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  • Exploration of Laos

    Code: LFT03 - Duration: 11 Days
    Start: Luang Prabang | Finish: Vientiane
  • Known as the ancient kingdom of the “Millions of Elephants”, Laos has awe-inspiring nature full of rugged mountains, impressive waterfalls and the mighty Mekong River winding its way through the slim country. Exploration of Laos is a complete circuit around the country, from North to South, built around the most famous natural, cultural and accessible sites of Laos. Start in Luang Prabang, you will be introduced to the spiritual center of the country by visiting temples dating back from the 16th century and enjoy elephant riding through forests and over hills to the protected Huay Sae hidden valley. Drop a visit to Khuang Si Waterfall before driving to Vang Vieng where you will take a long-tail boat upstream Nam Song River to enjoy the beautiful. From here, we head for Vientiane to explore the oldest temples designed under Khmer architecture. The trip is followed by exploring the spectacular Kong Lor cave along underground section of the Hin Boun River before heading back to Vientiane for your flight to next destination.

    Highlights:

    • See the classical architecture of Luang Prabang templesExploration of Laos
    • Enjoy elephant riding through forests and over hills
    • Admire the wonderful Khuang Si Waterfall 
    • Take a long-tail boat for one hour upstream Nam Song River in Vang Vieng to enjoy the beautiful scenery
    • Enjoy the Khmer architecture through the temples in Vientiane 
    • Explore spectacular Kong Lor Cave along underground section of the Hin Boun River 
    • Charming hotels in great locations
    • Comfortable & spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Luang Prabang arrival (-/-/D)
    Day 2: Luang Prabang City (B/L/-)
    Day 3: Luang Prabang - Shangri Lao Elephant Adventure (B/L/-)
    Day 4: Luang Prabang - Khuang Si - Vang Vieng (B/L/-)
    Day 5: Vang Vieng (B/L/-)
    Day 6: Vang Vieng - Vientiane (B/-/D)
    Day 7: Vientiane - Buddha Park (B/L/-)
    Day 8: Vientiane - Ban Kong Lor (B/L/-)
    Day 9: Exploration of Kong Lor Caves (B/-/-)
    Day 10: Bang Kong Lor - Vientiane (B/-/-)
    Day 11: Vientiane - Departure (B/-/-)

    • Ability to change the direction of the program
    • Possibility of an extension in Vietnam & Cambodia 

    Notes:

    - We specialize in “tailor-made” tours for groups of two or more. We carefully inspect each step of your journey from the accommodation to the perfect guide to suit your needs
    - The itinerary is open to modification to fit your personal travel needs
    - Modifications to the itinerary may increase the price of the package
    - For the price of this trip, just ask for a quote by clicking on "TOUR PRICE"

    - If you are looking for a trip modified to your requirements, please send us your needs by filling out the form in Customize your trip” 
    - We will contact and send you a quote, excluding holiday period, within 48 hours of receiving your request. 

  • Day 1: Luang Prabang arrival (-/-/D)

    Luang Prabang - Airport: 5km, ~11min drive

    Upon arrival at Luang Prabang airport, you will be met and transferred to hotel by our guide and driver. After making sure of your successful hotel check-in, they will be pleased to leave you free time for your own lunch and leisure to recover after the long flight.

    This afternoon, our guide will take you through the town for a brief orientation tour for a taste of the unique atmosphere of this UNESCO-listed town. Wedged between the mighty Mekong River and its tributary, the Nam Khan, Luang Prabang is a beautiful blend of French colonial buildings and Lao architecture. Stop to join in a game of petanque with the friendly locals. This is the perfect way to interact with Lao people, gaining an insight in to their lifestyle, which mixes ancient traditions with colonial influences. It is also a good opportunity to try sample Beerlao (for the adults!) and local snacks. Finish the half-day tour by climbing the 328 steps to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside. Stop at the evening hill tribe market. Enjoy dinner at Coconut Garden. This is a great introduction to Lao food which also caters for western tastes and children.

    Meals Included: Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang

    Day 2: Luang Prabang Half-day City (B/L/-)

    Wat Xieng ThongAfter breakfast at hotel, we start the city tour at the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will be able to discover the history of Laos. Continue on foot to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief, and Wat Sensoukarahm, which features a beautiful dazzling golden façade. Finish the tour at Wat Xieng Thong, the most revered temple in Luang Prabang. Located at the end of the peninsula, close to the Mekong, this temple was built in 1560 by King Setthathirat and is decorated with ornate carvings and mosaics. Enjoy lunch at family run restaurant dedicated to promoting a greater understanding of the local cuisine. Upon your request, the friendly staff will explain the ingredients and customs of the cuisine. (Note: closed on Sundays)

    This afternoon is free at leisure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang

    Day 3: Luang Prabang - Shangri Lao Elephant Adventure (B/L/-)

    Luang Prabang - Shangri Lao: 15km, ~30min drive

    Morning after breakfast at hotel, we follow the footsteps of Dr. P Neis who on October 14th 1883 explored the Nam Khan River. At 08:30a.m, transfer them to the Explorer Camp located 15km outside the city. Our guide and a local veterinarian will provide information about the elephants, before you have a chance to feed the elephants or simply relax by the riverside. Then it’s time to start an elephant ride through forests and over hills to the protected Huay Sae hidden valley. Here, you will leave your elephant to spend the night. Enjoy a luxury lunch of traditional Lao food by a secluded waterfall. Swimming in the natural pools may be possible, depending on the water level. After lunch, continue trekking for 1.5 hours on foot. The adventurous trail crosses bamboo bridges and passes waterfalls with blue pools in dense jungle. As you reach the end of the valley, traditional horses from the hill tribes will be waiting for you to carry your bags. They will accompany you for another 30 minutes’ trekking along fields and forest to Nam Khan River. Board a luxury bamboo raft and slowly float downstream, which is a relaxing 1.5-hour journey with an optional 30-minute stop at the Tad Sae Waterfall. At 16:30 transfer back to Luang Prabang.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Luang Prabang

    Day 4: Luang Prabang - Khuang Si – Vang Vieng (B/L/-)

    Luang Prabang - Khuang Si: 32km, ~45min drive; Luang Prabang - Vang vieng: 230km, ~4h drive

    Khuang si waterfall - tonkin travelAfter breakfast at hotel, we take a short transfer through the Luang Prabang countryside to the Kuang Si Waterfalls. Along the way, the drive will pass through beautiful landscapes of rice fields, hills and small villages. There are also viewpoints overlooking the Mekong River. Stop en route to visit a small village which is home to one of the area’s many ethnic minorities. You will have an opportunity to learn about their traditions and culture, much of which has remained unchanged for centuries. Upon reaching Kuang Si Waterfall, relax and enjoy the beautiful natural surroundings. The water tumbles down a large drop and cascades gently in to several cool, clear pools, where you can enjoy a refreshing swim (please dress modestly). Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch next to the falls. For the adventurous, it is possible to walk to the top of the falls via a steep track where stunning views await at the top. You might also like to visit the bear sanctuary which is next to the falls, run by Free The Bears Fund Inc. There are currently 23 Asiatic black bears living in the sanctuary, which has saved them from poaching. The main threat to these bears is poaching due to the use of their bile in Chinese medicine. You can read about the bears’ habits and observe their playful nature, whilst learning about the difficulties they face. On the way back to Luang Prabang, you will stop at the Kuang Si Butterfly Park to visit the beautiful garden filled of hundreds of Laos’ butterflies! (Note: closed on Tuesday). Then, depart for a drive down the spectacular Route 13 towards Vang Vieng. Stop in Kasi, a fruit-growing area along the way. This journey passes through spectacular scenery and you might want to stop regularly for photos. Please be aware that there are numerous sharp bends, steep climbs and descents along these mountain roads. Arrive in Vang Vieng, a small town on the banks of the Nam Song River surrounded by spectacular limestone karst scenery. The rest of the afternoon is free at leisure with the driver and guide at guests’ disposal.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vang Vieng

    Day 5: Vang Vieng (B/L/-)

    vang vieng, laos tour, tonkin travelThis morning after breakfast, our tour begins by crossing the Nam Song River for a short drive to Tham Pou Kham (Golden Crab Cave) and the Blue Lagoon. You might like to go for a cold swim in the Ka River's waterhole. The water is clean, deep, and safe if guests feel brave enough to jump in. There is also a slide for kids and life jackets are available. Transfer back to the center of Vang Vieng, with an optional  stop at a local village where women still weave on traditional looms. Take a local long-tail boat (two people per boat) to cruise for approximately one hour upstream on the Nam Song River, enjoying the beautiful scenery along the way. Arrive at the extensive Organic Farm, which specializes in refreshing mulberry tea as well as having a range of livestock and organic crops. Take a short tour of the Organic Farm and enjoy a delicious lunch there. Transfer back to hotel in the early afternoon. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vang Vieng

    Day 6: Vang Vieng - Vientiane (B/-/D)

    Vang Vieng - Vientiane: 152km, ~3h30min drive

    vang viengAfter having breakfast, we enjoy a leisurely morning before starting the drive to Vientiane. Roughly 1.5 hours from Vang Vieng you will reach Nam Ngum Lake, the largest in Laos and a very beautiful spot. This artificial lake was built to produce electricity and was the first hydroelectric dam ever built in Laos. The dam generates 160 megawatts of electric power (electricity being one of the most significant sources of income in Laos). From here the drive to Vientiane which takes around 2.5 hours and the rest of the day is free at leisure. Enjoy dinner at Xang Khoo restaurant which offers a tempting selection of Lao dishes and Western meals, including French crepes.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 7: Vientiane – Buddha Park (B/L/-)

    Vientiane - Buddha Park: 24km, ~35min drive  

    wat sisaketThis morning after breakfast, we drive out to Buddha Park. The drive takes around 45 minutes along a road which serves as an important link between the Lao capital and Thailand. On the way, stop and take photos of the Friendship Bridge which was built by the Australian government in 1994 and links Laos and Thailand. Arrive at Buddha Park and enjoy a stroll around the park. Also known as Xieng Khuang, this unusual park is filled with more than 200 Buddhist and Hindu statues. The quiet and tranquil setting along the Mekong River is a contrast to the slightly eccentric sculptures which were built in 1958 by a Lao shaman. The concrete sculptures are bizarre but intriguing, sitting majestically in the peaceful park. After visiting Buddha Park, start the drive back to Vientiane. Then, you will stop at the serene Wat Sisaket - the only temple left intact after the Siamese (Thai) invasion in 1828. It is one of the most beautiful temples in the capital and its breezy teak covered hallways are filled with thousands of miniature Buddha statues. Continue on to the nearby Wat Phra Keo. Used as a religious museum, Wat Phra Keo displays a collection of both Lao and Khmer works of art. Also nearby is the Presidential Palace. Although you are not allowed inside, it provides a good glimpse of the town’s colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor’s palace. Enjoy a delicious Lao-style lunch at a nice local restaurant. After lunch, the rest of the day is free at leisure.

    Tonight, you may like to walk along the banks of the Mekong River as the sun begins to set. Stroll along the river, stop to enjoy a cold drink, or sample a snack from one of the many local food stalls. This area is very popular with locals who go to exercise in the park in the evenings and guests can also browse the evening market for souvenirs.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 8: Vientiane - Ban Kong Lor (B/L/-)

    Vientiane - Ban Kong Lor: 290km, ~5h drive  

    This morning after breakfast at hotel, meet our guide begin the journey south along Route 13. This first leg of the journey takes around three hours and it is interesting to have a quick stop at Wat Prabath Phonsane (‘Temple of the Footprint of Buddha’). Lunch at a local restaurant (you can discuss with your guide where you would like to stop). The drive then leaves Route 13 and enters the Phou Hin Poun NPA (National Protected Area). The scenery will become much more spectacular, featuring limestone karsts, forests and rice paddies. From leaving the main road to reaching the destination will take approximately two hours. Upon arrival in the small town of Ban Kong Lor the rest of the day is at leisure for you to admire the views. We recommend a simple local restaurant called Kounmee, which is a two-minute walk from Chantha House.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Ban Kong Lor

    Day 9: Exploration of Kong Lor Caves (B/-/-)

    This morning after breakfast, meet ourdriver and guide for a short drive (5-10 minutes) towards the Kong Lor Caves. Life jackets and head torches will be provided before a short walk to the main entrance of the cave. Upon entering the cave, board a long-tail boat for a journey through the length of this spectacular cave, along an underground section of the Hin Boun River. It will be 7.5km before you can see daylight again! The river flows all-year-round and reveals vast formations of stalactites and stalagmites, which can be explored partly on foot whilst inside the cave. In places the cave is up to 90 meters wide and 100 meters high. The cave is still used by local villagers as an access route to the region beyond (it is far quicker than climbing over the mountains through which this cave cuts!). Once out on the other side, you can stop for refreshments and walk to local villages, enjoying the scenery and observing a simple way of life (you can discuss with the guide how far you would like to walk). Return by boat, travelling ‘downstream’ through the cave to Ban Kong Lor. Enjoy lunch (on  own account) and take some time to relax. Later this afternoon our guide will accompany you on an optional walk through the villages surrounding Ban Kong Lor. The soft light of the late afternoon is arguably the most photogenic and you should meet lots of villagers as they walk home from the fields, markets and schools. There are various options for walking routes, so again, it is best for you to tell the guide how energetic you  feel. And please do not forget to bring your camera!.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Ban Kong Lor

    Day 10: Ban Kong Lor - Vientiane (B/-/-)

    After having breakfast, we drive back to Vientiane, a journey of approximately five hours. After this adventure you will probably appreciate the excellent cafes and restaurants which are available in the capital! Arrive in Vientiane and check-in at the hotel. This afternoon is free at leisure.

    This evening, you will have a chance to participate in a unique, traditional Lao ceremony. The Baci is performed in celebration of important events such as weddings, births, or for welcoming guests, and is a means of expressing good will and good luck to others. The Lao believe that each person has 32 spirits which constitute their spiritual essence, and the Baci is the ritual used to call back any escaped spirits in to the body.  During the Baci, special flower trays and food treats are prepared which are then touch by the participants while a Buddhist mantra is chanted.  After the chanting is completed, cotton threads are tied around the participants’ wrist whilst they receive an individual blessing.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 11: Vientiane - Departure (B/-/-)

    Vientiane - Airport: 12km, ~30min drive

    After breakfast at hotel, time is free until our driver meet and transfer you to airport for flight to your next destination. End of our services.

    Meals Included: Breakfast

  • Prices

    This trip is private and therefore can be altered to suit your needs, date of commencement and budget requirements.

    Prices vary due to a number of specifics:

    • Seasonal: during high season (October-April), the prices of services are generally higher when compared to the low season (May-September).
    • The number of participants: the more of you that travel together the less you will pay!
    • The choice of hotels: Fairly obvious one here; a 5-star hotel can cost ten times as much as a 2 star hotel.
    • The activities during the trip: Two trips on the same itinerary and of the same length can have two different prices depending on the number and nature of activities included.
    • The booking date: In some cases, booking your trip late can drastically affect prices due to their low availability.

    Inclusion:

    • Accommodation as recommended or similar category according to availability.
    • Transfers according to program by private air-conditioned vehicle with driver except free day
    • English-speaking guide’s assistance at every stage
    • Meals as indicated in program (B: Breakfast /L: Lunch / D: Dinner)
    • Entrance fees for attractions included in the program
    • All activities and cruises clearly mentioned in the program
    • Private boat excursion in Tonle Sap
    • Water and cool tissues
    • Government taxes & service charge

    Exclusion:

    • Other drinks and meals not clearly mentioned
    • Early check-in, late check-out
    • Personal expenditures, tips
    • Personal insurance (compulsory)
    • Any service not clearly mentioned in the program
    • International air transfers associated with airport taxes
    • Visa and visa arrangement (available upon request)

    Booking

    Here are 2 steps to book your trip with Tonkin-Travel:

    Step 1. Focus on your travel program:

    You can choose this trip as is or customize it to your specific desires. Just click on the “Customize this trip” tab and fill in the form. One of our travel consultants will contact you within 48 hours to develop the travel program based on your specifications.

    Step 2. Booking:

    • Following the first step, tour program is selected and we access the rates.
    • Upon confirmation of the trip, the registration must be accompanied by a deposit up to 25% of the total estimate.
    • For programs with private junk (cruise) and/or 5 star hotels, the deposit is represented by 30% of the total estimate.
    • Tonkin-Travel carries out the booking process upon receipt of the deposit. Confirmation of these reservations is sent to customer within 10 days via email

    Nature of travel

    This trip is private. That implies:

    • You will be escorted by a private guide and driver. This approach guarantees a smooth trip with fewer organizational constraints.
    • You will be the master of your trip. We guarantee flexibility in organizing visits at your request.
    • Our services will be personalized according to your desires. Thus the proposals in this package are not fixed and you can bring suggest all the desired changes.
    • You receive individualized care: ample food, organizing small events (anniversary, honeymoon, etc.), targeted information, followed necessary modifications, etc.

    Accommodation

    • Accommodation is an important expenditure of your trip. When you choose a luxury trip for example, the accommodation can represent three quarters of the price. Thus, your choice of hotels is closely related to your budget.
    • Tonkin-Travel has negotiated rates with a wide range of hotels from 2 to 5 stars.
    • In some places you will have the option to choose ‘home-stay’. Although this provides less comfort that a hotel it is a truly authentic experience and highly recommended for at least one night of your journey.

    Transport

    All transfers during your trip are covered by private vehicle with driver, unless otherwise indicated in our offer. We ensure that our vehicles are new and comfortable. Fuel, tolls, accommodation, compensation and the driver are included in our offer. Only gratuities are not included and are at your discretion.

    The size of the selected vehicle is based on the number of tour participants according to the following quality standards:

    No. of participants

    2 pax

    3 pax

    From 4 to 7 pax

    From 8 to 14 pax

    From 15 to 20 pax

    Vehicle size

    Car 4-7 seats

    Car 7 or minivan 
    16 seats

    Minivan 16 seats

    Bus 24 seats

    Bus 35 or 45 seats

    Domestic flights

    If your trip includes domestic flights if any, they will be operated by Vietnam Airlines, the largest airline in Vietnam. The fleet consists mainly of Airbus and Boeing. On some short trips, the company operates 72 ATR and some Fokker.

    Rail transport

    Train travel can be offered (particularly between Hanoi-Lao Cai and Hanoi-Hue). Travelling at a speed of 60km/h on average it is not necessarily the fastest but an interesting experience nonetheless.

  • This form allows us to establish a tour proposal suitable for your needs. It is free and without obligation

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        • Your desire to travel (culture, adventure, beach extension, local meetings, nature, etc.)
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