PAKSE – 4,000 ISLAND – KONGLOR – VIENTIANE – LUANGPRABANG
TOUR CODE: LAO3
Day 1: Pakse City welcomes you – Champasak
Day 2: Full-day tour to Bolevan Plateau
Day 3: Explore 4,000-Island region – Pakse
Day 4: Pakse – Konglor cave
Day 5: Tour Konglor cave
Day 6: Hinbound/Konglor drive to Vientiane
Day 7: Vientiane/City tour – Luang Prabang
Day 8: Luang Prabang, City tour & Khouangsi waterfalls
Day 9: Luang Prabang, Full-day Mekong Cruise
Day 10: Luang Prabang – Departure
Day 1: Pakse City welcomes you - Champasak
Day 2: Full-day tour to Bolevan Plateau (B)
This morning we leave early and drive north to the Bolaven Plateau. The Bolaven Plateau is known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. Our first stop is to visit Ban Lak Sipkao, a village specializing in knife making. We then stop tea plantation, followed by a stop at Tad Fan Waterfall, a picturesque twin chute waterfall. We then make a stop at a coffee plantation, en route to Tha Teng Market, a colorful ethnic minority food market. Next, we explore a couple of fascinating minority villages, Ban Pong Neua, an Alak village that boasts a sacrificial altar, and Ban Kokphung, a Katu village where they keep coffins under their houses. We also make a stop at the beautiful Tadlo Waterfall, then head back to Pakse and on to Champasak. Overnight in Champasak.
Day 3: Explore 4,000-Island region - Pakse (B)
After breakfast, we visit Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century. This dramatically sited temple is one of the highlights of any trip to Laos. We then continue south to Ban Nagasung village, where we board a local private boat for a boat tour of the 4000 Islands. We reach the picturesque island of Don Khone by lunchtime, and in the afternoon explore the island by bicycle or Tuk Tuk or Walking, tracing the route of an old abandoned railway and admiring some of the old French Colonial buildings, and the beautiful Liphi Waterfall. We then return to our boat and head back to the mainland, visiting the spectacular Khone Phapheng Falls, one of the largest and most powerful waterfalls in Southeast Asia. In the late afternoon, we drive to Pakse town, arriving there by early evening. Overnight in Pakse.
Day 4: Pakse – Konglor cave (B)
This morning we are back on the road heading north to Hinboun, Konglor. En route, we stop to visit the town of Savannakhet, famous for its French Colonial buildings and also the sacred stupa of That Inhang. We have ample time to explore the town before reaching Hinboun village in the early evening. Overnight in Hinboun village.
Day 5: Tour Konglor cave (B,L)
After breakfast at Sala Hin Boun we continue by boat upriver to Kong Lor village, where you have the chance to explore, before boarding a smaller boat into the famous Kong Lor Cave. We navigate through the cave, which is over 7km long and includes a spectacular cavern over 100m high, following lunch in a remote village on the other side of the cave. We return to Sala Hin Boun before sunset. Overnight in Hin Boun.
Day 6: Hinbound/Konglor drive to Vientiane (B)
After breakfast, you will be picked up from your hotel this morning, and travel north along route 13. En route, we stop at Prabaht Ponsan, an Ancient stupa dating back to the 15th Century. It is also home to the Ancient Buddhas footprint, discovered in 1933, and now an important religious site in Laos. Following lunch, we continue onwards into Vientiane province. We arrive into Vientiane capital by early evening and free and easy after the hotel check-in. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 7: Vientiane/City tour – Luang Prabang (Flight) (B)
AM: Highlights of Vientiane.
This morning we visit the oldest landmark in Vientiane, Wat Sisaket, which escaped looting by invading Siamese in the 19th century. We also visit the former royal temple of Wat Phra Keo, original home to the emerald buddha now housed in Bangkok. Continue to the national icon That Luang Stupa and Laos’ very own Arc de Triomphe the Patuxai monument, offering views over the city.
PM: Xieng Khuan Spirit City, “Buddha Park”.
After lunch, we visit the slightly surreal park of Xieng Khuan. Built by a monk through the 1960s until the revolution in 1975, this is a landscape of Hindu and Buddhist sculptures, and perfect for informal exploration by adults and children alike.
We then take our evening flight to Luang Prabang.
Arrival into Luang Prabang. Welcome and transfer to your hotel for check-in. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 8: Luang Prabang, City tour & Khouangsi waterfalls (B)
AM: Early Morning Devotions
Rise early to witness one of the most magical and timeless scenes of Southeast Asia: hundreds of monks processing through the streets of Luang Prabang accepting offerings of food from the residents and businesses. Rising early also gives the chance to wander through the fresh market on the way back to the hotel for breakfast.
Return to the UNESCO protected city center to appreciate its unspoiled Laotian-colonial fusion architecture, taking in notable Buddhist temples: Wat Xiengthong, with its traditional roofs sweeping low to the ground, the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, Wat Sene, the city’s oldest temple, and the shrines of Wat Aham and Wat Mai. Finish at the Royal Palace Museum.
PM: Khouangsi Falls
After lunch drive to the beautiful waterfalls of Tat Khouangsi. Below the 90m drop of the main cascade are a series of pools, connected by smaller falls and cascades. At low water levels the water is an unbelievable turquoise, and swimming in the lower pools is a great way to cool off in the afternoon.
On the walk through the forest to the falls, you will also pass the Free the Bears project – home to a group of rescued Asiatic Black (Moon) Bears and one Malayan Sun Bear. In the early afternoon, they are often searching for food hidden in their enriched environment enclosures. Or they may just be sleeping! The route home allows stopping at the villages of some of the (over 100) different Lao ethnic groups at Ban Ou, Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 9: Luang Prabang, Full-day Mekong Cruise (B, Picnic Lunch)
Today we embark on a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, firstly stopping at Xiengmene, where we visit Wat Long Khun, and the limestone cave Tham Sakkarin, and a tour around Ban Xiengmene village. Following a picnic lunch, we then continue by boat up the Mekong which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside as well time to explore 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 return, we take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a small village known for its hand weaving. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 10: Luang Prabang – Departure (B)
After breakfast, free and easy at your own leisure until time to transfer to the airport for your outbound flight.
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