Here’s our Laos itinerary plus a slide show of pictures at the end. For journal postings from Laos, CLICK HERE.
Nov. 17th Morning transfer to the pier at HoueiSay where we’ll board our cruise boat. Today we’ll cruise along the MekongRiver to Pakbeng. Stops will be made to observe rural life along the river. One night accommodation at LuangSay Lodge at Pakbeng.
Nov. 18th There’s time for an optional walk to the Pakbeng makret before our cruise continues to a H’mong village. Continue to Pak Ou village at the mouth of the Nam Ou River, where we’ll visit Tam Ting “caves of a thousand Buddhas.” A stop will also be made to observe the traditional process of making rice alcohol, before arriving in Luang Prabang. This evening we’ll have a guided walking tour of the Night Market. Four nights accommodations at Ancient Luang Prabang Hotel.
Nov. 19th Today’s highlights walking tour includes Wat Xieng Thong – which many consider to be Luang Prabang’s most beautiful wat (temple). We’ll also visit Vat Visoun, That Makmo Stupa, Vat Aham, the H’mong market, the National Museum (formerly the RoyalPalace) and Vat Mai. We’ll also climb Phou Sii Hill.
Nov. 20th Day at leisure to explore Luang Prabang on our own.
Nov. 21st At dawn we’ll view one of the most memorable sights in Laos as hundreds of monks move silently through the streets collecting alms. Our guide will explain the background behind this ritual and we’ll have the opportunity to make “merit.” Today we’ll cycle to Tad Kuang Sii Waterfalls. We’ll have time to swim at the falls, following a picnic lunch. Time permitting we may also visit some ethnic minority villages before returning to Luang Prabang.
Nov. 22nd Early this morning we’ll head out for an overland trip to the Plain of Jars. The drive takes about six hours. We’ll travel through a scenic mountain area, passing many small H’mong villages. We may stop at a local market in one of the villages. One night accommodation at Vansana Plain of Jars Hotel.
Nov. 23rd This morning we visit the local market before beginning our walking tour (approximately two hours) to the Plain of Jars site #1 and #2. This is the largest site, with stops on the hills surrounding the city. In the afternoon we’ll transfer to the Xieng Khouang airport for our short flight to Vientiane. Two nights accommodations at Beau Rivage Hotel.
Nov. 24th Today’s full day tour includes Wat Sisaket with its frescoes and over 6,000 Buddha images, Haw Phra Kaew, Putousay, National Museum, Phra That Luang Stupa, Talaat Sao food and vegetable market, Xieng Khuan Buddha Park, Friendship Bridge and National Cultural Park.
Nov. 25th Early morning transfer to the Vientiane airport for our flight to Pakse in southern Laos. Upon arrival we’ll be met and will head out to the Bolaven Plateau where we’ll visit a tea and coffee plantation. Continue to Tad Fane waterfall and Tad Lo waterfalls. We’ll pass minority hill tribe villages. This area is home to Kha and other Lao Thung tribes. Time permitting, we may stop at one of these villages. One night accommodation at Champa Residence Hotel.
Nov. 26th This morning we’ll visit Wat Phou, an impressive pre-Angkorian Khmer temple ruin. This is now a World Heritage Site. We’ll then take a boat ride downstream along the MekongRiver (about two hours) through the area of Siphan Done – the 4,000 islands. Upon arrival at DonKhongIsland we’ll check in at our hotel. This afternoon we’ll take a bike ride to local villages. Sunset will be at Muang Sen. Three nights accommodations at Villa Moung Khong Hotel.
Nov. 27th This morning we’ll take a boat ride on the Mekong River to Don Det Island and DonKhoneIsland, where we’ll visit the former French bridge and the old locomotive of the train that was used to transport supplies around the impassable waterfalls. We’ll visit Ban Khon Villages and LiiPiiFalls. We’ll then head out on a small local-style boat to try to find the endangered Irrawaddy dolphins that live just below the falls near the Cambodian border.
Nov. 28th This morning we’ll cross the Mekong by ferry to visit the wild Khon Phapheng waterfalls, the largest in Southeast Asia. The afternoon is at leisure.
Nov. 29th Transfer to Ban Kiet Ngong village in Xe Pian Naitonal Protected Area for a one-hour elephant ride to the rocky summit of Phou Asa. Visit the temples ruins and the view over the wetlands. This afternoon we’ll take a nature walk on the wetlands with local village guides. Two nights accommodations in at King Fisher Ecolodge.
Nov. 30th Today’s full day trek takes you through Phou Asa and Se Pian Protected Area which is known for its many species of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish and large mammals. Though it’s rare to see most larger animals, the area is home to tigers, elephants, black bears, sun bears, gibbons and other mammals. We’ll have a picnic lunch in the forest before returning to our hotel.
Dec. 1st Transfer to the Pakse airport. Upon arrival in Siem Reap we’ll be met and transferred to our hotel.