Day 1 Our tour begins in Luang Prabang with a scenic boat trip up the picturesque Mekong River to the village of Ban Muang Keo for a short trek to reach the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Return to Luang Prabang for sunset at Phu Si Temple and a chance to sample some local specialities in a riverside restaurant.
(Photographic themes: – scenery, village life, river life, temples)
Day 2 Nestled in the mountains, long isolated from the outside world, we’ll discover World Heritage Site, Luang Prabang’s fabulous temples, French colonial architecture and taste Lao delicacies (and the famous Lao beer!) in riverside cafes. Morning walking tour of the town including the National Museum & former king’s palace, Wat Xiengthong, Phu Si Hill Temple and the Fine Arts School to see how traditional Lao arts and handicrafts are being preserved. The afternoon is at leisure to allow you to wander the quiet, picturesque lanes or check out the hill-tribe handicraft market?
(Photographic themes: – architecture, street life, markets, temples)
Day 3 Day trip through the surrounding hills to visit the spectacular Kuang Si Waterfalls and to discover the fascinating, traditional village life of some of the local peoples.
(Photographic themes: – landscapes, villages)
Day 4 Early departure for a drive along scenic mountain roads to Phonsavan Town in Xieng Khouang province – location of the famous and mysterious ‘Plain of Jars’. Stops on the way include; Ban Kiu Kam Pone, a Khmu village, Phou Khoun for lunch, and the Hmong village of Ban Son Boom. Our final stop of the day is a reminder that this region played a major part during the Vietnam War as we visit a hidden cave temple that served as an army hospital during the combat. Late afternoon arrival in Phonsavan and atmospheric dusk visit to one of the famous jar sites.
(Photographic themes: – landscapes, villages, ‘on the road’)
Day 5 Morning visit to the Mines Action Group or MAG office to learn about the work they do in clearing land mines and unexploded ordnance in the area. We then transfer out to the picturesque Jar Site 2, and begin our 1 hour trek along the ridge to the impressive Jar Site 3, consisting over around 150 jars located on top of a hill, offering great views over the surrounding countryside. Lunch in Phonsavan before a flight to the Lao capital of Vientiane and time perhaps to stretch our legs with a stroll along the Mekong waterfront for sundowners in a riverbank cafe?
(Photographic themes: – landscapes, Plain of Jars, Vientiane, Mekong scenes)
Day 6 Day tour of some of the city’s fascinating sites; Si Saket Temple with its thousand Buddha images, the bustling morning market and Vientiane’s most famous monument – the That Luang Stupa as well as the unusual ‘Buddha Park’. Less cheerful, but we feel important and highly informative stops, will also be made at the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a major problem many of the local people face daily in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of the heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War era and the Lao Disabled Women’s Centre, which provides valuable training and schooling for disabled women in Laos.
(Photographic themes: – architecture, temples, street life)
Day 7 Morning at leisure in Vientiane and end of tour.
Laos - A 30 day visa will be obtained for you upon your arrival in Luang Prabang or at the Lao border (Approx. $35).
Please note these are photos of sample hotels and resorts; accommodation options may vary and are subject to availability
‘French colonial’ chic at the Villa Chitdara in Luang Prabang. Friendly staff, a relaxed atmosphere and central location make this a great spot for exploring the UNESCO old town.
Awesome view of sunset over the Mekong from the rooftop bar of the riverside Sengtawan Riverview Hotel in Lao’s capital Vientiane.
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