- Animals & Wildlife
- Classic Journeys
- Culture & Heritage
- Learning Discovery
- Nature & Landscapes
- Tours for Couples
- Tours for Seniors
- Day 1: Arrive in Vientiane
- Day 2: Vientiane – Fullday City Tour
- Day 3: Vientiane – Transfer to Vang Vieng
- Day 4: Vang Vieng – Kayaking & Caving
- Day 5: Vang Vieng – Fullday Trip to Elephant Sanctuary
- Day 6: Vang Vieng – Luang Prabang
- Day 7: Luang Prabang – Full-day Heritage Tour
- Day 8: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – Kuang Si Waterfall
- Day 9: Luang Prabang – Departure
Make your journey to the country’s most important landmarks on this 9-day ‘Classic Laos’ Tour. Start your holiday in the capital Vientiane, where the markets are stuffed with silk treasures and Buddhist keepsakes. Travel to Vang Vieng – the adventure paradise and enjoy a variety of activities – hiking, kayaking, and caving. Learn about the gentle elephants with a full day trip to Vang Vieng Elephant Sanctuary. End the tour in the tranquil town of Luang Prabang, where you can join the daily Lao sacred tradition of almsgiving in the morning. Cruise along the scenic Mekong River to the unique caves of Pak Ou with hundreds of Buddha statues hidden inside, visit a local buffalo dairy and the renowned whiskey village.
Arrive in VientianeDay 1
Saibaidee! Welcome to Vientiane, Laos.
Upon arrival at Wattay International 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 in the city centre.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Vientiane, the capital of Laos. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, Mini Makphet. 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 Vientiane
Vientiane – Fullday City TourDay 2
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.
Proceed to 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.
End your day at the 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.
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 you enjoy the cooling weather at sunset.
Overnight in Vientiane
Vientiane – Transfer to Vang ViengDay 3
After breakfast and check out of the hotel your private guide and driver will pick you up and take you on a four-hour drive to Vang Vieng, known for its low-lying valley studded with limestone karst formations, on Route 10.
On the way, you will make a stop at a fish market in Ban Tha Heua where you can view the abundance of fish indigenous to Laos. You also pay a visit to an organic farm just outside Vang Vieng town centre.
Arrive and check into your riverside resort in Vang Vieng. This small town of 25,000 people sits alongside the Nam Song River. Limestone cliffs create a beautiful backdrop for the adventure-tourism oriented town.
After a short rest, you will head out to visit Ban Phouhin Lekphay to see the life of Khmu hill-tribe. There will be a chance for you to take a short hike of 30 minutes to the summit of the Phatang Mountain viewpoint to admire the beautiful scenery of the rice-paddy laden valley and Vang Vieng town.
After the tour, transfer back to your hotel where the balance of the day is at your leisure.
Overnight in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng – Kayaking & CavingDay 4
After breakfast, you are driven to Pha Tang around 18 km north of Vang Vieng. After an introduction to the basics of kayaking, you will set off down the beautiful Nam Song River which offers various small but fun rapids along the way to your first stop at Tham Xang Cave. Here you will walk up to the massive theater like cave while hearing about the local history about the area!
After emerging from the cave, continue to paddle to a picnic spot on the riverside where you enjoy your box lunch.
After lunch, continue to paddle down the river until you reach the next stop at the Organic Farm where mulberry tea and a variety of different fruit wines are produced.
Keep going further you will arrive at Tham None Cave, one of the largest caves in Vang Vieng! It served as a bomb shelter for local villagers during the Second Indochina War. However, today it is home to a bat family and the ‘Magic Stone of Vang Vieng’. The final leg of the journey will be a gentle paddle downstream to Vang Vieng where you will arrive just in time to catch the sunset.
Approximately: 4 hour-kayaking and 1.5-hour caving/walking.
Overnight in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng – Fullday Trip to Elephant SanctuaryDay 5
After breakfast, take a short drive (around 1.5 hours) to the outside of Vang Vieng through rural landscapes, agricultural areas, and forested hills to Vang Vieng Elephant Sanctuary.
Upon arrival, meet your guide and walk for 10-15 minutes to the Centre of the Sanctuary. Change into traditional Lao clothing and followed by an introductory lesson about elephant anatomy, history, and behavior. Soon after that, meet the elephants, feed, interact and play with the elephants in their natural home as you learn about their behavior and history. Take your time and have many photos with the elephants as you want.
Enjoy fresh fruit and traditional Lao food for lunch at the Sanctuary.
You will learn how to make herbal medicine balls, feed the Elephants, and then walk with the elephants to the lake. Bathe and brush the elephants. Take your chance to join the elephants for a therapeutic mud spa. Swim in the lake and take photos with them.
Walk the Elephant back to the Sanctuary. Change clothes and say goodbye to those friendly giants. The amazing time to enjoy the sunset before leaving the Sanctuary for your return drive to your hotel in Vang Vieng.
Overnight in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng – Luang PrabangDay 6
After breakfast and check out of the hotel you will depart Vang Vieng for 4 hours for Luang Prabang. Today you will drive along the most beautiful route in Laos, winding up and down offering spectacular views, from jungle to low-lying valleys studded with the limestone Karst formations. Have your camera ready out for a photo-op at Pathang you won’t want to miss.
Around midday, you will arrive at Phoukhoune, a small town with its lively market and fresh air. Here you will enjoy lunch at the local restaurant Kiewkacham.
After lunch, continue toward Luang Prabang. You will pass several traditional and picturesque Hmong and Kamu villages.
Mid-afternoon you will arrive and check into your hotel in Luang Prabang. This beautiful city was the royal capital and seat of government for the Kingdom of Laos until the communist took over in 1975. The main part of the city consists of four main roads located on a peninsula between the Nam Khan and Mekong rivers.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Full-day Heritage TourDay 7
Start your day with a visit to the Morning Market, a lively street where locals shop for everything from colorful 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 then to the former King’s Palace, where you’ll discover the history and present life of Luang Prabang. From there, you will head to 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, you will visit either the UXO Visitor’s Centre to get an incredible insight into the horrific bombings endured by the Lao people and the effect it still has today. The UXO centre is an amazing NGO that does fantastic work, yet just scratches the surface of this little known issue.
Next, you will explore the 16th century Wat Visoun temple, known for its enormous stupa and its collection of old gilded Buddhas.
Finish the day visiting 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, end your day with a 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.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Pak Ou Caves – Kuang Si WaterfallDay 8
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
Luang Prabang – DepartureDay 9
Your private transfer greets you at the hotel after breakfast and escorts you to Luang Prabang International Airport where you board your flight home or travel on to more adventures, we will help you with the planning.
Inquire this trip
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 the laid-back capital of Vientiane and the ancient town of Luang Prabang
- The untouched nature along Nam Ou River
- The exploration of Elephant Conservation Center, interact with Elephant, and learning the efforts to re-enforce our friends back to nature
- Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
- Cruising along the might Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- The panoramic view from the top of Phousi Hill over the town of Luang Prabang
- 8 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.
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 [email protected] 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
Reviews on Our Service
We had a wonderful 7-day trip last July; Kata was awesome to work with. So professional, reliable and helpful!
"Lifetime of Memories"
Lam did an amazing job putting together an itinerary based on phone/text conversations. We told him the where and what and he did the rest. The accommodations were beyond expectation, the guides were unbelievably friendly, and the places we were taken were spectacular. Having guides and drivers is worth every penny. So much time and money would have been wasted had we tried to accomplish this ourselves.
We got to experience so much more because of our guides local knowledge. Lastly, how great it was not to worry about how we were getting to the next adventure. Had we not used Indochina Pioneer I truly believe I wouldn’t have as many astonishing memories.
"Amazing 30 Day Journey with Indochina Pioneer"
If you are looking for a private tour of SE Asia, look no further than Indochina Pioneer. I recently returned from a 30-day private tour of Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand all arranged by Indochina Pioneer and could not have been happier with everything they arranged for me. They are top-notch from working directly with you on planning your trip, arranging visas, having individuals at the airports to meet and walk you through everything when entering the countries, having amazing tour guides and drivers as well as organizing everything for you on the ground and being there to help you all along the way if you have any questions or problems. My tour was amazing with not only the normal tourist sights, but many off the beaten track sights and with your own guides, you learn so much more from these individuals who actually live in the places you will visit. I can’t recommend this tour agency enough. If you are looking to travel to any of the locations Indochina Pioneer has tours, you must book through them, you will not be disappointed.
"Excellent from the very beginning"
We had 21 days on a private tour and every detail was perfectly arranged. Perhaps, the Spanish speaking skills of guides can ve improved, but overall they were very helpful and committed with their job. I want to highlight the performance of Juan (Hanoi), Miguel (Hoi An), Chao (Ho Chi Minh City) and La (Luang Prabang, Laos).
Hotels were as we asked and the timing for the visits was very good.
I recommend this travel agency!