This 23-day tailor-made adventure covers the main highlights of these three very different but equally special destinations while enjoying accommodation at some of Indochina's most luxurious properties along the way, creating an unforgettable private journey, utilising the services of our experienced local guides.
Day 1: London - Vientiane
Fly from the UK to Vientiane and transfer to your chosen hotel.
Day 2: Vientiane
Upon arrival, you'll be met by your local guide and driver at the airport and transferred to your hotel. The remainder of the day is at your leisure to explore one of Asia's most relaxed capital cities.
Stay: Green Park Boutique Hotel (Superior) or Settha Palace (Deluxe)
Day 3: Vientiane
This morning you'll enjoy a private tour of Vientiane taking in the main highlights of the capital, including the lively morning market, or Talat Sao, where vendors sell all manner of products including silk and cotton textiles, gold and silver jewellery, and ornate wooden carvings. From there you'll head to Wat Sisaket, Vientiane's oldest original temple, built in 1818. Across the street, the former royal temple of the Lao monarchy Haw Pha Kaew, has now been converted into a fascinating museum.
Next you'll head to the most frequented temple in Vientiane, Wat Si Muang. With a bit of luck, you may see local temple-goers praying for good fortune. From here you'll continue on to the COPE Visitor's Centre, an outstanding organisation providing prosthetic limbs to victims of UXOs (unexploded ordnance) and vehicle accidents in Laos. This centre gives you both an informative and interactive experience into some of the issues still plaguing Laos from the days of the Indochina war.
Your journey continues with a stop at Phra That Luang, the most important national monument in Laos that is symbolic of both the monarchy and the Buddhist religion. Finally, you'll visit the Patuxai Monument that bears a striking resemblance to the Arc de Triomphe in Paris and is yet another reminder of the country's French ties.
Day 4: Vientiane - Luang Prabang
Check out of your hotel and transfer to the airport for your flight to Luang Prabang, the charming former imperial capital of Laos. Spend the afternoon relaxing before heading out in the evening to a traditional Baci ceremony and dance performance, during which you'll be offered tidings of good luck for your travels through Indochina. Animism has always played an integral part in the religious lives of the Lao people and the Baci is performed as a welcome or farewell, to bring good luck or to ward off bad spirits. After the Baci Ceremony, you'll head to dinner at a local restaurant.
Day 5: Luang Prabang
Today you'll explore Luang Prabang's temples and nearby Kuang Si Waterfalls. Begin your day at Wat Mai, a temple that was spared sacking by the Chinese in the late nineteenth century because of its beauty and design. From here, you'll head to the serene Wat Xieng Thong before heading out of Luang Prabang for a unique, hands-on learning experience where you'll participate in the 14 steps of the rice cycle on the Living Lands Community Farm. On the tour you will take on the role of a rice farmer for the day, from planting the seeds to ploughing the fields with the help of the farm’s resident water Buffalo, before getting the chance to sample the rice!
After lunch, you will go to the Kuang Si Falls, one of the most beautiful falls in Laos. There, you'll have the opportunity to swim and relax amidst the stunning and verdant jungle surrounds and turquoise pools at the base of the falls. You'll then have the chance to get up close and personal with some Asiatic Black Bears which are cared for in a bear sanctuary nearby, many of whom have been saved from the illegal wildlife trade or have been placed there as a result of habitat degradation. Following your visit to the falls, you'll return to your hotel in Luang Prabang.
Day 6: Luang Prabang
Today begins with an early start as you witness one of the most memorable sights of Luang Prabang - 'Tak Bat'. At dawn hundreds of saffron robed monks move silently through the streets to collect alms (offerings of food). Your guide will explain the background behind this ritual, which is still very much a part of everyday life in Laos. It's an early start but well worth the wake-up call! Afterwards, take a stroll through the colourful open-air market, which is located in the town centre along the banks of the Mekong River, where local people from Luang Prabang buy and sell their produce, before returning to your hotel for breakfast.
After breakfast, depart with your local guide and head down to the river to take a leisurely boat journey along the Mekong to the Pak Ou caves. Along the way, admire the Mekong riverside scenery, as you pass rural villages, local fishermen and mountains carpeted with thick green forest. At the caves, you will witness a centuries-old tradition, as local people add Buddha statues to the base of the small cave. The boat journey to the cave will take around one and a half hours.
After gliding back into town, transfer to your private vehicle, and visit an Ock Pop Tock in a village on the outskirts of Luang Prabang, where you will learn about traditional Lao weaving. In the late afternoon, Laotian refreshments and cocktails will be served in the garden on the banks of the Mekong before you return to Luang Prabang and spend the evening at leisure.
Day 7: Luang Prabang - Hanoi
Enjoy a relaxing morning at your hotel before you transfer to Luang Prabang Airport for a late afternoon flight to Hanoi in the north of Vietnam. On arrival you'll be met and transferred to your hotel.
Day 8: Hanoi
Today you'll enjoy a city tour of Hanoi with your expert local guide. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Quarter, dedicated to the father of modern Vietnam, Uncle Ho, to see his mausoleum, the Presidential Palace, his 'house on stilts', the Ho Chi Minh Museum and the One Pillar Pagoda. Continue your tour with a visit to the Temple of Literature, Vietnam's first university, which is now dedicated to Confucian ...
This trip has no fixed departures but restrictions may apply - check operator website
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