Laos Classic Tour
6 Days (Code-VTS907)
Day 1: Vientiane Arrival (L)
Arrive at Vientiane airport, and after customs & immigration formalities, transfer with your guide to your hotel. In the afternoon, you will enjoy a city tour to Wat Sisaket with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues. Other sites you will see include the huge golden That Luang monument, and next door, Vientiane's own Victory Monument, which looks like the Arc de Triumphed. This was built at the end of the Indochina wars with money rumored to be American, and earmarked for the airport’s new runway. Thus the departing Americans dubbed this monument the vertical runway! Have a look at the lovely arches inside the monument. Also visit Wat Simuang and Wat Prakeo, which was the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha, which today lives in Bangkok. Dinner is served in a local restaurant with a traditional Laos Music and dancing accompaniment. Then return to your hotel, and spend the rest of the day at leisure.
Day 2: Vientiane – Vang Vieng (B, L)
Before breakfast, make an early start with your guide to witness or participate in the local tradition of alms giving in Vientiane. Local people make merit by giving alms, primarily of food, to monks who walk their begging rounds every morning just as the sun is coming up. Then return to your hotel for breakfast after which you will be driven to the Morning Market to spend time shopping on your own before beginning the drive to Vang Vieng, about 2.5 hours from the capital. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant en route. After arrival in Vang Vieng, explore this ‘hybrid’ town. Once a key military airfield during the Indochina wars, the town’s central feature is the long-abandoned runway along the eastern side of town. On the west side, a small river separates the town from the nearby caves & mountains, which can easily be visited from town. Explore or relax at your leisure. Dinner is at a local restaurant.
Day 3: Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang (B, L)
After breakfast, check out of your hotel; visit the local market and then the Tham Jang caves through which flows a crystal clear stream before continuing the drive to Luang Prabang. This memorable afternoon drive passes through splendid scenery and past many panoramic lookout points on the winding mountaintop road. There are several stops en route to take in the scenery. You will arrive in Luang Prabang early in the evening, check into the hotel, and enjoy dinner at a local restaurant or the hotel (depending on time factor). Welcome to Luang Prabang, the former royal capital & crown jewel of the ancient Lane Xang Empire (pronounced ‘lan sang’) – the Land of a Million Elephants.
Day 4: Luang Prabang and surrounding areas (B, L)
After breakfast, enjoy a half-day spin around Luang Prabang with your guide… and you will understand why it deserves the World Heritage title! Visit Wat Visoun, the site of the impressive Thad Makmo stupa. The rounded dome is stylistically more Sinhalese than Lao. Phou Sii Hill stands right in the center of this small city. Climb its 350 steps to enjoy commanding views for many miles in each direction. Wat Phu Sii sits atop the mountain, along side the skeletons of Indochina war anti-aircraft guns! Then continue on to visit Wat Mai. Built in 1796, the five-tiered roof of the wooden Sim (chapel) epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style. Wat Xieng Thong is further emphasizes & characterizes the uniqueness of Luang Prabang, its several roofs sweeping low to the ground. See also the impressive "tree of life" mosaic here. The gilt panel on the exterior of the chapel depicts semi-erotic episodes from the Ramayana. Then visit the National Museum, which was once a king's palace. Displayed inside is a lovely collection of personal artifacts of the royal family, including photos, musical instruments, and many gifts received from the dignitaries of foreign countries. Lunch will be served at a local restaurant after which you will return to the hotel. This town is wonderful for walking, and today’s excursion will also help to give you your bearings. Spend the rest of the day exploring or relaxing on your own. You can find dinner on your own at any number of clean & delicious international restaurants. Lao beer is an excellent pilsner, and many types of French wine are also available at reasonable prices.
Day 5: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves by boat (B, L)
After breakfast, begin a Mekong Riverboat trip with your guide on the mighty Mekong