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Laos, Luang Prabang, Vientiane: Authentic Laos, Old & New - 8 Days | world heritage, majestic mountains and contemporary capital

Discover the secrets of Laos on this journey to its most interesting places with Tiger Trail. From World Heritage Site Luang Prabang, where you’ll explore ancient temples and culture steeped in Buddhist influences, to the mountainous jungle you traverse en route to the mysterious The Plain of Jars and then on to the vibrant capital city of Vientiane.

Travel No. 63174

You can find these and other travels under the following categories:

Highlights

  • Understand Lao history and culture as you tour Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Visunalat, and Wat Aham
  • See the sun set behind the Mekong River from Phousi Mountain
  • Ride an elephant on a nature excursion from Luang Prabang
  • Cruise the Mekong River on a traditional long tail boat on visit to Pak Ou Cave
  • Cool off, hike, and consider the optional zip-lines at the seasonal Tad Sae waterfalls
  • Appreciate the vastness of Laos on a spectacular drive to Xieng Khouang
  • Explore the mysteries of The Plain of Jars
  • Witness developing Laos in the Capital city Vientiane

Daily Itinerary

Day 01 Welcome to Luang Prabang (D)

After transferring you from the airport to your hotel we'll take you on an introductory tour of Luang Prabang (time permitting) to visit Wat Visunalat, Wat Aham and perhaps walk up Phousi Mountain for a panoramic sunset view of the city and surrounding mountains. We'll finish the day with a trip to the colorful Night Market.

Day 02 City tour & Pak Ou Caves (B/L)

Optionally, observe the alms-giving ritual (Tak Baat) at 6.00am before exploring the bustling morning market. After a break for breakfast you’ll visit Phou Si Mountain and Wat Xieng Thong. This 15th century temple is the most important in Luang Prabang and among the most important in the entire country.  Until the revolution of 1975, Wat Xieng Thong was the royal temple, supported by the royal family. During the 1960s Wat Xieng Thong was completely remodeled and redecorated, becoming the splendid temple we see today.

From there you'll walk to the Mekong River, where you'll take a traditional slow boat cruise, stopping briefly at a Whiskey Village en route to the Tam Ting Caves (also called the Pak Ou caves). This is a site of ancient spiritual significance, both Buddhist and animist. Within the two caves of Tam Ting are stupas, shrines, and carvings of Buddha. Over 4,000 wooden figures of Buddha, many highly ornate, stand within the natural limestone caves, testament to the skill of Lao craftsmen through the centuries. On the way back to Luang Prabang we stop at a village where Saa-paper is produced.

Day 03 Elephant Riding and Nature Excursion (B/L)

We'll start the day with a visit to Elephant Park project for an introduction to elephant culture and and an excursion into the jungle. We go out for a ride, enjoy the natural scenery. Afterwards we'll take a short boat ride to the Tad Sae waterfalls where you can cool off in a refreshing clear pool.  (The waterfall is dry January until July)

Day 04 Luang Prabang – Xieng Khouang (B/L)

After breakfast we'll make our way over the mountains to Xieng Khouang, a province known for having been heavily bombed during the Indochina War.  But it is also famous for its historic Plain of Jars. This journey takes about 8 hours and we'll make some stops at villages en route to observe the rural life of local people, including ethnic minorities such as Hmong people. Arrive in Phonsavanh, the capital of Xieng Khouang province, and check into your choice of hotels.

Day 05 Mysterious History and a Secret War (B/L)

After breakfast at your hotel we‘ll take a private minivan to the Plain of Jars sites 1 and 2. Our guide will help you explore this archeological wonder, which is covered with mysterious stone jars that are about 2000 years old. In the afternoon we‘ll drive to visit Muang Khoun, the old capital of Xieng Khouang where we'll explore relics of the secret war in Laos. Overnight at hotel in town.

Day 06 Xieng Khouang – Vientiane (B/L)

After visiting a local market to get an insight into the Lao rural life, we'll drive to the Xieng Khouang Airport for your short flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival in the capital, we'll take an introductory afternoon tour around the city, starting with a visit to the religious museums of Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple surviving from the Siamese war of 1828. Then on to the Pha That Luang, the most sacred monument in Laos.

Day 07 Options Abound (B)

Choose from a great selection of activities (not included in price below):

  • Visit the Buddha Park outside of Vientiane, a vast collection of Buddhist art and sculptures. This is a great half-day trip which leavesthe afternoon free to explore more or relax in Vientiane. Or,
  • Join a tour of the Vientiane Orchid Garden. This educational excursion into a protected area will reveal the natural habitat of the many varieties of native wild orchids in the jungles of Laos.

Day 08 Sok Di! (B)

"Sok Di," literally "good luck," is a traditional Lao way of wishing farewell. We'll transfer you from your hotel to the airport or to the friendship bridge to cross the border to Thailand.

Services

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 handling
  • Domestic flight XKH-VTE

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