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Embark on an extraordinary 12-day LAOS HIGHLIGHTS tour and immerse yourself in the untouched beauty and rich culture of Laos. From exploring the ancient temples of Vientiane to cruising along the Mekong River, visiting local villages, and uncovering the mystery of the Plain of Jars, our journey will be filled with awe-inspiring landscapes and authentic cultural experiences. Join Golden Lotus Travel on this unforgettable adventure as we discover the hidden gems of Laos and create memories that will last a lifetime. Are you ready for an enriching and captivating travel experience? Let’s explore Laos together on our LAOS HIGHLIGHTS tour!
1 hour before departure
On arrival at the Luang Prabang airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel.
Situated in the centre of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment.
After a soft rest, you may want to stroll around for the first impression of this ancient city.
Late afternoon, join a private Baci ceremony at a local family. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants.
Dinner will be served after that for you to share with the host family, that gives you the best start of Laos culture exploration.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After breakfast, you will first visit Royal Palace Museum, which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family.
We then embark on a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.
Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine.
On arrival back in the city, we will visit the old Wat Sene and the nearby 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.
If time permits, we will drive out of the city to visit Ban Xangkhong, the Thai Lue village, which is famous for its arts and crafts. We also visit the nearby village of Ban Xienglek specializing in making the traditional Saa paper.
You can either get to the nearby village and join a petanque game with the local team.
Late afternoon, we will make a stop at Wat Prabath to admire the sunset; this is the ideal place to catch the last beauty of the day.
The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely collection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Tip: If you are fond of various ethnic cultures, you can visit Traditional Art and Ethnology Center (closed on Monday).
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 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.
If time permits, we will visit UXO Visitor Center (closed on Saturday, and Sunday), where you can find the documentation about the secret war in Laos.
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.
+ For the family vacation, you can visit the Buffalo Dairy Farm on the way to Kuang Si waterfalls, which offer the fun and interesting experience for the kids.
+ 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.
After departing at 8:30 am from your hotel, transfer to Nahm Dong park, which locates in Ban Xiengmouk, 10Km from city center.
Arriving at the park, we will have a short welcome by the park manager before joining the morning activities here.
We will first start with the Zipline flying over the jungle and the waterfalls admiring the amazing evergreen scenery. The zipline will take about 1 hour.
Then we will walk back via the jungle trail crossing some flying bridges, small streams, and clear natural pools, where you can take a refresh splash if you wish so.
The picnic lunch will be served at the viewpoint where you can spread your view over the region, including the view of mount Phousi in the city center.
You can either spend the rest of the afternoon stroll around the park, relax by one of the huts at the camp, or enjoy the fresh cool clear natural pools.
We then transfer out to the train station to take afternoon express train to Vang Vieng.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in town.
Overnight in Vang Vieng.
The limestone cliffs and valleys surrounding the resort complex of Vang Vieng are home to numerous caves and caverns.
The most famous of these caves is Tham Jang, which was used by the local people as a refuge from Chinese invaders 200 years ago.
Your tour continues by crossing the Nam Song River for a short drive to Tham Pou Kham (Golden Crab Cave). After passing through a small entrance hole you descend 100 meters into the ground.
You have ample time to visit Blue Lagoon, which is a great spot to relax and cool off before transferring directly to Ban Thaheua, which locates at the north side of Nam Ngum Lake, the “sea of Laos”.
Upon arrival, check in your lakeside bungalow.
Free for the rest of the day.
Overnight in Ban Thaheua.
After breakfast, we will have a 4-hour cruising around the Nam Ngum Lake to explore some islets, and local fishing villages.
You will pass by local coal fire ovens before visiting a traditional farm, where you can enjoy some swim by one of the sandy islands.
From there, we head back towards Tha Heua Village where our guide will give you an explanation of the dried fish preservation method.
Arriving at Ban Houay Phanom, enjoy some in house coffee / tea before joining a demonstration of weaving techniques.
The picnic lunch will be served at one of the picturesque islands along the way before heading back to the resort.
We have ample time to take some rest before transferring to Vientiane via the highway Vang Vieng – Vientiane.
Overnight in Vientiane.
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 disability 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 is 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.
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.
+ 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 or tea. Discuss with our guide about this. Entrance fee and extra coffee/drinks are payable on spot.
+ There is also the chance to visit Ban Hom, where you can visit the farmers working on the field and learn about the rural local life. Just 12Km from the old quarter!
After breakfast, we take the flight to Pakse, the biggest city of southern Laos.
Upon arrival, we head east to Pakse and onto the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley.
Stop at a tea plantation, followed by a brief visit to Tad Fane Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall.
We will also visit the local village at Ban Lak Sipchet, which makes iron knife; and Ban Lak Samsip, which makes bamboo basket.
If time permits, we will also visit Tad Yeung and take some dip into the cool clear natural pool at the foot of the waterfall.
The last stop is at a coffee plantation before arriving at your destination for the evening. Overnight in Bolaven Plateau.
After breakfast, visit Tha Teng colourful ethnic minority food market. Next explore a couple of fascinating minority villages, Ban Bong Neua, an Alak village that boasts a sacrificial altar, and Ban Kokphung, a Katu village where they keep coffins under their houses.
In the afternoon visit Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amidst the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos, which was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat.
The temple served as the most important economic and political centre of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples.
After your visit, we continue in to Champassak to see samples of French colonial architecture before driving to Done Khong where you have the rest of the day to relax or to explore the island. Overnight in Done Khong Island.
After breakfast, embark on a 1.5 hour long tail boat for venturing into the widest reach of the Mekong River, where during the dry season the waters recede and leave behind thousands of islets, giving this area a lovely name” Si Phan Done”.
Upon arrival, explore the local peaceful villages of Ban Khone, where you will see an array of relics from the French colonial era and retrace the old colonial past, including old French colonial buildings and the remnants of the first Lao railway with its locomotive.
We continue to discover the 4000 islands area by tuktuk and visit the marvelous Liphi waterfall, also called the “Corridor of the Devil” one of the most beautiful waterfalls marking Lao border with Cambodia.
Free for the rest of the day for your own exploration of the island. We recommend you take a bike for a ride around the island to see the local life and admire the sunset along the Mekong riverbank.
Overnight in Khone Island.
After breakfast, return to the mainland at the fishing village of Ban Nakasang and drive further south to visit Khone Phapheng, which is considered the largest waterfall by volume in South East Asia
Khone Phapheng is an impressive spot near the Lao-Cambodian border, set within an area which is teeming with wildlife, making this area one of the most breathtaking destinations in Laos.
Afterwards we drive back to Pakse.
Founded by the French in 1905 as an administrative post, the capital of Champasak Province is a relatively new town at the confluence of the Mekong and Se Don rivers.
In the afternoon, we will first visit Ban Khoh, which specializes in stone carving, and walk to the nearby Wat Chomphet, which hosts the biggest sitting Buddha in Laos.
Late afternoon, we will ascend to the top of Wat Phou Salao to admire the panoramic view over the town of Pakse, and the nearby area, whilst the dark is falling over the city.
Overnight in Pakse.
After breakfast, we will transfer directly to Ubon Ratchathani (Thailand) via Chongmek Border to take the flight to Bangkok and connect to your departure flight back home.
+ Transfer time: 3 hours including border time.
+ From Pakse, you can also take the flight to Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, or Bangkok.
A mesmerizing journey into the heart of Laos! LAOS HIGHLIGHTS tour for 12 days and 11 nights was a perfect blend of adventure, culture, and relaxation. We explored the bustling markets of Vientiane, marveled at the mysterious Plain of Jars, and immersed ourselves in the spiritual atmosphere of Luang Prabang. The highlight of the tour was the scenic boat cruise on the Mekong River, offering breathtaking views and unique insights into local life. The accommodations were top-notch, and the friendly guides made us feel like family. An incredible experience that left us longing to return to Laos!
LAOS HIGHLIGHTS tour exceeded our expectations in every way! Over 12 days and 11 nights, we were captivated by the beauty of Laos, from the UNESCO-listed town of Luang Prabang to the picturesque Kuang Si Waterfalls. The tour allowed us to delve into the local culture, interact with friendly villagers, and taste delicious Lao cuisine. The accommodations were comfortable and well-located, and the tour guides were knowledgeable and passionate about their country. We returned home with cherished memories and a deeper appreciation for Laos