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Welcome to an extraordinary adventure in Laos! Our Laos Unique Experience tour is a once-in-a-lifetime journey that spans 17 days and 16 nights, immersing you in the rich culture, breathtaking landscapes, and hidden gems of this enchanting Southeast Asian country. From exploring ancient temples and bustling markets to cruising along the mighty Mekong River and trekking through lush jungles, this tour promises an unforgettable experience unlike any other. Get ready to embark on an extraordinary voyage of discovery as we unveil the treasures of Laos, a destination that will captivate your heart and leave you with lifelong memories. Join Golden Lotus Travel on this remarkable journey and let Laos work its magic on you!
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.
Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning alms giving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temple 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 at the hotel, our guide will take you on an in-depth walking tour of the city.
The walk is oriented towards the lesser-known parts of the town including charming lanes showing the more traditional atmosphere of the heritage town.
Along the way, we will see the four different types of buildings categorized by UNESCO.
The first one is the traditional Lao house which is made from tropical hardwood or bamboo and built on stilts.
The second is a half wood and half cement house built after the arrival of the French.
The third is the traditional French colonial building that are similar to those found in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The last form of architecture you will see is the old Chinese shop houses that were built to be used for both commercial and residential purposes.
In the afternoon, we will visit some famous attractions inside city center including the oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture.
We then continue with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, we walk to the nearby Wat Mai, which is one of Luang Prabang’s largest and most richly decorated temples.
Late afternoon, we climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River.
The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
After picking you up from town or your hotel we will leave Luang Prabang around 08:30 for the nearby village of Xieng Lom. Upon arrival you are invited to have coffee or tea as your guide for the day provides an in-depth introduction to elephant behavior and the ways we should interact with them.
A quick boat ride across the Nam Khan River will deliver you to the waiting elephants. You will be introduced to your new friends and feed them some special treats – a sure way to begin an instant friendship.
Enjoy observing elephants from the riverbank as Mahouts wash them in the Nam Khan River. You can experience elephants washing, swimming, and playing in the water. Please note this is voluntary activity for the elephants and Mandalao does not force them to get in the water. (On cold days the elephants are less likely to want to get wet.)
After 2 hours crossing through a beautiful stretch of traditional Lao gardens you will arrive at the jungle covered Huay Nok stream. As you walk alongside the elephants and crisscross through the cool water you will experience a profound sense of understanding, respect, and caring for these amazing animals.
You and your elephant companions will continue walking past a lovely stretch of rice fields and enter a patch of forest where you can rest, relax, and eat. Lunch will be served in traditional Lao fashion, eating on bamboo mats on the forest floor.
In the afternoon, visit Tad Kuang Song Waterfall, which was named after a Golden Deer spirit seen standing on its crest many centuries ago. If you like, you can take a cool dip, wade, stand under the soft showers of the waterfall, and spend time meditating and admiring the private beauty of this rarely seen natural treasure.
You will sit, watch, and learn as the MandaLao mahout’s show how they communicate and listen to their elephants. This will highlight the special skills each elephant has and give you deeper insight into their individual personalities.
After this, you can take what you have learned from the mahouts and guides throughout the day and spend quiet, uninterrupted time with the elephants—reading their emotions just as they read yours. You will experience first-hand why humans and elephants have shared such an unwavering bond for thousands of years.
Along with the mahouts, you will bring your elephants to their nighttime feeding grounds. Take time for a long goodbye and in knowing that the connection you have built is not only felt by you, but by your new friend as well.
Enjoy a few moments to think about your experiences from the day as you look out at the vast Luang Prabang mountain range from the terrace at MandaLao.
Late afternoon, we will walk to the nearby charming Chateau Orientale, a sanctuary in which to unwind and relax both body & soul. In a setting along a picturesque riverside location, you will find this ancient oriental hermitage in the middle of the Laotian jungle.
Overnight at Chateau Orientale.
You are free to stroll around the resort for your own exploration. There are plenty of activities on spots such as kayaking, cycling, or trekking. Check with us in advance to pre-arrange the activities that you want to have.
Overnight at Chateau Orientale.
Heading out of the town, we take a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a beautiful view of the tranquil countryside.
We will take the first stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make local rice wine. We then continue our boat trip to the atmospheric riverside town of Pakbeng.
Continue further to the mysterious of Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.
The Mekong was once the only major transport route in the country, Pakbeng, being the halfway point on the Mekong River between Luang Prabang and Huayxay, developed as an overnight stop for many traders travelling along the river.
This scenic and authentic river cruise has been described as a once in a lifetime experience. We will reside in Pakbeng overnight.
Visit the impressive 1000 years old tree forest with some trees could be dated around 2000 years old. This forest is not officially protected; however, the primary forest remains untouched with its very own beautiful nature and abundance wildlife. You will also visit villages of hill tribe Kamu family and the local school (except school holidays).
Along the way you will drop off and speak to friendly hill tribe villagers, spending time in various ethnic group villages and test the healthy 1000 years old tea using the traditional way of boiling tea with local villagers.
We return to the resort just in time to catch the sunset.
Overnight in Pakbeng.
After breakfast, you will leave for Muang La. On the way, you can observe the local rural life, local markets on the side of the road, clear views on corn and banana plantations and amazing views over the mountains.
Today, we will have chance to visit the amazing Tad Talae Waterfall, which is an amazing waterfall, located in Ban Talae from Pakbeng by 35 kilometers. The waterfall is in the district protected area.
When you reach the waterfall, you will also get fresh atmosphere under the pristine forest. The length of the waterfall is about 600 meters and consists of 7 different beautiful waterfall levels.
The best time to visit this waterfall is during June to February of every year. A famous picnic place for the local people there. From there, you can also visit local ethnic hilltribe villages which is very less exploration by the western tourists. (This tour might not be able to operate during raining season)
In the afternoon, we continue all the way to Muang La, passing through the provincial capital, Oudomxay. Once a very sleepy town, this has become an important trading hub and shows the changes which are happening rapidly in the region.
This makes the final leg of the journey, away from the busy town and in to unspoiled nature, all the more exciting. The contrast also highlights just how special the experiences are in the remaining wilderness.
Arrive at Muang La Resort in the late afternoon. Check in, relax and enjoy the views.
Facilities include a spa, sauna and steam room (it does get cold in the evenings here, especially November – March).
The resort is built next to a natural hot spring and they fill a small pool every evening with water from the hot spring.
Evenings are a real treat here, with 5 course set menus combining Asian and European influences, to be enjoyed by candle-light with the sounds of nature.
Dinner and overnight in Muang La Resort.
You set off to visit villages of the Ikho, H’mong & Khamu people; three of the many ethnic groups in Laos.
Your route climbs to 1,300m above sea level and offers some magnificent views of the stunning mountain scenery.
We will first visit a Khamu village before driving further into the mountains to an isolated Hmong village.
This ethnic group originates from the high steppes of Tibet and you will learn about their way of life; the importance of their livestock pigs, buffaloes…) and the care that they give to their animals.
From the H’mong village you can choose to do an optional short walk of 30 minutes which will bring you to the first Ikho village.
This ethnic group originates from Tibet and Yunnan Province in China. You learn about the daily life of the village and how the villagers still follow customs passed down through the centuries.
You take your picnic lunch enjoying the amazing surroundings and continue to visit more Ikho villages along the way, before heading back down to the lodge.
You will return to the Lodge at the end of the afternoon.
You are free to stroll around the lodge for your own exploration. There are plenty of activities on spots such as tubing, kayaking, or cycling. Just check with our guide or the lodge for further information.
Overnight at Muang La Lodge.
You are free to relax or stroll around the village of Muang La before transferring to Oudomxay to take the speed train to Vientiane, the capital city of Laos.
The train will take about 3 hours to reach to Vientiane.
Upon arrival, transfer to your hotel in town.
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.
Tips: 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.
After breakfast, we take the flight to Pakse, the biggest city of the 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 Fan 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 baskets.
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
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 into 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, we will take the boat crossing the Mekong River to Ban Muang and take the transfer to Khong Island.
From there, 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 Champasak and take the boat to the isolated island of Done Daeng.
Done Daeng is the home to the charming La Folie Lodge, where we will spend the last 2 nights before concluding the trip in Laos.
Free to stroll around for your own exploration. There are some activities such as cooking class, cycling, or walking around the island.
Check with our guide or the lodge for further information.
Overnight at La Folie Lodge.
After breakfast, we will take the boat back to Champasak and 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: 4 hours including border time.
+ From Pakse, you can also take the flight to Siem Reap, Ho Chi Minh City, Vientiane, Luang Prabang, or Bangkok.
LAOS UNIQUE EXPERIENCE tour exceeded my expectations in every way! The rich history and spirituality of Laos came alive as we explored the ancient temples and palaces. The natural beauty of the country, from the lush landscapes to the serene rivers, was breathtaking. The opportunity to participate in local activities, such as traditional weaving and rice farming, was a unique and enriching experience. The tour guides were knowledgeable and passionate, making the trip educational and engaging. I highly recommend this tour for an authentic and unforgettable adventure in Laos.
I had an amazing time on the LAOS UNIQUE EXPERIENCE tour! The itinerary was well-curated, allowing us to discover the hidden gems of Laos. The stunning Kuang Si Waterfalls and the picturesque town of Vang Vieng were definite highlights. The cultural insights gained from visiting local villages and interacting with the friendly locals were invaluable. The tour was well-paced, and the accommodations were top-notch. I appreciated the attention to detail and the excellent service provided by the tour guides. It was a truly unforgettable journey.