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(Vientiane, Luang Prabang)
Interacting with one of the wisest and most gentle creatures in the animal kingdom is a spiritual experience, and riding your elephant through the green countryside and rugged mountains of Luang Prabang, you’ll feel a deep connection to this serene, slow-paced land.
Laos was once known as ‘The Land of a Million Elephants’ and an up-close experience with these gentle giants is a highlight of this trip. Among the many others are taking in the city views of Vientiane from atop the Patuxai monument; examining the Buddhist rock carvings at Vang Xang; exploring the ornate temples of Luang Prabang by bicycle; cruising to the Pak Ou caves of the Mekong in a traditional wooden boat; and witnessing the amazing cascades and pools of the Tad Sae waterfalls. There’s also an irresistible gourmet aspect to the trip as you visit local produce markets, organic village farms, and learn to cook with exotic Laos flavors.
In addition to taking in the breath-taking scenery of this beautiful country, your team of knowledgeable local guides will introduce you to the rich spiritual side of its people as you explore Buddhist temples and take part in a sacred Baci ceremony that brings good luck through strings tied to your wrist. You’ll also experience the warm hospitality of the Laos people at a range of luxury accommodation that includes elegant boutique hotels, river-side resorts and charming old-world retreats.
Enjoy a personalized vacation that best suits your needs, developed by one of our experienced destination experts. Relax during your trip with our 24/7 support and expert local guidance.
Meet your driver for an airport transfer with a private vehicle.
Ansara Hotel is Vientiane’s small-size boutique destination that will delight the visitor at first sight. A unique visual treat in the heart of the capital, the hotel combines quiet sophistication with genuine functionality. Providing just 14 rooms and suites, the emphasis is on personalized attention to its guests, catering to the needs of individual travelers and only accommodating parties not exceeding 8 people. Elegant yet relaxed, the hotel exudes the warm and inviting feel of a private home while professionally addressing guests’ needs for comfort and practicality.
Today you will get to explore Vientiane. You will get to see Pha That Luang, the victory monument Patuxai, and visit Thong Khan Kham market, a fresh food market that sells a variety of fruits, buffalo skins, poultry, fresh fish from the Mekong River, herbs, and much more. Later you will visit Carol Cassidy's Laos Textiles workshop where they create woven art specializing in 100 percent hand-woven silk. After, you will go to the COPE Visitor Centre where you will learn about unexploded ordnances. Inside the COPE Visitor Centre you will find a gift shop where you can purchase t-shirts, postcards, and other items or simply make a donation. There is also a documentary on the project, please ask if you wish to watch it.
A Baci is a ceremony to make good luck for a person or event. It is held when people are promoted in their work, move into a new house, or start a new job. Unique to Lao culture, a Baci involves transferring good luck through blessed strings that are tied to one's wrist. The strings must stay attached for at least three days for the good luck to remain. Baci starts at around 4pm and is organized in a Lao teakwood house, then afterwards you will enjoy a Lao buffet dinner.
Lao cuisine relies heavily on the freshest produce and incorporates a range of intriguing flavours, many unfamiliar to the western palate. You will begin with an early morning tour of Luang Prabang's major food market where you will have the opportunity to investigate these ingredients and explain their uses. You will then later learn how to pound your ingredients in a mortar & pestle, and cook over and open fire. Recipes are provided for you to take back home!
You will be picked up by a private vehicle with your English speaking guide and transferred from Luang Prabang to Vang Vieng about 250 km.
Along the way admire the beautiful scenery and your guide will stop at points where you will have the chance to visit the local villages.
Vang Vieng is best known for its limestone caves, sheltered in the mountains surrounding the town. In the afternoon, you will visit Tham Chang Cave one of Vang Vieng’s myriad caves and is the most renowned of all them. Tham Chang penetrates right under the mountain and is fed by a natural spring prefect for an early morning dip. From the spring it is possible to swim into the cave for quite a distance so bring a waterproof torch, if possible. This will surely be a memorable experience so make sure to bring your camera.
In the evening, you will be taken to visit a local market. Observe what the local sellers sell and how they sell their produce.
Located on the banks of the Nam Song River, next to a small wooden bridge, the Riverside Boutique Resort is a luxury hotel set in a tropical garden and organized around a central swimming pool. There are thirty four rooms and suites, as well as a restaurant and bar, offering stunning views over the limestone mountains of Vang Vieng. With a beautiful design by award-winning architect Sakpaseuth Phanrajsavong, the Riverside Boutique Resort is the first high-end hotel in the country that systematically celebrates the exceptional cultural and natural diversity of Laos. Prominent artists and artisans have contributed their talent in order to showcase various aspects of the country’s beauty and traditions. The rooms, in particular, feature original decors inspired by eight ethnic groups: the Akha, Hmong, Katu, Lanten, Lao Lum, Tai Daeng, Tai Lue and Yao. Although the Riverside Boutique Resort reflects the wealth and elegance of its Lao heritage, it also strives to provide international-level services. The Riverside Boutique Resort is the result of an international partnership with the Greenpark Boutique Hotel in Vientiane.
Visit an organic farm in Phoudindaeng village just outside of Vang Vieng. This farm has introduced organic farming methods in an area where chemicals and deforestation were ruining the land. It is a community development project that provides employment, information, training to preserve traditional Lao farming practices through several projects. Afterwards, your guide will take you back to town for a boat ride on Nam Song River.
Continue onto Vientiane and stop at H’mong village market and Vang Xang to see Buddhist rock carvings.
Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel is the perfect retreat for the modern traveller seeking style and authenticity in Luang Prabang, a UNESCO World Heritage Centre. With its location in the heart of this historic town, Maison Souvannaphoum is the perfect base for discovering the cultural treasures of a place where history, nature, and the spiritual world are woven into one. The hotel is full of old-world charm with all the modern comforts; discover the perfect blend of old and new. Dine on Lao and Indo-Chinese cuisine at our restaurant Elephant Blanc. Unwind beside the pool. Get the luxurious royal treatment at the Angsana Spa.
By bicycle with you will visit the Wat Xieng Thong temple, the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang with its mosaic decoration and the former royal carriage. Later you will ride your bike to nearby areas such as Ban Phone Hueang, Ban Aphay, and Ban Visun to observe the lives of the locals. A visit will also be made to a handmade Photisak silver shop and the Minority Art Centre. Last but not least, a visit to Wat Phabat Tai, a monastery complex built in the 17th century and is the best place to view the sunset if visiting in the evening.
Take a traditional wooden boat upstream to visit the famous cave of Pak Ou. The caves are located right on the cliff; it’s a very impressive and stunning sight. Inside the cave, there are more than one hundred Buddha images which have been brought by local people since the early 14th century when the cave was found. On the way, a short stop will be made at Ban Muang Kham, which specializes in river weed making. After, a stop will be made at Ban Xanghai where you can enjoy the taste of the local rice wine.
Welcome to a day of adventure! After being picked up from your hotel you can choose a bike and start cycling out of Luang Prabang. We will take a side road and visit small villages along the way. You will see Ban Panom, the cotton and silk hand-weaving village and Wat Phone Pao. After a 15 km ride we arrive at the Nam Khan valley, which some people also call 'the hidden valley' of Luang Prabang, a stunning place surrounded by mountains, rivers, and small villages. You will take a break, and enjoy lunch. In the afternoon a small boat ride takes you to the Tad Sae Waterfalls. Here you can swim and enjoy the unique scenery. You will then begin kayaking on the Nam Khan. The river is easy to paddle and offers a few 1-2 grade rapids. The countryside on your paddling trip is dense with forest, plantations, and rice paddies. Pass handfuls of isolated Lao Loum and Theung villages. Return to Luang Prabang.
January 15, 2014
"We just returned on Monday from our wonderful trip to South Korea, Bangkok and Phuket. I wanted to thank you for all of your hard work in planning our tours and adventures. Everything was spot on from our arrivals at the airports, to the guides and the tours. I would not hesitate to recommend you and your company. It was truly a wonderful vacation. Thank you again.
Bob Feldman ,
November 19, 2013
"I wanted to let you know that our trip to China was great! Everybody enjoyed themselves. When planning a trip I am always concerned about the itinerary, the vehicles and the guides. All 3 of these were great. The guides were particularly good and in this case really made the trip a pleasure. Overall a great trip. Thanks for all you did."
Gloria DeWeese ,
October 10, 2013
"A wonderful trip and everything went like clockwork. Thank you so very much for all your assistance. I hope I will have a chance to work with you again."
Wayne Gavioli ,
September 04, 2013
"We just returned from our thailand/cambodia trip. It was fantastic. You did a great job. The guides were excellent as was the drivers. We loved the Victoria Hotel you selected in Siem. Wish we had more time. Thailand met our expectations but our expectations for Cambodia were low and they exceeded them. Loved the places selected for the included lunches. Certainly would use Kensington again"
Santo Filice ,
August 30, 2013
"Thank you for arranging our guided trip to Thailand - Vietnam. It was a memorable, and pleasant trip - a 1st for us with Kensington tours and a most enjoyable one. We found that we were able to maximize our visit of the the area without the concern of booking hotels, airline, finding parking and understanding the local language. "
Tim Mesarch ,
August 02, 2013
"Alexis helped us fit in all of the sites we wanted to see on our trip to Thailand and Cambodia, and suggested some more. It was valuable talking with someone who had been there and done that. The planning went pretty smoothly, and so did the trip. The local guides were all top-notch! "
July 25, 2013
"I highly recommend Kesington Tours. The planning of our trip to Cambodia was outstanding. Our advisor Alexis Mayer was unbelievably patient, knowledgeable and responsive. We planned the trip in every possible detail and Alexis was extraordinary during the whole process. Once we were in Cambodia, we had a tiny issue with the car. I was able to get in contact with Alexis right away and the problem was instantly solved. The trip itself was fantastic. Everything was very well planned and perfectly organized. The local guides and drivers were great. The hotels were very well chosen.
Great trip. I would definitely travel again with Kensington Tours."
Pennie Quintana ,
August 07, 2013
"Thank you so much for the amazing trip we enjoyed!! All our guides were fantasy. Joseph in Jakarta, July in Jojakarta and Deon in Borneo!! Wow!! Bless you for all your attention to detail and the outstanding communication to all my questions. You made me feel so taken care of and tended too!! "
Denise Abadi ,
June 21, 2013
"We have just returned from our trip to Malaysia and wanted you to know how much we enjoyed the itinerary you put together for us. Our guides were personable and very knowledgeable about the various places we visited. We were amazed by the sights, sounds and friendliness of the people we encountered. Needless to say, it was a most memorable trip and one of the
highlights of our traveling careers!
July 11, 2013
"Sunita, my wife and I had a wonderful time in China. The hotels were superb. Our guides were excellent. They spoke good English, were knowledgeable, and flexible. It was a wonderful trip. We particularly enjoyed the Yangtze River cruise. We will certainly consider your firm for international travel in the future."
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