Laos tailor made holiday, culture & adventure

Description of Laos tailor made holiday, culture & adventure

Cruise down the Mekong River, discover the mysterious Plain of Jars, explore the breathtaking countryside of the Bolaven Plateau and enjoy a boat trip through Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands).

Start your 13 day "Laos on the Loose" tour in the bustling Thai capital city of Bangkok, where we will pick you up upon arrival. Fly to Chiang Rai in northern Thailand and board a boat at the Thai/Lao border to enjoy a relaxing two-day cruise along the Mekong River to Luang Prabang.

Explore Luang Prabang, see the breathtaking Kuang Si Falls, contemplate history at the intriguing Plain of Jars and enjoy a guided tour of the peaceful capital city of Vientiane. Spend the final days of this itinerary in southern Laos, where you’ll visit the Bolaven Plateau as well as the ancient Khmer temple complex of Wat Phu Champasak, then cruise around the beautiful Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands).

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrive in Bangkok (Thailand) - As there aren't many international flights to Laos from outside Asia, you'll most likely be flying into the hub of Bangkok, Thailand. Upon arrival at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport you will be met by a representative and transferred to your accommodation. Your guide will meet you at your hotel in the evening to brief you about your itinerary.
Day 2:Bangkok City Tour & Fly to Chiang Rai - You have an early start today. Your local guide will take you to Bangkok’s magnificent temples and palaces, including the glittering Grand Palace, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, and Wat Pho, with its spectacular 46-metre long statue of the reclining Buddha. Transfer back to the airport in the afternoon and catch a flight to Chiang Rai in northern Thailand, located near the Golden Triangle and bordering Myanmar and Laos. You are free to explore the bustling Chiang Rai night bazaar in the evening and see hill tribe people and lowlanders gather to sell their wares.
Day 3:Mekong River Cruise - It's another early start today. Enjoy a two-hour trip to the Thai border town of Chiang Khong and cross the border by boat to Huay Xai in Laos. Your guide will help you get your Laos entry visas on arrival. Board a private boat for a two-day cruise down the Mekong River, past dense jungles and quaint villages. Spend your night in Pakbeng, a small village in Laos located on the Mekong River halfway between Huay Xai and Luang Prabang.
Day 4:Mekong River Cruise - Continue your cruise south along the Mekong River towards Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Wander the streets and back alleys of this ancient city to discover why so many people fall in love with this place known for its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and a stunning mountain backdrop.
Day 5:Explore Luang Prabang & Kuang Si Waterfalls - We recommend that you get up early to join the locals as they offer alms to the hundreds of saffron-robed Buddhist monks on the streets. This sacred ceremony takes place every day and is quite spectacular. Go out on a guided walking tour of Luang Prabang next. Visit Wat Xieng Thong, with its sweeping roof and rare reclining Buddha, and Wat Wisunalat, which represents the earliest style of Laotian architecture. Hike to the top of Phu Si Hill to take in panoramic views of the city. Travel 29 kilometres outside of Luang Prabang to Kuang Si Falls, a beautiful, cascading waterfall surrounded by a lush forest.
Day 6:Transfer to Phonsavan - Travel from Luang Prabang to Phonsavan, located in the remote Xieng Khuoang province in central Laos.
Day 7:Explore the Plain of Jars & Fly to Vientiane - Head for the mysterious Plain of Jars, an ancient site with hundreds of large stone jars, after breakfast. The jars are carved out of sandstone and granite and come in various sizes, from very small to about 3.5 metres high. They are thought to be more than 2,000 years old. Fly to the capital city of Vientiane, located on the banks of the Mekong River, in the afternoon.
Day 8:Vientiane City Tour - Explore Vientiane with your guide. Visit Wat Si Saket, the oldest surviving temple in Vientiane and home to over 10,000 Buddha images, and see the golden stupa of That Luang (the Great Sacred Stupa), the most sacred monument in the country that is now recognised as the national monument and symbol of Laos. Also see Patuxai (Victory Gate of Vientiane), a landmark reminiscent of Paris’ Arc de Triomphe and one of the city’s most noticeable landmarks. This afternoon, you’re free to explore the market of Talat Sao.
Day 9:Fly to Pakse & Transfer to the Bolaven Plateau - Drive to Vientiane’s Wattay Airport for a flight to Pakse, in southern Laos. On arrival in Pakse you’ll transfer to your accommodation at Tad Fane in the Bolaven Plateau. You are free for the rest of the day.
Day 10:Hiking the in the Bolaven Plateau - Enjoy hiking through a breathtaking countryside in the Bolaven Plateau. Walk past lush coffee plantations and stop to see spectacular waterfalls. There are various hiking options available, depending upon the time of the year and your fitness level. Please speak to one of our travel consultants for further information.
Day 11:Explore the Champasak Ruins - Travel back to Pakse, where you’ll board a private boat for a gentle cruise down the mighty Mekong. Your next destination is Champasak, where you’ll get the chance to visit the ancient Khmer temple complex of Wat Phu Champasak. The temple complex, situated on a hillside and offering stunning views over the surrounding land and the Mekong River, is one of the highlights of southern Laos. The first temple on the site was built as early as the 5th century, though the current ruins are from the 11th to the 13th centuries. After exploring Wat Phu Champsak you’ll transfer to Don Khong (Khong Island), the largest of an estimated 4,000 islands on the Mekong River along the Cambodian border. This river archipelago is called Si Phan Don, which translates as Four Thousand Islands.
Day 12:Explore Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands) - Enjoy a boat tour of Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands). Your destination is Don Det, where you’ll see the remnants of a French railway locomotive. The French had moved into Laos hoping to open a trade route to China via the Mekong River. After surveying the river they discovered a number of areas where the river was impassable due to waterfalls, including those in the Si Phan Don area. To get around the falls the French built a railway to carry goods – and entire boats – around the waterfalls. Following your visit to Don Det, you’ll head back up the river and drive to Pakse, stopping en route at Pha Paeng Falls, the largest waterfall in the Si Phan Don region that is often referred to as the "Niagara of Southeast Asia."
Day 13:Depart from Pakse - Your tour has come to an end. We will transfer you to Pakse Airport for your flight home in the morning.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
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Responsible tourism

Laos tailor made holiday, culture & adventure

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

Environment

All our adventures are privately guided holidays and as such we retain a commitment to working with small group sizes. By travelling in small numbers and using expert local guides we can limit the potential for damaging ancient temples and trails.

You will visit several incredible natural environments on this itinerary, including the Plain of Jars, the Mekong River, the Bolaven Plateau, Si Phan Don (Four Thousand Islands), and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Luang Prabang. In our detailed pre-departure travel pack we have included a note to remind you not leave any litter around these environments – everything you carry in, you must carry out. Aside from the environmental damage, litter can be harmful to wildlife.

We aim to reduce transport emissions on this trip through boat transportation. Instead of taking a car, you’ll travel down the Mekong River in Laos on a boat for two days, cruising past beautiful jungle scenery and traditional villages.

Our UK office takes a leading role in setting the standards for an environmentally friendly work environment. We work with local government to recycle our waste and continually look for new ways to be greener, including encouraging travellers to bring reusable water bottles on their holiday.

Community

Talk to one of our tailor-made specialists and ask us about Packing for a Purpose on your holiday to Laos. This initiative allows you to use some of your luggage space to take supplies to Pakbeng Lodge. Here even the most basic supplies will help to support the great work of the associated free community health clinic.

We employ local guides and support staff who we pay fair wages, often exceeding government standards which we still consider too low, and thereby remove the reliance on tipping from travellers for livelihoods.

Our accommodation choices make use of locally owned properties where possible and often include adventurous, authentic choices such as local homestays which therefore involve local people and their communities in the very fabric of our holidays.

We encourage all our travellers to research local customs and read your trip notes before you depart to ensure you are conscientious and respectful in a different culture.

In most cases we strongly recommend that you do not give money to children beggars. If begging is a successful enterprise, parents are encouraged to forsake their children’s education in pursuit of this opportunity.

2 Reviews of Laos tailor made holiday, culture & adventure

5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 12 Mar 2019 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


Spending two days on the
Mekong River. Exploring the
Mekong.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


To take lots of insect repellent.
Pillows can be hard. Plans can
be changed. Talk to your guide.
They are all very
knowledgeable.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes definitely as we visited
many local communities
The environmental impact is
difficult because the
topography of Laos means
flights have to be used and
there are no trains.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


Fabulous

Reviewed on 12 Feb 2016 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?


My wife and I agreed that our holiday in Cambodia was without doubt the best we have ever had. Every day was different, ranging from the magic of the temples of Angkor, the wildlife, ranging from dolphins to elephants, the sadness of the Killing Fields, the majesty of the Royal Palace to the beauty of Lonely Beach. To pick any one thing was impossible, but if forced to it was the absolute
brilliance of the staff of the company at every level, in the UK organising and supporting the holiday and in Thailand as brilliant guides and when due to a travel delay, caused by extreme weather, rearranging and supporting us in a way that actually enhanced our holiday!

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?


Take a good camera, you will see so much that it will all blur together after two weeks of diverse excitement. Be prepared for a fair amount of walking, but my wife and I are in our mid 60's and not super fit, but we easily coped. Take suitable walking shoes, and a rucksack to hold items such as sun screen, water, hat etc.. The holiday is however well planned with days of rest and chauffeured
driving, to have easier days. This was a holiday for people who want to discover the real Cambodia and do not want to spend endless days on the beach, although we did have time to also do this on some days. Accommodation was generally of a good standard with food good and varied.

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


At all time our guides were respectful of both local people and flora and fauna. Almost without exception everything paid for went to local people, rather than international conglomerates. Often meals at lunchtime were taken at local eating places. We were taken to many local initiatives for local people, such as elephant sanctuary, agricultural and fishing to meet with local people and allowed to
support their efforts. Indeed on one occasion we were taken into a school classroom to meet the local children and talk with them.
(My wife is a retired teacher).

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?


I have never been on holiday before, when about two or three days before coming home, I realised I was actually looking forward to going home! This most definitely was not the case this time. Every morning we started the day thinking we knew the days itinerary, but although we did do these things, they only represented a fraction of what we actually did. The holiday was mentally
stimulating, I'm sure I learnt more in the last two weeks, than the previous two years, it was without doubt everything I want in a holiday, scenery, happy people, great history, good food, and marvellous beaches.

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