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  • Laos North Bound

    Code: LLC02 - Duration: 8 Days
    Start: Pakse | Finish: Luang Prabang
  • 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. Laos North Bound is workable program in any season, built around the most famous natural, cultural and accessible sites of Laos from South to North. Start in Pakse, you will discover the temple of Wat Phu – the 9th century building nestled amongst the hills of this tranquil area  and  the breathtaking 4000 Islands. We then fly to Vientiane to explore the oldest temples designed under Khmer architecture. Arrival in Luang Prabang, you will be introduced to the spiritual center of the country by cycling to visit temples dating back from the 16th century and nice Khaung Si Waterfall.

    Highlights:

    • Discover the temple of Wat Phu - the 9th century building nestled amongst the hills of this tranquil areaLaos North Bound 8 days
    • Discover the Si Phan Done - 4000 islands - with the possible observation of freshwater dolphins
    • Enjoy the Khmer architecture through the temples in Vientiane 
    • Cycle to see the classical architecture of Luang Prabang temples 
    • Admire the wonderful Khuang Si Waterfall 
    • Charming hotels in great locations
    • Comfortable & spacious vehicle for transfers

    Itinerary in brief:

    Day 1: Pakse arrival - Champasak - Wat Phou (-/-/-)
    Day 2: Champasak - 4000 Islands - Champasak (B/L/-)
    Day 3: Champasak - Pakse - Flight to Vientiane (B/-/-)
    Day 4: Vientiane - Immersion (B/L/-)
    Day 5: Vientiane - Flight to Luang Prabang - Hmong Village (B/L/-)
    Day 6: Luang Prabang Cycling (B/L/-)
    Day 7: Luang Prabang - Alms Giving & Khuang Si Waterfall (B/L/-)
    Day 8: Luang Prabang - 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: Pakse arrival - Champasak – Wat Phou (-/-/-)

    Pakse - Champasak: 30km, ~45min drive

    pakse tonkin travelUpon arrival at Pakse 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, we will visit the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Wat Phou. This is a spectacular pre-Angkorian temple that sits among the rice fields and waterways of southern Laos.  The temple was constructed in three levels: the bottom level is focused on the baray (water reservoir) and promenade, the second level features quadrangular pavilions and galleries of carvings, and the top level is the sanctuary itself.  The temple was built by the rulers of the Khmer empire before the construction of Angkor Wat.  The temple served as the most important economic and political centre of the region and still is one of the Lao people’s most revered temples.

    Meals Included: None
    Accommodation: Hotel in Champasak

    Day 2: Champasak - 4000 Islands – Champasak (B/L/-)

    4000 islands - tonkin travelBreakfast is served at hotel. 8a.m, we depart for a full day exploring the area known locally as Si Phan Don (‘4000 Islands’). In this beautiful area the Mekong River reaches 14 kilometers wide and thousands of small islands dot the waterway. Travel first by car for around 2 hours to the village of Ban Nakasan. From here you will take a local boat to the peaceful island of Done Khone, where plantations and simple villages are almost all you will find. We recommend bicycles as the best way to explore, or a tuk-tuk if you prefer. Visit the impressive Lippi falls, which are on the west of Don Khone, very close to the Cambodian border. Their original name, Tad Somphamit, means “trap spirit” and the locals revere these falls as they believe they act as a trap for bad spirits.  The islands played an important role during the French Colonial rule as they linked Laos to Cambodia and Southern Vietnam. To overpass the waterfalls, a railway and bridge were built, the perfect place to take your time and soak in the view. Start with a short boat trip will give you the chance to spot the rare Irrawaddy Dolphin. Please note that sightings are never guaranteed. Continue your exploration and ease in to the slow pace of life, observing locals and taking your time. Lunch at a local restaurant. Return to the mainland by boat and then return to your hotel by car, arriving back at your hotel in time for sunset.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Champasak

    Day 3: Champasak - Pakse - Vientiane (B/L/-)

    Pakse - Vientiane: 608km, 1h15min flight

    vientiane - tour laos - tonkin travelAfter breakfast at hotel, time is free at leisure until transfer to the airport in Pakse for your flight to Vientiane. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to hotel for check-in.

    This afternoon, we enjoy a half-day guided tour to discover the hidden charms of Vientiane, whose name means ‘the city of sandal wood’. Vientiane is one of the quietest capital cities in the world, far away from the bustle and hustle of other Asian capitals. Your tour begins 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 to visit inside, it is a good glimpse in to the town’s colonial past as this building formerly served as the French governor’s palace. Visit COPE, an association working to help landmine victims. A visit to the center provides in-depth information about the history of the American/Vietnam war and the lasting impact of unexploded ordinances (UXO) in the area and the efforts underway to clear them. Continue to the Patuxay monument, Laos’ version of the Arc de Triomphe, where we can climb the stairs to the roof for sweeping panoramic views of the city. Next, our tour takes us to That Luang, the holiest site in Laos. Constructed by King Setthathirat in the 16th century, the temple is resplendent as the sun is shines upon its towering golden spire. The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore Vientiane. You might choose to end your day along the banks of the Mekong River. 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 you can also browse the evening market for souvenirs.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 4: Vientiane Immersion (B/L/-)

    vientianeAfter breakfast at hotel, you will get a true taste of the local culture, traditions and lifestyles with this immersive Vientiane experience. 09:15a.m pick up at your hotel for the short drive to Full Moon Café to begin the first experience of your day. Then, we travel to a nice garden on the Mekong River where you will begin the preparation for lunch. It is a good way to learn more about the Lao culture, traditional cooking, original ingredients and how to make a perfect sticky rice! You will receive a Lao recipe booklet so that you can take your experience home. After lunch (around 13:30), you transfer outside of the city to Wat Sok Pa Luang. This is still described by many as ‘the forest temple’, although as Vientiane expands it feels like an oasis within the suburbs, rather than being out on a limb. On the way to the temple you will stop with your guide at a local market to buy snacks and fruit to give as offerings to the monks (we suggest avoiding plastic wrappers and spending approximately $2-3 per person, so fruits and local snacks wrapped in banana leaves are ideal). Monks of all ages live and study here and as part of your visit we will have made an appointment for you to sit down with one or two of them for an informal discussion on the subject of Buddhism and the life of a monk, including plenty of time for you to ask questions. Then you will experience a private meditation session. You then have time to explore the grounds with your guide. Complete your experience with a relaxing one hour Lao traditional massage in one of the best spa center in town. Transfer back to your hotel early this evening.

    Meals Included: Breakfast, Lunch
    Accommodation: Hotel in Vientiane

    Day 5: Vientiane - Flight to Luang Prabang – Hmong Village (B/L/-)

    Vientiane - Luang Prabang: 340km, 45min flight

    luang prabangAfter breakfast at hotel, time is free until transfer to airport for flight to Luang Prabang. Upon arrival, you will be met and transferred to the spiritual capital of Laos.

    2p.m, we travel by tuk-tuk heading off to the former Royal boat pier and take a ferry to the other side. Upon arrival at Ban Xieng Mene, we will ride along the Mekong before walking up the steps to Vat Chom Phet. This first temple used to be the Kings’ favorite temple to retreat when he needed to get away from the court’s hassles. Further along the way, you can admire the Royal Vat Long Khoun, with its unique inner mural paintings.  Built during the same period by the same King as the revered temple of Vat Xieng Thong in Luang Prabang, the façade also shows signs of the Tai Dam during their occupation in the region. We will now take a dirt road – the only way leading from the riverside villages – to drive our way through the untouched and rarely visited countryside. On the way to the secret Hoy Khoua waterfall (Note: for agricultural purposes, and related to abundance of rain during rainy season, the waterfall can be dry at periods), we will stop along at a Khmu village to meet the elders and have a close up experience on their daily environment and lifestyle. As we stop at Ban Pak Leuang, this time a Hmong village, we will board our private boat to cruise upstream to Ban Chan. The village is renowned in the region for its pottery making. Admire a young man work the clay into a small bowl, and visit the underground kilns which are used to cook hundreds of jars at a time. These ancestral methods are transferred, from one generation to another and require patience and dexterity. Feel free to support them by buying a little figurine in order to support their handicraft (on your own expenses). As we cruise back up to Luang Prabang, we can admire the Mekong river lifestyle and picturesque landscapes. We will be arriving back at 6p.m, where your tuktuk will be waiting for you to take you back to your hotel. The rest of the day is free at leisure, you may like to take a walk around the town.

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

    Day 6: Luang Prabang Cycling (B/L/-)

    monk laosBreakfast is served at hotel. 08:30a.m, meet your guide at hotel with adapted bikes. After doing a fitting and adjusting your bike, start our tour by the former Royal Palace, now the National Museum, where you will explore the history of Laos. Continue to Wat Mai, a temple renowned for its golden bas-relief. Visit Wat Visoun, the holiest temple in the city, which was entirely rebuilt in 1887 after being destroyed by the invading Black Flags from Southern China. In the courtyard of Wat Visoun stands the Watermelon Stupa shaped like the fruit from which it takes its name. Continue passed Wat Aham, which was first built in the 1500s, and on to Wat That where the ashes of King Sisavang Vong are kept inside the large central stupa. Ride along the Nam Khan River to visit 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. Lunch at Tamarind (Note: closed on Sundays) for some of the best local food in Luang Prabang (Lao set menu included). This afternoon you will leave the town behind and ride to the Phosy Market, where you can join the locals and support vendors by buying fresh products or fruit. Your guide will be here to encourage you to taste some of the exotic flavors of the local fruits, helping to identify new items not found in your grocery store back home! Continue your ride to Ock Pop Tock. This non-profit organization seeks to preserve traditional weaving techniques, a trade which was once an important source of income for many Lao families but is slowly fading out as modern technology has evolved. A short tour introduces the process of silk weaving from the initial stages of creating the dyes to the final process of loom weaving. Ride along the Mekong back in to town for your final stop of the day. The Traditional Arts & Ethnology Centre is 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 (Note: closed on Mondays). Return to your hotel by bike. The rest of the day is free at leisure.

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

    Day 7: Luang Prabang - Alms Giving & Khuang Si Waterfall (B/L/-)

    khuang si waterfall - 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.

    9a.m, we take a short transfer through the Luang Prabang countryside to Kuang Si Waterfalls (32km southwest of the city). Along the way, you will drive 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 you 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 their habits and observe their playful nature, whilst learning about the difficulties they are facing. 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’s butterflies! (Note: closed on Tuesday). Transfer back to your hotel this afternoon.

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

    Day 8: Luang Prabang - Departure (B/-/-)

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

    After breakfast at hotel, this morning is free for last minute shopping or sightseeing before transfer to the airport for your flight to the 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
    • Domestic air-tickets: Pakse – Vientiane; Vientiane – Luang Prabang
    • 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 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

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        Which country would you like to discover? *
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        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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