5 days Luang Prabang Interlude
Explore the cultural capital of Laos, Luang Prabang — 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. The exotic, beautiful Buddhist pagodas which dot the city add to the town´s rich tapestry of culture and history, and will give you a better understanding of the importance of religion in the Laos way of life. 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.
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 Pak 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 cycling to 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 transfer to Luang Prabang International Airport for your onward flight. (B)