LUANG PRABANG · VIENTIANE

March 16-21, 2018

6 days From $2999

We strongly suggest extending your stay with our post-tour to Vietnam and Cambodia, March 21-31, 2018

 

Day One ~ Arrival in Luang Prabang

Upon arrival in Luang Prabang you will be met by your guide and transferred directly to the city.   
    
This afternoon, visit with Vat Xieng Thong at the top of the peninsula. The oldest and most beautiful temple of the UNESO World heritage town dates back from the 16th century. The roof sweep low to the ground and glass colored panels adorn the walls of the chapels. See the residential neighborhoods of the peninsula, before continuing to the Royal Palace Museum housing the most important treasures of Laos’ recent past and climb up to Phousi Hill for sunset to enjoy the unique view over the city and its surroundings.  If you wish you can stop at the ethnic night market to do some shopping.

Welcome Dinner at the best restaurant in Luang Prabang.

Accommodations:    Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao - Junior Suite
Meals Included:       Breakfast and Dinner

 

Day Two ~ Luang Prabang

7:40 AM:                        Meet in Lobby Prior to Departure

7:45 AM:                        Optional Activity:  Elephant Sanctuary
Beginning in the morning, we will be met at our hotel by an Elephant Specialist Guide and transferred to a beautiful elephant oasis just 40 minutes outside of Luang Prabang. During the shuttle our guide will give us a brief introduction to himself and the recently opened sanctuary. On arrival, we will meet with one of the directors of the Elephant Sanctuary who will fill us in on more detail with some fascinating stories about the elephants and their refuge. Learn the challenges they’ve faced and how they are learning to improve the situation one elephant at a time. After being regaled we will cross the river by boat where we will be met by 2 adults and a baby Asian elephant! Our guide and the mahouts will help us feed and later bath these majestic creatures in the river. Next, follow the elephants on a 1-hour trek through rice paddies and meandering creeks during which we will witness the unique bond between the mahouts and their elephants while the guide explains more about the incredible history that Laos has with the elephant. After saying goodbye to our pachyderm friends, we’ll head back to camp and return to Luang Prabang at 12:00 PM.

Baci Ceremony.  This evening, you will participate in the traditional Lao Baci Ceremony.  Baci is an important event such as weddings, births, or for welcoming guests and is a means of expressing good will and good luck to others. The ceremony is highlighted by the accompaniment of music and a traditional dance - both integral parts of the Baci ritual.

Zoom Vacations Sunset Cruise on the Mekong.  We then drive a short distance to the picturesque village of Ban Ou, where our private boat will be waiting to take us up the Mekong River for a sunset cruise back to Luang Prabang, while enjoying a glass of prosecco on board.  This stretch of the river is very beautiful.  Arrive back in Luang Prabang by early evening.

Accommodations:    Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao
Meals Included:       Breakfast and Dinner

 

Day Three  ~ Luang Prabang
6:30 AM to 10:30 AM: Buffet Breakfast is served at the hotel.

5:25 AM:  Meet in Lobby Prior to Departure           

5.30 AM: Takbat Ceremony.  Early morning, when the sun rises, participate in the Takbat ceremony, the monks’ alms offering. This ritual is an important part of Lao people’s life and offers a memorable experience and great snapshots. Our guide will explain how to follow the strict customs and rules involved. After the ceremony, we may have time to visit a local fresh market before returning to the hotel for breakfast.

Luang Prabang Tour.  We walk to the quaint Royal Palace Museum, which gives a good overview of the local history.  We then stroll through the charming lanes, taking in the traditional atmosphere.  We continue our walk to the exquisite Wat Xiengthong and visit this remarkable temple which is the best example of the classical Luang Prabang Style

Lunch at Tangor, a French/Asian fusion restaurant with a contemporary twist.  This casual restaurant offering great food is a favorite among Zoom Vacations travelers.

 In the afternoon we drive out to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where we can cool off with a refreshing swim in the turquoise pool or walk along the forest trails.   Next to the falls is a Bear Rescue Center, that does a great job of protecting and rehabilitating the rare Asiatic Black Bear. 

Just a few hundred meters from the Kuang Si Waterfall is a Butterfly Park, where we will find thousands of butterflies in a colorful flower garden. Meet the botanists who run this project and learn about the wide variety of Laos’s butterflies, host-plants, and preservation because of environmental issues in Laos. Enjoy the 900 m2 netted paradise, which apart from the butterflies also holds hundreds of types of plants and even waterfalls. 

Optional Activity:  Cooking Experience right at the hotel
Our Lao Chef and food guru will guide us through the whole preparation while roll up our sleeves and get involved! We will also be told what to use back home in case we are not able to find local ingredients.  Start by collecting raw ingredients from the garden. We will work, have fun, and experience Lao lifestyle while cooking in our modern rustic cooking school. Finally we inhale the smell of our freshly prepared food and enjoy the dinner we have created.  

Accommodations:    Belmond La Résidence Phou Vao
Meals Included:       Breakfast and Lunch


Day Four ~ Vientiane
6:30 AM to 10:30 AM: Breakfast is served at the hotel.

This morning enjoy an architectural tour of the city with a French writer and historian, former UNESCO advisor and resident of Luang Prabang. Thanks to his studies and deep knowledge of Lao Culture and history Luang Prabang became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995.  Francis will explain what makes this city so special. With him, you will discover the unseen and places that are not mentioned in guide books!

Lunch at a French/Asian fusion restaurant with a contemporary twist.

Afternoon at leisure until your transfer to the airport from Luang Prabang to Vientiane.    

Upon arrival you will be met by your guide in Vientiane, and transferred directly to the city.

This evening, explore Vientiane by night! Start by a walk along the Mekong, the area has a vibrant atmosphere, with the crowd of locals and visitors coming to shop, exercise, eat and drink. Then continue to the night street food market to discover the Laotian authentic everyday food. If you wish to, you can end the evening in one of the bars of the capital, your guide will advise you about the best spot to enjoy the nightlife.
 
Accommodations:   The Settha Palace Hotel
Meals Included:       Breakfast and Lunch


Day Five ~ Vientiane
6:30 AM to 10:30 AM: Breakfast is served at the hotel.

Discover Vientiane in a Jeep. The visit will start with Vat Sisaket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, built in 1818. Continue to nearby Ho Phrakeo, the former Royal temple, now a Museum of Buddhist art and sculpture. 

Lunch at a social enterprise restaurant who uses profits to address the needs of street children and young people in Laos.

After lunch proceeds to That Luang with its golden stupa in the characteristic banana flower shape – it is the most revered shrine in Laos. Stop at Patouxay (the Victory Monument) for a view of the city. 

Late afternoon, you will be invited to a local house, for a unique immersion in Lao way of life. You will participate to a Baci Ceremony.  The Baci is a leftover from the time before Buddhism and are celebrated for many occasions, births, marriages, deaths, but also the New Year, a journey, or sickness. During this ceremony, the shaman performing the ceremony chants a prayer and 32 good spirits are symbolically tied around the wrist of the attendants by means of white cotton. The three knots in the tread symbolize prosperity, health and good luck.  After the ceremony, you will be invited to share the dinner with your host. 

Return to your hotel. 

Accommodations:    The Settha Palace Hotel
Meals Included:       Breakfast and Lunch


Day Six ~ Depart for home or to Zoom Vacations’ Vietnam and Cambodia Tour
6:30 AM to 10:30 AM: Breakfast is served at the hotel.
    
Transfer to the airport for your flight.

Meals Included:       Breakfast

End of services

 

Air: International and domestic airfare not included.

Passports: Your valid passport should have at least two blank visa pages and should be valid for at least six months after your planned departure from the country you are visiting. 
Note: Passport pages titled "Endorsement Pages" are not visa pages.

Visas: Please note that currently US citizens must have a visa to enter Laos. You can get a visa on arrival in Laos if you are traveling for tourism, have two passport-size photographs and pay 35 USD at the following ports of entry: Wattay Airport, Vientiane; Pakse, Savannakhet, and Luang Prabang Airports.If you are not a US citizen, please contact your nearest Laos Consulate to determine your visa requirements.

While Zoom Vacations will assist when possible, please note that passport, visa, and vaccination requirements vary from country to country and are the sole responsibility of the traveler. If you are a US resident, you may click here for more information on passport, visa, and vaccination requirements for various countries.

*Land only Introductory rate, based on double occupancy. Prices are subject to change. Need a roommate? Zoom Vacations® is happy to match you with someone, at no additional charge. Or, you may pay a single supplement and go as a single.

Please read Terms and Conditions prior to booking.

For more information on entry and exit requirements, see here.