Before you travel to Vietnam, discover another Indochinese gem in Laos, once known as the “land of a million elephants.” We’ll pair Vientiane, the French-influenced capital on the the Mekong, with Luang Prabang, a charming northern town declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its abundance of active temples and architectural treasures.
- It's Included:
- Airfare from Bangkok to Vientiane, Vientiane to Luang Prabang, and Luang Prabang to Hanoi
- Accommodations for 1 night in Bangkok, 2 nights in Vientiane, and 3 nights in Luang Prabang
- 13 meals—5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, and 4 dinners (including 1 Home-Hosted Lunch)
- 12 small group activities
- Services of our own resident OAT Trip Leader, who speaks English and the native language
- NEW for 2015: Gratuities for local guides, drivers, and luggage porters
- All transfers
Fly overnight from the U.S. to Thailand, losing one day en route as you cross the International Date Line over the Pacific.
You arrive in Bangkok late in the evening. You will be met at the airport and escorted to your hotel.
This morning, we’ll have breakfast at our hotel before our departure to the airport for our flight to Vientiane, Laos. We arrive around noon, and our Laos Trip Leader will meet us at the airport and escort us to our hotel. We’ll check into our hotel in Vientiane and have the rest of the afternoon at leisure. This evening we gather together to enjoy dinner and a classical dance performance.
We have breakfast at our hotel, then we set out to explore Vientiane. We start our explorations with a visit to the Patuxay Victory Gate Monument. We also visit the Haw Phra Kaew (House of the Emerald Buddha), which contains some of the best Buddhist sculptures in Laos. Nearby stands Wat Sisaket, the oldest monastery in Vientiane, featuring an impressive 6,840 Buddha statues in varying sizes and positions.
We’ll enjoy an included lunch at a local restaurant. Afterwards, we visit the Great Sacred Stupa (Pha That Luang), a national symbol of Laos. Spend a free afternoon in Vientiane; then we'll gather for dinner at our hotel this evening.
After breakfast at our hotel, we depart for the airport to travel to Luang Prabang, the ancient, royal capital of Laos, located on a peninsula between the Mekong and Khan rivers with green mountains all around.
After checking into our hotel, we have lunch at a local restaurant and take an orientation walk around the neighborhood. We’ll visit the royal temple Wat Xieng Thong, the oldest in the city.
We'll continue to Phousi Hill in the center of the old town. Here you’ll climb the 328 steps and at the top, overlook most of Luang Prabang. You’ll take in views of the Khan and Mekong rivers, and if the weather permits, enjoy a colorful sunset. Then continue on to Luang Prabang’s bustling night market and later enjoy dinner together.
This morning, we’ll enjoy an in-depth look at what life is like in present-day Laos. First we’ll head to Ban Huay Hia, a nearby hill tribe village. During our time here, we’ll enjoy a walking tour, stopping to meet with local Khmu people, one of the regions's largest ethnic groups. Then, a local family will invite us to a Home-Hosted Lunch for a personal perspective on Khmu life.
In the afternoon you'll return to the hotel, with some fr ee time to explore. Dinner is on your own this evening in Luang Prabang.
Today, we rise early to witness and participate in an ancient Buddhist tradition—alms-giving to local monks. Then embark on a boating excursion along the Mekong, including lunch onboard. We'll stop along the way to visit a village known for its homemade "whiskey" and Pak Ou Cave, filled with hundreds of Buddhist statues. Enjoy time at leisure this afternoon before we gather at a local restaurant in Luang Prabang for our Farewell Dinner.
After breakfast at the hotel and some free time this morning, we’ll visit the Royal Palace Museum, which was built from 1904-1909 during the reign of King Sisavang Vong and served as his palace.
We return to our hotel before heading to the airport for our evening flight to Hanoi, where we’ll join travelers on our Inside Vietnam trip.