Indulge in quality time with your family as you explore the beautiful country of Laos. Enriched with a deep cultural history and unmissable natural landmarks, explore and discover the mysticism of Laos, as you adventure through the heart of the nations. Crystal flowing waterfalls produce perfect backdrops to cement unforgettable experiences with your family, whereas the rich religious history of Buddhism prevalent through the country, provides a formative education about the culture of Southeast Asia. With an abundance of discover around every corner, this family adventure to Laos will enhance the level of family holidays.
Upon arrival, your guide will be waiting to transfer you from the airport to your hotel.
As the sun sets, participate in a one-hour walking tour through the vibrant night market of Luang Prabang, open from dusk daily. Browse through the colourful textiles, quilts, carvings, basketry, ceramics, clothing, and handmade paper, authentically crafted by the locals of Laos. Conclude your first day in Luang Prabang with a delectable evening meal.
This morning explores a myriad of the former royal capital’s cultural highlights. Visit Wat Xieng Thong, one of the largest and most decorative temples in the region, alongside Wat Mai, with its beautiful, gilded façade. Then wander to the former Royal Palace, a commanding structure in the centre of town that until 1946 was the heart of the Lang Xang Kingdom. The royal palace now operates as Laos’ National Museum, it’s halls housing rare religious and cultural artefacts. Climb over three-hundred steps to the top of Mount Phousi and delight in the panoramic views of the city, before visiting the Ock Pop Tok Craft centre displaying the production of lao weaving and local textiles.
Later in your day, take a short journey to the stunning Kuang Si Waterfalls where you can take a swim in crisp emerald water. The falls cascade over many calcified tiers and down several metres into a series of turquoise pools. From the waterfall, visit the Sun Bear Reserve, a nearby conservation centre that rescues these natively South East Asian furry creatures that are becoming endangered in their natural habitat. On the way back to your hotel, stop to visit the local Buffalo Dairy farm.
A guide will transfer you from your hotel around 8:00am to the Elephant Village Camp, where you will be greeted by your hosts and briefed about the centre and its residents. Explore the centre, as you meet and feed the elephant before visiting the onsite museum, elephant hospital, photo gallery and in the unique dung paper making production area. Experience the Tad Sae Waterfall, on board a traditional Lao long boat as you ride towards the natural landmark. Once there, relax onboard or take a swim in the crystal, clear water – bring swimwear long if you intend to go for a dip. Delight in a buffet lunch and a refreshing beverage at the Elephant Camp restaurant – vegetarian options are available. Depart the centre, transferring back to your hotel in Luang Prabang around 1:00pm.
To reduce plastic waste usage, the centre will give out reusable aluminium water bottles that can be refilled throughout your days journey.
Later in the evening, take a drive out to a nearby village where you will meet a local family who will act as hosts for your evening culinary journey. Head off to the nearby market, where you will buy your evening ingredients. You will soon be familiar with galangal and lemongrass and be able to identify the weird and wonderful herbs found at the food market with the help of your host chef. With your ingredients bagged up, head to the family house and get ready to cook. Laos’s cuisine is quite like Thai but hotter and spicier, due to the inclusion of lots of chilli. Depending on the availability in the market, you may create a lovely laap, which is a spicy salad of minced pork or chicken paired with sticky rice. Alternatively, produce the popular green papaya salad accompanied with shrimp paste, sugar and lime juice. Take a seat to taste test your cooking skills, before strolling through the village as you return to Luang Prabang.
The next day, hop aboard a cruise along the orange coloured waters of the Mekong River. As you pass along the river, witness daily life on the banks of the Mekong, before making a short stop at a local village to witness the art of weaving textiles on ancient wooden looms. Next visit the Pak Ou Caves, known locally as Tham Ting, two grand limestone caves situated at the confluence of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. Due to a hundred-year tradition of Buddhist followers coming to the caves to pray and make merit, by leaving behind a statue of Buddha, the caves have slowly become shrines to devotees of Buddhism, filled with hundreds of statues which increase every year. Take a short wander from from the caves to a nearby village, where you will have lunch, before cruising downstream arriving back at Luang Prabang in the early afternoon.
After a hearty morning breakfast, take a six-hour drive through the picturesque winding roads towards Vang Vieng. Stunning vistas of towering limestone karst hills can be seen around every turn. Capture fantastic photos of tribal villages along the way. Arriving at Vang Vieng later in the afternoon, witness the sunset views beyond the river and spectacular mountain scenery. Before relaxing in the evening at your hotel, visit some of Laos most amazing natural landmarks at the Tham Jung and Tham Phoukham caves, as well as the deep emerald waters at the Blue Lagoon.
Today is spent at your own leisure, explore Vang Vieng with your family or alternatively participate in one of the optional tours.
Optional Tour – Vang Vieng Cave and Kayak Explorer
Depart from Vang Vieng, as you begin a day filled with kayaking adventure. After a briefing to ensure your safety on this journey, set off down the vast beautiful Nam Song River With your family aboard, paddle down a few small sets of rapids onward to your first stop at Tham Xang, also known as the Elephant Cave. Walk up to the grand theatrical cave, where you will gain understanding about the local history of the area.
After emerging from the cave, a short kayak journey will take you to a serene spot on the riverside to enjoy a picnic lunch. After lunch, continue down river until you reach the next stop at the Organic Farm, where mulberry tea and a variety of different fruit wines are produced.
Continuing downstream, arrive at Tham None Cave, one of the largest caves in Vang Vieng! Serving as a bomb shelter for local villagers during the Second Indochina War, today the cave is home to groups of bats and the ‘Magic Stone of Vang Vieng’. Your guides will explore the history of the cave and magic stones, before starting on the final leg of the journey. Take a gentle paddle downstream to Vang Vieng, arrive in time to witness the glorious sunset.
Approximately: 7 hour excursion during wet season and 6 hours during the dry season.
After breakfast at your hotel, transfer to Vientiane, which is approximately a three to four-hour drive. However, on the way stop off at the Nam Ngum Lake, where you can delight in a regional lunch at a local restaurant before setting sail on a cruise around the lake. The onboard perspective provides outstanding panoramic views of the vast artificial lake, housing a myriad of small islands which were formed when the Ngum River was dammed for hydroelectricity.
Begin a whirlwind tour starting at Wat Sisaket, Vientiane’s oldest-surviving monastery featuring over one thousand statues of Buddha. Discover the history behind Hor Pha Keo, a former temple which was razed to the ground, not once but twice, by an invading ancient Thai army. Witness the glorious Pha That Luang, a national symbol of Laos represented on both the national seal and national currency. Marvel at the grand stupa covered gold leaf and surrounded by thirty smaller stupas. In addition, admire the impressive hand painted frescos that adorn the internal walls. Climb to the viewing platform of Patouxai, Vientiane’s very own arc de triumph. The landmark presents a window into the French colonial history of the region. Embrace the local Lao cuisine as you enjoy in your complimentary lunch at a local restaurant.
Utilise your last day in Vientiane exploring any part of the city you’ve left unturned or thriving in the hotels facilities, before transferring to the airport for your departing flight.