Enjoy a city tour of Luang Prabang to see its magnificent sites and then spend a full day visiting sparkling waterfalls, swimming in the natural azure pools and admiring spectacular views of the city and sunset on Mekong river. In Ban Thaheua, visit local ethnic villages and Nam Ngum reservoir and explore by kayaking on the lake. Discover famous religious sites in Vientiane, and other important destinations in the capital to understand the country’s history and traditional arts.
- Day 1: Landing in Luang Prabang, Transfer to Hotel
- Day 2: AM: Luang Prabang City Tour – PM: Pak Ou Caves
- Day 3: Full Day of Waterfall and Wildlife
- Day 4: AM: Drive to Vang Vieng – Ban Thaheua
- Day 5: Explore Ban Thaheua with Kayaking & Cycling
- Day 6: Ban Thaheua – Vientiane
- Day 7: Full Day Tour in Vientiane
- Day 8: Vientiane – Departure
- This itinerary is a privately guided tour, designed just to show you what is possible.
- We can tailor this trip, it's inclusions and the accommodations, to meet your requirements, budget, and interests.
Landing in Luang Prabang, Transfer to HotelDay 1
Arrival in Luang Prabang International Airport, collect your luggage process through custom. Your private tour guide and driver from Indochina Pioneer will be waiting for you outside the baggage claim/customs area to transfer you in a private vehicle to the hotel downtown. While every effort is made to have your room available upon arrival, check-in time is at 02:00 pm; your room may or may not be ready before this time. Your tour guide will provide additional details regarding your stay, and you will be able to ask any questions you may have.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
AM: Luang Prabang City Tour – PM: Pak Ou CavesDay 2
You’ll then continue touring the ancient town of Luang Prabang with ascending Phousi Hill to admire the panoramic view over the city. Then continue with a visit to the beautiful Wat Mai, and the nearby Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. Next stop will be the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. Lunch is served in Tamarind Restaurant
In the afternoon, you’ll travel upstream on a long-tailed boat for 2 hours to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves located in the limestone cliffs. The sanctuaries at Pak Ou consist of two large caves, both repositories for thousands of Buddha images. Some of these are but a mere centimeter tall up to two meters in height.
En route, we’ll pass typical Lao villages and slender canoes bobbing on the shore. Before we return to the city, we will stop at Ban Xanghai village to see how Lao traditional rice whiskey is distilled. Adventurous guests are free to try a sample.
Transfer back to your hotel in the late afternoon.
Overnight in Luang Prabang.
Full Day of Waterfall and WildlifeDay 3
An early start gives us the fantastic opportunity to participate in the daily morning rituals of saffron-clad monks collecting offerings of Alms (ubiquitous sticky rice) from the faithful residents. This tradition is very unique in Laos, being the only Buddhist nation still preserving the procession.
From there, we will visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch from rice to vegetable, to fish, or chicken. This is the best chance to experience the flavor of local life.
After breakfast at the hotel, we will ascend the 329 steps to the top of Phousi Hill for a panoramic view of the city and the Mekong River.
If time permits, we will visit the UXO Visitor Center (closed on Saturday, and Sunday), where you can find the documentation about the secret war in Laos.
This will then take us to the beautiful Kuang Si waterfalls, which is the biggest in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50-meter drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals
There will also be the chance to walk to the nearby village of Ban Thapene and explore the hidden waterfalls, which is rarely visited by other tourists
If you wish, we can also take a short visit to the Bear Rescue Center, which houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers.
On the way back to Luang Prabang, we will take a short visit to 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. This is also one of the best spots to admire the sunset in Luang Prabang. Transfer back to your hotel in the late afternoon.
Overnight at in Luang Prabang.
AM: Drive to Vang Vieng – Ban ThaheuaDay 4
Distance: 220 km – Duration: 6 hours
In the morning, we will travel by road south to Vang Vieng. Our intrepid journey will be strenuous as we drive along one of the most scenic regions of Laos. The road is now good enough for our drive. Along the way, we will make some stop to visit a local school at Ban Huay Sala, and local villages of H’Mong ethnic groups. After about a one-hour drive, we will have the chance to enjoy the panoramic view at the highest peak of the area, which is more than 2000 meter high.
From there, we will drive to visit Pha Hom market, where we can find a various offer of wild animals. We will also stop at Ban Phouhin Lekphay to see the life of Khmu hill-tribe. Our next photo stop is at Phatang Mountain viewpoint to admire the beautiful scenery.
In the afternoon, we still have time to visit the cave of Tham Jang, which was used in the early 19th century in defense against the Chinese invaders. From the cave, we can admire the panoramic view over the town of Vang Vieng and the nearby area
Transfer to the nearby Ban Thaheua, where we will spend the night at the Sanctuary Nam Ngum Resort overlooking the peaceful Nam Ngum Lake.
Overnight in Ban Thaheua.
Explore Ban Thaheua with Kayaking & CyclingDay 5
Optional: Wake up early today, you never want to miss the serene sunrise over the peaceful lake. Our guide will escort you to the nearby area to watch the local villagers preparing for their busy day.
After breakfast, we will have 2-hour kayaking around the Nam Ngum lake to explore some islets and local fishing villages. The kayaking is easy and fun, requiring no special skills. We will stop at Huay Samom village, chatting with the host family, and learning about the weaving techniques. Return to the resort before noon.
In the afternoon, our guide will escort you to the nearby village, passing through the local primary school, which is livelier during school time. We will also visit the local market with plenty of fish stall displays.
Continue to the fisherman’s house by the lake, we’ll see the fish filleting demonstration. The host will also share with you the 3 secret fish receipts. Try some fish/local foods before walking back to the resort.
Relax by the pool and admire the sun setting behind the mountains.
Overnight in Ban Thaheua
Ban Thaheua – VientianeDay 6
Distance: 160km – Duration: 4 hours
Early morning, we’ll drive to the capital, Vientiane. Vientiane is the charming and fascinating capital of Laos. This city conjures up exotic images, with the curious mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences. En route, we will make a short stop at the H’Mong market at Km52.
This afternoon we’ll explore the town; start with Wat Sisaket, which is the oldest temple still standing in Vientiane. This amazing structure features remarkable frescoes and Buddha images. We will continue sightseeing by visiting Haw Prakeo, the former royal temple of Laos monarchy, which previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha Statue. We will then visit the imposing Patuxay Monument, which is well known as Vientiane’s own Arc de Triumph before continuing to the famous That Luang Stupa.
Overnight in Vientiane
Full Day Tour in VientianeDay 7
In the morning, we will first visit Wat Si Muang, which is very famous for its supernatural power. We will then transfer out to see Buddha Park, an enchanting collection of Buddhist and Hindu sculptures on the Mekong Riverside meadow, close to the Friendship Bridge. There are approximately 200 religious images dating back over 500 years, which were created by a mysterious monk spreading his philosophy on life and revealing his ideas about the universe. Lunch will be served in Laos Kitchen Restaurant.
Visit COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. A visit to the center provides in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them.
We will then visit Carol Cassidy workshop, which offers a unique opportunity to experience beautiful traditional and contemporary textiles from the country of Laos as well as the superb textiles. Here you can find some of the finest silks in Laos.
If time permits, we will also visit Talad Sao, which was the important trading center in the past. It is now the famous tourist site in Vientiane. Transfer back to your hotel.
Overnight in Vientiane.
Vientiane – DepartureDay 8
This will mark the end of your trip in Laos. Depending on the time of your departure flight, your private driver will pick you up from the hotel and take you to the airport for your outbound flight home. Your driver will ensure that you are taken to the correct gate.
Inquire this trip
We are a member of:
We are a fully licensed company:
License No: 01-327/2014/TCDL-GPLHQT
This tour is built upon our firsthand knowledge & experience, offering you the best choices available. The price of this trip varies 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 supply the required information, enabling us to send you your personalized quote within 24 hours!
Note: Amendments CAN be made to this tour to suite your requirements.
- Accommodation with daily breakfast at selected hotels
- Private Vehicles and Drivers
- Private English Speaking Guides (Other languages if available, upon request)
- Meals as mentioned in the itinerary (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner)
- Entrance fees for all mentioned sights visited
- Service Charge & Government Taxes
What’s Not Included?
- Your International Flights to and from Laos
- Laos entry Visa Fees (contact us for further information)
- Personal Expenses (such as laundry, telephone, drinks, etc.)
- Any bank fees or charges at your end
- Meals other than those mentioned in the itinerary
- Personal Travel Insurance
- Tips for guides and drivers
How to Plan a successful Trip to Laos, Step-by-Step
Why to Visit Laos
Where to Go
When to Go
Obtain a Laos Visa
How to book a tour
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Why to Visit Laos
The sleeping beauty of Southeast Asia, the Republic of Laos has been isolated for decades and therefore tourism is still very much in its infancy here. Time seems to slow down in Laos, as even in the capital city, Vientiane, the pace of life is refreshingly unhurried. The government is instigating a green approach to its development, with the intention of keeping Laos’ pristine ecological system as natural as possible. This makes Laos a dream destination for nature and wildlife lovers, who are seeking for the true meaning of getting away from it all.
Besides being a land where no one is in a hurry, Laos is also a land of Buddhist traditions where you will find saffron-robed teens peek curiously out from wats (temples). And while earning the title of being the world’s most heavily bombed country hardly seems like a ringing endorsement, a visit to Luang Prabang’s World Heritage temples soothes the soul. Explore Vientiane, the world’s smallest capital, as it moves at the same serene pace as the Mekong river floating by its shores.
Where to Go
Most popular sites of Laos
• Luang Prabang – a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1995, best known for its high concentration of Buddhist temples and serene location on the banks of Mekong
• The Mekong River – runs from the north-west to the most southern tip of Laos, forming a natural border with Thailand; cruising on the river provides a great opportunity to see some of the more remote areas of the country which are often inaccessible by road
• Plain of Jars – see the dotted landscape of Laos with hundreds of mysterious and centuries-old stone jars
When to Go
The best time to visit Laos is between November and March. During this time the country experiences the least amount of rainfall without becoming too hot.
Laos has two distinct seasons – wet and dry.
The dry season runs from November to April. November to February is cooler while March and April are blisteringly hot, with April being the hottest month.
The wet season runs from May to October, though it may start a little early in a couple of Laos’ Northern provinces. August is the wettest month.
Obtain a Laos Visa
Visas can be obtained prior to arrival from Lao embassies and consulates abroad, through a tour company recognized by the Lao PDR, or on arrival at the international checkpoint.
Visas must be used within three months of being issued, but the validity of the visa starts from the day of entry into Laos. Tourist & business visas last for 30 days, and can be extended twice for 30 days each time, ideally through travel agencies.
The Lao criteria for visa photos are 5 cm high x 4 cm wide (but half a centimeter off within these sizes is acceptable), on a plain or light-colored background eg white or light cream. FYI, for those wishing to obtain a Lao passport, the passport photo criteria is the same as above, but the size is 6 cm high x 4 cm wide.
Notes: On entering Laos, ensure that you receive an entry stamp in your passport, as the fine for not having one is high.
Visa on Arrival (VOA)
Where to get a VOA
- Wattay International Airport in Vientiane
- Luang Prabang International Airport in Luang Prabang
- Pakse Internatioanl Airport in Champasack
- Savannakhet International Airport in Savannakhet
China – Laos
- Mohan, Yunnan – Botene, Luang Namtha
Thailand – Laos
- Chiangkhong, Chiang Rai – Houixay, Bokeo
- Nakaxeng, Loei – Kaenthao, Sayabouly
- Houi Koln, Nan – Nam Ngeun, Sayabouly
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Nongkhay – Vientiane
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge II, Moukdahan – Savannakhet
- Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge III, Nakorn Phanom – Khammouane
- Chongmek, Ubol Ratchathani – Vangtao, Champasack
Vietnam – Laos
- Nameo, Thanh Hoa – Banleui, Huaphanh
- Namkan, Nge An – Namkan, Xieng Khouang
- Keoneua, Ha Tinh – Nampao (Lak Sao), Bolikhamxay
- Laobao, Quang Tri – Dansavanh, Savannakhet
Cambodia – Laos
- Dong Calor, Cambodia – Veun Kham, Champasack
Unfortunately, citizens of the following countries are ineligible for a VOA and will have to apply at their nearest Lao embassy/consulate, unless they are on official visits and hold a guarantee from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Lao PDR:
Middle East – Turkey, Syria
South Asia – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Africa – Algeria, Burundi, Cameroon, Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Jordan, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Suriname, Swaziland, Tonga, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Pacific – Nauru
How to book a tour
Booking your holiday with Indochina Pioneer cannot be easier! Follow our 3 simple steps:
Step 1: Browse our website www.indochinapioneer.com for tours, cruises and other destination information.
Should you find something that matches your interest, fill in the REQUEST A FREE QUOTE forms. Can’t find something that fits your needs? Then fill the BUILD YOUR OWN TRIP or CONTACT US form and click SUBMIT.
Then sit back! One of our travel experts will get back to you shortly with our customized package and most favorable offer!
In a hurry? Don’t like filling forms? Then call +84 982 116 630 (Mr. Lam) or +84 983 145 799 (Mr. Quyen). We’re available 24/7 and would be more than happy to talk! Certainly, your request will be carefully noted and a nicely crafted package with a pleasant price will follow!
Step 2: Reviewing/ Customizing our offer!
It’s your holiday so everything should be exactly what you want! We encourage your careful review of what we offer, letting us know what changes you would like to make. We’ll be more than happy to fine-tune the tour to fit best your interests, budget and time! This step may require several emails/call exchanges until perfect!
Step 3: Confirming/Paying/ Packing for the trip!
Once you’re satisfied with the customized tour, please let us know and Indochina Pioneer will need a few working hours to place reservations for all of the tour services. As soon as the availability and reservations of the services are confirmed, we will request a deposit. Please refer our Payment Guide for more details.
Once your deposit is received by Indochina Pioneer, we will send you the service voucher which confirms all the services of the tour and provides ground contact details and a guide for the final payment schedule.
And then you start counting down the day for your most fabulous trip!
Booking Amendment & Cancellations:
Booking Amendment: Flexibility is our strongest point. You can amend your booking even after it is made. Just contact your salesperson or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your booking number. Our reservations team is glad to amend your booking with your preferable alternatives. Please kindly note that you will be responsible for any change of the final price caused by your amendment requests.
Travel smart with Indochina Pioneer!
Packing and Luggage Allowance
Packing Checklist – Be sure to check them all 😉
- Travel documents (passport, visas, travel insurance certificate, air tickets, tour voucher)
- Money (cash, credit card, debit card, traveler’s cheques and money pouch)
- Day pack for your personal needs during the day
- Camera and extra memory cards and batteries
- Cell phone and cell phone charger
- Laptop charger (if you are bringing your laptop)
- Travel plug/international adapter
- Medication (including a doctor’s letter if you are carrying a large amount of medication)
- Prescription glasses / contacts and if necessary, contact lens solution
Best to bring along
- First aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Refillable water bottle with filter
- Comfortable walking shoes
- Comfortable clothing, either light or heavy options, depending on the season you are travelling
- Clothes suitable for visiting temples (long pants / skirts, long sleeved tops)
- Waterproof jacket / raincoat / umbrella
- Hat & sunglasses
- Bathing suit
- Ear plugs & eye mask
- Sleep sheet for home stays / trains
- Lightweight travel towel
- Local language phrasebook
"Great Experience in Vietnam and Cambodia"
Our family of five just got back from a wonderful experience exploring Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hoi An, Saigon, the Mekong Delta, and the Angkor temples. Kata Tran customized a tour based on our interests (and not only kept in touch with us via WhatsApp during our visit but also took the time to meet us in Hanoi), the local guides were knowledgeable and spoke excellent English, and the drivers delivered us safely to our destinations (no small feat given the often challenging traffic patterns) and kept us hydrated. Highlights were the Hanoi street food tour with Trang, visiting the Ba Na Hills Golden Bridge with Snow, biking through rice fields with Toan and a cooking class at the Kumquat Hoi An restaurant, crawling through Cu Chi tunnels and exploring Saigon and the Can Tho floating markets with Hiep, and ascending to the “Heaven” level of Angkor Wat with the assistance of Mister Pasquale.
We wanted a trip for 2 of us, somewhat last minute, and didn’t feel like putting in all the effort to plan it. Hien skyped with us and put together a trip that was AMAZING. We loved Cambodia, but suggest 2 half-day tours of the temples instead of one or two all-day tours. You will get templed-out. Everything will blur together. Definitely try The Bug Cafe. It’s definitely something to talk about later. Our favorite city in Vietnam was Hoi An and we wouldn’t have thought of it if it wasn’t for Hien. Bring your favorite dress and they will remake it for you in 48 hours, buy leather, and try all the delicious food. We highly suggest adding on a cooking class or a lantern class. Hien even came and met up with us at the end of our trip to meet with us personally.
All excellent. Fantastic travel agent. Elena was fantastic and very kind. A great professional. No doubt highly recommended.
"Very enjoyable tour by Indochina Pioneer!"
Used agent Lizzie who looked after us very well from start to finish. We wanted boutique hotels with pools as like to steer clear of large multinationals and each one selected was superb. We had done our research prior so knew where we wanted to stay so Indochina Pioneer was flexible. Coming from NZ, we found Halong Bay disappointing – polluted water and too many boats. But loved Luang Prabang, Laos just a 45 min flight from Hanoi. It was the highlight for us. No large tour groups & lovely colonial French architecture. Quieter than Viet’s hot spots. Buddhist culture, elephant conservation, serene waterfalls.
Lizzie kept in touch the whole way & adapted our itinerary as requested. Our guides in Hanoi and Laos were excellent. Use a Vietnam based agent like Indochina Pioneer to plan your land content. Nothing beats the local knowledge and back up if things go wrong. Thanks Lizzie & Indochina Pioneer for a great trip.
"Fulfilled Promises – Use Indochina Pioneer when traveling to Asia"
For about a month, I solo traveled through Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia and enjoyed the most beautiful trips of my life. Although nervous about doing this trip alone, Mr. Lam Duong promised my safety came first. Each guide in each city took care of me like I was family. Everywhere I went throughout SE Asia, the guides and the locals make you feel at home. The sights are one thing, but the culture is true beauty. I had a blast every single day knowing I was safe, and knowing that I had a full itinerary every day. Each guide was flexible to the itinerary as well. If you are ever planning on traveling to Asia, I 100% recommend using Indochina Pioneer. My itinerary was fantastic, my guides took care of me, and the hotels were beautiful. Thank you again for all of your help Lam!
Must See Destinations: Hoi An, Sapa, Siem Reap, Luang Prabang.
Simon TeevanSaudi Arabia
"10 out of 10!"
Just back from a fantastic 2 weeks in Cambodia & Vietnam, all organised by the fantastic Kata Tran in Indochina Pioneer. Cannot recommend them highly enough. They gave us great options from which to choose in terms of places to visit, hotels to stay in, tours to take, etc. And, they were very flexible regarding any changes we wanted to make. All guides were great – all locals with great English and very knowledgeable. 10 out of 10!
"Amazing Vietnam private tour"
This is the 1st time we’ve been to Vietnam and we absolutely love it.
Big thanks to Kata (our tour organiser), who has been very accommodating to our requests. The tour was well organised and everything flowed smoothly.
We stayed in Hanoi (2 nights), Halong Bay (1 night) and Hoi an (2 nights), wished we could have stayed longer. Great hotels with delicious breakfast, excellent halong bay cruise and friendly tour guides (Tony from Hanoi and Snow from Danang) and drivers.
Big thumps up to Indochina Pioneer.
Hermish KumarUnited Kingdom
"Wonderful stress free tour of Vietnam"
We had such a great holiday with Indochina Pioneer.The whole trip was so much fun and we saw and experienced so many beautiful things. Our guides were great Viet in Hanoi was superb – he spoke and understood English really well and took us to some different local places as we had discussed with him Yao in Sapa also spoke and understood good English and was really helpful on the trek
Banh in Hoi An / Hue had good English and was very informative
Sam in Ho Chi Minh had average English but he is so knowledgeable, helpful and easy to be with.
Pascal in Cambodia was really great and took us to some great locations for different photo opportunities
The hotels were also very good.
Boss Legend Hanoi – great
Sapa – rooms were a bit cold and we had to request a heater but much better the second night
Halong Bay – a fantastic trip would have loved to have stayed for longer!
Hoi An – lovely modern hotel – superb location
Hue – originally we declined a room on the 9th floor which we had been told would be noisy and were given a room on floor 6 – this was dark and we were moved the next day to a balcony room on floor 8 which was perfect.
Ho Chi Minh – lovely hotel and location
Siem Reap – lovely hotel and pool area
Overall everything Indochina Pioneer had booked for us went really smoothly and made our trip so enjoyable
We have already passed your details on to several friends back in the UK who are also contemplating a trip to Vietnam
I hope we will be able to use ICP services again on our future trips to Myanmar, Laos and China
"Enjoy the Indochina Pioneer Experience"
I have used this company twice to book a trip to Viet Nam and a 2nd trip to Viet Nam and Cambodia.
I have also recommended this company to many local friends. I was so happy and pleased with meeting my agent Kata Tran. She is wonderful person, extremely organized and so trustworthy. All of the recommendations that I made to friends were also thrilled with Kata’s service and the professionalism of Indochina Pioneer.
Not only do they provide competitive prices but they have private drivers and guides who are locals. As a result, tourists get a local perspective from very well trained professional guides. The accommodations, food and cars were top notch. Please don’t miss the Indochina Pioneer experience you will not be disappointed.
"Our fantastic Vietnam trip with Indochina Pioneer"
A couple of our close friends, my wife and I were planning to visit Vietnam for a while, but were not sure if we should do this on our own, or to use one of the travel agencies in Vietnam. A month or two later, a friend of my wife mentioned that she has just come back from Vietnam, used Indochina Pioneer to advise her on the itinerary and get trip organized. She told us she was totally impressed with them. Before contacting Nam Duong, we did some research and were fully impressed, as Indochina Pioneer’s reviews were outstanding. To make long story short, we asked Nam to prepare the itinerary for a two weeks tour of Vietnam. The response was prompt, we loved Nam’s proposal and two weeks later we were on our way.
Everything from the pickup at the airport, hotel choice, vehicles and especially the team of local guides were superb! We spent two weeks sightseeing and learning the history of Vietnam while visiting Saigon and Mekong delta, Hue, Hoi An, Danang, Hanoi and Ha Long Bay. We took millions of pictures and left with unforgettable memories of wonderful people we met during our trip and are grateful to Nam Duong and his team for getting this organized. We strongly recommend Indochina Pioneer. They did absolutely superb job. Thank you, Nam and your team!