TOURCODE 63190 (16-LOL) Description
This tour stretches from the south, where the Mekong River broadens to its widest, through he capital city of Vientiane, to the northern province of Luang Prabang. Youíll explore ancient ruins, the 4000 Islands, beautiful waterfalls, enchanting caves, the Plain of Jars, Lao-style markets, and so much more on this full-featured journey.
- Visit ancient Wat Phou
- Explore 4000 Islands by boat, visitng the Li Phi Waterfall, and the French railroad ruins
- Stay in Ban Khiet Ngong with optional elephant treks in Xe Pian Protected Area
- Relax on Don Khone Island
- Cool down at the Tad Lo, Tad Fane, Khon Phapeng, and Tad E-Tu waterfalls
- Tour Sikhottabong stupa and “The Giant Wall of Laos” (Kamphaeng Nyak)
- Cruise on the Hinboun River
- See the 7.5 km long Khong Lor Cave by boat
- Shop at the Phonsavanh local market
- Contemplate the mystery of the Plain of Jars and Muang Khoun
- Marvel at the stupa tower of That Foun built in 1576
- Tour the Morning Market, Wat Mai, the National Museum, and Phou Si hill in Luang Prabang
- Meet Khmu and Hmong ethnic villagers on a jungle trek to Kuang Si waterfall
Day 01 Pakse to Champasak (D)
After arriving in Pakse, you'll be transferred to Champasak to visit the Khmer temple ruins of Wat Phou, which date to the 11th century and are situated near the Mekong River at the base of mount Phu Kao. There was a temple on the site as early as the 5th century but the surviving ruins date from the 11th to 13th centuries.
You'll have the option of returning to Champasak or heading to Don Khong Island for the night (depending on arrival time in Pakse).
Day 02 4000 Islands – Don Khone (B)
We’ll take a boat to explore the 4000 Islands (Si Pan Don). Here, the Mekong River stretches to its widest point, up to 12 km wide during the rainy season. When the water recedes, many small islands are exposed, giving the region its name.
From a distance you'll hear the sound of the Li Phi Falls, a destination later in the day. A rare few hundred Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins live in the vicinity of the falls, and Ban Hang Khon is one of the few places on earth where you can observe these endangered mammals. We’ll stop to visit the old locomotive and railroad bridge, built by the French in order to circumvent the rapids and waterfalls that make this part of the Mekong impassable. You'll spend the night on Done Khone.
Day 03 Leisure on the Island (B)
Explore beautiful Done Khone Island, which sits in the middle of the widest part of the Mekong. The setting, the nature, the scenery, and the Mekong River will make for enjoyable day with plenty to do, but you might want to do nothing except take in the grandeur of the location.
Day 04 4000 Islands – Khon Phapeng falls (B)
Travelling by bus, we'll head to largest waterfall in South-East Asia, Khone Phapeng before driving to King Fisher Lodge in Ban Khiet Ngong. Here, you may visit elephants or take short hikes to explore the Xe Pian Protected Area, which surrounds the lodge, where you'll spend the night.
Day 05 Kingfisher Lodge – Bolaven Plateau (B)
We'll head to the Bolaven Plateau, located in the Annamite Mountain Range, which runs along Laos’ eastern border with Vietnam. The renowned coffee of Lao PDR is produced in this region: the climate of the plateau, with its cooler temperatures and abundant rainfall makes it the perfect place for coffee production. After viewing several cascading waterfalls -- including the famous Tad Lo and Tad Fan. Our tour will end near another waterfall, Tad E-Tu. You'll spend the night at one of the waterfalls.
Day 06 Bolaven Plateau – Pakse – Savannakhet (approx. 335km) (B)
A scenic drive from the Bolaven Plateau will return us to the Mekong, heading north to reach Savannakhet in the late afternoon. Before retiring for the night in Savannakhet, we'll have time for a stroll along the Mekong shore with the view of Thai city of Mukdahan on the opposite bank and the city of Mukdahan.
Day 07 Savannakhet - Thakhek (approx. 180km) (B)
A cozy ride through the countryside will provide beautiful views and an insight into rural Lao life. After arriving in Thakek city, acharming country town with colonial architecture, you'll check into your hotel and have an opportunity for an orientation tour.
Day 08 Thakhek – bicycle tour to caves / limestone rocks / rock climbing (optional) (B)
Biking is an option for your tour of Thakek and its environs. Sites include the stupa Sikhottabong, the “The Giant Wall of Laos” (Kamphaeng Nyak), and some of the many caves located along road No. 12 to the east of the city. You'll spend the night in Thakhek.
Day 09 Thakhek - Hin Boun - Kong Lor Cave (B)
We'll set out early on a cross-country minivan trip to the northern part of the provinces Khammuan and Boulikhamxay. The Phou Hin Boun nature reserve is home to many rare animals such as Assam macaques, langurs, gibbons and elephants. We’ll take a boat trip on the Hinboun River passing through evergreen jungles and the Kong Lor cave system. With a little luck, we'll meet one of the rare species face to face. We'll see the rarely visited 7.5 km long Kong Lor Cave by boat; this is considered by some to be the greatest natural wonder in Laos. You'll spend the night in Nahin.
Day 10 Nahin – Phonsavanh (approx. 350km) (B)
From the small village of Nahin, we’ll embark on a scenic day drive to Phonsavanh and the Plain of Jars, driving through some of the most beautiful landscape in Laos. You'll spend the night in Phonsavanh.
Day 11 Plain of Jars (B)
Your guide will take you to explore the Phonsavanh local market and an exhibit displaying the huge variety of bombs used during the Indochina War on the way to visit the Plain of Jars. You'll visit sites 1, 2 & 3 within the Plain of Jars, all of which have been made safe (other areas are considered too dangerous due to remaining unexploded ordnance (UXO)).
Afterward we’ll take you to explore the city of Muang Khoun, the former royal capital of the Xieng Khouang region. Though the town was heavily bombed during the war, a few colonial French buildings remain, along with several temples and the famous stupa tower of That Foun, built in 1576, and Wat Pievat. It’s said that That Foun was built over the ashes of Lord Buddha which were brought to Laos from India. Lastly we will visit the MAG Visitor Center in downtown Phonsavanh where you can view a film further discussing the areas we visited today. You'll spend one more night in Phonsavanh.
Day 12 Phonsavanh – Luang Prabang (B)
Leaving Xieng Khouang, we’ll take the road over the highlands to Luang Prabang. You’ll be able to enjoy scenic views and visit one of the many Hmong villages in the region. The Hmong are an ethnic group from the mountainous regions of Lao PDR. They are also one of the sub-groups of the Miao ethnicity in southern China.
Our destination, Luang Prabang, is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The royal capital and seat of government for the Kingdom of Laos until the revolution of 1975, it is situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Khan Rivers.
Day 13 Luang Prabang - Tak Baat - Tuk Tuk City Tour (or free day) (B/L)
Starting from your hotel at 8:30, we’ll drive to the Morning Market, where your guide will tell you about the common vegetables and fruits that are in season and you'll pick up some snacks for later.
After a short walk along the streets you will arrive at Wat Mai (“New Monastery,” built in 1796). It was given its present name following the restoration undertaken in 1821 by King Manthathourat. The most striking feature of the temple is the gilded relief panels covering the front facade. The panels tell the story of the highest incarnation of the Buddha -- Vessentara. The gilded door frames merge into the relief panel, forming what looks like a monolithic wall of gold. Next to Wat Mai is the National Museum, which used to be the Royal Palace (Haw Kham).
After lunch visit Wat Xieng Thong. This is one of the most important temples in the entire country of Laos and the most important one in Luang prabang. To finish our trip we will climb the steps of Phou Si hill which is studded with many small temples and shrines. From here enjoy the view of the peninsula where the Nam Khan River meets the mighty Mekong River. Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 14 Luang Prabang / Thad Thong – Hillside Resort (B/L/D)
We’ll take a short tuktuk ride to the That Thong waterfall, where we'll start our soft adventure trek to a hidden valley retreat. Take your time to explore the forest and the rarely visited protected area with your guide on small trails. After an uphill walk, you'll meet villagers in a Khamu village, learning more more about rural life in this part of the country. Afterward, we'll take another short hike to a small resort for a Lao-style lunch beside the pool or in the garden. Take your time to rest in your room or take another short walk to the view point on the hill, where you can see the Mekong and Luang Prabang on a clear day. Dinner is served at the small restaurant or in the lush gardens.
Day 15 Hillside Resort – Kuang Si Waterfall Trek – Luang Prabang (B/L)
After breakfast you'll take a short to a Hmong ethnic village. From here we'll begin a 3-hour jungle walk to the famous Kuang Si waterfall. A short steep climb brings you to the bottom of the falls, where you'll have a chance to cool off with a dip in the turquoise waters. You can also see some Asiatic bears in their waterfall sanctuary. After your time at the falls we provide a TukTuk transfer back to Luang Prabang in the late afternoon. You'll spend the night in Luang Prabang.
Day 16 Luang Prabang – Departure (-)
On this last day of the tour will transfer you to the airport, boat pier, or bus station, depending on your travel plans, though it's possible to extend this tour for a 2 day Mekong cruise upriver to Houay Xay / Chiang Khong. From there, you can proceed into Thailand.
Included Travel Services
- All sightseeing as described in program above
- Transportation in private vehicles
- Accommodation in hotels (twin shared)
- English speaking guide
- Admission fees to sights described above
- Meals: B= breakfast, L= lunch, D= dinner
- Lao PDR governmental tax and service charge
- Luggage handing
Not Included Travel Services
- International air tickets to/from Lao PDR
- Visa fee (approximately US$30/pax, depending on nationality)
- Travel insurance of any kind
- Meals not mentioned in itinerary
- Tips, drinks, personal expenses and other expenses not described in the program above
- Single room surcharge on request
Accessibility: Our trips are generally unsuitable for people with reduced mobility and other disabilities. Please contact us to discuss if this trip is suitable for your specific requirements.