Join us for an insightful, indulgent and fun adventure in Laos! Picturesque villages, stunning scenery, fascinating culture and good times are guaranteed on this women-only tour!
|Date & Duration:||12th-25th October 2019 - 14 days|
|Cost:||USD2700 - What's included?|
|Arrival & Departure points:||Luang Prabang/Pakse|
|Group size:||Min 6, Max 12|
Enjoy the best Laos has to offer on our insightful and indulgent Laos trip!
-visit beautiful temples and Wats and get to know the old culture of Laos
-see the stunning turquoise waters of the Kuang Si Waterfalls
-the Plain of Jars, a megalithic archaeological landscape consisting of thousands of stone jars scattered around the central plain of the Xiangkhoang Plateau.
-explore a hidden Buddha cave
-visit community projects and learn about "giving back" in Laos
-take a boat trip through the impressive Kong Lor cave
-enjoy incredibly tasty Lao food
-meet local ethnic minority villagers
-take a boat tour and explore the 4000 islands of Champasak
Day 1 - Luang Prabang
Upon arrival you will be met and transferred to our hotel. We meet tonight for an early dinner and trip briefing.
Day 2 - Luang Prabang
Early morning start (5.30am) to witness and partake in the daily morning ritual of 'Tak Bat' or giving alms to the monks. This is a unique ritual still followed by the locals in Luang Prabang. We can also visit the local market to see how the locals shop, before returning to your hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, we visit the quaint Royal Palace Museum, which gives a good overview of
the local history. We then begin our temple tour taking in some the cities most beautiful
structures, including the country's most historic and enchanting temple Wat Xiengthong,
with its roof sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Luang Prabang style, as
well Wat Visoun, known as 'The Water Melon Stupa' due to its shape. Our last visit of the
morning is the excellent 'Traditional Arts and Ethnology Centre', which gives us a great
insight into the ethnic mix and culture of Laos. In the afternoon, we visit the weaving and
textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Xienglek. Our final stop of the day is a climb
Mt Phousi, which offers a spectacular sunset and a panoramic view over Luang Prabang
and the Mekong River.
Day 3 - Luang Prabang Rice Farming and Kuang Si Waterfall
Transfer this morning by car to the Living Lands Organic Farm where you meet the local
farming guide. You are invited to interact and experience each step of the rice harvest and
will see how different tools are created. The tour ends with a tasting of the traditional foods
made from rice. You will have a new appreciation for rice and admiration for the people of
Lao who to this day continue to harvest rice without modern machinery.
In the afternoon continue to Kuang Si Waterfall, where you can enjoy a picnic lunch
overlooking the falls. Next to the falls is a Bear Rescue Centre that does a great job in
protecting and rehabilitating the rare Asiatic Black Bear. We then return to Luang Prabang
by late afternoon.
Day 4 - Luang Prabang - Phonsavan Plain of Jars
We start early this morning, around 8am for the drive to Xieng Khuang, famous for the
'Plain of Jars'. The road follows a twisty mountain route, and we make our first stop at
Huay Hia, which offers great views of the surrounding mountains. We then continue Ban
Kiu Kam Pone, a Khmu village to explore, before arriving in Phou Khoun for lunch. We
continue on the road into Xieng Khuang province, reaching our highest altitude of the day
1500m above sea level, just after Phou Khoun. We have time to make a stop at Ban Son
Boom, a Hmong village. Our final stops of the day are a reminder that this region played a
major part during the Vietnam War - as we visit a hidden Buddha Cave, that served as an
Day 5 - Phonsavan Plain of Jars
This morning we visit the Mines Action Group (or MAG) office to learn about the important
work they do in clearing land mines and unexploded ordnance in the area. We then drive
out to the picturesque Jar Site 2, and begin a 1 hour trek along the ridge to Jar Site 3,
consisting over around 150 jars located on top of a hill, offering great views.
In the afternoon, we visit Jar Site 1, the largest site, containing over 300 jars. At 16:00, we
will pay a visit to the Lone Buffalo Foundation, a community project where western and
Lao teachers are passionate to improve opportunities for the local children through
Education and Sport. Meeting foreigners helps the students to overcome their shyness of
speaking in public. Have a chat, or play a language game while learning more about the
Lone Buffalo Project. Afterwards, we transfer to the PhouXang Viewpoint, to enjoy the
panoramic scenery and possibly a beautiful sunset!
Day 6 - Phonsavan - Muang Khoun - HinBoun
We start early this morning, for the long drive through central Laos. Our first stop is the
ancient town of Muang Khoun, the former provincial capital, where you can explore the
ruins of a number of ancient pagodas in the Lanna style and Wat Phiawat, a ruined temple
containing a huge sitting Buddha. We continue into the mountains, which offer impressive
views over the surrounding countryside. We continue through rolling countryside scenery
and limestone karsts before reaching Ban Thabuk, the 'bomb boat village' which
technically are actually fuel tanks from the Vietnam War used as boats. We eventually
reach Hin Boun area by early evening, where you can relax at your riverside lodge.
Day 7 - Hin Boun - Kong Lor Cave and Thakhek
After breakfast at your lodge, we drive to Kong Lor village and board a small local 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, as well as a breathtaking stalagmite gallery
which you can explore on foot. On the other side of the cave, we take a short walk past
some tobacco drying huts to Ban PonNgam, a remote village, where you can enjoy your
picnic lunch. Following lunch, we return through the cave by boat, and transfer directly by
car to Thakek, arriving there by late afternoon, in time for a stroll along the riverfront to
enjoy a sunset over the Mekong.
Tip: bring a torch with you for the cave
Day 8 - Thakhek - Buddha Cave and Surrounding trek
We leave Thakhek early this morning and follow the old French railway track that was
destined for Vietnam but was never finished. Continuing through impressive scenery, you
arrive in the village of Ban Nakhang Xang for a quick exploration and meet the village
guide who will escort you on your trek. Passing through secondary forest your guide will
point out forest products that form an important part of local peoples food resources.
Going through a cave, you enter a striking valley with towering cliffs and forest. The trail
follows the shoreline of NongThao Lake where you can see local fishermen at work. On
arrival at ThamNong Paseum Cave more adventurous swimmers can explore the cave.
The cave is 400 metres long and contains dramatic stalactites and stalagmites.
Back in daylight, the trip continues onto Khammouane's famous Buddha cave for a
traditional Lao lunch of Mekong fish, sticky rice and spicy papaya salad. After lunch we
visit Tham Pa Fa or Buddha cave, which was rediscovered in April 2004. The cave
contains 229 bronze Buddhas that are said to be over 300 years old! Your guide will now
escort you back to the village following a different route through the forest, and you will
return to Thakhek in the late afternoon.
Day 9 -Thakhek - Tad Lo via Savannakhet
This morning we leave Thakhek and stop to visit Tham Pa Fa or Buddha cave, which was
rediscovered in April 2004. The cave contains 229 bronze Buddhas that are said to be over
300 years old. The cave is incredibly picturesque, situated high up in a limestone cliff,
which offers great views from the top.
We continue by road south and arrive in Savannakhet where we have time to admire the
old French Quarter of Savannakhet as well as the sacred That Inhang stupa, before
heading out of the town to visit Soundra Salt Factory, for an interesting tour on local salt
We then continue by road to Tad Lo, arriving there by late afternoon. Here you can enjoy
the beautiful waterfall and peaceful surrounds.
Day 10 - Tad Lo - Jeep Tour on the Bolaven Plateau with homestay overnight
After breakfast, we continue the journey by vintage jeep, which is the ideal vehicle for the
terrain we will cover. We set off on a trail cutting right through the plateau, on a route
rarely, if ever visited by foreigners. We stop en route for a picnic lunch and at a number of
interesting ethnic minority villages, including one from the Souy minority. We continue
the journey until we reach an idyllically located the coffee plantation in the heart of the
Plateau. Late afternoon, enjoy a walking tour of the plantation where the coffee growing
process from seed to cup is explained. Our homestay hosts will prepare a tasty lunch of
local specialties which can be taken while the sun sets behind the hills. Overnight is a basic
but comfortable homestay.
Day 11 - Coffee Farm - Sekong by Jeep, by car to Champasak
Wake up with the fresh air of the Bolaven Plateau and the smell of coffee. After breakfast,
you have the option to go for a hike up the nearby Phu Sanark mountain or relax at the
beautiful coffee farm before we board our jeep and cross the Plateau to the coffee capital of
Laos, Sekong where we arrive early afternoon. We then continue our way by van, leaving
the Bolaven Plateau behind, and continue to the historical town in Champasak, where we
arrive in the late afternoon.
Day 12 - Champasak - 4000 Islands tour
After an early morning breakfast, we transfer south to Ban Hatsaikhone, 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, 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 back to Champasak,
arriving there by early evening.
Day 13 - Champasak - Sunrise at Wat Phou, Cycling on Don Daeng
Wake up early this morning and leave the hotel at 04:430-5.30AM for a unique visit to Wat
Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5 th Century. This dramatically
sited temple offers a stunning sunrise-view, and at this time in the morning, it will be
deserted. Return to your hotel by around 8am for breakfast.
After breakfast, we transfer to the riverside where we cross the Mekong to the Island of
Don Daeng We then start our bicycle tour on country paths around the island, which is
shaded by a variety of trees. We will stop at various sites including traditional Buddhist
temples, an ancient forest stupa, basket weaving villages and a protected forest on this
picturesque island. We return to Champasak by midday.
Day 14 - Champasak
What a fabulous trip has been! Laden with memories and a bag full of beautiful souvenirs, it is time to say good bye! After breakfast the trip finishes and we say our farewells...
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