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Welcome to the beautiful country of Laos! Upon arrival at the airport in Luang Prabang we'll be there to welcome you and transfer you to your hotel where the remainder of the day can be spent at leisure.
Today we explore some of the major sights in this fabulous city, including the impressive stupa of Wat Visoun, the shrine of Wat Aham, the city’s oldest temple of Wat Sene and Wat Mai and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong. Its exterior is decorated with guilded stuccoes and doorways, and a “tree of life” mosaic pattern set in colored glass on the back wall. Next we ascend 329 steps to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa and to enjoy a beautiful sunset view of the city and its glowing reflection on the Mekong River. From there, we explore the Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textile made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
After breakfast we embark on a boat for a leisurely trip on the Mekong River, stopping en route at Ban Xang Hai to see the production of, and to sample, the local rice wine. Upon leaving this village we pass through stunning mountain landscape to the mysterious Pak Ou Caves. These two linked caves are crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devout villagers. After returning to Luang Prabang by late afternoon, we continue to Ban Xangkhong, a village well known for its silk weavings and for its Saa (jute) Papermaking.
The exploration of Luang Prabang would be not complete with out a visit to the National Museum at the former Royal Palace. This interesting structure displays a lovely collection of treasures and artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture dating from the days of the early kings right through the last sovereign. Heading out of town we drive southbound passing some verdant and rugged scenery on our way to visiting some hill tribe people at Ban Lao Soung and Ban Ou. Here we take a walk to the beautiful Khouang Si waterfalls, where water tumbles over multi-tiered limestone formations into cool and crystal clear pools. These waterfalls are a paradise setting surrounded by lush forest.
Today offers free time for you to explore Luang Prabang at leisure.
Today we leave this charming town and drive to Xieng Khouang, an area once devastated by American bombings between 1964 and 1973. These back roads are a great way to explore the real Laos. We see very few other travellers, mostly rural dwellers who are just as interested in finding out about our lives as we are of theirs. The drive is very long, but we can make many stops at our pleasure, to stretch our legs and take some wonderful photographs. In the afternoon there will be time to see the old capital of Muang Khoun Province and its nearby villages.
After breakfast we head out to the old capital of the Muang Khoun province and its nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe and Thai Dam people. Our excursion continues to the 2nd and 3rd Plain of jars fields, where you can obtain more scenic views. Along the way, we visit more local villages and learn about the local culture and lifestyle. Return to Phonsavan by late afternoon.
The “Plain of Jars” is an impressive archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are scattered over a plateau. These huge jars are supposedly over 2,000 years old, but most of archaeologists still question their purpose. We have time today to explore the site and some nearby villages, populated by the Hmong hill tribe and Tai Dam people. We leave Xieng Khouang later today for our scenic drive to Vang Vieng, a small and tranquil town, which is nestled on a bend of the Nam Song River. Its stunning scenery with a mixture of quiet water and limestone outcrops remains unspoiled, despite recent developments with the advent of tourism.
After breakfast we get on on a local tractor for a ride through paddy fields heading to the Tham Phoukham caves, beautiful and famous limestone caverns surrounded by natural forests. Along the way, you have the chance to explore the local cultures by greeting the local villagers and learning about their daily lifestyle. There is a small natural pool in front of the caves where you can take a swim to refresh yourself. You will have a picnic lunch enjoying the scenery. After spending the day at the caves, we make our return to the Vang Vieng town, using local transportation or tractor. En route, we visit the ethnic minority villages of Hmong, Souay and Taidam tribes.
An impressive way to start our day is a walk around the bustling central market. Heading out of town we enjoy a short bamboo raft along the Namsong River, which gives us a taste of adventure. The limestone cliffs and valleys surrounding the resort complex of Vang Vieng are home to numerous caves and caverns. The most famous in Vang Vieng is the cave of Tham Jang, which was used in the early 19th century in defense against the Chinese invaders. Later we bid farewell to this dream-like town and drive to Vientiane, located on the banks of the Mekong River. This capital conjures up exotic images with a curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences.
Our full day sightseeing tour of Vientiane commences with a visit to Wat Sisaket, the oldest temple standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha statues. The following sight is the former royal temple of Haw Pha Kaew, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Image. We also visit the imposing Patouxai Monument well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe before continuing to the great sacred structure and symbol of Laos, That Luang Stupa. We head out of town to see the Buddha Park, a scattered enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures. Observing the spectacular view of over the Mekong River at sunset from one of the riverside bars is a perfect way to finish the day.
After breakfast, we catch an early flight to Pakse. On arrival south to Champassak to visit the fascinating pre-angkorian ruins of Wat Phu, one of Southeast Asia's most dramatically situated temples. We have time to explore these intriguing Khmer ruins, which are perched at the base of Mount Phu Kao. Wat Phu is a World Heritage sites and dates back to the 10th century, predating the famous Angkor Wat in Cambodia. We continue our journey by road to Don Khong, the largest island in the South Mekong river region known as the 4000 islands, one of the most scenic areas in Laos.
After an early breakfast, we explore the local villages of Ban Khone, where you will see an array of relics from the French colonial era and retrace the old colonial past, including the remnants of the first Lao railway with its locomotive. We continue to the 4000 islands area by boat at our leisure to visit the Liphi waterfall, one of the most beautiful waterfalls marking the end of Lao border to Cambodia, also known as the Samphamith. If we are lucky, we may even see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone. We return to Ban Nakasang and drive to the famous waterfalls of Khone Phapeng, the largest waterfall in South East Asia, known as Niagara of the east.
Upon leaving Khong Island, we continue our journey towards Tadlo, through Boloven plateau known for its cooler temperature being located high above the Mekong Valley. A trip to the plateau provides a refreshing break from the heat and allows you to observe the cultivation of rich coffee, tea, cardamom, bananas, and other crops that can be seen en route. This trip gives visitors the chance to venture off the beaten track and to discover some of the lesser-known areas of Laos, exploring the wild beauty of this southern region. Upon arrival at Tad Lo waterfall, we visit the villages of Alak, Nge, and Katu, populated by ethnic minority groups. Return to Pakse by early evening.
Today marks the end of your adventure with On the Go Tours. After breakfast and hotel check out we will transfer you to the airport in time for your onward departure flight.