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  • Hidden Gems of Laos

    Code: LLC01 - Duration: 6 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. Start the trip in Luang Prabang – one the former capital of Laos, you will join with the local petanque players and climbing to the top of Mount Phousi to enjoy a panoramic view of the city and the surrounding countryside. The following day is marked by participating in a cooking class to learn about the art of Lao cuisine and taking a boat trip on Nam Ou River to explore Pak Ou Cave with thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues of various shapes. We then fly to Vientiane to explore the oldest temples designed under Khmer architecture. Resembling a small town more than a capital, Vientiane still maintains the handsome majesty and grandeur of its colonial yesteryears with its ample French-inspired buildings and wide boulevards. You also have the chance to learn the finer aspects of Lao culture heritage through its fine cuisine and traditional crafts besides enjoying an aromatic brew of the local coffee by the riverbanks of stately Mekong River.

    Highlights:

    • See the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temples and meet local peopleHidden Gems of Laos 6 days
    • Take part in cooking class and cruise to mysterious Pak Ou Caves
    • Discover the quiet and charming capital Vientiane with its many ancient temples
    • Charming hotels in great locations
    • Comfortable & spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Luang Prabang arrival (-/-/D)
    Day 2: Luang Prabang - Cooking Class (B/L/D)
    Day 3: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou  (B/L/-)
    Day 4: Luang Prabang - Flight to Vientiane (B/-/-)
    Day 5: Vientiane (B/L/D)
    Day 6: 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

    Mount Phousi laosUpon 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 City - Cooking Class (B/L/D)

    Cooking Class - laos tour- tonkin travelFor early risers, there is a very special dawn visit to watch the monks collecting the alms. As the sun begins to rise, long lines of orange-robed monks leave their pagodas and walk barefoot down the streets collecting offerings from Luang Prabang residents. It is a beautiful, serene ceremony that highlights the spiritualism of the Laos people. Return to the hotel for breakfast.

    We then transfer to the historical old town of central Luang Prabang where your tour begins at the fresh market. Accompanied by your guide, walk through the rows of stalls looking at what is on sale.  The locals come here every day to shop for vegetables, fruits and other exotic specialties and delicacies. The market is adjacent to the National Museum, your next stop.  Once the Royal Palace of Laos, the National Museum is filled with art, artifacts, and jewels and a visit examines the history and rich culture of the country. After this, continue your tour of Luang Prabang by visiting some of the city’s most important temples. Start at Wat Visoun, where you will see the famous Watermelon Stupa, shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. This temple was destroyed in 1887 by the invading Black Flags from China, and was restored in 1930 by Buddhist monks and local people. We will also visit Wat Aham where you will see the altar of the 2 guardian spirits of Luang Prabang. Enjoy lunch in town at Tamarind restaurant where you will have a chance to sample unusual local specialties not available back home (Note: closed on Sundays). This afternoon head to Ock Pop Tok to discover more about textiles in Laos- including their history, production, and cultural significance. Take a break at TAEC Café, located inside the Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC), and sip an iced coffee.  Then, take a tour of TAEC, a museum dedicated to exploring the rich diversity of Laos’ ethnic minorities. Traditional costumes, tools, and artifacts are on display alongside in-depth descriptions and written histories.  It is a great opportunity to gain insight in to the Lao people. Late this afternoon, experience the wonderful flavors of Lao cuisine with a Lao cooking class.  Led by Chef Mr. Chantanong from The Residence Phou Vao, the cooking course is a fun, hands-on way to learn about the ingredients involved and techniques used to create the local cuisine. The cooking class can be organized in the main kitchen or outside, in front of the pool, overlooking the Phousi mountain. At the end of the course, sit down to enjoy a delicious dinner which you have helped prepare.  Participants will also receive a book of Lao recipes and a certificate from the chef.

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

    Day 3: Luang Prabang - Pak Ou Caves (B/L/-)

    pak out cave - tonkin travelThis morning after breakfast at hotel, we venture to Luang Prabang’s peninsula where the Mekong and Nam Khan Rivers merge.  The beautiful Wat Xieng Thong is located here and a visit to the temple unveils golden gates, ornaments, and colorful murals. You will then board a traditional wooden boat, Nava Mekong, for a relaxing cruise on the mighty Mekong River. Enjoy stunning mountain scenery and witness the simple rural lifestyles which rely on the river as you make your way upstream for 1.5 – 2 hours. Located upstream from Luang Prabang, Pak Ou Caves, locally called Tam Ting, contains thousands of gold lacquered Buddha statues crammed into two caves carved out of a towering limestone cliff. The statues range in size from a few centimeters tall to the size of a human, and the view from the mouth of the cave provides sweeping views of the Mekong and Nam Ou rivers. The caves are also a destination for local pilgrimages, especially during the Lao New Year period of Pii Mai. The boat continues cruising in the vicinity of the caves and will moor during lunch time at the foot of beautiful limestone cliffs. A selection of typical Lao dishes will be served onboard before you cruise back downstream. The remainder of the day is at your leisure for relaxing in this charming city.

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

    Day 4: Luang Prabang – Flight to Vientiane (B/-/-)

    Luang Prabang - Vientiane: 340km, 45min flight

    luang prabang tourAfter breakfast at hotel, time is free until our driver meet and transfer you to airport for flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival, our guide will meet and escort you to hotel. This afternoon, we visit the excellent COPE exhibition centre, highlighting a much overlooked aspect of Laos and a major problem many of the local people face on a day to day basis in the form of unexploded ordnance as a result of heavy bombing campaigns during the Vietnam War era.

    Meals Included: Breakfast
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 5: Vientiane (B/L/D)

    vientiane tour - tonkin travelAfter breakfast at hotel, we start this morning with a visit to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthethirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire. Then, enjoy a panoramic view over the city as you climb the stairs to the top of Patuxai, Vientiane’s own “Arc de Triomphe”. Continue down Lane Xang Avenue to 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. Enjoy lunch at l'adresse de Tinay, a French style bistro run and managed by French expatriates.  The food is delicious “home style” French cuisine with just the right twist to turn each dish into a feast for the eyes! (Note: closed on Sundays). The afternoon is free for you to enjoy shopping, more sightseeing, or a spa treatment.

    For your final evening in Laos, you will have the unique opportunity to experience one of Laos’ oldest traditions: The Baci.  The purpose of the Baci, which is a mix of Animist and Buddhist beliefs, is to call back escaped spirits to the body. This is something that is very important before major events such as weddings, births, travel, welcoming friends and farewells. Continue to Makphet Restaurant for a delicious dinner of modern Lao cuisines.  Makphet is a charity-run restaurant that supports street children by providing them training and a job at the vocational restaurant.  The food served is delicious, made from fresh ingredients, and prepared in a kitchen which meets the highest international standards of hygiene

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 6: Vientiane - Departure (B/-/-)

    Vientiane - Airport : 12km, 30min drive

    Breakfast is served at hotel. Depending on your departing flight you may have time at leisure before your transfer to the airport for departure. 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
    • Flight: Luang Prabang – Vientiane
    • 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

      (*) : Required fields

      Have you already booked the flight?
      What type of accommodation do you want?

      Regarding meals, you want the agency to offer you:

      Your message (Ex: The desired steps and activities, what you like, what you do not,
      the health condition of the participants, your questions on this trip...)

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

        (*) : Required fields

        Have you already booked the flight?
        Which country would you like to discover? *
        What type of accommodation do you want?
        Regarding meals, you want the agency to offer you:
        Describe your trip
        These ideas are a guide for creating a trip suitable for your needs and expectations
        • Your desire to travel (culture, adventure, beach extension, local meetings, nature, etc.)
        • The desired pace of your trip (moderate, free and easy, etc.)
        • Your knowledge of the country. Your interests
        • The opportunity of your trip (vacation, wedding anniversary, cultural group, etc.)
        • Remarks (Room types, diet, special requests, etc.)

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