-long active excursions and options for demanding activity in varied environments.
●●●●○ Challenging
Strenuous hiking or other intense activity that may be at high altitude or over rough terrain.
●●●●● Demanding
Multi-day trekking and other activities requiring endurance or strength. Steep trails. No technical expertise necessary.
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