Beautiful Laos, a land of the lotus eaters amid bloated development of its neighbours, brings together the best of south east Asia in one bite-sized destination. The country retains so many traditions that have disappeared elsewhere in the region as you will discover on this fascinating eight day tour during which you will visit the capital Vientiane, see stilt houses, stunning countryside and watch saffron-robed monks glide through the streets.
Arrive Luang Prabang
On arrival at Luang Prabang airport you will be met by one of our tour representatives and driven to your hotel in the city, where there is a choice of three places to stay. Check in then relax after the journey. The rest of the day and evening is free for you to go out and explore on your own, seeing some of the sights, experiencing the city's nightlife, and possibly trying some of the local cuisine at one of the many good restaurants.
After breakfast, start a city tour at Wat Xieng Thong, the most photographed temple in Luang Prabang. Then board a private longtail boat for a Mekong River cruise to the famous Pak Ou Caves, which are filled with thousands of gold-lacquered Buddha statues. After visiting the caves, cruise back to Luang Prabang for lunch at a top restaurant. In the afternoon your tour starts at the former Royal Palace, then it's on to two ornate temples followed by a visit to the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre.
Rise early to watch monks leaving their pagodas to receive offerings of food from local residents in a beautiful, serene ceremony. Return to the hotel for breakfast then visit some temples before taking a drive to Kuang Si Waterfalls to enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. These waterfalls create a series of turquoise blue pools which are perfect for swimming. After a picnic lunch visit the Free the Bears sanctuary and Kuang Si Butterfly Park. Back in the city explore the evening hill tribe market before returning to the hotel.
Luang Prabang to Vientiane
Today you fly to the capital city Vientiane where a guide and driver will be waiting to take you on a tour, starting at Buddha Park. This unusual park is filled with more than 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues and is in a quiet and tranquil setting along the Mekong River. On the drive back to the city stop at Mai Savanh to explore the traditional textiles of the Lao people. The rest of the day is at leisure to explore Vientiane, possibly ending with a stroll along the riverside promenade picking up some unique souvenirs.
Spend today exploring the charming capital city of Vientiane. Your guide will take you first to the serene Wat Sisaket, one of the most beautiful temples in the capital. Continue to the nearby Wat Phra Keo, a religious museum, then the Presidential Palace - which is a reflection of the colonial past - and more temples. Enjoy a delicious Lao-style lunch at Makphet Restaurant before visiting COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. Then stop at the holiest site in Laos, the 16th century temple of That Luang.
Vientiane to Champasak
After breakfast you are driven to the airport for your flight to Pakse where you will be met and taken for lunch at a local restaurant. Then drive for one hour to the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phou, a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amid the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos and is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples. Then check in to your hotel in Champasak before enjoying a beautiful sunset on the Mekong River. Overnight in Champasak
A full day exploring the area known locally as Siphandon (4,000 Islands). In this beautiful region the Mekong River reaches 10 miles wide and houses thousands of small islands. Travel first by car to the village of Ban Nakasang and take a boat to the peaceful island of Done Khone, home to small villages and plantations. Here you could spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. Then stop at the impressive Lippi falls, close to the Cambodian border. Lunch is included at a local restaurant. Overnight in Champasak.
End of tour
Today your wonderful trip around the beautiful country of Laos comes to an end. After breakfast there may be time for some more sightseeing or shopping before you are picked up from your hotel and driven back to Pakse airport to catch an onward flight or begin your journey home. This eight day tour packs in so many of the highlights of one of the less visited countries of south east Asia and will leave you with so many lasting memories.