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Laos Revealed

Vientiane

Price from$1.035


Trip Code: AT-LCL06
Duration: 9 Days
Departure Point: Vientiane

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Trip overview

Vientiane – Ban Thaheua – Vang Vieng – Elephant Conservation Center – Luang Prabang

Inclusion

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Trip Inclusion

  • Transportation with air-condition in private
  • Accommodation in twin/double shared room
  • Boat trip as stated in above sights
  • English speaking guide
  • Admission fee to indicated sights
  • Meals as per program
  • Gov’t tax and service charge
  • Luggage handling and drinking water

Trip Exclusions

  • Visa stamping fee on arrival
  • All air tickets quoted separately
  • Travel Insurance in all kinds
  • Single room (quoted separately)
  • Other foreign language guide
  • Peak tourist season or special event rates
  • Tip, drinks and other personal expenses
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Tour itinerary

Day 1: Vientiane - Arrival (N/A)
Car

Upon arrival at Wattay International Airport in Vientiane, transfer to your hotel in town (early check-in upon availability). From its sleepy tuk-tuk drivers to its location on the right bank of the lumbering, lazy Mekong, this former French trading post is languid to say the least. Indeed, despite being the capital and largest city of the Lao People's Democratic Republic, there's not a whole lot to do in Vientiane. But that is also, quite honestly, its selling point. After a soft rest, our guide will take you through the small streets of Vientiane to admire the local life. We will make a stop at one of the petanque course, where we will join a game with a local team.

End your tour of the capital along the banks of the Mekong River as the sun begins to set. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls. Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 2: Vientiane - Buddha Park (B)
Car

In the morning, we will first visit Wat Si Muang, which is very famous for its supernatural power. After that drive to Buddha Park which takes around 45 minutes away. Also known as Xieng Khuan, this unusual park is filled with over 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. We then visit Lao Disable Women Development Center, which assist disable women to cope with their difficulties and advocate for their rights. Spend time watching the video and learn about the effort to earn their daily living. You can support them by buying some small handicrafts at the shop. Start the afternoon with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthathirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun shines upon its towering golden spire. Then, enjoy a panoramic view over the city as you climb the stairs to the top of Patuxai, Vientiane’s own “Arc de Triomphe”. Continue down Lane Xang Avenue the serene Wat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Transfer back to your hotel. Overnight in Vientiane. Tip: You can also visit Sinouk Coffee Pavilion to discover the Lao coffee, stroll around the mini coffee gallery, view the in-house coffee roaster and try a cup of delicious and unique coffee. Discuss with our guide about this if you are interested. Entrance fee and extra coffee/drinks are payable on spot.

Day 3: Vientiane - Ban Thaheua - Walking (N/A)

We leave the capital early for our journey northbound to Ban Thaheua. We will see some breathtaking sceneries enroute as we pass through spectacular countryside towards the mountainous region. Along the way, we visit the busy and colorful market of KM52 where various hill tribes come to trade goods and buy provisions. We may also make a short photo stop at Hin Heup bridge, and the fish market in Ban Tha Heua. From there, we will transfer to the nearby resort in Ban Thaheua locating at the north side of Nam Ngum lake, the “sea of Laos”.

In the afternoon, our guide will escort you to the nearby village, passing through the local primary school, which is livelier during the school time. We will also visit the local market with plenty of fish stall displays. Back to the resort, relax by the pool and admire the sun setting behind the mountains. Overnight at Sanctuary Nam Ngum Beach Resort

Distance: 160KM | 4-hour transfer

Day 4: Ban Thaheua Exploration (cycling + Kayaking) (B)
Bicycle Cruise Car

Optional: Wake up early today, you never want to miss the serene sunrise over the peaceful lake. Our guide will escort you to the nearby area to watch the local villagers preparing for their busy day. After breakfast, we start the cycling tour exploring the nearby villages & the famous Nam Ngum dam. We will first pass through the local primary school, which is livelier during the school time. We then set-off toward Nam Ngum dam through the small village roads whilst admiring the life of local villagers. Stop at one of the villages to enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Relax and talk with the villagers about their daily life. We will also make another stop at the viewpoint to enjoy the panoramic view of the surrounding area. We have ample time to relax at the dam before cycling back to the resort. If time permits, we will stop at another village to watch the rooster fighting in around 30 minutes. Arrive at the resort around noon time. In the afternoon, we will have a 2-hour kayaking around the Nam Ngum lake to explore some islets, and local fishing villages. The kayaking is easy and fun, requiring no special skills. We will stop at Huay Samom village, chatting with the host family, and learning about the weaving techniques. Return to the resort. Relax by the pool and admire the sun setting behind the mountains. Overnight at Sanctuary Nam Ngum Beach Resort.

Day 5: Ban Thaheua - Elephant Conservation Center (B/L/D)
Car

After breakfast, we will transfer to Xayabouly (about 205KM), which will take roughly 4 hours. When you have arrived at the pier of Nam Tien Lake, we will transfer you to the center by boat. You might be able to catch a quick glimpse of one of our elephants while our boat docks. You will have some time to install yourself in your private bungalow before lunch is served. After enjoying a Laotian style meal, your guide will take you for a visit of the Center’s facilities and present our ongoing projects. During the hospital visit our veterinarian and biologist will take you into their world and explain about the projects they are undertaking. Through the visit of the only Elephant Hospital in Laos, you will discover the conservation actions implemented by The Elephant Conservation Center. You will then observe the elephants’ daily bath and learn more about our giant guests’ playful characters. Elephants are surprisingly good swimmers and water lover. They also use this time to socialize. After the elephants have washed themselves, you will meet our mahouts, who will show you how they get on and off the elephant and the commands they use. You will then have the opportunity to interact with the elephants with the mahouts at your side. Get a feel for the elephant’s amazing skin and prickly hair, and experience up close the dexterity of their trunk as you offer them some food. Feel free to take photos standing next to our giants! For those who really want to get a feel of being on top of the elephant, mahout style, you can request to do so later on when bringing the elephants to the forest or socialization area. But this is absolutely not central to the experience we propose and is strictly on the neck, not in a chair on the elephant’s back! While walking the elephants to their nightly resting ground you will witness the unique bond between the mahout and his elephant. Our experienced mahouts use vocal commands to steer the animals through the thick foliage. As you stroll together with these magnificent creatures into the dense forest of Nam Tien, take a moment! This is the REAL land of elephants! Your guide will give you some interesting information about the biodiversity of our protected forest. Before dinner, take some time to take in the surroundings from our viewpoint. You can also go for a swim in the lake or visit the museum. During meal time, feel free to ask your unresolved questions to the staff or share one of the Lao style cocktails!

Distance: 205KM | 4-hour transfer.

Day 6: Elephant Conservation Center - Luang Prabang (B/L)
Car

On the second day you will meet up with the elephants in the forest. After spending the night grazing in the jungle, it is time for another bath. Enjoy strolling together with these magnificent creatures in their natural environment. If you wish, you can ask to ride the elephant, bareback on the neck, for a short time on their way through the forest, to get a physical feel about the animal. When they have had their fill of water they are brought to the Socialization Area. This is an area where the elephants can freely interact during a big part of the day, recreating a semi-natural living environment. Here the elephants can enjoy being…elephants. Follow the guide around the perimeter to learn more about the elephants. Take your time on the different platforms to see how a new herd is being formed. This rare opportunity will bring you closer to their natural life, something which is very special about our program and difficult to find anywhere else in Laos. Lunch is served at one of the viewing platforms. You have some time to let everything sink in. Following the forest picnic, you can see the resident mother and baby at the nursery. The mahout of the mother stays close by while she and her baby have a bath and play. The mother trusts him around her offspring and even lets him play with her a little bit. After visiting the nursery you can take your time to pack your bags and say goodbye to the staff. Perhaps you would like to take in the scenery for one last time before we bring you back to Luang Prabang. Overnight in Luang Prabang

Tips:

+ In the evening, we recommend joining the Royal Ballet Theatre at the National Museum to watch the traditional show of Phralak Phralam and learn about the history and culture of Laos (not included – payable on spot)

+ There is also the chance to join the Garavek Traditional Storytelling, which also focuses on showing the history & culture of Laos. (not included – payable on spot)

Day 7: Kuang Si Waterfalls - Buffalow Farm (B)
Car

After breakfast at the hotel, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River. On the way to Kuang Si waterfall, we will make a stop at Buffalo Dairy Farm to join a scheduled tour of the farm every 20 minutes starting on the hour from 10am until 5pm

Cuddle up to our beautiful buffalos at 450 kilos or feed Ferdinand, the friendly buffalo at just 750 Kilos! They love to eat, not only grass but also bananas as well!

After eating, our buffalo’s next favourite activity is having a bath. You’ll get to wash them and give them a scrub. It’s like a “day spa” for buffalo!

Hands on milking demonstration! Learn how to milk a buffalo and why buffalo milk is so good for you.

Then transfer directly to the beautiful Kuang Si, which is the biggest waterfall in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50-metre drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals There is also the chance to walk to the nearby village of Ban Thapene, and explore the hidden waterfalls, which is rarely visited by other tourists If you wish, take a short visit to the Bear Rescue Center, which houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers.

On the way back to Luang Prabang, we will take a short visit to the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center, set serenely close to the Mekong, this beautiful, traditionally styled workshop, where weavers, spinners and batik makers produce top-quality fabrics, offers free tours every half-hour. This is also one of the best spots to admire the sunset in Luang Prabang Transfer back to your hotel late afternoon. Overnight in Luang Prabang Tip: After visiting Kuang Si waterfalls, you can visit the nearby Butterflies Park, where you can enjoy the afternoon tea with the homemade cookies whilst relaxing inside the green peaceful garden full of colorful butterflies.

Day 8: Mekong River - Pak Ou Caves - Nam Ou Riverside Resort (B)
Cruise Car

Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning alms giving, which dates from the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temples to gather their daily meal from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets. We then visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch from rice, to vegetable, to fish, or chicken. After breakfast, you will visit Royal Palace Museum, which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. Your city tour continues with a visit to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, a superb piece of Lao temple architecture, which presents a sweeping two-tiered roof and ornate mosaics including a beautiful ‘tree of life ‘glass montage on the rear temple wall. After that, we embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, a 16th century cave monastery filled with thousands of Buddha images, which locates 25 Kilometers North of Luang Prabang in the limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong river. En route, you will stop at Ban Xanghai, a well-known village for its traditional Lao rice whisky distilling. After visiting the cave, we continue to take the cruise further onto Nam Ou river to the nearby Nam Ou Riverside Resort.

Set serenely along the Nam Ou river, Nam Ou Riverside Resort is the perfect place for us to relax and unwind before finishing our Laos exploration.

Overnight at Nam Ou Riverside Resort.

Day 9: Luang Prabang - Departure (B)
Car

You have ample time to stroll around the resort or the nearby village, or just relax by the pool of the resort admiring the lazy Nam Ou river before transferring back to Luang Prabang to take the departure flight

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