PDI

Journey Down the Laos Mekong

This document contains essential information that you need to prepare for, as well as information you will need during your holiday with us.

We ask that you read it carefully and that you take the document with you on your holiday. It contains information on visas, vaccinations, spending money, etc, as well as a detailed, day by day itinerary of your trip.


your-trip

What's Included

  • The services of expert English-speaking local tour leaders in both countries, and local guides at some sites.
  • Local flights: Bangkok to Chiang Rai and Phonsavan to Vientiane.
  • Sightseeing (including entrance fees where relevant): Bangkok - the Grand Palace, Temple of the Emerald Buddha and Temple of the Reclining Buddha; thousands of Buddha images in Tam Ting Cave; Ban Sang Hai village; Luang Prabang - the procession of monks, Wat Xieng Thong, Wat Wisunalat and the National Museum at the former Royal Palace; Kuang Si Waterfalls; Muang Khun; Plain of Jars; Vientiane - Patuxai Monument, Wat Si Saket, Wat Prakeo and That Luang Stupa.
  • ‘Slow’ boat cruises down the Mekong River to Pakbeng village and to Luang Prabang.
  • A night in a simple hostel in Pakbeng village - home to tribal Thais, and a night in a basic hotel in Phonsavan - home to the Hmong hill tribe.
  • Free time to explore Luang Prabang.
  • Arrival transfer.

transport

  • Boat
  • Ferry
  • Plane
  • Private bus
  • Train

Accommodation

  • 6 nights Comfortable hotel
  • 2 nights Basic hotel

meals

  • 8 breakfasts

not-included

  • International long-haul flights
  • Airport departure taxes
  • Departure transfer
  • Visas
  • Insurance
  • Other meals
  • Any optional tours and activities during free time
  • Tips and items of a personal nature
  • Daily budget

optional-extras

  • Bangkok - Jim Thompson's House
    THB100
  • Bangkok - Thai massage
    THB200.00
  • Luang Prabang - Giving of Alms
    Free
  • Luang Prabang - Royal Theatre (available Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat from 6pm)
    US$15-30
  • Vientiane - Buddha Park including transport
    US$25
  • Vientiane - National History Museum
    US$2

preparing-to-travel

Visas and Permits

Laos

We ask all our travellers to obtain their Laos visas at the border, and NOT in their home country. Your tour leader will assist you in obtaining a Laos visa, generally at the border, depending on the current state of affairs, as it can vary.

Please ensure that you have at least 1 passport photos and up to US$60 cash (this may vary too) to fulfil the requirements. There will also be an Immigration Fee of USD1. To assist us in processing your Laos visas, please provide your agent with accurate passport details prior to the departure of your trip as these details will be passed on to our leader.

When crossing the border you will most likely see a lesser entry fee than what you have paid. This is due to the leader having to use a local agent to process the visa which allows the group to cross the border as quickly as possible.

The above information has been put together as a guide. We do endeavor to update this information as much as possible but it’s also important that you check for yourself as visas are the responsibility of the traveller.

 

Thailand

If you are flying into Thailand you will be issued with a 30 day stay on arrival.

If you are crossing into Thailand via a land border you will be granted a 15 day stay only. However, you can obtain an extension at an immigration office for approx 2000THB, alternatively you can apply for a Thailand visa in advance from your embassy or consulate – this will allow a 30 day stay. Exception– as of 28 Oct 2013 citizens of the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, France, Italy, Germany and Japan are eligible for 30 day visa at land borders.

If you are not from one of the following countries please contact your consulate or embassy for more information on visa conditions for Thailand Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, South Africa, Switzerland, United Kingdom and USA.

The above information has been put together as a guide. We do endeavor to update this information as much as possible but it’s also important that you check for yourself as visas are the responsibility of the traveller.

government-travel-advice

Many governments publish up-to-date travel advice for countries around the world. Information is gleaned from both local and international sources as well as ‘friendly’ governments, and the notices are often on the cautious side. Sometimes there will be conflicting information. For example, the Australian, UK and Canadian governments may agree on the nature of the advice; however, frequently they do not. And sometimes the views expressed by a particular government can be coloured by political considerations. We will monitor these travel advisories closely and may alter itineraries or cancel trips as a result. However, it is also your responsibility to stay informed and form a balanced view. We recommend that you visit the websites or contact the departments listed below. Unless otherwise stated, it is not normally the intention of the relevant government travel advice to dissuade you from travelling. Rather, it is to inform you of where and when you should exercise caution to avoid problems. Please also note that, as a responsible tour operator, we maintain constant links with our ground operators and your safety - at all times - is our paramount concern. You can check your government's latest travel advice at one of the links below:

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade 

UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade

U.S. Department of State

New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Passport

Please ensure that you have a current passport well before travelling. It also needs an accurate photo and should be valid for at least six months after you are scheduled to return home. Also check that your airline tickets are in exactly the same name as your passport.

Border Crossing

LAOS
Crossing the border into Laos, it is possible to obtain a visa on arrival at most international checkpoints. The duration of the visa is one month and the cost varies depending on nationality from US$30-US$42. You will also require a passport photo to be submitted with your application.

Insurance

Every Peregrine traveller is required to have comprehensive travel insurance. This covers you for medical costs associated with hospitalisation, emergency travel and repatriation back to your home country. You can arrange your own insurance or we can recommend a policy for you. Remember to bring a copy of your insurance policy with you so your tour leader can record the details at the pre-tour briefing. If you arrive at your destination without travel insurance, you'll need to organise this before you can continue on your Peregrine journey.

Medical---prep

Apart from having travel insurance and being in generally good health, some pre-holiday health preparation is advised. We strongly recommend you visit your doctor to discuss health requirements for your trip. They will advise you regarding the appropriate inoculations and in some places anti-malarial medication may also be required. Some vaccines need to be administered a few weeks before departure so allow plenty of time. Obtain a certificate of vaccination and carry this with you on this trip. A dental checkup is also highly recommended before departure.

Vaccinations

Vaccinations may be required or recommended for this trip so you should consult with your travel doctor to obtain the latest up-to-date information. It is your responsibility to ensure that you obtain any vaccinations or preventative medicines for the countries you are visiting – or any which may be required by your home country upon your return.

For travellers from Australia and New Zealand, we recommend the Travel Doctor-TMVC clinics (see www.traveldoctor.com.au or phone 1300 658 844 for an appointment in Australia). Travellers from countries other than Australia and New Zealand should contact similar organisations or their travel doctor for advice. General health and vaccination information is available to all travellers at
www.traveldoctor.com.au/travelreport. Some vaccines require more than one dose, so arrange for your visit at least 4-6 weeks before you travel.

Malaria: There is no vaccination against malaria, which is transmitted by mosquito bites and is a risk in many less-developed tropical areas in Africa, Latin America and South East Asia. Protection against mosquito bites is essential and where the risk is considered high, anti-malarial medications are recommended. Anti-malarial medications should be discussed with experts as there are different medications available and not all medications suit all people or all destinations. Where malaria is considered prevalent in mountainous regions we prefer that trekkers to altitude try to avoid the use of mefloquine (Lariam) if possible.

copies-of-key-docs

We recommend that you photocopy the main pages of your passport, your airline ticket, itinerary, insurance policy, traveller's cheques and credit card. Keep one set of photocopies with you, separate from the originals. Leave one set of copies at home with family or friends. It is also worth taking some extra passport photos with you.

what-to-take

General Packing List

Remember - the lighter you travel the better! You may be buying things as you go, so you should not bring too much from home. Many people find a backpack the most suitable type of luggage for our holidays. Medium-sized suitcases can also be used; however, you should avoid the large, bulky cases that are difficult to carry. The lockable suitcases on wheels are the best types to use. Be aware that some hotels in Asia are not over-endowed with lifts (elevators) and there may be occasions when you need to carry your luggage up stairs or along railway platforms, etc.

When packing, consider cultural differences which may mean that some attire that we wear at home is not appropriate in Asia and may be offensive to the local people. Beachwear in towns is not appropriate, nor is 'short' shorts, particularly for women. Light cotton pants are a better option. When visiting sites of religious significance, modest clothing should be worn. Sandals, thongs, flip-flops or jandals are appropriate footwear in the tropics.

When you pack your clothing, consider the climate at the time of year you are travelling and any specific requirements for your trip as at certain times of the yearsome of the items suggested in the list that follow may not be necessary. Bear in mind that the weather will vary significantly from place to place. The majority of time the weather is warm in South East Asia; however, it may be distinctly cold up in the highlands. If there are specific requirements for a trip, these will be noted in the separate country section, or in the Trip Notes relating to that trip. Please note that in the last few years, the world’s weather pattern has gone somewhat awry. The effects of ‘El Nino’ and ‘La Nina’ are very real and this has resulted in unseasonable droughts followed by unseasonable deluges. Be prepared for the unexpected! Laundry facilities are available in some destinations.

Below is a list of equipment and documentation that we suggest you take with you. Please use this checklist as a guide when packing for your holiday.

  • Travel documents: passport, visa (if required), travel insurance, air tickets or e-ticket receipts,
  • Trip Notes
  • Photocopy of main passport pages, visa (if required), travel insurance and air tickets
  • Spare passport photos
  • Money: cash/credit card/EFTPOS card
  • Money belt
  • Small padlocks
  • Metal chain and padlock to secure luggage on overnight trains – additional precaution
  • Small first-aid kit
  • Daypack for use on day or overnight excursions
  • Watch/alarm clock and torch/flashlight (and spare batteries)
  • Electrical adapter plug
  • Toiletries/roll of toilet paper/travel wipes
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen, lip balm, sunhat and sunglasses
  • Earplugs and eye mask (for light sleepers)
  • Extra pair of prescription glasses (if required)
  • 2 strong plastic garbage bags (for laundry and in case of rain)
  • Refillable water bottle
  • Phrase book
  • Warm clothes - when travelling in cooler climates
  • Wind and waterproof jacket
  • Comfortable and sturdy walking shoes with good walking socks
  • Camera and spare film (or recharge for digital cameras)
  • Binoculars
  • Swimwear

money

Currency

Laos

The unit of currency is the kip. Notes come in denominations of 500, 1,000, 2,000, 5,000, 10,000 , 20,000, 50,000 and 100,000 kip. Coins are no longer in use. Thai baht and US dollars are also frequently used in commerce. Please note that kips are useless outside of Laos and almost impossible to change into other currencies.

Thailand

The unit of currency is the Thai baht. There are 1, 2, 5 and 10 baht coins. There is a new copper and silver 10 baht coin. Notes are in the denominations of 10 (quite scarce), 20, 50, 100, 500 and 1,000 baht (with the last very hard to change!).

Exchange rates

Refer to www.xe.com for current exchange rates.

Accessing Money

Laos

Money is safest when carried in the form of traveller's cheques. However, in Laos, you should carry a fair amount of your money in cash, for a lot of places (especially outside Vientiane and Luang Prabang) do not change traveller's cheques. Most major foreign currencies, such as Australian, U.S. and Canadian dollars, English pounds and Swiss francs, are easily changed. If you are taking cash (US dollars suggested), all notes must be new and not marked or torn. If notes are torn, crumpled, nicked or old it may be difficult to change them. If you are taking traveller's cheques, American Express and Thomas Cook are the most widely accepted. In capital cities or major regional centres some (not all) credit cards can be used on occasions, although these tend to be up-market places. Generally, do not rely on using your credit cards outside Vientiane.

Thailand

There are plenty of money changing facilities in Thailand's cities and towns. Authorised money changers generally offer the best exchange rates but it’s worth it to shop around. Thailand also has a plethora of ATMs, which can also be used to get cash advances on credit cards. Look for ATMs displaying Maestro, Cirrus, MasterCard or Visa symbols. Traveller's cheques can be changed at most hotels, banks and currency exchange booths. In large cities there is no problem cashing cheques. You should consider where you are heading to, taking into account any public holidays, and cash enough money to see you to your next major town. Your tour leader will brief you at your pre-departure meeting on the specifics relevant to your particular trip. Credit cards are accepted in many shops, restaurants and hotels, but should not be relied on as your only form of funds. There are currency exchange booths in the arrival hall of Bangkok International Airport which offer the standard rate.

Personal Expenses

South East Asia

You will need to take money with you to cover any additional meals/drinks not included in your tour cost. Other costs to consider are drinking water, tips, laundry, souvenirs, additional sightseeing and possible delays. It is much better to come with more than you would expect to spend and to end the trip with a surplus, rather than being caught short! It is always useful to carry an additional amount for emergencies that could happen en route. If there is a medical emergency you are sometimes required to pay at the source and be reimbursed later by your insurance company. As a guideline we suggest that you allow US$20 per day in Asia would allow you to eat and drink reasonably well.

Optional Tours & Activities: We include many sightseeing activities on most of our trips; however, there are additional optional tours and activities that you may wish to undertake during your free time. These may incur additional expenses. These activities are not a mandatory part of our tours because, from past experience, we have found that our travellers have appreciated some free time whilst on tour.

Airport Taxes

Laos

You will be required to pay airport and departure taxes in most countries. Most of these are added to the ticket price on purchase and you will not need to bother further about them. Others must be paid physically at the airport on departure. All airport taxes in Laos should now be included in the price of your flight ticket and so there should be no need to pay additional tax at the airport. However we recommend that you check with your travel agent for the latest information.

Thailand

You will be required to pay airport and departure taxes in most countries. Most of these are added to the ticket price on purchase and you will not need to bother further about them. Others must be paid physically at the airport on departure. All airport taxes in Thailand should now be included in the price of your flight ticket and so there should be no need to pay additional tax at the airport. However we recommend that you check with your travel agent for the latest information.

Tipping

Like in most places around the world, the tourism and hospitality industry in Asia has developed a culture of tipping. Often this is the way where someone such as a waiter in a restaurant makes a living. However, we realise that people of some nationalities still find it quite uncomfortable when confronted by this custom. On our trips your tour leader can advise you on this matter, however, as a guideline we would recommend a tip of 10% in restaurants and US$1 to US$3 per person, per day for a local guide. Taxi, rickshaw, cyclo and tuk-tuk drivers can be tipped according to the length of the journey. If you are unhappy with a service, of course, you are under no obligation to leave a tip. However, if the service has been satisfactory, please consider our advice above.

Over the years we have found that many of our travellers find the need for tipping to be both tiresome and embarrassing, especially if they don't have the correct small change. To overcome this, we have established a tipping kitty system. At your group meeting, your tour leader may discuss the idea of running a group tipping kitty, whereby everybody contributes an equal amount and then your tour leader pays the tips while keeping a running record of all monies spent (except restaurant tips). The record can be checked at any time and any money remaining at the end of the tour returned to group members.

This kitty is not designed to provide a tip for your tour leader, so, if you would like to reward your leader for their services, you can do so individually or make a group presentation at the end of your tour. A minimum tip of US$3 per day, from each member of the group, is the usual amount expected.

Please don't tip with coins, very small denomination notes, or dirty and ripped notes. This is regarded culturally as an insult.

 


while-you-are-travelling

On arrival

On arrival into Bangkok you will be met by a representative of Peregrine and transferred to your hotel.

If arriving into Suvarnabhumi Airport (also known as Bangkok International Airport), after you have collected your luggage and walked through the customs counter please make your way to EXIT 6 and look for a representative holding a sign with your name on it.

If arriving into Don Meuang Airport, once you have collected your luggage and have entered the arrivals hall, turn left and make your way to the Domestic Arrivals area and look for a representative holding a sign with your name on it.

The airport representative will then take you to a car/van for your transfer to the hotel.

If you have any problems finding the airport representative please telephone Miss Lyn on  +66 (0) 81 658 2727 or Klang on +66 (0)81 566 9324 and wait at the Association of Thai Travel Agents.

 

Hotel Check In / Check Out

Generally, your room will be available from around midday. Sometimes it may be available mid-morning but this is in no way guaranteed. If your flight is scheduled to arrive in the early morning you may have to wait until a room becomes available. Alternatively you can book one night's 'pre-tour accommodation' which will ensure that your room is ready whenever you arrive. Rooms must generally be vacated by 12 noon unless you have made prior arrangements with the hotel reception. If you want to keep your room for longer you may have to pay an additional charge.

Photo etiquette

If you want to take someone's photograph, please ask first . This is just normal courtesy and if you are refused permission please abide by that person's wishes. At certain ancient sites, and in most museums, photography (video or still) may be forbidden, or may incur an extra charge for camera-use. Do not take photos of buildings, structures and personnel of potential military significance (including airports, bridges, army barracks, and police stations).

Flexibility and patience

Travelling with us can provide you with some really rewarding travel experiences. Our tours visit countries where travel modes and lifestyles are often not as sophisticated as our own. There is also a laid-back attitude amongst workers and there will often seem to be huge amounts of red tape and bureaucracy when doing the simplest things. You will enjoy your trip much more if you slip into the rhythm of local life and are prepared to take things as they come.

A word on drugs

In most countries even the smallest quantity of an illegal substance is considered a very serious offence and can carry lengthy jail terms. Avoid any contact with illegal drugs. Don’t put yourself and others at risk and never carry bags or luggage for other people. Any person found to be carrying or using illegal drugs will be asked to leave the trip immediately without the right to any refund.


other-important-information

Local Tour Leaders

By employing and training local guides to lead our group holidays, there is a two-fold benefit. Firstly, we provide employment opportunities for the local community. Just as importantly is the benefit to you, the traveller. Your tour leader’s friendship, humour, passion and intimate knowledge of the region will be key factors in making your holiday a success. Peregrine will use different tour leaders to run the various sectors of this particular trip. We will have separate local leaders for Thailand and Laos respectively.

Thai Etiquettes and Customs

Your tour leader will advise you further on Thai cultural etiquettes during your tour; however, here are some simple ones to get you started.

  • Patting a Thai on their head is considered extremely rude and insulting
  • Public displays of affection are not acceptable, including holding hands and kissing.
  • Losing your temper or showing anger and shouting or yelling will lose respect immediately; to remain cool, calm and collected at all times is an admired quality in a person in Thai culture
  • When visiting temples, ensure your shoulders and knees are covered. They are places of worship, so it is important to dress modestly
  • The monarchy is held in very high esteem in Thailand. Please show the highest level of respect to the king of Thailand and never make jokes about him

Songkran in Thailand

The Thai Buddhist New Year or Songkran is celebrated every year on 13th April, although the associated water throwing festivities can start well before and go on through to a week well beyond this date. Songkran is a time of cleaning and renewal. Thais go to the temple to pray, give food to the monks and clean the Buddha statues with scented water. It is believed these practices will bring good luck and prosperity for the coming year. Water is used to pay respect to your elders, particularly your parents, during the Songkran period. It is poured in small amounts over the hands as a sign of respect. These days the nation erupts into one huge water fight and the small amounts have turned into bucket loads. The date used to be set by astrological calculations, but these days the date is set. Until 1888 Songkran represented the beginning of the year in Thailand. After 1888 the date of 1st April was considered the first day of the year. In 1940 the date of 1st January was recognised as the beginning of the new year, in line with international practice. It is a great time of year to be in Thailand and a lot of fun taken in the right spirit. However you will need to have an easy going attitude to your travels, as when you head outside there is a good chance that you will get wet. In addition to this it is a busy travel time, so you may find that the transport listed in the itinerary is not always the transport you get.

Dry Season Tours

Please note that March and April are traditionally the hot dry months. During this time, the villagers burn their fields before the onset of the wet season, in order to prepare for the following season’s harvest. Whilst travelling at this time of the year, please be prepared for the fact that the fields and jungles are not lush and green, but dry and brown.

Infrastructure

Please note that Laos is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during holiday or festival periods. Hence, changes to itineraries may occur due to circumstances beyond our control.

Your fellow travellers

On this trip you may link up with passengers booked on our other tours. 

Single Supplements

Due to the style of accommodation on our tours it might not always be possible to book you in a single room throughout the trip. If you book a single supplement it will not apply to nights in homestays and on boats. If you are unsure of where a single supplement will apply please check with your travel agent before booking.

Please remember that our tours are of an adventurous nature. Our style of travelling means that it is more desirable to carry a backpack and a daypack on our tours. It is also possible to bring soft suitcases, but large heavy ones can be cumbersome and not always convenient to carry around.
A sleeping bag is not required on this trip. It is useful to carry inner sleeping sheets on all adventure tours.

Please note that Laos is a developing country whose infrastructure may differ from what you expect in your homeland. Expect poor road conditions and be prepared for some inconveniences due to such things as restaurants or tourist sites being closed and our regular transport services not always being available, especially so during holiday or festival periods. Hence, changes to itineraries may occur due to circumstances beyond our control. Please note you may find the hotels in smaller towns in Laos such as Pak Beng and Phonsavan to be a lower standard compared with other hotels, this is due to the basic infrastructure and limited choice in these areas. Despite this we hope you enjoy the laid back nature of these destinations

This is an 'adventure' trip and we hope to expose you to all aspects of the various local cultures. Please be open minded while travelling as this will allow you to truly experience everything that these countries have to offer.

Local Emergency Contacts

In the case of a genuine crisis or emergency, the Peregrine Thailand office can be reached on Tel: +66 898 103 722


daily-itin

Journey Down the Laos Mekong

Trip Length

Trip Code

9 days

PAJD

 

Maximum Passengers

16 people

 

Countries Visited

Laos, Thailand

 

Start City

End City

Bangkok

Vientiane

PAJD

 

Day 1: Bangkok

Accommodation: Nouvo City Hotel or similar, Bangkok

Activities:

  • Arrive in Bangkok where you are transferred to the comfortable and centrally located Nouvo City Hotel.
  • A pre-trip briefing is held in the evening, to meet the other members of your group and discuss the trip itinerary. Please check for a Welcome Notice on the Peregrine noticeboard located near the hotel lifts which will provide your tour leader's name and the exact time and location of your Welcome Meeting.
  • Until this meeting we encourage you to get out and discover the delights that Bangkok has to offer, including trying some of Thailand’s famous cuisine. After the group meeting in the evening we may adjourn to a nearby restaurant and enjoy a meal together (this is optional and at your own expense).
  • The rest of the evening is free - perhaps a quiet drink or a visit to the bustling night markets of Bangkok.

Day 2: Bangkok - Chiang Rai

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Wiang Inn Hotel or similar, Chiang Rai

Activities:

  • You will enjoy a city tour of Bangkok. You will visit the Grand Palace and Wat Phra Kaew (Temple of the Emerald Buddha), a must for first-time travellers to Bangkok.
  • You will also visit Wat Pho, home of the famous Reclining Buddha. (When visiting temples and palaces in Thailand, please dress conservatively in order to respect the local culture).
  • You will then transfer to the airport and fly up to the northern city of Chiang Rai.

Day 3: Huay Xai - Pakbeng

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Activities:

  • Today is a very early start, you will we need to leave Chiang Rai before dawn to travel approximately 2½ hours to Chiang Khong.
  • After completing border formalities you will take a small boat across the Mekong River to Huay Xai, your first stop in Laos.
  • For centuries Huay Xai was a disembarkation point for Yunnanese caravans led by the Chinese Muslims on their way to Chiang Rai and Chiang Mai, in ancient Siam. Today it is a hustling ferry town on the banks of the Mekong River.
  • You will transfer to the boat pier, where you will board a slow boat for the trip down the Mekong River.
  • The pace is very relaxed - a perfect way to observe the local lifestyle close up. You will arrive in the evening in Pakbeng; a colourful village situated at the junction of the Mekong River and the smaller Beng River, hence the town’s name ‘Pak’ meaning ‘mouth’ in Lao.
  • Hmong and tribal Thais are frequently seen on the main street of Pakbeng, and small vendors along the street sell local textiles and handicrafts. You will spend the night in a simple hostel.
  • Please be warned that the accommodation standard is very basic, but also bear in mind that you are travelling in a remote area.
  • Please have an open mind and come with an adventurous spirit!

Day 4: Luang Prabang

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: New Daraphet Villa or similar, Luang Prabang

Activities:

  • You will continue your private slow boat journey down the Mekong River, gaining more insights into local rural life along the way.
  • Just before arriving at Luang Prabang you will stop at Pak Ou (meaning ‘mouth of the Ou River’), where the famous Tam Ting Cave houses thousands of Buddha images of various shapes and sizes, all brought there by devoted villagers.
  • You will also stop at the village of Ban Sang Hai, where they make the potent local rice-wine.
  • Your travel time will vary greatly, depending on the water levels, but you will hopefully arrive in Luang Prabang in the early evening.
  • This beautiful town, with its gleaming temple roofs, fading French architecture and stunning mountain backdrop, has been claimed by UNESCO to be ‘the best preserved city in South East Asia’.

Day 5: Luang Prabang

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: New Daraphet Villa or similar, Luang Prabang

Activities:

  • In the morning you will have the option to rise early to view the procession of monks on their daily outing collecting alms, a practice that dates back centuries.
  • The people of the town wait out the front of their houses with food for the monks to collect and take back to the temple.
  • It is done early, as the monks cannot eat anything after midday. By giving food to a monk you ‘het bon’ or make merit, which should augur well for your next life.
  • Following breakfast you will visit the major temples, including the magnificent Wat Xieng Thong, which nestles at the meeting of the Mekong and the Nam Khan Rivers, and Wat Wisunalat, which is the oldest temple in the city.
  • After the tour you will have the chance to walk around the local shops, which are known for hand weaving and other interesting artifacts. You will have the chance to try your hand at bargaining here.
  • You will visit the National Museum at the former Royal Palace next, an interesting structure that dates from the early years of the 20th Century and combines traditional Lao architecture with French colonial influence.
  • The collection of treasures and artifacts reflects the richness of Lao culture, dating from the days of the early kings right through to the last sovereign, who was deposed in 1975.
  • In the afternoon you will embark on another highlight of the stay - a 29 kilometres journey south of town to visit the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfalls.
  • In the evening back in Luang Prabang you will be free to make further discoveries including walking around the popular Night Bazaar.
  • Another great optional activity is to sample a traditional Lao massage and herbal sauna.

Day 6: Phonsavan

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: Anoulack Ken Lao Hotel or similar, Xiengkhouang

Activities:

  • In the mid-morning you will harness your spirit of adventure and travel on a private bus to remote Xieng Khuang Province, an area that was devastated by American bombing between 1964 and 1973.
  • The high altitude means that the weather will be relatively cool. You will visit the province’s old capital of Muang Khun that was largely destroyed in the bombing raids, as well as the nearby villages, home to the Hmong hill tribe who have an interesting local culture and colourful history.
  • The Hmong people wear distinctive costumes and live at high altitudes. You will spend the night in a basic hotel in the small town of Phonsavan, which is the province’s current capital.

Day 7: Phonsavan - Vientiane

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: City Inn or similar, Vientiane

Activities:

  • In the morning you will visit the Plain of Jars, an archaeological site where hundreds of large stone jars are littered all over the plateau.
  • It is said that these jars are over 2000 years old, but there is no reliable way of dating them and archaeologists are still mystified as to their original purpose (opinions vary from burial urns to rice whisky vats).
  • You will then be transferred to the airport to catch a flight to Vientiane - the capital of Laos.

Day 8: Vientiane

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Accommodation: City Inn or similar, Vientiane

Activities:

  • A city tour will acquaint you with the major sights of the capital.
  • You will visit the imposing Patuxai monument (also known as the Anousavari, which translates as ‘Victory’ in Lao), which is Vientiane's version of the Arc de Triomphe and dominates the city's main thoroughfare.
  • It was also nicknamed the ‘Vertical Runway’, which refers to the fact that it was built in the 1960s with funds that the US Government had given to the Lao Government for the expressed purpose of extending the runway at the airport!
  • Wat Si Saket is the oldest temple in the city, and Wat Prakeo, the former royal temple, previously housed the famous Emerald Buddha image before the Siamese took it in the late 18th Century.
  • You will visit both temples and the most famous structure in Laos, the That Luang stupa.
  • A drink in a riverside bar watching the glorious sunset over the Mekong River is the perfect way to finish the day.

Day 9: Vientiane

Meals included: 1 breakfast

Activities:

  • Your tour ends after breakfast.
  • A transfer to the airport is not included; however, your tour leader will be on hand to advise you as to the options available.

about-this-re-departure-inf

The information provided here is given in good faith and has been compiled with all reasonable care. However, things change and some of the information may become out of date. Please keep this in mind when you read it and check with us if you want to be sure about something. The document was correct at time of printing, but you can check online for the most up to date version.  If you have any queries, please contact us. We are here to help you!

Last Updated

14 April 2014


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