ITINERARY BY DAY
Day 1: Luang Prabang
Arrive in Luang Prabang, a sacred place of golden temples and saffron robed monks. Situated amid mountains beside the Mekong River, its temples and monuments offer plenty of sightseeing opportunities. Spend the afternoon exploring on your own at the relaxed pace of a laid-back Laotian.
In the late afternoon take a one-hour guided walking tour of Luang Prabang’s bustling night market, which is open daily from dusk until about 10pm. Browse for food, handicrafts and those famous Beer Lao T-shirts!
Day 2: Luang Prabang
Cruise the orange coloured waters of the Mekong River to the Pak Ou Caves that have become shrines to devotees of Buddhism. For hundreds of years, followers have come to the caves to pray and make merit, by leaving behind a statue of Buddha. Nowadays, the caves are jammed packed with statues more and more being added each year. Down river, visit Ban Xang village to see traditional weaving on ancient wooden looms.
Day 3: Luang Prabang
Rise early to the sound of the temple gong and witness Luang Prabang’s mystical daily ritual. In the cool of the early morning, a procession of about three hundred young monks walk silently by, collecting sticky rice and other foods in their bronze bowls. Watch as the monks disappear down the road in a long, saffron-coloured ribbon – it’s worth waking up for! Later, take a swim at the stunning Kuang Si Waterfall. The falls cascade over many calcified tiers and down several hundred feet into a series of cool, turquoise pools.
Day 4: Luang Prabang – Vientiane
Fly to Vientiane, arguably the quietest capital city in Asia. Begin a whirlwind tour starting at Wat Sisaket Vientiane's oldest-surviving monastery and its thousands of Buddha statues, followed by Hor Pha Ke, a museum with a turbulent history. You’ll see Pha That Luang a national symbol of Laos with its golden stupa and Patouxai, Vientiane’s arc de triomphe, and a window into its French-colonial history.
Day 5: Vientiane – Pakse
Fly to Pakse the sleepy provincial capital of Champasak. Begin with an easy trek through coffee plantations, villages and forest to reach the plains of the Bolaven Plateau. See waterfalls and ancient temples ruins, and enjoy the refreshingly cool climate – a rarity in Southeast Asia!
Day 6: Pakse – 4000 Islands
Travel to the ancient ruins of Wat Phou temple complex that pre-dates Cambodia’s famous Angkor Wat by a couple of hundred years. Take an elephant trek to the archaeological site of Phou Asa to peek at more ancient ruins and go by ferry to Khong Island, a riverine archipelago in the Mekong River and the gateway to the 4000 Islands.
Day 7: 4000 Islands
Cruise past the tiny islands dotted throughout this tropical paradise to Khone Phapeng and Li Phi Falls, the largest waterfalls in Asia. If you’re lucky, you might see some of the rare and elusive pink Irrawaddy dolphins that call the 4000 Islands home!
Day 8: 4000 Islands – Pakse
Drive north to Pakse and your onward flight.