Highlights of Laos
Laos remains relatively unexplored and is possibly the most overlooked country in Asia, despite its rich culture, history and amazing ecosystem.
Luang Prabang was once the heart and soul of the ancient kingdom of Laos and is now a designated World Heritage site. The city is filled with ornate temples and French colonial architecture, giving it a truly magical feel.
The capital city of Vientiane has wide boulevards, which are almost devoid of traffic, and with its many temples, the city retains the feel of another age. You will visit Wat Sisaket with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues, followed by trips to Wat Simuang and Wat Prakeo, which was the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha. You will discover the best highlights of Laos in 5 days.
Day1: Arrival in Luang Prabang (D)
You will be welcomed upon arrival in Luang Prabang and transferred to your hotel. You will have free time before a welcome dinner and an overnight stay in Luang Prabang.
Day 2: Luang Prabang (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.
Next, you will visit Wat Visoun (the site of the impressive Thad Makmo stupa), Wat Mai (built in 1796 and home to the five-tiered roof of the wooden Sim (chapel) epitomizing the graceful Luang Prabang architectural style), Wat Xieng Thong (with its several roofs sweeping low to the ground) and the National Museum (the former king's palace). You will climb up 350 steps to the top of the Phousi Hill to visit Wat Phu Si to enjoy commanding views for many miles in all directions. You will go back to the hotel for leisure time or you can go shopping at the night market, where hundreds of Hmong vendors display their handicrafts. You will then have another overnight stay in Luang Prabang.
Day 3: Mekong River - Pak Ou cave - Weaving village (B/L)
Today you will 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. The rest of the day you will be free to relax or take an optional elephant ride in the forest before an overnight stay in Luang Prabang.
Day 4: Luang Prabang- Vientiane (B/L)
After breakfast at the hotel, you will transfer to the airport for a flight to Vientiane, where you will be greeted and taken to your hotel. In the afternoon you will visit Wat Sisaket (with its thousands of miniature Buddha statues), followed by Wat Simuang and Wat Prakeo, which was the original home of the famous Emerald Buddha and which today resides in Bangkok. You will continue to visit the huge golden That Luang monument (the holiest pagoda) and Vientiane’s own Victory Monument (which looks like the Arc de Triomphe). You will have dinner at a local restaurant before an overnight stay in Vientiane.
Day 5: Departure (B)
There is no activity planned for today, so you will be free to enjoy souvenir shopping until transfer to the airport for your onward flight.