Tour

from$3,160

Spirit of Laos

Trip Code

SOL

Departure Date

Daily

Duration

16 days

Views

597

Maximum Seats

8

What's Included?

Accommodation
All Transport
All Meals
All Entrance fees
Tour guide
Airline tickets on tour

Summary

Vientiane, Phonsavan, Luang Prabang, Nong Khiaw, Ban Ngoy-Nua, Pakse, Don Daeng, Don Khong, Bangkok

Start in Vientiane and end in Bangkok! With the In-depth Cultural tour Spirit of Laos, you have a 16 days tour package taking you through Vientiane, Laos and 8 other destinations in Asia. Spirit of Laos includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.

Tour Overview

Day 1

Day 1: Join trip in Vientiane

Located on the banks of the Mekong River, the Laos capital is a relaxed place that has a feel more similar to a provincial town than a capital city. Weathered French Colonial mansions give way to golden temples, and the languid pace of life here makes it an ideal place to explore by bicycle. For those arriving on time our Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 6pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish, there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in Vientiane at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you'll need to arrive into Watty International Airport (VTE) which is 15 minutes from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information by note left at the front desk. If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may choose to visit the COPE museum, a not-for-profit organisation set up to provide prosthetic limbs to the many victims that have fallen victim to the unexploded ordinance (UXO) left behind from the Vietnam war. The museum does an excellent job of giving some of the background to the bombing campaign, along with showcasing the important work the COPE foundation is doing. Most report it to be a sobering, emotive but rewarding experience that enhances one's understanding of this fascinating country.
Day 2

Day 2: In Vientiane, sightseeing in the Lao Capital; afternoon visit to Buddha Park

This morning we explore some of the main sights including the Victory Gate, the That Luang stupa (said to contain a bone of Buddha) and Wat Sisaket which is packed with fine Buddha images. This afternoon we head out to Buddha Park, a curious green expanse just 30 minutes from the city that houses a beguiling selection of Buddhist and Hindu statues.
Day 3

Day 3: Fly to Phonsavan, discover the ancient capital of Muang Khong

We make our way to the airport this morning, leaving the Lao capital behind on our short flight to Phonsavan. This region saw heavy and sustained aerial bombardment during the so-called 'Secret War', a campaign that left Laos as the highest bombed nation, per capita in the world. After lunch we head out to the old capital, Muang Khong, passing mainly Hmong and Black Thai villages on the way. Lots of military paraphernalia cluster the villages such as old mine casings and bomb shells which have been turned into flower pots or cattle troughs. Xieng Khouang town was rebuilt in 1975, but we can still see the remains of temples, stupas and French colonial buildings.
Day 4

Day 4: In Phonsavan, explore the mystical Plain of Jars

Today we will explore the 3 sites that make up the Plain Of Jars. Nobody knows how long the jars have actually been here or what they were used for; some speculate they are funeral urns dating back some 2000 years. Another theory says that they were probably made to contain and transport 'Lao Lao', a glutinous wet rice which is boiled with yeast and left to ferment in large jars. It is believed that they were prepared for a huge celebration, which, for some reason was disrupted whilst the jars were being transported, as other jars in smaller quantities can be found on two other sites close by. Despite being one of the most strategic battlegrounds of the Indochina War, most jars were unharmed and remain a complete mystery even today. We spend time discovering the plain of undulating green fields where the 300 giant stones jars are scattered, the largest of them weighing six tons and measuring four metres high. Later in the afternoon we transfer back to Phonsavan, where the rest of the afternoon at leisure.
Day 5

Day 5: Scenic drive along mountain roads to Luang Prabang

Today is set aside for the long drive west to Luang Prabang. We make our way along winding mountainous roads reaching an altitude of 1500 m at the highest point. We aim to break up the journey with short stops along the way at local villages. The total journey time will be approximately seven hours, depending on local conditions.
Day 6

Day 6: In Luang Prabang, walking tour of temples; free afternoon

All the main sights of interest are close together, so this morning we walk around the various wats including Wat Xieng Thong (the Golden Temple built in 1559) which is strikingly decorated in brilliant red and gold designs, with an imposing tiled roof and mosaic dragon motifs. We also include Wat Visoun site of the impressive Thad Makmo Stupa. The afternoon is free and you may like to climb to the small temple on top of Mount Phousi and enjoy the sunset and fine views over the town.
Day 7

Day 7: From Luang Prabang visit Kuang Si waterfalls; free afternoon

This morning we include a trip to the nearby beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls. This afternoon is left free to explore the local area - perhaps by tuk tuk to the nearby blacksmiths village of Ban Hat Hien or the papermaking village of San Khong. Alternatively the craft shops, lively market and eclectic bars and restaurants of Luang Prabang itself are more than enough to occupy those wishing to spend more time in this most popular of Lao destinations. A coffee in a riverside bar watching the world go by can be the ideal way to spend an afternoon.
Day 8

Day 8: Drive to Nong Khiaw; afternoon is free to explore

Today we set off by road for the scenic town of Nong Khiaw. The condition of the roads in this part of the country is very much dependent on the weather and we should be prepared for some landslides and delays. The scenery however is spectacular - it's mostly forested with 'slash and burn' cultivation very much in evidence, along with the many hill tribe villages along the way. Slash and burn usually takes place in April and May, when rural fires can be witnessed and smoke can fill the air often drifting into nearby towns and creating a hazy sky. We plan to arrive in Nong Khiaw in the early afternoon where the rest of the day is free to spend at leisure in this sleepy river-side town.
Day 9

Day 9: In Nong Khiaw, visit ethnic villages and kayak on the Nam Ou River

Nong Khiaw is a small settlement located upon the banks of the gentle Nam Ou River, overshowed on all sides by towering limestone karts and lush forested hills. This morning we take a longboat upriver to the remote village of Muang Ngoi Neu, where this we will be able to chat to the locals and learn a little about the traditional way of life in this rural part of Laos. We plan to have lunch beside a waterfall, where it's possible to take a refreshing dip in the natural pools there. After lunch we will take to the river again, but this time on kayaks as we paddle downstream back to Nong Khiaw. The total time kayaking will be approximately two hours, and those not wishing to kayak can return to Nong Khiaw by longboat.
Day 10

Day 10: Longboat down river to Luang Prabang

This morning we board boats for our journey further down the Nam Ou River - south towards Luang Prabang. The river journey is stunning, passing many villages and forests, with the back drop of large rolling mountains. We must leave the boat at Dong Ngern in order to avoid the Nam Ou River dam, from here we continue by road to Luang Prabang. On arrival we board longtail boats on the Mekong River to visit the Pak Ou Caves, where we climb steps up the limestone cliffs to reach the sacred Buddhist shrine. Although now abandoned by the monks, there is an altar for incense burning, flower offerings and numerous rock shelves crammed with thousands of Buddha images of all shapes and sizes. We continue our journey to Luang Prabang, the country's former capital.
Day 11

Day 11: Fly to Pakse; visit Wat Phu Champassak; Journey by boat and road to Don Khong Island

Today we fly south to Pakse and then take a charter boat down the Mekong onto Champassak district and Don Daeng Island, where we aim to explore typical village life in this sleepy corner of Laos. This peaceful island is located inside the Champassak Cultural and Natural Heritage Landscape, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We then rejoin the mainland at Ban Muang where we change our transport to a charter bus to drive further south to Don Khong making a stop along the route at Oupmoung Temple.
Day 12

Day 12: Explore 4,000 islands region; take dolphin boat safari and visit Khong Phapheng waterfalls

Don Khong is the largest island in the Khong district which is known as the 'Four Thousand Islands' of Southern Laos. It is here, almost on the Cambodian border that the Mekong splits to create a maze of channels and also where the great river reaches its widest point. Exploring by boat and on foot through the watery landscape, we visit some traditional villages of the Lao Loum to witness the daily life of these people. We will also visit parts of the Old French Railway, built at the turn of the century to avoid the treacherous rapids caused by the many channels. Our explorations will include visiting Don Khon Island where we take small boats for possible sightings of Irrawaddy river dolphins. Later in the afternoon we head back to the mainland to visit a part of the Khong Phapheng Waterfalls which is supposedly the widest in South East Asia.
Day 13

Day 13: Drive to Tad Fane on Bolaven Plateau

This morning we head north again, skirting the western edge of the Bolaven plateau. On the way we stop to visit Wat Phou temple, an impressive Khmer temple dating back to the 6th century and considered to be one of the archaeological wonders of Laos. Originally built at the base of a sacred mountain - a symbol of Shiva to Hindus - Wat Phu became a Buddhist shrine in later centuries. Every February pilgrims from all over Thailand and Laos travel here in their thousands to celebrate the full moon festival and participate in various local competitions. At this time Wat Phu becomes decorated by offerings left to appease the earth spirit of Champassak. From here we continue our journey east into the heart of the Bolaven Plateau. Here the soil is very fertile and so cultivation of Arabica & Robusta coffee and tea is the most important trade, which is complimented by small scale agriculture of fruit, vegetables, cardamom and rattan. We plan to arrive at the hotel in the late afternoon, with some free time to relax or swim in the natural pools by the waterfall.
Day 14

Day 14: Walk across the plateau and visit coffee plantations. Free time at Tad Fane waterfalls.

We set off this morning for an easy walk through the lush forests and coffee plantations that the area is known for. As we walk we hope to get a glimspe of the coffee farmers at work and learn about the cultivation process used here. We'll pass a number of limestone formations before stopping for a picnic lunch with scenic views over the Bolaven plateau. We end our walk at the towering Tad Fane Waterfalls. With a drop of 120 metres, the twin falls of Tad Fane are the highest and Laos, and easily the most impressive. The total walking time today is around three hours and is graded as easy. This evening we plan to visit a local homestay in a nearby village for our final group meal.
Day 15

Day 15: Drive to Pakse and fly to Bangkok

We leave Laos behind this morning, driving first to Pakse before catching a flight into Thailand's capital, Bangkok. The afternoon has been left free for exploring this frenetic city, or perhaps for some last minute shopping for souvenirs at one of the city's many markets.
Day 16

Day 16: Trip ends in Bangkok

The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in Bangkok. There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from Bangkok at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK), which is 45 minutes from our hotel.

Trip Map

PRICES & INCLUDES

Option Private Tour Small Group Hotel
 Standard 3560 USD 3160 USD 3 & 4star
Deluxe/Superior 3760 USD 3360 USD 4 & 5star

* From prices subject to availability and subject to change. Prices may fluctuate if surcharges, fees, taxes or currency change. Amounts payable to third parties not included. We include all flights as detailed within the trip summary for each tour. From the moment you land in the starting city to the moment you are transferred to the airport in the end city, all transport arrangements are taken care of by us. Agents may charge service fees and/or fees for credit card payments which vary. Please check all prices, availability and other information with your travel consultant before booking. If you book with Tourism Union Indochina an additional 3% fee applies to credit card or charge card payments .

INCLUDES:
  • All nights accommodation including one night at a basic lodge (without air-conditioning)
  • Breakfast daily, two lunches and one dinner
  • All transfers and road transport in modern, air-conditioned vehicles
  • All sightseeing as specified (entrance fees are included)
  • Cooking demonstration in Luang Prabang
  • Expert local guides throughout
  • Tour arrival and departure transfers
EXCLUDES:
  • Hotel EARLY check in & LATE check out
  • Peak season surcharge & compulsory dinner at the hotel (if any)
  • International flights with taxes
  • Visa or Passport Fees
  • Travel Insurance
  • Tips, laundry and gratuities
  • Meals not marked on itinerary, and water during meals

Children Policy

  • The rate for children applicable for one child sharing a twin or double cabin with two adults
  • For infant (<04 years old): FOC except domestic ticket cost
  • 04 – 11 years old without bed: 50% adult rate
  • 04 – 11 years old with extra bed: 75% adult rate
  • 04 – 11 years old in twin share: 90% adult rate

Responsible Travel

Tourism Union Indochina practices a thorough, realistic Responsible Travel Policy, full details of which can be found in our website – Click here.

Q & A : Before You Go

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Tour Name Price Per Adult Price Per Child Available Seats Departure Date Tripcode Duration
Spirit of Laos $ 3,160 $ 0 8 Anytime 16 days SOL

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