(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.
Situated 25km southeast of the city is Buddha Park where 200 Buddhist and religious images dating 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 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.
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.
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 artefacts 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 temple, 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 Kwang Si Falls, located 30km south of Luang Prabang. These falls cascade on calcareous bedrocks where they have scooped out small basins of turquoise colour. Swimming is possible and a short hike around the falls is suggested. On the way, a stop will be made to visit some minority villages.
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 you'll 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.
After the hotel pick up, you will proceed to the Elephant Village, a fantastic location in the middle of nature, surrounded by a huge mountain chain. You will traverse the Nam Khan via water taxi and begin the trek up to Theung village (Khamu People). Being careful not to disrupt the serenity of this isolated area, you can observe the locals as they carry out their daily tasks. You will get the chance to ask questions and explore the small village. Your guide will be happy to translate your questions. Edging forward along a steep and narrow track, you ascend to your final destination, sharing the trail with passing villagers. After a short walk you will arrive at the Lao Sung village (Hmong People), an isolated and quaint village high in the mountains. Enjoy lunch in a local home. Listen to stories, play with the curious children or ask your questions about their way of life. After eating you will descend back to the Nam Khan River. In a small boat, you will be brought back to your starting point and return to Luang Prabang.
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 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.
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.
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.
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."
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!! "
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