The Very Best Of Laos
- Culture & Heritage
- Off The Beaten Path
Day 1 – 4 Luang Prabang
- Arrive in Luang Prabang, have a welcome dinner.
- Explore Luang Prabang in 3 full days: experience daily almsgiving, visit famous temples, Mount Phousi, discover Park Ou Cave and Kuangsi Waterfall and visit the Elephant Park Project
Day 5 Luang Prabang – Xiengkhouang
Fly to Xiengkhouang, pay an afternoon visit to the famous Plain Of Jars and War Spoon Village
Day 6 – 7 Xiengkhouang – Vientiane
- Fly to Vientiane.
- Vientiane exploration with Patuxai Monument, COPE Visitor Centre, ancient temples, Lao National Museum, the Mekong Riverside
Day 8 Vientiane – Pakse – Bolaven Plateau
- Fly to Pakse & drive 24km to Bolaven Plateau. Discover the agricultural village of Ban Katuu, coffee plantation, Talat Dao Heung Market, Japanese Bridge.
Day 9 – 11 Bolaven Plateau – Siphandon – Champasak – Wat Phou
- Take 3 hours to drive to Siphandon. Visit the impressive Lippi Waterfall and hop on a boat to cruise across to the peaceful island of Done Khone
- Drive to Ban Khiet Ngong, trek 4 hours with an elephant to the jungle. Visit the ruins of Wat Um Tomo and drive to Champasak.
- Have a half day tour to Wat Phou to explore the remains of Khmer history.
Day 12 Champasak – departure
- It is time to end the trip. Drive to Pakse Airport & fly to your next destination.
In 11 days, make your journey to the country’s most attractive landmarks with our ‘The Very Best Of Laos’ Tour. Explore Luang Prabang’s major attractions, then join the Lao sacred tradition – daily almsgiving and the Elephant Experience. Travel to the impressive Kuangsi Falls and the unique caves of Pak Ou, where hundreds of Buddha statues are hidden. Discover the peculiar Plain of Jars in Xieng Khouang . Uncover the stunning temples and the imposing Patuxay Monument in the charming capital Vientiane. Head to Pakse to see its beautiful waterfalls, lush jungles and the famous coffee plantation Bolaven Plateau. Finish your holiday in Champasak after exploring the UNESCO-protected Wat Phou temple and Siphandon – a spectacular area in Laos with over 4,000 islands.
Saibaidee! Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang Airport, your private guide and driver are waiting to meet you, holding up a welcome signboard with your names on it and take you directly to your hotel.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Luang Prabang. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, KhaiPhaen. It’s a social enterprise based restaurant that empowers disadvantaged youth with vocational training amongst other support.
Please note: You must have both a passport and a visa to enter Laos. And your passport must also have at least six months’ validity remaining beyond the date that you enter Laos. You can get a visa on arrival in Laos. Make sure you have two passport-sizes photographs.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Start your day with a visit to the Morning Market, a lively street where locals shop for everything from colourful vegetables and exotic fruits to live frogs.
From the energy of the market, you’ll step into the serene calm of one of the city’s most elaborate monasteries, Wat Mai, and the 16th century Wat Visoun temple, best known for its enormous stupa and its collection of old gilded Buddhas.
Next is the former King’s Palace, where you’ll discover the history and present life of Luang Prabang. Nearby is the ancient Wat Xieng Thong temple, which features a spectacular low sweeping roof. It’s Luang Prabang’s most distinctive and recognized monastery.
After lunch at a local restaurant, drive out of the city to visit Ban Xangkhong, the Thai Lue village, which is famous for its arts and crafts. We also visit the nearby village of Ban Xienglek specializing in making the traditional Saa paper.
Get back to the City and take a short walk around the small roads to visit the traditional house of Heuan Chan, the Chantal wooden house dating back to 100 years old.
Pay a visit to the Traditional Art and Ethnology Centre (TAEC), the only independent resource center in Laos dedicated to the country’s many and diverse ethnic groups. If time permits, you can visit the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center, set serenely close to the Mekong, this beautiful, traditionally styled workshop, where weavers, spinners, and batik makers produce top-quality fabrics, offers free tours every half-hour.
Feeling suitably enlightened, get ready to climb to the top of Mount Phousi, the city’s highest point where you’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city and the Mekong River below.
The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hilltribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Rising early to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates back to the 14th century. Every morning, hundreds of monks from the various monasteries walk through the streets collecting alms.
After breakfast, meet your guide for a forty-minute drive to the Pak Ou Village where you will explore the many crafts that the locals make before crossing the mighty Mekong River by small boat to the base of a limestone cliff, the site of the Pak Ou Cave. The lower cave is impressive and filled with Buddhist statues and relics. Take your time to explore the reverent scene scented with burning incense and overlooking the impressive Mekong landscape. Up a winding series of stairs, grab a flashlight and you’ll find another fascinating and easily navigated cave to explore with its ancient Buddhist relics.
After having lunch at a local restaurant, you will cross the Mekong River again by boat and continue with a drive downriver for 1.5 hours to the famous Kuang Si Waterfall, one of the most spectacular swimming holes on the continent. The jungle around the waterfall remains lush and beautiful year-round. The waterfall cycles between placid, turquoise waters during the dry season to the impressive, roaring falls during the rainy season.
Before taking a dip in the beautiful Kuangsi Falls, you will get a behind the scenes experience with the team from Free the Bears. This sanctuary rescues and rehabilitates sun, moon, and sloth bears from bile farms.
Transfer to an organic farm where you experience the new Lao Buffalo dairy that produces cheese and a range of delicious dairy products. The diary provides income and a sustainable future for the Lao people involved. Learn how to milk a Buffalo, cuddle a Buffalo for the perfect selfie and try some incredible ice cream.
You will end this full day with a return drive to Luang Prabang late afternoon. Stop en route to see the popular Whiskey Village and sample the locally made Lao Lao.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Today you will pay a visit to the Elephant Park Project located on the banks of the Khan River 15km from Luang Phabang, where you will get an interesting introduction to another part of history. The “land of a Million Elephants” as Laos was called for many years before is slowly losing its biggest animals, the Elephants.
The Elephant Park Project is investing in community-based eco-programs in Luang Prabang to give Lao Elephants a new home. As forests disappear, the elephants used to log them can become neglected. The aim of the project is to give these elephants a brighter future!
At the Elephant Park, if you wish you can go out for a ride, enjoy the natural scenery and go on a short boat ride to visit the Tad Sae waterfalls.
Your visit does help Elephant Conservation in Laos and this experience promises a wonderful day.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
After late breakfast and check out of the hotel, you will be picked up and driven back to Luang Prabang Airport to board a short flight (30 minutes) to Xiengkhouang, home to the mysterious “plain of jars.”
Upon arrival, you will be met by your private guide and driver and transferred to the famous Plain Of Jars, a vast area extending around Phonsavanh from the south-west to the north-east. Mysterious and ancient, over 300 huge stone jars apparently carved out of the solid rock are scattered around the plateau. The jars vary in size from 1 to 3.25 metres high and weigh up to six tons each. There are several different theories as to the purpose of the jars, which are estimated to be 2,500 to 3,000 years old.
You will explore the Sites I and II, out of the many sites so far discovered. Also, make a stop at Ban Na Pia (War Spoon Village) before transferring to your hotel in Phonsavanh for check-in. The remainder of the day will be at your leisure.
Overnight in Phonsavanh
Rising early to visit the local markets and then explore the ruins of the old capital of the Phuan kingdom. Here, you enjoy a Lao noodle soup breakfast and visit a Buddha statue at Wat Piawat and an old stone stupa.
Late morning, transfer to the airport for the 30-minute flight to the capital of Laos, Vientiane. Upon arrival at Wattay Airport, you will be picked up by your private guide and driver and taken to the hotel in the city centre for check-in.
Take a short sightseeing tour of Vientiane. Begin with a visit to Patuxai Monument, also called Anousavari, and enjoy a panoramic view over the city from the top. It is Vientiane’s own Arc de Triomphe that is located at the top of Lan Xang Avenue, the Champs Elysees of the Lao capital.
Next, pay a visit to COPE Visitor Centre, a non-profit organization in Laos which provides prosthetic limbs, mobility assistance and rehabilitation for Lao people who can’t afford it. The war is still heavily present in Laos, the country that experienced the most bombings by the Vietnam War. Still today, a good deal of those unexploded ordnances (UXOs) explode as people work their fields and children play in the countryside. Laos is actively fighting the use of these cluster bombs and the COPE centre will depict and inform visitors on these issues.
Your visit to COPE Visitor Centre will open your minds and your hearts.
Finish the tour and get back to your hotel where the balance of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight in Vientiane
The capital city of Laos, Vientiane, still feels like a sleepy city with relaxed charm, tree-lined boulevards, fascinating temples, and colorful markets. This city conjures up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences.
After breakfast, your guide and driver will pick you up for the further exploration of this charming city. Start with Vat Sisaket, the only temple left intact after the Siamese invasion in 1828. It shelters hundreds of statues of Buddha within its walls.
Continue with Wat Prakeo, now used as a religious museum where you can see Lao and Khmer works of art. It used to host the “Emerald Buddha” that is now on display at Bangkok’s Royal Palace.
Continue to visit the iconic Pha That Luang, a gleaming golden stupa which is perhaps the most important national monument in Laos.
After lunch at a local restaurant, you will uncover other important sites including Buddhist monasteries of Wat Ong Tue and Wat Haysoke. Next, visit Lao National Museum, the charming French Colonial Architecture building, and Wat Si Muang, a Khmer temple with a fascinating legend that still holds great significance among the Laotian community.
End your day at the Vientiane Central Market of Talat Sao and Talat Kouadin, where major goods are traded, including fresh food, household, textiles, gold, and silver. You may even see ancient souvenirs on display.
The rest of the day will be at your leisure. You may take a stroll along the Mekong Riverside, have a cold beer Lao while enjoying the cooling weather at sunset.
Overnight in Vientiane
After breakfast and check out, transfer to the airport to board a short flight to Pakse in the southwest corner of Laos, home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls, jungles, and islands in the entire country. This region is a rarely unexplored part of the country, where tourists seldom visit and life moves at a much slower pace.
Upon arrival, you will be met by a new private guide and driver and transferred to explore the beautiful Bolaven Plateau. Start with an excursion to the agricultural village of Ban Katuu, home to the Katu ethnic minority. The village is within a coffee plantation surrounded by beautiful nature. Here, you will get a glimpse of local coffee production and sample fresh Lao coffee.
After enjoying lunch at the coffee plantation, go on to visit Talat Dao Heung Market near the Japanese Bridge, where you can bargain for coffee and browse colorful stalls of spices, dried fish, fresh fruits, and Lao sweets.
Finish your excursion and transfer to your resort in Bolaven Plateau. After checking into your room, spend the remainder of the day at your leisure.
Overnight in Bolaven Plateau
After breakfast, set out to explore the Bolaven Plateau’s famous features: Tad Fane waterfall. Situated in dense rainforest, this waterfall has twin streams that plunge from an impressive height of 800 feet. Next, you will drive to Tad Yeung waterfall and the surrounding coffee plantation and enjoy a swim in its cool, clear waters.
Depart Bolaven Plateau, you are driven to Siphandon, an archipelago of over 4,000 islands where the pendulum of time swings slowly and postcard-worthy views are the rule rather than the exception. This unique cluster of islands is found in a section of the river that’s over eight miles wide (no, that’s not a typo) and is dotted with rapids and waterfalls. Arrive in Siphandon and enjoy lunch at a local restaurant.
After lunch, transfer to visit the impressive Lippi Waterfall. From a distance, you can hear the unmistakable roar of the falls. These falls are famous for the Irrawaddy freshwater dolphins that swim nearby. Ban Hang Khon is one of the few places on earth it’s possible to spot these endangered mammals. You also view the old locomotive, a railway, and a colonial bridge built by the French in order to avoid navigating the rapids and waterfalls in this section of the Mekong River.
Towards the end of the day, hop on a boat to cruise across to the peaceful island of Done Khone, a small island in Si Phan Don, home to rural villages and plantations. Here you will spend a peaceful night at a riverside resort. After checking onto your room, spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. You are free to stroll around or take a bicycle ride along the waterfront to watch the stunning sunset.
Overnight in Done Khone
After breakfast and check out, transfer to the little village of Ban Khiet Ngong. Upon arrival, you will embark on a medium trek (4 hours) alongside your elephant through paddy fields and wetlands, you will be led inside the jungle that surrounds the area by your mahout and guide. This activity is now an important source of income for the villagers and it helps them to avoid selling the elephants and discourage wildlife hunting.
Today you will have a chance to eat with the village’s residents, enjoying a traditional local meal of papaya salad (som tum), sticky rice, and grilled fish.
After lunch, continue to visit the ruins of Wat Um Tomo which were found in the forest on the east side of the Mekong River. The Tomo temple was built to be dedicated to Rudrani and during the Great Angkor Empire, was one of 102 shrines built by King Yasovarman I across the Khmer kingdom.
Finish the tour and transfer to your hotel in the charming town of Champasak where you can discover French colonial buildings, Buddhist temples, or simply enjoy an evening in the Shadow Puppet Theatre.
Overnight in Champasak
After breakfast, you will be met by your guide and driver and transferred to Wat Phou, a UNESCO protected temple where you will commence your explorations of the remains of Khmer history in the region.
Upon arrival, you will set out to visit the ruins of Wat Phou, understood to be the most important Hindu sanctuary of the Khmer Empire. Set among the rice fields and waterways common to this part of the country, the spectacular three-level temple is particularly striking. The first temple on the site was built as early as the 5th century, though the current ruins are from the 11th to 13th centuries. Your thorough 2-3 hour visit of the ruins includes a steep climb to holy shrines of worship on the upper level where many sacred Hindu, Buddhist, and Animist elements can be found.
You also visit the Wat Phou Museum exhibition hall on the lower levels to study the rich heritage of Khmer artists and Buddhist sculptures.
After you’re done exploring, head back to your hotel around midday.
Spend the remainder of the day at your leisure. You might like to relax by the pool or get the bikes from the hotel to paddle around the hotel’s neighborhood. Dinner can then be enjoyed overlooking the river.
Overnight in Champasak
You have the morning to relax and after a long, lazy lunch, bid farewell to the beautiful country of Laos and transfer to Paske airport to take a short flight to Siem Reap, Cambodia or taking an overland exit through Chongmek International checkpoint to Ubon Rathani in Thailand, two and a half hours away. From there, board your one-hour flight to Bangkok and connect on to your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
This sample itinerary was created by our travel experts as inspiration for your next trip. Ready for your customization. You pick to suit your budget, desires, and cultural experiences. The price of this trip will vary, depending on the number of people in your party, dates of departure, and the availability of ground services. Please click on REQUEST A FREE QUOTE (above) and give us the necessary information to enable us to send you a FREE personalized quote within 48 hours if not sooner!
- Visit various temple and museum in Vientiane, Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
- Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
- Cruising along the might Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- The highlighted activities of the tour is the exploration of Elephant Conservation Center, interact with Elephant, and learning the efforts to re-enforce our friends back to nature
- The panoramic view from the top of Phousi Hill over the town of Luang Prabang; from the top of Wat Phou over the area
- Stroll around exciting 4000-island area and admire the life of local peaceful village
- 11 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 1 dinner and 6 lunches at well-selected restaurants
- Your own private guide and driver for in-depth cultural touring based on your interests
- Firsthand, sophisticated destination knowledge and recommendations from our locally born travel specialists
- Itineraries that are customized according to your interests and preferences
- A seamless travel experience, including all logistics, hand-picked hotels and restaurants, private airport transfers, internal transportation, and entry visa assistance…etc
- Around-the-clock support from your travel designer and concierge before, during and after your trip
Private English speaking guide, accommodation, private tours and transfer, domestic flights, A/C vehicles, some main meals, all entrance fees, tax, and service charge.
What’s Not Included?
Your international flights from and to Laos, the entry visa to Laos, personal expense, tips to guide and driver.
Free service. No credit card required
Reviews on Our Service
Vietnam Luxury Vacation Review: Sightseeing, Culture, 12-Day Travel
Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Sightseeing, Rice Fields, Boat Rides, 18-Day Trip
We started searching for our tour for Vietnam / Cambodia back in October 2022 to start the tour in the first week of January 2023. We selected this travel agency, and contact name provided to us was Elly. She was extraordinary with her communication with us. Excellent English speaking language capability & excellent in communication on Whats app and email communication. We went back & forth few times to arrange the tour we wanted. She was very accommodating in arranging our schedule. We requested automobile tour for both countries, just for two of us.
We requested SUV FOR OUR COMFORT AND WE GOT IT!
We requested to get the high end hotel in each city and she gave us choices and not only that but send videos of each hotel for each City and then waited for us to decide which hotel we select. All the Hotels turned out to be one of the best we would expect to be. M/s Elly, personally came to visit with us on the evening of our first day tour. Very respectful and asked if she could do anything for us.I had requested before in our communication, if she would arrange for power converter for us, since my camera chargers are all in 110. So brought two power converters for us! Something, not everyone will do this kind of service. So all the kiddos to her!
as to the drivers in each city were very courteous, very professional and very careful in how and where they have to do driving.
our Guides in each city were so friendly, courteous and knowledgeable in where ever we visited. How ever wish two guides in Hue An and Ho Chi Minh City spoke English more clearly.
We only wish we had one extra day in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, , however, there is so much to see in the world! Perhaps next time will visit Vietnam.
As to Cambodia, same thing to express about site seeing and our Guide and drivers. Guides and drivers really made our travel thro’ the countries where we do not speak that language, made it so comfortable and enjoyable.
Hi Lam…hope you don’t mind me contacting you directly. My wife Barb & I (Paul) have just arrived home after completing a great tour of Vietnam which was organised through your company Asia Pioneer Travel.
We want to tell you personally how impressed were were with the level of service that we received…it was amazing and the best that we have experienced anywhere. After we made initial contact with you, you handed us over to Chloe to arrange the trip which she did in very quick time and the amount of detail that she went to was fantastic. From the moment that we walked out of Hanoi airport on arrival to see our guide waiting, we knew that we were in for a great trip. The drivers & guides were fantastic and Chloe was in contact by email constantly making sure that everything was going to plan & that we were happy. At one stage we need to vary the itinerary by extending accommodation & changing air tickets and Chloe did that without any fuss or bother.
We also met some wonderful Vietnamese people along the way and Ive got to say that they are our kind of people, very generous & friendly.
Enough of my ramblings, thanks for a great visit to Vietnam, and a special thank you to Chloe for looking after us in such a terrific manner…she is a very special caring lady.
Kind regards & I hope that we have the opportunity to use Asia Pioneer Travel again….Paul & Barb Little from Newcastle Australia
Superbly organised and very flexible
We travelled to Vietnam for two weeks, booking the whole trip through Lizzie at Asia Pioneer, including hotels, excursions, trips, guides and internal flights. Lizzie was so helpful and flexible, accommodating changes to our schedule until the last minute, especially as we missed our connecting flight in Dubai and arrived a day later than planned (our fault). Nothing was too much trouble, including getting my wallet back to me after I left it in the car taking us to the airport.
We started in Hanoi in the North and worked our way south to Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon), taking in Ha Long with its amazing sea stacks and sleeping on a boat, then to Sa Pa on the overnight sleeper train from Hanoi, with its wonderful countryside and rice terraces. Afterwards, we went to Hoi An for three days of relaxation. Hoi An probably my favourite place and three days are enough to cover it. Then onto Hue, the original capital, my least favourite place and then finally on to HMC, which was a real contrast to the North.
The 3-star hotels that Lizzie picked were very good and comfortable, and the guides were very knowledgeable. I would definitely use Asia Pioneer again for future Asia trips.