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The Treasure of Laos


9 days 8 nights

Code LCT153

Category Laos Classic Tours

  • Group Size 1-11 persons
  • Difficulty Level 1
  • Rating Popular
  • Trip Starts From Vientiane
  • Trip Ends At Luang Prabang
  • Type Tours
  • Destination Vientiane Vang Vieng Phonsavanh Luang Prabang
Dates & Prices

Overview

On this journey you will visit the many wats, temples, monuments, and the former palace which is now the national museum all while taking in the beauty of the mountains, waterfalls, lakes, and rivers. This is a classic tour of Laos exploring what this beautiful country has to offer. Visit the sites of the plain of jars, the grand Buddha park with its many Buddha and Hindu monuments. You will go on excursions to a few different caves which house many images of Buddha and even a footprint. Visit the local hill tribe villages and browse through the Hmong products at the local market. Cool off on a warmer day by going swimming in the beautiful turquoise pools near the waterfalls or just trek about the limestone cliffs, and later climb a intricately designed Naga stone staircase to watch the sunset upon the river and temples below. If you are looking to see what Laos has to offer, this is a great tour to help you get started.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01 Vientiane

Upon arrival you will be greeted by you guide and driver. Today you will be taken on an excursion is to visit an open-air museum at Wat Xieng Khuan also known as Buddha Park. Here there is a wonderful collection of unusual but compelling sculptures of the Buddhist and Hindu gods. After you take a leisurely stroll though this public park you will be taken to your hotel and the rest of the evening is for your own enjoyment.

Overnight in Vientiane

Day 02 Sightseeing in Vientiane
The capital city of Laos, Vientiane still feels like a sleepy city with relaxed charm, tree-lined boulevards, interesting wats and colorful markets. Tour the different highlights of the city, including Pha That Luang, a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps most important national monument in Laos; Ho Pha Keo, the formal royal temple, now a museum with beautiful examples of Buddhist sculpture; Wat Si Saket; and Patuxai, a monumental arch inspired by the Arc de Triomphe, but executed with Lao motifs.
Next we travel to the Talaat Sao, called the "morning market" ( which is actually open all day). This is the best place to buy traditional Lao fabrics. The market consists of many small shops, restaurant, fruit and vegetable vendors, jewelers, modern and traditional wooden crafts, musical instruments, electronics, home appliances, house wares, CDs, DVDs, etc.

Overnight in Vientiane

Meals : Breakfast
Day 03 Transfer By Vehicle from Vientiane To Vang Vieng with a Boat Trip on Nam Ngum Lake

After breakfast at your hotel, we drive to the north through the scenic province of Vientiane. The climate here is very pleasant and the views are nice. There are many scenic views of mountains and cliffs along the first part of the journey. On the way we stop at a salt field in Ban Keun.

Next, we take a boat ride on Nam Ngum Lake, a serene, man-made reservoir which also generates most of the electricity sold to Thailand. We will also stop at the Talat fish market in Huay Mor before continuing to Vang Vieng. The rest of the day is for your leisure. There are tubing excursions available in the relaxed atmosphere.

Overnight in Vang Vieng

Meals : Breakfast
Day 04 Visit Tham Xang Cave, Later Drive To Phonsavanh
After breakfast, we travel to Tham Xang Cave. The cave is also called Elephant Cave, which contains a few Buddha images and a Buddha footprint plus the elephant shaped stalactites which give the cave its name. Note: Tham Xang Cave is NOT recommended from May to September due to high current water and bad road conditions.
Next we travel by vehicle from Vang Vieng to Phonsavanh (Xieng Khuang), with a stop at local villages on the way.

Overnight in Phonsavanh

Meals : Breakfast
Day 05 Visit the Local Markets in Phonsavanh And Later Take an Excursion to the Plain of Jars (Sites l and ll) And Muang Khoun

After breakfast are your hotel, we will visit the lively, and open local markets in Phonsavanh.

After spending the morning visiting the local markets, we will continue to the famous Plain of Jars, a vast area extending around Phonsavanh from the south-west to the north-east. Mysterious and ancient, over 300 huge stone jars apparently carved out of solid rock are scattered around the plateau. The jars vary in size from 1 to 3.25 meters high and weigh up to six tons each. There are several different theories as to the purpose of the jars, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old. According to local legend, King Khun Chuang had them constructed in order to store wine for the celebration of his conquest of the province in the 6th century. Today's tour will focuses on SITE I and SITE II, out of the many sites so far discovered.

We will make a stop in Ban Na Pia, nicknamed the War Spoon Village after the locals begin melting down scrap metal left over from bombs detonated on Laotian soil during the Vietnam War. It is said that some 30% of bombs did not detonate and are still buried in the soil; which is why many of the local people have turned to finding scrap metal for a living instead of farming the soil because of the risk of detonating a 'sleeping bomb'.

Afterwards continue to Muang Khoun, an ancient capital and stronghold for the Xieng Khuang royal family which was destroyed during the Indochina War. The town was rebuilt after 1975 with rows of wooden Lao houses. There is a market area which is surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery.

Visit Wat Phia Wat, today, only the temple’s brick foundation and a few columns survive. The temple is said to have been constructed in 1322; since that time it’s faced numerous bouts of destruction. In the fourteenth century when the Chinese invaded, the temple was largely destroyed and the Buddha statue’s arm was severed. It was soon rebuilt. In 1953, Wat Phia Wat was again destroyed by the French during the first Indochina War. After being rebuilt for a second time, the temple was once more shattered, this time by American bombing raids during the Vietnam War. The enduring Buddha statue with the now-melancholy face (thanks to its missing eye and scarred right cheek and lip) is highly revered by worshippers. The years ahead should ensure the preservation of the Buddha through tourist revenue and we can only hope that it will be spared the ravages of war in the future. You will also get to visit That Foun and That Chomphet before returning to the hotel.

Overnight in Phonsavanh

Meals : Breakfast
Day 06 Transfer By vehicle from Phonsavanh (Xieng Khuang) to Luang Prabang with Sightseeing at Muang Sui
After breakfast, we take a slow journey along mountain roads with many stunning views of the forested mountains, lush valleys, and limestone formations.
You will stop in Muang Sui to visit the scenic Nong Tang Lake, rimmed with limestone cliffs along the way. Muang Sui once was a city with many Buddhist temples until it was taken over by the US as a headquarters with an air strip called 'site Lima 108' during war. Here there is also an extensive cave network and a larger cave called Pha Cave. The cave was only discovered recently, and contains a 5m high Buddha image dating from 777 AD, surrounded by gold and wooden statues of a smaller stature. Continue on the Luang Prabang and check into hotel.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Meals : Breakfast
Day 07 Sightseeing in Luang Prabang

Set between the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers, Luang Prabang is an enchanting town filled with historic temples and colonial style buildings. The entire town was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. Begin your tour after breakfast at the hotel with Wat Visoun (Wat Wisunalat). The oldest living temple in Luang Prabang, Wat Visoun dates back to 1513 and contains a collection of antique wooden Buddhas. Visit the nearby Wat Aham before continuing to Wat Xieng Thong, the crowning jewel of all the monasteries and temples in the city. Its many ornate buildings feature exquisite mosaic and gold-stenciled murals. From there, stroll down the main street (Wat Street) of Luang Prabang. Time permitting, stop at some of the many temples that line its sides, including Wat Sibounheuang, Wat Si Moungkhoun, Wat Sop, and Wat Sene.

Continue to the National Museum, formerly the Royal Palace. The Museum is a modest but graceful building which combines traditional Lao and French beaux-arts motifs. This turn-of-the century royal residence has been preserved as it was when the royal family last lived here and provides unique insights into the history of Laos. Here you will also visit Hor Phrabang, which is in the right front corner room of the Palace which opens to the outside. Here you will find a collection of the palace's most prized art, including the Phrabang, cast of a gold, silver and bronze alloy. This Buddha stands at 83 cm tall and weighs around 50 kg. Continue on to Wat Mai, constructed in 1821 during the reign of King Manthatourath, it was once the residence of Phra Sangkharaj (the Patriarch of the Buddhist clergy).

Next we visit Mount Phousi at sunset. We climb 328 steps starting from entrance on the opposite side of National Museum or 410 steps on the other side of Khan River to the small temples atop Phou Si, the 150m high hill which sits in the middle of the town, offering beautiful views over the temples and river. After, you are transferred to your hotel and the rest of the evening if for your leisure.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Meals : Breakfast
Day 08 From Luang Prabang Take An Excursion by Boat to Tham Pak Ou Caves An Excursion to Kuang Si Waterfalls And Visit the Weaving Village of Ban Xang Khong
After breakfast, we travel up the Mekong River to the steep limestone cliffs overlooking the Mekong and Nam Ou Rivers, home to the Tham Pak Ou Caves. These extraordinary caves are filled with Buddha images, of every style and material imaginable. On the way to Pak Ou Cave, may be able to stop at Ban Xang Hai Village (If time permitted, It's open 6.00am 15.00 pm and closed on every Buddha day). The local village is famous for the production of lao lao, the local rice wine whisky.
From Luang Prabang you will travel by vehicle to Kuang Si Waterfalls. This waterfall is located in a perfect natural setting near Luang Prabang, this multi-tiered waterfall tumbles over limestone formations into a series of beautiful turquoise pools. You may enjoy swimming in the clear water or just relaxing in the natural environment. Visit a local village on the way, before returning to Luang Prabang by vehicle.
Visit Ban Xang Khong, a village near Luang Prabang well known for its traditional hand-woven cotton and silk, as well as production of the local sa (mulberry) paper.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Meals : Breakfast
Day 09 Luang Prabang
After breakfast at your hotel, you will be transferred to the airport and/or for your next destination.
Meals : Breakfast

Trip Map

Trip Info

Cost Includes

  • Accommodation on double occupancy basis.
  • Daily breakast at your hotel and other meals as indicated in the itinerary.
  • Sightseeing admission fees
  • English speaking local guide
  • Private vehicle for all transfers and sightseeing.
  • Activities as indicated in the itinerary

Cost Does Not Include

  • Meals other than indicated in the itinerary.
  • Laos visa
  • Drinks, tipping, laundry, phone, internet usage and other expenses of personal nature.
  • Extra expenses or loss due to unforeseen events such as flight delays or  cancellations, accidents or medical conditions, civil unrest, etc.
  • International airfare

Note on Itinerary

Although we will do our very best to adhere to the itinerary schedule as listed; it is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.

Trip Difficulty Level, Road and Transport

We use motor vehicle for the city visits and transfers from one town to other, besides by boat excursion. All the walks and hikes can be done at your own pace, interacting with the locals and catching the beautiful scenery into your camera and visiting local homes with unique Laos architecture. For the driving part, you just have to keep in mind that not all parts of the road are paved. At times, it can be dusty and bumpy. Roads are often carved out of the steep hills and follows river bank and sometime they can be temporarily blocked due to erosion or landslide. Daily driving distance is not that long.
Anyone with regular health conditions can take up this trip. Although no hiking or trekking experiences is required, it's advisable that you should start some jogging, cycling, swimming, cardio, etc several weeks ahead of the time to keep yourself at an optimum fitness level.

Accommodations

For the most part of the trip, unless you have chosen other alternatives, you will be staying in moderate to the best available accommodations. The room may be different from another in your group and so there may be disparity in the rooms. You may get a better room than others or vice versa. You have to be prepared to adjust your normal routine and mentally be OK with things that may not work or be available when you want them to. During the high season, there will be huge demand of accommodations and suggested hotels may be already booked up and may have to adjust accommodations to alternative hotels and your cooperation in this matter is very much important.
Major Cities have a couple of international chain resorts with remarkably high prices but your trips do not feature them, unless you want those hotels at an additional charge to your land cost.

Meals

Breakfast in included where noted and will be served at your hotel, usually served in buffet. Your guide can arrange some lunches and/or dinners at local restaurants but you will be on your own expenses to pay for these meals. Lunches and dinners included as per itinerary.

Guides

Our guides are college educated locals, proficient in English and trained and licensed by local tourism authorities. Most importantly they are friendly and committed to deliver the best services.

International and internal airfares:

You will book your international airfare on your own and provide us with your flight information. We can also help you find good fares through our air ticket consolidator upon request. All internal airfares are booked locally (if required). Local airport taxes may or may not included in the fare.

Passport and Visa

You must have both a passport and visa to enter Laos, and your passport must also have at least six months validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Laos. You can get a visa on arrival in Laos if you are traveling for tourism, have two passport-size photographs and pay $35.

If you get your visa on arrival in Laos, you will generally be allowed to stay in Laos for 30 days after you arrive. If you were born in Laos, you may be admitted for 60 days or longer. You can extend your 30-day tourist visa up to an additional 60 days for a fee of $2 per day through the Department of Immigration in Vientiane. If you overstay your visa in Laos, you risk arrest and you will be fined $10 for each day of overstay as you leave. The Lao government calculates visa fees and fines in U.S. dollars.

Best time for this trip:

This trip can be undertaken throughout the year but definitely November through February are the best months when temperatures are less hot, less rain, and clear visibility.

Booking & Payment Schedule

Intial Tour Deposit: US$ 300 per person ( accepted by credit card or personal check) with completed trip registration form and passport scan.

Second payment will be asked for the in-tour airfare when they are due. Some hotels and suppliers may ask for non-refundable deposit to guarantee the booking and we will advise you in such case. Payment by credit card may attract additional 3.5% fee.

Final payment is due 90 days prior departure. Payment by credit card attracts additional 3.5% fee. Personal check is welcome. Within 90 days before the travel date, payment must be made by wire transfer or cashier check.

Cancellation and refund

Notice of cancellation and refund request must be received in written form.

  • 180 days prior departure: No penalty unless stated as non-refundable.
  • 90 days prior departure: Administrative fee US$ 150 per person.
  • 60-89 day's prior departure: US$ 300 or 25% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 45 days to 59 days prior departure: US$ 450 or 50% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • 30 days to 44 days prior departure: US$ 600 or 75% of the land cost whichever is higher.
  • Less than 30 days: 100%

Cancellation and refund of air tickets will be as per rules and regulations of the concerned airlines plus a service charge of US$ 25 per segment will be levied. Cancellation terms and conditions of certain services may vary which will be informed per case to case basis. No refund or adjustment to other services will be made for any unused land or air services for any reason whatsoever, once tour begins. We highly recommend that all travelers purchase trip cancellation insurance.

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If you have any quick questions about this trip, please submit this form and you will get our response within 24 business hours.

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Bhutan is almost worry-free travel destination and we don't find any adverse travel advisories against Bhutan. There is very little or no crime even in larger cities such as Thimphu. A very rare cases of pick-pocketing and purse snatching have been reported. Intermittent cases of burglaries, theft, robbery and assaults can be read in the newspapers but we have no knowledge of any foreign travelers been victim of such incidents.

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