11 Days Laos Retreat

Luang Prabang – Pakse – Bolaven Plateau – Wat Phou – Champasak – 4000 Islands – Done Daeng – Pakse

Full itinerary

Day 1 Luang Prabang arrival

On arrival at the Luang Prabang airport, you will be met and transferred to check in the hotel.
Situated in the centre of northern Laos, Luang Prabang is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its outstanding cultural, historic and architectural values and its harmonious relationship between the natural and built environment.
After a soft rest, our guide will walk you through the small streets of Luang Prabang to admire the local life. We will make a stop at one of the petanque course, where we will join a game with a local team.

Late afternoon, join a private Baci ceremony at a local family. The Baci ceremony as a traditional ritual of the Lao people expresses the spirituality of the country and is a highly memorable experience and a deep insight into Lao culture for the participants.

The dinner will then be served at the White Lotus Restaurant whilst watching the colorful Ethnic Fashion Show, which will help you learn some interesting Laos ethnic clothes.

Transfer back to your hotel after that.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 2 Luang Prabang Culture & Architecture (B/D)

After breakfast, our guide will take you on an in-depth walking tour of the city with Mr. Francis Engelmann, who is the retired UNESCO specialist.
The walk is oriented towards the lesser known parts of the town including charming lanes showing the more traditional atmosphere of the heritage town.
Along the way, we will see the four different types of buildings categorized by UNESCO.
The first one is the traditional Lao house which is made from tropical hardwood or bamboo and built on stilts.
The second is a half wood and half cement house built after the arrival of the French.
The third is the traditional French colonial building that are similar to those found in Vietnam and Cambodia.
The last form of architecture you will see is the old Chinese shop houses that were built to be used for both commercial and residential purposes.

During the walk, it is your chance to ask any questions that you may have about Luang Prabang history or culture for our specialist before leaving him around noon time.
In the afternoon, we will visit some famous attractions inside city center including the oldest temple of Wat Sene and the magnificent Wat Xiengthong with its roofs sweeping low to the ground, which represents classical Laotian architecture.
We then continue with a visit to the Royal Palace Museum, which hosts a range of interesting artifacts. From there, we walk to the nearby Wat Mai, which is one of Luang Prabang’s largest and most richly decorated temples.
Late afternoon, we climb up to the top of Mount Phousi for an enjoyable exploration of the sacred, gilded stupa as well as a panoramic sunset view of the city and the Mekong River. 
Descending the hill, we will join the Royal Ballet Theatre at the National Museum to watch the traditional show of Phralak Phralam and learn about the history and culture of Laos.

Note:  Shows are held every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday at 1800h in high season (October to March) and 18h30 in low season (March to September).

For the dinner, we will try a bowl of Khaupoon at local restaurant, which will be the highlight of your culinary exploration of Luang Prabang

Transfer back to your hotel after that.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 3 Luang Prabang - More Ethnic Culture Insight (B/D)

Optional: Early morning, we recommend joining a morning Yoga class at Luang Prabang Yoga, which will take about 1 hour starting at 07:30AM at Utopia Bar & Restaurant before returning to your hotel for breakfast. Class fee is KIP40,000/person ~ $5 (payable on spot in KIP only – pre-reservation not accepted). Note: you need to come on time if you are interested. In case you come late, you are not allowed to join. Here is the class schedule & pricing

We have ample time to relax before transferring to the Traditional Arts & Ethnology Center, the collection of diverse Lao ethnic groups. We will stroll around to visit the center to understand more about the Lao ethnic culture.

After that, we will join the seminars of “Ethnic Diversity and Cultural Change in Laos”

This fascinating 60-minute presentation and question-and-answer session gives background on Laos’ ethnic communities, their history, and their cultural practices, including livelihoods and crafts. Guests have an opportunity to learn about lifestyles in ethnic villages and are shown unique artefacts from TAEC’s collection that are not accessible to the general public.

The seminars are led by one of the two TAEC Founder/Directors, either Thongkhoun Soutthivilay, a Luang Prabang-native who worked at the Luang Prabang National Museum for 10 years, and who has attended trainings and conferences in the US, Thailand, Netherlands, Japan, and Brunei; or Tara Gujadhur, an American who has worked in Luang Prabang for over 10 years, with a background in anthropology and sustainable tourism development

The sample ethnic Khmu lunch will be served at TAEC Café.

In the afternoon, we will learn more about the ethnic traditional music and performance watching a Hmong or Khmu musicians playing the traditional music instruments.

After that, we will head to Lao Red Cross to enjoy a traditional Lao massage, which will help you recover from the exploration in the last some days. It might be no frills, but well-trained staff give first-rate massages and there's a terrific sauna infused with medicinal plants that will clear your respiratory system like Vicks vapour rub!

From there, transfer to the boat pier and join a cruise along the Mekong River whilst the sun is setting behind the faraway mountains.

The dinner will be served after that while the boat leisurely cruising back to Luang Prabang.

Then transfer back to your hotel.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Day 4 Kuang Si Waterfall - Butterflies Park (B)

Wake up as the sun rises, we will prepare to join the most sacred tradition of Laos, the daily morning alms giving, which dates to the 14th century. More than 200 Buddhist monks depart from various temple to gather their daily meal from the faithful residents sitting quietly on the streets.
We then visit the temporary morning market near the former Royal Palace. Just set on the ground, the local people come here to barter their day’s catch from rice, to vegetable, to fish, or chicken.
Back to hotel to have breakfast and take some rest.

Around 10:00AM transfer directly to the beautiful Kuang Si, which is the biggest waterfall in the Luang Prabang area with three tiers leading to a 50-metre drop into spectacular azure pools before flowing downstream. The pools also make great swimming holes and are very popular with both tourists and locals
There is also the chance to walk to the nearby village of Ban Thapene, and explore the hidden waterfalls, which is rarely visited by other tourists
If you wish, take a short visit to the Bear Rescue Center, which houses a couple of dozen animals rescued from the hands of poachers and traffickers.

After visiting Kuang Si waterfalls, you can visit the nearby Butterflies Park, where you can enjoy the afternoon tea with the

homemade cookies whilst relaxing inside the green peaceful garden full of colorful butterflies.
On the way back to Luang Prabang, we will take a short visit to the Ock Pop Tock Living Craft Center, set serenely close to the Mekong, this beautiful, traditionally styled workshop, where weavers, spinners and batik makers produce top-quality fabrics, offers free tours every half-hour.

Transfer back to your hotel after that.

Overnight in Luang Prabang.

Tip: Late afternoon, join the cinema at Amalea Restaurant to watch the 100-year-old Chang Movie, which is the oldest film about Laos. This is a silent film about a poor farmer in northern Nan Province (northern Thailand) and his daily struggle for survival in the jungle.

The dinner is recommended at the restaurant before returning to your hotel (not included – payable on spot)

Day 5 Mekong River Cruise - Pak Ou cave (B/L)

You have ample time to rest in the morning.

At 9:30AM, transfer to the boat pier where we will take the i-Mekong boat upstream the Mekong river to Pak Ou Cave.

Along the way, we will make the first stop at Ban Muang Kham, which is known for producing riverweed called Khaiphaen in Lao Language. This riverweed is very nutritious and makes a delicious appetizer.

We arrive at Pak Ou cave around 11:30AM. This is the site of ancient spiritual significance. It was here, during the 15th century, that the animistic religions were peacefully united with Buddhism. Within the two caves of Tham Ting (local name of Pak Ou cave), are stupas, shrines, and carving of Buddha.

Over 4000 wooden figures of Buddha, many highly ornate, stand within the natural limestone caves, testament to the skill of Lao craftsmen centuries ago.

Back on board i-Mekong savor local cuisine for lunch whilst cruising back to Luang Prabang.

From there, we will transfer to Hillside Nature Lifestyle Resort, which locates just 10km from the city center amongst the ever-green nature.

Free for the rest of the day for your own exploration of the surrounding area.

Overnight at Hillside Nature Lifestyle Resort

Day 6 Free among the nature (B)

You are free to stroll around the resort or the nearby area.

There is the option of trekking to the jungle behind the resort via the marked route and maps from the resort.

For the kids (if any), there is the option of Led Pony riding program which is designed for the younger visitors of the Hillside Lodge. The instructor will present the ponies and explain to children, how horses communicate and how to treat them correctly. Children will ride pony accompanied by the instructor.

If you are the adventurer, just walk to the nearby Nahm Dong Park, which has plenty of activities such as trekking, ziplining, or flying bridge. The park also offers a cooking class if you are into the traditional Lao cuisine.

Overnight at Hillside Nature Lifestyle Resort

Day 7 Luang Prabang - Pakse- Bolaven Plateau (B)

After breakfast, we will transfer back to Luang Prabang to take the flight to Pakse, the biggest town of the southern Laos. (Suggest flight depart @ 11:00)

Upon arrival, we will drive to Tad Phaseum waterfalls, where we enjoy an easy trek to nearby villages of ethnic minorities villages like Laven, Alak, Taoy, and others. 
From there, we drive further to Tadlo Waterfalls, upon arrival, we will trek to visit waterfall and other minority village near by Tadlo area of Ban Kiengtanglae and Ban Nanong. We then continue driving over the plateau to Paksong.
Along the way we will stop Tha Teng Market, a colourfull ethnic minority food market. Next, we explore a couple of fascinating minority villages of Ban Pong (An Alak village that boats a sacrificial altar) and Ban Kokphung (A Katu village where they keep coffins under their houses).
From there, transfer directly through the plateau to your accommodation to spend the night.

Day 8 Bolaven Plateau - 4000 Islands (B)

After breakfast, visit Tad Fane and enjoy the scenery around waterfall, which is spectacular with twin waterfalls plummeting into a deep gorge surrounded by flourishing vegetation.
After that, we will transfer directly to Khong Island and embark on a 1.5 hour long tail boat for venturing into the widest reach of the Mekong River, where during the dry season the waters recede and leave behind thousands of islets, giving this area a lovely name” Si Phan Done”.
Upon arrival, explore the local peaceful villages of Ban Khone, where you will see an array of relics from the French colonial era and retrace the old colonial past, including old French colonial buildings and the remnants of the first Lao railway with its locomotive.
We continue to discover the 4000 islands area by tuktuk and visit the marvelous Liphi waterfall, also called the "Corridor of the Devil" one of the most beautiful waterfalls marking Lao border with Cambodia.
If we are lucky, we may even see the rare freshwater Irrawaddy Mekong dolphin at Ban Hang Khone.
Free for the rest of the day for your own exploration of the island. We recommend you take a bike for a ride around the island to see the local life and admire the sunset along the Mekong riverbank.
Overnight in Khone Island.

Day 9 Khone Phapheng Waterfall - Wat Phou - Done Daeng (B)

After breakfast, return to the mainland at the fishing village of Ban Nakasang and drive further south to visit Khone Phapheng, which is considered the largest waterfall by volume in South East Asia
Khone Phapheng is an impressive spot near the Lao-Cambodian border, set within an area which is teeming with wildlife, making this area one of the most breathtaking destinations in Laos.
We then transfer back to Champasak and take the boat crossing Mekong river to the island of Daeng.

This charming island is the home to the lovely La Folie Lodge, a car-free island in front of Champasak Town.

Don Daeng, in Lao the “Red island” is a peaceful haven, within the protected area of the Vat Phu.

You have ample time to rest and relax by the pool of the lodge.

Around mid-afternoon, we will take another boat to the other side of Mekong river, where we will visit Wat Phou, an ancient Khmer religious complex dating back to the 5th Century.
Recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, Wat Phou is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits amidst the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos, which was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat.
The temple served as the most important economic and political centre of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples.
Take the boat back to Done Daeng before dusk.

Overnight at La Folie Lodge

Distance: 137KM | 2.5-hour transfer | MAPS

Day 10 Free to explore the island

You are free to stroll around the island for your own exploration. The lodge has free bicycle and the maps for you to borrow and explore the island on the marked route on your own.

If you wish, there is also the free boat transfer to the town of Champasak.

Overnight in Done Daeng.

Day 11 Done Daeng - Pakse departure

Free before transferring back to Pakse to take the departure flight.

Price and Condition

Service included:

  • Transportation with air-condition in private
  • Accommodation in twin/double shared room
  • Flight Luang Prabang to Pakse on Day 7
  • Boat trip as stated in above sights
  • English speaking guide
  • Admission fee to indicated sights
  • Meals as per program
  • Gov’t tax and service charge
  • Luggage handling and drinking water

Service exluded:

  • Visa stamping fee on arrival
  • All air tickets quoted separately
  • Travel Insurance in all kinds
  • Single room (quoted separately)
  • Other foreign language guide
  • Peak tourist season or special event rates
  • Tip, drinks and other personal expenses

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