Explore Luang Prabang’s major attractions and the night market, join the Lao sacred tradition – daily almsgiving, and travel to the unique caves of Pak Ou, where hundreds of Buddha statues are hidden. Visit Vang Vieng and experience the popular activities of tubing and kayaking on Nam Song River. See the stunning temples and the imposing Patuxay Monument in the charming capital Vientiane, where life runs at a languid pace and reflects a unique mix of Lao, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, French influences.
- Day 1: Arrive in Luang Prabang
- Day 2: Luang Prabang – Pak Ou caves
- Day 3: Luang Prabang – Laos living farm – Kuang Si Waterfall
- Day 4: Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng – Tubing
- Day 5: Vang Vieng – Kayaking Experience
- Day 6: Vang Vieng – Vientiane
- Day 7: 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.
Arrive in Luang PrabangDay 1
On arrival at the Luang Prabang airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel.
Situated in the center of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment.
You will be free to stroll around the city for your own first impression of this ancient city.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Pak Ou cavesDay 2
Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning almsgiving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temple to gather their daily meal from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets.
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, you will first visit the Royal Palace Museum, which was built in 1904 during the French colonial era for King Sisavang Vong and his family. We then embark on a leisure cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which also gives us a breathtaking view of the tranquil countryside, before reaching the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims. Along the way, we stop at the village of Ban Xanghai, where they make the local rice wine.
On arrival back in the city, we will visit the magnificent Wat Xiengthong, a superb piece of Lao temple architecture, which presents a sweeping two-tiered roof and ornate mosaics including a beautiful ‘tree of life ‘glass montage on the rear temple wall. Afterward, we will visit the Traditional Art and Ethnology Center (closed on Monday) to learn about Laos’ many ethnic cultures. From there, we will transfer to visit Wat Prabath to admire the sunset; this is a really peaceful place to catch the last beauty of the day. The tour will end after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely collection of handmade textiles made by local and hill tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Laos living farm – Kuang Si WaterfallDay 3
After breakfast and check out, your private tour guide will pick you up and take you to the Living Land Farm, a working community farm. There, you will learn all about the rice growing process and have an opportunity to participate in seasonal farm activities, such as identifying viable rice seeds, playing with a buffalo, hand planting, weeding and harvesting rice and threshing rice seeds.
You will pick your own vegetables from the organic garden and catch a fish to cook for your wholesome lunch. There will also be a variety of local rice products for you to sample.
Transfer to the Kuang Si Waterfall, a three-tier waterfall about 29 km south of Luang Prabang. You can swim in the topaz pool of the waterfall, (please remember to bring your swim gear with you for this activity), walk along the forest trails and visit the Bear Sanctuary.
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 late afternoon.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Vang Vieng – TubingDay 4
In the morning, we’ll 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 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.
After that, we will drive to visit Pha Hom market, where we can find various offers of wild animals. We will also stop at Ban Phouhin Lekphay to see the life of Khmu hill-tribe. We will make the last photo stop at Phatang Mountain viewpoint to admire the beautiful scenery before reaching Vang Vieng.
Upon arrival, check in your hotel to take some rest.
The afternoon will be dedicated to enjoying the tubing along the Nam Song river. This activity is very popular among the backpackers in Vang Vieng. Floating along the river from bars to bars and join any party happening that day.
Transfer back to your hotel late afternoon.
Overnight in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng – Kayaking ExperienceDay 5
We will transfer to Phatang Resort around 18 km north of Vang Vieng. After an introduction to the basics of kayaking, we will set off down the beautiful Nam Song river which offers various small but fun rapids along the way to our first stop at Tham Xang Cave. Here we will walk up to the massive theater like cave while hearing about the local history about the area!
After emerging from the cave, a short kayaking will lead us to a picnic spot on the riverside where we shall enjoy lunch.
After lunch, we will continue down the river until the next stop at the Organic Farm where mulberry tea and a variety of different fruit wines are produced.
Continuing on downstream, we’ll arrive at Tham None Cave which is 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 we will arrive just in time to catch the sunset.
Approximately: 15-minute transfer, 4.5 hours (wet season) 3.5 hours (dry season) kayaking, 1.5-hour caving/walking.
Overnight in Vang Vieng
Vang Vieng – VientianeDay 6
Early morning, we’ll drive out of town 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 will explore the town; 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
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 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
"Laos, Cambodia, Thailand"
We needed a 2-week break after a freezing and miserable Melbourne winter and visit Asia – but not VN, Bali, etc. Laos was suggested by Helen at Indochina (found her in an ad) and we had 12 nights through the region in excellent hotels, with great guides. Nothing went wrong really – one minor glitch was fixed with a Whatsapp message. So good planning and great real-time support available.
"Help with the Vietnam trip planning"
I am visiting Vietnam in the first week of Jan 2020. I reached out to Indochina Pioneer for help planning my trip. Though I did not eventually engage them due to my shortened vacation plan, Indochina Pioneer was very helpful and professional in providing all the insights into the trip. Especially Ms. Phuong who has been very patient with all my questions. I even offered to pay them a token amount for all their help which Indochina Pioneer politely denied. I wish to engage them in my next trip to Vietnam.
Kerri SMaryland, USA
My visit to Thailand and Vietnam was a trip of a lifetime! Lizzie diligently worked with me to create a trip that included everything that I wanted to see and do—-learn about the country, culture and foods. Everything about the trip was perfect. Hotels, tours and most especially the tour guides! The tour guides were so knowledgeable and flexible and I feel so blessed to consider them my friends now. They really made the trip for me!
Lizzie Pham, I can’t sing your praises enough for your attention to detail! You and everyone I met along my adventure have a special place in my heart. You opened my eyes to amazing places and people. I can’t wait to explore more countries with you!
This is the second time we used Indochina Pioneer. Earlier this year we used them for a great tour of Thailand and this time for another great tour in Vietnam. We are very lucky to of worked with Kata Tran, and she spent much time in helping us customize a tour based on the amount of time we wanted to spend in Vietnam. We really feel spoiled that we can arrange a private tour and customize the tour further throughout the tour. We have been so happy to have private tours as tours are the most efficient but we were always turned off by large tours and everyone following someone carrying a flag. With a private tour, we can call the shots as there will be a place that we want to spend more time and places we want to spend less time. The tour guides and driver coordinate perfectly so as we finish one place, our van would be waiting for us with the air condition on and cold water. I actually asked one of the tour guides that were subcontracted by Indochina Pioneer and was very pleased when they said that really enjoyed working with Indochina Pioneer because they can see that Indochina Pioneer really wants the best for their customers and that to ensure that, they hire the best subcontractors and take care of them also so everyone is happy. I hope Indochina Pioneer and Kata Tran prosper and grow larger and there are other places that we want to travel and would like to use Indochina Pioneer again and again.
Trish WBig White, Canada
"Superb Travel Agency and Consultant Kata Tran"
We have just returned from a 17-day excursion in Southern Vietnam, Bangkok and Chiang Mai. Kata Tran was EXCELLENT to deal with. She listened to what we wanted to do for our tour and she delivered! The guides and drivers were great. The guide’s knowledge of the sites and English was very good and the drivers were timely and caring. They always had a cold bottle of water and a cleansing towel ready for us when we returned from visiting a site. The whole tour unfolded on time and without a hitch. The highlight of our trip was visiting the Patara Elephant Park outside of Chaing Mai, Thailand, where we spent a full day with the elephants: learning about them and being taught how to communicate with them; feeding them; watering them; riding them in the jungle for 45 minutes; then bathing them. It was WONDERFUL. Kata recommended this particular Farm for an elephant experience and we were so happy because we had heard from others about their disappointment at some other elephant sanctuaries/excursions. Patara Farm is associated with the Veterinary Department of Chiang Mai University so you know the animals are well cared for and it shows.
We were disappointed with our hotel in Bangkok and Kata and the guide did everything they could to ensure our happiness and they definitely accomplished their goal.
I would HIGHLY recommend Indochina Pioneer and Patara Elephant Farm
John MMelbourne, Australia
"BRILLIANT TRAVEL AGENCY AND CONSULTANT (MS HIEN PHAM)!"
In 21018 we visited the southern half of Vietnam and loved it so much that we decided to do a 16-day tour of the north in March 2019.
We had a fairly good idea of where we wanted to go and stay (eg. A few days in Ha Noi, an overnight cruise on Ha Long Bay, stay in a mountain village, visit Hoi An, etc, etc), but we had no specific hotels or tours in mind.
Enter Indochina Pioneer and Ms. Hien Pham who was assigned to us. I found the company on the internet and after checking a few Trip Advisor recommendations I contacted them and began putting the details of our tour together (based largely on Hien’s recommendations).
She was ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT!!! So patient, understanding and she left nothing to chance!!! And all at a very reasonable price (better quality – but cheaper than Australian package deals!!!) Everything (and I do mean EVERYTHING) went as she planned it. The great accommodation (eg. The Apricot Hotel in Ha Noi was outstanding – see my separate review), the tours, the local city guides, the transfers, etc, etc, all went well).
I can’t recommend Ms. Hien Pham and Indochina Pioneer highly enough. Book your tour with them – you won’t regret it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
"Best Cambodia/Laos/Vietnam trip"
We chose Indochina Pioneer and they put together the best-customized tour for us. The timings were well planned and it became one of the memorable tours for us. Hien from Indochina was very helpful in planning. We were very particular about places, and she helped us to plan what we want. We started from Cambodia (Siem Reap, Tonle Sap Lake), then Laos (Luang Prabang), and then to Vietnam (Hanoi, Halong Bay, Hue, Cu Chi Tunnels, Ho Chi Minh City, Mekong Delta, Thien Duong Cave, Ba Be, Cao Bang, Ban Gioc Waterfalls). Every day we had a blast. The service was really good. And I’m booking through them again to Vietnam, Myanmar and Indonesia. And that tells how good they are. Thanks to Indochina Pioneer and special thanks to Hien for planning the best trip for us.
"Best Myanmar trip"
We decided to choose Indochina Pioneer to plan a trip to Myanmar with our family. It was 17 days length trip only in Myanmar. This was an amazing experience and an excellent country to visit. Ms. Hien was very helpful to plan our itinerary, ad hoc to our needs. Tour guides have mostly good knowledge and good English. Especially Mr. Cho and Ms. Thin were really good tour guides, we liked them a lot.
"Splendid personalised tour of Vietnam and Cambodia"
Following a recommendation we chose Indochina Pioneer to put together our bespoke tour. Sales Manager Kata Tran took on board our requirements and offered a proposal which we then fine-tuned into an excellent itinerary. We had a really splendid holiday. Different guides at different locations were all good and three were outstanding. Our boutique hotels were mostly very good and we found the service offered was always delightful – the same for restaurants. The high spots of our holiday were the gentle trekking in Sapa, the wonderful Ha Long Bay cruise (outstanding food on our boat), Hanoi city and the street food, Hoi An so charming, exciting Saigon, the high-speed boat ride up the Mekong and the fantastic Angkor temples in Cambodia. We built two relaxation breaks into our tour, primarily to meet up with friends and family but this was also useful to catch breath in the middle of the tour. We were very pleased with the arrangements made by Indochina Pioneer although it would probably have been best to travel from Phnom Penh to Siam Reap by air rather than by bus. Cambodia was very, very hot at this time of year.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Indochina Pioneer for similar tours in Vietnam and Cambodia.
Jerry Ray BowlingUSA
"Worry-free Vietnam travel!"
Reliable and caring. You name it and Ryan has the know-how to plan it. From a hassle-free airport taxi to your place of relaxation, day trekking in Nhin Binh and rowing a Sampan in a National park and of course the 2-night Halong Bay Junk Boat. The quality of communication during planning, the freedom to ask questions, make changes and make even more changes were without pressure. Our day tour guide Cuong was simply wonderful in conversation and culture and share a few recipes with my wife!
This was my 1st experience using a tour service and I will honestly say… its the only way to travel Vietnam, see what you want to see, have reliable timely transportation, professional safe drivers and a plan. These agents and supporting cast are sincere in the duties to the customer and your experience in Vietnam.
On another note, I had forgotten an item. Contacted them, and both went out of there way to ensure my item was returned. So grateful
Next tour Sapa, Lao Cai, Hai Phong