8 days Laos for Meditation
Experience Laos from North to South on this adventure of discovery. Begin in Luang Prabang, the cultural capital of Laos and a true gem of Indochina, set on the Mekong river amidst rolling green hills. Once the seat of government of the ancient Kingdom of Laos, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1995. Spend a quiet day meandering up the mighty Mekong, hike to visit local hill tribe villages, and take part in the famed tradition of morning alms-giving to thousands of Buddhist monks. Journey South by air to Pakse, where time seems to run at a slower pace from the rest of the world. Explore the lush Bolaven Plateau and sample smooth, freshly-roasted coffee, grown in the surrounding plantations, and explore the 4,000 Islands area. Finish on the southern Mekong, with a visit to one of the largest waterfalls in the world, Khone Phapaeng Falls.
ITINERARY DETAILSDay 1 Arrive in Luang Prabang, where your expert local guide will greet you at the airport and take you to your hotel. The first afternoon and evening will be at leisure. The Old Town is small and easy to navigate. Take a walk through this UNESCO World Heritage Site and its lamp-lit side streets while you decide where to eat from the many tempting options available, or shop at the colorful Night Market.
Day 2 An early start to see one of the most arresting sights in Asia: the monks of Luang Prabang receiving alms. After breakfast explore the magical Old Town with its many temples, including the wonderful Wat Xieng Thong. This afternoon, visit Khouangsi Waterfalls, perhaps taking the opportunity for a swim in the pools below the falls. (B)
Day 3 Journey up the mighty Mekong river on a long tail boat visiting the Ou Caves and riverside villages, where you will see hand woven textiles, jute paper and the local rice wine, Lao Lao, being produced. Later in the afternoon climb Mount Phou Si for panoramic views of Luang Prabang. (B)
Day 4 An active day in the countryside! Cross the Mekong this morning and journey into the hills for an exciting day of hiking and cyclingto some of the picturesque indigenous hill tribe villages. Along the way you will have the opportunity to experience local small industries, from pottery workshops to sugarcane production. Feast on a delicious lunch, locally prepared in one of the hill tribe villages, before returning to Luang Prabang for a restful evening and dinner. (B, L)
Day 5 You will have a morning at leisure before your flight South to Pakse. Upon arrival, explore the Angkorian temple of Wat Phou, and learn how impressively large the ancient civilization of Angkor was, stretching into modern-day Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam. This picturesque temple is set on a hill overlooking the Mekong river. Your accommodation this evening will be at a lodge on the island of Don Daeng, in the middle of the Mekong. (B)
Day 6 Explore coffee country! Journey by car from Pakse up onto the lush, beautiful Bolaven Plateau, dotted by thousands of coffee, tea, and spice plantations and home to some truly breathtaking waterfalls. The plateau is home to a diverse melting pot of hill tribe cultures, each with its own culture and language. (B)
Day 7 Explore the southernmost tip of Laos, where the Mekong splits into thousands of islands and channels, known as 4,000 Islands. Continue by boat to see one of the largest waterfalls in the world, Khone Phapaeng Falls, where the Mekong river drops over a series of rapids. (B)
Day 8 You will have a morning at leisure before your transfer to PakseInternational Airport for your onward flight.(B)