Essentials of Laos
You will be able to learn about places like Vientiane, with its French colonial buildings, ancient temples, and colorful markets. Also, there is Luang Prabang, a former royal capital, and now a World Heritage Site listed by the UNESCO. And of course, there are the Pak Ou caves. There is also so much more and you will be thrilled that you came to share the delights of Laos.
Day 1: Arrive in Vientiane (D)
You will be welcomed upon arrival at Vientiane Airport and transferred to your hotel. Although it is a capital city, Vientiane has the feel of a small provincial town, as its wide boulevards are almost devoid of traffic, giving the city the feel of another age.
Your tour today will include visits to Wat Sisaket (home to thousands of miniature Buddha statues), followed by Wat Simuang and Wat Prakeo (the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha, which today rests in Bangkok). You will also visit the huge golden That Luang monument (which all Lao citizens respect as a holy pagoda) and Vientiane 's own Victory Monument (which looks like the Arc de Triomphe). You will end the day with dinner at local restaurant, before an overnight stay in Vientiane.
Day 2: Vientiane - Luang Prabang (B/L)
In the morning, you will take a flight from Vientiane to Luang Prabang, the former Royal capital. You will be picked up and transferred to your hotel. Your itinerary today will include Wat Visoun (the site of impressive Thad Makmo stupa), Wat Mai (built in 1796 and where the Sim (chapel) epitomizes the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style) and Wat Xieng Thong. You will climb up 350 steps to the top of Phou Sii hill to visit Wat Phu Sii and enjoy commanding views for many miles in each direction. You will head back to the hotel for leisure time, or you can go shopping at a night market, where hundreds of Hmong vendors display their handmade crafts. You will stay overnight in Luang Prabang.
Day 3: Mekong River - Pak Ou cave - Weaving village (B/L)
An optional early start will give you the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (often in the form of sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique to Laos, it is the only Buddhist nation still preserving the ritual.
You will visit the National Museum (once a king's palace), home to a lovely collection of personal artifacts of the royal family. You will then take a Mekong riverboat trip to visit the famous and sacred Pak Ou Buddha Caves, overlooking the confluence of the Mekong & Ou Rivers. The caves are home to many thousands of Buddha images that have been placed here by local people since the 16th century. Next, you will return to Luang Prabang to visit the Por Sa paper handicraft and textile area at Ban Xang Khong. You will then enjoy a restful overnight stay.
Day 4: Departure (B)
There is no activity planned for today, so you are free to go souvenir shopping until transfer to the airport for your onward flight.