Artisans of pleasure : Romantic Laos
Highlights of tour:
Make your special honeymoon with a stay of Luang Prabang’s charismatic “Relais & Châteaux” being one of the most exquisite places in this ancient city inspired by Lao culture and set in a truly relaxing environment. Laos is a magical destination, untouched by the passing of time and the surge towards modernity of its busier neighbours. Whilst the sleepy capital of Vientiane has many charms, it is Luang Prabang, which is the real highlight of this undeveloped landlocked nation. Rise at dawn to see saffron-robed monks file silently through the streets of this ancient town, collecting alms in silver bowls from kneeling local worshippers. If you’re looking for an adventure on a road less travelled, in a land that is the very definition of laid-back, Laos could be the honeymoon destination for you.
Day 1: : Arrival in Luang Prabang (D)
Upon arrival at the airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Luang Prabang is perhaps the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. After a short rest, we visit the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun and the shrine of Wat Aham, Wat Mai. We then climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a beautiful sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. From there, we explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by the local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang. Welcome candlelight dinner in a gastronomic restaurant with champagne and flower. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 2: Luang Prabang – Elephant riding + kayaking + Tad Sae (B,L,D)
Transfer from the hotel to Elephant Camp, we process Elephant trek approx. 1 hour; also meet and feed the elephants to say ‘thank you’ to them, a great photo opportunity. Depart from our Elephant Camp to Ban ‘village’ Enn. Arrive at Ban ‘village’ Enn, kayaking training by experienced instructor for several hours of water sport. Then, we will be arrived at Tad Sae, enjoy Lao-style Lunch. Swimming at the Tad Sae and enjoy jumping and kayaking down the Namkhan River. Transfer back to Luang Prabang by private car. Overnight continue in your “Relais & Châteaux” for your own pleasure, spiritual and relaxing moment.
Day 3: Luang Prabang – Khouangsi Waterfalls (B,L,D)
An optional early start gives you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. From there you will visit the morning Phosi Market where you will see such diverse offerings as dried buffalo skin, local tea and saltpeter among the chickens, vegetables and hill-tribe weavings.
Laos is also known for its traditional handicrafts, and today you will visit local village of Lao ethnic minority groups at Ban Ouay and Ban Thapene. Time permitting you may also wish to drive to the beautiful Khouangsi Waterfall where you can splash around in the turquoise pools or walk along the forest paths. We return to Luang Prabang by late afternoon and continue to Ban Phanom, a well-known weaving village, and then return to the city by late evening for observing the sunset at Wat Siphouthabath.
Return to Luang Prabang, have 2 hours Lao traditional body massage at local Massage. The Lao traditional massage releases tension in the muscles of your body, by a combination of pressure applied to the limbs, back and head, in a soothing manner. This Lao-specific treatment uses well-tested tested techniques that have been developed over centuries. Stay overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Xieng Khouang (B,L,D)/265kms 6hrs
After breakfast, we visit the National Museum (closed on Tuesday) at the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artifacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. The National Museum and the Central Market are not to be missed. After visiting these sights, we drive uphill a mountain surrounded by wonderful natural scenery to Xiengkhouang, which was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973. Upon arrival, we transfer out to visit the Plain of Jars, an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered all over the plateau. If time permits, we see the old capital of Muang Khoun and the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe people. They have an interesting local culture and a colorful history. Overnight in Xieng Khouang.
Day 5: Xieng Khouang – Vientiane by flight (B,L,D)
Following breakfast, we visit the Central Market. After you will have free time to explore the town further before catching our flight back to Vientiane. After checking into the hotel, time permitting we continue our sightseeing tour of the surrounding areas of Vientiane; we visit the impressive Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge and the Buddha Park, a scattered enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, close to the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images dating back over 500 years, which were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. A spectacular sunset view over the Mekong River is a perfect way to finish the day. In the evening attend cooking class at Thongbai Guesthouse after finishing your class, you may taste and enjoy your meal. Overnight in Vientiane.
Day 6: Vientiane city tour (B,L,D)
After breakfast, we continue to explore Vientiane capital by visiting the major sights of the capital; including the oldest Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. En route to Lao’s national precious heritage, the famous and sacred structure of That Luang Stupa, you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph.
After lunch, we continue visiting the rest of Vientiane by foot, including Wat Ong Tue, Wat Inpeng and Wat Haisok. We pass by the major shopping area continuing to the Vientiane Central Market of Talad Sao and Talad Kouadin where various goods are displayed for sale; including fresh food, household goods, souvenirs, textiles, gold, silver and antiques.
We return to the Mekong Riverside in the late afternoon for seeing night market just beginning on Chao Anouvong Park. Here, you will see all kind of people come to do some activities as their objectives like jogging, dancing aerobic, exercise. Beside the road they set up some tents to sell various products. This idea maybe comes from night Market in Luang Prabang, but it smaller and created by local people. Have dinner at Khua Lao Restaurant where you will admire Lao Traditional dance during your meal.
Day 7: Vientiane – Pakse – Vat Phou cruise (B,L,D)
You will depart Vientiane early for your 6.30am flight to Pakse, on arrival you will be met and transferred to the Vat Phou Cruise leaving Pakse for Champassak at 10:00am. Once on board, we head arriving at Champassak in time for a riverside lunch, followed by a guided tour of the mysterious pre-Angkorian 10th century temple of Wat Phou, the boat’s namesake. Wat Phou is a wonderful archeological site of Khmer civilization, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. As dusk falls, we board the Vat Phou for a relaxing cruise down-river, enjoying the tropical sunset on the deck. Dinner is served on board, while the boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village. You will obviously spend your overnight on board in your private cabin.
Day 8: Huei Thamo – Oum Moung Temple – Khong Island (B,L,D)
After a leisurely breakfast on board, we set sail for the village of Huei Thamo, only a few minutes walk away from the spectacular hidden Manoluck LPQ forest temple of Oum Moung. We rejoin the boat for a leisurely cruise southbound and enjoy lunch on the deck, continuing south to the wild paradise of the “4,000 islands” region. In the afternoon we will arrive at Ban Dua Tae, a traditional Laotian Village where the traditional way of life has not changed in centuries. We observe traditional village life and learn about the daily activities within the village. This evening we enjoy a quiet dinner on board, under the stars, serenaded by the songs of the buffalo toads. Last night on board in Vat Phou Cruise.
Day 9: Huei Thamo – Oum Moung Temple – Khong Island (B,L,D)
Today we will enjoy breakfast on the upper deck, while cruising to the small village of Ban Veuthong, where we will board a small long tail boat to Khong Island, the largest island in the 4,000 islands region. After visiting the island, we take a long tail boat back to the mainland for lunch amid the bygone splendid of another age; colorful French colonial houses and an old customs post alongside a stone quay. Then, you will be transferred by minivan to the captivating and scenic splendor of the Khong Pha Peng waterfall, “the Niagara of the East“, close to the Cambodian border. We return to Pakse for “civilization”, which is a two-hour journey by road, arriving in the late afternoon. Once we arrive you will be transferred to your hotel. Overnight in Pakse.
Day 10: : Pakse departure (B)
After breakfast; there will be free time for your own exploration of Pakse Town before catching a flight for departure.