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See the real Luang Prabang and Laos southern region on a cruise. Discover Laos heritage town and its picturesque surrounding areas. Visit its fascinating landmarks and beautiful botanical garden. Join a cultural experience tour before enjoying the fresh water at the azure pools at the foot of Kuang Si waterfalls. After attending the sacred alms-giving tradition, hop on a cruise down the fertile Mekong River. In Ban Lae, enjoy the countryside as you meet and work on the farm with a local family. Head to Pakse on the Wat Phou cruise and view the pristine scenery along the river. as well as visits to traditional Laotian villages. Explore the wild paradise of the “4,000 islands” and the magnificent Khong Pha Peng waterfall, known as “the Niagara of the East“.
- Day 1: Arrival in Luang Prabang
- Day 2: Luang Prabang – The Local Flora & Heritage Tour
- Day 3: Luang Prabang – Culture Experience & Refresh at Kuang Si Waterfalls
- Day 4: Luang Prabang – Morning Alms Giving – Mekong Cruise & Pak Ou Caves
- Day 5: Experience the Life at Ban Lae
- Day 6: Return Luang Prabang – Flight to Pakse
- Day 7: Champassak – Wat Phou (Wat Phou Cruise)
- Day 8: Second night on Wat Phou Cruise)
- Day 9: End cruise – Return to Champassak
- Day 10: Pakse – 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.
Arrival in Luang PrabangDay 1
Saibaidee! Welcome to Luang Prabang, Laos.
Upon arrival at Luang Prabang 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.
After checking-in, you will have time to relax and adjust to the pace of Luang Prabang. There will be a short tour briefing this evening with your guide followed by a welcome dinner at Friends Restaurant, KhaiPhaen. 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 Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – The Local Flora & Heritage TourDay 2
After breakfast, meet your guide and driver at the hotel lobby and transfer to Ban Wat That to board a 15-minute leisurely boat trip down the Mekong River. Upon arrival at Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden, you will be given a short presentation about the gardens. After that, walk through the Ginger Garden and the Ethno-botanic Garden, which is the centerpiece of the garden. Follow the path through the Limestone Walk and take in the amazing mountainous Mekong landscape. Learn how to make a bamboo stick animal at the site of the hunting lodge of the former royal family.
Continue your tour of Pha Tad Ke Botanical Garden walking through the Arboretum, Palm Garden, and Bamboo Garden to your viewpoint that overlooks the rice fields.
Stop by the Mist House where you will learn more about the importance of biodiversity conservation. Finish your excursion with an optional orchid talk at Pha Tad Ke Nursery. All of the gardens will have introductory panels and labels. You can always ask the expert staff in the garden should you have any questions or require more information.
Enjoy a delicious Lao lunch at the Pha Tad Ke café before taking the boat back to Luang Prabang.
Your city tour begins with a visit to the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture. After that, you will visit the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. If time permits, we will take a short walk around the small streets of the city center, watching the life of local people.
Late afternoon, we climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River.
The tour ends after a visit to the famous Night Market, where you can find a lovely selection of handmade textiles made by local and hill-tribe people surrounding Luang Prabang.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Culture Experience & Refresh at Kuang Si WaterfallsDay 3
After breakfast at the hotel, transfer to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center (TAEC), the collection of diverse Lao ethnic groups. Upon arrival, troll around to visit the center to understand more about the Lao diverse ethnic culture. After that, join the seminars of “Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Change in Laos”. This fascinating 60-minute presentation and question-and-answer session give background on Laos’ ethnic communities, their history, and their cultural practices, including livelihoods and crafts. You will have an opportunity to learn about lifestyles in ethnic villages and are shown unique artifacts from TAEC’s collection that are not accessible to the general public.
An ethnic Khmu lunch will be served at TAEC Café.
Transfer directly 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
After spending time swimming and relaxing at the falls, 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, 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 where the rest of the afternoon and evening will be at your leisure.
Overnight in Luang Prabang
Luang Prabang – Morning Alms Giving – Mekong Cruise & Pak Ou CavesDay 4
Wake up as the sun rises, join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning alms giving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temples to gather their daily meals from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets. Before getting back to the hotel for breakfast, 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, drive directly to Ban Xang Hai, which is famous for the traditional rice whiskey distilled. From there, enjoy the 30-minute elephant ride exploring the Mekong river at the nearby elephant camp.
Continue driving to Ban Pak Ou, and take the boat crossing the Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou Caves, two linked caves crammed with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes left by pilgrims.
After exploring the caves, your cruise will continue further onto Nam Ou river to the lovely Nam Ou Riverside Resort.
You are free to relax by the inviting pool of the resort or stroll around the nearby villages for your own exploration.
Overnight at Nam Ou Riverside Resort
Experience the Life at Ban LaeDay 5
After breakfast, transfer directly to Ban Lae, which locates 25Km from town (10Km from the resort). Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by a local family who will be your hosts for the night. Before strolling around the village to see the life of local people, pay a visit to the local school, which should be livelier during the weekdays. If not, the visit to the local market is another option for you.
An authentic lunch will then be served at the house of the host family.
You can choose to either relax or to enjoy agricultural activities such as rice planting and harvesting in surrounding rice fields (depending on the season); Traditional fishing techniques (you can sample your catch for dinner!); walk around the farm and rice field, or explore the river with the local boat.
If you wish, the dip in the Nam Xeuang river is very inviting and worth a try.
Before the sunset, join the Baci Ceremony, held by the elders of the village. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants.
You may wish to join and help the host with preparing the dinner. This is the chance to learn about Lao cuisine. During the dinner, the folk tales will be told by the host family and translated by our guide. After dinner, you may wish to stroll around
the riverbank and sense nature, admiring the starry sky before going to bed.
Overnight at a local homestay in Ban Lae
Return Luang Prabang – Flight to PakseDay 6
After late breakfast and check out of the hotel, you will be picked up and driven to the airport for a short flight to Pakse in Southern Laos.
Upon arrival, your private driver will pick you up at Pakse airport and transfer you to the River Resort in Champasak for the first-night stay. Spend the rest of the day at your leisure. Enjoy the peaceful atmosphere of the resort, its view on the Mekong, its decks, its boats, its 2 pools, its garden, and forest.
Enjoy a welcome cocktail at the bar followed by a Lao dinner at our restaurant facing the Mekong.
Overnight in Pakse
Champassak – Wat Phou (Wat Phou Cruise)Day 7
After late breakfast, transfer to the meeting point where you will take embark on a long-tail boat ride to where the boat Vat Phou is moored. Upon boarding at the Vat Phou boat and you will settle in your cabin.
After a short rest, head to the top deck where lunch will be served. Enjoy the finest of Laotian, Vietnamese and Thai dishes, lovingly prepared and beautifully presented.
Reach the Vat Phou ruins – the majestic pre-Angkorian 10th-century temple complex that gave its name to your boat. Visit the museum at the ruins site, walk up to the highest temple and take as some photos…
As dusk falls, transfer you back to the Vat Phou boat to enjoy the tropical sunset on the deck. Dinner is served on board, while the boat docks for the night alongside a remote Laotian village.
Overnight on board
Second night on Wat Phou CruiseDay 8
After breakfast on board, set sail for the village of Tomo, a few minutes walk away from the mysterious hidden forest temple of Oum Muong. Afterward, rejoin the boat to continue your cruise southwards.
At 12.30. lunch is on the deck, while you leisurely sail closer to the wild paradise known as the 4,000 Islands.
Late afternoon, disembark from the boat to walk through Ban Deua Tia, a small Laotian Village where the traditional way of life has not changed in centuries, you will also visit the local school and share some time with the students. Your day’s cruise finishes around 16.30, at the most northern tip of Don Khong, the largest inhabited island in the river archipelago.
After dinner, the evening is yours to relax and enjoy.
Overnight on board
End cruise – Return to ChampassakDay 9
The Vat Phou boat will depart at 7.00 and while breakfast is served. Then you will cruise down the Mekong to the small village of Ban Veuthong. Here you will board a small boat to meander among the 4,000 Islands to Khone Island. You will visit the old French railway, the French colonial house, and walk across the bridge that links Khone and Det Islands.
After lunch at a local restaurant on Don Khone Island along the banks of the river, transfer to visit the Khone PhaPheng waterfalls, the “Niagara of the East”.
End the cruise trip where you will be picked up and driven back to the River Resort in Champassak. Upon arrival, enjoy one hour massage to relax.
Overnight in Champassak
Pakse – DepartureDay 10
After breakfast, you will be transferred to Pakse Airport for your outbound flight or to the Thailand border for your departure by your private van. We trust you’ve had a wonderful adventure with us in Laos.
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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!
- Stroll around the green garden of Pha Tad, the first and only botanical garden in Laos, and learn about the bio-system of Laos
- Visit various temple and museum in Luang Prabang to learn about the culture of Laos
- The panoramic view from the top of Phousi Hill over the town of Luang Prabang; from the top of Wat Phou over the area
- Walk around the evergreen nature of Kuang Si waterfalls
- Attending the daily morning alms giving in Luang Prabang
- Cruising along the might Mekong river to visit the mysterious Pak Ou caves
- The visit to the local villages during the tour to see the local life
- The holy Baci Ceremony and the authentic dinner with the local family
- Experience Wat Phou Cruise and explore the unspoiled 4000-island area
- 10 hotel buffet breakfasts.
- 3 dinners and 7 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 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
Reviews on Our Service
We are committed to giving our customers unforgettable experiences in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia and beyond, not just something staged for tourists. Read reviews written by our customers about their experiences in Indochina after they have returned home. These include the ratings and comments on attractions, guides, activities, hotels and food.
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!