Arrive into the airport in Chiang Rai where a guide will be waiting to transfer you to your overnight accommodation.
You’ll rise early to grab breakfast and check out by 0600 in order to cross the border from Thailand over to Laos in plenty of time to join your cruise. A guide will assist when it comes to the immigration process before you then board a private slow boat for a two day cruise down the famous Mekong River. You’ll top off to visit a local hill tribe and enjoy lunch onboard before stopping for the night in Pakbeng; where you’ll be able to relax on your balcony and watch the sun go down.
Early risers can take the opportunity to pay a visit to a local market before the cruise resumes at 0830; stopping off at Ban Baw Village before lunch onboard. The main attraction comes at the Pak Ou Caves, where there is the opportunity to explore the two Buddha-filled caves carved from the huge limestone cliffs. After taking in the views of the river below, you’ll then board the ship once again for the final part of the trip down to Luang Prabang.
Early risers can enjoy the unique experience of seeing monks collecting their alms before returning to the hotel in time for breakfast. You’ll then spend a day exploring the UNESCO World Heritage Site, with visits to the Royal Palace, Wat Mai, Wat Xieng Thong and the Traditional Arts Ethnology Centre. You can also enjoy a game of petanque with the locals before heading to the Tamarind Cooking School for a cookery class that will teach you all about Lao cuisine.
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll travel through the beautiful Lao landscape past rice fields, hills and through villages to the impressive Kuang Si Waterfalls. En-route, a village stop will give an insight into local life. On arrival at the falls, you can take a refreshing dip in one of the turquoise blue plunge pools, take a walk into the jungle surroundings or hike to the top of the falls to take in stunning views. Next to the falls is the sanctuary run by the Free The Bears Fund – giving animal lovers the chance to see the work that goes in to saving Asiatic black bears from poachers. On your return to Luang Prabang, the remainder of the day is spent at leisure.
After breakfast at your hotel, you’ll have time at leisure during the morning before a private transfer to the airport to take a flight to Vientiane. On arrival, you’ll be taken to your hotel to check in before time at leisure to start exploring the sights around the Lao capital.
Today you’ll have chance to explore one of the quietest capital cities in the world away from the hustle and bustle that tends to be associated with the large Asian capitals. Starting out at that Wat Sisaket temple, you’ll also visit the religions museum at Wat Phra Keo, climb the stairs of the Patuxay monument to look out across the city and call in at the holy site of That Luang. After a visit to a special centre created to aid those affected by the impact of landmines, you’ll spend the evening at a local home to witness a traditional Baci ceremony.
Wat Phra Keo Museum is closed for renovation until the end of 2015, with alternative options offered for the day
Leaving Vientiane behind, you’ll board an early morning flight to Pakse before being transferred onwards to the Bolaven Plateau; a mountainous region that is home to a number of hill tribes and impressive landscapes featuring waterfalls and large plantations. The Tad Lo Waterfalls are your first destination and you’ll have the opportunity to explore the three different falls before heading for lunch at a local restaurant. Following a visit to the Tad Yuang and Tad Fane waterfalls, you’ll then visit local tea or coffee plantation before arriving at your overnight accommodation in Tad Lo.
Following breakfast in the resort, you’ll hit the road for the World Heritage Site of Wat Phou; a pre-Angkorian temple situated amongst the rice paddies and waterways of southern Laos. You’ll then pass through Champassak with its French colonial buildings before arriving in the small village of Ban Kiet Ngong. Here, after lunch in a local restaurant, you’ll embark on a 90 minute ride through the forest on the back of an elephant, taking in views of the Xe Pian National Park and seeing the flora and fauna to be found within it. Once the trip is complete, you’ll continue to the 4000 Islands region, where a boat will be waiting to take you to Don Khone and your overnight accommodation.
Large groups will be divided into two smaller groups for the activities in Ban Kiet Ngong, with one taking part in the elephant ride while the other learns more about local life in the village. The two groups will then swap.
Today will be spent exploring the islands that sit in the middle of the Mekong River, enjoying time around the plantation and villages of Don Det and Don Khone. If you’re lucky, you may get to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin as you take in a short boat ride, and will visit the impressive Lippi Falls on the west of Don Khone.
Travel by boat to the village of Ban Nakasan before hitting the road for Pakse. On arrival, you’ll enjoy a short city tour before the remainder of the day is free at leisure to do as you wish.
After more time at leisure, you’ll be taken to the airport for your departure flight.
All content and services, including overnight hotels and number of nights, are subject to change and may vary from the inclusions as shown in the itinerary. Specified hotels/content/services are therefore not guaranteed, however we and our suppliers undertake to ensure that any alternatives provided will always be of a similar standard or content/service type.