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Luang Prabang & Southern Laos

Within 13-day Luang Prabang & Southern Laos, you can see all the best Luang Prabang & Southern Laos has to offer. From the never fading culture to the nature beauties; from the ancient city to the amazing Kuang Si waterfalls, from the calm Pak Ou caves to the mighty Mekong river. Go south you will discover the mountainous area of Bolaven Plateau with plenty of colorful hill tribe village, amazing waterfalls, and green nature; the World Heritage Site of Wat Phou; or the exciting of 4000-island area. 

HIGHLIGHTS

Various activities on sites

  • Gentle city visits of the ancient town of Luang Prabang
  • Cruise on the Mekong River to explore Pak Ou caves & 4000-island area
  • Visit the Mandalao Camp, join the elephant walk/ride to explore the Nam Khan river. 
  • Soft trek in Bolaven Plateau to explore various waterfalls & local villages
  • Tuk Tuk tour around the 4000-island area to explore some interesting spots

Unforgettable moments

  • Walking along the small street of Luang Prabang and admire the local life
  • Watching the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
  • The cruise along the Mekong River whilst the sun is setting behind the mountains
  • Sense the skins, the smell, and the breath of the elephants as close as you wish
  • Driving through the Bolaven Plateau with special jeep
  • Learning about the coffee production in Laos, something you cannot miss

Nature exploration

  • The beauty of the countryside of Luang Prabang
  • The untouched nature along Mekong River
  • The exciting Kuang Si waterfalls, and their surrounding jungle
  • The scenic green mountainous area of Bolaven Plateau with various watefalls, and plantation
  • The amazing Khone Phapheng waterfalls, one of the biggest waterfalls of the world

Culture experience

  • Attending the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
  • Emerging into the local life with the Baci Ceremony
  • Visit some temple and museum along the way to learn about the culture of Laos
  • Visit plenty of local village in Bolaven Plateau to learn about the history of southern Laos

Map

Detailed schedule

Day 1 - Welcome to Luang Prabang - Baci Ceremony

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.
Luang Prabang is the great place to start the new chapter of your life story.
After a soft rest, you may want to stroll around for the first impression of this ancient city stopping here and there to admire the local life and chat with the local people.
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.
Joining the ceremony will bring you luck and the endless happiness during your marriage life.
The day will be ended with a romantic candlelight dinner along the Mekong River under the starry skies.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

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Day 2 - Luang Prabang - City tour - Kuang Si waterfalls

After breakfast, we visit Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts.  
Our next stop in the city is the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. 
We then transfer to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the pools or walk along the forest trails. 
You have the rest of the afternoon to refresh at the waterfalls. If you wish, we also see up close Asiatic bears at the Bear Rescue Centre along the jungle walk to the waterfall.
Arriving back in town, 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.
Transfer back to Luang Prabang, we ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a beautiful sunset view of the city and its glowing reflection on 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

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Day 3 - Mandalao Elephant Camp - Chateau Orientale

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. As you prepare to start your walk back to MandaLao, you will bid farewell to your new friends with more treats and goodbye hugs.
When you get back to MandaLao, you will head to the restaurant and enjoy a delicious fresh Lao meal made from our own organically grown produce. There you can relax, kick-back, and process the day’s experiences on the veranda overlooking the river and misty mountains.
Following lunch, you are free to stroll around the camp for your own exploration before walking to the nearby beautiful Chateau Orientale Resort, which may remind you about the faraway land lost in the mist of history.
Leisurely relax at the terrace overlooking the Nam Khan River or enjoy plenty activities offered by the resort.
Overnight at Chateau Orientale
 

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Day 4 - Free day at Chateau Orientale

You have the full day to relax at the resort or enjoy plenty of activities offer on spot including kayaking, cycling, or walking.
Overnight at Chateau Orientale
 

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Day 5 - Mekong River Cruise & Pak Ou caves

After breakfast, transfer to boat pier to take the Nomad Cruise upstream the Mekong River to Pak Ou cave 
Our first stop will be the remote island temple shrine of Wat Done Khoun Nelemith, 16 km from Luang Prabang. 
Surrounded by the Mekong River on all sides, this fascinating temple and its monks see very few visitors. 
We continue north to the famous Pak Ou Caves. These ancient shrines are filled with thousands of Buddha images and have long served as a pilgrimage for all, including the former Royal Family. Leave the dramatic karst caves and head back downstream, savouring a luscious lunch on board.
Arriving back in town, we will enjoy a traditional Lao massage at Lao Red Cross, which will help you recover from the exploration in the last some days. 
After that, stroll along the Mekong river to admire the sunset before joining the cinema at Amalea Restaurant to watch the 100-year-old Chang Movie, which is the oldest film about Laos. This is a silent film about a poor farmer in northern Nan Province (northern Thailand) and his daily struggle for survival in the jungle. 
The dinner will be served after that at the restaurant before transferring back to your hotel.
Overnight in Luang Prabang

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Day 6 - Luang Prabang - Flight to Pakse - Bolaven - Tadlo

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. 
We will drive to Tad Phaseum waterfalls, where we enjoy an easy trek to nearby villages of ethnic minorities villages like Laven, Alak, Taoy, and others.  
From there, we drive further to Tadlo Waterfalls, upon arrival, we will trekking to visit waterfall and other minority village near by Tadlo area of Ban Kiengtanglae and Ban Nanong. 
Overnight at Tadlo Lodge.
 

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Day 7 - Jeep tour - Coffee Trail Exploration

09:00AM, we will transfer you to Ban Lao Ngam, where we will meet the Jeep tour specialist.
After a short briefing, we will drive to Suay village, where we can find many traditional long house made by bamboo, which is shared by some generations of 01 family.
We then continue driving to Laven village to see their daily life and their paddy field. This is the first minority group found in Bolaven Plateau.
11:00 AM, we continue driving to the Coffee Farm of Mr. Khamsone via the 10KM bumpy and muddy road, which will take you 01 hour with your special Jeep car.
Upon arrival, Mr khamsone, the Coffee farm’s owner will take 1 hour to demonstrate about coffee roasting step and finishing by a coffee cupping to Savor the different kind of coffee (Robusta, Arabica and Typica).  
After that, we will hop on the Jeep and drive 30 minutes to Tad Moun waterfalls, where we can enjoy the fresh cool water, and visit the nearby vegetable farm.
Finally, we will drive to Paksong, where we will spend the night.

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Day 8 - Tad Fan - Wat Phou - Champasak

After breakfast, we departure for Champasak. 
Along the way, we will have chance to enjoy the scenery around Tad Fan waterfall, which is spectacular with twin waterfalls plummeting into a deep gorge surrounded by flourishing vegetation. 
We will also see the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that are grown in the area. 
Arriving in Champasak, 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 Champasak to see samples of French colonial architecture before transferring to your hotel in town to spend the night.

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Day 9 - Champasak - 4000 Islands

After breakfast, we take the boat to the other side of Mekong River at Ban Muang and transfer directly to Khong Island.
Here, we 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. 
If we are lucky, we may even see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. 
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.

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Day 10 - Free day at 4000 Islands

You have a full free day to relax in Khone Island. Stroll around the small street or hang out at one of the riverside bars are some of the recommended activities.
You can either visit the nearby Done Det, which is famous among backpackers or spend the day sunbathing and enjoy the pool of the hotel.
Overnight in Khone Island.

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Day 11 - Khone Phapheng Waterfalls - Don Daeng

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, where we will take the boat to the isolated island of Done Daeng.
Free for the rest of the day to relax. You can either enjoy the pool of the lodge or cycle into the nearby village to admire the local life.
Late afternoon, we will join a sunset cruise along the Mekong river admiring the last beauties of the day.
Then cruise back to La Folie Lodge.
Overnight at La Folie Lodge

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Day 12 - Free day on Don Daeng

Full day free for your own exploration.
The lodge have free boat transfer to Champasak, free bicycle, and plenty of activities available to book on spot.
We recommend you join a traditional dance class within 1 hour and/or a cooking class at a villager home.
Overnight at La Folie Lodge

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Day 13 - Don Daeng - Pakse - Departure

Free before transferring back to Pakse to take the departure flight

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PLACES TO VISIT IN Laos
Luang Prabang
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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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The ancient capital of Lane Xang Kingdom

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The combination of some must-see experience and the cruise tour along the mighty rivers

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Reveal off-the-beatentrack routes, least explored destinations, and unknown tribe groups

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Laos BLOG ARTICLES

On June 7th, 2012, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has eased travel recommendations for more than a hundred countries and territories, including Vietnam and Laos in the list of "safest to travel".

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Bucolic Wat Phou (Wat Phu, Vat Phou, Vat Phu) sits in graceful decrepitude, and while it lacks the arresting enormity of Angkor in Cambodia, given its few visitors and more dramatic natural setting, these small Khmer ruins evoke a more soulful response. While some buildings are more than 1000 years old, most date from the 11th to 13th centuries. The site is divided into six terraces on three levels joined by a frangipani-bordered stairway ascending the mountain to the main shrine at the top.

Visit in the early morning for cooler temperatures (it gets really hot during the day, and on the lower levels there isn't any shade) and to capture the ruins in the best light. Make sure to grab a map at the entrance as there is little to no signage here.

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Buddhist Lent Day (Thailand Wan Khao Phansa, Laos Boun Khao Phansa) is the start of the three-month period during the rainy season when monks are required to remain in a particular place such as a monastery or temple grounds. Here, they will meditate, pray, study, and teach other young monks. In the past, monks were not even allowed to leave the temple, but today, most monks just refrain from traveling during this period. You will still see them out during the day.

It is said that monks started remaining immobile in a temple during this time because they wanted to avoid killing insects and harming farmland. Apparently, traveling monks were crossing through fields, thus destroying the crops of villagers and farmers. After catching wind of this, Buddha decided that in order to avoid damaging crops, hurting insects, or harming themselves during the rainy season, monks should remain in their temples during these three months.

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Initiated in 2006 by an NGO working for years with the elephants, this annual meeting of Laos Elephant Festival became one of the big festivals of Laos, followed by thousands of Laotians who move to attend a number of exercises, parades, and elections of the most emblematic animal of Laos. Fifty elephants are walking around for 3 days in the streets of the small provincial town. A large market takes place for the occasion with all kind of local (or Thai) products.

Home to the country’s largest pachyderm population, Xayabouly Province is the natural choice to host this growing event that also aims to raise awareness about the need to protect the endangered Asian elephant, which has played such a vital role in Lao people’s livelihoods, culture and heritage.

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The highlight of the year in Wat Phu Champasak is the three-day Buddhist festival, held on Magha Puja day on the full moon of the third lunar month, usually in February. The ceremonies culminate on the full-moon day with an early-morning offering of alms to monks, followed that evening by a candlelit wéean téean (circumambulation) of the lower shrines.

Throughout the three days of the festival Lao visitors climb around the hillside, stopping to pray and leave offerings of flowers and incense. The festival is more commercial than it once was, and for much of the time has an atmosphere somewhere between a kids' carnival and music festival. Events include kick-boxing matches, boat races, cockfights, comedy shows and plenty of music and dancing, as bands from as far away as Vientiane arrive. After dark the beer and lòw-lów (Lao whisky) flow freely and the atmosphere gets pretty rowdy.

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When the three months of Buddhist Lent come to an end in October, it is the perfect time to visit temples and celebrate the end of the rainy season. In Laos, this is called Boun Awk Phansa (Sometimes translated as Boun Ok Phansa or Boun Ock Phansa) and various religious and local traditions can be observed during this time. Moreover, there are plenty of festive activities are organized throughout the country with floating flower boats, candles, fireworks, lavishly decorated wats and an old-time carnival … all make for a magical Boun Awk Phansa festival in Vientiane, Laos. 

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