Laos Family Tour
2-week, fully escorted, Laos family tour from World Heritage Luang Prabang nestled in the northern mountains to the delightful 4,000 Islands of the far south
Luang Prabang to the 4,000 Islands
A 2-week fully escorted Laos family tour. This tailored family adventure begins in the old capital – UNESCO World Heritage-listed Luang Prabang – before taking you overland to the spectacular karst landscapes of Vang Vieng and the laid-back contemporary capital, Vientiane, situated on the banks of the Mekong River. From here we’ll travel to the lesser-known, far south of the country and a fun jungle experience on the Boloven Plateau before finishing in the picturesque ‘4,000 Islands’ region and the awe-inspiring Khone Phapaeng Falls, close to the Cambodian border.
Aiming at the entire family, we offer a varied range of flexible soft adventure activities suitable for anyone from 8 to 80 years. These include cycling among the ancient temples and local markets of picturesque Luang Prabang, hiking through lush forests and bathing in waterfalls, exploring the limestone caves of Vang Vieng, a visit to the ancient ruined city and World Heritage site of Wat Phu, trying a zip-line through jungle treetops on the lush Boloven Plateau and kayaking down the Mekong. These are just some of the varied and exciting activities on offer.
Note that, as this is a private, Laos family tour it can, therefore, be organised at a time of the year to suit your family – rather than with any fixed departures dates – as well as meaning that the itinerary and any activities noted are completely flexible and can be tailored to suit any age group. Prices are based on a minimum of 4 persons sharing two double or twin rooms while flights are extra and vary according to the season.
Also, note that various beach and island extensions are available as add-ons after the tour, notably in either neighbouring Vietnam or Thailand.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any queries, requests or tweaks you may have.
Here's an idea of what you can expect to do and see day-to-day.
Day 1 - Luang Prabang - arrival and time to explore
Arrival in Luang Prabang and check in to our downtown hotel, in a converted French-period villa. Depending upon arrival time, at leisure to explore the town or find a strategically placed riverside cafe before a welcome, local-style dinner introduces you to the little-known but tasty, Lao cuisine.
Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Walk, Meals: D,
Day 2 - Luang Prabang - tour of the old town
Morning cycling tour of the quiet lanes, bustling markets, and ancient temples of this picturesque and laid-back UNESCO World Heritage City. In the afternoon we’ll explore some of the less-visited villages and temples on the right bank of the Mekong by bicycle and boat. Visits include a local school, a traditional pottery-making village and a sunset viewpoint before an early evening return by boat to Luang Prabang.
Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Boat, Bike, Meals: B,
Day 3 - Luang Prabang - village and school visit
A fascinating day, beginning with a visit to the awesome Big Brother Mouse organisation – a local project that promotes literacy and book reading among local kids. (Until recently, very few books were published in the Lao language and many local people have never seen a book!). Afternoon visits include a primary school – entirely constructed from bamboo -where you’ll have the chance to meet students and teachers and even help out with an English lesson.
Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 4 - Luang Prabang - into the surrounding hills
Optional early start to participate in the traditional tak bat, or alms-giving, ritual before heading into the surrounding hills to visit the stunning Kuang Si Falls, with stops on the way at the commendable Free the Bears rescue centre, as well as the fascinating Living Land Organic Farm to learn all about the country’s staple food – rice!
Overnight: Luang Prabang Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 5 - Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng - over the mountains
Short ride on Laos’s recently constructed, and first-ever, train line through the mountains of the Central Highlands to Vang Vieng Town. Mid-afternoon arrival in equally spectacular Vang Vieng Town with time at leisure to explore the area.
Overnight: Vang Vieng Transport: Train, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 6 - Vang Vieng - explore the area by boat and bicycle
Discover the region and its dramatic limestone karst scenery by boat and bicycle, exploring caves and including a leisurely trip along the picturesque Song River and a leisurely lunch at a local organic farm.
Overnight: Vang Vieng Transport: Boat, Bike, Walk, Meals: B, L,
Day 7 - Vang Vieng to Vientiane - south to the capital
Visit to the spectacular viewpoint at Tham Chang cave before departing south to the present-day capital Vientiane. Tour of some of the city’s varied sites including Si Saket Temple with its 1,000 Buddha images, the bustling morning market, Vientiane’s most famous monument, That Luang Stupa, as well as the surreal Buddha Park. Less cheerful, but we feel important and highly informative, is a stop at the excellent COPE visitors centre, established to highlight the major issues locals face in the form of leftover bombs from the Vietnam War.
Overnight: Vientiane Transport: Minibus, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 8 - Pakse - flight south and the Boloven Plateau
Morning flight to Pakse and transfer to the nearby scenic Boloven Plateau for a 2-day rainforest experience at the Treetops Jungle Hotel. Exciting activities will include zip-line across a majestic waterfall, ca anopy walkway, jungle hikes, a ‘via Ferrata’ cliff walk, evening camp barbecue and overnight in bamboo tree houses.
Overnight: Treetops Jungle Hotel Transport: Minibus, Plane, Walk, Meals: B, L, D,
Day 10 - Champassak and UNESCO Wat Phu
Drive to Champassak and the World Heritage ruined city of Wat Phu, spectacularly perched on a hillside overlooking the Mekong. Afternoon transfer to the picturesque 4,000 Islands and our accommodation in a small, riverside resort on Don Khone Island. Time to explore the village or check out the sunset from the old French railway bridge.
Overnight: Pakse Transport: Minibus, Boat, Walk, Meals: B,
Day 11 - Boat tour through the 4.000 Islands
One-day island hopping tour by boat, bicycle and local ferry through the bucolic landscapes of this inland archipelago. Late afternoon return to Don Khone for accommodation in our riverside resort.
Overnight: Don Khone Transport: Minibus, Boat, Bike, Meals: B,
Day 13 - Pakse - morning at leisure and on to Bangkok
Morning at leisure and afternoon transfer across the border to nearby Ubon Ratchathani Airport for a flight to Bangkok. (Pakse Airport departures are also available if connections are more convenient.)
Extra nights in Luang Prabang prior to, or Bangkok after, your tour as well as a variety of beach and island extensions are available on request.
Overnight: Departure Transport: Minibus, Plane, Meals: B,
The nitty-gritty, the things you need to know, the answers to your burning questions.
Just a few of the many highlights
From World Heritage Luang Prabang to the spectacular karst landscapes of Vang Vieng, the jungle-clad Boloven Plateau, the Angkor-period ruined city of Wat Phu and last but not least the picturesque 4,000 Islands
- Head into Luang Prabang's surrounding countryside to the Kuang Si Falls and the Free the Bears Rescue Centre
- Cycle along the quiet lanes and past ancient temples of UNESCO World Heritage Luang Prabang
- Rainforest adventure in the lush setting of the Boloven Plateau including zip-lines, canopy walkway and waterfalls
- Visit a local village and schoolhouse to meet teachers and students and even participate an English lesson
- Stay in riverside chalets on the stunning 4,000 Islands in the far south of Laos
- Kayak on the Mekong for rare Irrawaddy dolphins and Khonephapaeng Falls - one of the world's largest but least known
Air Departures (UK) *From
Guaranteed Places Left Special Price Solo Traveller Closed
*Air departures are from the UK. Land departures start from
*Land departure dates correspond to the FIRST day of the itinerary.
We choose our hotels based on a combination of location, comfort and convenience. Here is a *selection of the types of hotel/rooms you can expect to stay at on this tour...
Villa Chitdara Luang Prabang view
- 'French colonial' chic at Luang Prabang's Villa Chitdara
- Friendly staff, a relaxed atmosphere and central location
- Great spot for exploring the old World Heritage town
Chanthapanya Hotel Vientiane view
- Well-appointed rooms with pool, restaurant, bar and gym
- Great location, a short walk from town centre and riverside
- Centrally located yet quiet position
Pakse Hotel view
- Splendid views from the hotel's rooftop bar and restaurant
- Sip a cold one as you watch the sun set over the Mekong
- Central but quiet location in the old port town
Seng Ahloune Resort 4000 Islands
- Scenic riverside location
- Located on Khone Island in Sth Laos's scenic '4,000 Islands'
- Traditional style wooden chalets
*This list should be considered a guide only, hotels/rooms may change (without notice) depending on availability.
Visa Info & Notes
Visas: 30-day tourist visas are issued at the visa on arrival counters at international airports as well as any land entry point. These are available for most nationalities with the exception of certain African and Middle Eastern countries. (You can check the list at this link.) For some reason, Swiss, Luxembourgeois and Russian passport holders are exempt from visas while any nationalities not included in the visa on arrival list will need to apply at a Lao embassy or consulate beforehand.
Requirements are at least 6 months passport validity, a minimum of 1 blank page and 2 passport-sized photos. Application forms are available at immigration counters though if arriving by flight they are usually handed out by cabin crew while for land crossings our guides are on hand with forms and assistance.
The fees are only payable in $US except for Thai/Lao land crossings where baht are accepted and this is where things do get slightly complicated as pricing does vary from country to country. Most European passport holders plus South African, Australian and NZ are charged $30 with the exception of Swedish who pay $1 more and British who pay an extra $5. US citizens are also charged $35 while, for reasons we can’t fathom, Canadians pay $41. (Note a $1 overtime fee is charged for public holidays and outside of standard Lao office hours.)
A Lao tourist visa is a 1-page, stick-on type and you’ll receive additional, regular-sized, entry and exit stamps.
Tipping: we recommend a kitty system for the smaller, daily tips such as hotel/restaurant staff and local guides and drivers. Amounts inevitably vary with group size but would generally be in the region of $3-4 per person, per day. With regards guides accompanying you for longer periods we’d recommend a separate tip of approximately $5 per person, per day though of course, this is always discretionary and performance-related. (Local currency or USD are fine.)
Meals: Although you may assume Lao cuisine is little-known outside of Laos the fact that it’s hugely popular in neighbouring Thailand is a good reference and indeed many well-known Thai dishes such as the famous green papaya salad (som tam) and spicy minced pork salad (laap) are of Lao origin. Certain dishes can be pretty firey – though your tour-leader can, of course, ask for them to be toned down – while the more Chinese and Vietnamese influenced dishes, which will be more familiar to foreign travellers, are generally mild. Both vegan and vegetarian diets are easily catered to.
Accommodation: all choices fall into the comfortable 3* range and are en-suite and air-conditioned. We have posted a selection of sample accommodation on the lefthand hotel tab but please note that as we try and avoid the larger hotels, availability, in high season particularly, means we use several options in each destination. Please note that since many establishments are on the small size, swimming pools – with the exception of the 4,000 Island resorts – are not a common feature.
Activities: note that no activities are compulsory and that any on offer, including trekking, can be tailored for any fitness level or alternatives suggested.
Further info: detailed descriptions and photos can be found on the corresponding page of our travel blog.
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