Aimed at busy people with limited time, this five-day adventure takes in all the essential sights of Laos, a landlocked country characterised by rich cultural traditions and stunning natural beauty. After visiting the major attractions in the laid-back capital of Vientiane, you will fly north to explore the ancient royal seat of Luang Prabang, a unique blend of temples and colonial buildings stunningly set between two rivers and a range of limestone mountains.

HIGHLIGHTS 

  • Relax in the laid-back capital of Vientiane and then explore the country's spiritual capital, the UNESCO World Heritage City of Luang Prabang.
  • Wonder at the Pak Ou Caves, two large caverns containing thousands of Buddha images.
  • Sample a cup of aromatic Laos coffee, grown in the Boloven Pleateu.
  • Participate in the daily ritual of giving alms to saffron-clad monks.

Day 1: Arrive Vientiane (D)

On arrival in Vientiane, you will be met by our guide and transferred to your centrally located hotel for check-in and a briefing on your itinerary. After a short rest, you will be taken on a tour of the capital’s major sights, including Wat Sisaket with its 8,000 Buddha statues, Wat Ho Prakeo, former home of the famous Emerald Buddha, and the That Luang Stupa, the single most important monument in Laos. You will also get the chance to climb the Patuxay Monument (the Lao Arc de Triomphe), built in commemoration of those who died during past wars. After watching the sun set by the Mekong Riverside you can spend the evening absorbing the city’s nightlife.

Overnight in Vientiane.

Day 2: Vientiane - Luang Prabang (B,L)

Today you will transfer to the airport for a short flight to Luang Prabang, widely regarded as the best-preserved traditional city in Southeast Asia. The tranquility and charm of this town, with its splendid natural scenery and cultural sights, make it one of the most delightful places to visit in Laos. After checking into your hotel, you will visit three of the city’s most impressive temples, Wat Wisun, Wat Mai and Wat Aham. Then you will climb to the top of Mount Phousi where you can get a beautiful view of the city and the Mekong River at sunset. After dark you can explore the bustling Night Market and browse through a lovely selection of handmade Lao and ethnic minority textiles.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 3: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou caves (B,L)

After breakfast you will take a short guided tour of the city, seeing the things you missed the day before. Then you will take a leisurely cruise upstream on the Mekong River, enjoying the panorama of the tranquil countryside on the way to Pak Ou Caves, two large caverns overhanging the Nam Ou tributary which contain thousands of Buddha images. On our way back to the city, you will take a short drive to Ban Phanom, a village well known for its crafts, pottery and hand weaving.

Overnight in Luang Prabang

Day 4: Luang Prabang – Vientiane (B,L)

An optional early start gives you a fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily alms-giving ritual to saffron-clad monks. This tradition is unique to Laos, which is the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession. After breakfast you will visit the Luang Prabang National Museum (closed Tuesday), located in the former Royal Palace, which displays a lovely collection of artefacts reflecting the richness of Lao culture through the ages, before moving on to the Central Market for some sightseeing. Then it’s off to the airport for the flight back to Vientiane. After you’ve checked into your hotel, you will visit the Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of around 200 assorted Buddhist and Hindu sculptures dating back over 500 years, located near the Friendship Bridge. A spectacular view of the Mekong River at sunset is the perfect way to finish the day.

Overnight in Vientiane

Day 5: Depart Vientiane (B)

After breakfast you will visit the Morning Market and (if time permits) the weaving village of Ban Nong Bouathong. Your tour ends with a transfer to the airport for departure.