Backroads to Luang Prabang

info@handspan.com
Customize a tour

Overview

An invitation to discover the only landlocked country in Southeast Asia, its slow rhythm, old-fashioned charm, its incredibly laid-back and friendly people and one of the most spectacular mountain ranges in the region. 
Often mistakenly overlooked as a great travel destination because some of its most alluring spots are not that easy to be accessed, you won't find any beach in Laos, but the truth is that the country has a lot to offer. And we have fondly designed this itinerary together with our Laotian team to prove it to you.

Highlights

  • An itinerary through the North and the Central part of the country which covers its most highly appreciated places.
  • Discover the different facets of the country: its pristine nature, its dazzling architecture, its spiritual mindset, its urban and rural lifestyles.
  • River cruise through the spectacular Kong Lor cave.
  • Exploring the one-of-a-kind setting at the Plain of Jars.
  • Experience the magic in Luang Prabang and its gorgeous natural surroundings.
  • Panoramic cruise on the Mekong (from Luang Prabang to Pak Ou caves).
  • Journeys through impressive fairy mountains and colorful ethnic villages.
  • A gradual introduction to the broad Laotian culture and rough History thanks to our dedicated experienced guide. 

Note

Please kindly note that due to the road infrastructures, the journeys between our destinations on days 4th and 6th will take us around 6-7 hours. Nevertheless, we will be travelling on a comfortable private vehicle, enjoying very rewarding sceneries and also some very interesting visits along our way. Anyway, if you rather split the journeys and extend your stay with any extra overnight en route, just let us know, we will be glad to amend your itinerary accordingly.

Vientiane Impressions

Day 1 Vientiane Impressions

Meals: not included | Accommodation: Vientiane

Meet & greet: Upon arrival at Vientiane airport you will be welcomed to Laos by your private English speaking guide, and then transferred to your hotel.

Your half day city tour, begins with the oldest wat in Vientiane, Wat Sisaket with thousands of miniature Buddha statues, and the former royal temple of Wat Prakeo, which now serves as a museum of arts and antiques.  We then travel up Lanexang Avenue you will have the opportunity to take some pictures of the imposing Patuxai Monument, which resembles its Parisian inspiration, the Arc de Triomphe.  The climb to the top offers great views over Vientiane.  We continue onwards down Rue Singha 23 to Laos’ National icon, and most important religious building, the golden stupa of That Luang.  The final visit of the day will be the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War area.  We then return to your hotel.

Vientiane - Hin Boun

Day 2 Vientiane - Hin Boun

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Hin Boun

You will be picked up this morning from your hotel and transferred south along route 13 to the central Lao province of Khammoune.  En route we stop at Prabaht Ponsan, a stupa dating back to the 15th Century.  It is also home to the Budhhas footprint, left when, as legend has it, he was crossing the Mekong.

Following lunch we make stop at the interesting Ban Ton Na Mae Hmong Market, then continue onwards into Khammoune province and into the mountainous area, where a stop at a view point near Khoun Kham offers a breathtaking view over the karst scenery, or ‘limestone forest’. We arrive at your accommodation by mid afternoon where you have the rest of the day at leisure.

 

Hin Boun – River cruise & Kong Lor Cave

Day 3 Hin Boun – River cruise & Kong Lor Cave

Meals: breakfast, lunch | Accommodation: Hin Boun

After breakfast at your lodge, we drive to Kong Lor village and board a small local boat into the famous Kong Lor Cave. We navigate through the cave, which is over 7km long and includes a spectacular cavern over 100m high, as well as a breathtaking stalagmite gallery which you can explore on foot. On the other side of the cave, we take a short walk past some tobacco drying huts to Ban Pon Ngam, a remote village, where you can enjoy your picnic lunch.  

Following lunch, we return through the cave by boat, then continue by river downstream for a two-hour boat trip, taking in the spectacular limestone scenery en route.  You will arrive back at your lodge by late afternoon where you have the rest of the day at leisure. 

Hin Boun – Muang Khoun - Phonsavan

Day 4 Hin Boun – Muang Khoun - Phonsavan

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: hotel in Phonsavan

We depart early this morning (7am) for the long drive along the backroads of Laos.  Our first stop is Ban Thabuk, the ‘bomb boat village’ which technically are actually fuel tanks from the Vietnam War used as boats.  We continue through rolling countryside scenery, stopping to admire the Nam Mouan River before arriving at Ban Thasi for lunch.

In the afternoon we begin our climb up into the mountains and stop at a number of minority villages, including at Tai Lu weaving village, and a Hmong village.  Late afternoon, we arrive at the ancient town of Muang Khoun, the former provincial capital, where you can explore the ruins of a number of ancient pagodas in the Lanna style and Wat Phiawat, a ruined temple containing a huge sitting Buddha. We continue, and arrive in Phonsavan by early evening.

We arrive in Phonsavan by early evening.

Phonsavan – Plain of Jars

Day 5 Phonsavan – Plain of Jars

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Phonsavan 

This morning we visit the Mines Action Group (or MAG) office to learn about the important work they do in clearing land mines and unexploded ordnance in the area.  We then drive out to the picturesque Jar Site 2, and begin a 1 hour trek along the ridge to Jar Site 3, consisting over around 150 jars located on top of a hill, offering great views.  In the afternoon we visit Jar Site 1, the largest one, containing over 300 jars, before returning to your hotel by late afternoon.

 

Phonsavan – Luang Prabang by road

Day 6 Phonsavan – Luang Prabang by road

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Luang Prabang 

We start early this morning, visiting the interesting Central Market, then we begin our long, but scenic drive to Luang Prabang.  En route we stop at Ban Somboun, a Hmong village.

In the afternoon we visit Ban Kiu Kharm Pom, a friendly Khmu village, and Ban Nam Ming, which offers nice views from its bridge and an opportunity to stretch your legs. We arrive in Luang Prabang by mid afternoon where the rest of the day is at leisure.

Luang Prabang City tour & Mekong Cruise to Pak Ou Cave

Day 7 Luang Prabang City tour & Mekong Cruise to Pak Ou Cave

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Luang Prabang

You can discuss with your guide for an optional early morning start (5.30am) to witness and partake in the daily morning ritual of ‘Tak Bat’ or giving alms to the monks.  This is a unique ritual still followed by the locals in Luang Prabang.  We can also visit the local fresh market to see how the locals shop, before returning to your hotel for breakfast.

After breakfast, we visit the quaint Royal Palace Museum, which gives a good overview of the local history. We also visit the country’s most historic and enchanting temple Wat Xiengthong, with its roof sweeping low to the ground, representing the classical Luang Prabang style. We then continue to the Riverside, where we board a private boat for a cruise upstream on the Mekong River, which gives us a panoramic view of the tranquil countryside. We continue until we reach the mysterious caves of Pak Ou, two caves set in a limestone cliff facing the Mekong River crammed with thousands Buddha statues of various shapes and sizes.  We then return to Luang Prabang by boat, stopping at the weaving and textile villages of Ban Xangkhong and Ban Nongxai. We arrive back in Luang Prabang and visit Wat Visoun, known as ‘The Water Melon Stupa’ due to its shape. Late-afternoon, you have the option to climb Mount Phousi, which offers a spectacular view over Luang Prabang and the Mekong River.

 

Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall (half day)

Day 8 Luang Prabang – Kuang Si Waterfall (half day)

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: Luang Prabang

After breakfast, we visit Ock Pop Tock, a silk weaving centre. Here you will be given a guided tour and the silk weaving process will be explained. We then drive out of the town where you have the option of stopping to visit Khmu, Hmong and Lao Loum villages, representing the main ethnic groups of Laos.

This then takes us to the beautiful Kuang Si Waterfall where you can cool off with a refreshing swim in the turquoise pool or walk along the forest trails.  We then return to Luang Prabang by lunchtime. The afternoon is at leisure.

 

Luang Prabang - Departure

Day 9 Luang Prabang - Departure

Meals: breakfast | Accommodation: not included

Depending on your departure flight, you may have free time at leisure, before being transferred to the airport for your flight.

 

Price per person based on group tour

Group size 2 pax 3-4 pax
Price per person (Oct. 2018-Apr. 2019) USD 1357 USD 938
Price per person (May-Sept 2018 &  2019) USD 1338 USD 919


 

* Prices valid until Sept. 2019

**Would you like to adapt the itinerary, accommodation or any activity as per your needs and preferences? Then just get in touch with us with your comments at info@handspan.com.

* Special prices for groups of more than 4 people and the possibility to connect the tour with other stages of your trip around Indochina, by contacting us at info@handspan.com

*A private trip for a solo traveler is also available with a surcharge.

Included

  • Accommodation (upgrades possible with a supplement)
    • Vientiane
      • Beau Rivage (Superior room)
    • Hin Boun
      • Spring River Resort (Riverside room)
    • Phonsavan
      • Vansana XKH (Standard room)
    • Luang Prabang
      • Villa Chitdara (Superior room)
  • Transportation in private vehicle & Boat trip as stated 
  • Accommodation in shared double room
  • English speaking guide
  • Admission fee to indicated sights
  • Meals: daily breakfast at hotel, lunch/dinner where stated only 
  • Gov’t tax 


 

Not included

  • International flights and visas
  • Personal travel Insurance
  • Child or adult in triple sharing room
  • Drinks, gratuities and personal expenses 
  • Supplements on peak season
Banner 1
Banner 1