(Vientiane, Vang Vieng, Luang Prabang)
You’ll feel a deep connection to this serene, slow-paced land, as you uncover the rich spiritual side of Laos, and take in its remarkably breathtaking scenery.
Start with city views of Vientiane and explore the hundreds of old statues and carvings in Buddha Park; discover the ornate temples of Luang Prabang; view the beautiful turquoise cascades of the Kuang Si Falls; kayak the Nam Khan River and swim under a jungle canopy, and observe an impressive Buddhist monk morning ceremony. There’s also an irresistible gourmet aspect to this 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.
Situated 25 kilometers south-east of the city is Buddha Park where 200 Buddhist and religious images date back over 500 years, most of which came from India. On the way to Buddha Park, a stop will be made at the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge for photo opportunities. For lunch you will go the Nam Ngum River where can enjoy a private lunch cruise along the river. A stop will also be made to a village selling bananas, other local fruits and also a village making rice bamboo mix with coconuts and burn on charcoal fire (Koalam). Please ask to try one. On your way back to Vientiane, a short stop will be made at Dong Mak Khai market where locals come and trade vegetables, wild animals, handicrafts, and poultry.
You will be picked up by a private vehicle with your English speaking guide and transferred from Vientiane to Vang Vieng. Along the way, you will stop at Ban Tha Heu, a fisherman village, a H'mong village market, and Vang Xang to see the Buddhist rock carvings.
Visit an organic farm in Vang Vieng this morning. The farm promotes the use of natural materials and traditional methods for growing its crops and raising its animals. Mulberry is their main product at the farm as well as pineapple, papaya, banana, mango, jackfruit, and hibiscus. Please ask to try a beautiful homemade goat cheese (subject to the availability). Not to be missed is the climb to the Jang cave “Tham Jang”. It was used as bunker in the defense against marauding Jeen hor (Yunanese Chinese) in the early 19th century.
This morning, you will be taken to visit a local market. Observe what the local sellers sell and how they sell their produce.
Continue on with your guide from Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang. The transfer is approximately 6 hours.
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.
Today you will get to explore Luang Prabang by minivan. You will get to visit the Museum, the former king’s palace. It displays a lovely collection of personal artifacts of the Royal family, photos, musical instruments, and gifts received from foreigners. Across the street is Mt. Phusi where you will climb up to the top to view the city, over 300 steps! After, you will visit the Wat Xieng Thong, the most beautiful temple in Luang Prabang with its mosaic decoration and the former royal carriage. You will also get to see Wat Phabat Tai, a monastery complex built in the 17th century and is the best place to view sunset if visiting in the evening.
Today you will visit visit Kuang Si waterfall by minivan, located 30 kilometers south of Luang Prabang. These nice falls are getting downs as cascades on calcareous bedrock where they have scooped out small basins of turquoise color. On the way we will make short stop to visit minority villages. Swimming is also possible and hiking around the fall is suggested.
Welcome to a day of adventure! Greet your guide and you will get you sized up on one of the quality mountain bikes. After a safety briefing, you will be led along back-roads to see Wat Pa Phon Phao, a golden temple with a great view of Luang Prabang. Continue along the Nam Khan River to the grave of Henri Mouhot, the French explorer who helped bring Angkor Wat into western knowledge. Finish the 15 kilometers ride at the Nam Khan valley which some people also call 'the hidden valley' of Luang Prabang, a dream set of mountains, rivers and small villages. Break for lunch at the Tiger Trail Adventure Camp mountain-view terrace or at Tad Sae Waterfall (depending on season and timing). Take a boat ride to visit the Tad Sae Waterfall for a refreshing swim under jungle canopy (August through January). Hang out and enjoy the unique nature scenery that is surrounding you. You will return by a short cruise downriver to the kayak launch point. Your guide will give you brief kayaking instruction and safety then begin down the river. During the rainy season the river is high and moves at a nice pace through lush jungle countryside. Kayaking is 3-4 hours easy to medium. Kayaking ends just under the Luang Prabang city bridge where you will meet your driver for 10 minutes return ride to the city center.
NOTE: During the low water season (February to July), the itinerary remains the same with the following exceptions to give guests the best experience possible. The bike route will be slightly different which includes Wat Pa Phon Phao, some unpaved riding with some fun hills, and a river crossing by boat with the bikes. The river is lower and exposes white sand beaches and riverbanks where you can stop for photo ops and to visit sites including Henri Mouhot’s resting site in the jungle a short walk from the river. Kayaking ends at Geng Noun just below the local Ban Noun village and is approximately 2 hours easy to medium with some small rapids. Return by vehicle about 15 minutes to conclude the tour.
Lao cuisine relies heavily on the freshest produce and incorporates a range of intriguing flavors, many unfamiliar to the western plates. You will start with an early morning tour of Luang Prabang's major food market where you will collect your ingredients and your guide will explain their uses. Later, learn how to pound your ingredients in a mortar and pestle and cook over an open fire. Recipes are provided for you to take back home.
Each morning, hundreds of Buddhist monks line up in their deep orange robes and walk along the roads to receive alms from the people of Luang Prabang who wake up early to cook the rice and prepare their offerings. This ritual has been a part of the area’s religious heritage ever since Buddhism was introduced to Laos in the 14th century. Please, dress respectably (no shorts or sleeveless shirts), keep a respectful distance, and observe the ceremony in silence. A short stop will be made to the fresh food market where locals come and sell their goods from their farms such as rice, poultry, herbs, and fresh fish from the Mekong River.
Ansara Hotel is Vientiane’s small-size boutique destination that will delight guests at first sight. A unique visual treat in the heart of the capital, the hotel combines quiet sophistication with genuine functionality. Providing rooms and suites, the emphasis is on personalized attention to guests, catering to the needs of individual travelers and only accommodating parties not exceeding more than 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.
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. 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.
Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel is the perfect retreat for the modern traveler 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 with a perfect blend to discover the perfect blend of old and new. Dine on Lao and Indo-Chinese cuisine at the restaurant Elephant Blanc. After a long day guests will have the opportunity to rejuvenate beside the swimming pool of get luxurious royal treatment at the Angsana Spa.
Maynard Fossum ,
December 12, 2014
"My trip to China proved to be an outstanding experience. Each location provided excellent learning and entertainment opportunities. The country was very impressive both in its deep history and in the huge modernization that has taken place in recent decades. The tour guides at each location were well informed and able to answer questions while also offering detailed information at all sites. It was a pleasure to be so well taken care of. The guides and drivers were always helpful. The meals on the tour were delicious and varied. I was pleased with the choice of restaurants. The hotels were comfortable and well located. I will recommend Kensington Tours. "
December 12, 2014
"I was a bit nervous about visiting Myanmar. Thanks to the outstanding help and planning via Kensington Tours, everything went off without a hitch!! It was a fantastic experience, that I would recommend to anyone with a spirit of adventure. "
Craig Gelman ,
December 12, 2014
"Fabulous trip. Every aspect from the planning to execution was excellent. "
Ruth Reinhard ,
December 12, 2014
"The trip was fantastic!!!Each guide and driver gave us so much information and were so helpful. They made sure that they took good care of our well being and requests. My husband, who we all call "the reluctant traveler" said, halfway through the trip, where are we going next? He said if he can go with Kensington then he will go anyplace. Thanks for making our trip to China a memorable experience."
SixtoCastenada Jr. ,
December 12, 2014
"100% satisfied! We had a wonderful trip. Our travel adviser, Tony Newman put together a tour that included everywhere we wanted to visit and within our very limited time frame. Conrad, who booked our transportation was very professional. The tour guides, hotel accommodations and transportation arrangements were all excellent. We will be using Kensington Tours again!"
December 12, 2014
"We were so impressed with all aspects of the trip that Kensington arranged for us - even at short notice. The itinerary was perfectly planned, full of extra activities like riding an elephant and a water buffalo cart ride. The guides were wonderful in all the places we went and the travel was easy between locations. Vietnam is a wonderful destination and Angkor Wat is amazing too. We loved the overnight on the boat in Halong Bay and the train ride to Sapa. The day we spent trekking between indigenous villages in the mountains of Sapa was one of the most interesting days of my life! We have travelled a lot and this was one of the best trips we have ever taken."
Olive Ramchand ,
June 03, 2014
"I have to admit, this was the BEST vacation I ever had. The tour was nothing less than Fantastic! The hotels were great, the guides were great, the transportation was great, the places were great, the people were great, the food was great and last but not least China, itself was out of this world. I'm so glad I booked this tour and would recommend this to anyone. Thanks so much for all your help, your interest and your recommendations. Steve in China was so attentive, he called constantly to make sure everything was fine. We really had a fabulous time and even my jaded husband who normally only seems to care about where the nearest golf course is, was impressed and had a wonderful time.
Thanks again, and unto the next vacation (although I don't know how we would top this one!!)
Jeanne Tarvin ,
April 21, 2014
"The tour was absolutely fabulous. It all started with the planning. Kathryn graciously accommodated our tight schedule and multiple needs, including a mid-trip change in plans. The tour guides and drivers were all great and extremely knowledgeable. The accommodations and meals were fantastic. I was apprehensive about going to China not knowing the language but it worked out great!"
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."
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