(Vientiane, Vang Vieng, 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 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 Kwang Si Falls, located 30 kilometers south of Luang Prabang. These falls cascade on calcareous bedrocks where they have scooped out small basins of turquoise color. 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 kilometer 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.
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 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.
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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